If you plan on buying or selling a Windsor home this next year, it’s not difficult to make mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars, which is why it is critical that one of the first steps you take is hiring a professional real estate agent. There are so many new real estate rules, laws and fees that change every year, it’s difficult for those not in the business to keep on top of everything.
In yesterday’s post, we mentioned some of the top real estate mistakes you don’t want to make. Today, we will continue that article as we can think of dozens of issues we have seen over the years that every buyer or seller needs to be aware of. Taking the time to educate yourself before you list your home for sale or start making appointments to view properties, as this preparation will literally save you time, stress and yes, lots of money.
1. Don’t skip the pre-approval letter:
Getting pre-approved by a mortgage company is one of the best things a buyer can do. Number one, it tells you exactly how much you can afford so you won’t be tempted to buy anything out of your budget. Secondly, it can be a huge plus when you make an offer on a home, as sellers know that you are serious about buying.
2. Don’t buy the first house you see:
We see it quite often where buyers will fall in love with the first house they see and want to make an offer on the spot. As a real estate agent, I can say that it is always a good idea to look around at a few more houses before making a final decision. If you know a property is going to go quick and you really know that you want to make an offer, ask your real estate agent to show you comparable properties quickly and to let the seller’s agent know that you may be making an offer. When homeowners think an offer is coming, they will usually hold off on accepting any other offers until they see all bids. Again, discuss with your agent, but never feel pressure to make an offer quickly.
3. Don’t ignore home inspections:
If buyers only knew the potential problems that inspectors can uncover that are not plainly visible, they would never ignore a home inspection. Make sure to hire an inspector that comes highly recommended and make sure they give you a concise report with photos. Believe me, spending money for an inspection is always cheaper than not having one at all.
4. Don’t ignore making repairs and making updates if you can.
As a home seller, the best thing you can do to move your property quickly is to make, at the very least, the minor repairs and home improvements you can. For example, if a room needs painting, it’s the cheapest, yet one of the most effective updates an owner can do. Fix the leaky faucet, create welcoming curb appeal and stage your home appropriately. It doesn’t need to blow your budget, but the little things always make a huge difference to a buyer.
5. Don’t list your price too high!
Listing your home at a price too high because, “my house is worth more than my neighbours comparable property,” usually means that you may be waiting for an offer. And chances are, the longer it sits on the market, the more you will need to lower your price. Agents won’t waste their time showing clients a home that is over priced, and if they do, and a buyer wants to make an offer, chances are it will be a lowball one. The goal is to price it right at the very beginning. This way, you are sure to get buyers that recognize a good home for a good price.
6. Don’t buy more than what you need:
If we have learned anything from the real estate market in the past several years, is that buyers often bit more than they could chew. More house than you need or want can wreak havoc on a budget but often buyers get caught up that “bigger is better.” But for many, it just creates headaches when they realize that a house is too big for their needs. Make a wish list and talk with your real estate agent about where you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years. If you know that you will be an empty nester in the next year, do you really want a large home with a lot of empty rooms? There have been times when those buyers downsizing take a look at a huge house, forgetting that what they really wanted was to travel and slow down. They go home to prepare an offer despite their wish list, and call the next morning and say to us: “What were we thinking!” So take time and sleep on it before you get more house than you really want.
7. Don’t overlook the closing costs:
Finally, buyers know and plan for the down payment, but they often forget the closing costs involved. They say that on average, you should plan for about three percent of the sale price, however, these charges can change. You will need to remember homeowner’s insurance, inspections and other charges that your mortgage company can tell you. Get an idea of what is expected while getting pre-approved for a loan. Then it never hurts to add a bit more to the figure so you aren’t shocked if the number goes higher.