Purchasing a home is a pivotal moment in a person’s life, so making an informed decision on what you buy and how much you pay is critical. Sure, you’ve heard tips from your pals and know about the tricks sellers use to get you to buck up, but it’s always best to get your advice from a pro.
And Kevin Leatherman is that pro.
A licensed real estate broker and owner of Leatherman Homes, Kevin can guide you to your dream home by explaining to you honestly — from a buyer’s and seller’s perspective — how the game is played.
Here are some tips he has come up with over the years:
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE BIDDING ON
Homebuyers can sometimes be a little too aggressive during the negotiation process, especially when bidding on homes that may require the work necessary to turn them into a dream house.
“[Buyers] end up underbidding significantly because they are incorporating the cost of renovations or updates into their offer,” he said. “Obviously, those future costs need to be a factor, but buyers can end up losing out on a fairly priced listing. You want your buyers to get a property that is worth what they are paying, but you do not want them to lose out on a home that they love.”
It is the agent’s responsibility, he said, to make sure the buyer understands the big picture and that includes resale value when making these decisions.
On the other hand, being too passive in the bidding process can also be a problem. For instance, when a seller asks for the “highest and best offer” before a counter offer is made, some home hunters may feel pressured to bid more than the house is worth. But buyers should never make an offer they don’t feel good about. And a good agent won’t push them to do so.
“We want our buyers to understand that while the here and now matters, so does the future,” he said. “While we do not have a crystal ball to see exactly what the future holds, we use historical data to make sure a buyer does not overpay for a home.”
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Another common mistake that new home buyers make is pushing off home inspections and the signing of contracts. Missing deadlines to get such things done can kill a sale – especially in a hot market.
“Time is of the essence when we are at historic inventory lows,” he said.
DON’T BE SNEAKY
Initial verbal agreements play a big role in how contracts are written up. Buyers and sellers can sometimes agree on an offer verbally and seal it with a handshake, but if the written deal is different it can ruin the entire sale.
“We’ve had sellers kill a deal because a buyer had their attorney add something into the contract that the seller did not agree to,” Leatherman said. “Sellers can easily get upset if they shook hands on one thing and feel they have been intentionally misled.”
KNOW YOUR PLACE – AND THEIR’S
When going from dwelling to dwelling, always remember you are in someone else’s house. A seller’s taste may not coincide with yours but comments on its appearance should be kept quiet until you have exited the premises.
“We have to make sure we treat sellers or the home’s occupants with respect,” he said. “Even if the owner is not present, it is best to leave disparaging comments until after you have left.”