Some things come back in style after a while, like fashion or home décor, but the same doesn’t hold true for real estate advice. And yet, retro advice is exactly what most people get when they (understandably) go to family and friends for tips about home buying and selling.
The real estate market is not unlike the stock market – it is ever changing – and if you are looking to buy or sell, you’d better be on top of the market trends and activity, and have a good real estate agent by your side. We are currently in a fast-paced housing market, it’s important to know what tips will stand the test of time and which advice is so outdated that it’ll set you up for failure. Here are five pieces of retro real estate advice that could cost you the sale or home of your dreams.
Retro tip #1: A great open house will seal the deal.
The open house has long been known as the main driver of house sales. However, a hybrid of marketing efforts is what sells a house today. Serious buyers prefer the opportunity to consider a home in comfort, which usually means without other people. Individual appointments and private video tours are part of the process these days. Viewing a house at leisure with their own agent to help answer questions about the home, the neighborhood, the property.
Retro tip #2: Good copy is golden.
While it’s always a good idea to use catchy, descriptive words in ads to sell a house, a good video is really what garners the most interest. How you describe the property is important, yes, but that was more relevant when homes were only found when listed in the newspaper years ago. Now, a good video, virtual floor plans and drone photography is expected and necessary to help bring buyers the experience they are looking for. It’s one of the best ways to make a good first impression before they even step foot inside the home.
Retro tip #3: Sell the house as-is and attract people who truly love its character.
Years ago, it was common for sellers to not put as much effort into designing their home ahead of putting it on the market. The assumption was that people will fall in love with the natural appeal (the bones!) of the house. Why spend time fixing up a home when someone is likely going to change it anyway? Because it matters. If you were shopping for an expensive car you wouldn’t want to buy one that wasn’t washed and clean and looking it’s best. Same with a home – make it look it’s best. It doesn’t have to mean re-modelling, but it does mean decluttering, decorating, landscaping updates, and taking on small renovation projects. The final touch is a well-staged home to help the buyer imagine themselves in this beautiful home. They can re-decorate later.
Retro tip #4: You need to have 20 percent down to buy a home.
20 percent down isn’t necessary. This may have been true 20 or 40 years ago, but not so much anymore. The costs for loans are better with 20+ percent down payments, but buyers can now find reasonable financing options for down payments of 3.5 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, and 15 percent. With the price of homes where they are at – a 20 percent down payment is a lot to save up for.
Retro tip #5: Only call the listing agent about a home that catches your interest.
It is common belief that if you work with the listing agent you will get a better deal. Nothing could be further from the truth. The listing agent works for the seller. You, as the buyer, are secondary. The seller wants the most they can get with the best terms for them. If you had to go to court to argue a case, would you want the same attorney representing both parties? No. Same with real estate. Have your own agent who is looking out for you and your best interests – first and foremost. They will help you to negotiate the best deal for you and will advise you what is best for you. A buyer’s agent is your best bet when shopping for a home to buy.