Real Estate Guest Series, Part 2: Buyers and Sellers

BCR Wealth Strategies |

The home buying and selling process can be one of the most exciting things an individual or family can take part in.  It can also be one of the most stressful and confusing. To give some insight into the current state of our local market as well as give our readers some things to consider when it's time to make the move, I asked a group of realtors to answer some of the common questions we get from our clients and friends related to the housing market.  


In the first part of this three-part series I will share some of the responses I obtained to questions related to the general market.  In the second part, I will focus on the responses specifically concerning things buyers and sellers should consider when buying or selling a home. In the third part, I will offer some of my own thoughts on some topics related to this enormous decision we will all likely face at one time or another.  


Part 2 – Tips for Buyers and Sellers

Question 1: What are the biggest mistakes sellers make when putting their house on the market? Buyers when purchasing? 


“For sellers pricing a home inaccurately or doing the wrong renovations over time. You must appeal to the mass audience so a home must be prepared and staged for this purpose.


For home buyers not knowing how to negotiate or prepare a contract. I have seen people buy homes with survey issues, structural issues and also put themselves in hairy situations because they didn’t understand the ramifications of their contractual obligations.”

  • Gusty Gulas, Brik Realty


“Sellers - assuming that all buyers will like their choices – as in flooring, colors, etc. and many times will spend unnecessary money on upgrades only to find buyers don’t like and don’t want. Also not paying attention to small and large maintenance issues such as rotten wood around windows etc.


Buyers - getting emotionally caught up in the seller’s “stuff.”  Many times forgetting it goes with the seller in most instances leaving a shell for them to decorate with their stuff.


But for both buyer and sellers not using a licensed real estate professional – a Realtor to guide and help them with the process.”

  • Kim Mangham-Barelare, LAH Real Estate


Question 2: What are some factors people don’t always consider that may make it harder to sell their home?


“Their neighbors, school zones, sometimes an eyesore nearby (like a power substation), busy street, etc.”

  • Kristen McGee, Brik Realty


“Too often we see sellers neglect the need for repairs and updates before putting their home on the market.  Regardless of how well priced a property is, often buyers can’t get past the significant changes they would have to make were they to purchase the house. ”

  • Daniel Odrezin, ARC Realty


“The market determines the price!   We know you love your home, we know you love your  “upgrades,” we know what you paid for your home, but in selling your home, that isn’t what is important.  The important factor is what a willing and able buyer will pay for the home.  A house that is overpriced will sit on the market and help sell other houses that are priced appropriately.  The longer a house is on the market,  the buyers are more likely to question what is wrong with the property.  A house that is strategically priced will bring a higher price in a shorter amount of time.  


The second factor is condition.  A house in good condition will bring a higher price and sell quicker than a house in disrepair.  A homeowner should consider having all broken items in the home repaired or replaced before listing.  De-cluttering and cleaning the home thoroughly is essential.  Remove all personal items that will prevent the buyers from envisioning the home as their own.  The day that the property goes on the market, pictures will appear on multiple websites, making it imperative that the house is in pristine condition.  The seller needs to maintain the condition throughout the showing process.”

  • Joyce Crawford, Keller Williams Realty


Question 3: What do you feel is the most important thing for people to think about when selling a home? Buying a home?


“We focus on preparation and presentation. If you don’t have the home looking spectacular for the first potential buyer, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Always be ready for a showing. You never know who the buyer of your home may be and they may drive past your house one day and want to see it. For buyers, they must get pre-approved early and go ahead and get all of their income documentation to their Mortgage Broker. Small changes on a credit report can make a huge impact on potential loans and interest rates.”

  • Gusty Gulas, Brik Realty


“Sellers should think very carefully when pricing their home and considering whether to make updates before putting the home on the market.  Taking chances on a price higher than your home’s value can have a negative impact at the end, and a real estate professional is equipped to help sellers avoid these mistakes. 


It’s important for buyers to think about the home’s potential, not just the property’s condition at the time of sale.  If buyers don’t think creatively about how they can improve a property, they will end up discouraged when they can’t find that perfect house.  That said, if they don’t think strategically, they could also end up stuck in a house they can’t afford to update.”

  • Daniel Odrezin, ARC Realty


“Selling -  try not to miss any showings if at all possible. If you decline a showing sometimes it is very likely that they will find something else that day and not come back.


Buyers - be prepared before you start physically looking at homes. Have your pre-approval, so you are ready to go.” 

  • Kristen McGee, Brik Realty


Question 4: What are some of best things a seller can do to increase the value of their home and/or make it more attractive to potential buyers? Any particular upgrades or amenities?


Buyers want to know that a home has been taken care of and that they aren’t buying a lemon.  Provide documentation of repairs and service providers.  Provide positive features to the community, schools, and neighborhood.  Consult an agent before putting a lot of money into an upgrade.  Many times sellers spend money that doesn’t increase the value, it was just something for their own personal pleasure.  If a seller is considering doing upgrades, the kitchen and bathrooms are the key areas that provide additional value.”   

  • - Joyce Crawford, Keller Williams Realty


“Fresh paint, get a deep-clean, declutter, create good curb appeal. The upgrades and amenities depend on the actual location of the home.”

  • Kristen McGee, Brik Realty


“Make sure it has curb appeal from the street – clean up and make the yard and entryway welcoming; get rid of junk around the home; whatever you can pack up and move or store or get rid of – DO – you are going to have to when you move anyway, might as well get a head start. Freshen paint in any worn areas of home. Get rid of pet smells – keep clean”


Any particular upgrades or amenities?  “This one is iffy – many buyers today like doing their own thing and would rather pay less and have money left to pick and choose what they want in the home. Countertops in kitchen and bathrooms, as kitchens and baths are still huge with most buyers.”

  • Kim Mangham-Barelare, LAH Real Estate


Question 5: What can someone do if they are ready to move and see a house they like, but have not sold their house yet?


“Many homeowners will not take contingencies on the sale of a home to purchase. You may want to consider your financing options for a low down payment to purchase and then use your equity when you sell your home to pay down what is owed. Reviewing your options with your mortgage broker is key here.  Also being comfortable with holding two mortgage payments over a few months needs to be considered as well. ”

  • Gusty Gulas, Brik Realty

“Buying a new home before selling your current home offers a convenient transition, but it can be costly, no matter how hot the market is.  Unless a seller has funds to pay for two mortgages for a good period, we often suggest not to start the search for a new home until you are well into the selling process. Buyers can write offers that are contingent on the sale of their current home, however, these are often less attractive to sellers.  This is especially true in a market where many sellers are receiving multiple offers.”

  • Daniel Odrezin, ARC Realty