Whether it's your first time buying or selling a house or it's your fifth, you'll likely have lots of questions about the process. We understand that, which is why we're answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the home-buying and home-selling process. Read on to get the answers you seek!
Buying a Home
Should I work with an agent?
Yes! When searching for a home, it's important to know what you want. The right agent will help you determine must-haves and deal-breakers, as well as educate you on the communities you're interested in. Your agent will also help you navigate the complexities of the home-buying process. They're the expert, after all!
Should I go to the bank before starting my house search?
Getting pre-approved before starting your house search can be very helpful. By measuring factors like income, credit, and assets, a lender can determine what type of loan best suits your needs and how much home you can afford. Not only will you know your spending budget, it can also give you an upper hand as a buyer because it shows sellers you're serious about making a purchase.
How many houses should I tour?
As many as it takes until you find the perfect home for you. Everyone's needs, wants, and deal-breakers will be different, and you want to avoid settling for a house you'll dislike after a few months. Even if it takes time, it's worth the extra effort.
Do I need money for a big down payment?
Not necessarily. Today, more loan options and homebuying programs exist, giving buyers a larger variety of approaches to buying a house. While some people may still want to complete a large down payment, it is absolutely not vital to purchase a home. In fact, the average first-time buyer only puts 6% down, and many loans and programs available to first-time buyers require even less than that.
How long will closing last?
After negotiations have settled and your offer is accepted, the loan process and title work begin. Inspections and other walkthroughs will be completed as well. Most closings last 30 to 45 days.
Selling a Home
Should I sell on my own or with an agent?
You've probably heard from one person or another that going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route is optimal as it will save you money that you would otherwise spend on commission fees. However, the benefits of listing, marketing, and exposing your home to potential buyers an agent provides are often worth the commission fee.
What's more, you may end up spending less money by selling with an agent. A typical home sale process that requires lots of time and effort likely won't net you much savings at all if you go it alone.
When should I put my home on the market?
This is the first of many steps where an agent's expertise will help you make a decision. When there are fewer available homes to purchase to meet buyers' demands, you get a seller's market. Each home for sale becomes a hot commodity in this sort of market.
There's no truly bad time to sell, necessarily. Even in a buyer's market, your home will still draw attention so long as it's promoted properly.
Should I make any changes to my home before selling?
Definitely! Do a deep clean, make necessary repairs and replacements, organize cabinets and closets, declutter and depersonalize, and spruce up your home's curb appeal. Be careful about spending too much money on major repairs and renovations, however; you may not make back what you spent in the sale.
How should I price my home?
Determining your home's value can be tricky; setting an accurate sale price can be even tougher. Your agent will help you assess your home's value by analyzing other similar homes in the area that have sold. A home inspection will also help to paint the picture of your home's value.
Setting a sale price is a delicate art. Price it too high and you risk pushing buyers away. Price it too low and you might raise suspicions in buyers' minds. Again, your agent will help you find the sweet spot and price your home favorably.
Still have questions about the home-buying or selling process? Contact one of our expert agents to have your questions answered.
For most of us, a life lived mostly inside the walls of our home became the norm for at least a year. Lots of things changed; grocery store trips became deliveries, intense hand-washing sessions occurred multiple times a day, and empty guest rooms became home offices.
It makes sense then that homebuyers' preferred features have shifted in response to the changes they've experienced. Point2 Homes examined 43 million words from more than 640,000 listings across the United States, then compared their findings to a study of the same nature in 2019.
Examining the most popular home descriptions words, phrases, and features reveals a lot about how buyers' tastes have changed.
September is officially Happy Cat Month, so take some extra time to appreciate your feline friend. Cats make wonderful pets, but there's one part of cat ownership that everyone dislikes - the litter box. Its appearance isn't attractive, and no one wants to have its odor or the sounds of a cat scratching away in the box invading your home's common areas.
With a few tools, some time, and a little bit of effort, you can hide your cat's litter box while still leaving it easily accessible for them. Check out these tips to help make your cat's litter box out of sight and out of mind.
While choosing to list your home in a seller's market is a highly desirable opportunity, there are still a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure your home stands out among the rest. Although your Watson agent will take care of most of these for you, you should also be well-versed on what to look for. Here are a few key things you'll want to implement in order to attract buyers and achieve your selling goals.
Hire a Great REALTOR®
A sound home-selling strategy includes multiple parts. Perhaps the most important part is hiring an outstanding REALTOR® who knows the market, the comps in your area, and what buyers are looking for. An experienced agent can sell your home faster and at a better price, so do your due diligence on agents in your area to maximize your profit and minimize sale time.
Make Your Marketing Matter
According to Forbes, social media is the biggest factor in the new real estate market. Not only that, but a Pew Research Center survey also found that of 30-to-49-year-olds, 82% use at least one social media platform, with Facebook and Instagram being the most popular.
