A REAL ESTATE GUIDE TO A STRESS-FREE LIFE
Published by Authorify Publishing Copyright © 2019 Authorify Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the Author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. This publication is not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. The Publisher wants to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varying state and/ or local laws or regulations. The reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use of these materials and information. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including advertising and all other aspects of doing business in the United States or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the reader. The Author and publisher assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever on behalf of any reader of these materials. If your property is currently listed with a Realtor, please disregard this notice. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other brokers. Printed in the United States of America
Table Of Contents
Home Is Where The Heart Is
What Are You Looking For In Your Next Home?
Single-Family House Or Townhouse
Condo Or Apartment Living
Is Selling Right For You?
Understanding The Home-Selling Process 47
Common Seller Mistakes
Improve Your Chances Of Selling
10. Upgrading With ROI In Mind
11. The Negotiation Process For Sellers
12. What You Need Vs. What You Want
13. A Guide To Searching For The Right Home 121
14. Common Buyer Mistakes
15. A 12-Step Guide To Buying A Home
16. Home Loan Shopping 101
17. Negotiation Dos And Don’ts For Buyers 165
18. How Agents Help Sellers And Buyers
19. How To Hire A Fantastic Agent
When I first ventured into the real estate industry years ago, I did so with the hopes of helping sellers like you avoid the headaches often associated with the home-selling process. In my years of experience, not only have I helped alleviate the stress of selling for numerous clients, but I’ve also accumulated years of knowledge to help them get more money for their homes in the least amount of time. I decided to share all of my expertise in one place with potential clients. And that’s why you’re receiving this book. I want to help you have the best possible home-selling experience. And by that, I mean I want you to 1. Get the most money possible for your home, 2. Sell in the least amount of time, and 3. Avoid the headaches most commonly associated with the home-selling process. Think of this book as my gift to you. It contains insider advice on the home-selling process to help you achieve your ultimate real estate goals, including: • Secret strategies to sell your home for more money • Marketing techniques employed by top agents • Advice on how to appeal to today’s buyers • And much, much more If, after reading through it, you want to hire me to help you sell your home, I’d be more than happy to meet with you to discuss a specific plan to sell your home. Happy reading!
AGENT was raised in CITY with X siblings. As a child, AGENT had aspirations of being a OCCUPATION. Never in a million years did he think he’d stumble into the real estate industry, but you can’t always predict where or when you’ll discover what you’re meant to do in life. AGENT was taught at a young age that if you want something in life, you have to work for it. So that’s what he did. And he worked hard. As the years went by, AGENT worked his way from FIRST JOB to LATER JOB, never wavering in his resolve to become the best version of himself with each career move. AGENT got into the real estate industry X years ago when STORY ABOUT HOW YOU GOT INTO REAL ESTATE/WHY. He set out to LIST ASPIRATIONS FROM WHEN YOU STARTED OUT IN REAL ESTATE. As his career advanced, AGENT found his stride working with NICHE MARKET/SPECIFIC MARKET AREA/TYPE. He’s an expert in LIST AREAS OF EXPERTISE/SKILLS THAT SET YOU APART FROM OTHER AGENTS.
Throughout his career, AGENT has earned numerous accolades, including:
• LIST ACCOMPLISHMENTS • LIST SALES STATS ix
• ANY OTHER IMPRESSIVE INFO YOU’D LIKE TO INCLUDE
AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals. AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals.
Testimonials & Reviews for Agent Name
Here’s a list of people whom I have helped buy or sell a home, and what they said about working with me:
Agent-Name had a tough job, but she did it!
We were tough clients! We were moving to City and didn’t have a lot of time to look at houses, having to deal with our employer’s relocation, and all of the other challenges that came along. But, Agent-Name went above and beyond to help us. Even now, one year after the sale closed, I can still call her for business and service recommendations in the area — she knows just about everyone, and is very happy to help.
Agent-Name is the best agent in City!
I’ve used Agent-Name twice so far, and I was impressed both times. I bought my dream home with AGENT a year ago. She worked long and hard to find me the perfect home. And she just recently sold another property of mine. Everything went quickly and smoothly. Both of my real estate deals were done very quickly and professionally. Agent is honestly the BEST in her business. I would highly recommend her.
Agent-Name perseverance got me the house
My experience with Agent-Name during the entire home- buying process, from start to finish, has been nothing short of exceptional. I have a unique work structure, and because of this, it was very difficult to find mortgage lenders that would approve me for a home. I was very frustrated and on the verge of giving up, but Agent-Name insisted that we continue searching. Not only did we find a mortgage lender but also a mortgage that I felt great about. His perseverance is the reason I am now a homeowner. He is professional, punctual, knowledgeable, and very easy to work with. With the highest regard, I will recommend Agent-Name to all my friends and family.
