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Secrets to Success: What to Do Before Calling Your Real Estate Agent

Secrets to Success: What to Do Before Calling Your Real Estate Agent

Are you thinking of entering the housing market?  Whether buying or selling, there are a few things you should do before you ever connect with your real estate agent.  Here are some tips from a pro!

Pivotal points.  Your home is a big investment.  Not only is it a substantial financial undertaking, it’s also where you spend a large portion of your life.  When you’re shopping for a new property or ready to move on, it’s important to make good choices. Make sure you know these secrets to success regarding what buyers and sellers should do before hiring a real estate agent.

First, buyers should know as much about their finances and their goals as possible, including their credit score, which areas they would like to live in, and how much they want to spend on their monthly mortgage payment. It also helps to know what features you want in a home, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and lot size.  

Money matters for buyers.  If you’re looking to buy, you need to connect with a lender for mortgage loan pre-approval.  As Consumer Reports explains, pre-approval gives any offers you make on properties validity.  It tells sellers you are likely to be approved for your loan.  Pre-approval requires you to provide proof of income, employment verification and proof of assets.  Lenders also evaluate your credit rating.  You should check your credit report ahead of time, as your history can affect both your loan amount and interest rate.  Take time to clean up your credit.  This can involve such things as removing clerical errors, closing unused accounts and resolving unpaid debts.  

Once you have your finances figured out, develop your house-hunting criteria.  Visit area open houses to see what appeals to you and will fit with your lifestyle.  It’s a chance to get a better feel for the size of a home and yard, neighborhoods, and whether you’ll be comfortable in an area.  Think through your must-haves and what is on your wishlist.  

Smart money for sellers.  Before selling a home, you should learn your mortgage payoff amount, which you can determine by using an online calculator.  You should also hire a home inspector.  It’s a chance to fix your home or price your property accordingly.  However, before investing in significant repairs, touch base with your realtor, since some work won’t pay off. Go ahead and touch up paint, spruce up your curb appeal, and do a deep cleaning, as those things improve your home’s presentation and cost very little.  

You should also be familiar with your competition.  You can use a house price calculator to give you an idea of your home’s value based on area sales, but it’s no substitute for actually looking at properties and seeing for yourself what is selling.  As Realtor notes, visiting open houses isn’t just for buyers; by viewing properties firsthand, you have the opportunity to take in what is available.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the realtor representing the property, like why the house is being sold and how long it has been on the market.  It’s your chance to explore the competition, so make good use of the opportunity.  

Wise decisions.  When you’re going to enter the housing market, there are several decisions to make.  Listen to the advice from real estate professionals and make smart preparations and you’ll be ready for a quick and successful transaction!