Today I came across an MSN article by Steve McLinden of Bankrate.com. As I read through his tips, I knew this was valuable information to share as a Real Estate Professional. I am a huge advocate of educating my clients, so I would highly recommend reading this full article. Below I've written McLinden's 10 tips, with my own local perspective and twist.
Here are the 10 tips for Buyers and Sellers in 2014
1. Sellers: Jump start the process
The greater Seattle market is hot if you are a seller. Homes that are priced right are only lasting a few days on the market before receiving several offers. So how do you get here? If you are getting ready to sell your home, take an honest look at what small improvements need to be made. New paint? Window treatments? Taking the photos down and de-cluttering your home? These factors will honestly make a huge difference.
2. Buyers – be credit ready
I've actually run into this situation recently – I had a buyer put an offer in on a home with a pre-qualification letter. The offer was rejected, because they wanted a pre-approval letter. The seller did not want to go through the process without knowing ahead of time that the buyer was actually approved. Also, because this is such a fast-moving market, if a buyer is not ready to pull the trigger because they haven't talked to a lender when they find "the one," someone else will beat them to it.
3. Sellers – vet your real estate agent then follow their advice
I always recommend interviewing several potential agents. You want to hire someone who knows the market and is tech savvy, as 85% of buyers start their search online. Your agent should walk you through exactly how they are going to help you get ready, market, and ultimately sell your home.
4. Buyers – Adjust your negotiating expectations.
Ultimately, the decisions are completely up to you. It's my job as an agent to carry out your wishes in a real estate transaction. However, most buyers want some advice or suggestions on offering price because this is the world we live and breathe. Sometimes low-ball offers stick, but be prepared for them to be rejected outright. If you receive a counter offer, respond quickly so they don't accept another offer in the meantime.
5. Sellers – its your market (finally!) so make the most of it
As I mentioned before, homes are selling quickly. As interest rates continue to rise, more and more buyers will be looking for a home. This means you have the upper hand and can finally demand more than you could in the last 7 years!
6. Buyers – find life after Foreclosure
Chances are, you know someone who was laid off with the recession. Do you judge them harshly or understand because it was just a rough market? The same is with foreclosures – its not something to be despised. Its something that happened. Now its time to pick yourself back up and jump back in!
7. Sellers – Hesitate to renovate
I go back and fourth on McLinden's 7th point. I think the choice to renovate is all based on the situation. If you are selling in an area that home prices are well above what the value of your home, there is room to renovate and earn a bigger profit margin. However, over-renovating for your area is really easy to do. Always keep your budget in check. If you are unsure about what to renovate, talk to your Real Estate Professional for some advice.
8. Buyers – Ask and you won't receive (an unpleasant surprise)
You would be surprised at the things sellers neglect to disclose. It is in your best interest to get a thorough inspection, as well as ask all the tough questions. Visit the home at all times of the day to see the conditions. Talk to the neighbors, look at the schools, and research the crime statistics.
9. Sellers – Tailor your local game
The national news always includes information on the real estate market. However, chances are your local market is drastically different and will behave different from what the national norm is. Discuss real estate trends with your agent so you know what to expect through the process.
10. Sellers and Buyers – Heed Changing Trends
It is so important to stay in the know and understand what your local market trends are. Hopefully, your Real Estate agent provides you with this information. If not, ask them! I send out regular information on local housing trends. If you would like to be included in this newsletter, fill out the information below: