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Tips for Buying / Selling

Are you contemplating a move to your next home, the place where you'll write the next chapter in the story of your own life? Whether you're headed to the first home of your own, new construction or historic fixer-upper, a detached home or a townhome, condo or co-op, a farmhouse in the country, a loft in the heart of a city or any one of dozens of other options, it can be an exciting and emotional time.

Here are a few tips to help make the transition a bit less stressful.

Tips for Everyone:

Establish Good Rapport with a Real Estate Professional - Buying or selling your home can be a stressful time; establishing a comfort level with a real estate professional you trust will go a long way toward making the transition to the next chapter in your life a smoother and even pleasant one.

Make sure you choose a Realtor® who takes the time to listen to your needs and answer your questions. Don't agree to be represented by a Realtor® unless you're comfortable that they'll work hard for you and be there when you need them.

Don't Hesitate to Talk Technology - While you're speaking with a prospective agent, be sure to ask where the use of technology figures in to the marketing and sale of your home. Even though a solid majority of homebuyers use the services of a licensed real estate professional, about 80 percent begin their search on the Internet.

Today's real estate market is truly global. Choose a Realtor® and a real estate brand backed by a strong Web presence and a global reach; you simply can't predict whether your buyer will come from around the corner or a far corner of the globe.

Tips for Buyers:

Put Your Finances in Order - It's always good advice, but making sure your finances are in order before you begin looking for a home is crucial. Here are three ways to help make it happen:

  • Know how much you have available for a down payment; and the source(s) of the funds; it's very handy information to have on hand when you're applying for financing.
  • Avoid major purchases until you're in your new home; they could affect the amount you'll be able to borrow.
  • Postpone that new credit card; and cancel cards you use very rarely or not at all. The availability of a line of credit will reduce what a lender is willing to offer you.

Get pre-approval for your mortgage loan; It's easy to get pre-approval from your lender, and it costs you nothing but a little of your time. Don't underestimate the importance of this tip. Sure, you think it's a "buyers market" - at least until a seller is considering multiple offers on your dream home.

Choose an Attorney - If you're moving out of your area and don't have an attorney to represent you, it makes sense to secure the services of an attorney before you've found your next home; your Realtor can refer you to experienced attorneys in the area.

List Your "Must Haves" and "Have Nots" - List the features you must have in your next home and the "must have" amenities in the surrounding area, as well as the things you'd like to avoid (a multi-story home, or a home of a particular architectural style, for example).

Put the Internet to Work for You - About 80 percent of home searches begin on the Internet.  Feel free to use our Team VP property search to easily search for properties in your desired area!  You'll have instant access to photos and descriptions of available properties, virtual tours, local information and contact information for an ERA Team VP real estate professional!

Tips for Sellers:

Price your Home to the Market - If you insist that you must list your home at a predetermined price regardless of current conditions in your local market, you're setting the stage for a major disappointment. Real estate values are determined by the marketplace.  An ERA Team VP real estate professional serves your area, knows the current state of the market, will research comparable sales and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to help you arrive at a realistic listing price.

Curb Appeal is Crucial - It's true that first impressions are lasting ones, and creating a great first impression is probably the single most cost effective technique for showing your home to best advantage. Your Realtor® will advise you; a thorough cleaning and a fresh coat of paint may be all you need.

Here are a few more no or low cost techniques that help boost curb appeal:

  • Keep plantings trimmed and the lawn cut
  • Remove all clutter from entrances
  • Replace the welcome mat
  • Ensure all door knobs, hinges, latches and locks are attractive and in good repair
  • Clean all windows inside and out; hire a cleaning service if necessary - it's usually worth it

Keep it Clean - You never know when your buyer is going to walk through your front door; keeping your home clean, clutter free and odor free are the easiest, cheapest and most effective things you can do to help sell your home in the shortest possible time at an attractive price.

Consider Staging - Actually, improving the curb appeal of your home is perhaps the first known example of what has come to be known as home "staging;" a powerful approach to removing the visual clutter from your home and making it visually appealing to the greatest number of potential buyers, using techniques that builders have applied to model homes for years.

Staging your home doesn't have to be expensive to be effective; some basic knowledge of simple staging techniques and the ability to look at your home from a fresh perspective are usually what is needed. Ask your ERA Team VP Realtor® for great home staging tips and resources!