Negotiating the best possible deal

2013-08-18T15:34:00Z Negotiating the best possible dealMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent
August 18, 2013 3:34 pm  • 

It’s not always easy to make sound decisions when large amounts of money and your emotions come into play.

That’s why it’s important to have the right Realtor® who can help guide you smoothly through what may easily be the most expensive and emotionally charged transaction of your life.

Buying or selling a home has always been a complex process, with many twists and turns. However, the latest shifts in the real estate market have made it downright mind-boggling. For starters, when and how did things shift from a buyers’ market back to a sellers’ market – and what exactly does that mean?

Following the housing boom which peaked in mid 2006, prices began to fall and the supply of homes for sale continued to rise resulting in an extended buyers market up until late last year when prices started to gradually rise as the supply of homes began to drop. In some areas at specific price points, the supply was so low that bidding wars returned to the real estate market for the first time since the boom, and prices continued to rise.

Now, even as the market is showing solid signs of recovery, there are still ramifications from the boom and subsequent bust.

For example, as a result of the mortgage crisis, buyers need to be preapproved for a mortgage before they even start looking at homes. While there are really no downsides to taking care of this piece of business ahead of the game, some buyers are finding that there may be a few hoops to jump through before they can receive a lender’s seal of approval.

Knowing where you stand financially can be a real eye opener for many reasons, starting with the fact that you should really only be looking at homes in your price range since seeing homes only slightly about your threshold can set you up for disappointment when you come back down to reality.

For sellers, the reality of this situation is the need to price their home realistically. With everyone on both sides of the transaction trying to maximize their value, including lenders, it’s apparent that sellers who remain emotionally invested in their homes, expecting buyers to pay what they think their house is worth instead of what the market says, will find it difficult to get a deal done in today’s market. Appraisals are based on the current value, and appraisals set the bar for lenders. If buyers are unwilling or unable to come up with the cash that will make up any difference between the loan amount and the agreed upon selling price, the deal will not close.

From setting the right price to making the right offer, the right Realtor will know what it takes to get you to the closing table.

So how do you go about finding the right Realtor for you? There are certainly plenty to choose from, and a great place to get started is the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors (GNIAR) website. You can search by name, office and even zip code with the assurance that whoever you call is a member in good standing with both the local association as well as at the national level. Professional Realtors subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

One of the best ways to narrow your search for a Realtor is by personal recommendation. Ask friends and family members about their real estate experiences, being mindful that Realtors can have strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to know the track record of who you may be dealing with, and it’s probably best not to work with someone who only says what you want to hear.

If you have a particular neighborhood in mind, find a Realtor who knows that neighborhood better than you do. Check out his or her website to see if the listings are representative of the type of home you are looking for if you’re a buyer, and if the houses are representative of the way you want your home to be listed if you’re a seller.

Along with being familiar with the market, your Realtor should be organized, confident and assertive without being offensive. These are important when it comes to negotiating and organizing all the details plus paperwork.

Most importantly, be sure you are comfortable working closely with your Realtor. It’s likely that you’ll be making quite a few very important decisions together over the next few weeks and months. Find out what the protocol is for getting in touch when you have a question or concern – including how long you can expect to wait for a returned phone call or text message. It’s better to find these things out up front and eliminate the potential for being frustrated as you go through the process of buying or selling a home.

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