Here are some industry tips that I've learned along the way. Sellers need to be sure to ask the right questions when interviewing agents to list their house.
1. Professional Photography: Regardless of the home size, the photos are the first impression & they need to showcase your home in the best possible light. Cell phone photography just won't cut it! And unless your agent is also a professional photographer, you should expect that he or she will be hiring someone else to handle the photography. Do your research---ask to see a few examples of their previous listings. Once the photos have been taken & the listing is posted make sure you have reviewed it & that you are are completely satisfied with the listing (would you buy your house if you saw the photos as a buyer?).
2. Expanded online presence: From social media to enhanced Zillow listings. Your agent should be able to describe the additional social media & online presence that he or she will be able to generate for more exposure of your home. SEO searches, Google+ posts, Facebook Ads, IDX search engines, etc. Your home deserves every effort & there is much more that can be done in addition to submitting a listing on MLS.
3. Follow through: Do what you say, say what you mean! Your agent should be clear about the services that he or she will provide. Your agent should be accessible & available. You should not feel like your agent is too busy.
4. Organizational Systems: Your agent should be able to outline the systems that are in place to keep your listing on track & moving forward at all times. From electronic signature platforms, to apps that develop a shared timeline to meet deadlines, there are a lot of moving parts to a real estate sales transaction & your agent needs to have systems in place in order to stay in charge.
There's a lot more to it than just putting up a For Sale sign and posting a listing on MLS! Ask me how I am successful & how I make sure my sellers are over the moon with the service I provide!
Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs
Summer has come to an end and you probably are thinking you've lost the opportunity to sell, and need to wait till next summer. But that's far from the truth! Although it's not as hectic and crazy with the swarm of buyers on the market, the fall season brings out the most serious of lookers. They are the pool of buyers that waited out the summer frenzy to find their perfect home in the fall, and you don't want to miss these buyers! They are ready to make a move, today! And selling in a slower period does not equate to less money. That's a misconception that home owners have based on untrue data that floats around. With the right agent, and your home being priced correctly, you can get a great deal selling your home during the fall season. And might actually prefer it. Here are the top 3 benefits to listing during the fall season.
1. Serious Buyers - Let's be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a large crowd, that crowd contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the "trend" of house hunting. These people end up not really being serious about the process, and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.
2. Less Competition - Selling in the fall isn't something many families can accomplish due to personal schedules. That's why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season. Which means that summer time brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the potential house next door that has slightly more perks that may have been listed during the summer, doesn't make your home sit stagnant, since everyone wanted your neighbor's house. It also doesn't devalue your home because of the house that could go up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood, and draw all of the attention. With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale.
3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home - Not only do you get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. With less competition on your dream house, you can get a better deal. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes, because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful, and everyone all around happier. Don't feel rushed into buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has calmer pace, then selling during the fall is perfect for you.
Debunking Myths To Home Buying
Finally ready to make the transition into home ownership? That's exciting! And while it's common to turn to friends and family for insight into the home buying process, there's a lot of misinformation that's rampant, in addition to some not-so-great-but-well-meaning-advice, that I'd like to set straight!
1. MYTH: THE FIRST STEP IS SEARCHING FOR A HOME
You know the saying, "Don't put the cart before the horse," well that's important to remember when it comes to buying a home. You don't want to start looking for a house until you sit down with a lender and discuss what the bank will qualify you for. If you fall in love with a house that's $250,000 only to find out that you currently qualify for $200,000 you can get your hopes crushed and waste a lot of time. Don't start the process on the wrong foot and make sure the numbers line up.
2. MYTH: YOU DON'T NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT
Commissions are paid by the seller. That means that working with a buyers agent doesn't cost you a penny. YES! This is true! Commissions are set between the seller & the sellers agent before the house is even listed. Whether or not the sellers agent finds a buyer that does not have his/her own agent, the commission remains unchanged. This is so often misunderstood! Having a real estate agent on your side means you'll avoid outdated listings and scammers (there are lots of them), you'll be properly represented when it comes to navigating the legalities of contracts and buying a home, and you'll be represented in your best interest throughout the entire process. Why wouldn't you want an awesome negotiator working to ensure you get the best from the transaction? For FREE!
3. MYTH: YOU CAN'T BUY A HOME WITH BAD CREDIT
Within reason, this is a myth. Some lenders can work with credit scores down to the low to mid 500's but you have a better chance of qualifying if your credit score is at least in the 620+. I have lenders that I recommend that can help you to mend your credit--helping you to identify the payments & priorities to increase your credit score. There are a lot of factors that go into pre-approvals, but your credit doesn't have to be a sore thumb during the process.
4. MYTH: YOUR DOWN PAYMENT HAS TO BE 20%
Think you have to sell an arm and a leg to buy a home? Not at all! An FHA loan only requires 3.5% while a conventional only requires 5%. There are a lot of programs that can potentially help you with down payment assistance, you can even put 0% down! USDA and VA loans are the most popular 0% down programs, although RI Housing also has some great options. If you qualify, this can take a big chunk off the amount of cash you have to bring to the closing table. RI Housing currently has a program for first time buyers, First Down, that offers $7500 towards closing costs or as a down payment assistance.
5. MYTH: DOWN PAYMENTS ARE THE ONLY UPFRONT COST
This is one of the biggest misconceptions. There are a lot of costs that go into buying a home that I want my clients to be aware of. Once you have a home under contract, you will have 10 business days to conduct a home inspection. I will provide you with a list of home inspectors that I can confidently recommend who will inspect the structural & mechanical integrity of the home as well as conduct a pest & radon inspection. Home inspections range from $350-$700 depending upon the square footage. If you are getting a mortgage, the home will have to be appraises. An appraisal can range from $300-$700 dollars. You will also need to secure a home owners insurance policy & pay for the first year upfront. Home insurance for a single family is $1200-$1500. In addition to your down payment, you will also need to account for closing costs. In certain situations, closing costs can be negotiated to be covered by sellers, we will discuss the best strategy when we cross that threshold!
I'm happy to further discuss the home buying process, I hope that you find this information is useful!
Buying or Selling? Here's some useful advice!