Sidestep Real Estate Slip-Ups

By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine

375 Housing Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them, By Stephen Roulac (Property Press, 2004)

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It’s all too easy to make mistakes when buying and selling a home. As a real estate practitioner, it’s your job to be aware of these potential gaffes as you help your clients pick out the perfect dwelling or sell it for its highest value. Although this hefty book may appear daunting, it is very easy-to-browse because each potential mistake is covered in one page, with only three short paragraphs of text in most cases. The book is good at pointing out which mistakes to avoid in buying, living in, or selling a home, but don’t expect it to teach you “how” to avoid them or what to do. It doesn’t go into that level of detail, which may be considered a weakness or strength of the book, depending on your perspective. In either case, the book provides easily digestible tidbits you may or may not already know.

Tips From the Book:

  • Check out neighbors’ pets before you buy. Here’s good advice to give your customers: If you don’t check out neighbors’ pets, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise after you move in. Unruly pets may scare or annoy your children, terrorize your own pets, and make it less pleasant to walk through the neighborhood.
  • Consider all expenses before renting out your house. Some homeowners decide they would rather rent their house than sell it. If that’s the case for one of your clients, make sure they consider all operating costs they’ll continue to incur—including property taxes, maintenance and repair, and utility costs—even after a renter has moved in. If they don’t, they’ll be very misinformed about their true net return.
  • Don’t expect buyers to pay for your decorating. Many sellers are dismayed to find that potential buyers don’t want to pay for their decorating. Some sellers reason that because their decorating was expensive and well-done, their house is more valuable. But most buyers want to do their own decorating, and will not want to pay anywhere near what the owners paid to decorate the house.