Buying a home or property is not usually fast and easy. It is most often a process which can take days, weeks, even months before it has been completed from start to finish. You will likely spend a fair amount of time with your realtor and will hopefully grow to feel quite comfortable with him. Your realtor is, after all, your representative for what is likely one of the largest financial transactions of your life, so you should feel able to speak your mind, bounce ideas off each other and ideally, develop a relationship. You’ll need your realtor’s support and advice to help you steer through the process and avoid possible pitfalls. These pitfalls are the little things that you may do that your realtor knows could sabotage your chance to buy or sell your house. If you see any of yourself in the following points, consider taking a step back and letting your realtor be your guide. That is why you chose him to represent you, right?
Arranging showings can sometimes be a tricky situation if not handled diplomatically. In order to make a good first impression, a house has to be clean, tidy and available for buyers to see as often as possible…and often with little notice. Odours, mess and clutter may not be overlooked by a buyer who’s got something specific in mind so if you’re selling your home it has to be ready to show all the time. By the same token, buyers have to realize that sellers are actually living in the houses they’re touring and real life is not always neat and tidy. Buyers should also recognize that expecting to tour a home on a moment’s notice is not usually reasonable. Most viewing appointments have to be arranged ahead of time and it is possible that the seller and/or your realtor may already have something scheduled.
It is easy to get caught up in appearances. You want the house you’re going to buy to appeal to you from the moment you walk in the front door, but the reality is that sometimes you have to look below the surface to see the real value in a property. Your real estate agent is happy to show you a variety of properties that you feel will meet your needs—he just wishes you’d see beauty is usually only skin-deep (and often totally fixable!) when it comes to real estate. Many buyers get caught up in how a house looks right now. If it looks dirty, outdated, or in need of small repairs, you might be tempted to run and avoid the additional cost. The reality is that often, what needs repaired or replaced is actually minimal and not at all expensive. And, you may not end up having to pay anything at all. Often, the cost to make the home look like new can be worked into price negotiations.
Timing is another important aspect of your transaction. Maybe you’ve seen every house in the area, or maybe the first one you viewed was a prefect fit. Either way, you’ve found a house you want to buy! Thinking of putting together an offer? Don’t wait. Taking too long to make an offer in a competitive real estate market can cause unnecessary stress, and for good reason. Two reasons, actually. First, in a busy market, chances are that someone else has viewed as many properties as you have and if they don’t hesitate to act but you do, you will have missed out on a great opportunity to buy. Secondly, if too much time passes between your viewing a home and then making an offer, the seller might not take you as seriously as another party who quickly expressed interest and maintained communication.
Settling on a sale or purchase price to start negotiations can also be an area that is tricky to navigate, because it is often given more consideration that other elements of the transaction. Don’t misunderstand—how much you’re willing to offer for a house is a huge part of your offer. But it isn’t the only element you need to consider. Your agent knows that a good offer is a mix of timing, the right price, and reasonable conditions (clauses such as home inspection or financing that protect your best interest). If you make an unrealistic offer and then refuse to negotiate, or if you agree on price, but refuse to compromise on a handful of conditions, you’re likely not being reasonable and you could be jeopardizing your purchase or sale.
At best, you’re wasting everyone’s time. At worst, you’ll turn off the other party and lose their interest for good. I do understand where you’re coming from. You don’t want to overspend or feel you’ve given more in concessions that the other guy, but remember what they say: a good compromise means neither party got exactly what they wanted but both parties leave the table happy. By now your realtor knows what the seller will and won’t accept and which conditions are most beneficial to you.
That sale or purchase price can be tricky for another reason. It should be a number founded on concrete factors, not some magic number that’s based on personal opinion. If a seller has had a realtor in for a market evaluation but then bases a sale price on his emotions or his gut feeling, he could be making it more difficult to get the job done. The reality is your emotional attachment to your home does not increase its resale value. The same goes for buyers…getting involved in a purchase negotiation before you’ve been pre-approved by a lending institution often leads to unnecessary stress. Why start the process if you don’t even know for sure what you can afford? Visit your lender before you start shopping for a home so that you know where you stand. It’ll relieve your anxieties about your future mortgage and could even give you an advantage during negotiations if the seller knows your lender is already on-board.
Whether you’re buying or selling, listen to your realtor’s suggestions and let him guide you through the process. After all, you hired him for a reason. Your realtor works for you. Let him.
For all of your buying and selling needs, call Mark Murakami at Royal LePage.
“Helping you is what I do”.