One of the most important things to figure out when you are buying a home is your budget. Before you ever start looking at houses you need to determine three things.

  1.  What you are ALLOWED to spend. That means how much mortgage you can qualify for, plus any funds you have available for a down payment. I highly recommend seeing a professional mortgage broker. They will help you determine what you can qualify for based on your income, debts, credit score, and current mortgage qualification rules.  They will also help to find you the best interest rate and terms for your needs.
  2. What you COULD spend. That means calculating what payment can fit comfortably into your budget, keeping in mind costs like property tax, home maintenance, and closing costs. Not to mention things like furniture, window coverings, etc. While they aren’t technically considered part of your housing cost, anyone who’s ever bought a new home knows once you move in there will be things you want or need to buy in order to make your house feel like home. This is the step that helps you avoid becoming “house poor”.
  3. What you WANT to spend. This is a question of lifestyle. Maybe you love to travel, so you will decide to spend much less than you qualify for and could easily afford, to save money for travel. Or maybe having a certain type of home is very important to you, so you will decide to spend more, knowing it may mean less free cash for other things.

Once you’ve determined the answer to these three questions, you’ve determined your maximum budget. That doesn’t mean you must spend to the maximum, if we can find something that meets all or your wants and needs below budget, all the better! However, knowing your maximum budget before shopping is the best way to avoid disappointment. 

THE RIGHT SELLING PRICE AFFECTS YOUR BOTTOM LINE

When you’re selling your home, the price you set is a critical factor in the return you’ll receive. That’s why you need a professional evaluation from an experienced REALTOR(R). This person can provide you with an honest assessment of your home, based on several factors including:

  • Market conditions
  • Condition of your home
  • Repairs or improvements
  • Time frame

If the price of your home is too high, several things could happen:

  • Limits buyers. Potential buyers may not view your home, because it would be out of their price range
  • Limits showings. Other salespeople may be reluctant to show your home if they think it is over-priced.
  • Used as leverage. Other salespeople may use this home to sell homes that are better priced.
  • Extended stay on the market. When a home is on the market too long, it may be perceived as defective. Buyers may wonder, “what’s wrong”, or “why hasn’t this sold?”
  • Lower price. An overpriced home, still on the market beyond the average selling time, could lead to a lower selling price. To sell it, you will have to reduce the price, sometimes, several times. In the end, you’ll probably get less than if it had been properly priced at the start.
  • Wasted time and energy. A bank appraisal is often required to finance a home. If the home appraises below the agreed purchase price the bank will refuse to finance the transaction for the purchaser. This will mean you will either lose the sale or be forced to agree to reduce the price to the appraised value.

REALTORS(R) have known it for years, well-kept homes, properly priced in the beginning, always get you a faster sale for the best price! And that’s why you need a professional to assist you in the selling of your home. If you would like to get a market analysis of your home, with no pressure and No Pushing please contact me.

MISTAKE #1: OVER-PRICING

Everyone wants to get the most money possible when selling their home, however, the best way to do this is NOT to over-price your home. There is always the temptation to think if a potential buyer likes the home but thinks the price is too high they will just make a lower offer. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some prospective buyers will assume they can’t get the house within their budget and will never even come to view the property. It may give buyers overly high expectations of the property. If your home is actually worth $250,000 and you list for $300,000, it’s quite likely your potential buyers will be comparing your home to other $300,000 homes, and if they are properly priced, the comparison won’t be a favorable one! Over-priced properties usually take longer to sell, and often sell for less in the end than if they had been properly priced at the start. The longer your home is for sale the more potential buyers will wonder if it’s because there is something wrong with it, and the more likely they are to try low-ball offers, since they know no one else has been interested at that price, and hope you may be desperate to sell.

MISTAKE #2: FAILING TO PROPERLY PREPARE 

The expression “you only get once chance to make a first impression” describes selling a home perfectly. No matter how much you love your home, and know all the wonderful things that make it a great place to live, it’s irrelevant to the buyer if they can’t see those things when they walk in. If they don’t like it immediately it’s very rare that you will get a second chance, they will just move on to the next property for sale. That’s why it’s critical to properly prepare your home before listing. Do all necessary repairs, cleaning, decluttering, decorating, etc. Whatever is necessary to make your home as inviting and appealing as possible to as many potential buyers as possible. On the same note, you should never bring a listing to the market without high-quality photography of the entire home. Most buyers shop online first, and if you have no photos, or low-quality photos, you may not get a second glance or a second chance!

