Buying and selling a home can be one of the more stressful endeavors we undertake. Its often the largest assets and investment we have on top of the fact is our home. If your selling your trying to get the most value possible in the least stressful means possible.
If your buying a home you want to get the best home possible but also ensure that the house you buy doesn’t turn into a money pit. You also want the home to be a perfect fit for you and your family.
Given all that, here are a few tips on how to survive the process.
Buyers: Be Smart and Be Prepared
The first thing is unless your really knowledgeable about the home buying process, you need to go in armed with a real estate agent. Its a process you only do maybe a few times in your life where as a real estate agent does it as a profession.
Second you want to get pre-approved for your loan and know your financing limit. This will help to keep you focused on the right houses for your budget. Make sure you talk with your agent about what other costs you may encounter besides the obvious ones of mortgage, closing costs, etc. These can include home owners association dues, property taxes, insurance, etc.
Also make sure you shop for mortgage companies, they aren’t all the same. A good realtor can help to find mortgage companies but also beware that they may not always know the right one for you.
All of this combined will help you to determine a price range both in financing and out of pocket money and monthly and on going expenses. One thing to do ahead of time is to ensure your credit is slid and clean it up as much as you can. This will help you to get the best mortgage rates possible.
If your buying in a tight real estate market, you may have to really get creative to beat out other buyers. Buying with cash and giving large down payments can help to close the deal. You can also work to be flexible with closing dates, closing requirements, etc.
Sellers: Putting Your Best “Square Footage” Forward Is the Key
As with buying a home a real estate agent can be invaluable. They can help you to analyze your house and determine a price, see what may need to be fixed up and even help you find a handyman or renovator to help out. Importantly a good real estate agent should be honest with you about the market and your house.
One thing on picking an agent, the 6% commission isn’t set in stone. You may be able to negotiate that rate. If your also going to buy a house as soon as you sell, that might give you an opportunity negotiate a better rate.
Carefully consider what renovations you may need to sell. You may not need a full kitchen remodel or bathroom re-do. That can be expensive and while it may help yield to a higher price the time, money and delay may not be worth it.
You do need to focusing on things that will be big in the mind of your buyers. Make sure you don’t have things like roof damage, termites, water damage and other things that will cause concern for your potential buyers.
When possible try and list in early May which is the peak selling season. This will help to maximize the number of sellers who will be looking as well as ideally maximize your sale price. Also make sure your listing has lots of great pictures of your home, especially its best features.
You will want to make sure your home is clean – really clean and presentable. You might consider hiring a home cleaning service for a deep clean before an open house or other high traffic times. Also consider changing light bulbs, having carpets professional cleaned, remove pet odors, etc.
The presentation of everything in your home is very important as well. If you have already moved or have an empty home consider home staging as an option so it doesn’t look empty and its more presentable. Also try to take away any personal items, mementos, unusual decor etc. that might distract from the overall presentation of your house. Its very important you clean out closets, garages and other storage areas so they are presentable and give the feeling of large available storage space.
Say the word real estate and selling or buying a home and you may cringe in fear and loathing. But with proper planning and assistance you can lower the stress level of buying and selling a home and maximize your return.