We hear a lost of questions about buying, selling, renting as well as building a home. We've narrowed the top questions down for you here. If you are buying, selling, or both, you might find the answers you are looking for throughout this blog post.
There is a lot of money involved, which means you don't want to mess anything up if you can avoid it. As a seasoned Realtor, and now a Broker, I have fielded my fair share of questions from sellers. Here are a few of the most common ones that I have been asked and answers to those questions.
I'm sure you've heard of the term "seller's market" at one time or another. In a seller's market, the demand for homes rises and the seller's can get a lot more money for their home. This is what contributes to a seller's market:
- Low Inventory
- Low Interest Rates
Before you even start window shopping, get approved for a mortgage! Buyers may need to take a look at their credit scores and assess their current financial situation to make sure they qualify for a mortgage and can fit monthly payments into their overall budget.
The list price that you see online is wrapped up in one number, but the reality of buying a house comes with closing costs, a mortgage, and other considerations. This is why it's important to find a lender before you begin the searching process, apply for a pre-approved mortgage. This will give you an idea about how much you can afford and what you will have to pay in the next 15, 20, or 30 years. Plus, many sellers may require that buyers are already pre-approved for a mortgage. If you are fighting for the house of your dreams, you will need to do everything you can to get ahead.
Real estate agents have the experience, connections, and knowledge to help you sell or buy a house for the right price. If you are selling, a real estate agent can:
- Help you choose the right price (and negotiate down the line)
- Put your house on multiple MLS and give your listing more exposure
- Stage your house for open houses and answer buyers’ questions
If you are buying a house, a real estate agent can help you:
- Find houses in your price range (and negotiate with the seller)
- Recommend professionals that will help you appraise, inspect, and buy the house
- Offer useful advice about the current housing market and next steps
It is possible to buy or sell a house without an agent, but you can trust that a real estate agent will get you the best deal and save you money down the line.
An excellent question for any seller to ask a Realtor is “what should I do to get my house ready for the market?” There is a lot of work to be done before you list your home.
Everything must be done behind the scenes before you give buyers the opportunity to look at your home and start asking questions. That way, when you finally open the doors, you are prepared to make a sale then and there—and don’t need to do a bunch of stuff that you overlooked.
Your agent is the best-qualified person to help you identify what needs to be done before you sell. Keep in mind that every home is different, so the advice you get for your home might be different than the information another seller would get.
That being said, there are some things that almost every seller needs to do. These include:
- Clean things up. No one wants to buy a dirty house. Or, in reality, only bargain seekers are going to be highly interested in a cluttered, messy home, because they assume they can get a great deal from an as-is seller. FACT: If you want reasonable offers, you need to remove clutter and clean thoroughly.
- Make needed repairs. Broken door handles, missing tiles, stained carpets—there are probably several little jobs that need to be done around your house before you list it. The more of these small, cheap fixes you make, the more desirable your home will be. Proper home maintenance shows you care for your property. There may also be big jobs that need to be done. Wait to talk to your agent before you invest in any major repairs, just to be sure that doing so will benefit your sale as you expect. Doing your part before the home is listed for sale is also a sided benefit for being ready for a house inspection.
- Take great pictures. The photos on your listing are the first thing that most buyers are going to see. You want them to be good, and it takes talent and practice to produce those kinds of pictures. Your agent should either be skilled at taking real estate pictures or know someone who is. That way your listing looks as good as possible and shows the best side of your home. See some great tips for shooting your real estate photos.
What real estate agents do and what appraisers do are a bit different. The result, however, is getting to what a buyer will most likely pay for a property. Both appraisers and real estate agents use what’s called comparable sales or “comps” to determine fair market value. Real Estate agents will perform what’s called a comparative market analysis.
More than likely the report generated will include the following:
- Closest homes in similarity that have sold in close proximity to the property within the past 6 months.
- Similar homes that are currently under contract but haven’t closed yet.
- Competing properties that are currently for sale in the general price point.
The most important data is what has sold. The least important is what is currently for sale. The price for these homes can change at a moments notice. You never want to hang your hat on what someone thinks their home is worth.
The analysis that your real estate agent performs will compare your house to other properties that have sold. The evaluation will include the following points of interest.
- The size of the home, or more commonly what’s referred to as the square footage. While size is a crucial variable, unskilled agents will use this as the end all be all in comping properties. Using square footage to value properties is a sure-fire recipe for disaster
- The style of the home – for example, is it a colonial, contemporary or a raised ranch
- The number of bedrooms
- The number of bathrooms
- The condition of the property
- The amenities such as central air, swamp cooler, central vac, alarm system, sprinkler system and a whole host of others that affect value
- The age of the house
- Ages of mechanical and structural components such as roof, heating and cooling systems.
- The desirability of the lot.
- The appeal of the neighborhood or school district.
It is essential for you to find out what commission the real estate agent will be charging. You might be thinking that is would be great if you can find an agent who will charge a lower rate than everyone else. Unfortunately, the commission split really matters when you are selling a home. It is imperative that a buyer’s agent wants to sell your house!
If all the homes you’re competing against have higher commission splits, guess what happens? Fewer agents will want to sell your house. The bottom line is you will NOT save money. Instead, you will probably net less. Don’t make this foolish home selling mistake
This is a great question and an important one that you should be asking your agent! Every real estate agent has a broad range of services that they offer. Some agents do an exceptional job at marketing and others do little to nothing but put your home in the multiple listing service (MLS).
In today's market it is more important than ever to market on Social Media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube as well as Pinterest. These are excellent ways to have your home showcased to sell and have active buyers to engage with.
Your agent should also be taking amazing photos of you property. Photography is also very important when trying to convey all of the unique and/or special features that your property may have.