Category Archives: selling home

Home Buyers: 10 KEY Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

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real estate agent with small house on hand ready to help buy a homeReal estate agents can seem like a dime a dozen; you might even know one.  But when it comes right down to it, buying or selling a home is a big financial move.  Blind trust in a friend-of-a-friend or a cousin may seem like a wise decision, but can cost you big when you’re navigating your way through a major financial transaction like buying or selling.

If you want to choose the right real estate agent from the sea of agents, do your due diligence.  Contact the top real estate agents in your area and ask them some key questions that’ll help you weed out the right real estate expert for your home purchase.

How much experience do you have selling homes? Do you buy and sell full-time or part-time? How many homes have you bought? How many have you sold?

These are questions that give you important insight: the amount of time the real estate agent has spent buying and selling homes, what area (purchases or home sales) they have more experience in, and the number of clients they have assisted over the years.  Hiring a full-time agent can also be helpful when time is the only obstacle between landing your dream home or accepting a great offer.

Do you have any references?

Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research on your own, so you can find out what their past clients say.  Check out any their agency social media pages for reviews, and ask around to see if their past clients are satisfied.

Do you know our area?

What’s the difference between two real estate agents in towns just a short distance apart? Often, it’s their knowledge of the town.  A real estate agent that knows the area can give you key information about commute times, school district, and the values of homes in neighborhoods within your town.  The latter pieces of knowledge can be invaluable for home buyers and sellers both, so they are making smart financial moves based on the values around the neighborhood they are interested in.

How much does it cost to list or buy with you?

The difference between a percentage point may not seem like much, but it can mean a big difference in dollars when you are dealing with a huge real estate transaction.  On the other hand, you want to make sure you get the quality advice you pay for and hire the best agent with experience that can help you through the process.

Who else will I be working with?

Purchasing and selling a home is a team effort, so don’t be shy about asking for the other names of your team members.  Having a huge team of agents at your fingertips can also be a huge asset; if your real estate agent is not available, it pays to have another agent to show you a home or a friendly receptionist you can leave an urgent message with.

How are you going to contact me?  When will you contact me?

One of the top frustrations for home buyers and sellers is a real estate agent who stops…everything.  You meet with the agent, then never hear from them again.  To avoid this scenario, ask your agent how they will contact you—and be sure to hire an agent that communicates with you in the manner you are most comfortable.  Some people like phone calls, others are more comfortable with emails or text messages.  Ask them when they are going to contact you again so you know what to expect and don’t feel like your real estate agent isn’t doing their job.

8 Reasons Home Buyers Won’t Buy Your Property

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home with red flags that drive buyers awayWhen you’re getting ready to sell your home, you need to look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer.  That means looking at your home with impartial eyes and seeing the good, the bad, and the red flags.  The latter should worry you the most: the red flags that keep potential buyers from signing on the bottom line and keep you from getting full asking price.

Curled and cracked roof shingles

The cost of a new roof is going to set off alarm bells in a buyer’s head.  If they do make an offer, it’s going to be far below asking price.  You don’t always have to climb up on a roof (and neither do potential buyers) to see warped, curled, and cracked roof shingles.  To find out the condition of your roof, hire a home inspector to inspect your roof before you put your home on the market.

If the home inspector does find problems with your roof, the good news is that you can choose the contractor and the amount of the repair—a luxury you can’t always make when the buyer’s inspector finds the problem.

Water damage

Discolorations, bubbling drywall, crumbling floors, mold on the drywall…all these signs of water damage can send buyers out the door.  Now is the time to do a full repair of any water damage all the way to the source.  As a bonus, once you’re done, you can give your wall a fresh coat of neutral paint that appeals to potential buyers (your real estate agent can give you neutral paint color ideas).

Basement flooding

Even after you’ve cleaned up your flooded basement, evidence of your recent flooding can still be present.  Make sure you clean water lines on the wall, moldy surfaces, and any white powder residue that is left over from the flood.  To ensure that your buyers don’t walk into a swimming pool in your basement, make sure the issue that caused the flooding has been resolved.  Use a dehumidifier to keep the moisture in the air low, and keep your basement from smelling musty—another red flag that can set off alarm bells in buyers.

Smells

Having a home that smells “just right” is a balancing act.  You want your home to smell nice, but the smell shouldn’t be so strong that potential buyers think you’re trying to hide an issue.  Walk through your home and check for any odors (musty smells, faint burning scents, etc.)  Find the source, eliminate them, and replace them with the smell of baking cookies (or whatever nice scent you want).

Electrical issues

No one wants to buy a home that’s full of electrical demons and is going to take a mountain of money to fix.  Test every light switch and fixture in your home and make the necessary repairs. Replace any light bulbs that don’t work.  Potential buyers take a working home as a sign that they’re buying a well-maintained property.

Pests

An infested home is a repellent for most buyers.  Droppings, odors, dead critters, nesting materials—even insect and rodent traps—can signal an infestation that potential buyers are not going to want to take on.  Take care of any pest problems, and take measures to keep them away.

Substandard deck

Many people want to buy a home with a deck, but they don’t want to buy a home with a deck that’s crumbling under them.  Your deck shouldn’t just look great; it should have a solid structure under it that potential buyers can appreciate after they sign on the dotted line.

Cracking, shifting, or shoddy work…

If you do notice any potential red flags during your walk through, make note of any issues and ask your home inspector to thoroughly inspect the problem during the pre-listing home inspection.  This is a time when it’s important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent, who can walk you through the process, resolution, and the sale of your property.