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Blog: TIPS

5 Home-Selling Tips Everyone Hears and May Want To Ignore

a15b18aec3b1e388baf2fe361bc9d778w-c0xd-w685_h860_q80.jpgOne of the hardest parts of selling your home is all the unknowns: Who will buy your place, and for how much? How long will it take? That uncertainty might make you particularly eager to soak up advice from just about anyone who’s willing to share. Problem is, just because your sister or co-worker swear by certain rules that worked for them, it doesn’t mean they’ll be a magic solution for you, too.

Fact is, a lot of the real estate advice circulating out there is outdated, region-specific, or just plain wrong. As proof, check out this list of tips that many home sellers hear … then learn how these words of wisdom don’t always hold water. Let this serve as a reminder that when selling a home, you should take everything you hear with a huge grain of salt.

‘You should always list your home in the spring’

Common knowledge says home-buying season starts in the spring and goes through the fall. Not true, says Melisa Aponte, a real estate agent with the Keyes Group in Miami, FL.

“January is a great listing month,” she points out. “People are back from the holidays and ready to start looking.”

Well, at least in places that don’t have a nasty winter, like Miami. Which makes a larger point about real estate advice in general, Aponte says: Every market is different, and what’s great advice in one area can be terrible advice in another.

Besides, when it comes to deciding when to list a home, there are two sides to the coin. Busier times mean more buyers, but also more sellers and more competition. Listing your home when inventory is low could snag the right buyer quickly. Life is unpredictable, and there will always be buyers looking in the “off season,” too.

‘You’ll find your buyer at an open house’

Open houses are exciting, akin to a debutante ball where your home makes its fresh-faced appearance to scads of suitors all at once. And that’s fine, but don’t expect this to be the venue where you find “the one” who makes an offer. While that can occur, open houses are more like parties, filled with swains who aren’t ready to settle down, says Anita Clark, a real estate agent in Warner Robins, GA. Serious home buyers will more often request a private one-on-one showing instead.

Of course, you don’t want to skip the open house entirely. It’s a great way for people to browse, and hey, you never know. Maybe your looky-loo neighbor has a family member who would love to buy your place after all. But it’s time to let go of the idea that an open house is a key step on the road to your ultimate buyer.

‘You can save money by paying less in commission’

Reluctant to fork over the 6% commission that real estate agents typically request to sell your home? Sure, that may seem like a lot of money, but what you might not realize is just how much work an agent does behind the scenes.

“A lot of people don’t understand that an agent’s job is more than just listing the home on the MLS,” says Aponte. Agents’ commissions pay for their time and for marketing materials. Posters, flyers, broker open houses, and yard signs all come from the money you pay your agent.

But beyond that, “it gives your agent the power to offer money to other agents who have qualified buyers,” she explains. That’s because the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent split the commission.

Though in an ideal world, buyers’ agents would show them every property in their price range, regardless of commission, unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way, says Aponte.

“So if there are a lot of properties on the market and you’re only offering 2% commission, there are agents who won’t show that property,” she says.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for, and a higher commission can often justify itself in the sense that you can reel in tons of buyers, and (hopefully) spark a bidding war that’ll fetch top dollar.

‘Price your home high—and hold out for a buyer who’ll pay it’

Of course you want to get the most you can for your property. Still, pricing it sky-high and hoping a gullible buyer will fall for this aspirational sum? Not a great plan.

“I want to sell your property for a million dollars too, but I would be doing you a disservice to price it that way if the comps are saying $500,000,” says Aponte. Home buyers are highly sensitive to overpaying, and will quickly steer clear. And the longer your house sits on the market, the more buyers will begin to think something’s wrong with it … and lob you a lowball offer.

The best way to avoid this debacle is to price a house right from the start—not too high, not too low—and then seriously consider any offers that roll in, even if they aren’t as great as you’d hoped. To start things off, you can enter your address in a home value estimator to get a ballpark figure of how much your home is worth, then fine-tune that number with an agent’s help.

‘Here’s what the market is going to look like next year…’

Sure, it makes sense that real estate professionals will make educated guesses to help guide buyers’ and sellers’ decision-making. The operative word here is “educated.” Fact is, nobody really knows what the market is going to do; if they did, the housing crash of 2008 would have looked a lot different!

“Beware of ‘future’ predictions that don’t come from a reputable source,” says Dillar Schwartz, a real estate agent in Austin, TX. Sure, your brother-in-law or best friend might be trying to help, but keep in mind that their armchair philosophizing about the future of real estate is just an opinion—nothing more.