Very attentive to concerns, details, and negotiations
Agent-Name helped me find a house by literally picking it out for me. Every house I wanted to go to, I got there and didn’t love it. Agent-Name was busy taking note of the likes and dislikes I was stating and said “I have a house that you’re going to love”.... AND I DID! I went back 4 or 5 times to show other members of my family, and she accommodated me without complaint. I was a first-time homebuyer, and she walked me through the steps of everything, gave me advice, and constantly followed up to make sure I was doing OK. With her help, I was able to close on the house early, right before I started my new job. I would recommend Agent-Name to EVERYONE, buying or selling. Agent-Name made it so so easy. She guided us through the entire process. She recommended great people to work with
every step of the way. She was available 24/7 to answer any questions we may have had. With her high standards, expertise in the industry, and patience, we would recommend her as a Realtor to anyone looking! She was amazing!
Agent-Name even advised me on how to prepare my house
Agent-Name was a gem. In addition to being highly knowledgeable about the real estate market, with many years of experience, he is a consummate professional. He was extremely easy to work with, gave me very good advice about preparing my house for sale and was very responsive during the entire process of receiving offers, selling and closing. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. He’s that good.
Agent-Name is the first agent I would call
Agent-Name and his team were able to rapidly list, show and sell my property. Being an expert in real estate, he was spot on in his pricing of my property and getting this deal completed. Overall, I highly recommend him and his team. If I want to buy real estate, AGENT would be the first person I’d call.
Agent-Name got us an offer in three days!
Agent-Name was the consummate professional during our stressful and difficult process. In the midst of juggling a ‘failed’ marketing effort with another agent, she presented a
well thought out plan and strategy to sell our home in short order. We needed to move quickly due to a growing family and another baby on the way. She helped alleviate that pressure by securing an acceptable offer with 3 days of listing. We put pressure on her, and she delivered. We couldn’t thank her enough.
Agent-Name kept us calm throughout the process!
Agent-Name always made herself available to answer questions. She worked hard to sell our home and find the best fit for our new home. She and her team worked with us through the entire process and kept us calm when we got anxious.
I am 100 percent satisfied!!
Agent-Name is professional and knowledgeable about everything. She is also always available. I would definitely recommend her to anyone. Very smooth transaction from start to finish. I felt confident with her experience.
Agent-Name found us our dream home
Agent-Name was very efficient and helped us find our dream home within a few short months. She was able to negotiate the price that we wanted for the house. Overall, I would look for her again to help us look for a house if need be in the future. Thank you so much!
Efficient communication and service
Agent-Name and his staff were very helpful in selling our condo. They kept me informed frequently with email, sending reports on showings, offers, and feedback from potential buyers. We are very satisfied.
Agent-Name will get your house sold fast!
Agent-Name is great and has the expertise to get your house sold. The communications throughout our sale (from beginning to end) has been outstanding. Agent-Name understands the stress involved in selling your house, and she updated our family consistently! This made us feel we were in good hands. I have worked with numerous agents, and I highly recommend her to represent you when it comes time to sell your home.
Excellent experience topped with a personal touch
Excellent experience all around, not only knowledgeable but Agent-Name and team have a very personal touch I felt like family throughout the entire process. He always took his time; we never felt rushed or like “just a number.” I sold my home and bought with him. We had lots of questions he gladly answered them with no problem and guided us through the entire process, eliminating lots of stress. I truly appreciate that and would recommend him and his team to family and friends.
CHAPTER 1 Home is Where the Heart is Picture your life in 3, 5, even 10 years from now. What does it look like?
Do you look upon the future with trepidation? Or are you excited to make the most of your post-retirement years?
If you identify with the latter, I want you to know you’re not alone. When we’ve spent the better part of our lives raising families, establishing careers, and building meaningful relationships, imagining such a drastically different life and lifestyle can seem impossible — and even scary.
But I’m here to tell you that while the future may be drastically different, it can also be equally wonderful.
Now, I want you to think specifically about your home.
In 10 years, are you still living in the same house? Is it still the perfect home you once thought it to be? Is that house still meeting your needs? Are you spending too much time trying to keep up with all the space you have (but likely don’t need or use)? And while you may not want to consider this possibility, are you finding it more difficult to maintain your home due to age, a lack of time and interest, health issues, etc.?
