Everyone seems to have opinions on real estate that they’re eager to share, and you should take all of it with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of bad advice around, and even the smartest ideas don’t apply to every situation.
You’ll hear all kinds of myths and “conventional wisdom,” so it pays to work with an experienced team with in-depth local knowledge that can help you navigate through the mists and find what truly works for you.
If you’re ready to embark on the adventure of buying or selling a home, let’s explore the most common real estate myths and find out which ones you can kick to the curb.
The first step is hitting open houses
When you decide to purchase a home, it’s common to believe that you should just dive right into installing the Z-word real estate app and drive around gazing longingly at properties you adore.
Unfortunately, there’s something you need to do first and foremost — and that’s get your finances in order.
The very first step to buying a home is ensuring that you can afford to take on a mortgage loan, and then seeing how much you’re approved to borrow. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage gives you several advantages in this volatile market.
It’s always best to have a realistic idea of your budget before you set your heart on a particular house, and sellers are much more likely to take you seriously when you have a pre-approval letter in hand.
You don’t need an agent
With the multitude of for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) and other DIY real estate sites, you might not see any value in partnering with a real estate agent. Why pay someone a commission when you can keep that money for other things?
Actually, working with an expert can end up saving you money, whether you’re buying or selling.
For home buyers, a relationship with a local agent is key to sourcing the best listings in your preferred areas. They’ll serve as your guide on this journey and help you through the contracting and negotiation process, and you’re much more likely to get a better deal
A good agent will also be able to recommend top service providers in their network such as movers, landscapers, repair teams, decorators, contractors, and more.
As a seller, it’s totally worth getting a pro to help you with crucial details like taking great photos, writing the perfect listing, staging, and marketing. They can also give you vital advice regarding which possible upgrades or repairs will bring you the biggest return on your investment.
It’s fine to skip the home inspection
This is a myth that definitely needs to be busted. Some prospective buyers believe that in a hot seller’s market, foregoing the traditional home inspection will make their offer more attractive.
False! While a thorough inspection might turn off a seller that has something to hide, forking over the $300-600 fee can potentially save you thousands of dollars and endless hours of hassle in the long run.
A professional inspector has an exhaustive checklist of home systems and structural features that you should definitely evaluate before making an offer.
An inspection report that shows issues isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. In many cases, you can negotiate with the seller and come up with a solution that works for both parties, especially if a major repair is needed. Keep in mind that they may be less willing to barter over superficial or minor fixes.
You only need a down payment
While having a plump amount of money to put down makes you more attractive to both your bank and the person selling your dream home, you’ll need cash for closing costs, moving, transferring utilities, and all of the little things that pop up (and they will pop up).
Your mortgage lender can work with you and help you find the right loan product for your specific situation. If you’re a first-time buyer, you should definitely investigate the programs in your state that can offer down payment assistance and more.
The good news is that some closing costs are negotiable or can be folded into your monthly payment — but it’s always a wise idea to have some funds tucked away, just in case.
Never offer full price
Everyone knows someone who loves to haggle. But what’s appropriate at the flea market isn’t the way to approach a potential home sale.
Starting off with a game of low-ball can be insulting to sellers and sour negotiations before you even get started. In a competitive market like Chicagoland, you’ll quickly be outclassed by a buyer with a better attitude who’s ready to make a more robust offer.
It also doesn’t hurt to sweeten the pot with an earnest money deposit. This is a “good faith” fund that shows the seller you mean business. It protects the seller if you decide to walk away from the deal, and is usually held in escrow until closing.
Cookie-cutter realtors are fine
Nope! Nothing beats partnering with an independent, locally-owned real estate team who has deep, historical roots in the Chicagoland market — and your best interests at heart.
Since 1855, Baird & Warner has been working with the residents of this region, developing beneficial relationships with both buyers and sellers, and enabling people to reach their financial goals and find their forever homes.
Whether you’re looking to sell your house and move on to the next chapter, buy investment property, or source the perfect abode for your specific needs, we can help. Give us a call today!