Peggy Farber's Blog
It may be tempting to purchase your first home without the help of a real estate agent. If you want to risk not having professional help to buy your first house, you can, but you’ll be leaving a lot of benefits on the table and assuming all the risks.
The Benefits of Using a Buyer's Agent
- Expert negotiations – Professional agents know the market, costs and what you’re looking for. They can combine the three, plus other variables, to create a formula for negotiating within both your price and comfort levels.
- Full disclosure – A real estate expert knows what to ask regarding disclosures about the property. They’ll ask for items you may not even think of because of their experience. It’s not that the seller is intent on deceiving you, often they don’t know what to disclose either.
- Neighborhood specialist – Some agents choose to represent buyers in specific neighborhoods and can tell them about local facts such as planned road construction or rezoning issues that might have an impact on your decision to buy there (both for and against).
- Closing costs – Your buyer’s agent fights for the best deal for you, the buyer. Relying solely on the seller’s agent could end up costing thousands in extra charges.
- Lender recommendations – An experienced buyer’s agent knows which lenders tend to close on time and which ones might drag out the process. If you’re closely timing a move, your agent can help you avoid being bogged down with a slow underwriting process. They’ll have recent experience with rates, terms, appraisals and comparable sales.
- Making the offer – Real estate purchase offers have a lot of forms and papers that cover all sorts of things from contingencies to mold and asbestos mitigation. Your agent knows the right forms and what needs to go into your offer to both protect you and give you the best chance of having your offer accepted.
- Inspection referrals – having a home inspection protects buyers from unexpected repairs and required renovations once the deal completes. Your agent knows reliable inspectors that look for basement seepage, dry rot, hidden mold, damaged roofs, sewer line issues and a host of other things. You might not think to check the chimney, but your inspector will, saving you from a potential house fire or other issues down the line. A failure in a major system such as electrical wiring, HVAC, or plumbing can wreck your budget if you don’t know about it.
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If you've decided to put your home on the market, one important thing to keep in mind is that perception is everything -- or close to it, anyway!
The impression you make on prospective buyers can either help seal the deal or break it, depending on whether that impression is positive or negative.
The visual aspects of your home often have the strongest impact on what prospects think of your house, but three other senses can also influence buyer decisions.
The sense of smell: Without getting too specific, there are a variety of unpleasant odors that can quickly sour a prospect on the possibility of making an offer on your home. In many cases, there's justification for a sudden loss of interest. A musty smelling basement, crawlspace, or attic, for example, implies problems with water seepage, plumbing leaks, or mold. That musty odor is unpleasant and gives buyers the (accurate) impression that there are air quality issues in the house.
Pet odors can be another major turnoff, especially if the people touring your home have allergies or sensitivity to certain odors. Strong or artificial odors of any kind, including room deodorizers, overuse of commercial cleaning solutions, and scented garbage bags can also be objectionable and suggest that you're trying to cover up odors.
On the other hand, you've probably heard stories about home sellers and agents who create pleasing fragrances by brewing a fresh pot of coffee, baking a loaf of aromatic bread, or preparing a fresh batch of blueberry muffins or chocolate chip cookies shortly before a house tour is scheduled. While it may be impractical to do that every time, it is a strategy worth experimenting with! The simple act of infusing your kitchen with enticing aromas can help make your home more attractive, inviting, and appealing. Fresh flowers are another nice touch that can enhance the ambiance of your home.
The sense of touch: Probably the main thing you would want to avoid in this category would be allowing countertops or floors to feel sticky, gritty, or wet to the touch! Many people will take notice of how clean (or unclean) your house looks, smells, and feels, and they will undoubtedly deduct "points" if countertops, bathroom fixtures, and floors aren't immaculate. Perfection is not necessary, but the appearance of cleanliness is! As mentioned earlier: Perception is everything!
The sense of hearing: Some noises you can fix; others are beyond your control. Squeaky hinges and dripping faucets are a relatively easy fix, while street noises, barking dogs, and loud neighbors are much more difficult -- if not impossible -- to regulate!