Now, picture your neighborhood and surrounding community. Have they changed considerably? Have most of your neighbors and friends moved away? Are younger couples and families moving in, leaving you feeling like you no longer “belong?” Has the overall sense of community changed? Is your home no longer meeting your needs? Many homeowners who are empty nesters — nearing retirement and entering their senior years — need to consider their current and future living situations. However, many enter this process with apprehension, instead of picturing the possibilities! You could be living your best years yet in a new home, in a living situation that suits your new needs and lifestyle. You’ve heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” Many homeowners who have lived in their family homes for a long time — sometimes decades — take this to mean that their house is where the heart is. Homeowners don’t want to think about letting go of their longtime family homes because of all the memories they hold. However, I’d like to amend that age-old expression to “Home is where you are.” Wherever you live will become your home, even if it’s hard to let go of the space you currently call home. Moving toward retirement and your senior years is not what it used to be. Nowadays, more and more people are looking forward to this stage of life. It doesn’t have to be a scary or overwhelming time, or one that gives you a sense of dread that your best years have passed you by.
With this book, I hope to show you that you’re simply entering a different stage of life, and it can be a very rewarding and exciting one. In fact, your post-retirement years could just be your very best yet. They don’t call them the “golden years” for nothing. There is plenty to look forward to as you enter this next phase of your life, and where you plan to live is one exciting element to consider. Think about the future and all its possibilities. What if I told you that you could live out your golden years with more money, more time, more freedom, more peace and security and less stress? Imagine making a profit from the sale of your house and having increased cash flow in your future. Imagine saving money on bills and gas. Imagine naturally becoming more organized and reducing your consumption of “stuff.” Imagine better accessibility. Imagine putting less pressure on your adult children as you age. Imagine enjoying more free time and less stress! You would say “Sign me up!” right? These benefits could all be yours in the future as you think about changing your living situation. Even if you can’t picture exactly where you’ll live in the next 10 or 20 years (or what type of home you’ll move into), that’s OK! The options are endless when you move toward empty nesting and retirement.
This book is for you if you:
• Are just starting to think about moving to a new home.
• Are considering moving but aren’t sure about the best way to go about it. • Are taking the first steps toward saying goodbye to your home and preparing to say hello to a new one and a new, exciting future. • Have questions or doubts about moving. • Feel overwhelmed about the process, especially if you’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff ” over the years and need to do a major decluttering overhaul. • Aren’t sure about the benefits of moving. • Don’t know which repairs or updates to make before selling.
It isn’t easy to say goodbye to your longtime home, and there are certainly valid reasons for hesitation.
But that’s not to say you can’t start fresh, making new memories and enjoying a new lifestyle in a new home, all while taking advantage of the many benefits of living in a more manageable, and lower-maintenance space.
Remember, home is where the heart is, not the house.
In this book, we’ll talk about the following:
• Why you should consider moving to a home more suited to your future needs • The options for your next home • The necessary steps to take for a successful home sale • A detailed guide for a successful home-shopping and home-buying experience
• Why you should rely on an agent to help you through the process
As an experienced real estate agent, I understand the intricacies of selling and buying homes, and I want to help you see why moving might be the right choice for you — plus help you navigate this journey as smoothly as possible so you have less stress and more time to enjoy your life. In the first part of this book, we’ll talk in much more detail about the different types of homes you can consider and the best type of dwelling to suit your needs (and what might influence your decision). Then, we’ll discuss the selling and buying processes, including how things may have changed since the last time you sold or bought a home. If you’re not sure whether you should consider moving — and potentially downsizing — the final part of this book will address some hesitations you may be having and also point out some of the benefits of moving to a home better suited to your future wants and needs. Let this book serve as your guide to navigating this important, yet exciting time in your life as you think about where you will ultimately live your best years in comfort and style.
CHAPTER 2 What Are You Looking for in Your Next Home?
We just talked about how much you have to look forward to as you move into the next season of life. But before you even consider selling your longtime home, you need to consider your next home and the life you want to live in it.
So, what are you looking for in your next home?
Many empty-nesters find themselves with an excessive amount of living space they no longer need. That’s why many choose to downsize when they’re searching for their next homes. In many cases, your new home post-retirement will have less square footage than the home you currently own, but it may also just be a different type of home — for example, a 1-story home opposed to a 2-story home, perhaps with similar square footage; or a home of equal size with less bedrooms and more space dedicated to other areas of the home. This is called “rightsizing.”
Rightsizing is all about finding a more manageable home than the one you currently own.
Before we get into the details of the different types of housing options, let’s talk about some of the benefits of downsizing or rightsizing, including some surprising or even unexpected benefits of selling your current home and moving into another 7
For the purposes of this chapter, we’re going to focus specifically on the benefits of downsizing, though many of these same benefits apply to a “right-size” property.
