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22 Secrets That Your Realtor Won’t Tell You—But Should

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By Alessia Barranca

Frugal Feature

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Buying or selling a house is one of the most stressful life events, particularly when sealing the deal takes a long time. From making your home smell nice to not pushing too hard with a low offer, we take you through 22 real estate secrets you need to know before entering the housing market.

Your House Might Not Be Worth Your Dream Price

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When you have invested a lot of time and money into renovating your home, it is easy to get carried away with pricing your sale. Emotions often cloud judgment regarding a home’s value, and a good agent should provide a realistic market analysis, even if it means your dream price isn’t achievable. Be wary of agents who do not offer realistic expectations and simply tell you what you want to hear, as this may slow down your sales.

Lowball Offers Can Be a Starting Point

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If you go with a high price for your home, be prepared for offers underneath the asking price. While receiving a lowball offer can be disheartening, it doesn’t necessarily mean your listing is overpriced. A skilled agent will expire low offers and can use them as a springboard for negotiation, especially in a competitive market.

Open Houses Don’t Guarantee a Sale

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Open houses are primarily marketing tools for agents, allowing them to connect with potential buyers for other listings. While open houses can be successful if done correctly, finding your buyer might happen differently. A good agent will prioritize solid online marketing, targeted showings, and the traditional open house.

They May Not Be Experts in Every Neighborhood

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Real estate agents often specialize in specific areas. While they should know about the overall market, don’t hesitate to ask about their experience in your neighborhood to ensure you have the best chances of a quick sale.

Commissions are Negotiable

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While commission rates are somewhat standard, there’s often room for negotiation, especially if you’re selling and buying a home simultaneously. Discuss your budget and explore options with your agent.

They Might Recommend Services You Don’t Need

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Some agents may partner with preferred lenders, inspectors, or closing companies. While some of these recommendations might be convenient, prioritize getting quotes and comparing services to ensure you’re getting the best deal and are not paying over the odds for things you don’t need.

There’s No Shame in Walking Away

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Whether buying or selling, you should not feel pressured to move forward if something doesn’t feel right. A good agent will understand and support your decision if it’s in your best interest, but others may do anything to close a deal even when they know you could be making the wrong decision.

You Don’t Have to Buy the First House You See

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Many real estate agents will promise they have found you the dream house, but that may be a trick to boost their sales. Be sure to take your time, explore options, and be bold and take advantage of a house if it doesn’t fully meet your needs.

Don’t Be Afraid of Mess

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While decluttering can improve your home’s appeal and speed up the selling process, don’t let a lack of time for a deep clean stop you from accepting last-minute showing requests. Agents know that serious buyers are interested in the home’s layout and potential so that a little mess won’t be a dealbreaker.

Scents Matter

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Our sense of smell can lead to impulse buying bread at the store, investing in way too many perfumes, and even encouraging us to buy a house. Agents know that making homes smell nice is a surefire way of boosting sales as buyers create emotional attachments to homes that smell good. Freshly baked bread and cookies can leave your home with a pleasant odor, as do flowers and candles.

Curb Appeal Counts

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The first impression a buyer gets of your home is from the outside. An excellent real estate agent will tell you to Invest in landscaping, a fresh coat of paint, or a welcoming porch to create a positive first impression.

Emotional Attachment Can Hinder Negotiation

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As a seller, getting emotionally attached to your home is easy. Real estate agents know this and have seen deals fall because clients are not strewed enough. It would help if you took good advice from agents who encourage you to be prepared to detach and focus on market value when negotiating offers.

Closing Costs Can Be Expensive

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Closing costs, hidden fees, and additional expenses are part and parcel of buying and selling property. It might arise during the closing process. It would help if you chose an upfront agent about all fees, as you don’t want your sale to fall through by unwanted surprises.

Selling Doesn’t Mean Instant Profit

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It can be tempting to think about the significant profit you will make when selling a home, but agents should make you aware of renovation costs, realtor commissions, and closing fees that will affect the outcome.

Buying Requires Ongoing Investment

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Homeownership comes with ongoing maintenance costs, property taxes, and potential repairs. These aspects of real estate should be factored into your long-term financial planning; something agents should always make you aware of. The last thing you want is to buy a home that has potential, but you don’t have the cash to turn it into a dream.

Get Everything in Writing

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To ensure you are fully covered, check that all agreements, offers, and counteroffers are documented and signed by all parties involved. Hiring an agent who pays close attention to detail can save you much money if anything goes wrong during your sale.

Do Your Research

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A good agent will be happy that you have done your homework and know what you want to secure a swift sale. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on your agent’s expertise. You should research the market, compare properties, and understand the legalities of the buying or selling process.

Consider Hiring a Lawyer

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While only sometimes necessary, consulting a real estate lawyer can provide valuable guidance and protect your interests throughout the transaction. A good agent will be okay with you covering all bases and will like working with someone who knows what they are talking about.

Be Upfront About Your Needs and Budget

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The more transparent you are with your agent about your budget, expectations, and desires, the quicker you will get what you want. A confident agent will ask you all they need to know to ensure you get a fast sale and should only have to come back to you

Read Before You Sign

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Always check the small print of housing contracts before signing the dotted line. In addition to hidden fees, the sale may contain clauses that agents are not always upfront about. If you are not confident about reading contracts, you can ask a legal expert for help.

Don’t Bypass Inspections

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It would help if you did not skip surveys and inspections to get a quick sale. Professional surveyors can detect potential structural issues with your potential home so that you do not invest in a house that needs lots of work.

Don’t Skip the Final Walk-Through

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After finalizing surveys and inspections, you should give your potential home a final walk-through. Seeing the home you fell in love with at a different time of day and with loved ones who can be more objective can offer different perspectives so that you do not make a costly error.