The bottom line, of course, is to control what you can, put your best foot forward, and hope for the best when it comes to noises in the neighborhood!
A home inspection is a crucial part of the homebuying process. At this point, a home inspector will walk through a house with you and examine the property inside and out. If a home inspector identifies underlying problems with a residence, these issues could put your purchase in jeopardy. On the other hand, if a home inspection reveals that there are no major problems with a residence, you may feel comfortable proceeding with a purchase.
Ultimately, how a homebuyer approaches a property inspection can have far-flung effects. For those who want to achieve the best-possible home inspection results, we're here to help you get ready for a house inspection.
Let's take a look at three tips to ensure you know exactly how to approach a house inspection.
1. Prepare for the Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios
Regardless of how a home inspection turns out, you need to be ready. That way, you'll have a plan in place to act quickly, even in the worst-case scenario.
In the best-case scenario after a house inspection, you likely will take a step forward in your quest to complete a home purchase. Conversely, in the worst-case scenario following a home inspection, you may rescind your offer to purchase a house and reenter the real estate market.
It also is important to remember that you can always walk away from a house sale if an inspection reveals there are significant problems with a residence. For a homebuyer, it is paramount to feel comfortable with a house after an inspection. If a home raises lots of red flags during an inspection, a buyer should have no trouble removing his or her offer to purchase a house.
2. Ask Plenty of Questions
A home inspector is a property expert who can provide insights into the condition of a residence. Thus, you should rely on this property expert as much as possible.
Don't hesitate to discuss a home with an inspector. Because if you ask lots of questions during a home inspection, you may be able to receive comprehensive property insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
3. Analyze the Inspection Results Closely
Following a home inspection, you'll receive a report that details a property inspector's findings. Review this report closely, and if you have follow-up questions about it, reach out to the inspector that provided the report.
Lastly, as you look for ways to streamline the homebuying journey, you should work with a knowledgeable real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your city or town. Plus, if you want to request home repairs or a reduced price on a house after an inspection, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides at other points in the homebuying journey, either. If you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will respond to them at your convenience.
Prepare for a home inspection, and you can use this evaluation to gain the insights you need to make an informed homebuying decision.
Purchasing a house can be tricky, particularly for those who are dealing with a high-pressure negotiation. Luckily, we're here to help you get the best results from any homebuying negotiation, at any time.
Now, let's take a three must-haves for those who are getting ready to negotiate a home purchase.
1. Housing Market Data
An informed homebuyer is a smart shopper. As such, this individual will obtain a large assortment of housing market data that he or she can use to make the best buying decision.
For homebuyers, it is important to understand how one house stacks up against comparable residences in any real estate market. That way, a homebuyer can submit a competitive offer that is based on pertinent housing market data.
Examine the prices of recently sold houses similar to the one that you'd like to buy. Also, check out the prices of comparable houses that are currently available. And with this housing market data at your disposal, you can boost your chances of getting the optimal price for your dream residence.
Let's face it – a homebuying negotiation is stressful, regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have purchased many residences over the years. But if you remain confident throughout a negotiation, you can take a calm, cool and collected approach, even when times get tough.
A confident homebuyer will have no trouble standing his or her ground during a negotiation. And if this individual is uncomfortable with a home seller's counter-proposal, he or she will be willing to walk away and restart a home search.
Furthermore, a confident homebuyer will remain open to new ideas and consider the home seller's perspective. This will enable a homebuyer to examine both sides of a negotiation and proceed accordingly.
3. An Experienced Real Estate Agent
When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, there is no need to handle a negotiation on your own. Fortunately, an experienced real estate agent is happy to offer guidance at each stage of a homebuying negotiation.
An experienced real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a great home at an affordable price. As a result, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.
Typically, an experienced real estate agent will act as a liaison between a homebuyer and home seller. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about whether a home seller accepts or rejects your proposal to purchase a home. He or she also will provide recommendations and suggestions to help you transform a stressful negotiation into a successful one.
Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. He or she will provide you with the support you need to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout a homebuying negotiation.
Get ready for a homebuying negotiation – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can move one step closer to finalizing a home purchase.