Real Estate Tips
Below are a few tips for new sellers to the market:
First and Foremost…Pick a good Realtor to represent your needs. All Realtors are not the same! A professional agent knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a marketing plan, as well as providing you with background and references. Be sure to choose someone that you trust and feel comfortable that they will do their best on your behalf. One big pitfall, be as wary of agents whose quote is too low, as to those that are too high!
Do your Homework on Pricing before you set the price! And make sure you have your Realtor do their Homework! You need to know your market as best you can, be aware of what your competition will be, i.e.; homes similar to yours that are currently for sale, as they will be your direct competition for buyers. Insist on a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) from your Realtor. A complete written comprehensive report that includes at least 3 homes similar to yours that have sold in the last 6mos. to 1year, as well as 3 Active listings (homes that are currently for sale that compare to your home).
Keep the Reason(s) you are selling to yourself! The reason you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate the sale. By keeping this between yourself and your Realtor, you don’t provide a prospective buyer with ammunition to work against you. Example, if a buyer were to learn that you HAVE to move quickly, it could place you at a disadvantage in the negotiating process. Only you and your Realtor need to know your reason.
Your Homes appearances not only matter…They’re critical! Appearance dictates first impressions; first impressions dictate a buyer’s perspective. The look and feel of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to their senses, most notably what they see, and smell! (See next tip)
Clean, Clean, Clean,…..Fix, Fix, Fix! Make sure your home is welcoming to buyers and shows the best it can! Scrub, scour, pick-up, straighten, and above all, get rid of clutter! Repair that squeaky door, the light switch that doesn’t work, and that tiny crack in the bathroom mirror. It’s true, these can be the simplest ways to get your home ready for sale, but if they are left untouched, they can be the biggest deal killers to your prospective buyers. As well, that foul odor you’ve been noticing will be NOTICED! Get rid of it! Spray deodorizer light candles, bake some cookies or muffins. The sense of smell is huge here. Not sure if there are any odors, your Realtor will be happy to let you know, even ask a friend. Above all, deal with these odors.
Visualization is the KEY – Help the prospective Buyer visualize themselves in your home. Once again, avoid the clutter. Put away a few of those knick-knacks, remove a chair or two if the living room looks overcrowded, etc.. Try if you can to decorate in neutral colors, ie; whites and beiges. You can also enhance the attractiveness and warmth of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bath. Look through some home-décor magazines for some great easy, and inexpensive decorating tips.
Be a Smart Seller…..Disclose EVERYTHING! Smart Sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can help eliminate deal killers when they find out about that leak in the basement from their Home Inspection, as well as reduce liability and potential lawsuits later on.
Keep your emotions in check during negotiations! You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into your home, but check it at the negotiation door. The more you can approach it from a business-like manner the more advantage you will have over those who get caught up emotionally in the situation. As well, invariably the initial offer will be below what the buyer knows he’ll pay for your property. Don’t be upset, evaluate the offer with your agent objectively. This can simply be a starting point from which you negotiate. ALWAYS counter an offer, even if you counter back at the full price, never take a negative approach and just refuse an offer. This will even solidify that you will only consider serious offers.
If at all possible, try not to move out until you have it SOLD! It’s a well documented and proven fact that it’s more difficult to sell a home that is vacant as it becomes forlorn looking from the lack of the lived in “feel”. It becomes hard for the prospective buyer to visualize how their things will look and/or fit into the floor plans. Even more importantly, buyers turn this into the thought that are probably more motivated to sell, potentially costing you thousands of dollars.
Lastly, try to steer clear of deadlines for yourself – Don’t try to sell by a certain date, this adds unnecessary pressure on you, and can be a serious disadvantage in negotiations.
Tips for Buyers.
Put Your Finances in Order – It’s always good advice, but making sure your finances are in order before you begin looking for a home is crucial. Here are three ways to help make it happen:
- Know how much you have available for a down payment; and the source(s) of the funds; it’s very handy information to have on hand when you’re applying for financing.
- Avoid major purchases until you’re in your new home; they could affect the amount you’ll be able to borrow.
- Postpone that new credit card; and cancel cards you use very rarely or not at all. The availability of a line of credit will reduce what a lender is willing to offer you.
Get pre-approval for your mortgage loan; It’s easy to get pre-approval from your lender, and it costs you nothing but a little of your time. Don’t underestimate the importance of this tip. Sure, you think it’s a “buyers market” – at least until a seller is considering multiple offers on your dream home.
List Your “Must Haves” and “Have Nots” – List the features you must have in your next home and the “must have” amenities in the surrounding area, as well as the things you’d like to avoid (a multi-story home, or a home of a particular architectural style, for example).
Put the Internet to Work for You – About 80 percent of home searches begin on the Internet. Look for:
- The ability to search for homes in a particular area
- Photos and descriptions of available properties
- Virtual tours
- Local information
- Useful information for buyers and sellers
- Contact information for a real estate professional who serves your area of interest
Go Out There and Kick the Tires – Once you’ve settled on your next neighborhood, contact a real estate professional and look at properties that meet all or most of your “must haves”.
If you know someone In addition, take as much time as you can to explore the neighborhood on your own. Dine at an area restaurant, pick up a copy of the local paper and talk to the locals. Before you’ve even had your offer accepted on your next home, the next chapter of your life will already be well under way.