Knowledge - It Matters in Real Estate
In today's generation, there's more information than ever before about practically anything. In terms of real estate, that means that more information is readily available about homes, prices, and trends. In the Madison area (Dane County) there are currently 2244 homes for sale (at the time of this posting). I don't know about you, but that's a lot of homes to sort through. If I were a home buyer looking for a place to buy, then I would have to wade through this many homes to try and find the "perfect" fit. Okay, let's narrow this down a bit. Let's say you're a married couple looking for a modest but nice home. You would probably spend between $200,000 and $300,000 on a house in Madison. At the time of this posting there were 698 homes to choose from. That's a little better, but still a challenge. So, how do you find the right home?
Searching for homes today you can do a number of things, such as: drive around areas you like, look in the newspaper, browse through printed home books, or search on a website. More and more people these days are doing the later and heading straight to their internet browser. I often ask my buyer clients which websites they go to for their home search. Often they don't remember, but usually the top ones are Realtor.com, zillow, or trulia. Or often people say, "the MLS" which is available on my real estate website at JoshWillSellYourHome.com Here you can find detailed property info, save your favorite homes, and setup email alerts for new listings.
After spending some time searching, you'll probably realize that there's a lot of information and a lot of homes. At some point you'll probably want to move from simply browsing online to actually seeing homes in person. You could wait for an open house or you could contact a top agent (like me) to help you see any home you like. When you find the home you love and want to buy, then it's time to submit a formal offer.
When submitting an offer you should consider recent market data (days on market, other nearby homes for sale, and other nearby homes that sold). Sifting and sorting through this data is something that I do on a regular basis. Thus, I'm more comfortable giving recommendations and finding the right property comparables to help determine what a home is worth. Or you could simply rely on the city assessor to tell you, but that's not always accurate.
Another key consideration when submitting an offer, is having a good negotiation strategy. When I councel with my home buyer clients, I put together a negotiation strategy that helps lay out a plan. Most people only buy or sell a home every 5-7 years and they may not be as skilled during the negotiations. Honestly, this is my one of my favorite parts of buying and selling homes. Some people (and agents) tend to cringe during negotiations, but I don't mind it. Ultimately, the best deals happen with a little bit of knowledge. Knowledge of the market, pricing, other homes, strategy, and motivation can often be the difference between a win-win agreement or no agreement.