Often the first home hunt you go on is supercharged with emotion and some degree of fear. You might be hesitant to trust sellers, agents, or others in the business, afraid of getting a price or home you don’t really want. Here are some gimmicks some agencies and for-sale-by-owner listings use to draw you and your hard-earned money into a major purchase.
There's No Place Like Home
You walk into a showing and smell freshly baked cookies, hear soft music playing in the background, and notice a beautiful bouquet of flowers on a sunlit table. The effect it creates is an emotional one. It helps you imagine yourself in the space with your own baking, flowers, and music choice. It also creates a welcoming atmosphere and allows you to let down your guard. This is called staging, and every real estate agent worth their salt will coach the current homeowners to do this or something similar. And they should. The house should be cleaned and presentable, but the extras will give the potential buyers an emotional push. Be sure you can see through staging extras and make logical decisions inside a new home.
Space Is King
Another aspect of staging is furniture, lighting, and carpet placement. Talented agents will help owners rearrange rooms or even suggest they put furniture into storage units to make their house feel more open and spacious. Know the measurements of your own furniture pieces and bring a tape measure to each showing if possible. This way, the illusion of space won't trick you into believing all of your belongings will fit.
Follow Your Money
Know your budget before you begin the house-hunting process. Consult a trusted financial planner or financial group if you need help, but be firm with yourself and your agent about the top dollar, and try to stay below that. Watch out for real estate terms like, "It's only an extra $100 a month", or pressured sales pitches like "five other couples are interested in this home." There may be others interested, but there will also be other homes to consider within your price range. Watch for all the hidden fees and ask for them in writing up front. These would include homeowner's association dues, inspections, surveys, insurance, taxes, and mortgage fees.
Make yourself aware of how the real estate game is played, and understand it's all about making the sale. Decisions based on black-and-white logic and not staged emotion will not leave you with regret later. If you go into your first house hunt financially prepared and understanding of the tricks of the trade, you'll navigate the market with confidence.
About the author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on buying a house for the first time get advice from an Assurance Financial Group.