In addition to being knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the real estate marketplace, a savvy real estate agent is an excellent resource for valuable contacts who can aid in your home purchase or sale. Tapping into an agent’s arsenal of trusted resources can prove critical in ensuring that your sale or purchase of a new home moves forward seamlessly.
Here are six resources that your real estate agent can help you with:
- Mortgage banker.
- Real estate attorney.
- Home inspector.
- Contractor and architect.
[Read: The Guide to Selling Your Home]
The process of purchasing a home really cannot begin until the financial road map has been determined. A mortgage banker determines the size and terms of the loan available to the buyer. This preapproval process is key as, obviously, the search cannot begin until it is determined what one can afford to spend.
In addition, when the buyer is ready to make an offer, the seller will require verification from a lender preapproval letter to validate the offer. Real estate agents interact with mortgage bankers on a regular basis. Buyers who are financing their purchase should get preapproval for a loan as the first step.
As mortgage bankers rely on agents as a regular referral source, they strive to take special care of those who come recommended from agents. Agents can make several introductions at various institutions to help shop around for the most favorable loan terms. For a homebuyer, these contacts are an invaluable time-saver, especially when you are getting started, and later when you are financing your new purchase.
Real Estate Attorney
In cities like New York City and Chicago, a real estate attorney is a critical part of the equation. For the seller, the real estate attorney generates and negotiates the contract of sale, and for the buyer, the attorney reviews the due diligence of the property and negotiates the contract. Both sides coordinate and handle the closing.
The attorney needs to move fast, yet be thorough and specialize in real estate. He or she also needs to be accessible and a good communicator. Choosing a real estate attorney who specializes in your locale is of utmost importance. Real estate agents work with real estate attorneys day in and day out. This member of your team is key and should not be underestimated.
When purchasing a home, it's common practice to hire a home inspector to examine the property and draw up a report. An inspector is trained to look at areas such as the electric wiring, HVAC and plumbing of a home and alert the buyer of any issues, especially if there are any defects or code violations. Real estate agents have inspectors that they regularly work with and trust, as this is a critical part of the due diligence process.
Most appraisers are hired by the mortgage lender during the loan underwriting and approval process, but many homeowners want to use a separate appraiser, either in preparation to sell or for a property in estate condition. For this purpose, many real estate agents have excellent recommendations for independent appraisers who can provide information on the property's value.
Contractor and Architect
Rarely does a buyer purchase a home and make no changes. Whether structural or merely cosmetic, every new homeowner wants to personalize his or her space. Finding an architect or contractor who is willing to take on a big-budget, full-scale project is not that hard to accomplish. For smaller jobs, however, you may struggle to find a company you trust. Perhaps only one bathroom needs to be remodeled, or you're looking for a great painter for a touch-up job.
An experienced agent can recommend contractors and architects for the smaller renovation projects that many are unwilling to do. Agents have tradespeople, especially painters, in their Rolodex to help get homes ready for the market. These resources can be great for buyers and sellers as well, and more often than not are reasonably priced.
Hiring a moving company can be stressful. Both sellers and buyers are nervous about the expense, and worry about the way their treasured belongings will be cared for in transit or in storage. With clients who are always on the move, real estate agents will know which companies offer reliable service. Moving companies work hard to forge relationships with real estate agents as an important referral source.
In addition, moving companies often offer discounts to customers of agents. Especially when working through agent referral, moving companies care about their reputation and are incentivized to do an excellent job as they count on the long-term relationship and potential future business from positive reviews.
In the end, an experienced real estate agent has curated over the course of her career many valuable contacts that she is willing to share for the benefit of the client. Agents take pride in this network, which doesn’t develop overnight but through experience and an intentional effort to build relationships with trusted bankers, attorneys and service providers. Most importantly, this is one more way that real estate agents are able to add value, provide excellent service and hopefully elevate the experience for their clients.
Ensure a quick sale.
Selling your home quickly not only allows you to move on with your life, it also means fewer days of keeping your home in pristine condition and leaving every time your agent brings prospective buyers for a tour. According to real estate information company Zillow, the best time to list a home for sale is on a Saturday between May 1 and 15; homes listed during those times sell six days faster and for 0.7% more than the average annual home price. But how fast your home actually sells, and at what price, depends on factors beyond timing. Here are 10 secrets to selling your home faster, no matter when you list it.
Updated on March 20, 2020: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.Pick a selling strategy.
Pick a selling strategy.
Before putting a for sale sign in your yard, it's important to pick the selling strategy that will work best for you. The for-sale-by-owner option may be best if you feel confident in your ability to market the home and negotiate. If your time is better spent on other details, a real estate agent could be best. If you need to sell the home quickly, you may want to inquire with an iBuyer, an entity that can make the deal close faster than the typical homebuyer. You should feel confident in the selling strategy you choose, and avoid switching from one to the other while your house is on the market. Buyers could be turned off by the constant changing of circumstances.Invest in a professional photographer.
Invest in a professional photographer.