10 BENEFITS OF DOWNSIZING
Simply put, you could make a profit by selling your current home and moving into a smaller home — bonus points if you’ve already paid off your mortgage because you might just be able to purchase your next home outright. You might even stand to make a sizable profit (this is all dependent on your individual market and how much your current home is worth) and feather your nest egg. If you’ve been delaying retirement because you don’t think you can afford it, selling your larger home and moving into a smaller one could allow you to finally retire in peace and comfort.
2. Lower Bills
Downsizing also presents another money-saving opportunity: lower (often significantly lower) energy or utility bills! Who doesn’t want to save on bills? Choosing to live in a smaller dwelling space can reduce housing costs. Think about it: It costs significantly less to heat and cool a smaller home. Smaller homes also typically have less wasted
space. Less square footage decreases the amount of overall energy expended.
Something else you might not have considered are the potential tax benefits and savings that you could be eligible for, if you’re over a certain age. This will, of course, depend on not only your age but also your location, as there are different rules and requirements and benefits in each state. Before you sell your home, ask your real estate agent to help you do some research about the different tax-saving options available to you in your state. And don’t forget about the impact on the environment. Moving into a smaller home reduces energy, which is better for the environment and helps to keep your home “green,” reducing your carbon footprint.
3. Reduced Consumption
It’s a fact: The more space you have, the more likely you will feel the need to fill that space with something. If you’re an empty nester, it may be tempting to fill the extra space in your big house with stuff, even though you likely have more than enough of it. One of the great perks of downsizing is that it automatically reduces your consumption of “stuff ” because you first have to declutter before you sell and move. You will have less space to store your possessions — whether old or new — in your next (smaller) home.
Downsizing can help you focus on your priorities in life so that
you bring only what is truly necessary into your home or what you treasure most.
The fact is, if there’s no place to put something, then you’re less likely to buy it. You won’t want all that decluttering to go to waste, so you’ll naturally buy less of everything — food, clothing, consumer goods, household décor, furniture, etc. You will focus more on what you need rather than what might be “nice to have” and avoid impulse spending.
Downsizing forces you to become organized. Decluttering might seem like a disadvantage to downsizing. After all, it’s time- consuming, exhausting, and sometimes even heartbreaking to go through all the stuff you’ve accumulated throughout the years and get rid of much of it. But the short-term hassle is worth it. You’ll be forced to eliminate all that clutter and end up with only what you need and your most valuable items. This will free up space in your home and in your mind.
For many individuals entering retirement — especially those with health or mobility issues — accessibility within a home becomes increasingly important.
Stairs are one example. As much as we all might not like to admit it, as we age, mobility can become more of an issue. Stairs are
often barriers that prevent people from enjoying the full use of their homes. Stairs can also significantly increase the risk of falls and subsequent injuries. Your longtime home might have served you well over the last few decades, but it could become more challenging and riskier as you age. Mobility issues present an even greater challenge. However, downsizing from a two- or three-level home into a smaller, one-level house, condo, or apartment can give you greater accessibility, allowing you to live in your new home for longer instead of needing to switch to an assisted-living facility before you need one.
6. Less Driving
One unexpected benefit of downsizing is that you will probably drive less.
If you’ve lived in a larger home in the suburbs for years, you’ve likely become used to driving to most places, including work, shopping, entertainment, visiting, etc. Many people who live in suburban communities feel isolated in retirement. Proximity and accessibility aren’t the only concerns. Many aging homeowners wish to reduce the amount of driving they do due to one (or all) of the following reasons: • Health concerns (often related to eyesight challenges or mobility issues, or both); • Cost (you can save money related to gas and ongoing
maintenance); • Environmental concerns (Many Boomers are becoming more concerned about their carbon footprint and the state of the environment they’re leaving for their children and grandchildren.)
7. Less Work for Your Adult Children
Deciding to downsize can mean reducing, or even eliminating, a lot of work for your grown children — something that many empty nesters find to be important. Adult children are often left with the arduous, time-consuming, and often unnecessary task of sorting through, giving away, selling, and storing the possessions of their parents after the parents become ill, are immobilized, move into assisted-living facilities, or pass away. Is this something you want your own children to deal with? While paring down your possessions is definitely better for you as you go through the process of downsizing — for decluttering, organization, making the most of your new space, and even mental health — it’s also considered a gift to your adult children because they won’t have to sort through all of your stuff down the road. Too often, aging parents hang on to sentimental possessions in the hope — or assumption — that their children or grandchildren will desire them some day. However, the truth is that many children don’t even want these items their parents have “saved” for them.
