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Pitfalls to avoid when buying or selling real estate

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This story is sponsored by Utah Association of Realtors. Learn more about Utah Association of Realtors.


For most people, a house is the most expensive item theyll ever purchase.

Thats why its important to get the best deal when youre buying and the most money when youre selling.

The 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found the median sales price of those who sold with an agent was $245,000 compared to $185,000 for those who sold on their own. The National Association of Realtors regularly conducts this study and consistently find sellers who use an agent sell for more than those who are unaided.

Thats because Realtors help you avoid costly mistakes, including the following pitfalls:

Getting the price wrong

Without knowledge of local real estate conditions, its easy for sellers to underprice their homes and lose money. Or they may set the price too high and fail to generate buyer interest.

On the purchase side, theres also a risk of paying more for a property than its worth.

An automatic calculator doesnt take into account important factors like the homes condition, what houses are appropriate comparisons and differences between neighborhoods.

Unlike an automated system, a Realtor sees firsthand the demand for properties and knows where a market is headed. An expert also adjusts for the unique aspects of each home.

Forgetting important negotiation items

In todays hot market, a seller may receive many offers. Would you know how to manage them? Would you know how to counteroffer and what to ask for?

For buyers, would you know how to make your offer stand out when youre competing with dozens of house-hunters?

Money is not the only negotiation. Deadlines, earnest money, repairs, concessions, contingencies, included items, possession, etc. these are all important points too.

Misunderstanding contracts

Understanding real estate paperwork is tricky. In a hot market with competing buyers and multiple offers, the situation is even more complex.

Its also easy to mess up what items are included. What if you make a contract mistake and accidentally sell an item you intended to keep? You could easily find yourself in a dispute over a shed, water softener, refrigerator, playground, drapes or other items you didnt mean to sell but did.

For buyers, what if you thought an important item was included but it actually wasnt?

Failing to disclose or inspect

Legal problems can occur without proper disclosures. Do you know what you need to tell buyers about the house? If you fail to disclose important information, you could find yourself in a lawsuit.

For buyers, its critical to conduct inspections mold, meth, radon, zoning, property boundaries, soil stability, stucco, permitted uses, HOA, to name a few. A Realtor provides you with information about items to research before buying.

Ignoring safety

When you sell your house, you bring in strangers, often in secluded areas. Thats scary especially since some thieves specifically target properties for sale.

You can direct your Realtor to pre-screen clients before they enter your home and only bring pre-approved buyers.

These are just a few of the pitfalls a Realtor can help you avoid. Learn more at UtahRealtors.com.