Take advantage of social media by giving your agent permission to post stunning photos of the home with relevant hashtags like #yourcityrealestate on Instagram and Facebook. Then, share those posts to maximize your reach! Don't forget to combine that with traditional methods like yard signs, and you'll have more eyeballs from a variety of sources on your home, which equals more offers for you.
Go Live at the Right Time
Psst! Here is an insider secret: Friday is considered to be the best day of the week for home selling. Many people start their vacations that day or take off work early and are ready to get into personal affairs like browsing homes for sale. Since this day is likely to have more online traffic, consider posting the listing for sale on a Friday to generate more initial activity and engagement with your home. Conversely, Mondays are the worst day for activity, so keep that in mind!
Photos and Videos are King
What is the first thing you would look at when browsing homes to buy? If you said photos, you've done this before. Sharp, clean, professional photography is paramount to the buyer experience of wanting more of what your home has to offer. Good photos will entice a buyer to come visit your home in person. For homes in the $200K to $1M range, high-quality photography can increase the price by $3K-$11K. Even better, high-quality photos and especially virtual tours can lead to a 32% faster sale!
Begin with Curb Appeal
Hands down the most important part of making your home attractive is making it beautiful, clean, and as turn-key as possible. Start with the outside and take care of your landscaping, painting, and repairs. It's the first thing people see in photos and in person – and first impressions count! Plant bright flowers, lay down fresh mulch, eliminate weeds, and give the outside a power wash or new coat of paint to give your home an affordable facelift that yields excellent returns.
Create a Clean Slate
It should come as no surprise that if you plan on getting your home sold, the bare minimum is getting it clean, de-cluttered, and repaired. But you may also want to consider a professional cleaning or upgrades for key areas, like the kitchen and bathrooms – which buyers zero in on most. Ensure there are no smells whatsoever, remove any sign of pets, and de-personalize by removing photos or items like sports team flags or religious keepsakes which can turn buyers off. Don't forget home staging can help buyers visualize the way furniture compliments the home.
Ready to take the first step to getting your home sold? Let our Watson agents help – contact us today!
Whether you're selling or refinancing, a lot rides on your home's professional appraisal. The appraiser's unbiased opinion will give buyers and lenders alike a clearer vision of your home's worth. A lower number hurts your chances of securing a loan or selling for a good price.
Many factors go into your home's appraisal, some of which you simply can't control like number of bedrooms or the neighborhood. Luckily, there are things you can do to boost your home's profile. Here are some tips for getting a high appraisal.
Look at Past Appraisals
If your home has been appraised in the past, take a look at those records. Pay close attention to the things that lowered your home's value and try to improve those issues first.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, and that goes for your home too. Scrub, dust, and wipe every corner of your home to create a spotless presentation. Renew your air fresheners or light a candle or two to emphasize a clean, crisp environment. You'd be surprised how something as simple as cleaning can influence your appraisal.
Take Care of Those Minor Repairs
If you've been putting off those pesky leaks or clogged gutters, now's the time to knock them out. Neglecting quick and inexpensive fixes will absolutely negatively affect your appraisal. Be sure to document any minor and major repairs as well, especially if you hire contractors to work on them.
Before the process even begins, your appraiser will start making mental notes about your home's exterior as they arrive. Make sure they're taking good notes by creating welcoming curb appeal. This can be done by maintaining the grass and any plants, presenting a clean walkway, touching up the paint if need be, and more.
Enter the Modern Age
Worn finishes and creaky, old appliances won't score you any points for being vintage. Instead, consider saying goodbye to these relics of the past and enhancing your home with more modern touches, like quartz countertops or stainless-steel appliances. Appraisers will place more value on these sorts of higher-end details. Of course, it's always worth talking to your agent about which upgrades make the most sense for your home.
With that said, however, it's important not to cater your home to one specific niche. Pricey upgrades may not make as much sense as they do on paper – you may not even recoup those expenses in the sale.
The ultimate takeaway is to ensure your home is well-kept. Even a home with outdated stylings could sell well if it's been maintained with care and consistency over the years.
If there are repairs you haven't completed by the appraisal, be honest with your appraiser. The desire to hide them may be strong – no one is proud to admit they haven't gotten that cracked foundation fixed yet – but it will only hurt you in the long run.
By telling your appraiser of any needed repairs, they can possibly factor the costs of said repairs into the appraisal. Otherwise, they may use a general figure, which could end up hurting your value. If you intend to have the repairs done yourself, the appraiser may need to return to confirm their completion.
Have more questions about getting a high appraisal? Contact a Watson agent today for more info!
Listing your home for sale can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. One of the best ways to sell your home quickly and increase your sale price is through proper home staging. Home staging is both an art and a science and often takes a good bit of experience to pull it off just right. Our real estate agents are experts at home staging and are always willing to offer tips to help you through the process.
Whether you've sold a home or not, you're likely familiar with some common home-selling tips or pieces of advice that you've been told or read in some article. You may even believe some of them! Even if delivered with the best intentions, the fact is a lot of the most common home-selling tropes are myths, and we're here to play the role of real estate myth busters. Here are eight home-selling myths you shouldn't believe.
