Sheila Rangel

Things Your Real Estate Agent Will Never Tell You

Things Your Real Estate Agent Will Never Tell You

To buy or sell a home is a huge decision, both emotionally and financially.  Most people when it comes to do either work with a real estate agent to help them through the process.  Real estate agents are trained in all aspects of real estate transactions so they can help with things like negotiations, evaluations and walking in your through the sale process.  However not all real estate agents are created equal, some are fantastic and others not so forthcoming.

Here are some things that your real estate agent will never tell you. 

  1. If you live in a highly desirable area or it’s a seller’s market you don’t really need an agent to sell your home. Some markets move so quickly that you can sell your home within day.  This is rarely the case however.
  2. Commissions are always negotiable. They may tell you that it is fixed at a certain percentage but there is always room for negotiations. You can also completely avoid commission if you sell the house yourself.
  3. You don’t have to move out of your home in order to sell it. Most home sell quicker when they are properly staged, giving a buyer the feeling of what it is like to live there.
  4. Kitchens don’t really sell houses. Yes all buyers will look at your kitchen but there are dozens of other factors involved in the buying decisions.
  5. Small boutique real estate firms can sell your house just as well as a large firm.
  6. Always hire a home inspector before you buy a home, no matter what the realtor says. Keep in mind that even a home inspector won’t tell you everything about your house.
  7. Many realtors, although not all, want the deal done quickly rather than holding out for a better offer. Yes, they do get a smaller commission but they don’t have to spend any more time or money on marketing and can move on to the next house.
  8. Yes, there might be a better deal in the future but nothing is guaranteed.
  9. Agents can be paid from the buyer and the seller on the same house so be careful of a conflict of interest.
  10. Unless you are buying a house to flip your house should be in move-in condition when you take possession.

Selling or buying your home is far easier when you work with a reputable realtor, but you should still keep your eyes wide open and be a part of the transaction.

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Selling your first home can be an emotional experience, this was your first step on the path to the American Dream.  For many homeowners it is difficult to take the emotion out of the equation and look at your house objectively as an asset.  Your house is probably your largest financial asset so you need to go into the sale process with your eyes wide open to get the best price possible.  Getting your home ready to sell is crucial to getting the best price.  Let’s have a look at what you need to do.

Do You Have Clear Title to the Property?

Double check and make sure that there are no issues with the title that could ruin a sale.  If there are outstanding issues then you need to clear them up right away, issues can include work done to your home without proper building permits, permits not properly closed out, tax or contractor liens.  Anything that can cause problems with a sale needs to be rectified, neither you nor your potential buyer likes surprises.

Have your Home Evaluated

If you are working with a real estate agent they will do this for you, but if you are planning to sell on your own then you want a professional evaluation done.  You need someone who can look at your home objectively.  Homeowners who sell their homes themselves tend to overprice because of the emotional attachment to it.  You need someone who will be honest with you and point out the flaws, and someone who understands what buyers look for.

Fix What Needs Fixing

Unless you are selling to an investor who buys homes “as is” then you need to address the issues that were pointed out during the evaluation.  Do you have cupboard doors that won’t close properly, then you need fix it.  You don’t need to do a complete renovation but paint the rooms that need it, patch any holes in the walls, make sure all the doors and windows work, fix leaky taps all of the minor repairs that you can take care of.

Clean From Top to Bottom

You will need to scrub down your house from top to bottom including ceilings, walls and windows.  You are also going to want to start cleaning the clutter and packing away personal and unnecessary items.  You will need to get your home ready for open houses and that includes taking all of your personal items out.  Start the packing early, you want buyers to be able to see themselves in your house.

Work with a Realtor

Selling a house is a full time job, just not your full time job.  Look for an agent that you are comfortable with who can help you through the process.  Real estate is complicated and has a ton of paperwork let them help you through the process.  It will also help you get the best price possible for your home.

Cancelling Your Listing Agreement

Cancelling Your Listing Agreement

Listing agreements with a real estate agent can vary a great deal.  If you decide you are unhappy with your agent and would prefer to work with someone else or you have decided to try and sell your house on your own then you will need to look at your agreement and read the fine print.  Cancelling your listing agreement is often not as easy as you might think.  Knowing where you stand is your best way of avoiding a possible conflict if you decide to cancel.  Let’s look at the possibilities of what could happen should you decide to cancel.

Cancellation Fees

There is probably a section in your agreement about cancellations and what happens if you decide to cancel.  Here is where you will find any fees outlined and unless it is otherwise stated you will be responsible for paying those fees.  However if both you and your agent decide to go your separate ways then there is the possibility of cancelling without penalty.  Here is a look at what can happen.

Paying the Marketing Costs

Part of a real estate agent’s job is to market your house and that costs money.  They made have paid to list your home on various MLS sites or have had brochures and fliers printed advertising your house.  These are usually done at the expense of your agent.  Should you cancel the agreement with them you may be responsible for making sure these expenses are reimbursed.

Forwarding Your Cancellation in Writing

You should always put your cancellation in writing to avoid any miscommunications down the road.  It is a formal agreement so it goes without saying that you make your cancellation of the agreement formal as well.

The agent may not have the ability or final authority to cancel your agreement it may also have to go through their broker as well.  Both parties are likely to try and talk you out of cancelling your listing agreement and that is to be expected.  Make sure that you inform anyone who needs to be informed in writing that you wish to cancel.

Decide Your Next Step

Do you plan to continue with the sale of your house?  If so then you need to decide whether you want to work with another agent or not.  Bear in mind that your house will likely be removed from all MLS listings once you cancel.  If you decide to sell on your own then you are going to need to start marketing your house yourself.

Your listing agreement is for a set period of time, usually around 90 days.  While the agreement is binding it may be in your interest just to wait it out.  When you first list your home with an agent go over the duration of the listing agreement, you can always ask for a shorter duration.

Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

The first time you buy a home the whole process can be intimidating to say the least.  Working with a realtor and a mortgage broker can help clear up some of the confusion surrounding a real estate transaction.  Here are some tips for the first time home buyer to make the process a lot easier for you.

What are Your Goals

The first thing that a realtor is going to ask you about is your long term goals and why you want to buy a house.  Is it an investment, you want to stop paying someone else’s mortgage and start paying your own.  Do you want to start a family and need more room?  Or are you looking for an investment property to help you build wealth.  Understand your reasons before you start looking at houses.

Finding the Right House

This is hands down the most difficult part of the whole home buying process.  In a competitive market it is even worse.  Be prepared to look at a fair number of houses you don’t like and make offers that won’t be accepted.  Have patience and try not to get too frustrated.  Working with a realtor can help ease the process a great deal.

Get Pre-Approved

There are dozens of different options for financing a home, even if you have less than stellar credit.  There are government programs that you may qualify for that won’t make you put down 20%.  Some states also have their own incentives to help first time buyers get into their first home.  You should speak with a mortgage broker who can find the right programs and get you preapproved before you start shopping, it will give you a budget to work with.

Putting in an Offer

Once you have found a house in your price range that you like it is time to put in the offer.  Again a realtor can help you put together an offer along with the conditions that should accompany your offer.  Some offers can include conditions like the seller pays the closing, or that it is conditional upon a home inspection.  The seller can accept, reject or make a counter offer. This is all part of the negotiation process until you either reach a deal or you start looking for another house.

A realtor can help you find a home in the neighborhood that you want to live in and at a price that works with your pre-approved mortgage.  They will walk you through the entire purchasing process until you finally arrive at your new home with your moving boxes.  Buying a house is a ton of confusing paperwork and having someone help you work your way through all of that can make buying a house a pleasure.