Winter is here! Well, at least the cold and snow, which brings about a different list of things to do when prepping your house for the market. Historically, the most popular time to sell
What Every Buyer and Seller Should Know
With hundreds of deals under my belt, I believe that I am somewhat of an authority when it comes to real estate transactions. This year, in particular I've seen and experienced some things that make you wonder what agents are doing to educate their clients before they go house hunting and before they list to sell.
Looking at both sides of the coin, here are some things that you should know...
1. Don't ask an agent to show you houses without first being pre-approved. Especially in a market like the one we are currently in, going shopping without first knowing whether or not you can afford to is a waste of everyone's time and could actually cost you the house. If you go house-hunting prematurely and find a house you want to call home, there is no guarantee that it will be waiting for you when you are finally ready. Yes, you can get pre-approved relatively quickly, but houses are being sold in a day so it's best to "Know before you go". If you are just curious about what's going on in the market, stop into open houses, but don't ask an agent to set aside their day when they can be out with a buyer who is truly ready.
2. Don't lowball if you really want it. This, my friends is what we call a "seller's market". If the house is legitimately priced right, it is bound to have multiple offers and you can almost guarantee that they will be over asking. Low balling is another one of those things that is a waste of time. If you want to pay less, check out a market that may not be as hot, but this year, even the fixer-uppers have gone over asking. If you want it, go for it!
3. Resale isn't new construction. The house is 30+ years old, there are bound to be some things that will need to be attended to. But, don't expect the seller to address every little thing... It's not appropriate. My rule of thumb is if it's not a safety/structural issue and doesn't cost more than your inspection, it may not be worth addressing. Example: If the water tank is 7 years old and has 3 years left on it, you can't expect that the seller will upgrade or give you a credit for a new one if it is functioning properly. Use your inspection report more as your "to do" list... things to keep an eye on and address over the years you will be living there. Now to reiterate, if the roof is leaking, it is something you will want to investigate further and asking for it to be repaired or replaced (depending on age and whether or not it was already disclosed) is not unreasonable.
4. Don't go to a contract signing without your downpayment. This has happened twice in the past week and I am wondering if some buyer's agents are not giving buyer consultations to their clients. You can not consummate a deal without consideration (aka money). How can you expect a seller to take their house off the market when you have no skin in the game??? Even if you are doing a VA loan with 0% down, the seller is expecting some sort of earnest money in escrow to tie up their home. This could cost you the deal. Need to get money out of your 401k, it is probably better to do when you know you are getting serious about your home purchase or at least make sure your agent conveys that to the listing agent BEFORE contracts go out. It comes across as being shady when done on the back end. This brings me into the next tip...
5. Be upfront about your deal. It comes across as not being truthful when you try to throw things on the back end of the deal after your offer has already been accepted. These things include, but are not limited to... lower down payment, concessions and not having money to put down at contract signing. Yes, things can change after you really analyze the numbers, but make sure that your agent conveys that to the listing agent. Hearing it first hand from the attorney can sometimes leave a bad taste in the sellers' mouth.
1. Make the house available for showings. Yes, we all have busy lives and may not want to be inconvenienced, but if the goal is to sell the house, help your agent help you... make the house available. Some sellers believe that if a buyer really wants to see their house, they will come when it's convenient for them, but I promise you, you will lose many possible buyers with that mindset. Agents generally don't schedule to see just one house. They are out showing 3 or more. If they can't access yours, buyers will consider and make decisions on the ones they can see, so don't be surprised if that agent doesn't try again. Everyone once in a while something personal takes precedence, like a family get together, but multiple unavailabilities will cost you more time on the market.
2. Do not be present during showings. I don't care if you have to go walk your pretend dog, please don't be home and don't engage the buyer. Some potential buyers are already uncomfortable knowing that they are looking at a house that someone is still occupying. Don't make it even more uncomfortable by being there for the showing or coming in mid-showing. It can be seen as a little creepy. You want your house sold? Let your listing and/or the buyer's agent do their thing.
3. Just because it's been ok for you for the last 13 years doesn't mean it will be ok for the new purchaser. Some sellers get a bit standoffish when it comes to pointing out things that may not be quite right about their home. But what we have to keep in mind is just because you were ok with the sink hole in the yard doesn't mean that the new buyer will over look it. It may need to be addressed.
4. Don't purchase another house or sign a lease on an apartment without having a commitment from your buyer's bank. Unforeseen things can come up and deals fall through. Just because you want the sale done yesterday doesn't mean that it won't take another month to close. Buying without selling only stresses you out and drives your agent to drink.
5. Don't assume the buyer wants your reserves. Just because you have a gallon of that Benjamin Moore Prim and Proper Pink doesn't mean that the new home owner will want it. Aside from the appliances and any furniture purchased outside of the house sale, if you could turn the house upside down and "it" would fall out, have your agent ask the buyers or buyers' agent before assuming it is ok to leave. This little misconception has caused many a seller to have to go back to the house to remove things after the moving trucks have gone. And who wants to have to do that?
Adhere to these little tidbits and it will make everyone happier. For a free home buyer or seller consultation, give R2M Realty a Call! When you are Ready to Move, We are Ready to Help!
"Just Do It" is the motto I live by. Whether it be trying something new or making a decision to change something old, when I decide to do it, I just do it!
That goes for helping you accomplish....