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The Biggest Real Estate Myths DEBUNKED

There are plenty of old wives’ tales, superstitions, and grapevine stories out there on just about everything. Real estate has certainly not been spared the realm of unsolicited advice. You know how it goes. I heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend that all real estate agents are the same.

In the midst of buying or selling a home it can be far too easy to be overwhelmed with unsolicited advice, and unfortunately, most often this “advice” is not doing you any service. Take a deep breath and read through these debunked real estate myths.

It Doesn’t Matter What Real Estate Agent You Use. They’re All the Same.
This, unfortunately, is quite common. Real estate agents are thought to be just a means to an end rather than a helpful and important tool. The truth is, picking the right agent can truly make or break your home buying/selling experience. Every agent has a different skillset, expertise level, and personality.

One of the biggest attributes an agent can offer you is their local market knowledge. While it’s true that some agents know a wide range of markets or can use their resources to find you what you need, using an agent who is an expert in the neighborhood you’re looking at will help you find your dream home MUCH faster.

Don’t Worry…You Can Get Pre-Approved AFTER You Find a Home
Unfortunately, a lot of homebuyers out there think that they need to wait until they find their dream home before they get their finances in order. They see it as, “I need to find the home I want first, then I’ll see if I can afford it.” Wrong. So very wrong. It is always best to be pre-approved for a mortgage before you venture out to house hunt. You don’t go to the grocery store, fill a cart, and then see if you can afford it at the register, do you?

Budgets exist for a reason. We all have our limits and need to be aware of what we can afford before we go falling in love for something that costs $100,000 more than what we can afford. And that is exactly what ends up happening. Homebuyers will start their online search or, worse, go to an open house for a property that fits all of their requirements. They will see themselves moving in. Hanging pictures on the wall, arranging furniture, hosting holiday events. Then comes the day they are approved for their finances, and low and behold, they’re WAY off the asking price. There is no way they can afford the house, so they have to start their search over. Problem is, they will never get their perfect out-of-budget house out of their head.

On top of allowing yourself to create false expectations, homebuyers can miss out on a home that they actually can afford because the house was receiving multiple offers. A buyer who has been pre-approved has a huge advantage in this scenario. So keep that in mind as well.

Selling Your Home by Yourself Saves You Money
It seems simple enough. Avoid the cost of a real estate agent and you’ll save money by going the “for sale by owner” (FSBO) route. Believe it or not, many people ending up losing money by not hiring a professional. The fact is, if selling a home was as simple as throwing a sign out in the yard and taking a few phone calls until you find the right buyer, real estate agents wouldn’t exist. It just isn’t that simple.

First of all, homeowners are emotionally attached to their home. They see it as just that, a home, not a piece of property. You need to detach yourself emotionally to be able to see what the house is truly worth in today’s market. This is why FSBO’s usually struggle. They overprice their home from the start, thinking they have the most fantastic home ever and that it deserves every penny. The property sits on the market for far too long, they begin to become insulted that no one wants it, and they end up taking an offer they shouldn’t have just because they’re desperate and unable to negotiate or wait any longer. It’s a real estate tale as old as time.

Set Your Home Price Higher So You Can Have Room to Negotiate
Speaking of negotiation, there are a lot of sellers who think they need to list their property for top dollar or more, thinking that this will give them some wiggle room when it comes time to negotiate. The first place where this will sting you is by eliminating a large portion of your buyer’s pool. With so many internet filtering options available, most homebuyers simply choose a price range they can afford and only look at houses within those parameters. So that means you’re pricing yourself out of a large buyer’s pool right off the bat.

Also, keep in mind that higher priced properties are likely to sit on the market much longer. Listings that have been collecting dust only make the buyer wonder “what’s wrong with this house?” Adding even more time for your house to sit. 

Real Estate Agents Will Say Anything to Sell a Home
While it is true that real estate agents do not get paid until a home closes, there is a very strict code of ethics that agents must follow. There are also a variety of rules and regulations in place to prevent any such practices from taking place. Remember that most real estate agents rely heavily on referrals and repeat business. They certainly do not want to risk that by doing anything to lose your trust.  There may be an occasional bad apple in the bunch, but you won’t find many lasting very long in this business. If you’re still worried, simply make sure to ask around for referrals and you’ll find your good apple in no time.

The Quicker You Put Your House Up for Sale, The Better. Even if It’s Not Ready.
When you’re ready to move, you’re ready to move. We get it. However, there is a certain condition you want your home to be in before you have it photographed and let it hit the market. Remember, time spent on the market is huge in real estate. So you don’t want to let your house just sit there for weeks in sub-par condition and then take care of things months later when you realize that it isn’t selling. Ready condition can mean making small repairs, doing some general cleaning, and certainly staging if you’re moving out before you sell.

A lot of people think that an empty home seems bigger, nicer, cleaner, etc., but to a buyer’s eyes, an empty property is just confusing. They can’t quite figure out where they would put a couch in the living room. They aren’t sure what size bed would fit in the bedroom. They’re unable to imagine themselves moving in…which is a big deal for a buyer. Staging allows you to make that connection for potential buyers. It can also help modernize an outdated house with the right furniture and paint colors. Take the time to create a property that you yourself would want to move in. Then list it, and watch it fly off the market.

Do you have any other real estate myths you’ve heard? Comment below and let us know!

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Josh Mente

Real Estate Leader Josh Mente, is a founding member and owner of The MD Home Team of Keller Williams Excellence, and is responsible for business administration and marketing for the firm. Josh’s career path began in 1998 as a loan officer for Eastern Savings Bank, where he managed national accounts. He later joined Option One Mortgage originating more than 500 transactions per year valued at $100M+ in sales. In 2006, Mente shifted his expertise to real estate sales, gained his license and focused on buy/fix/sell transactions. Josh is a member of Elite Real Estate Network (ERN), the 2009 Rookie of the Year for Long and Foster corporate, and in 2012 ranked 206 and 2013 ranked 234 in Real Trends of the Wall Street Journal, ranking in the top 250 agents nationwide for all brokerages. From any early age, Josh was introverted and worked hard to overcome a fears of sales - a business that doesn't lend itself well to introverted people. When challenged by a manager that he didn’t have what it took for a specific job, Josh pushed forward and won approval in his new position. That was a pivotal moment that set the pace for his success in real estate sales. Having earned an AA degree from Montgomery College in business administration in 1995 and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Towson University in Mass Communications 1997, Josh married his college sweetheart Melinda and they now have three wonderful daughters that provide the opportunity to watch them grow up and experience things for the first time. A committed sports fanatic, Josh spends time on the golf course, and follows the Ravens and Orioles as a season ticket holder. He is a part owner of two restaurants in Manhattan, enjoys music and time away with the family at their beach house in Rehoboth, DE. He hopes to find time for his hobbies that include building furniture, playing guitar, learning Spanish and flying planes.

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