Your house. Is it merely a combination of rooms, walls, furniture, and appliances? Do people view their homes just as a place to put down their head at night and eat meals? While something such as a college dorm room may be viewed in such a sense, a home is much different. It is the place where memories are made and overtime becomes a place of great comfort and significance. Are you ready for it? Are you sure….Get ready for a cliché- “there’s no place like home.”
If you do not remember living someplace other than your current house in your lifetime, you may forget, or haven’t thought about how you ended up living just exactly where you live. It wasn’t a simple process of picking a house and writing a check. The home purchasing process is one of great challenges, and one of much fun. But- it is a huge decision, which is why it takes the help of those in the business to make it happen, namely Realtors and salespeople. There are thousands of them across the United States and they are the ones who make your housing dreams a reality. You can search for one near you on Realtor.com. I have decided to use this weeks post as a way to go over some basic details on how you ended up living where you ended up living, most likely.
First people chose a Realtor. This is often done through a referral process. Someone always knows a Realtor, whether it is Uncle Chris or your friend from college’s sister. The key is picking a realtor your trust, and one that isn’t, quite frankly, breathing down your neck. My parents realtor, in the purchase of a second home, was quite patient. One might say too patient, working for ten years before making any money- kudos to her.
Times have changed very much in the past fifty years with the incorporation of the internet and other technologies into real estate. Any average Joe has access to thousands of listings with the click of a button. This is a great resource to buyers, sellers, and salespeople. Potential homes are sifted through with great ease. There are a plethora of websites and apps to use to navigate listings, which will be the topic of my next blog post.
Listings online feature descriptions, pictures, and other important information relative to the property. I thin the main elements buyers look for are the photos and the written descriptions. Some homes feature long, quite frankly, exhausting descriptions, while others are simple and give the bare basics. One description might read:
“Location! Location! Location! This 3 Bedroom, 1.5 Bath seashore cottage is ideally located for your family to conveniently enjoy all that our town has to offer. Just steps to world-class Beaches, recreation/playground complex, famous shopping & Dinning district. Although everything is within walking distance, you may choose to safely cruise through town, using the recently added bike lane. Whether it be utilizing the spacious sun deck, outdoor shower, barbecue, or many of the previous activities mentioned, this vacation home is clean as a whistle & truly offers a wonderful seashore experience.”
This was the description of the house that I found for my parents along the jersey coast almost six years ago. I think this is an effective description in that it incorporates all the essential information, while adding an element of emotion and persuasion. There are many strategies in writing these descriptions. Some can be found on market leader.com and here is a very detailed outline for description writing for property listings. There is a science behind it!
Of course, after finding properties you like, or having them found for you by an agent, a client physically goes to a house to tour it. Showings don’t go quite the same as featured in shows such as House Hunters. People are honest about what they think about big issues about the house and everything is scripted and boring. Buyers look at more than three houses and there are way more aspects of a house to consider other than countertops, appliances, and hardwood flooring. After ten, twenty, even thirty, property showings, hopefully a client picks one that meets their needs.
At this point they pay the price that the home is listed for right? Hold it right there. This isn’t like buying a burrito at Chipotle. Property is one of the great things in the world that belong to the category beautifully entitled: negotiable. Some fear negotiation and have visions of a greasy car salesman with a toothpick in his mouth, throwing in power steering for a discount of one hundred dollars. This is not the case with real estate, and price offers are processed and presented in a professional, responsible manner between the buyers agent and the sellers agent.
Once an offer is accepted, there are mortgages to be dealt with, inspections to be had, and at times several roadblocks to move past. This process isn’t as fun as choosing a home, and buyers and sellers can get up in arms about the simplest of things, even over a toilet. Check out this article from Realtor Mag about “How Sellers Irk Buyers.”
This post just scratches the surface of the exciting industry of real estate. To discuss the entire housing process would be too lengthy for one post. Stay tuned for more updates on current events and remember this is an “open house of all things real estate,” YOU are always welcome.