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The Real Deal: Unfiltered Advice for Home Buyers and Sellers

By Published On: September 3rd, 20233.8 min read
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September 2023

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“The Real Deal: Unfiltered Advice for Home Buyers and Sellers”

Buying and selling real estate is a maze of decisions that sometimes have to be made in a split second and can have lasting implications. It’s a complex financial and emotional journey filled with ups and downs that can be exhilarating or nerve-wracking. I know this because I have navigated this maze alongside first time home buyers and sellers, multi-property investors and people relocating across the country. There is some hard-earned wisdom here so let’s dive into what you absolutely need to know before making your first or next move in the real estate market.

Talk to a Lender BEFORE a Real Estate Agent

Shopping online for houses is fun and a modern convenience utilized by 85% of home buyers. Buyers feel a sense of urgency to call a real estate agent when their dream home pops up on the screen. Most agents will ask if you have a pre-approval from a lender and it’s not because the agent is snooty or lazy. Without a pre-approval from a lender, you don’t know if you can afford the dream house. Consider this, someone hands you an unmarked pre-paid gift card and tells you to use it to buy groceries. You can’t do it because you don’t know if you can spend $10 or $100. The same holds true for buying a home – it is imperative to know your budget before you begin.

Inspect and Reinspect

Home inspectors check every nook and cranny for possible defects. They inspect the electrical system, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, the foundation, roof, and topography. Inspectors give a detailed report of the good, the bad, and the ugly – all things necessary when purchasing a property. Invite your inspector to join you for the final walk-through. Your inspector can verify that repairs are complete and quality for a small fee. Picture this: it is now time for you to sell this property. The inspection reveals a wet crawl space that was supposed to have been corrected by the seller when you purchased the home. Now you’re facing a $10K repair…heartbreaking.

Time Is of the Essence

The due diligence period is where Time Is of the Essence is king. During the due diligence period, the buyer has the opportunity inspect the property, verify zoning, request repairs etc. Depending on your state, the due diligence period is a time frame decided upon by the buyer and his or her agent. It can also be used as a negotiation tool in a hot market.  One thing is certain, it is a deadline, not a casual date on the calendar. It is fundamental to the contract and has serious, irreversible consequences. Something as simple as creating a visible timeline of events can eliminate the possibility of missing anything marked Time Is of the Essence.

Memories Have No Effect on Market Value

Your home needs to become a house when determining its value. A house is a physical structure where people can live—it’s made of bricks, wood, or other materials, it has rooms, a roof, and amenities. A home is the emotional and psychological connection to a living space. It’s where you feel comfortable, safe, and part of a community. Sellers tend to add their memories to the value. Pricing a house to sell is a learned skill that requires research of hyper-local markets and knowledge of upcoming meta market trends. Pricing should be a collaboration between the seller and the agent. The agent brings an unbiased perspective and data while the seller provides the history of upgrades and neighborhood insight. Together, a targeted market price will emerge.

You Want It? Prove It!

Over pricing is detrimental to the sale of a home, under bidding is just as bad. Low offers do not allow room to negotiate up because sellers are unlikely to take them seriously. They run the risk of offending the seller or signaling to the seller you can’t afford the home. Serious buyers identify “the one” to their agent and ask for comparable properties that have recently sold. Your offers should mirror the market and how much you want to own the property. Show the intent to purchase the home through the seriousness of the offer. Good offers allow room to negotiate but not so low to offend, set terms for a win-win situation and keep contingencies to a minimum.

Remember, knowledge is power. In the ever-complex realm of real estate, forewarning arms you for success. Use these insights as your compass, and find that house or buyer that you seek.