Tips for Buying & Selling your Home

Tips for Buying & Selling Your Home in Brunswick County

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Congratulations! Whether you’ve recently decided to purchase or sell your home, simply making the choice to do so is a major accomplishment. While an exciting time, buying or selling a home can also be incredibly challenging when left to do it on your own. At Barefoot Island Life, our Brunswick County real estate agents have years of experience serving the needs of existing and potential residents. We’ve helped take some of the guesswork out of the real estate transaction process by compiling a list of helpful tips you can use to simplify your buying or selling journey!

When it’s time to Sell

10 Tips for Selling your Home in Oak Island & Southport

#1: The Price Is Right
The smartest sellers are those who know how to set a price that attracts interested buyers. Find out what your home is worth, then knock off between 15% and 20%: You’ll be begging your Barefoot Island Life real estate agent to fend off the interested parties! Especially in today’s market, buyers are eager to outbid the competition. By starting off at a discounted rate, you’ll inevitably have a bidding war on your hands as people clamor to get the best deal. Before you know it, your house will be sold for its true market value (or more!).

#2: Half-Empty Closets
One of the biggest things that shoppers look for is ample storage space. Create the illusion of more space by removing half of the items stored in your closets and neatly organizing what’s left behind. (Snoopers will snoop, so be sure everything is as clean and tidy as possible.)

#3: Let There Be Light
Good lighting is the key to making your home feel welcoming to house-hunters coming to visit. In fact, behind location, good lighting is the number-two factor most considered by potential buyers. Remove the curtains, clean the windows, swap out your lightbulbs, and let in the sunshine to make your house appear bright, cheering, and inviting.

#4: Choose Barefoot Island Life
The wrong broker can cause a sale to fall through, even if the house attracts plenty of would-be buyers. At Barefoot Island Life, our real estate brokers are uniquely capable of handling your selling needs. We are deeply immersed in the Brunswick County community, constantly monitoring the MLS to understand the market and how your house compares to others in the area. Our team is dedicated to helping you get the most out of your listing, offering personalized service that you won’t find with other brokers in the area.

#5: Animal-Free’s the Way to Be
While most would be delighted to walk into a home with a happy pooch wagging its tail in greeting, not all house-hunters are animal lovers. That said, it’s best to keep the critters away while showing your home off to potential buyers. Consider keeping them at a friend or family member’s home during scheduled visits, and be sure to deep-clean your home to remove any pet-related odors.

#6: Don’t Over Upgrade
Having a few repairs done before you sell your home can increase its value significantly, depending on the type of work being done. However, it’s important to understand how these upgrades are valued: Huge home improvement projects that are completed before placing the house on the market likely won’t provide the return on investment you were hoping to recover. Instead, doing minor updates that are less expensive will go much further in adding value to your home (i.e. fresh paint, new door handles, cabinet hardware, etc.).

#7: Stage Your Home
One of the most important things to do when preparing to sell is depersonalization. Family photos, personal items, and memorabilia are great to put on display when you’re settling in, but when you’re preparing to leave, it’s best to keep the home looking generic so potential buyers can envision themselves living in the space more easily.

#8: The Kitchen Is King
The kitchen is the center of your home, and is therefore the most heavily scrutinized area that house-hunters will explore. If your kitchen is lackluster, it may be worth putting more of your repair budget towards a renovation project. Most sellers who have invested in a kitchen remodel are able to get up to 85% of their money back through the sale of their home. If a full-scale remodel isn’t financially feasible, consider making minor improvements that provide stronger value, such as replacing cabinet hardware, applying fresh paint, or investing in a new refrigerator.

#9: The Show Must Go On
When you’re selling your home, you must always be ready to show it. You never know when the right buyer will have the availability to walk through the door and fall in love with the property. This may require you to be stricter with your cleaning schedule and make adjustments to your daily routine to prevent against clutter, dust, and other unsightly messes to collect in your home.

#10: Make Your First Impression Count
Before a potential buyer ever enters your home, they’ve already made a pre-judgement on the property. Make sure your first impression is the best it can possibly be by taking time to tend to your home’s exterior, post flattering photos on your listing, and paying special attention to the property’s curb appeal.