MISTAKE #3: NOT KNOWING YOUR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

It’s critical that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a seller. You should ensure you understand clearly what must be disclosed to the buyer, and exactly what you are agreeing to when signing any contracts. Your REALTOR® will be able to explain these rights and obligations to you, however if you still have any doubts you might also want to consider consulting your real estate lawyer.

MISTAKE #4: SIGNING A LISTING CONTRACT WITH NO CANCELLATION OPTION

Imagine you are a shop owner. Would you consider hiring an employee to work in your shop, with no option to fire them if you are unhappy with their work? Probably not! While your REALTOR® may not technically be an employee, they are still someone you are hiring to do a job for you. Your REALTOR® should clearly explain to you prior to signing the listing contract exactly what services are included, and what your costs will be. Preferably they will offer some sort of service guarantee, and if you are unhappy with the service you should be able to cancel the contract. Be sure to ensure they are willing to grant an “unconditional withdrawal” if you are dissatisfied, as this allows you not just to remove the property from the market, but to re-list with another agent immediately, if you so choose.


MISTAKE #5: INADEQUATE MARKETING

Two of the most commonly thought of tools for home sales are open houses, and classified ads. However, most serious buyers will prefer to book a private viewing with the own REALTOR®, and will turn to the internet to start their search, not the newspaper. Ask you REALTOR® how he or she will market your property for sale. There should be a mix of traditional methods, along with online advertising, social media, industry exposure, etc. Don’t just assume that your agent is doing these things, ask to see copies of ads, or links to online advertising. While the Multiple Listing Service is an excellent tool, your agent should try to maximize the exposure of your property to attract as many potential buyers as possible.


MISTAKE #6: CHOOSING THE WRONG REALTOR(R) 

Selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions of most people’s lives. It’s very important that you select the best REALTOR® for you. Both to protect your investment, and also to make the process as simple as possible for you, and reduce the stress involved. Ask your REALTOR® for a list of services included in their fee. Make sure you understand the total cost, including taxes, and how much of that fee will be used to compensate the buyer’s agent who sells the home vs. how much is retained by the listing agent and their brokerage. You should also discuss what sort of response times you can expect when contacting your agent with questions, how soon after showings you can expect updates, and how often you will be updated on marketing efforts. Ask for references from past clients, what recourse you have if you are dissatisfied with the service provided, and anything else you need to know to feel comfortable before signing a listing contract. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers you receive, don’t let yourself be pressured into signing a contract. 

For most house hunters buying is an emotional decision, and is even influenced by factors they may not be fully aware of. Scents and aromas can have a dramatic impact on people’s emotions, and even if they don’t consciously realize it, or come right out and say it, a bad scent in a home can and does prevent people from buying.

Don’t underestimate the power of scent when selling your home. Smoke, pet odors, musty basements, cooking smells, and even overly-powerful air fresheners can dramatically impact how potential buyers feel about your house.

Smoking is the number one offender. It’s a distinctive scent that non-smokers pick up on instantly, and they know it’s a very difficult scent to eliminate. I’ve seen many cases where someone has smoked only in front of an open window, under a range hood, or in the garage. They can’t smell the smoke in the home and assume others can’t either, but they usually can! If you have been smoking in your home, stop immediately. Wash the curtains, pillows, and bedding. Steam-clean carpets and rugs. It may even be necessary to paint throughout if there has been a lot of smoking in the home.

The best way to know if there are any unpleasant scents in your home is to ask an honest friend to come give it a sniff! They can smell things that your nose has become accustomed to, and you may no longer smell. Eliminate any odors by cleaning and airing out spaces. Once you’ve removed any unpleasant scents and freshened the air in your home, you can actually use scent to your advantage.

Consider doing some baking prior to showings. It’s a real-estate cliché for a reason! The scent of fresh-baked bread or cookies is hard to beat when it comes to creating the atmosphere of a welcoming home. If you don’t have time to bake, just simmer some vanilla and brown sugar in water for a few minutes. Avoid using air-fresheners and scented candles whenever possible as they may make potential buyers wonder if you are trying to hide a bad scent, and some buyers may have sensitivities to scents. I’ve actually encountered homes so heavily scented that a buyer was not even able to go inside for a viewing. Needless to say, if a buyer can’t view your home, they won’t buy your home.

While it may seem like a minor point, a house that smells inviting will smell like a home to potential buyers. Whether they are conscious of it or not, the feelings buyers have about a home have a huge impact on their decision making process. Creating inviting scents in your home is one of the most inexpensive things you can do to make your home more appealing, so why not?