Buying or selling a home is a big deal and even the little decisions can be important ones. There’s also a ton of steps in the process and the average person is supposed to know terms like “contingencies”, “escrow”, “PITI”, and more. Here are 3 steps to navigate the Richmond, CA real estate market with the expertise of a professional real estate agent.
- Hire the Right Real Estate Agent – The first step is to hire the RIGHT real estate expert! When my husband and I purchased our first home, we hired the wrong real estate agent. Rather than doing our homework to find out who had the best reviews and had current local transactions, we went with a nice guy at our church who was a family friend. It started out all well and good… In the beginning he showed us a variety of homes and pointed out money pits and downfalls of the homes we saw but when we decided to put in an offer on a home, we made some big mistakes. First of all, he was asking how much we wanted to pay for it and he wouldn’t give us a number to submit an offer. We didn’t know if homes were going at, under, or over list price and we definitely didn’t know anything about contingencies. We weren’t real estate experts! We were paying him to guide us! So we offered the list price and purchased the home.
Next, this was an older home that needed some serious upgrades (the home was built in 1978. Hello brown shag carpet, yellow tile with brown grout, and redwood paneling!). However, just a couple of miles away, a new development was being built. When we factored in the costs of new windows, flooring, HVAC, bathroom and kitchen countertops, painting the old cabinets, painting the outside siding, and more, the cost of a brand new home was the same as our old home with renovations. Plus the lot size was the same, the new home was bigger, and we STILL had other issues with the old home such as closet doors that wouldn’t stay on the track, an outside arbor that was disintegrating, and other problems that we would have to update within ten years and not 20 like with a brand new home.
We lived in that home for 20 years and two years ago we purchased a new home with a great agent. She walked us through the different home options in the new area where we wanted to relocate to and we discussed if we wanted an older home with a bigger lot versus a newer home with less updates, how a new home can save money in the long run with energy efficient upgrades with the down side of needing to add expensive landscaping, and how Mello-Roos and other fees would impact our monthly mortgage payment. As non-real estate agents, we don’t know what we don’t know and that’s where a great real estate agent comes in.
In the Richmond, CA real estate market, you’re probably thinking about neighborhoods, home size, and age of the home. A great agent will also get you thinking about how you may want to use your home in the future. For around the same price, you could get a nicer single family home, a smaller but newer condo, or a fixer upper multi family home for aging parents to live with you or to generate rental income. The expertise of a professional real estate agent in the Richmond, CA real estate market will help you to navigate through these tough decisions.
- Adjust Your Expectations – The Richmond, CA real estate market is similar – and quite different – than the national market that you’re hearing about on the news. COVID paused the market and then combined with historically low mortgage rates which launched it into over asking prices and Black Friday worthy pandemonium. Then, as inflation fear increased and mortgage rates climbed, the market mellowed out. As you’re aware of, these were local and national impacts. So what’s going on in the Richmond, CA real estate market today… isn’t that what we really care about?!? An expert real estate agent will give you a detailed account of the current and LOCAL market to set expectations based on real facts. They’ll provide real numbers and charts and not just talk in generalizations. For example, how many days is the average home on the market? What is the average price of recently sold and on the market homes that are comparables to what you’re selling or looking to buy? Are homes selling at, above, or below asking? If you’re selling, how much time and money do you need to invest to get top dollar? If you’re buying, is it a buyer’s or seller’s market? How much room for negotiation do you have? You need facts, not speculation, to manage your expectations to avoid disappointment when so much is on the line.
- Do Your Homework – To navigate the Richmond, CA real estate market, you need to do your homework and while the first step is researching a real estate expert, the second one is to find a reputable lender who will tell you which documents to gather and how much home you can actually afford. We’ve all been on Zillow and dreamed of owning that massive home on top of the hill with a pool and 10 bathrooms. Now you may be able to afford that but if you’re like many of us, that home may not fit your budget. It’s better to get a reality check in the beginning than if you fall in love with a home you can’t afford. If you’re a homeowner, your real estate agent will be able to tell you what your current home is worth so you can plan on purchasing your next home. For buyers and sellers (if you’re selling your home, you probably need a new home to live in!), your lender will need your W-2s, last 2 year’s tax returns, any assets used for down payment, and a list of other documents needed for pre-approval.
- Hire a Rick Fuller Team Real Estate Specialist – We know the Richmond, CA real estate market so that we can help you find the home that’s perfect for you. We’ll discuss your wants versus your needs, your short term and long term goals, housing options, and more to best serve you. We also have relationships with top lenders, insurance brokers, contractors, title companies, and more to give you the best overall experience possible. Give us a call today! We’re here to serve you!