Deadly Homebuying Pitfalls

Buying a home is a huge deal for everyone. Unfortunately, there are many big mistakes and pitfalls that buyers often make. These mistakes complicate the home buying process and can cost you tons of money and time correcting the mistakes.

Many buyers get caught up in the excitement of purchasing a home and let their emotions make decisions, only to find out they missed an important step. This post will explore some of the biggest pitfalls buyers make when looking to purchase a home.

Deadly home buying pitfalls:

1 – Not Getting Proper and Professional Help

It’s important to remember that while you may be able to learn a lot about purchasing a home on the internet, it is impossible to learn everything. Real estate is a constantly evolving market and something you read just last year could now be useless.

There are many aspects of purchasing a house that buyers don’t even know exist. From the buyers and sellers agent, to appraisers,to inspectors, to attorneys and mortgage bankers. Each one of those jobs have professionals that perform those tasks 8 hours a day, every day of the year, and have perfected the profession. Trying to save a few hundred dollars by skipping out on an inspection or attorneys is foolish and almost always returns to haunt you.

2 – Not Getting Pre-Qualified Before Looking at Homes

Most people enjoy looking at new homes, but do not enjoy talking about the money aspect. Obtaining a proper pre-approval will save you tons of stress later in the process.

Getting a proper pre-approval allows you to know exactly how much money you are capable of spending on a house and helps you narrow down the market to what you can afford. Additionally, some buyers are able to use their pre-approval as a negotiating tool to help get the price down.

3 – Thinking Too Short Term And Ignoring The Long Term

When looking to purchase a home people tend to think about the next 4-5 years of their life, instead of the next 8-10, which is where they should be thinking. Yes, 5 years is a long time and a lot can change from job and marital status to children, but selling your home does have a cost. If the market does not appreciate quick enough you can stand to not get your moneys worth from the original purchase.

Obviously there are many circumstances that no body is able to predict, but spending time thinking through just some of the basic scenarios can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

4 – Not Understanding The Full Costs Involved

There are many costs involved with purchasing a home that many buyers don’t realize. It is not just pay the listing price and it is yours. There is inspection costs, moving costs, closing costs, escrows, and more. Professionals can explain and walk you through all these extra costs, ensuring there are no surprises at the very end.

5 – Not Understanding Fair Market Value

One of the biggest issues when buying a house is buyers not understanding the market price of a home. People get caught up with what their parents think it should cost, or what you can afford in total, or with personal opinions about the price of a home which often is far different than the market value. There is a very organized process to determine the market price of a home that involves reviewing similar comparable homes that sold within the nearby vicinity.

It is important to know what the market value is because a house can be listed over, under, or exactly at market price. Being able to recognize the difference between the listing price and the market price can save you lots of stress and money and help you formulate a concrete offer.

Moving Guide

No one ever said moving was easy. The process of gathering all of your things typically involves far more things than you realized you ever had, and transferring them from one place to another is difficult at the best of times. The work is substantial and is rarely something that can be done quickly. However, there are ways to make your move a bit easier.

 

General Tips:

1. Reduce your possessions-

Depending on how long you have lived in your home, you may have accumulated a substantial amount of items. Not all of these items are going to be important, useful, or otherwise necessary to bring with you to your new place. By taking the time to go through your stuff and clear out the clutter, you can reduce the number and volume of things that you have to pack. To make this easy, you can break it down by room or even on a smaller level like closets and areas with different functions: office, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Go through each area and create four piles: donation, sell, keep and throw away.

2. Get packing supplies-

Boxes, bags, tape, bubble wrap, paper, scissors, box cutters, blankets, etc. What you gather will depend on what you need to move. Just keep in mind that once you get going with the actual packing you don’t want to waste time finding more packing materials. Most of this stuff is cheap and it is better to have too much than too little. Going from task to task efficiently, de-cluttering, gather packing materials, packing, moving, etc., will help you avoid frustration and keep up your momentum.

3. Create an inventory list-

You do not need to list every single thing you own but having a list of your most valuable possessions is important. This becomes important not so much for the packing part of your move, but when you are ready to unpack.

4. Consider what you will need most-

You don’t want to pack everything just based on where it is in your house. There are some things that you will need sooner than others once you arrive in your new home. Things like your most used kitchen supplies, bathroom supplies, food, computer and medicine may all be things you want quick access to. Set aside some boxes for essentials, things to unpack first, and fill them with the appropriate items.

