Real Estate Mistakes that You Can Avoid
25. Buying a House for Its Decor
Remember that you are buying the house, not the things inside it, so
make sure you see beyond the decorations and look at the bones of the
home. Focus on the floor plan and the square footage. You also might
want to measure the dimensions and graph out how that's going to work
with your belongings.
24. Not Providing Easy Access for Showings
Make your house easily accessible to potential buyers. If there's
nowhere to park or it's difficult to get into, buyers may just skip it
and look at someone else's property.
23. Not Researching the Neighborhood
It's absolutely critical that you research the neighborhood before you
buy. Check out the area, amenities and the school system to be sure that
your address corresponds with the correct school district. Also attend a
community meeting, if possible. You're not just buying a house,
you're buying a piece of that real estate and the land around it.
22. Losing Money With Auctions
While the starting bidding price for a house on auction might be a good
deal, it doesn't mean the final price will be. Make sure that you are
very strict with your budget when you are bidding; do not go over your
final price because you got wrapped up in the excitement of a bidding
war. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you buy a property at
auction, you aren't able to get any of the warrantees or guarantees, and
you are not able to do a home inspection. Find out if the auctioneer is
going to add those charges on top of the sale price as well as if there
are any liens on the property. You could be responsible for paying
the property taxes on that house you just bought, which could make what
looks like a good deal into a really bad deal.
21. Trying to Make the "Hard Sell" While Showing
If you are selling your house, you really shouldn't be around at the
open house. You might want to try to sell the place on all the reasons
you think the house is great, but that might not translate to the buyer. If you leave, you allow the buyers to give unbiased objective feedback
to the agent, which is only going to help you in the end.
You don't have to wait until the weather is nice to put your home on the
market. That's a common real estate myth.
20. Waiting Until Spring to Sell Your House
Spring is the busiest real estate activity period, but that does not
mean that people don't buy houses 365 days of the year. That
doesn't mean you can't emphasize your home's seasonal amenities.
19. Treating Real Estate Like the Stock Market
When the real estate market is really hot and is appreciating really
fast, people tend to look at it like it's the stock market. But
playing real estate is nothing like the stock market; when you invest in
real estate, you really need to take a long-term approach.
18. Failing to Market Your Home in Different Ways
Don't market your home with just a "for sale" sign. Explore other
marketing tools as well. We can craft an effective
your property. Your marketing plan should be set up from the initial
signing of the listing contract. We can produce virtual tours and
photographs of your house online. If you choose to go that route, don't
forget to include the floor plans. That way, people can see the
layout of your home and know if it's right for them.
17. Not Thinking About Resale
When you are decorating and renovating your home, you need to think
about what is going to appeal to a broad section of buyers when it comes
time to sell it. Buying houses and being in the real estate market
is like chess: You always want to look two or three steps ahead in the
16. Buying Without Actually Seeing the Property
It's really easy to buy a house without seeing it because of the
Internet and virtual tours, but virtual tours can be deceiving. Plus,
it's really hard to actually get a sense and feel of a home by only
looking at it online. You need to actually walk through the place
yourself. If that's just not possible, hire an inspector to go
look at the property and provide you with an assessment.
15. Trusting Everything a Real Estate Advertisement Says
Don't assume every ad is fact. Learn to decipher real estate lingo. For
example, "cozy" means small, and "as is" means it's a fixer-upper. If
there are a lot of exclamation points in an ad, it's because there is so
little to say about the place. Follow the old adage: If it sounds
too good to be true, it probably is.
14. Picking the Wrong Agent
The team at JC Jones CENTURY 21 works for you. You have many agencies to
choose form, so treat meetings with agents like a job interview because
that's really how it works. Keep in mind that the person is going to be
working for you. Talk to your friends who've sold houses and had good
experiences with their particular agent, and go to open houses and
observe how that agent interacts with other people. It's also a good
idea to meet with the agent in their office. It allows you to see how
organized he or she is, what kind of environment they work in and
whether that's conducive to being able to do a good job for you.
We want you to be comfortable with your choice to work with the JC Jones
American Dream Team.
13. Not Hiring an Agent
There's a lot more to selling a house than just putting a sign on the
front lawn. If you don't have an
real estate agent
, you will not get on the
multiple-listing service (MLS)
. That means that other agents are not
going to know that your property is for sale. Another thing to consider
is if you are willing to show the house each time someone wants to come
by and look at it. If you do plan to sell your house on your own, be
sure to have a lawyer present at the closing. It's really
important to have someone on your side who understands all the
12. Buying the Most Expensive Home on the Block
The most expensive house will only depreciate in value over time, rather
than appreciate, which is what you want. Also, those houses are often
not the first house to sell because they are usually overbuilt to the
neighborhood. It's absolutely critical that you research the
neighborhood before you buy to find out what the price point should be.
