The real estate market is an ever-changing, rapidly evolving business. Real estate advice that was relevant five years ago is most likely out the window by now as new—or sometimes recycled—tips and trends make their way around the block. Advice and knowledge that were completely valid and useful just a few years ago can be completely obsolete now. Here are five real estate tips you should leave behind as we close the door on another year and open it up to 2019.
✘ Set Your List Price High
Overpricing your home means you could be missing out on a whole group of buyers. Say your home is worth about $200,000, and that’s what you hope to get for it. Your gut tells you to price it at $250,000 for haggling’s sake. But setting your list price higher than your home’s actual value can do more harm than good. When buyers and their agents conduct their initial searches, they’ll set search parameters that include a certain price range. Using our above example, if their top price is $210,000, your overpriced home—which they could actually afford if it was priced appropriately—won’t even show up in their search results. A smart buyer who’s working with a savvy Realtor might also steer clear of any obviously overpriced homes because they don’t want to deal with the back-and-forth of negotiating with a greedy seller.
✘ Always Go for a 30-Year, Fixed-Rate Mortgage
It used to be that people stayed in one job until they retired. They bought a house and raised their families there and maybe moved once. Life is wildly different these days. The truth now is that people just don’t live in one home for thirty-plus years anymore. Technology has opened the world up for more of the population, and the fact that it’s much simpler to move and/or travel has made it less common to stay in one house for three or more decades. So think about it. If the home you’re buying isn’t going to be your “forever home,” a 30-year loan with a fixed rate isn’t really necessary. If you know for a fact that you won’t be in this home for more than five to ten years, open up your options a little by looking into adjustable-rate mortgages. You could qualify for a lower rate than a traditional 30-year mortgage could give you, and by the time the fixed-rate period is over, you’ll have already moved anyway.
✘ Sell in the Spring and Summer
While it’s true that the real estate market is typically busier during these times thanks to summer vacation and nicer weather, they’re no longer THE end-all, be-all times to sell your home. Modern marketing techniques like social media and other internet outlets make it possible to advertise and sell all year long. And since winters are typically mild here in the Lowcountry, getting buyers out to look at homes during the cooler months isn’t really a problem anyway. People who get big Christmas bonuses or early income tax returns might be looking to use them to boost their down payments. Additionally, putting your home on the market during slower times means you’ll have less competition as a seller.
✘ Truly Interested Parties Will Buy As-Is
Unless you’re in a wildly popular neighborhood where houses get snapped up as soon as they go on the market, “as-is” condition isn’t going to be good enough for most buyers. The typical home buyer wants their new home to be as move-in ready as possible. Now, if your target buyer is a flipper or someone who’s just looking for a fixer-upper project, it’s fine to advertise it that way. But don’t expect the Average Joe buyer to show a ton of interest in your outdated home with its peeling porch paint, stained carpets, and 1980s cabinets. Make an effort to do small updates that just give the house a little facelift. Or if you don’t feel like doing any repairs or cosmetic improvements, you should reflect that in your listing price.
✘ Don’t Forget to Advertise in Print Media
A huge majority of buyers begin their home searches online. There aren’t many people who go to the newspaper or local real estate print guide to see what’s available anymore. Internet marketing is so much more interactive, not to mention faster and easier. Why waste money on a tiny picture and a few words when you can take advantage of free marketing on social media and other websites? Spend that money on hiring a professional photographer or videographer instead. Virtual walkthroughs are a great way to show buyers exactly what they’ll get out of a home without wasting any of their time or yours.