Category Archives: using a realtor

3 Real Estate Professionals That Can Make or Break Your Home Sale

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home saleWhether you’re buying or selling your home, it can be the little things that make the sale: an open floor plan, size of the yard, the garage…the list can go on and on. Just as much as those little things can make you want to buy or sell your home, it’s the big things—the professionals involved—that can make the sale go smoothly or fall apart. That’s why it’s so important to select the real estate professionals you want to be part of your home sale carefully.

Mortgage Lender

The first step in any home sale is to contact a mortgage lender to set the budget for your new home, and, if you are a seller, to discuss your financials after you sell your home. We cannot possibly stress enough the importance of a good mortgage lender in your home sale. A good mortgage lender gives you not only a loan, but an education and a smooth home sale process. There are a lot of options for mortgage lenders, so start sifting through your home lending options by asking yourself these questions:

  1. How much do you know about mortgages? Are you a first-time home buyer or a seasoned real estate (or financial) professional? Or a household that has bought and sold many homes?
  2. Do you need someone to educate you about your loan options (i.e. the pros and cons of fixed rate vs. adjustable mortgages)?
  3. Are you more comfortable meeting with someone face-to-face or comfortable with phone and online interactions?
  4. Who do I know—and trust—to refer their mortgage lender to me? Or who can I talk to about a lender they would not recommend?
  5. Which lender offers the best customer service? What are their response times?

Once you know your preferred mode of communication (face-to-face vs. virtual), and the amount of assistance you need navigating through the home buying process, make a list of possible mortgage lender possibilities and screen them by asking these questions.

  1. What are your current mortgage rates (be aware that mortgage rates, even fixed rates, do change over a period of time and that buyers get different rates based on their credit)?
  2. Can you get me a complete (COMPLETET) list of fees?
  3. What kind of loan is the best option for me? (If you are interested in a loan specifically for veterans or think that a HUD loan is the best option, be aware that not all lenders can assist you.)
  4. What kind of documents do you need to approve my loan (if I decide to proceed with you)?
  5. How long does the home sale process take? What can I do to expedite the process?

Let’s make one thing clear: though you do need to apply to get the exact mortgage rate, you do not need to apply to get possible mortgage rates and a list of fees. If you want more information on local mortgage lenders, ask your real estate agent about their experiences.

Real Estate Agent

A good realtor is worth their weight in knowledge and savings. From defining terms like foreclosure and short sale, to identifying home repairs that can sell your home, to assistance with pricing and negotiating, to finding a solution that fits your needs after a bad home inspection report, a real estate agent’s first priority is to assist you through the home selling and buying process. Real estate agents offer local connections to professionals you need during the home sale process, and the objectivity to help navigate a fair deal. So how do you find the best of the best real estate agent?

Testimonials

What do a real estate agents’ past clients say? Were they satisfied with the services they received? Did the real estate agent make their home sale smooth? Ask the real estate agent for references and look on social media to see what kind of rating they have received from their clients.

Knows your area

If you’re looking to buy a home, a real estate agent familiar with the area you are buying the home in can give you information about the area: commute times, school district, local neighborhood info. On the flip side, if you are a home seller, a local real estate agent knows what prices sell and don’t sell—one of the most important factors that sell (or don’t sell) your home.

Has experience

Choose an agent that has a large amount of experience to assist you through your home sale. You can find this information by asking the real estate agent, or by requesting this information from the state license board.

Good (and prompt) communication

One of the top frustrations from home buyers and sellers is a real estate agent who drops off the planet. You sign the papers to put your home on the market, or enlist their services to find your next dream home and then….nothing. Or they don’t return your calls with questions. Either way, one of the questions you should ask your potential real estate agents is, “How will you communicate with me? Can I email you? Or call you?”

A good real estate agent can also connect you with other professionals you need in the home sale process, such as a home inspector, contractor, or landscaper.

Home Inspector

A home inspector is invaluable to both a home buyer and seller. A good home inspector can spot potential issues that need repair, and can also educate home buyers on home maintenance. We’ve seen home inspectors that have saved home buyers and sellers thousands of dollars, so be selective about the home inspector you choose. A good home inspector has past experience in construction, can provide samples of their home inspector report, is a member of a professional association, and can provide testimonials from past clients.

For a seller, a pre-listing home inspection can be the difference between a quick sale and a dragged out process. A pre-listing home inspection can locate potential red flags before the home hits the market, putting the seller in control of choosing who makes the repairs and the cost. If you’ve located and made all the repairs found during the pre-listing home inspection, you don’t need to worry about delays during the sale process or any renegotiations on price because of issues found during a potential buyer’s home inspection.

Many a buyer has been tempted to waive the home inspection in their offer, either because they think they’ve found the perfect home or because there is strong competition for the property. Fight the temptation. A good inspection is invaluable for buyers for several sound business reasons:

Avoiding a money pit

Some of the most expensive repairs can be hidden, such as structural and electrical issues. Buying a home is a sound investment, and should remain as such. You don’t want to sick more money into the property than you have, or than it’s worth.

