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Prepare for House-Hunting
Know that there's no "right" time for buying a home.
If you find the perfect home for sale now, don't risk losing it because you're trying to guess where the housing market and interest rates are going. Those factors usually don't change fast enough to make a difference on an individual home's price.
Don't ask for too many opinions.
It's natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of the people who will actually be living in the home.
Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If it's in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.
Don't try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to "win" by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge may cost you the home you love.
Remember your home doesn't exist in a vacuum.
Don't get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself that you forget about important issues such as noise level, access to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.
Don't wait until you've found a home for sale to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance, or consider a moving schedule. Being prepared will make your bid more attractive to sellers.
Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.
A home is still considered a great investment, but its most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.
7 Reasons to Work With a REALTOR®
REALTORS® aren't just agents. They're professional members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics. This is the REALTOR® difference for home buyers:
1. An expert guide.
Selling or buying a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. Also, there's a lot of jargon involved, so you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.
2. Objective information and opinions.
REALTORS® can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They also have objective information about each property. REALTORs® can use that data to help you determine if the property has what you need.
3. Property marketing power.
Property doesn't sell due to advertising alone. A large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner's contacts with previous clients, friends, and family. When a property is marketed by a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
4. Negotiation knowledge.
There are many factors up for discussion in a deal. A REALTOR® will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows you the flexibility you need to take that next step.
5. Up-to-date experience.
Most people sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each sale. Even if you've done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS® handle hundreds of transactions over the course of their career.
6. Your rock during emotional moments.
A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most people, property represents the biggest purchase they'll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you.
7. Ethical treatment.
Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a REALTOR®'s client, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters.
Things to Consider When Getting Ready to Sell
How your property appears from the outside is important. To make a good first impression on a buyer, a clean driveway, a freshly mown lawn or a trimmed hedge will work wonders. Do a critical inspection of the exterior of your property, paying special attention to the condition of your windows, shutters, screens and gutters. One of the first things a buyer will notice is the need for painting. If your property looks like it needs painting, many buyers will form an unfavorable impression. Elsewhere, little things count. Make sure the front door is spotless, including the doorknob, and that the windows gleam.
Once inside your property, one of the key factors that influences its appeal to a buyer is cleanliness. Most important is front hallway, the kitchen and the bathrooms. Do a room-by-room cleaning, and don’t forget any out-of-sight areas because that’s often where a discriminating buyer will look first. The state of the carpets can also be a determining factor. At the very least, have your carpets cleaned, and if they are worn, replacing them, or remove them if there is hardwood underneath, maybe something to consider.
Less is More
Clutter makes a poor impression. In closets, cabinets, kitchen countertops and other storage areas like basements, remove anything not needed for daily housekeeping. To make each room in your property look larger, get rid of or donate unnecessary furniture. Walk through your property and think: “Less is more.”
Make sure everything is in good working order. Dripping faucets, squeaky steps, sticky doors and loose doorknobs can easily create a bad impression and reduce the value of your property. A few hours spent on repairs, whether by yourself or a tradesman, can pay big dividends when an offer is made.
Little Things Count
It’s easy to improve the appearance of any room. You may want to replace worn rugs or small pillows, put new towels in the bathroom or brighten up a room with a vase of flowers.
Pull Together for Showings
Get all the members of your household to pull together when it comes to getting – and keeping – your property ready to for a showing. By getting everyone into the habit of spending a few minutes tidying up every morning for an afternoon showing, you improve your chances considerably.
Agency & Agency Relationships
The term "agency" is used in real estate to help determine what legal responsibilities your real estate professional owes to you and other parties in the transaction.
The buyer's representative (also known as a buyer's agent) is hired by prospective buyers and works in the buyer's best interest throughout the transaction. The buyer can pay the agent directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer's rep may be paid by the seller or through a commission split with the seller's agent.
The seller's representative (also known as a listing agent or seller's agent) is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller, meaning this person's job is to get the best price and terms for the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a signed listing contract.
A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent's customer as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not the buyer's agent, shows property to a buyer. The subagent works with the buyer to show the property but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent.
A disclosed dual agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. In such relationships, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties to both buyer and seller clients. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, all parties must give their informed consent. Disclosed dual agency is legal in most states, but often requires written consent from all parties.
Designated agents (also called appointed agents) are chosen by a managing broker to act as an exclusive agent of the seller or buyer. This allows the brokerage to avoid problems arising from dual-agency relationships for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties.
A transaction broker (sometimes referred to as a facilitator) is permitted in states where nonagency relationships are allowed. These relationships vary considerably from state to state. Generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.
You've searched online, perhaps attended some Open Houses (be sure to register and list the name of the Realtor representing you) and feel ready to explore the process of home buying.
Pre-Approval is an important first step to find out how much home you can afford.
Your Realtor will advise a price range in which similar homes recently sold. Together, you and your Realtor will prepare an offer on a document called Standard Agreement for the Sale of Real Estate. It will not become an agreement of sale until all parties have signed and dated.
Be prepared for possible negotiation of the price of the home for sale and/or terms in your offer.
We will advise you of your next steps should your offer be accepted. It's important to be prepared to address these steps quickly.
Accepted offer? Congratulations! With our guidance, you are on your way to accomplishing your goal.
Your Realtor will advise you of market conditions and provide a comparative market analysis to assist in properly pricing your home. Experienced advice regarding getting your home ready for sale, preparing for the photo shoot and the ins and outs of showing appointments will be provided.
Do you have additional questions this page did not answer? Are you ready to start buying a home? Ask us your questions and we will get back to you quickly.