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10 tips for home buyers with Egypt Sharrod

Like many firsts, delving into the world of real estate can be daunting. Whether you're buying or selling, there are many important steps to take and processes to consider in order to get the best price – on either side of the spectrum. To make the experience easier, we asked real estate expert and HGTV personality Egypt Sharrod to share her best tips. Here is what she said.

Advice for Buyers

  • The very first thing you need to do in the home-buying process is sit down with a lender and get pre-approved. This should be done before you start touring any homes.
  • Prepare a list of must haves and stick with it!
  • Remember that you are not just buying the house, but the neighbourhood too. Talk to neighbours and ask questions. Spend some time in the area and see if it offers some of the lifestyle conveniences you'll need.
  • Don't see too many houses in one day. You'll feel overwhelmed and confused after touring several homes. As a practice, good real estate agents will normally limit you to four or five and then let those digest with you before reassessing the search.
  • It's a great idea to take detailed notes and even take a few photos with your camera phone that will help you remember. Too many homes in a short period of time will run together in your mind and you may not remember which kitchen or which master bedroom belonged to which house.
  • As tempted as you may be to max out your budget, try your best not to. Just because a bank approves you for a higher amount, doesn't mean you have to spend it all. Why? Because you have to pay it all back. You don't want to go into your first home maxed out.

Advice for Sellers

  • List your house at the right price from the start. Homes that enter the market overpriced usually sit for a long time before receiving any offers. If you want to be competitive and sell quickly, be sure to have your agent do a comparative market analysis to determine the right listing price.
  • Be flexible! When you make homebuyers jump through hoops to see your house, you'll turn them off and they'll move on to the next house. Try your best to accommodate every tour request. You never know which appointment will bring an offer.
  • Buyers tour homes with four out of five of their senses: sight, sound, smell and touch. Bad smells in a house can turn buyers off immediately. Be sure to neutralize your home of any bad pet odours before opening your doors for potential buyers.
  • Staging your home is super important as well and this has everything to do with removing clutter. I recommend removing two-thirds of your personal belongings and furniture for the best staging. Use your garage or storage facility to store your belongings for the time being. Open curtains or drapes to allow maximum natural light in. Move furniture out of walkways and away from windows so the room will feel larger. If your home has dark paint, it's worthwhile to repaint with a light neutral paint colour.

Questions to Ask

  • How much are the taxes?
  • Where can you find information on how the local schools rate?
  • Is there a homeowners association? How much are the fees? What do they include?
  • Does this home come with a warranty? Can you have that written into the offer?
  • If buying a condo, are the parking spaces deeded to the unit?
  • If buying in a HOA subdivision, do they permit you to rent out your property?
  • How close is the nearest hospital, police station and firehouse?
  • Can you see the homeowner and community disclosures prior to making an offer?
  • Is the home currently under a termite bond? Is it transferrable?
  • How old is the roof?
  • Is the home on a flood plain? Does it require flood insurance?
-by Egypt Sharrod