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In the real estate era of Redfin, Zillow, and other such websites buyers and sellers can essentially search for homes on their own.  However, with increasing prices of real estate and growing litigation over purchase and sale transactions, it critical to know the value of your own agent. There are several QUICK TIPS we have learned over the years that we would like to share with you.


  • Declutter the home

  • Have the home professionally cleaned

  • Remove pets during showings

  • Have all flooring and carpet cleaned

  • Minor repairs were recommended by 77% of all REALTORS in the study.

  • 70% of all REALTORS recommended depersonalizing the home. Such as taking down personal photos and highly specific décor.

  • 67% of REALTORS recommend landscaping touch ups to outdoor areas and paint touch up of walls


  • Importance of a Buyer’s Agent.  A specific buyer’s agent is one who only represents buyer in any given transaction.  It necessarily means that your agent does NOT represent the Seller in any capacity.  This is important because it means your agent owes his fiduciary duties to you alone which translates to his or her representing your interests and no one else.

  • Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan.  There’s a big difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage. Anybody can get pre-qualified for a loan. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Being pre-approved will save you a lot of time and energy so you are not running around looking at houses you can't afford.

  • Learn about all costs before starting the home-buying process Most first-time home-buyers concentrate on the down payment — the largest of all the out-of-pocket expenses — but there are plenty of other fees required for a property purchase that you should be aware of before starting the process. Do your research and learn about the following:

    • Lender Fees: Origination Costs, Lender Fees, Processing Fees, etc.

    • Closing Costs: Escrow and Title fees and costs, pre-paid interest, and pre-paid taxes.

    • Property Taxes: Property tax payments; should you impound or pay on your own.

    • Homeowners Insurance: Investigate whether the property requires regular homeowners insurance policy or an extended policy to cover fire or flood danger areas.

    • HOA Dues: What are the monthly dues and special assessments, if any.

  • Don’t Try to Time the Market.  Don’t obsess with trying to time the market and figure out when is the best time to buy. Trying to anticipate the housing market is impossible. The best time to buy is when you find your perfect house and you can afford it. Real estate is cyclical, it goes up and it goes down and it goes back up again. So, if you try to wait for the perfect time, you’re probably going to miss out.

  • Investigate the HOA to make sure you're compatible.  Homeowners Associations can be great for many communities because they provide a set of standards to ensure that all residents are living in a place that values beautification and resale value. On the other hand, some find the HOA to be too involved, or controlling, and that the decisions of the board may not always be best for everyone.  The following are important issues to consider:

    • Is the association professionally managed?

    • Check the association's annual budget and make sure it is accurate and balanced.

    • Ask for a copy of the Reserve Study and ask about the history of special assessments.

    • Check the curb appeal closely and make note of any obvious deferred maintenance.

    • Read the association's rules and standards.

  • Stalk & Walk the Neighborhood.  Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night.  Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. Do your regular commute from the house to make sure it is something you can deal with on a daily basis. Even if you don’t have kids, research the schools because it affects the value of your home in a very big way.

  • Add a personal touch when there are multiple offers.  How do you stand out in a pool of potential buyers? Send a personal note to the seller with a creative story about yourself, why you're the best buyer for the house, and your plan to make it a home.


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