1. Incorrect Pricing – To determine your sale price, Look to other comparable, recently sold homes in your neighborhood. Homes sell quicker and closer to your asking price when they are priced correctly rather than over-pricing and having to reduce the price, thus causing the home to sit on the market for too long.
2. Showcase Your Home – Look from the viewpoint of the buyer. What does a buyer want in a home (clean, clutter-free, organized, etc). Does the home have good curb appeal?
3. Buying What You Need vs. What You Want – Consider a good budget that includes the things you need. Often times, buying what you want can cost you and can hinder your chances of residing in your dream home later in life.
4. Keep In Mind the Extra/Hidden Costs – Buying a home includes all of the costs of repairing and maintaining the home after the purchase. Try to research property taxes, electric/water bills, etc before your purchase. This will give you a good insight as to your budget post purchase.
5. Don’t Skip The Home Inspection – Hire a professional home inspector to perform a whole house inspection. These inspections often reveal facts about the home that are not visible to the naked eye. A professional home inspection will include a full report with pictures detailing the findings of the inspection performed.
6. Falling In Love with the First Home Viewed – First time home buyers often fall into this trap. Keep in mind, you are shopping for arguably the largest investment you will make in your life. You will need to have a good understanding of the homes on the market before you make the big decision.
7. Get a Loan Pre-Approval – Most sellers require buyers to be pre-approved for a loan when submitting an offer on a home. This shows the seriousness of the buyer’s intent to be ready to close.
8. Don’t Do Major Repairs or Remodeling Before Selling (unless they affect livable conditions) – Making major repairs will often cost you more than your return. However, making minor repairs are normally expected as buyers will typically ask for simple repairs to clean up the home a bit.
9. Be Proactive at Closing – Get the paperwork ahead of time from both the lender and the title company. Schedule the final walkthrough with your Realtor. Get ready to sign all documents at the Title Company.
10. Visit the Home Multiple Times – You will want to view the home several times. Drive by the home at night and on weekends to get a good feel of the neighborhood.
11. Set a Realistic Budget – The worst thing that can happen is that you fall in love with a home and you not being able to purchase it after all of the work of attempting to get a loan and completing inspections. You are better off finding a budget (with your lender) and sticking to it to maximize your chances of closing the deal.
12. Don’t Buy the Most Expensive Home on the Block – Often times this means the value of the home will depreciate over time.
13. Hire a REALTOR – There is a difference between an agent and a Realtor. Realtors are members of an official code of ethical conduct promulgated by the National Association of Realtors. Moreover, if you don’t have an agent, your home will not be featured on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), thus, reducing exposure when selling your home. A Realtor will walk you through the entire process from viewing to closing. It is imperative that you have a representative assisting you in this difficult and complex transaction.
14. Hire the Right Realtor – While all humans are created the same, unfortunately, not all Realtors are created the same. As with any contractor you would hire, make sure to do your homework. Are they licensed? Are they well known in the area? Do they know the area well? What office are they associated with? What type of training have they received? Awards? Etc.
15. Buying Without Actually Seeing the Property – Believe it or not, this happens. With low inventory levels and increased buyer demand, many buyers resort to submitting offers on home “subject to inspection.” This is a big mistake because cannot get a good sense of the feel, smell, look of the home or neighborhood.
16. Always Think About Resale – When buying, always think about when you will have to resale. How difficult would it be? Would buyers want to buy the home? The last thing you need when you are trying to sell the home in the future is for it not selling because of poor selling features (i.e. bad location, close to highway, freeway, airport, bad floor plan, noisy neighbors, poor construction, etc).
17. Poor Marketing Strategy – In order to sell any product marketing must be the core of any business plan. A multiple marketing plan is essential in modern real estate (i.e. online, email, flyers, yard signs, open houses, brokers’ open house, networking, social media, etc).
18. Long Term Investment – Keep in mind, you are buying for the long term. Don’t expect to make money fast. Real estate appreciation typically involves long real estate market cycles.
19. Don’t Wait Until Spring to Sell Your Home – Spring time is when you will have the most competition (with other sellers). Try to sell in winter or autumn months. Buyers are always out there house-hunting. You will be competing with less yard signs in the cooler months.
20. Don’t Be Present at Buyer Showings – As a seller, the last thing you want to do is being in the home while a buyer is touring. Buyers can never get a full appreciation of the home and likely never psychologically see themselves living in the home while the seller is around.
21. Research the Neighborhood – Are there good schools. How is the crime rate? What are the neighbors like? Do kids play outside? Are there many cars parked on the sidewalk. Are there any community fees/dues (i.e. Home Owners Association).
~Ahmad Zeki, J.D. Broker/Realtor (916) 295-0071 Direct.