Before you save anything for your children or other family members, ask them if it’s something they might want in the future. I know someone who saved his extensive record collection, retaining them through several moves, only to find his nephew, whom he had been saving them for, didn’t want them. He eventually sold them to someone who treasured them as much as he did, and he made a healthy profit in return. When you do go through these more personal items, make sure to approach the process fairly to avoid any conflicts or confrontations about who gets what.
Downsizing can prevent all this hassle, as you’ll be forced to declutter and become more organized.
8. More Time
Besides the money-saving opportunities, one of the biggest benefits of downsizing is more time.
If you sell your current home and move into a smaller space, that means there is less square footage, fewer rooms, and less stuff. This, in turn, means there are fewer household tasks, less to clean, less to maintain, less to organize, and less to worry about! This, in turn, means there are more hours every day to do something else — whether it’s a leisurely walk, exercise, volunteering, a neglected activity or hobby, time with family or
friends, travel, or even just resting with a good book. By downsizing, you’ve now claimed more time for yourself and your priorities in your golden years.
9. Less Stress
Who doesn’t want less stress? This is a major motivating factor for many areas of life.
Homeowners who have gone through the process of downsizing are generally much happier in their new home, and their new lifestyle, as they’re no longer overwhelmed by the demands that owning and maintaining a larger home often brings. The increased cashflow, along with less responsibility and more flexibility will, when added together, reduce stress considerably. Paring down your possessions (decluttering) as you downsize helps you to truly appreciate your new home and increase your enjoyment of it, which helps to reduce stress. It’s been proven that too much clutter increases stress because it’s just not conducive to a comfortable living situation. There’s just too much stuff, which can get in the way, and you’ll have a hard time finding things. By having less stuff and becoming more organized, you will simplify your life while enjoying reduced stress levels.
10. More Peace and Security
A major benefit of downsizing is the peace and security that comes with making that big decision and having successfully downsized from your current home into a smaller dwelling.
You will have peace of mind that you downsized before it was too late — that you didn’t wait too long to organize yourself and your home, declutter, and get rid of possessions you no longer need. You won’t have to worry about doing this in the future when you’re older and/or in poor health, and having to leave all the work for your grown children. Downsizing also brings security. You’ll have financial security in the sense that you were hopefully able to make a profit and enjoy increased cashflow to help you throughout your retirement. The security also comes in knowing that you’ve successfully sold your home and you’re going to be OK as you age, whether you’ve downsized into a smaller house, condo, apartment, or community living.
And, as I’ve already pointed out, you will have more time and less stress.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
There are plenty of options when you’re looking to downsize and live a simpler, more carefree and stress-free lifestyle, and you need to consider these options carefully. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding where you should move after selling your house. The decision will depend on a variety of factors, including your budget, your family situation, your lifestyle, and your needs and wants.
Some living situations suit a certain type of homeowner more than others. So, read through these next few chapters of the book
so you can make the decision that’s right for you.
When downsizing, there are generally three options to consider (and different variations of each):
• Smaller single-family house or townhouse • Condo or apartment • Community living
To help you become clear on which option is right for you, ask yourself the following five questions, and keep them in mind as you read through the next three chapters.
1. What is your main motivation for moving? (You will likely have more than one, but focus on your primary reason.)
• To be closer to family? • To be free of homeownership burdens?
• To be closer to a city or town so you can walk to basic amenities, as well as social activities, and not have to worry about driving? • To stay in the same area but in a smaller, more manageable home? • To move to a location with more favorable weather conditions (for example, moving from a snow-prone area to a warmer location) • To make new friends around your age who share similar interests and life experiences? • Flexibility, so you can visit family or travel or relocate easily without worrying about maintaining a large home?
2. Do you want to find your “forever” home, or just a home for the next few years?
3. How much independence do you want and need?
4. What specific features are you looking for in a new home?
• One-story living, free of stairs? • A particular number of bedrooms (i.e., the ability for family and other guests to visit and stay with you)? • A low-maintenance yard (or no yard)? • A garage?
5. What sort of lifestyle do you hope or expect to lead?
• To continue to live similarly to how you’re spending your time now? • To have access to a wide variety of extracurricular activities and hobbies? • To have someone to take care of certain needs for you?
Once you’ve decided to sell your home, the next big question is, where should you move? The options are essentially 1) a smaller single-family house or townhouse; 2) a condo or apartment; or 3) community living. The right choice for you will be based on a variety of factors, including your motivation for moving, whether you expect this to be your final home, your desired level of independence, the features you’re looking for, and the type of lifestyle you want to enjoy.
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