Our tips about buying and selling real estate!

For Buyers

Don't go overboard with an offer

While you might be inclined to get into a bidding war over your dream home (the market is pretty competitive), don't overspend to the point where if the market stabilizes your home will have an overly inflated price and make it difficult to resell in the future. If you plan on living in the property for a long time, paying a high price isn't a bad thing, but it's a good idea to set a limit on how high you're willing to bid for a home.

Start your search ready

If you're already looking into purchasing a home or property, and you know you'll need a mortgage, you should already be shopping for a loan. Buyers with a mortgage pre-approval are a step above those that haven't even looked into loans. You can also help your purchase game by having fewer contingencies or conditions that affect the purchase. If you can start your home search with some of your bases covered, and the ability to be flexible, you'll already be far ahead of those just entering the real estate race.

New doesn't mean pristine

While we all dream of buying a brand new home, complete with absolutely no projects, it's quite common for brand new construction to have issues. The reality is that builders can and do cut corners, and the last thing you want is to invest your money into a brand new home only to find out that certain things were not completed 100 percent. If you're looking to buy new construction, it's not a bad idea to hire an independent inspector to make sure your new home is up to all current building codes and standards.

Beware of hidden costs

While you might find a home that is the perfect price for your budget, beware of the hidden costs that come along with buying a property. You may or may not have a mortgage, but you will have yearly property taxes that will either be monthly payments or a large payment once a year. If you do need a mortgage, you can expect an origination fee, and depending on the amount of your down payment or you credit rating, you can also expect to pay private mortgage insurance. You can also expect fees by way of the home inspection, appraisal, and in some communities there will be monthly HOA fees.

Don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone

Many buyers have a specific neighborhood, town or city picked out before they begin their property search. With the U.S. real estate market being as competitive as it is for buyers, don't be afraid to look into areas that are developing when you look for your new home or property. Homes and property prices might likely be lower in developing areas, and if you can find an area where new businesses are being introduced and other amenities will be available, home values may significantly increase over the coming years.

For Sellers

Play to your advantages

The U.S real estate market is being called a seller's market, meaning there are more people trying to buy houses and properties than there are actual properties to buy. Because of this, as a seller, you can play to your advantages: you can likely get away with not paying closing costs; you can dictate the terms of the sale and any contingencies a buyer might have; you can entertain multiple offers and choose the best one for you. But in all of this, don't try to price your property outside of your area -- you want to sell your home, not keep it on the market forever.

Know the best areas of your property

If you're considering selling your property, there are two room updates almost every buyer appreciates: kitchens and bathrooms. If you have the time and money to invest in updating these two areas of your home, try a basic face lift (you don't need to go overboard!). Add some fresh paint, clean up the cabinets, and install new lighting or hardware. Make the kitchen and bathrooms pop: buyers always react best to a fresh, clean and clutter free kitchen and bathroom.

Do you have a replacement property picked?

You might be considering selling your home or property -- have you started your property search yet? With the market being as competitive as it is, it's a good idea to start your property search when you put your own property on the market, and sometimes even before. You don't want your home to sell before you have a place picked out. If you do find yourself in a bind, you can always work with your agent to make the closing period longer. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you start your property search as soon as possible.