The Truth: Your home may very well sell in the first week! We're currently in a seller's market, which means there's more demand than there are homes for sale. So if you were to list today, there actually is a good chance your home would sell very quickly.
However, that's only true when the market favors sellers. In other times, selling in the first week just isn't likely. Having lived in your own home for years, you've naturally developed a strong emotional connection to it. Unfortunately, not everyone else has the same connection, and it might take time to find someone who vibes with your house the same way you do.
The Truth: So you've poured thousands of dollars into a remade kitchen or a high-class bathroom in hopes that it will increase your home's value. On a very technical level, they may have. But it doesn't necessarily mean your house will sell at a higher price. The unfortunate truth is that depending on what you spent, you may not even make it back in the sale. Everyone's taste is different, so sweeping upgrades may not gel with potential buyers. Instead, talk to your agent about which upgrades might pay off. You can also take notice of other homes in the area and see what they're doing.
The Truth: Unless you find a buyer who is head-over-heels smitten with your home, the only thing a high asking price will get you is a price change after a few weeks. Instead of creating room for negotiation, you're pushing away serious buyers who will balk at the exorbitant asking price. Instead, trust your agent to set an appropriate listing price based on the market, your home's value, and other factors.
The Truth: Remember when we said it's unlikely your home will sell in the first week? Sometimes, it does happen – you might get a bite just days after hitting the market. Don't overthink it: you didn't underprice your house. If anything, you likely priced it perfectly, which is why you're attracting serious buyers so quickly.
The Truth: A common thought when receiving an initial offer – especially if you deem it less than attractive – is to hold out for a better offer from someone else. Of course, if the first offer fits what you're looking for, then by all means accept it – you know what's best for you. Talk with your agent about evaluating the offer – is there room to negotiate to bring it closer to what you want?
But turning down an offer just because it's the first can have unforeseen consequences. For example, the longer your home stays on the market, the more questions buyers will begin to have. What's so wrong with those house that it hasn't sold yet? What am I not seeing? Suddenly that first offer you turned down doesn't look so bad.
The Truth: As we mentioned earlier, you likely have a strong emotional attachment to your home. It's full of personal memories that you'd never dream of hiding. But you really should when it comes time to prepare your home to sell. You want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves in the home. Let them imagine making their own emotional connection without the roadblock of your family photos lining the shelves.
The Truth: Lovely though it may be, your house is highly unlikely to sell on its own merits alone. A well-thought strategy goes into every home sale, including marketing, staging, studying the market, and so much more. Simply sticking a For Sale sign in your front yard isn't going to get the job done. That's why hiring a trusted real estate agent to assist you is paramount in selling.
The Truth: Go with the agent who properly researches the local market and values your property fairly according to said market. That's who will give your home the best chance to sell.
You've heard it a million times but allow us to say it once more: first impressions matter! Consider that chefs often say the first taste of a meal happens with our eyes. The same principle applies to selling your home – how you present it to potential buyers makes a difference. From introducing more natural light to decluttering, these proven home staging tips will get those For Sale signs out of your yard in no time.
Even if you clean regularly, chances are some nooks and crannies of your home haven't seen household cleaner in a while. No judgment – it's easy to overlook some surfaces when you've got a full house to clean! But now's the time to scrub high and low all throughout your home to get every sneaky surface squeaky clean. Here's a guide to help you get started.
Decluttering is a favorite topic of ours, and with good reason: it does so much for your home's presentation. It creates space (even if you don't have as much), makes your home look neat and tidy, and shows the home in its best light.
Turn on every light in the house. Open up curtains and let that natural light shine in. Utilize candles where possible but keep fire safety concerns in mind. A bright home is a happy and inviting home.
Your home is very attractive, and your style of décor surely enhances it. But for the sake of staging, peel back as much of your personal décor as possible. It may sting to remove what you consider to be part of your home's personality, but it will help your home appeal to the largest audience.
You know about depreciation, but did you know there's such a thing as curable depreciation? In the simplest terms, curable depreciations can be fixed and add value back to the property. These cosmetic fixes include painting, wallpapering, decluttering, and more. Prioritize these fixes because you'll see the financial rewards reflected in the sale price.
Furniture and other items that are visually outdated should be removed, unless it's a true antique or a family heirloom. Your accessories should make your home look modern.
You might have kept a workstation in a corner of your dining room, but that doesn't mean you should advertise that. Put furniture in the room where it makes most sense to give the best impression.
Pet smells, food odors, and anything else giving your home a funky scent should be dealt with immediately. Use candles, air fresheners, or even bake a fresh batch of cookies to make your home smell luscious.
You might love the picture of your family on the mantle, but it's not going to help your home sell. Your ultimate goal with staging should be making your home feel like a model home. You want it devoid of personal touches so that potential buyers can form their own emotional connections to it while picturing themselves living there.