The Process: Buying or Selling Real Estate
Buying or selling real estate is most effectively approached as a "process". A spontaneous approach can be fun and exciting, but often you end up not liking the results.
By "process", I mean only that you start at the beginning, make
preparations, establish your steps and then take those steps one at a
time. You "prepare" for a purchase or sale in much the same way.
First, you have to decide what you want to accomplish - what goals, when achieved will show you that you have the desired result at the end of the process. In a purchase, those goals usually address the size and amenities of the house, location, lifestyle, and, of course, financial
prudence. In a sale, the goals tend to be focused on maximizing the cash out and coordinating the move and relocation.
The common factor in both the purchase and the sale is that each starts with a good, thorough, honest review of the whole financial picture. Income, equity, savings, reserves and of course all types of debt need to be taken into account. I do encourage the use of an expert in this
process - someone with whom you have a relationship of trust - a banker, financial planner, loan originator, accountant, Realtor - someone who can look with an experienced and objective eye. An added benefit of bringing a mortgage or real estate expert into the picture, is having that person help you determine how much house, (in terms of cost), you qualify for. Believe me, entering any market today without a letter stating that you are "Pre-Approved", is like trying to get into the ball game without a ticket!
The reality on the sale side is that, more often than not, the sale is
the first step toward the next purchase - let's face it, you have to live somewhere!!! And the purchase process proceeds: Have a family meeting; if you are single talk with trusted friends. Discuss the opportunities and challenges in a move to a new house. Even if they don't have a lot of say, it is still important for children to feel that they are "included" in the process. As a couple, make sure you are on the same wavelength in terms of community, setting, neighborhood, commute to work, style of house and purpose for the move. Be sure that you both have a clear understanding of the financial obligations, variables, and commitments.
Having started and gotten well into the process with all the above, you are ready for the next step. It's a jungle out there! Especially in the current market environment. There are enormous opportunities, but you need an expert to help you sort them out. You need a guide!
Your next step should be to hire a real estate professional to help you complete the process. It is with this person that you share all you have worked on in your above preparation. Whether you are buying or selling, your Realtor becomes your guide, and the "captain/coordinator" of the
team of professionals - lawyer, appraiser, property inspector, mortgage originator, etc. - you assemble along the way.