1. Location, location, location.
As the late Lord Harold Samuel, a real estate tycoon in Britain, said, “There are three things that matter in property: location, location, location.” This statement couldn’t be any truer now as it was then. Once you purchase a home, there are many things you can change: the appliances, paint color, even the layout of the house. But you can’t change the location once it’s yours. Make sure you do your homework and know for sure that your new home is in a location that fits your needs.
2. Zillow and other websites are great for house hunting, but inaccurate with home valuations.
If you’ve been using Zillow or other real estate websites to determine your home’s value, stop. These free resources are excellent in terms of searching for a home, but their home valuations have a history of being inaccurate. That’s where a real estate agent comes in. Your real estate agent will see the home’s unique features in person and determine its fair market value with precision.
As mentioned above, real estate sites can be super helpful in the hunt for your new home, but the process of purchasing once you’ve picked out your new home can be challenging. Let your real estate agent do the negotiating for you and guide you through paperwork. Your home buying experience will be much more enjoyable.
3. It’s a buyer’s market. Real estate agent services are free for buyers!
Did someone say free? Yes that’s right, but only if you’re a buyer. Real estate agents earn commission by helping sellers/investors to sell or rent out their homes, but their services for buyers are totally free. You might as well take advantage!
4. Real estate agents genuinely care about your interests and satisfaction.
Let’s face it, salesman tend to get a bad reputation about being money-driven and careless about the customer’s needs. While that is indeed true for some professions, real estate agents genuinely care and want you to be satisfied with your results, whether you’re buying or purchasing. Agents thrive on building long-lasting relationships with their customers (which leads to repeat business and referrals), so they are very mindful about making sure you’re happy.
5. When purchasing a home, ask your real estate agent if they recommend any additional inspections.
While it is definitely one of your goals to save as much money as possible in the home buying process, it’s wise to spend a little more on additional inspections of the house in question. Especially if it’s an older house, get a radon inspection if that’s a known issue in your area and a moisture inspection if the house has stucco siding. These inspections will allow you to know exactly what you’re getting into (or what to completely avoid). One of the worst things that can happen is to buy your “dream” home just to find out there are repairs needed that will cost you thousands.
6. Get a pre-approval before searching for your new home, so you know exactly what your budget is.
Budgeting is a fundamental aspect of personal finance, especially when it comes to house hunting. Just as you would set a budget before shopping for a car, you should also have a budget in mind before you search for your new home. Getting a mortgage pre-approval will help you learn exactly what you can and cannot afford.
7. Be kind to your real estate agents. They only get paid when the job is completely done.
Of all the sales professions out there, real estate agents are one of the few professionals who don’t get paid unless the job is 100% done. So if they help you with 8 showings and spend 8 weeks with you before you decide you’ll just sell it on your own, keep in mind that your real estate agent doesn’t get paid for any of that service rendered. A real estate agent plays such a fundamental role in the real estate process, and you’ll receive great results if you utilize their services all the way through.
8. Professional photos of your house for sale makes a world of difference.
If you’re selling a home and you find yourself taking pictures that are blurry or still have eye sores in the photo (such as the toilet seat up, your cute dog Sparky, dirty laundry, etc), please reconsider. Either purchase a high-quality DSLR camera or hire a real estate photographer to do the job. High-quality images of your home for sale are essential, and will help you have a much easier time selling your home.
9. When you’re selling a home, honesty is the best policy. Let your agent know about any known issues.
If you don’t, they almost always will come back to bite you in the rear end later. You should let your real estate agent know about these known issues upfront so that they can plan around selling on the home’s unique features while still being honest about all the details.
10. If you don’t know something, feel free to ask!
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller in the real estate market, your real estate agent is a powerhouse source of helpful information. Before you set out on your journey to buy or sell, write down a list of all the questions you might have in mind. Your real estate agent will be more than happy to answer them for you, and he/she will get a good picture of what’s important to you as well.