The Unwritten Rules of Buying and Selling a Home

Home For Sale - Sold
Every major endeavor we start requires thoughtful planning and careful execution. Those actions that have an impact on others or on society in general are regulated. Besides written rules, buying or selling a home is also guided by unwritten ones. ​As Chris Burk wrote in an article published on Market Watch, "while there aren't hard-core 'rules' to follow, there are absolutely best practices and proven precepts that you should carefully consider."

These best practices have been drawn in time and are based on common sense. The problem is that times have changed, we seem to be governed by new market forces and the 'sense' is no longer as common as it used to be. That being said, here are a few unwritten rules of real estate:

1. Use a real estate agent - most people prefer to make decisions by themselves when it comes to important aspects of their life, but buying or selling a home is no easy task. It's better to have to blame yourself in case of a wrong decision or a mistake, yet it is even better not to get in that position. Good real estate agents are trained specialists ready to put their knowledge of local markets and legislation at your disposal, assisting you during this lengthy and complex process.

2. Show that you are serious - put down the customary 1-2% deposit known as earnest money if you plan on making an offer. This is where a good real estate agent wold help you make sure you include contingencies in the sales contract to recoup your money if the deal dies out.

3. Add personality and soul to your offer - people love stories, especially those told well. Bring your own personality in the game so instead of just submitting an offer and crossing your fingers, convey a story and a personal message to the owner.  Write a letter, get your real estate agent to express your admiration for the property along with your plans for the future that include family members and make sure you add emotion to it. Remember the movie Mr. Popper's Penguins? The old lady owner of the last privately-owned restaurant in Central Park was not interested in the amount of money offered, but in the person who makes the offer.

4. Ask the right price - some real estate agents will list your home at the asking price you set, but the good ones will work with you to figure out the right price. You may be in a hurry or not very knowledgeable of the new developments in the area and ask too little, or - most often - your asking price reflects your hopes and desire more than the reality in the field.

5. Use technology but see it with your own eyes - many listings include virtual tours, high-definition videos and great pictures. Technology is great, but nothing is better than seeing it with your own eyes. No high-def image can replace the smell, the feeling, the vibe you get standing right there, in the middle of the room.

6. Get pre-approved before you make an offer - few things are worse than finding the home of your dreams and not being able to put the money where your mouth is. Add confidence to your offer and portray yourself as a qualified buyer by including a pre-approval letter.

7. Prep the home before you put it on the market - staging a home correctly makes the process more effective and works toward your advantage. Help people make the home you sell a part of their dream for themselves and for their family. This is much easier to accomplish with a clean, uncluttered home that smells and looks great.

Times change, people change and future seems to come over us at a faster pace than we have imagined. Technology plays a bigger role in our life in general and in real estate in particular. Common sense though is still pretty much the same and it is still the backbone of the unwritten rules governing real estate transactions. Follow these rules and you will enjoy a smooth ride through the complex process of buying or selling a home.

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