It's my anniversary this weekend so I'm reflecting on the MANY years Cliff and I have been married. Honestly, 27 years has flown by (for better or for worse), and I'm grateful for every minute of it. (Well, almost every minute of it. Cliff's untimely muscle tear the week before our wedding meant we had to postpone the honeymoon!)
Along the way, we lived in San Francisco and Piedmont, bought and sold half a dozen houses (remodeling them all), raised two wonderful boys with whom we spent countless hours at the baseball field (enjoy those moments, they're fleeting), established fulfilling careers, traveled the world, volunteered in our community, explored, laughed, loved, and built a life together that hopefully, has meaning and substance . . . You can't want for more. I've certainly realized every dream I ever imagined, (Cliff might say we fell short by not adding a girl to our brood.)
If I had it to do all over again, I'd do it exactly the same; I've loved being the mother of boys!
In life, there are few words requiring as much faith as "I do," especially when it's predicated on a leap-of-faith. We don't really know what lies ahead and yet, we take the step just the same.
Last week I spoke about the "Don'ts" in Real Estate, so for balance, here's what I firmly believe you should "DO."
1. Do ask your friends and family for Realtor referrals; we cherish and honor these recommendations. Meet and interview with a few Agents before selecting one.The journey is intimate and intense and having someone you trust in your corner will ease your stress considerably.
2. Do work hand-in-hand with your Agent. A good Agent tours regularly, beats the bushes often, interfaces with other Agents, and often knows of houses that will never come to market.
3. Do stay abreast of the marketplace, do your homework, and do make Sunday Opens your focus. Understanding where properties sell will inform you as to where you need to write, and more eyes on the prize is a good thing when we are searching for the needle in the haystack. Would it surprise you to learn that most Buyers identify their own houses? (They 'do.') While Agents will certainly call your attention to new listings they've seen, the vast majority of Buyers are getting pinged on their smart phones that are area-specific to their search the moment a new listing hits the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and that's a good thing.
4. Do your homework and be prepared by meeting with a mortgage lender before falling in love with a home that's out of range. This should be your first step, not your last. Too often, Buyers call me with a last-minute request to write on a home they just saw only to discover they don't qualify for a loan without selling their current residence, or worse yet, that they don't qualify for enough - or at all!
5. Do keep your expectations in line with the market realities. Market value is defined by supply and demand - not by the Agent, nor the Seller.
6. Do write aggressively. In competition, no one wins by a nose. You must write an offer that definitively wins the day, or you will find yourself in a multiple counter situation and that's a runaway train. It matters little over a 20-year period if you paid significantly more than the next Buyer at the table. (I'm serious.) It matters A LOT if you don't get the house!
7. Do be brave. Nothing good ever happens without courage and owning a home is no different. It takes work, determination, and resolution to acquire a home. Jump off the ledge, take the leap, forge ahead . . . it will all be okay.
8. Do take care of your most valuable asset. While people uniformly take their cars in for oil changes and new tires, homes are often treated as if they'll stay pristine forever. (They won't.) The vast majority of us live HARD in our homes, so take a critical look around and then fix what needs fixing! Paint what needs painting, etc. If you've lived in your home for a lot of years, you may want to have your home inspected to see if the moving parts are still functioning well.(Glasshouse can help you here.)
How can I help you?
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 725 humorous but always informative, essays on life and real estate.