Eleven Top Tips in Real Estate

Columnist Leslie Sargent Eskildsen sums up more than 500 commentaries on home buying and selling from 12 years of advice columns. Read the entire article here.

Do the math when it comes to the money: Know your maximum down payment, anticipated closing costs and target monthly total payment (PITIA – principle, interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and homeowner’s association dues).

Get pre-approved for a loan so you not only know what loan amount you qualify for based on your income, assets and credit score, but also the anticipated interest rate.

Refine your requirements: The more precise you can be about what you want and don’t want, the easier it will be to find the short list of options when you are ready to buy.

Flip the switch from selling your home to selling a house: It is crucial to your success as a seller to file away all of the memories you’ve created and look at your house as an asset you are leveraging to get you to your next destination, rather than the sentimental family home.

Protect your property: When you are getting ready to invite complete strangers into your home, protect yourself and your valuables. Stash away jewels, firearms, prescription meds and small electronics to keep them out of sight and inaccessible. Install security cameras and review the record after each showing.

Expect to be overwhelmed: Whether it’s a never-ending stream of showings making your life significantly more chaotic, or receiving multiple offers within days or not getting any showing requests at all, there will be a lot added to your plate during this process.

Keep calm, carve out the time to deal with the extra work, and give yourself some grace: But don’t procrastinate or dillydally – this is a short-term project and will be over in a few weeks or months.

Expect a bump in the road: Something unexpected is likely to happen. Termites, slab leaks, roof leaks, unpermitted additions and closing delays are just a few examples of unexpected conditions you may encounter along your journey.

Trust that these can usually be remedied with creativity, negotiations and money.

Put in the work: Clean the carpet or replace it with new white carpet to make your rooms look better.

Clean the walls, floors, windows and cabinets. Declutter. Remove all personal photos.

Get matching towels. Get matching bedding, with a ton of complimentary pillows.

Trim the trees, fertilize the lawn and fill the beds with flowers.

Market conditions matter: The primary factors to be aware of when buying or selling are supply, demand and interest rates. It’s Econ 101 from there.

Read the contract: Yes, it is long. Yes, it is tedious. Yes, you should read it.

If you must ask if it needs to be disclosed, it should be disclosed: Barking dogs, slow draining patios, rickety fences, noisy neighbors as well as the broken faucet in the shower.

There are pages of disclosures to prod your memory, but they don’t cover everything. Disclose everything you can think of that might influence the value or desirability of your house.

Start packing as soon as possible: Even before the sign goes in the yard, start packing.

Sort your things into items to pack for the move to the new home, donate to a local charity, or throw away. This is arguably the most difficult part, so getting ahead of it might ease the process.

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