Answering your questions about real estate

Answering your questions about real estate

Since the launch of my podcast, Melissa Unscripted, in 2019, I’ve received questions from agents, buyers and sellers near and far about all things real estate, from the business side to Buying 101. Often, when I’m public speaking, I’ll make note of the typical kinds of questions that come up as well. On a recent episode of the podcast, my co-host David Wilson fired off some of your most common questions, so I am sharing some of those on the blog today along with my answers.

Questions from agents:

Q: How did you feel about the 2021 market?
A: The 2021 market was incredible for sellers. Because we were plagued with a low-inventory real estate market, every house that came on the market seemed to have such pent-up demand. It was a year where we had to relearn a lot of things, like strategizing for pricing homes, and fine-tune our skills as buyers’ agents because it was so competitive. It was the busiest year we ever had, but it was also probably one of the most challenging.

Q: What is your main source of business outside of referrals and repeat business?
A: I’m fortunate that most of my business does come from referrals, but actually we’ve gotten business from the podcast as well! I also think it’s important to be involved in the community and make sure that everyone knows what you do for a living. As a real estate agent, you’re doing good for the community and helping your hometown thrive. That ultimately brings you business because people like to do business with people who support the community.

Q: What is your most consistent revenue-generating prospecting activity?
A: Agents ask me all the time, “How many hours do you prospect?” And I say: 24/7. Any realtor – if they’re really committed to doing this job as a profession – is going to prospect all the time so that their brand is out there. Whether I’m going to dinner with a friend or to a party, people are always coming up and asking me about real estate, and I’m always open to answering those questions. The downside to that is you don’t get time off – but I’m so passionate about what I do, it’s a way of life for me. You have to love it.

Q: What’s one book you would have every real estate agent read?
A: “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon. It’s a great book about how to make sure your energy is positive and not let negativity get you down. It’s the easiest read. During the recession, when I was trying to stay positive in a challenging market, I read that book and it changed my business. I decided right then that if you asked me how my business was going that I would say that it was great, no matter what – and it became great.

Questions from potential buyers and sellers:

Q: What is the first step in buying a home?
A: Contact me or another realtor! Then, make sure you or your realtor are connected with a reputable mortgage lender and that you get preapproved so you know what your price point is. The last thing you want to do is look at properties that are above what you want to budget for a house payment. And make sure you understand what it takes to get a mortgage, if you need one.

Q: Should I sell my current property before buying a new one?
A: If you can, it is much easier to buy a home without selling one so that you can relocate and get your house ready. But 90% of people can’t do that, so we are here to help with staging your house. This market is tough for buyers because there are no contingencies anymore. Buyers have to put down a non-refundable deposit that they get back if they close. There are options to help you buy without selling first, such as a bridge loan or equity line.

Q: Should I do a home inspection?
A: When sellers do a home inspection, they have to be willing to either repair or disclose anything that comes up. For buyers, having an inspection – even if they wave inspections during the buying process – can give you a better perspective on your goals and budgeting for projects in your new house.

Q: Do you have to get a survey?
A: You don’t have to, but I always recommend that buyers do so you can know where your property’s boundary lines are. Also, if you pay for a survey in your name, your title insurance will cover any mistakes on the survey. I didn’t get a survey when I bought my house and I regretted it!

Q: Are real estate prices negotiable?
A: It depends on if the house has sat on the market for a while, but most of the time they’re not. Most of the houses we are listing now sell above asking price.

Q: Should I do a final walkthrough?
A: Always! They’re not required, but your house is more than likely the biggest thing you’ll ever buy – you want to walk through and make sure there’s not a plumbing leak or something that has fallen through the ceiling. Trust me, there are horror stories. If you walk in on a mess, you’ll have some leverage to get it fixed before you take it on.

Thank you to everyone who has written in with questions! Whether you’re about to listen to an episode for the first time or you’ve been following along since the beginning, I am so grateful to all of you. Do you have a question I didn’t answer? Leave a comment below!

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