5. Pack the items you will need FIRST in a clear plastic bin-

This tip correlates with tip #4. Things to pack first includes items like a box cutter, paper towels, trash bags, eating utensils, select cookware, power strips, phone chargers, toilet paper, tools, etc. The clear bin allows you to see inside for easy access; it also separates itself from the myriad of cardboard boxes.

6. Follow packing protocol- 

There is a right way to pack a box. Heavier items go on the bottom with medium weight and lighter weight following as you would expect. If the items are important to you it is best to wrap them individually, as they will shift around and cause wear on each other. Fill the empty space, both on the bottom and at the top, to keep the items in place as much as possible. Both packing peanuts and paper can be used for this purpose.

7. Label your boxes-

Label each box with what it contains and where it should go. The more detailed your label is the easier it will be to find what you are looking for. Again, you will probably not unpack everything the first day. The easier it is to find out what is in each box the easier your life will be after the move. Also make sure that labels are found on all sides of the box, because not every box will be placed upright as it’s unloaded off of the truck.

8. Take pictures-

One of the things that can be a dread for everyone about moving is putting all of their electronics back together. One of the best ways to help make setting everything back up again easier is to take pictures of what it looks like before dismantling it! Having a reference of something to look at will make this process far less cumbersome.

9. Pack an overnight bag containing all the essentials-

Chances are, you’ll be too tired to unpack your things. You’ll want your essentials within easy access, including a change of clothes if you’re going back to work the next day as well as all your toiletries. It’s also a great way to transport a laptop, which could run the risk of getting stolen during a move.

10. Show up to your new home before the move and pre-clean the bathroom and kitchen-

If you can, put up a new shower curtain liner and stock some new bath towels and toilet paper, as well. You’ll want an already clean bathroom and to take a hot shower after a long day of moving.

11. Address your toiletries-

Cover the openings of your toiletries with saran wrap, then put the tops back on. This will keep your toiletries from breaking and leaking all over your stuff during the move.

12. Plates-

Pack plates vertically, like records. They’ll be less likely to break.

13. Dresser Drawers-

Keep drawers intact to the their dresser by covering and wrapping them with saran wrap. Dresser drawers are like their own moving boxes, this will keep you from having to unpack and refold their contents. It’ll also make moving the actual dresser much more manageable.

14. Packing your closet-

There is an easy way to pack your closet. Keeping the clothes on the hanger, push about 30-35 items as close together as possible. Then, starting from the bottom, take a trash bag and bring it up around the cloths. This will keep your clothes together and make it easy to put them back on the rack all at once.

15. Finish packing before friends help-

Make sure everything is completely packed before your friends show up to help you move. Don’t be that horrible person who makes everyone wait around/help you pack. Also, if you have enough people, split them up into shifts, one set to help you move in the morning, and another to help you move when you get to your new home.

16. Hire movers for fragile objects- 

If you have a lot of fragile valuables, hiring movers as opposed to asking friends can end up paying for itself. Many movers come with insurance, which means if something breaks, they have to compensate you. You might want to weigh the pros and cons though, they won’t want to be responsible for a television that is not properly packed in its original box and could end up charging you upward of $150 to pack it as they see fit. Also remember to book them weeks in advance, as you’re probably not the only person trying to get out of your space on the last day of the month.

17. Wacky Rules-

Going along with tip #16, if you do hire movers, be sure to read the fine print and find out if they have any weird rules. For instance, some movers will only move things in boxes, not garbage bags. Which means you’ll be paying them extra for unnecessary boxes at a marked-up price.

18. Take pictures before moving in and out-

If you’re renting, take photos of your cleaned-out old home and your new home before moving in. This is essential if you ever hope to get your deposit back. It will save you major headaches with difficult landlords who charge you cleaning and repair fees unnecessarily when moving out.

19. Changing your address-

Change your address at least two weeks prior to moving. This might seem like a no-brainer for important things like utilities and cable, but don’t forget the small stuff. You’ve also got Amazon, PayPal, credit cards, your bank, magazine subscriptions, and your mail to worry about.

20. Shipping cross-country-

If you’re doing a cross-country move and you don’t need your stuff immediately, consider shipping via Greyhound. It’s an inexpensive shipping option for large items. Just remember to pack your stuff really well because your boxes WILL get a little beat up along the way.

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