With all the ups and downs in the real estate market lately, buying or selling a home may be sounding less like a parlor game to you and more like a blood sport. But don’t be afraid: having a good team in place can protect you from many common hazards. Here are a few key players to have on your side during the home buying and selling process.
A REALTOR® can serve as a quarterback, of sorts, helping you select and direct the rest of your team of experts. Look for one with experience in your area and price range, a successful track record and strong recommendations from past clients.
2. Home Inspector
The best defense is a good offense, right? So if you’re selling a home, it’s a good idea to be proactive and pay for a home inspection before you put it on the market, so you can fix problems before they scare off potential buyers. If you’re buying a home, an inspection is a must. Your REALTOR® will likely be able to give you names of several qualified home inspectors.
Once a home inspector has identified any little problems in the home – a leaky faucet, a wobbly ceiling fan -- you’ll need someone to fix them. Again, a good REALTOR® will typically have a list of several go-to guys (or girls!) who specialize in this kind of small-job work.
If you’re considering buying a home and making major changes to it, consult with a contractor to determine how much those renovations or additions will cost before you make an offer. Buying a home, then finding out your plans aren’t financially feasible is one fumble you can’t afford to make.
You don’t want your house to strike out with potential buyers before they even walk through the front door. Have a landscaper up your curb-appeal with a few flats of fresh flowers and greenery.
6. A Community Leader
Information is one of the most valuable commodities in the real estate game, and there are few people as in-the-know as an active community leader. Whether it’s an elected town council member or a grass roots activist, there’s a good chance he or she will know if the neighborhood where you’re looking to buy is likely to get an interstate in its backyard or a shopping center nearby any time soon.
7. The Neighbors
Your neighbors – particularly the nosy ones – can be more than mere spectators in your real estate game. They, too, can be important information sources by cluing you in to whom else might be putting their house on the market soon and how your house compares to theirs. If you’re buying into a neighborhood, look at how the neighbors maintain their homes and yards.