Outside verification of the previous homeowner’s work

Did you know the wall that the previous owner removed caused structural damage? Or that the person who flipped the home did not have any experience installing plumbing? A home inspector can tell you if work done by the previous owner—even if you can’t tell the work was even done—was done correctly, or can recommend professionals that can inspect the structure or foundation.

Still have time to ask for a seller to make repairs

If you do find issues, don’t panic. Until you close on the home, you have time to renegotiate with the owners (visit our previous post to find out what your options are). You can go back to the owners and ask for funds to fix the house, or ask them to fix the damage. If your offer is contingent on the home inspection, you can also back out of the sale.

The opportunity to look ahead

Home inspectors can not only give you insight into the quality of past repairs, but can also give you a list of repairs that need to be made and a timeline. If the house needs a new roof, for example, he can give you his opinion on the damage and when it needs to be repaired or replaced. The most important item that any home inspector can give you is peace of mind and an education about your future investment.

Want more information on your home sale process? Contact a local real estate agent who has years of experience assisting other home buyers and sellers through buying and selling their home.

Why should I use a realtor?

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sold homeIf you think realtors haven’t heard this question before, you’re wrong. Most realtors have faced this question throughout their career, and have some very good answers for the question, “why should I use a realtor?” Their answer isn’t short, though, because there are many, very good reasons to use a realtor for home selling and buying:

Assistance in navigating through the home selling and buying process. From defining terms like foreclosure and short sale, to identifying home repairs that can sell your home, to assistance with pricing and negotiating, to finding a solution that fits your needs after a bad home inspection report, a realtor’s first priority is to assist you through the home selling and buying process.

Local connections when you need professionals beyond a realtor. Lending services, home inspections, repairs, deep cleans—the home selling and buying process is full of situations where you need professionals beyond your realtor. An experienced realtor has connections in your community to experienced and competent home inspectors, handymen, cleaning services, insurance agents, lenders—everyone you need as you navigate through the home selling and buying process.

Objectivity when you need it. It’s hard when you are so emotionally involved, and close, to the home selling or buying process, or the person going through it. A realtor is unbiased, and can give you advice on challenges, pricing and anything else you encounter during the home selling or buying process.

Expertise when your home selling or buying process goes awry. A bad home inspection. Home negotiations that take a turn for the worst. Complicated communications with a bank selling a foreclosure. Sometimes selling your home or buying a house can seem like a race full or hurdles. A realtor can help you through the challenges that may arise during home selling or buying, so you can buy your new home or sell your property.

Experience to help you save money, price your property or save money to make money. Sounds like a mouthful, doesn’t it? An experienced realtor has seen it all: what home prices convert into quick home sales, how much money you should invest to sell your home (so you don’t overdo it), what you should and shouldn’t do to your home.

Remember, you realtor is looking out for your best interests. Your goals are their goals. They’re working for you, and can use all the experience from the home selling and buying processes they’ve been involved with to make your process successful. So what are you waiting for? Contact a realtor so you can get your home selling or buying process started, and achieve that happy ending.

Home Buying Checklist for Your Home Search

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new home Many a buyer has gone into a home search feeling ready to find a new home. After a few house tours into the home search, however, an overwhelming reality sets in: a home search is more than just house tours and writing up a contract. A new home search is also a bit of a process of finding out what kind of home fits you, so you can approach those house tours knowing what you need, and want, in a new home (there is a difference). Once you understand that your new home search is a process, take the proper steps to prepare for the reality of searching for a new home—without feeling overwhelmed:

  • Make a ‘must have’ list—and be prepared for it to change. Figuring out what you want before you buy is essential to property ownership success. Do you want a big backyard? Where do you want to live? Is the location of the new home important? Do you want a big yard with a lot of maintenance? Once you have a list, know that there is a high probability that items on your list may change, or take a higher priority over another item, as you go through a few house tours. It’s okay to change as you learn what you want—and don’t want—in your new home. You may not get everything in your new home.
  • Know how handy you are. If you haven’t picked up a hammer recently—or ever—perhaps that fixer upper is not the new home for you. Know your limitations and take on a new home that fits your experience. If you don’t have a lot of experience with a screw gun, but still want to put your personal touch on a home, look for a property that has small, manageable projects.
  • Prepare yourself for the unexpected. The buying and owning process is full of unpredictable twists and turns. Learn how to handle one of them, a bad home inspection, in our recent post. Once the home inspection is settled, be ready for repairs and expenses incurred in a new home. Put an account aside for unforeseen problems, and budget accordingly.
  • Find out how much you can afford. The feeling of being overwhelmed does not just come from buying that fixer upper you can’t fix.  Buyers commonly jump in over their head financially by not accounting for all the expenses—utilities, property taxes, etc.—that come with home ownership. Meet with your lender and find out how much of a monthly payment you can afford, then take those numbers home and use them to set up house tours at properties you can afford.

Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor for help throughout your new home search. Realtors are there for more than just writing up the contract and schedule house tours. They are also your guide as you navigate through the new home search, without getting overwhelmed.