Warning: May cause strong laughter and belly aches.
We saved the best for last. Here’s a little glimpse at some behind the scenes footage during the filming of the website videos. A big thank you to Kendall Video Marketing for all your hard work!
Selling your home without hiring a real estate agent might be tempting, especially if you’re in an area where buyers are clamoring for properties. It’s not uncommon for sellers to think (even for a split-second) “How hard can it be to sell on my own?” But there are probably some challenges they’re not considering.
Here are some key ways a real estate agent – more specifically a licensed Realtor – proves to be indispensable during the selling process.
1. They offer wide exposure. Find an agent with the education, experience and know-how – along with the backing from a brokerage and powerful brand – to increase exposure of your house to potential buyers. Your agent can devise a marketing plan that stresses showing your property to other agents as well as to the public.
2. They bring objectivity. You probably love your home even with all its faults, but a prospective buyer might not be so dazzled. A solid real estate agent can give you helpful tips on things that need to be fixed and ways to improve your home’s appearance and curb appeal. Your agent can also evaluate and focus on features that might set your house apart from the competition.
3. They know the market. Agents can access current market data about pending and recent sales, and they can use that information to help you establish an appropriate asking price for your home. Homeowners often expect unrealistically high prices for their homes, which can turn off buyers who are seeing homes with more competitive prices. A house that is priced accurately from the get-go will sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that are priced too high right out of the gate.
4. They take care of all showings. You may not be available to show your home to prospective buyers, or you may have already moved out, but your agent can show your house even when you aren’t there. Agents can answer visitors’ questions and take note of their feedback. Further, prospective buyers usually feel more comfortable touring a house when the owner isn’t present. They might want to comment on a house’s drawbacks.
5. They take security seriously. Real estate agents can vet all potential buyers, including verifying they’re preapproved for a home loan and weeding out the “looky-loos” who aren’t serious buyers. They also can provide security by pre-screening visitors and accompanying them while they’re in the house.
6. They’re prepared to negotiate. Agents will negotiate contracts on your behalf. FSBO sellers generally negotiate with a professional representing the buyer’s interests. Your agent, on the other hand, can help you negotiate with the buyer’s agent to secure a contract that gets you the best price for your house.
7. They help you avoid legal trouble. Your agent knows the requirements for disclosures in your state. The seller is required to disclose any problems that could affect the value of the property. In most states, it’s against the law to hide physical problems such as flood hazards and prior damage. Some states require a seller to search for such problems even if they aren’t obvious. An agent helps prepare necessary disclosure documents.
8. They’re with you to the end – and beyond. Getting to the closing table is a complicated process, filled with paperwork, and mistakes can sidetrack the deal. Good real estate agents have safeguards in place to avoid them. Your real estate agent will work with you every step of the way to closing, and can even be a resource for you as you consider your next move.
9. They follow a strict Code of Ethics. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and they are required to complete a two-and-a-half hour Code of Ethics course every four years. The repeat training ensures that agents are familiar with the code’s newest provisions and that its key guidelines are reinforced: protecting clients, protecting communities and protecting the industry.
When you’re ready to start your home search online, don’t let the sheer volume of listings overwhelm you. Below are some tips to help you narrow down your search results on remax.com and make it much easier to streamline the list of homes you want to visit.
By now you’ve probably already contacted a lender to figure out exactly how much you’re preapproved to borrow for your new place – and then from there determined how much you’re actually willing to spend on a home. (What you can borrow oftentimes is higher than what you might be comfortable spending.) When you begin your search online, the absolute high-end of your budget isn’t the figure you should enter into your search criteria.
In today’s competitive market, many buyers find themselves in the middle of a bidding war to secure their dream home. Houses can sell for several thousand dollars more than the original asking price. It might be a good idea to go into your online search knowing you could end up paying more for a home than it’s listed for online. With this in mind, set the price search filter lower than your true maximum price. This way you have some flexibility to compete and increase your offer if other buyers submit offers on your top pick. Another way remax.com helps in your search is to automatically show the newest listings at the top of your results, giving you the opportunity to get your bid in as soon as possible.
