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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.


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 following:

  • Don’t close any credit accounts within six to twelve months before you apply for a loan.
  • 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 prepared.

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.


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 sure to:

  • 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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