Contributions by consumer advocates, legal professionals, and industry insiders
Buying or selling a home? Read these insider tips first.
Americans overwhelmingly consider owning a home to be a good decision; it offers
immediate social benefits as well as long-term value. Homeownership also strengthens
communities and is integral to our nation’s economy.
Despite the tremendous benefits of owning a home, buying or selling one can sometimes
be a complex process. For buyers, there are mortgage interest rates and affordability
conditions to worry about; and for sellers, local prices and home inventory levels
to watch. Every housing market is different, but no matter what the situation there
are always opportunities for buyers and sellers.
In order to avoid hiccups along the way it’s important to be prepared and well-informed.
Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, follow these tips to ensure
a smooth and successful real estate transaction.
TIPS FOR BUYERS
Opportunities exist for buyers in the market. The benefits of homeownership are
evident and owning a home remains desirable for a majority of renters. It’s imperative
for buyers to be knowledgeable and aware of what they can afford in a home.
1. Know your finances.
You should not only know your budget before looking at potential homes, but you
should also be familiar with your credit history and how the credit system works.
Lenders evaluate your income, savings and credit history to qualify and approve
you for a mortgage. You’ll be more attractive to them if you pay attention to the
- Don’t close any credit accounts within six to twelve months before you apply for
- Keep older accounts open, even if they are unused: the average age of credit accounts
is a factor in scoring performance over time.
- Be sure to watch your balance-to-credit limit. Aim to keep the balance below 30
percent of the available limit.
When looking at loans it’s smart to research and explore all options. The mortgage
application process can be a lengthy, complicated one so it’s imperative to be fully
2. Do your research.
Before hitting the pavement to look at homes for sale, do your research. Identify
neighborhoods of interest and think about what you need and want in a home. Whether
it’s a certain number of bathrooms, a small yard, or a garage, it’s helpful to have
a list of must-have’s for your future home. This will make it easier to narrow down
your search process and identify the right home for you.
It’s important to be ready to make an offer when you see a home you really like.
Attending open houses is a good way to see many homes in a short amount of time.
Buyers can get a sense of what’s available and what their budget can afford in the
area they wish to live.
3. Work with a Realtor®.
Not all real estate agents are Realtors®. A Realtor® is a
member of NAR and subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics. Realtors® visit
hundreds of homes with buyers each year, and have a unique understanding of what
buyers value in their local markets. Not only are they trusted resources for your
local market, but they can negotiate on your behalf and provide valuable counsel.
It’s no wonder that more than four out of five recent home buyers and sellers worked
with a real estate professional; and nine out of ten said they would use the same
agent again. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions in your life.
A Realtor® can help you stay focused on both the emotional and financial
issues that are most important.
TIPS FOR THE SELLERS
If you’re considering selling your home there are several things to consider and
do before it even goes on the market. Many homeowners worry about getting the most
out of their investment. The following tips and suggestions can help you protect
your investment and ensure a successful sale.
1. Ready your home for buyers.
Sellers should prepare their home for sale with an eye toward what appeals to buyers.
Small things can add up to creating the right impression - or the wrong one. Be
- Remove clutter and clear off counters.
- Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines
- Stow away decorative items.
- Put excess furniture in storage.
- Remove out-of-season clothing items that cramp closet space.
- Fix sticky doors, dripping faucets, and cracked caulking.
- Tidy your yard: cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, clean the gutters.
Also, know what features buyers in your area value and make sure to highlight them.
For instance, a recent NAR survey found that the laundry room is a highly valued
feature among buyers. Midwesterners tend to favor homes with garages while buyers
in the Northeast value hardwood floors. Showcasing popular rooms and features like
these will help attract the right buyer. A Realtor® can help you identify
which features are most important to buyers in your local area.
2. Get a pre-Listing Home Inspection.
Depending on your situation and your home it could be helpful to have a home inspection
prior to listing the house. A home inspection will identify any major problems with
the house that could potentially derail a sale later on at closing. That allows
you to handle major repairs ahead of time, which might be more cost-effective than
having to pay a buyers’ licensed contractor to do the work. This way you know what
condition your home is in and can be fully prepared going into closing.
3. Use a Realtor® who is familiar with the community.
All real estate is local so it’s important to work with a real estate professional
who is familiar with your community. Your Realtor® will know the pricing
strategies, buyer preferences, and marketing approaches that will achieve the best
results in your area.
Using a Realtor® to help sell your house is a smart decision. They can
help you effectively prepare, position, price, and sell your home. Realtors®
also have the expertise and experience to help protect the investment of your home,
which is tremendously important in today’s market.
These tips are important reminders no matter what side of the transaction you sit
on, and are only just the beginning steps to achieving your real estate goals. Buying
or selling a home can sometimes be a challenging process, but most people find it’s
worth the effort: homeownership is an investment in your future that can provide
tremendous benefits throughout your lifetime.
About the author
While care and judgment have gone into the preparation of this article, neither PeopleClaim nor the author can make representations as to its accuracy or completeness. Opinions expressed are those of the author and are offered as opinion, not fact. Readers assume full responsibility in taking action based on information, opinion, or advice offered. PeopleClaim does not independently verify or specifically endorse the article's content, and is not responsible for errors, omissions, or the consequences of advice taken.
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