“Paradise Lives Here”
(Advice to Home Buyers)
Romance is the theme, as the owners of elegantly staged homes await the opportunity
to sweep buyers off their feet; implying “Paradise Lives Here”
Home staging is a growing business because of the higher price a staged home commands.
It’s great for sellers, but sometimes a lesson learned for buyers. After the closings, buyers learn that the romance is over when they open the doors to the echo of an empty house,
“helloo –looo—loo—oo” even though they paid thousands more for the disappearing fantasy. ‘Well at least the paint is fresh’ they say to themselves in consolation.
Some sellers pay thousands to have their
homes staged professionally in an effort to strike an emotion.
However, smarter buyers leave their emotions at home and see buying as the business transaction that it really is.
Your home is most likely the biggest purchase
of your life, and it will be a deciding factor of your financial future.
The resale value determines whether you can afford to trade up when you are ready, or if you will be stuck there because you have purchased an already-improved home and were not able to build your equity by improving the home yourself.
If you decide to refinance your mortgage down the road, your approval and interest rate will also be based on how much home equity you have. (appraised value minus (-) mortgage liens equals (=) equity amount)
So what is the best way to buy a home without painting yourself into a corner?
Put virtual blinders on to the décor and focus
on the structure and layout of the home, the tax assessed value, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the room sizes, the property taxes; the location; neighborhood appearance; its crime rate and school ratings; what the town has to offer, and of course the recent sale prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood.
If there are two almost identical homes, except one is perfectly decorated, and the other has old wallpaper and spider webs; the painted house might sell for 25k to 30k more than the unpainted house. However the buyer of the unpainted house could have a professional painter come in and paint the entire house for only $250 per room. In as little as one week, this buyer gains 23k to 28k in home equity.
His mortgage is 23k to 28k lower than his neighbor’s with the identical house, and his monthly mortgage payment is $168.00 per month lower than his neighbor.
Over 30 years that $168.00 per month savings adds up to a whopping $60,480.00 Simply by picking up the phone and hiring a professional house painter himself, he saved enough money to put one of his kids through college!
Professional home flippers buy fixer-uppers and do inexpensive cosmetic cover-ups that earn them an instant 50k to 150k on the average flip.
They usually use cheap materials, however most buyers don’t even notice because they are sold on the shiny new look and smell of the home; with no knowledge of the fact that it was considered a “tear down” just months before.
My advice to all home buyers:
“Business before pleasure!”
When you purchase a novelty item, it can be a spontaneous and pleasurable treat. However, when you purchase a home, you are actually negotiating your financial future.
If you catch yourself slipping out of business-mode and falling into idealistic-mode, give yourself a smack to reboot your better business sense!
What you find through your due diligence may also be used as a bargaining tool, as you negotiate the best price using your business sense and not your heart.
When selecting a realtor, who will be your advocate in negotiations, be sure he/she is skilled in sales and negotiations.
It is not wise to use the seller’s agent as your own agent as a buyer, for the same reasons you wouldn’t bet on a poker game if the other players could see your cards.
After all is agreed upon, and both sides shake hands, then indulge in the expression of planning your home paradise.
When the paint dries, you will experience the same contentment as the more impulsive buyer, except you will have the gratification of a lower mortgage payment and more money in the bank, because you waited a week to celebrate.
Buyers should know what they want before going out—not to be easily persuaded by emotions triggered by home stagers or sales agents.
Because real estate agents focus on building a good rapport with clients, some are afraid to educate buyers against their will, at the risk of jeopardizing the relationship or sale.
I have lost many sales because of being honest, but it’s just not in my nature to prioritize commissions over peoples lives.
From my personal experience as a real estate professional and former branch manager of a mortgage company, I put together an easy printable checklist of basic things a buyer should evaluate.
Email me and I will reply with a copy of it attached.
If you saw a home you like ask me for a full history on the home.
Sometimes you can learn a lot from past sales, permits opened for renovations, or environmental things as well..
The “Notes” section of the checklist I email you is a good place to note extras in the house that you might ask your agent to make part of the deal if you select that home, for example, lawn mower, deck/patio furnishings, window treatments, microwave, chandeliers, portable fireplace, etc.
You can make these items part of the sale contract agreement if you want to.
If you viewed 4 or more homes in one day, you will most likely forget which house had what, so these notes help…
Remember, your home purchase can have an effect on your family and retirement funds overall, so let’s invest wisely!
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