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Whether you are putting your home up for sale or are looking for a new place to live, listen up! Josh Altman from Bravo’s reality show “Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles” stopped by Studio 1A with his tips for those getting involved with the real estate market this year.
What to do before you sell
Become a real seller
Selling your home can be an emotional process, so prepare yourself before listing your property. Begin viewing your house not as a home but as an investment and a business transaction. Try not to take suggestions from your realtor personally and it will make the process much easier.
Hire the right agent
Hiring a real estate agent is one of the more important decisions you will make when selling your home, so take your time. Altman recommends interviewing at least three agents, asking about past sales, what type of advertising budget they would have for your property, if they are available 24/7 and if they work in your neighborhood. And don’t be shy about asking friends, family and neighbors for recommendations as well.
Price it right
No matter how well your home is advertised, it it’s not priced right, it won’t sell. Altman says pricing depends on the type of market and strategy your agent uses, but he recommends listing your home just above the market to leave room for negotiation, but not too high that you miss your buyer pool.
Another popular strategy is to list your home just under market value, creating a sense of urgency. Discuss pricing with your agent to decide the best approach for your property.
You are selling your home, not yourself, so put away photos of your family or children’s artwork so that they don’t become distracting to any potential buyers. They need to visualize themselves living in the home, not you.
First impressions are the only impressions
The first impressions will either make or break a buyer’s opinion of your home, so make sure you put your best foot forward. Take the time to make the home bright, clean and smelling great.
Always be ready to show
Selling a house is a full-time job as a potential buyer might be wanting to walk through at any time, so do your best to keep your home in showing condition.
Don’t over upgrade
That custom-built pizza oven or glass-bottom tub may sound fun, but extreme upgrades are unlikely to return in value. Do consider putting money in kitchens, flooring and bathrooms, but make sure the finishes are comparable to other homes in the area.
The kitchen is the heart of any home, so it’s worth it to spend some money on upgrades if necessary. Altman recommends adding stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, adding that buyers typically get 1.5-times the money they spent on these types of kitchen upgrades.
Showcase how much space is in your closets and cabinets by clearing out old clothes, toys, pots and pans.
Light it up
Turn those lights on, bust open the blinds and drapes and, if you’re up for it, paint the walls white to make your home as light and bright as possible.
What to do before you buy
Check the school district
For personal and financial reasons, it's smart to check out the school district assigned to your home, as a good school district will add $15,000 to $50,000 to your home’s value.
Visit the home at different times of the day
As a buyer, you need to know all the good and bad that your next home has to offer. Try and swing by the property at different times of the day to see if it gets too much or too little light, if the traffic sounds too loud during rush hour, etc.
See the storage
It’s exciting to check out all the bells and whistles on a new home, but don’t forget to take the time to note its storage. Check out the pantries, closets and other storage options to make sure it will work for you.
Ignore the paint
A fresh coat of paint is sometimes used to cover up past issues, so take your time to examine everything and to not let that paint distract you from potential problems.
Get a home inspection
Altman recommends to all of his buyers to have a thorough home inspection. It can be expensive, but it would be more pricey to buy the home and then find out it has foundation issues or a busted water heater.
Check for red flags
Your agent should be alerting you of potential red flags a home may have, but it’s smart to be aware yourself of what to look for. Here are some of Altman’s suggestions:
- Has the home had any issues with mold?
- Is there lead paint in the home?
- How is the home’s foundation?
- Have there been any bug problems in the home?
- Are there lots of homes for sale in the neighborhood? If so, why are people leaving?