11. Not Setting a Realistic Budget
Just because the bank prequalifies you for a loan amount of $400,000
doesn't mean you can afford to make that payment every month. Before
hitting the streets for a house hunt, you should sit down and make a
monthly budget of what you spend every month. Come up with a number that
you are comfortable spending on your mortgage payment, aside from those
other expenditures. An easy way to do this is to take a third of your
gross income and have that figure be the number you spend on the house.
It is also a good idea to have six to nine months of mortgage payments
in the bank, plus a little extra if you have any repairs that you might
need to do.
10. Visiting the House Only Once
It's important to visit a house more than once because the neighborhood
itself may be very different, depending on the day of the week and the
time of day. It's also a good idea to go home and think about it,
even sleep on it, before you go back again.
9. Not Being Pro-Active at Closing
The best thing to do when going into a closing is to get all the
paperwork ahead of time. All that information should come from a
mortgage broker or banker. They have what they call a HUD (Housing and
Urban Development) One form that lists all the charges, and you can
legally get it in your hands 24 hours before closing. Schedule the
closing for in the morning, so you have a fresh mind and plenty of time
to go over everything and to ask questions. The final walk-through is
another imperative part of the process. You may want to have a home
inspector accompany you.
Don't feel like you have to tackle major renovations before placing your
home on the market. Touch-ups here and there, especially outside the
home, typically do the trick.
8. Doing Major Renovations/Remodeling Before Selling
Minor upgrades usually have a higher return on your money than tackling
major renovations before placing a home on the market. The main reason?
Huge construction projects always cost more than you think they will,
and they also take longer than you expect. The best place to spend money
is outside. Research shows that increasing the curb appeal often returns
the most value on your money. It's what gets buyers inside the house. See my
7. Skipping the Loan Pre-Approval Step
When you are pre-approved, the bank is saying, "we will give you a
mortgage of up to this amount, so now all you have to do is find your
home." Some sellers only allow real estate agents to show their house if
someone has a pre-approved letter. That indicates that the shopper
really is serious about buying a home.
6. Falling in Love With the First Property You See
Many homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, fall into the trap
of falling in love with the very first house that they see. You need to
at least look at three more houses in the area to get an idea of what
the comparables are in that price range. You want your real estate agent
to show you homes comparable to what you saw. At the end of the day,
Be sure to hire a home inspector to thoroughly check out a house you are
interested in purchasing.
5. Buying a Home Without a Professional Inspection
There are a lot of things a home inspection can reveal about a property
that are not visible to the naked eye. Be sure to hire someone who comes
with a good referral basis, who's been in the business a while and knows
what to look for. Look up the American Society of Home Inspectors and
get a list of qualified home inspectors in your area. Once you find an
inspector, insist that they compile a written report, complete with
photos. Photographs are important because there are areas a home
inspector will go that you might not look at.
4. Overlooking the Extra and Hidden Costs
Buying a home is not just about the money that you spend upfront; it's
about all the rest of the money you have to spend beyond that. Find out
what the property taxes are, what your water bill might be and what a
standard electric bill is in that home, especially if you have electric
heat instead of gas heat. You also need to factor in furnishings
you may need to purchase before you can move in.
3. Buying What You Want, Not What You Need
Look at the space that you are already living in. It will help you to
realize what you have been missing and what you need in your next home. Make a list of those needs and then ask your agent to start shopping
based on those needs. On average, Americans live in a house for about
nine years. Remember, you can always trade up a few times before
you find the ultimate home.
2. Setting Too High of a Sale Price
As a seller, it's really important to do your research. To come up with
your sale price, look up what comparable homes in your neighborhood have
sold for. We can help you figure out what the going price is and try to
put yours right in the middle of that, unless you have something
extra-special to offer. It's always better to price a home that way than
to start too high and have to reduce. Once you reduce, it always
looks like something is wrong with the home.
1. Failing to Showcase Your Home and Making Small Cosmetic Changes
When you are selling your house, you have to really look at it
objectively and think about it from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house and maybe hire a professional
stager to come and arrange your furniture. Staging is about decorating
your house for the buyers' taste, not yours. A great place to start is
with the front of the home and the main entryway. Home staging is
designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount
of time the house stays on the market.