Whether you are buying your first home, or your fifth, the process of buying a home is a detailed, time-consuming venture. At the same time, it’s an emotional period laden with difficult choices. You want to ensure that the home you purchase meets your family’s needs now, and in the future.
Each of these decisions often involves money. When you consider all that money represents, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t pay too much. This article helps you become a savvy buyer, by pointing out some of the pitfalls inherent in the home-buying process. These include such things as knowing what you want before you begin shopping, taking your time to shop, choosing the right realtor, and remaining objective while viewing potential homes. With this information, you’ll be closer to finding your ideal home.
1. Before you shop, develop a needs vs. wants list
Everyone has a picture of an ideal home. This would include all the features you not only need, but have long desired. However, when it comes time to buying a home, the desires cost more. While it’s nice to think about having a beautifully landscaped backyard, or a solarium, perhaps even some built-in appliances, these are usually considered luxury items, which can add considerably to the price of your home.
That’s why it’s a good idea to develop a needs and wants lists. With this list, begin with items you really need like adequate space, garage and number of bedrooms. For most people, basic needs should be considered first. After that, you could consider additional desires, if you can manage these benefits financially.
With such a list in your hands, you’re less likely to be caught up in the excitement of the pursuit. You’ll have a good idea of what you want, within you price range, and if you can afford those additional items.
2. Get pre-approved prior to shopping
Visit your financial or lending institution prior to home buying. Quickly, you’ll know the amount of mortgage you’ll receive. Be sure to get a mortgage commitment in writing. Most importantly, you’ll tell sellers that you are a serious prospect. Depending upon market conditions, a seller may lean towards an unconditional offer. You’ll have less negotiating power if you have to wait for mortgage approval.
Banks and financial institutions have developed many programs especially for home buyers, be that first-time buyers or those with equity in their homes. When you review your needs and objectives with a lending officer, you’ll be one step closer to purchasing your home.
#3 Choose your winning team
Buying a home is a complicated process, with many people involved. From choosing the right mortgage, to finding a home inspector, to viewing available properties, there are many steps involved for even the hardiest person. With a professional realtor on your side, you’ll have access to these services, already in place, and highly recommended. A good agent has the knowledge and experience developed from many years of helping both buyers and sellers. During this time they have developed a network of people, from lenders, lawyers, home inspectors and movers, to assist both home buyers and sellers.
#4 Communicate clearly with your Realtor
Spending time with your Realtor will reap huge dividends. When you have a clear picture of the type of home you’re looking for, your Realtor can come closer to finding the home you want. You won’t waste time looking at homes that don’t match your needs.
#5 It’s still true – location, location, location
You’ve heard it so many times, that it’s probably starting to sound like a broken record. That’s because it’s true! A home is not a stand alone item. Rather the value of a home is greatly affected by the surrounding homes. Don’t let your emotions determine your purchase. Think resale. The desirability and resale value of your home depends largely on location more than any other factor. People want a desirable community that includes character, quality of schools, access to work, major transportation arteries, recreational facilities, etc.
On your viewing trips, take a careful look and ask the following questions: How does this home compare to others in the neighborhood? Are yards fenced? Are there many children playing in the streets? Are front and backyards and the exterior of the homes properly maintained?
Walk around the neighborhood and get a feel for the people living in the area. You may want to speak with a few neighbors to get their comments. If you like the community, carefully examine the home you like. Generally speaking, extremely large homes surrounded by smaller homes tend to appreciate less than a large home among other large homes. Alternatively, the smallest home in the neighborhood tends to stand out by the other homes on the block. Sometimes, it could take a bit longer to sell a smaller home, as some people are reluctant to pay extra for the neighborhood.
Additional factors that affect the property value of a home include traffic, sounds, smells, zoning bylaws. Be objective. Don’t rely too heavily on your emotions. Be sure you are completely satisfied with the neighborhood. If you choose a neighborhood with problems, you likely won’t get as much as you hoped when it comes time to sell.
More tips to come…
the price you set is a critical factor in the return you’ll receive. That’s why you need a professional evaluation from an experienced Realtor®. This person can provide you with an honest assessment of your home, based on several factors, including:
In real estate terms, market value is the price at which a particular house, in its current condition, should sell within 30 to 90 days.
well-kept homes that are properly priced in the beginning always get you the fastest sale for the best price! And that’s why you need a professional to assist you in the selling of your home.
Often, in a seller’s market, homes that are priced slightly below market value initially will sell for more, simply because of the extra interest they incite. This can be a risk, however, and when it comes to such a decision, an experienced, trusted Realtor® is your best ally.
Remember what first attracted you to your house when you bought it? What excited you about it most? When deciding how best to present your home for sale, it is helpful to try to get back into that buyer’s frame of mind.
