Real Estate can be a tricky business. It's sort of like parenting: everyone has an opinion on the "right" way of doing things and if you don't follow all of the "rules", you're wrong. Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions in real estate and a few about the agents themselves.
Bold colors can affect a sale
If you've ever sold a home, I'm sure you've been given the advice that you should paint the home in neutral colors before listing. It's true that bold colors can sometimes scare a buyer, but with the current DIY-craze, most buyers are able to look past the color and appreciate the bones of a home.
That renovation will Always pay off
You've just spent beaucoup bucks on that amazing master suite or kitchen remodel so you'll definitely get your money back, right? WRONG! Certain renovations, like a new roof or HVAC system, will probably help sell your home faster and large remodels, like kitchens and bathrooms, will give you some bang for your buck, but don't expect to get a 100% return. Don't do the large stuff just because you want to sell. In some cases, adding a bathroom or fixing a kitchen will increase your homes value, but that's not always the case. While it's smart to keep the idea of resell in the back of your mind, if you plan on living there for awhile, any remodels should be done for your benefit, not someone else's.
Spring is the best time to list
It's true that in spring the amount of buyers increases, but whether that's because of inventory increasing or the idea of spring puts change and "new-ness" into everyone's mind, who knows? Years ago, spring was a great time to buy because that allowed families to get settled before the new school year. Now, with so many buyers not worried about a school calendar, it's all up for grabs. An active and interested buyer will buy a home whether it's May or December.
You MUST have 20% for a down payment
Before the housing crisis and market crash, it was the norm to require a 20% down payment for a home. In a time where student loans didn't exceed a house payment and mortgage companies were more selective with their approvals, 20% was a minimum. Fast forward to the post bail-out economy, 20% is a maximum. For millennials in particular, it's almost impossible to save that much of anything considering how enormous student loan debt has gotten. Depending on the type of loan, the average down payment is around 10%.
An agent has to show you a home
An agent's time is their money. When you call on a home you saw online or driving down the road, the agent who gets your call is likely juggling ten other people who are calling them as well, not to mention showings, closings, continuing education classes, and much much more. There is just not enough time for them to work with their serious buyers as well as every nosy neighbor who just wants to see their competition. If you're a serious buyer, many agents require a signed contract stating that the agent has your best interest in mind and you will remain committed to working with that agent (at least for a specified amount of time). If you are already committed to an agent, chances are another agent won't be able to show you anything.
For Buyers & Sellers
Not using a Realtor with save/make me more $$$
Yes, by using a Realtor there are more built-in commissions, fees, etc., so it may seem like a no brainer to go it alone since there is so much information online, but that couldn't be further from the truth. By NOT using a Realtor, you forfeit the benefit of having access to agent-only websites, using someone else's knowledge to get the best deal, knowing that someone has your best interest in mind and will work with you and not against you. The few dollars difference in not using a Realtor doesn't even come close to the expertise you will see by using one.
All agents are money hungry and only want to benefit themselves
Every profession has a small population of people working only for themselves and Real Estate is no different. However, the majority of agents are doing this job because they genuinely want to help others. They're not going to try and push the price up because they get more commission. The agent that represents you will work hard to negotiate the price you deserve. A good agent won't try and hide the ugly details. Disclosure is one of the biggest things about our job and it helps everyone involved to have the most information possible. That being said...
Agents must disclose everything!
Yes, all agents must disclose all material facts, however, it is considered discrimination for an agent to disclose any information that could at all be related to a specific class/race/ethnicity. It may seem crazy, but disclosing the crime rate or ethnic mix of an area goes against the Fair Housing laws.
Anyone can be an agent
While it is true that real estate is one of the easier fields to get in to, not everyone is successful. Just like any other profession, it takes dedication and education to be a great Realtor. Continued education, up-to-date information, and a love of the job are just a few of the things necessary for a successful Realtor. Word of mouth is our biggest ally, but one mistake can do a lot of harm. More than anything, our client's happiness can make or break our career.