Do Your Homework Before Hiring Your Agent

Posted by Alex Narodny on Thursday, June 10th, 2021 at 10:05am

Do Your Homework Before Hiring Your Real Estate Agent

By, Lucille Rosetti

Are you planning to enter the housing market soon? As either a buyer or seller, you should do some homework before connecting with your real estate agent. Here is some key advice for getting started on the right foot.

Advice to Buyers 

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to proceed properly in the housing market. After all, you want to make great choices to ensure success. As a buyer, you want to select a home that will give you the best bang for your buck, a property that meets your needs now and in the future. It should also be a terrific buy for your criteria and price range. When deciding how to move forward, heed the advice from Bankrate and check your credit score, create a housing budget, and understand the reasons driving your decision to buy a new house.

Buyers should make it a point to visit open houses in the area. It’s a great way to learn what the market offers. As Money Crashers points out, visiting properties in person gives you a better perspective on what your priorities are. It’s the equivalent of test driving a car you’re thinking of buying. You can investigate neighborhoods, see if you’re comfortable with various commutes, look at the layouts of properties, and check property specifics like the amount of storage.

Along with comparing properties, you should also compare lenders before deciding who to use. Get quotes on interest rates, ask if the quotes include points, find out if your down payment will influence either the fees you pay or the interest rate, and ask if you can lock in a rate and if so, for how long. Also know that getting a mortgage involves several steps including knowing your monthly debt-to-income ratio. Lenders consider this number to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Generally speaking, your total debt including a new home payment should not exceed 43 percent of your income.

Once you select a lender, make an appointment to get pre-approval for a mortgage loan. Experian explains the pre-approval letter will provide you with information on the type of loan you will borrow, the amount you can borrow, and the interest rate you will pay. It gives you credibility when you make an offer on a property. Be forewarned, if your credit is blemished it’s in your best interest to improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage loan.

Advice to Sellers

Selling a home can also be complex. You want to receive the best possible price for your property, make enough to pay off any existing mortgage debt, and also sell your home as quickly as possible. Staging is huge in this regard. As HomeLight puts it, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” which is to say appearance is everything. Some steps to take include replacing carpets or having them professionally cleaned, apply a fresh coat of paint to walls, update light fixtures, and hire a landscaper to boost curb appeal.

Before you list a home for sale, it’s smart to have a home inspection completed. This allows you the opportunity to make any repairs before a potential buyer comes across them, and some experts feel it’s a way to improve your chance for receiving top dollar. The average cost of a pre-listing inspection is between $250 and $700 (the larger the home the higher the cost) according to Zillow. From there, you can price out repairs; the average window repair, for instance, costs $290. Do your homework to hire contractors with positive reviews and professional credentials so you can rest assured the work is completed correctly and in a timely manner. 

And just like for buyers, it’s smart to look around before you enter the housing market. You should research comparable home sales in your area. This will give you a reasonable expectation of the price you could receive for your home and help you evaluate local trends. Look at things like square footage, number of beds and baths, age, condition and lot size.

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to do your homework. Become educated on the market and how to make your transaction go smoothly. Then connect with your realtor for a successful and smooth experience.

When it’s time for you to hit the housing market, look to Marin Real Estate for high-quality service that helps you reach your goals.

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