1) Evaluate your current situation
Why are you planning to sell your existing home? Are you moving up to a larger house? Do you need the money out of this property to make your move? One thing you need to do is to get a realistic idea of exactly how much cash you will be getting out of this home when it sells. Are you going to move locally? What mortgage amount can you really afford with new payments including higher taxes and insurance? Can you afford a house significantly better than the one you already have? Are you moving down to a smaller property? What are you going to do with your furniture and other things that you have collected over the years? Will be comfortable in a smaller place? Are you retiring? Moving locally or out of province? Are you going into a retirement community? What activities do you expect to be involved in after your working days are over? Are you moving out of the area because of employment? How fast do you have to be in your new location? Are housing costs higher there, or lower? Is your employer helping with sales costs, moving costs, temporary housing, etc? How does your family feel about the move? One reluctant teenager can seriously undermine the entire process. Are you the executor of an estate? What is the time schedule for your plan?
2) Failing To Take A Hard, Serious Look At The Condition Of The House
Homes have normal wear and tear, paint gets dull and shabby, landscaping can become overgrown, and roofs deteriorate. Often times as we live with minor inconveniences that we intend to fix “some day”.
It is not unusual to not notice conditions that are glaringly obvious to a buyer. How old is your roof? An average lifespan is 15-20 years. How old is your furnace? An average lifespan is 20-25 years. How old is your hot water heater? An average lifespan is 15 years. Is there asbestos insulation covering your heating pipes in the basement? Is there any obvious water damage from old leaks either on your ceilings or in the basement? Have you had any improvements done to the house without permits and inspections? Are your hardwood floors scuffed and scratched? Are your carpets worn?
Any of these conditions that are noticed by the buyer may make him bypass your house and buy another, or make him want to pay thousands less. If any found during the home inspection, they might cause the buyer to cancel the sale. It is best to have someone with fresh eyes take a hard critical look at your house. A good Realtor will do this and make his or her recommendations.
3) Failing To Properly Screen Your Realtor
It’s likely that you don’t often interview people. Yet, in order to find the Realtor who is right for you, you may interview several. The quality of your home buying experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the best-qualified person.
It’s interesting that in the real estate business someone with many successfully closed transactions usually costs the same as someone who is inexperienced. Bringing that experience to bear on your transaction could mean a better price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and reducing the number of hassles. Your agent should be a skilled, win-win negotiator!
4) Failing To Get Pre-Qualified For Your Mortgage On The Next House Or Condo
Don’t waste hours searching for a home that is not in your price range! Save time and money by getting pre-qualified for your new mortgage. Before you go shopping for a home, you need to determine how much you can afford. Once you are pre-qualified for a mortgage, you will know your buying power and you will then save time by looking only at homes in your price range.
This process is simple. A lender will ask you basic questions concerning your history, run a credit report, and determine your buying power.
Imagine for a moment that when you and your Realtor initially draft your offer for the home you select, you are already approved for the loan in advance. No stress, no worrying about qualifying, no concern whatsoever about your ability to qualify would stand between you and the home of your dreams.
In today’s market, a pre-approval can be a powerful negotiating tool. Many owners will not accept an offer without the buyer having a pre-approval. If there is more than one offer on the same house, the pre-approved buyer has the advantage. You deserve peace of mind and negotiating power by getting an approved loan before you make an offer.
5) Pricing The House Incorrectly
Whether a house is priced too high or too low, it can cost you thousands of dollars. Obviously a house priced too low will net you less cash at closing. However, a house priced too high will take longer to sell.
The homebuyer today is an educated consumer. On average a buyer will view lots of homes first on the internet and then physically inspect 4-12 homes before purchasing. The house or condo that sells today will be the best one on the market in the price range. The sale of a house is a competitive enterprise.
Ask your Realtor to show you what homes you are competing against. Some people will say, “I can always lower my price later.” Both Realtors and buyers are looking for new listings. Rarely do they notice a reduced price. The saddest sign anyone can put on their home is “Price Reduced.” That means the house was not priced right in the first place. The buyers will ask, “If the price was wrong, what else is wrong?”
6) Failing To Obtain A Home Inspection From A Qualified Inspector
The job of a professional home inspector is to look over every major part of a home and write a report that judges the home’s quality and condition. A home inspector reports on the structural and mechanical condition of the home. A well-qualified inspector who has the proper training can spot problems that you might not be able to see.
Expect problems to be clearly explained, repair expenses closely calculated, maintenance costs estimated, and a written report delivered on the spot. Most offers are conditional upon the outcome of the home inspection, which will include such things as: wood-boring insects, roof, structural soundness, and the condition of the heating, electrical, and plumbing systems.
If major problems are found, the buyer can either cancel the contract or go back and negotiate with the seller to get a credit on closing.
7) Not Knowing Your Rights And Obligations
Real estate law is extensive and complex; the Agreement of Purchase & Sale is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through or cost you thousands of dollars for repairs and remedies for title defects. If there are defects in the title, or if the property is in conflict with local restrictions, you must remedy them. Buying Title Insurance can often help here.
However, all lawyers are not real estate specialists. Your Realtor should be able to recommend several good lawyers. It is your Realtors job to know the laws governing real estate transactions. They are involved in an ongoing training program to keep up to date with these laws.
You deserve to have an agent who is not only knowledgeable about the transaction but is also willing to educate you throughout the process so you will feel more comfortable.
It’s also very wise to get an expert opinion before spending on fix-ups in an attempt to increase the sale value of your home. More often than not, expensive repairs are done in place of much simpler and more cost efficient ones. And the seller expects to regain their expenditures in the sale price, which rarely works out. Instead of entering fix-ups and repairs blindly, take advantage of our review – a walk through of your home where advise you on what can (or should) be fixed for maximum buyer appeal.