According to NAR's 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 44% of recent buyers started their search online. Of those, 87% found photos very useful in their home search. If your listing photos don’t show off the features of your home, prospective buyers may reject it without even taking a tour or going to the open house. Hiring a professional photographer and posting at least 30 photos of your home, inside and out, is a good way to attract buyers. Photography is often free for home sellers, as shoots are often conducted at the expense of real estate brokers as part of marketing the property.Clean everything.
(People Images/ Getty Images)
Nothing turns off buyers like a dirty house. Hire a company to deep clean if you can’t do it yourself. “When the (home) is on the market, no matter what time of day or night, it should be clean and neat,” says Ellen Cohen, a licensed associate real estate broker with real estate brokerage Compass in New York City.
Key places to clean while your home is on the market include:
- Kitchen countertops.
- Inside cabinets and appliances.
- Floors and room corners where dust collects.
- Bathroom counters, toilets, tubs and showers.
- Inside closets.
- Windows, inside and out.
- Scuffed walls, baseboards and doors.
- Basement and garage.
Depersonalize the home.
Remove all your family photos and memorabilia. You want buyers to see the house as a home for their family, not yours. Remove political and religious items, your children’s artwork (and everything else) from the refrigerator and anything that marks the house as your territory rather than neutral territory. The same goes for any collections such as figurines, sports memorabilia or kids' toys that can make a buyer think less about the house and more about you. Family photos can be replaced by neutral art or removed entirely – just be sure to remove any nails and repair nail holes where any hanging photos used to be.Let the light in.
Let the light in.
People love light and bright, and the best way to show off your house is to let the sunshine in. Open all the curtains, blinds and shades, and turn lights on in any dark rooms. If the natural light situation is lacking in any room, strategically place lamps or light sources throughout to set the mood. And while your house is on the market, open all curtains and turn on lights every time you leave your house for work or errands in case you get word that a buyer would like to tour the space before you get home.Be flexible with showings.
Be flexible with showings.
Buyers like to see homes on their schedule, which often means evenings and weekends. Plus, they want to be able to tour a home soon after they find it online, especially in a hot market where they're competing with other buyers. If your home can be shown with little or no notice, more prospective buyers will see it. If you require 24 hours’ notice, they may choose to skip your home altogether. "That's one less person who gets to see the property," Cohen says. Be ready to leave quickly as well – if you're still cleaning up or hanging around outside when the buyer arrives, it can make for an awkward interaction.Set the right price.
Set the right price.
No seller wants to leave money on the table, but the strategy of setting an unrealistically high price with the idea that you can come down later doesn’t work in real estate. Buyers and their agents have access to more information on comparable homes than ever, and they know what most homes are worth before viewing them. A home that’s overpriced in the beginning tends to stay on the market longer, even after the price is cut, because buyers think there must be something wrong with it. "Pricing correctly on the lower side tends to work much better," Cohen says.Remove excess furniture and clutter.
Remove excess furniture and clutter.
Nothing makes a home seem smaller than too much big furniture. Rent a self-storage container or a storage unit and remove as much furniture as you can. It will immediately make your home seem calmer and larger. Remove knickknacks from all surfaces, pack them away and store the pieces upon which you displayed them. Take a minimalist approach to books, throw rugs and draperies, and clear off your kitchen and bathroom countertops, even removing appliances you normally use. If you can scale down the contents of your closets, that’s even better, because it makes the home's storage space look more ample.Repaint in neutral colors.
Repaint in neutral colors.
A new coat of paint will do wonders to freshen up your home, both inside and out. This is the time to paint over your daughter’s purple bedroom, nix the quirky turquoise bathroom and cover up the red accent wall in your dining room. Busy wallpaper can also turn off potential buyers. Your goal is to create a neutral palette so buyers can envision incorporating their own personal touches in the home. "You just want people to see the space for what it is," Cohen says. Rather than a stark white, consider neutral shades of gray, taupe and cream on the walls.Spruce up the front of your home.
Spruce up the front of your home.
You’ve heard it 100 times before, and it’s still true: Curb appeal matters. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. A new or freshly painted front door, new house numbers and a new mailbox can breathe life into your entryway. Fresh landscaping and flowers in beds or in pots also enhance your home’s first impression. Trim trees and bushes, tidy up flower beds, remove dead leaves from plants, clear out cobwebs from nooks near the entrance and pressure-wash walkways, patios and decks. Leave the outdoor lights on, too, because prospective buyers may drive by at night.Here are 10 tips to sell your home faster:
Here are 10 tips to sell your home faster:
- Pick a selling strategy.
- Invest in a professional photographer.
- Clean everything.
- Depersonalize the home.
- Let the light in.
- Be flexible with showings.
- Set the right price.
- Remove excess furniture and clutter.
- Repaint in neutral colors.
- Spruce up the front of your home.
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After earning a degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, Arriz worked in wholesale sales for several top fashion designers in New York City. While her business sense, tireless work ethic and integrity fuel her success, most importantly, she believes wholeheartedly that one’s living space should be not only an investment but also a home and sanctuary.
Arriz has resided on the Upper East Side for over 30 years and currently lives in Carnegie Hill with her husband, three children and her miniature schnauzer, Lucy.