A spruced-up house makes a great first impression on potential buyers. An attractive property grabs their attention and makes them excited about finding a house that looks and feels well cared for. Because buyers believe they’ll encounter fewer problems if they buy it, your house becomes more appealing and stands out from the competition. So if you prepare your home correctly, you’ll save time selling it when it’s on the market.
A good first impression makes an impact on a number of levels. It’s not just the way your house looks to potential buyers, but how it feels and smells to them, how their friends and family will react, how they imagine it would be to live there.
With simple improvements throughout your house, you can grab the attention of potential buyers and help them see why your house is right for them.
Create a plan to enhance your property. Keep a notebook, and as you stroll through your home and yard, make a list of what needs to be done. Consider what your property looks like to people driving by or walking through your door. What will they like or dislike? What needs fixing, painting, cleaning? What can you improve? Whether you paint your house or fix up the yard, your efforts don’t need to be costly; even inexpensive improvements and minor repairs go far towards attracting serious buyers. But remember, those seemingly insignificant problems you’ve learned to live with can actually discourage potential buyers.
Here are some ideas for increasing your home’s appeal in order to sell it quickly at the best price:
Buyers expect a spotless house, inside and out, so clean everything, especially your windows and window sills. Scrub walls and floors, tile and ceilings, cupboards and drawers, kitchen and bathrooms. Wash scuff marks from doors and entryways, clean light fixtures and the fireplace. Don’t forget the laundry room. And put away your clothes.
Cut the Clutter
People are turned off by rooms that look and feel cluttered. Remember, potential buyers are buying your house, not your furniture, so help them picture themselves and their possessions in your home by making your rooms feel large, light, neutral, and airy. As you clean, pack away your personal items, such as pictures, valuables, and collectibles, and store or get rid of surplus books, magazines, videotapes, extra furniture, rugs, blankets, etc. Consider renting a storage unit to eliminate clutter in your garage and attic.
It’s hard to get rid of possessions, but cleaning and clearing out the clutter can really pay off in the end. Packing away your clutter also gets you started packing for your next move. Make your garage and basement as tidy as the rest of your house. Simple little tasks such as storing your tools and neatly rolling up your garden hose suggest that you take good care of your house. Don’t let anything detract from making your best first impression.
They’re an important consideration to many buyers. By storing clothing you won’t use soon, you’ll make closets look more spacious.
A new coat of paint cleans up your living space and makes it look bright and new. To make rooms look larger, choose light, neutral colors that will appeal to the most people possible, such as beige or white.
Check its condition. If it’s worn, consider replacing it. It’s an easy and affordable way to help sell your home faster. Again, light, neutral colors, such as beige, are best. If you don’t replace it, you can suggest to potential buyers that they could select new carpet and you’ll reduce your price; buyers like to hear they’re getting a deal. At the very least, have your carpet cleaned.
Repairs and Renovations
It’s best to avoid making major renovations just to sell the house since you’re unlikely to recoup those costs in your selling price. Make minor repairs to items such as leaky faucets, slow drains, torn screens, damaged gutters, loose doorknobs, and broken windows. Make sure repairs are well done; buyers won’t take you seriously if your home improvement efforts look messy, shoddy, or amateurish.
Leaks and Moisture
Water stains on ceilings or in the basement alert buyers to potential problems. Don’t try to cosmetically cover up stains caused by leaks. If you’ve fixed the water problem, repair the damage and disclose in writing to the buyer what repairs were made.
The “Wow” factor — that first visual, high-impact impression your home makes on potential buyers — can turn a looker into a buyer. To determine your property’s curb appeal, drive through your neighborhood and note other properties; then approach your own house as if you were a potential buyer. How does it look? Does it “wow” you? Will its curb appeal attract buyers? Note what needs improving, such as trimming trees, planting shrubs, or painting gutters. Little things convey that you’ve cared for your home, and this is your opportunity to sell that important message to buyers who are shopping from the street, simply cruising neighborhoods looking for houses for sale. To get them through your door, do what you can to make your property look like someone’s dream home.
If it’s peeling or blistering and you can’t remember the last time you painted it, your house needs some attention. That also goes for stain that is significantly faded. A newly painted or stained exterior will help sell your house faster, and whether you do it yourself or hire someone, you’ll also increase your home’s value.
In the Yard
Grab people’s attention by enhancing your yard and landscaping. If your house looks inviting and well-maintained from the street, people will imagine that it’s attractive on the inside, too.
The Front Door
An attractive entry catches a buyer’s eye and says, “Welcome,” so highlight this area of your house with decorative touches, such as a wreath on the door or new shrubs and flowers around the steps. For an even grander entry, clean and paint your front door, or replace it with a new one for a few hundred dollars. Don’t forget to fix and polish doorknobs, repair torn screens, and then put out that new welcome mat.
Cleaning and Maintenance Checklist:
These elements are no secret – selling anything is about presenting it as favorably as possible, and a home is no exception. With the right Realtor® and the right presentation, you may find that selling your home is a painless, quick, profitable process!