It doesn’t matter if it’s your first move or your fifteenth, moving is a lot of work and it there is always a hitch or two. Although it’s not always possible to foresee everything that can go wrong and avoid it, there are many things that you can do in advance to minimize the difficulties.
Your home may be the single largest purchase of your life, yet often the decision to buy or sell is impulsive and ill thought out. In many cases the first person that a couple will speak to about a real estate plan is an agent. How many people know their Real Estate agent personally? Don’t get me wrong, most agents are professional people who put their client’s interests first, but the line between whose best interest is being served can sometimes get a bit blurry. “A good agent can be your best ally in purchasing or selling a home- its important to have a rapport with that individual. I think it is also important for people to understand the types of relationships that you can have with an agent – each client must sign a “working with a realtor form” that lays out what types of relationships there are (or might arise) and what our obligations are to the client.” Corinne Harper Jones, Sales Representative, Re/Max Reality enterprises Inc., Brokerage.
Your Agents will likely have great contacts and they are bound by professional ethics and regulatory bodies, but doing your research ahead of time allows you to make informed choices about your support team. The team you choose certainly can include those services recommended by your Agent. However, your support team ultimately should be chosen by you so that you feel secure in the information you receive and that you have taken responsibility for your choices.
Here is a little story to help illustrate what can await the new home buyer. John and Mary are a military family. They’ve been transferred to a base in a small community. With only a few weeks notice of the transfer there was little time to do more than look at homes online and phone a few agents. When they arrived and began house hunting with their chosen agent, she showed them a selection of home. Most of these were listed with her agency, some with agents she knew well. John and Mary with her help selected a home. The agent recommended a local lawyer to help with the transaction and when asked, she also knew a reputable home inspector. Their mortgage officer in their old town made them an appointment with her counterpart in the new community. Unknown to John and Mary, the mortgage officer was the brother-in-law of the vendor. John and Mary are likely to live in this community for the next five years. There support team have lived and worked together since grade school. John and Mary are investing everything they have in this home, are you comfortable with this transaction?
A Real Estate Agent does not want to assume moral responsibility for every homebuyer they assist. You make their job easier and protect the investment of your money when you make responsible decisions with independent advice. Do your research. First determine if you really want/need to sell your home or if redecorating or renovating will address the issues in your current home. If you decide to sell following these steps will help to protect you and your investment.
- Prepare a realistic budget of your current cash inflow/outflow
- Book an appointment with the mortgage officer at your bank or a Mortgage Broker. You need to know your financing possibilities and secure an interest rate before you begin looking at dream homes.
- Make a list of “must haves” in your new home. Consider a his/hers list and compare.
- Research Real Estate firms and Agents. Take the time to find one that you feel comfortable with and has enough experience to assist you with the most major purchase of your lifetime. Your Agent is your primary support and selecting one that your trust is vital.
- Find a family member or friend who will be your “sober second thought,” ask them to assume this role. Of all your support team, they are the only ones who truly have no other motivation in your home purchase.
- Speak with your lawyer or research and find one. Get a detailed list of fees and add this to your moving budget.
- Do your own research to find a home inspector, check his/her references and credentials.
When all the ducks are in a row, then you are ready to list your home and commit to the house hunting process. Your agent will be your primary advisor from this point until you have sold your existing home and purchased a new one. You have hired this person to provide you with realistic direction and as such you should be prepared to listen to the Agent’s advice, even is you chose not to act on it.. “Most people are emotionally invested in their home and sometimes feel its worth more than the market is demanding. Some people will interview a number of agents till they find one that will list their house for what they feel is the right price- in most cases the agent will need to do a price reduction at some point and it even might lengthen the sale of your property by months.” Corinne Harper Jones, Sales Representative, Re/Max Reality enterprises Inc., Brokerage.