Listed are 12 real estate tips for the upcoming year, whether you are interested in Buying or Selling this year, or simply love real estate, these might come in handy!
Tip #1 Decorate & Update
A well-appointed home will always show better and most likely get more money than one that is not. Some choose to spend money with a decorator, others will spend time researching popular sites like Houzz and Pinterest.
This needn’t be something that costs a lot of money, as small tweaks like accent pieces, de-cluttering and appropriately staging your house can make it seem more appealing. Investing in your home will pay dividends when it comes time to sell.
Tip #2 Less Is More
When listing your home eliminate clutter. Even if you aren’t thinking of moving now, the day may arrive sooner than you believe. If you don’t like to organize, try tackling it once or twice a year as part of a Spring cleaning ritual. It won’t take you as much time as you think! Another option is to hire someone to help you organize.
Many people do this for a living for a modest hourly fee, and I can promise you that it can be money well spent. Everything has a price, including your peace of mind!
Tip #3 Regular Home Maintenance
Make sure you keep up with regular home maintenance and cleaning. Items such as tuck pointing, HVAC cleaning, tree trimming, and concrete work may not be a fun way to spend your money but if you let it go.
It may cost you more in the long run. Maintain your home and it should bring you more money at the closing table!
Tip #4 Don't Take It Personally!
Everyone has difference taste, different needs and different wants. Buyers may ask for something that you think is silly or offensive. Keep an open mind and remember that when it comes time to sell your home it is a business transaction.
Tip #5 Stage Your Home
Whether you have a 250k condo or a $2 million home, allow your home to be staged prior to going to market. This does not always mean that you need furniture brought in, more likely tweaking the layout and clearing out extra items to open up space. A great stager will work to make your home appeal as many potential buyers as possible.
Tip #6 First Impressions Matter!
The exterior of your home is just as important as the interior. If it is financially feasible, make sure that the exterior is in good condition.
This includes driveways, sidewalks, front doors, landscaping, etc. You want potential buyers to have a great impression of your home before they event walk through the front door. You don’t want them walking up to the front door having spent money in their head in order to fix issues they may have seen.
Tip #7 Understand What Is Most Important To You
Educate yourself! Begin your search by seeing a lot of homes or condos for context. Cast your net wide and then narrow. Do not start your search with a strict set of “must-haves”. You may surprise yourself with what you consider a “must” that was once something that was on your “no” list.
Case in point, I have had clients who were initially set on a large lot who later found their dream home and compromised with a smaller lot.
Tip #8 Visualize
You may be surprised at how new paint, new floor stain and light fixtures can make an older or outdated home feel current. Try to work with an open mind about changes and updates – some things may not be as expensive and time consuming as you believe.
You may be able to find a better deal at the end of the day as many buyers today are looking for homes that are done in all respects. An open mind can lead to better value!
Tip #9 Speak with Local Lenders
This needs to be done at the beginning of your search, NOT at the end. You want to be as prepared as possible when you find that home you really want. Have a pre-approval by a reputable lender when before its time to make an offer. If you aren’t prepared, you may wind up scrambling to get your approval in time to meet tight deadlines often imposed by sellers.
Start by calling at least three different local lenders. If you don’t know any, a reputable real estate agent will provide you with several. Rates and terms of course matter but so does the lender and how responsive and efficient they are as you move through the process. It matters to the Sellers – in a multiple-offer situation astute sellers and their agents carefully consider sources of financing to help assess certainty and speed to close. Local lenders with a good reputation can be an important qualifier as your offer is often considered among many other competing offers.
Tip #10 Make A Strong Offer And Have No Regrets!
I always tell my clients not to have any regrets. Would they regret losing a home for an additional $5,000 in the offer price? Maybe, maybe not. Are they going to lose sleep at night because you offered over your comfortable budget? Again, a great real estate agent will guide you through each step of the offer process.
At the end of the day, as a Buyer you need to sleep at night with your under-contract price. You don’t want to lose a home of your dreams with any regrets. Bidding Wars may happen, especially in the Denver market. You can be in the forefront with a multiple offer but you also don’t want your emotions to get the best of you. It is easy to get caught into the whirlwind.
Tip #11 Tunnel Vision
I say this all of the time to my clients. Going under contract feels wonderful for both Buyers and Sellers but it is just the beginning.
Celebrations should occur after you get to the Closing Table. Any number of things can happen from the time a contract is executed to closing. A great real estate agent will guide you through each step.
Tip #12 Realistic Expectations
Everyone is looking for the same thing and that is to get to the closing table with as much money in their pocket as possible. It can lead to emotional reactions to what can be small items that arise following inspection. Buyers may think offering at or over asking price gives them the right to be more rigid about fixing issues found during inspection. Conversely sellers who compromise on their asking price to go under contract may feel less willing to adjust the price for inspections items.
Keep the overall value of the property in mind when evaluating pre-closing adjustments. Be realistic and most importantly objective regardless of what side you are on.