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Home Buyers' and Sellers' Top Mistakes

  1. Skipped performing a Home Inspection!

    • The benefits far out weigh the cost.  This is the best insurance you will ever have and you could save numerous headaches and expenses later. Hire a professional. Look to make sure they are accredited with a national agency like ASHI. Be there at least at the end, to see first hand what the defects are and insist on enough time to research the cost of remedies before signing off on the release of the inspection contingency.
  2. Didn't read the Homeowners Association Documents.

    • Getting rid of a much loved pet because you didn't know you were moving into a no-dog building is an example of why every buyer should request and read home owner association declarations, rules and regulations, association meeting minutes and budgets.  Ask if there are any special assessments, typically for capital improvements, new roofs, windows, elevators, or new plans.  The Budget will tell you if the association is well managed.  Assessments levied during your ownership may make your unit hard to sell and make your ownership much more expensive than you planned for.
  3. Didn't ask to see comparable sales in the neighborhood before deciding on a maximum price to pay for the house.

    • Getting caught up in the drama of the moment is the way to pay too much for the house you want to buy.  Although loving the home is an important reason for buying, getting it for a reasonable price is going to make the resale much easier.
  4. Didn't research the mortgage lender and the mortgage product.

    • Many people are currently paying the price for jumping into a mortgage that didn't really fit their needs and were risky at best.  Taking a loan that is predicated on some future event that may or may not happen is the road to ruin. This is the time to be cautious. Only borrow on what you know is true now, even if it means buying a less expensive home.
  5. Over priced the home.

    • Most realtors have a pretty good idea of the realistic listing price.  The realtor to choose is not the one who will list your house at any price, just to get the listing.  The Realtor to list with is the person who tells you the most likely sale price of your home, has recent comparable sales, and who will tell you the bad news.  Even if you list higher than they recommend, get the price down if you don't have showings, or if you have showings but no offer.  In either case, if you are too high, you'll get shop worn and the buyers will think they have done you a giant favor when eventually they write a contract to purchase.  These are the buyers who will torture you all the way to closing and you'll probably get less in the end than if you had listed lower in the first place.
  6. No Internet property marketing

    • 70% of all Real Estate buyers are searching on the internet. If you do not have a good internet presence with great photographs, you will find it very hard to get a buyer quickly.
  7. Didn't know the market and competition

    • Buyers are very savvy with market times and available real estate inventory.  Right now we have over a year's inventory. Home sellers who are out of touch or fail to spend the time visiting competing properties at Open Houses, and study the competition on the internet will find it harder to understand when to lower the price. No or few showings, no second showings or offers and unfavorable feedback indicates market issues with your home.  Don't be the obstacle to selling your home.  It is almost always the price.  Price counteracts all deficiencies.
    • Even if you are on a main road, backing up to an expressway or in the flight path, the right price will sell your home.  Your home is not worth what you have in it, what you need to get out of it, what the neighbors got for theirs, or what you think it is worth.  It is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it and if you have had 10 buyers look at it and they haven't bought it, the chances are it is overpriced.  You can leave it priced too high to find that perfect buyer who thinks like you, likes what you like, and is willing to buy it.  But even then, their agent is probably going to encourage them to make a low offer if it has been on the market too long.
  8. Didn't have a pre-listing inspection

    • This is a great way to save money at the inspection stage.  Take the time and spend the money to get a good inspection prior to listing. Fix the safety and major issues before listing using your contractor at your budget.  When your buyer gets his inspection, there will probably be a few minor issues but in general the buyer will be happy and you won't lose the buyer or have to give up money for the buyer's contractor.
  9. Didn't disclose issues that eventually came up at inspection.

    • If you disclose everything that you think might come up at inspection, the buyer, in the heat of the bidding, will probably agree to the purchase contract knowing these deficiencies.  However at the inspection stage, usually the buyer will go after everything they didn't know about and now you will end up giving up money.
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