For buyers and sellers, the real estate process can be an emotional and difficult time. For sellers, who may be facing financial difficulties, job transfer, upgrading a home or downsizing, putting their home on the market is emotional. And for buyers, there are those that are so eager to get into a home will do almost anything to get the house of their dreams.
Of course, as real estate agents, we have often watched clients think with their hearts and not their heads, however, that’s where we come in – to bring this financial undertaking, back down to reality.
For buyers, here are 5 “no no’s” when buying a home:
1. No pre-approval letter. While this is not a mandatory step, it will make your life easier. Finding the perfect home and then realizing you can’t afford it is heartbreaking. Get a pre-approval letter before you even view your first home. First, it can tell you what your price range is, so you won’t fall in love with a home that is too costly. Secondly, if there is anything wrong with your credit report, you will need time to rectify it.
2. Not sure what you want: Create a wish list of what type of property you want to buy. What are the top features you must have and those you would like. For some buyers, they want to live on a large lot while others think a condo will serve them well. Some buyers want a gourmet kitchen with all the bells and whistles, but others would rather have space for a home office. Regardless, once you have this list, it makes it easier for your real estate agent to find the property that is right for you. If you can’t decide, look online, attend open houses or sit down and talk to your real estate agent who can give you some ideas based on your lifestyle.
3. Forgoing home inspection. This is a huge real estate mistake. Sometimes buyers love a home so much, they don’t care if the roof is leaking or the plumbing is over 50 years old. All homes, even new construction, need an inspection by a qualified inspector. Once a report is final, then work with your real estate agent to negotiate with the seller if repairs are needed. Again, as we have said over and over on this site, becoming a homeowner is a great feeling, but owning a home that has expensive repairs is no fun.
4. Not shopping for best mortgage: Purchasing a home can be the most important financial decision you will make. The difference between interest rates can be huge. Shop for the best loan you can find. Don’t rely on an institution that you have worked with in the past, if another reputable bank has a better loan. Even half a percentage point can save you untold thousands of dollars.
5. Not using an agent: Don’t try and buy a home without using a reputable, professional real estate agent. An agent can save you time, money, hassle and give you advice that may be invaluable. Chances are, they will know if the vacant lot down the street will soon be home to a mall, or if the school district is good. They will know if you are overpaying for a home or if the home has been on the market too long and the buyers are desperate.
For sellers, here are the 5 blunders you should avoid:
1. Overpricing your home: Without a doubt, this is the biggest blunder a seller can make. Why? The minute your home goes on the market and it is regarded as “overpriced” you have been dismissed by real estate agents and their clients. Without buyers, you can’t sell your home. If overpriced properties keep taking price reductions, it will reflect poorly on the listing. And consider this, overpriced properties rarely, if ever, sell near their price. In fact, they tend to sell at a lower price if they would have been priced properly from the beginning.
2. Not making property available: When selling your home in this competitive market, it is necessary to make your home available for those last minute showings. If you don’t, then you are severely limiting the number of buyers that can walk through your property. Real estate agents won’t schedule showings if you make it difficult as they have other homes that are always available to view. Many homes that are sold today are scheduled on a whim, because a buyer was driving by a neighbourhood and saw a listing or a friend heard about it. Make your home ready to view at a drop of a hat.
3. Not preparing property: There have been too many times that buyers look forward to seeing a home, only to be met by dirty dishes in the sink, a dog running around the house and unmade beds. It is important that you not only get your home in good shape, but that you properly prepare your house by cleaning, decluttering, creating curb appeal, painting or anything else it needs to become ready for buyers to walk through. Remember, first impressions are critical and no buyer will walk through a house a second time if they aren’t impressed the first go around.
4. Repairs: If a home is in need of repairs, sellers should be ready to offer credits unless they want to repair themselves. By making all repairs before listing a home, then you have created a non issue for buyers and one less bargaining area in negotiations.
5. Not understanding contract: Make sure you take the time and review all terms in your contract. Otherwise, this could cost you untold thousands of dollars in repairs and inspections. It is important that you discuss with your realtor what you are responsible for before signing any paperwork. Any questions? Never hesitate to talk to your Windsor real estate agent and make sure you understand completely the contract.