A Spring Buyer and Seller To-Do List
In real estate, timing is crucial. With Spring nearing, home buyers and sellers should begin preparing for the busy season. A competitive market can certainly benefit sellers, but this also means that when they find the perfect place, buyers need to be ready to make decisions quickly. Meanwhile, to ensure multiple offers, sellers need to be certain their property stands out from the bunch.
Your to do list may vary depending on what area you are in, but finding a great real estate agent is key. For buyers, this comes at no cost to you (even making money with buyer rebate), as sellers are traditionally expected to pay the agents’ commission (or save thousands with a 0% commission flat rate). Here are some tips for buyers and sellers to help get them ready:
Before getting out to tour homes, buyers should start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan, which is key to understanding what monthly payment and price range a buyer can afford. But buyers, remember not to bite off more than you can chew — it is not uncommon for mortgage lenders to approve buyers for a higher payment than they can comfortably make. Keep in mind, the mortgage payment is only one part of homeownership; insurance, taxes, and homeowner association fees are also part of your monthly fees. So, know what you can afford and stick to your budget.
With your finances in order, it is helpful to separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market especially, buyers may have to compromise on certain features or characteristics. Knowing what features you need versus the ones you can live without will make your home buying decision a bit easier.
When you know what you want, be prepared to make an offer. It is not uncommon for a house to go under contract during its first few days on the market, so be ready to move fast. Sellers are ready for multiple offer situations, and you should be too. Work with your agent to find ways to make your offer more attractive to your sellers, hopefully ones that don’t cost you more money. By researching the seller’s situation and preferences, your offer may stand out as the winning candidate, even if it’s not the highest price. And you don’t always have to part ways with your financing or home inspection contingencies—every house is different, just as every seller is different, and by prioritizing your needs you may be able to protect yourself with contingencies and still win. With your agent’s knowledge and assistance, you should be able to find a way to improve the deal from the seller’s perspective without over compromising.
Sellers, if you are looking to put your house on the market this spring, you have to do more than just make it look pretty. You want to be certain that items home inspectors look for are operable. Items like properly wired electrical systems and correctly labeled circuit boxes are typical for a home inspector to add to his list. It is usually best to fix known problems prior to a home inspection, because buyers will expect you to spare no expense when crossing items off of the home inspectors list.
When you can say with certainty your home is market ready, its time to talk numbers!
Possibly the most critical component of a listing is the list price. An experienced agent will be able to suggest an appropriate list price based on comparable homes in the area, and recent sale price trends. But more important than just giving an opinion of value is the strategy to get the highest price. A savvy agent will help you determine if it might actually make sense to slightly underprice it, with the anticipation of receiving multiple offers that escalate the price over its agreed value. Conversely, if a home is overpriced, no matter the condition, location, or how experienced of an agent the seller has, it will not sell. Just as a seller’s agent knows the appropriate list price of a home, so does a buyer’s agent, so choose an experienced, smart agent, and know when to listen to them—after all, they do have your best interests in mind.
Lastly, when to list your home is another conversation sellers should have with their agent. Timing the spring market is crucial in the sale of your home. Launching too late or too early could cost a seller thousands of dollars. Again, it is important to listen to your agents’ reasons for when to launch before making a rushed decision that could potentially cost you.
via UrbanTurf DC
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