by Tony DeAnna & Jim Fowler, Ohio Family Realty
- GET PRE-APPROVED – Knowing what you can and cannot spend is extremely important. Even if you believe you have a great credit score and enough income, there are other factors that determine how much you can spend on a home. If you go out looking at homes and find the perfect one for you, it will be disheartening to find out that you aren’t qualified to purchase it.
- HAVE A LITTLE SAVINGS SET ASIDE – Having a little extra cushion is a good idea when purchasing a home for the first time. Little things you will need to purchase that you may not think about will add up over the course of the year…..lawn mowers, snow blowers, trash bins, etc.
- UNDERSTAND YOUR COSTS – Understanding where your money is being spent is wise. Your monthly payment will be split up and will go to taxes, principal, interest, and insurance. Understanding this will allow you to better understand what your payments will be at each specific home and if and why they could increase in the future. For example, one home might have a lower price tag on it but the taxes are higher, while one home has taxes that are half as much so you could spend $30,000 more on this home and have the same monthly payment.
- FOCUS ON MAIN NEEDS WHEN SEARCHING – There are many factors that buyers have when trying to narrow down their home search. Search parameters could include number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, square footage, cities, yard size, finished basement, price, 2 car garage, hardwood flooring, new kitchen, etc. Try not to get bogged down with meeting every single criteria that you have set out to find. You could pass up a great home without even knowing it. It is helpful to focus on NEEDS VS. WANTS.
- CHOOSE A QUALIFIED BUYER’S AGENT – A good agent who works full time can help you with all of the steps above. They can point you in the right direction and assist you with choosing loan officers that are experienced, help you understand what your estimated monthly payments would be at each home, find you the newest listings as soon as they hit the market, and steer you in the right direction once you’ve narrowed it down to the homes you like the best.
- ONE CHANCE TO MAKE FIRST IMPRESSION – You only have one chance to make a first impression. In today’s real estate market, the average buyer doesn’t want to move into a home and then immediately start spending money to do updates and/or repairs. Try to refrain from the “Well, I don’t feel like replacing that carpet so tell the buyers that I will give them an allowance.” It may only cost you $600 to replace the carpet but a buyer may think it costs $2,000…..this mistake could end up costing you more in the long run.
- KNOW WHAT IMPROVEMENTS TO DO BEFORE LISTING – There is a fine line to walk when deciding what projects to tackle before putting your home on the market. Make sure you fix/upgrade the items that will assist you in the best possible way. For example, don’t spend $7,500 on a bathroom remodel when you can get the same end result while spending $2,500. Speak to your agent about which projects and repairs will help you increase your profit and/or get the home sold.
- PRICE IT RIGHT – You’ve got to price your home right! With the real estate crash just recently behind us, buyers are cautious and smart when it comes to negotiating. We aren’t saying that all the buyers are trying to “lowball” sellers, but they are making sure they are buying their homes at or below market value. If you’re too high on your listing price the potential buyers will either not write an offer or possibly skip touring your home all together.
- TAKE MEMORIES WITH YOU – While it may be very difficult, try to think of your house being on the real estate market just like a product being on the shelf at a retail store. Your home is worth today’s market value…try not to think about what it was worth 7 or 8 years ago. You have to compare it to the most recent sales and the current houses that are active on the market. That being said, you still have a lot of special moments and memories in your house over the years. Remember….nobody can ever take those great moments and memories away from you. They may be able to change the house around or even build a new one if they’d like, but you can always take your memories with you.
- HIRE A QUALIFIED REAL ESTATE AGENT – Having an agent help you from the start of the selling process is extremely important. They will be able to tell you what your options are before putting the home on the market, tell you where to spend your money on improvements and where not to, and give you the most accurate pricing information.