Everyone who wants to buy or sell a house has a to-do list with items to check off as they’re completed. These are the little things that need to be done so that you’re fully informed and ready to move forward before hiring a real estate agent. Unfortunately, many people considering venturing into the real estate market believe that many of the items they should be handling themselves can be taken care of by a real estate agent. This train of thought leads to unnecessary busy work for your agent.
The primary function of a real estate agent is concentrating on finding the house of your dreams or getting the best price for the house you’re in. They’re advisors, experts and advocates. Do everything you can to prevent turning them into errand runners and undermining their ability to achieve your objectives.
Get the Numbers Together
Take the time to get accurate numbers regarding your current mortgage, specifically, how much you owe and how much you’ve paid. Find out also what comparable homes in your area are going for. This is information that you’ll need to establish a viable asking price, which an agent can help you with, but you should have all the pertinent information in hand by the time you engage an agent to avoid unnecessary delays.
Come time to sign on to a mortgage, know that getting a mortgage involves several steps including knowing your monthly debt-to-income ratio. Lenders consider this number to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Generally speaking, your total debt including a new home payment should not exceed 43 percent of your income.
Preemptive Home Inspection
You can count on any prospective buyer wanting to have an inspection made of your property. REALTOR Magazine suggests considering taking the offensive and having a preemptive inspection done so that you’re aware of any repairs that will need to be made. Think of it as another way to get everything prepared so you’re ready to sell.
This is not the same as preparing for expensive discretionary upgrades, which your agent should advise you on first. An inspection will alert you to necessary fixes that will help you move things along by taking care of them before it comes down to making a deal. It’s also a good faith tactic that can help build a buyer’s faith in your property and you as a seller.
The Mother of All Cleanings
It goes without saying that your house will need to be pristinely clean before you show it to buyers. The same is true of showing it to an agent, according to SFGATE. Put your best foot forward by presenting a prospective agent an organized, clean, decluttered and well-cared-for property. Have the carpeting professionally cleaned, move out any excess furniture and remove your personal photos and decorations. Above all, clear away all signs of pet ownership, which is a big red flag for many homebuyers.
Know How Much You Can Afford
If you’re a buyer, you can help your agent by finding out how much house you can afford by getting pre-approved. Talk to multiple lenders in finding the best loan rate and get a pre-approval letter that will help make your case with sellers, identifying you as a serious buyer with sufficient financial backing. And know exactly what you want in a house. The more you can narrow the field once you’re pre-approved, the more an agent can do for you.
Once you settle on and purchase a new home, be sure to protect it. A home warranty is easily worth every penny because it covers the cost of expensive home repairs. It protects your finances and your home from having to pay for costly repairs and replacements out of pocket.
If you’re a business owner, will you be operating out of your home? If you need office or storage space to run your business, you may need a larger home which could up the costs. If you need to rent a workspace, be sure to factor that into your budget as well. When you lease a space, determine whether it meets your power requirements, what’s included in the lease agreement, and that it’s in a safe location.
Whether you’re buying or selling, there are many things you can do to prepare to enter the real estate market before engaging an agent. Doing the prep work ahead of time will make it easier for an agent to do a great job for you.
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