Barefoot Island Life

Bruswick County Real Estate Professionals

Whether you’re buying or selling property in Southport, Oak Island, or the greater Brunswick County region, there’s no better team for the job than Barefoot Island Life. We are committed to helping each of our clients achieve the best possible real estate experience, developing personal relationships with each buyer and seller to ensure their every need is met. Get the personalized real estate services you need by contacting our team today!

When it’s time to buy

10 Tips for Buying a Home in Oak Island & Southport

#1: Keep Your Assets Secure
If you know you’re planning to buy within the next three to six months, it’s strongly recommended that you refrain from making any major purchases or moving large sums of money around. Doing so can have a negative impact on your credit profile, which is a major factor considered during the loan application and approval process. Refrain from opening new credit cards as well during this time, and if you do need to open a line of credit, be sure to keep the debt level low.

#2: Get Loan Pre-Approval
It might seem counter-intuitive to seek loan pre-approval before you even start looking for a home, but it’s a good idea for two reasons:

  • It allows you to understand what you can realistically afford before falling in love with a property outside of your price range.
  • You’ll be one step closer to making an offer with a pre-approval letter in-hand, making the purchasing process go a lot smoother.

Not only that, but getting loan pre-approval early can help you shop around for the best lender and available rates.

#3: Avoid Border Disputes
Before committing to a home, it’s highly recommended that you have a survey completed of the land. By understanding exactly where your future property line may fall, you can avoid potential arguments with your neighbors down the road. Additionally, your property tax will be determined on the amount of property you own, so it’s important to have an accurate map drawn to prevent against overpaying (or being audited — yikes!).

#4: No Time Like the Present
Market fluctuations happen at the drop of a hat, so there’s no sense waiting around for the best time to buy. The only true best time to purchase a home is when you realize you are ready to do so. Biding your time to gauge the market can end up costing you your dream home in the long run.

#5: Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better
Lots of people gravitate towards impressive, mega-mansions — but it’s important to understand that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Large, grandiose homes only appeal to a small piece of the market, so it’s advisable to avoid limiting potential buyers when it’s time to re-sell in the future. Additionally, if your home is the most expensive on the block, your home’s appreciation will be limited since the worst house per square foot always trades for more than large homes do.

#6: Avoid Sleeper Costs
There are lots of additional expenses to consider when purchasing a home outside of the mortgage. Property taxes, utilities, homeowners’ association dues, repairs, maintenance — all of these expenses add up pretty quickly. Be sure you factor in these sleeper costs when budgeting for your home so you’ll have enough to cover any immediate needs and prevent against losing out on the opportunity altogether.

#7: Don’t Buy with Emotion
Shopping for a home is exciting and fun, but it’s important not to get too carried away. Falling in love with a property can end up hurting you in the long run: With emotions running high, you might end up making some questionable financial decisions in an effort to grab the deal. When buying a home, it’s always best to trust your instincts — not your heart.

#8: Schedule a Home Inspection
Would you bring a car home without having a mechanic check it out first? Of course not! So why would you do it with your home? Hiring a home inspector should be budgeted into the cost of your house hunting endeavors. These professionals are trained to identify potential problems that may exist in the home so you aren’t stuck with a whopping repair that wasn’t disclosed to you before sealing the deal. And because many shoppers submit an offer contingent upon satisfactory inspection, these discoveries could end up saving you thousands in the long run as you renegotiate the deal based on the report.

#9: Become a Bidding Expert
When determining your initial offer, you should consider two things: what you can reasonably afford, and what you believe the property is truly worth. The opening offer should be fair and reasonable so you prevent against offending the seller. It’s also a good idea to research what other comparable homes in the area have sold for recently. Many sellers entering the market are behind on their property taxes, which can be a great source of negotiating power if you’re able to find out this information from the county clerk’s office. Your real estate agent can help you find the proper resources to do your research before buying.

#10: Stalk the Neighborhood
As often as your schedule permits you, stop by the neighborhood to get a feel for your future home turf. While it’s rare for homebuyers to be disappointed by all that the Brunswick County region has to offer, there is the occasional buyer’s remorse to be had if the neighborhood isn’t all you dreamed it would be. Loving the surrounding environment is just as important as loving your new home!