1. Hire the Best People
This one will depend on your situation, but the principle applies everywhere. If your home is ready to sell this will just mean finding the best agent in your area to sell it for you. “The best agent” isn’t necessarily the highest selling agent in your area (although that’s a good place to start). Check out their reviews, their photography and videography work, and call or meet a few different realtors to see if their personality is a good fit.
If your property has potential, but needs some TLC, find the best developer to help you get extra value from your property, or the best investor to purchase it as-is. This also means finding the best mortgage advisor (hint: it’s not always the one at your bank) if you plan on getting a loan.
Finding exceptional people is always worth the time and the slight increase in cost, especially when it comes to dealing with your home. Real estate is one of those industries where there are exceptional, motivated, creative agents, but there are also plenty of mediocre ones who don’t even like their jobs. Find someone who treats you like family and stick with them. They’ll return the favour by continuing to give 110% and giving you the most value for your money every time.
2. The Rule of 3
The rule of three applies to everything in real estate, and the concept is simple: get three bids. This is the single greatest advice I can give someone when dealing with real estate, but it’s amazing how many people disregard this. If you’re thinking of getting hardwood floors, talk to three different companies, not just Home Depot. If your home needs a new coat of paint, get quotes from three different painting companies. If your property needs a landscaping overhaul, talk to three landscaping service companies.
Always get three quotes, because you’ll get three totally different responses. When a company knows there are other companies presenting bids on a job, they’re going to give you both the best price and the best service. They know what the industry standard is, and it shows professionalism on your part as a homeowner. If a contractor isn’t willing to submit a bid just because they know you have another offer, you shouldn’t be working with them anyways. This single rule will save you a lot of headaches when dealing with your home.
3. When Selling Your Home, List on MLS
Many people try to list their home on Craigslist for free, or on cheap listing sites like Zillow or free2list. These sites are free for a reason, and only give your home exposure to a tiny slice of home buyers.
If you’re really looking to sell your house at an accurate market price, being a “For Sale by Owner” isn’t the answer. List on the MLS, get an accurate home evaluation, and get your home exposure to the whole buyers’ market. If you’re upset about paying the commission, the bottom line is you’re being greedy. Hiring the best ensures that you’ll get the most value for your home, so even if you pay the usual commission you’ll still get more than if you tried to sell it yourself.
4. As a Seller, List Low
When you list your home on the low side, you create the opportunity for a multiple bidding situation, where several prospective buyers see that your home provides the best value in the market, and they’re willing to pay above your asking price. There are a few ways realtors handle this. One is delaying offers for a few days, at which point everyone submits their best offer, and you go with the highest one. This type of approach can be useful, as no buyer knows what the others are offering, and submit the highest bid they can as a result.
On the other hand, listing your property too high can ruin your home’s chances of getting any offers at all. Listing your home too high will make sure that it won’t get any showings and sit on the market. Once a property goes stale, buyers automatically assume that something is wrong with it, and it becomes an unwanted listing.
Buying agents don’t like when a house is priced low, because bidding wars make the agents work to submit an offer they hope will be higher than the competition. The Rule of 3 is coming back into play, and it works just as well for selling your home! Getting three buyers all bidding gets you the best offer possible. If your realtor’s suggested list price seems low to you initially, consider saying yes, and trying to get that multiple offer situation going.
5. Your First Offer is Your Best Offer
Some people get a solid offer in the first day or two, but think it’s too early to say yes, and so they hold out in the hopes of getting a better offer down the road. A buyer who is submitting an offer right away is usually your best bet. Your first buyer is usually the most qualified, and also your most interested party.
A Helpful Tip
The first offer you get on your home isn’t always perfect, but it’s important to realize that this is the type of person you’re looking for. From there you can always submit a counter offer, and work with the buyer to reach a deal. There’s always exceptions to this, and again, hiring the best people will help you navigate this, but overall, your first offer is usually your best.
6. Verify Everything!
When buying a property, always assume the worst. It’s always safe to assume that someone is lying about the properties of a home unless you verify it yourself. For example, if an offer comes in, and says they’ve been approved for a mortgage, ask for a proof of funds statement, and call the mortgage broker yourself to make sure everything is in order. If a seller says the house is move-in-ready, get an inspector to double check. While realtors are generally very trustworthy, the buyers and sellers involved often only move homes a few times in their lifetime, and aren’t as concerned about maintaining a relationship.
I know it sounds cynical, but buyers and sellers will do whatever it takes to make a sale. I’m not talking about realtors, mortgage brokers, and investors – who all rely on their reputation to do business, but make sure to verify anything the buyer or seller says for yourself.
7. Buy Less Than You Can Afford
Anyone who’s owned a home for a few years will tell you, there’s always unexpected costs. The floor will need replacing, windows break, you’ll need a new furnace, and before you know it you’re on YouTube looking at DIY fixes and spending all your weekends at Home Depot. Expenses are part of the deal when you own a house, so factor that into your decision when you make your purchase.
8. Be Able to Walk Away
Buying a house is exciting, I know. In the midst of all the excitement it’s always important to be able to just let go, and walk away if something is wrong.
For example, if the home inspector tells you there’s problems with the house, or the appraisal comes back 50k under value, it’s important to know when to walk away from a house. If you’re the seller, and a deal comes in that just isn’t right, being able to walk away is an invaluable skill, but is one of the hardest things to do.
And there you have it! 8 real estate hacks everyone should know.
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