What are your goals for 2020? I’m a big fan of helping people get into new homes. Buying or selling your home is always a big deal! If real estate is on your to-do list in the new year, here are a few tips to help ensure that you can get the most out of your working relationship with your Realtor:

Don’t go at it alone. You wouldn’t do your own dental work, right? It may be tempting to try to buy or sell your house on your own, but it’s not a good idea. It’s always better to work with a professional. If you’re buying, your agent can provide a valuable source of information, help you to find the properties that best meet your needs, and will negotiate with your interests in mind. If you’re selling, your agent will represent your needs and can help you to avoid costly mistakes. It also means they ask the hard questions for you and provide answers when the pressure is on.

Get to know your agent. Have you ever worked with someone who rubbed you the wrong way? It’s no fun. Buying and selling a home is the largest transaction most of us will ever make – you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your agent. Make sure you see eye-to-eye and can work together! It’s a good idea to conduct an interview to learn how the agent works, what their availability is like, and to test their knowledge of the market.

Know what really matters to you. You’re the one who must live in your new home – it had better have what you need! Sit down to draw up a list of the things that matter most to you:

  1. Must haves – If you know you can’t stand the idea of sharing a bathroom with your kids, let your agent know that it’s a line in the sand. Think about whether you need a garage. Consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that are absolutely necessary for your happiness (and your sanity).
  2. Nice to have – maybe you’d really like a main floor laundry room, but you know you can live without it. What else could you trade off if everything else meets your needs?
  3. Absolutely do not want – if you can’t ever see yourself living in a bungalow, let your agent know! It will help them in streamlining your search, and it will save everyone some valuable time.

Share your lists with your agent but be sure to refine your lists as you go. As you view properties, you may change your mind, or “nice to have” items may suddenly become very important.

Review what you do and don’t like about the listings you see. You’ll likely see many homes over the course of your search. If you see one that is close to what you want or, on the other hand, absolutely misses the mark, let your agent know! Fair warning: wall colour and ugly furniture don’t count. You’re probably not buying the furniture, and you can always paint later on.

Be open to advice. Your agent can offer you sound advice and you will learn to rely on their experience. If they believe you are pricing your home too high or that your offer is too low, take their advice into careful consideration.

Manage your expectations. No one ever wants to hear that their dream home is out of reach. Your agent can help you understand the market and determine if your list of wants and needs are in line with your budget.

Buying or selling a home can be a stressful experience and can take a long time. I always find that talking through your concerns in person and sharing wine and chocolate can really help!

If buying or selling a home is on your list of goals for 2020, give me a call. I’d love to help you find the right place to call home.