Here is a quick guide to help both sellers and buyers with frequently asked questions as well as some moving tips. If you don't see something you are looking for or would like to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buyers' Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the advantages of using a real estate agent to help me buy a home?
Answer: Buying a home is certainly one of the most rewarding experiences any of us will ever have. It’s also one of the most challenging. If you’re buying for the first time, the process may seem overwhelming. And even if you’ve been through it several times, every move is different, and presents new challenges. One clear advantage of enlisting the help of an agent is that you don’t have to “go it alone.” A good agent has the training, the know-how, and the experience to help you through each step of the process, and make the process of finding, buying and moving into your new home as smooth, quick, and enjoyable as possible. Another advantage is that an agent represents a valuable source of information about market trends, communities and neighborhoods, and especially, homes for sale throughout the area. Remember, not every home seller runs an ad in the local paper or puts a sign up in the yard. In fact, many homes actually sell before there is ever a need to advertise them. An agent offers you market expertise augmented by access to complete, regularly updated information about every home listed by area agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
2. Is an older home as good a value as a new home?
Answer: It’s a matter of personal preference. Both new and older homes offer distinct advantages, depending upon your unique taste and lifestyle. New homes generally have more space in the rooms where today’s families do their living, like a family room or activity area. They’re usually easier to maintain, too. However, many homes built years ago offer more total space for the money, as well as larger yards. Taxes on some older homes may also be lower. Some people are charmed by the elegance of an older home, but shy away because they’re concerned about potential maintenance costs. Consider a home warranty to get the peace of mind you deserve.
3. Should I be present during the inspection?
Answer: Yes. It’s not required, but it is very much to your advantage. You’ll be able to clearly understand the inspection report, and know exactly which areas need attention. Plus, you can get answers to many questions, tips for maintenance, and a lot of general information that will help you when you move into your new home. Most important, you’ll see the home through the eyes of an objective third party.
4. What should I ask about each home that I look at?
Answer: As a rule of thumb, ask any questions you have about specific rooms, features, or functions. Pay particular attention to areas that you feel could become “problem” areas — additions, defects, areas that have been repaired. And above all, if you don’t feel your question has been answered, ask until you do understand and are satisfied. In most cases, your real estate agent will be able to provide you with detailed information about each home you see.
Sellers' Frequently Asked Questions
1. When is the best time to list a house for sale?
Answer: As soon as you decide to sell it. There is always a buyer looking. In real estate there is a pool of buyers – those who could buy if motivated to do so. That group stays relatively constant in any market. It is the number of those in the buyer pool who actually buy that changes. When someone in the buyer pool is motivated by seeing a property with a high perception of value, they act.
2. Should I fix my house up before it goes on the market?
Answer: Unless your house is nearly new, chances are you’ll want to do some work to get it ready to market. The type and amount of work depends largely on the price you’re asking, the time you have to sell, and of course, the present condition of the house. If you’re in a hurry to sell, do the “little things” that make your house look better from the outside and show better inside.
3. What is “curb appeal,” and how do I create it?
Answer: “Curb-Appeal” is the common real estate term for everything prospective buyers can see from the street that might make them want to turn in and take a look. Improving curb appeal is critical to enticing buyers to want to see the inside of your home. While it does take time, it needn’t be difficult or expensive, provided you keep two key words in mind: neat and neutral. Neatness sells. New paint, an immaculate lawn, picture-perfect shrubbery, a newly sealed driveway, potted plants at the front door — put them all together, and drive-by shoppers will probably want to see the rest of the house.
If you’re going to repaint, stick to light, neutral colors. Keep the yard free of gardening tools and the kids’ toys. Remember, when a family looks at a house, they’re trying to paint a picture of what it would be like as their home. You want to give them as clean a canvas as possible.
4. How do I reach the right potential buyers?
Answer: There was a time when selling a house was simple. Your real estate agent would put a sign in the front yard, an ad in the paper, and wait. Of course, agents still do those things — but that’s far from all they do. Today, people are moving further and more frequently than they used to. It’s not unusual for upwardly mobile executives to relocate across the country more than once in a year. The result is that the pool of potential buyers for your house is much larger and spread far wider than ever before, and the competition to reach them is fierce. Because you’ll probably need to cast a wider net to find the right buyer, choosing a real estate company that offers the sophisticated marketing techniques that define likely buyers, where to find them, how to reach them, and how to persuade them to buy one house over another has never been more important. The fact is, virtually everything we’ve discussed up to this point, from pricing to home improvements, from the Competitive Market Analysis to the “For Sale” sign in the yard, is part of a marketing process that’s put into motion when you decide to work with me.
5. What should we expect from an open house?
Answer: As another valuable part of the marketing process, the open house offers prospective buyers the chance to view houses in a low-pressure, “browsing” atmosphere. With that in mind, you shouldn’t expect it to generate a sale, at least not directly. What you should look for is increased showings of your home after an open house, whether it be from calls to your agent for private showings or from the open house attendees returning with their buyers agent. Open houses are always valuable, even if very few people show up. Such a situation can indicate that the price is too high; it may also lead you to look for ways to improve curb-appeal. Try not to draw your own conclusions — your agent will give you a full report on open house activity, and offer a professional assessment of its results. Agents often hold an open house for other agents shortly after a house is listed. This event, usually held mid-week when real estate agents can give it their full attention, can be as important to your efforts as your listing in the local MLS. The more professionals who see your house, the more prospects you’re likely to reach.
Top 3 Moving Tips of the Moment
1. Decide what will move with you and what will stay behind. There may be items that you don't need anymore or that aren't worth moving or perhaps your move is temporary and certain unnecessary things can be put into storage. No matter what the answer is, decide beforehand what stays and what goes.
2. Pack non-essentials. Start packing items you can do without. If you're moving in the summer, pack all your winter clothes, sports equipment and heavy blankets.
3. Label boxes. While you're packing boxes, make sure you label the top and sides of boxes with contents, location of contents in your house and if there are any special instructions, such as "fragile" or "open first". This will assist the movers in putting the boxes in the correct room and will warn them of any fragile items. Also, by keeping a complete list of the contents on the outside of the box, you'll save time digging through 10 boxes marked "kitchen" just to find the can opener.