Friday, February 22, 2019

Things your real estate agent wished you knew

By Mel Oldakowski

Buying or selling a home can be a lengthy and complicated process. Real estate agents complete classes and training to learn how to navigate this process best, hone their negotiation skills and learn the tricks of the trade. Years of experience teach industry best practices and how to avoid common pitfalls associated with the transaction process. There are inevitably misconceptions about the industry that real estate agents find themselves explaining to client after client.  Here are a few key points agents wished more people knew before starting the process.

-   It's best to find one agent and stick with them throughout the process.  Find an experienced Realtor® that you connect with, trust and work exclusively with them. You will get full attention from an agent if they know you aren't asking five other agents to work with you too.

-   Zillow is not for consumers. Websites like Zillow were not intended for consumers to use as their primary home search tool. They have no way to report correct numbers such as sales and what your property is worth. You’re better off getting the help of an agent who has access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and in turn accurate comparable properties. “Zestimates” are often inaccurate and buyers will often find old data on the website!  Life is not an episode of HGTV.  HGTV has some great shows with some great design ideas for your future home. However, what you may not know - especially in today's market - is that homes don't sit on the market for weeks at a time like on the show, and they also won't accept 10% below listing price. Many of the homes shown are ones that have been on the market for quite some time, this is why they have so much time to pick between three of them.  When you see a home you like, make an offer quickly!

-  The lender you choose to work with is as important as your offer. When it comes to lending, the cheapest lender is not the best lender. Service and performance matter as well as experience.  Finding a lender that closes on time and is there to answer questions during ‘non-business hours’ is critical to keeping the deal together.  A good lender will help you understand your credit and sort through the best options.

-   Understand that there are costs and processes involved before closing. Many people don’t realize that purchasing a home involves earnest money, inspection and appraisal payment all usually out of pocket before you get to the closing table. Saving up before you start your search can help you prepare for these expenses!

-  Don’t change your financial situation before closing – seriously. Your debt to income ratio is extremely important when being approved. Be careful after you’ve been approved not to make big purchases (think appliances, furniture, vehicles) or open new lines of credit. 

-   Listen to your Realtor®’s advice – they negotiate for a living. They are there to offer the full range of expertise, help you negotiate the best deal and make the process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. That means when they say to price your home a certain way, you should heed their advice.

To summarize, good agents want to leave you better off than when they found you.  We chose real estate as a means to support our families but just as important, is our use of real estate as a
platform to help people.  Together, we do our best to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives every day, whether that be enjoying that special property, getting top dollar from the sale of a home or a great ROI (Return on Investment).

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