Getting the Ball Rolling: What You Should Do Before Hiring an Agent

It’s easy to overlook the fact that buying or selling a home is hard work, and not just for the real estate agent. Ultimately, homeowners and prospective buyers have the biggest stake in the process, and should play a major role in whether a sale happens or not. There are some important tasks that need to be done before you connect with an agent.

Courtesy of Housing Price Trends, here are some important tips that can help you prepare to enter the market with an agent who’s empowered with all the information needed to make your dreams come true.


What can you afford

If you’re in the market to buy, there are several things you should find out before hiring an agent. Have a clear idea of what kind of home you want and where you want to live. Once you know what to look for, find out how much house you can afford.


Check your credit status. If all’s well, begin contacting lending institutions to find the best possible loan rate and how much they’re willing to give you. See if you qualify for loans that offer more comfortable terms to buyers, like VA loans and FHA loans. Real estate professionals Team Brannigan note that getting a loan pre-approval letter can come in handy once you start placing bids, because it lets the seller know you’re a serious buyer with sufficient financial backing. Along with your personal priorities this is the kind of information your agent will need to do an effective job on your behalf.


Your financial house

Sellers should double-check the status of their mortgage; specifically, how much you’ve paid and how much is still owed. Remember, an agent will need precise numbers even if you owe less than the current value of your home. Knowing your financial position will help an agent work within the framework of your exact situation, which will make the buying process go much more smoothly, not to mention quickly.


Don’t forget to make sure there are no liens, tax issues, or property disputes involving your home, which could complicate a deal with a prospective buyer. Also, check into the value of comparable homes in your area. Find out how the market’s performing in your area to help you get an idea of what your asking price should be. And bear in mind that the best time to sell is between March and June.


Clean it up

A clean house with plenty of flow and lack of clutter is an absolute must if you’re serious about selling. Make sure your home is in pristine condition for when the agent comes by to have a look, and be receptive to any advice that the agent has for you. In particular, get rid of all signs that you own pets. Buyers who see signs of a dog or cat, like a urine stain on the carpet, a couch that’s been scratched up, or balls of fur in the corners, will see it as a sign that yours is a dirty and damaged home that they’ll have to get fixed. Take down pictures of your pets and family, and don’t forget to remove pet photos from your Facebook page.


Keep in mind that your furniture can harbor smells from our pets that we have ultimately become nose blind to — meaning that while we’re accustomed to the smells, others may immediately notice them. Search “upholstery cleaners near me” online and look for pros who have received top scores from previous customers. When it comes to your furniture, you want someone you know you can trust with the job.


Do smart staging

The best presentation of your home goes beyond basic tidying, cleaning and depersonalizing. It’s important to show every space in a manner that will optimally appeal to house hunters. This means knowing how to use color, light, arrangement and display to show off your home in the best possible way. Ideally, your home will not reflect your own personal tastes, but will still be warm and inviting.


Buying or selling a home is a team effort, so anything you can do to pave the way will help your agent. Solicit their advice, and be responsive if you’re asked to do something. Remember, you’re the one who will reap the benefits in the long run.

This article was gratefully submitted by Jackie Waters of

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