You’re looking at pictures of the perfect house. There’s a fenced-in yard for your dog. The garage has plenty of space to store your camping gear. Your kids will love the Jack-and-Jill style bathroom. But just as you’re about to contact the agent, you notice a deal-breaker – your commute to your new job would take twice as long as you wanted.
Avoid the heartbreak of discovering the perfect home is in a less-than-perfect location by using the remax.com mapping functions. After you filter properties based on pricing, number of bedrooms, and other criteria you set, this function shows homes as pins on a map. You can zoom in to focus on homes within walking distance to your kids’ new school, for instance, and you’ll also get an idea of what restaurants and other amenities are nearby. Plus, you can create a My RE/MAX account to access additional features like INRIX Drive Time, which shows commute times to and from a property at various times throughout the day.
Although it’s true that agents can do a great job of capturing a home’s character in photos and videos, there’s still only so much these images can convey. Maybe the neighborhood is described as “secluded,” but it’s still close enough to hear the train come through town. Or when you look closer, you’re unsure if the cabinets are maple or oak.
These types of uncertainties are why it’s important to see a home in person before you make a decision to buy. Your real estate agent will happily schedule showings for you. But if choosing an agent isn’t something you’re ready to do right now, there is a way to see properties and start narrowing down your wants, needs and options: open houses. On remax.com, you can filter search results to see homes with an upcoming open house. The feature also posts the dates and times you can stop by to see the properties in person.
To get an even better feel for the area, you also can view demographic data and browse a neighborhood overview.
Make a trip across almost any city and you’ll encounter several different pockets of culture and attitude. One part of town might pride itself on being the historic city center while another is all about modernism. Perhaps the reason you’re in the market for a new home is that you want to shift to the lifestyle a specific neighborhood offers. To search for a specific area on remax.com, type the name of the area you want to live in, followed by “Neighborhood” and the state you’re looking in. If the neighborhood you’re looking for is listed (many, but not all, neighborhoods will appear), you’ll see search results showing all available properties in that area. Now that’s convenience!
Another important search feature is the age of the property. Deciding whether or not you’re interested in purchasing an older home is a perfect example of how the wants and needs in a home differ for each buyer. You may have always wanted a home with exposed brick inside, but are you willing to pay to update the older plumbing that might come with it? Whether you’re open to taking on maintenance that may come with an older home or you’d rather avoid projects altogether and stick to brand-new homes, the “Age of Home” filter on remax.com can help you narrow down your search results.
Rolling Stones fans and savvy homebuyers both know you can’t always get what you want. At least not everything you want. You should, however, have some sense of what you want and what you need when you start your search for a new home. Distinguishing between the wants and needs can be tricky because so much emotion can swirl around visions of your “dream home.”
But making two separate lists of wants and needs will save you hours and energy in the long run. Here are three things to do to help you decide how to assign home features to your lists:
“Wants” are features that would be nice to have. “Needs” are things that you really must have to function. Be honest, can you truly live without shiny new stainless steel appliances? If yes, put them in the “Wants” column. On the other hand, an additional bedroom may belong in the “Needs” column if you’re expecting twins. Creaky knees? A ranch layout is a “need.” Occasional desire for a nap by the hearth? That fireplace is a “want.”
No matter how ambitious you are, some things may remain beyond your control to change, like proximity to public transportation, or quality of the local school district. If these features are critical to you, they go on the “Needs” list. On the other hand, things like patios and hardwood floors can be added later. List them as “Wants.” Your agent can probably help you talk through potential future costs of renovations and additions to accommodate your wants. Changing the bus routes, on the other hand, is probably beyond the capabilities of even the most experienced Realtor.
A trusted Realtor can bring a much-needed dose of objectivity to your decision-making. He or she can help you visualize the day-to-day reality of living with (or without) a certain feature, as well as guide you through the math that may help you separate wants from needs.
A Realtor you can trust always goes on the “Needs” list. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can guide you through the homebuying process.