The Basics of Buying Your First Home
Your REALTOR®’s marketing efforts and considerations will include advertising, showing the property, how long the house has been on the market and whether you're buying another home. Your home should be listed through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Advertising and Promotion
Properties are commonly advertised through real estate agent Web sites, Internet home search/listing services, Hi-Lite brochures and real estate guides. Promotional efforts by your REALTOR® is critical in getting other Buyer agents excited about your home as those agents will then promote your listing to the Buyers they are working with and ensure that your home is included in their Buyer ‘viewing’ tours.
Even with all these advertising avenues, "For Sale" signs on front lawns are still remarkably effective. Buyers feel comfortable contacting professional REALTORS® in order to get information on your property as well as arranging an opportunity to view. Most Buyers, except those looking for bargains (thousands of dollars below listed price, are reluctant to become involved with a ‘For Sale By Owner’ and will often pass them up.
When appropriate, and with your permission, we may send a mailing about your property to neighbors. Sometimes one of them has a friend or relative who always wanted to live near them. You never know how far reaching the benefits of word-of-mouth advertising by friends, relatives and neighbors can be.
Showings and (open houses by appointment only!)
To prepare your home for viewing, make it as bright, clean, cheerful and serene as possible. Always look at your home from the buyer's point of view.
We, as your REALTORS® will suggest that you be absent while the house is being shown to prospective buyers, because your presence will inhibit their actions and conversations. They won’t feel free to open closets and cabinets, test out the plumbing and discuss their observations objectively as they walk through the house. It is understood that your children and pets should not be on the premises either.
Quick tips for showings:
· Clean or replace dirty or worn carpets.
· Open all curtains and blinds.
· Replace any burned out light bulbs and turn on all lights.
· Clear all clutter.
· Clear all countertops.
· Wash and put away any dirty dishes.
· Set the dining room or kitchen table if you have particularly nice linen or china.
· Simmer a few drops of vanilla on the stove.
· Put on soft music.
· Burn wood in the fireplace on cold days, otherwise, clean the fireplace.
· Put fresh towels in the bathroom.
· Take any laundry out of the washer and dryer.
· Leave the house so your REALTOR® is free to deal with prospective buyers in a professional manner.
· Put pets in cages or take them to a neighbor.
How Long Has Your House Been on the Market?
Professional appraisers sum up their entire body of knowledge in three words: " Buyers make value." Your home is worth as much as a Buyer will pay for it.
If your home has been on the market for months, it’s a clear message that the property may not be worth what you're asking for it. This is particularly true if there haven't been many prospects coming to see it. What you do at that point depends on whether you really need to sell, and whether you're working with a time limit.
If you're not really motivated to move soon, you can always wait - months if necessary - and hope inflation will catch up with the price you want. The problem is that in that time, your home begins to feel shopworn. Buyers become suspicious of a house that's been for sale for a long time.
If you really do need to sell, discuss with your REALTORS® a schedule for gradually adjusting your price until you find a level that attracts Buyers. There's no point in saying, "We simply can't sell our house." All homes sell if the price is right.
If You’re Buying Another Home
You may wonder what will happen when you're Selling one home and Buying another. How will all the details work out? This is a common situation and good REALTORS® have plenty of experience in arranging contracts so that the two transactions dovetail smoothly.
And should you sell your home first then buy or buy first then sell? Ideally, it’s best to find a home you like and make an offer subject to selling your current home. However, this only works in a slower than normal market where frustrated Sellers may be open to accepting a subject offer which, literally, takes their property ‘off the market’.
In addition, there are several drawbacks to this approach, even if accepted by the Seller of the home you have made the offer on. As time comes near to declaring your willingness & ability to proceed, you may feel pressure to take a less than attractive offer on your own home in order to be able to follow through on your purchase.
Also, if you have fallen in love with the home you may be heartbroken if another buyer presents an offer, which will force you to make a decision (usually within 24 to 72 hours). At that point, if you do not have an active offer on your property, you, probably, will not feel comfortable proceeding as it will, potentially, put you in the position of owning two properties. So you lose the home that you had your heart set on.
Moreover, in a “normal” to “hot” market most Sellers will not accept a “subject to sale” offer.
In the “normal or hot market” scenario, you must sell your home first, then turn around and buy your next home in the interim period between selling and vacating your house. Of course if you have just won the Lottery you can do whatever you wantJ
Once you have accepted an offer, the time you would need to vacate your current home can often be negotiated, though the most common time period between offer and vacating the home is 30 - 45 – 60 days. Some Sellers are able to insert a clause in a received offer stipulating that the Seller can stay in the home for an extended period until they find a home but this depends entirely on the ability and willingness of the Buyer making the offer.
If you find that you need to complete on the purchase of your next home before you've received the proceeds from the present one, lending institutions can sometimes make you a short-term " bridge" or “interim” loan to tide you over between the two transactions. It is wise to discuss this possible option with your lender. Make sure you fully understand the exposure and emotional investment before proceeding with this type of loan.
We hope this answers some of your important questions and takes you one step closer to Your Dream.
These guidelines, along with many more Home Selling Strategies, are explained in full when we get together to discuss the sale of your home. Every homeseller and homebuyer’s circumstances are unique so we customize our approach to satisfying your needs.
Sincere, best wishes for a Successful Real Estate Journey - Don & Patty