Nobody is expected to be a real estate expert just because they want to buy or sell a house or apartment but it is very worthwhile doing some research before you start your journey. By taking the time to learn a little about the market and more importantly, what you and your family are looking for, you can save yourself time and effort.
Top tips for sellers
So you have made the decision to sell your home, what should be your first move? Real Estate Advisor Yared Hagos, from Nest Seekers Portugal, believes that your first priority should be deciding whether you want to do it alone or if you would rather choose to work with an agency.
“There are pros and cons to both options,” explains Yared. “Anyone who wants to sell their property on their own will clearly save money because they will not have to pay any commission but the flip side to this is that they are going to need to dedicate a lot of time to the process.”
When you sell your home on your own you need to be prepared to arrange and undertake viewings, plan the process, research prices and valuations, complete market research and handle all the potential buyers enquiries, questions and doubts.
The alternative is instead to choose an agency to do all of the leg work for you, with the downside of this being, that of course you will have to pay a commission or fee for these services.
“By working with an agency, you can take advantage of their knowledge and expertise in this area. They will be able to give you analysis of the market and a valuation of your property. At Nest Seekers, we seek to always provide realistic valuations of properties, without any artificial inflation, this means that our clients truly know the value of their home,” said Yared.
Choosing an agency to work with should be a very personal experience and Yared suggests speaking with at least two or three different agencies to get a feel for the people who will be working on your behalf before choosing only one or two to then work with.
“We have found that many of our buyers are turned off when they see a house listed with many agents at one time, it is also more work for the seller of a house as well because you are then dealing with multiple agents which in turn doesn’t help in building a relationship with your agent, to get the best for you.
“When you are picking the agency you want to work with then one of the best things you can do is also get referrals from friends and family, find out who they have worked with in the past and who has done a good job,” added Yared.
Once you have picked your agent then it is time to look at your home itself: “There are a few things you can do yourself to improve not only speed up the sale of your property but potential increase the value of it too.
“I usually suggest to people that they make a few small improvements and upgrades. Perhaps a small update in the décor, or toning down some of your personal style can help a prospective buyer to be able to visualise putting their own stamp on the place in the future. The market at the moment is really strong but I have found that the houses that sell the fastest and for the highest prices are those that have been updated,” explained Yared.
Viewings are of course key to selling a property and Yared suggests that agents do this alone, without the seller being present if at all possible: “Sellers of course have an emotional attachment to their home and may not enjoy the experience of a person casting a critical eye over their beloved home. I find that it is also easier to get honest feedback from viewers if the property owner is not there, which is extremely helpful in the selling process”.
For Yared the best way for sellers to get an idea of the viewing process without actually being there is to set up a mock viewing, this also helps the seller to give input in how best to present their home while seeing exactly how the agent will be working on your behalf.
“It may sound boring but once you have sold your house you have to think about what you are going to do with the money and in my experience it is best to think about this sooner rather than later to avoid any nasty surprises that may occur due to taxes, your agent should be able to help you with this, “said Yared.
What you need to know when you are buying
For every seller there is of course a buyer and the first decision you need to make as a buyer is once again whether you want to do it alone or work with a broker.
“I of course sound biased but I would highly recommend that a buyer uses a broker to help them with the process,” said Yared. “This is particularly important if you are a first time buyer but of course if you have a lot of previous experience in buying property then you may feel that you are confident enough in the process that you can continue alone”.
“I see hundreds of properties and work in real estate every day while in general most people will buy or sell perhaps three or four properties in their lifetime, so I can bring a wealth of knowledge to the entire process,” said Yared.
If you are serious about purchasing a property then Yared recommends that the first thing you do if you are going to work with a broker is to take the time out to meet with a couple before moving forward.
“We live in a digital age where everyone works online but nothing beats sitting down face to face with a person for a coffee to understand them better”, said Yared. “You can never underestimate the value of the personal touch and it really helps to improve the service you receive when a broker can understand you personally and what you need”.
“Again, I would suggest that you look for recommendations from friends and family when you are looking for a broker and hear about their experiences to help you to make a decision.”
Once you have chosen your broker then the next step is to sort out your finances, whether you are a cash or mortgage buyer, and your budget. “Cash buyers can generally move faster in the process and if you are buying with a mortgage then you need to have this finance in place”.
“Your broker should also be there to help you with other finance issues including informing you of tax costs,” said Yared.
The fun part of buying a house can then start in earnest! “I always advise buyers to keep an open mind and to be flexible when it comes to finding what they want,” said Yared.
“We all have an idea in our mind of our dream home but in reality I would suggest that you choose only three things that are deal breakers for you and then have a secondary list of bonuses that you can find in a property. You are never going to be able to find a property that ticks literally all of the boxes so try to narrow down what is really important to you and your family”.
Yared also suggests viewing as many properties as possible: “I find that by seeing different properties that buyers can be inspired about what they really want, they can also view properties in areas they may not have previously considered which can offer a new perspective to the whole process.”
Buying or selling a property should be a positive experience and by making the right decisions early on and understanding the process better, you can snap up the perfect property for yourself or have the very best selling experience.