A: This sounds like a bit of a scare tactic to me. One of the main marketing strategies real estate agents use is open houses and they certainly don't "qualify" every stranger who sees the ad in the paper or the sign out front. If you hold your own open house, you should certainly put away or remove valuables. Another idea is to enlist friends to be "docents" at your open house and assign them to keep their eye on different rooms for you.
Q: To all the realtors on here crying about her advice on not using a realtor -- GET REAL! I could understand you arguing that you provide a valuable service, one that a person should go ahead and spend the few thousand dollars on. But TWENTY-FIVE thousand dollars?! That's ridiculous. My wife used to work in a real estate office, so we know everything that is involved. $25K for a total of maybe 5-20 hours worth of work (usually) is just crazy.
A: If it is a tough real estate market or if the property itself has flaws that make it challenging, a good agent can be a terrific asset to you as a seller. One suggestion from "SAVE BIG": Sign up for a three-month contract with an agent rather than a six-month one. That way the agent is motivated to move quickly and if you're not happy you can move on. If they are doing a great job and the right buyer just hasn't surfaced, you can renew your contract.
Q: I sold my house without the help of realtors. All I had to do was price it correctly and hire a lawyer to look over the final paperwork. The lawyer fee cost me $200.00 and I saved $30,000.00. I also made sure the interested buyers were pre-qualified by a bank. I kept the house clean, had a couple of open houses, and put some ads online. I made sure not to leave any valuables in the house during the showings. I did all this in just a few weeks, while working my full-time job. I think realtors will go the way of travel agents in a few years. Don't listen to them! You can sell your property yourself.
A: This reader brings up another important step when you sell on your own. You have to make sure those who make offers have the finances to back them up. If you have an agent, they should "qualify" buyers for you. If you sell on your own, you can cut out the middleman and go straight to a mortgage lender for this assistance, which they will happily provide -- for free.
Cut Your Closing Costs
Q: I am getting ready to purchase a home, what are those fees that can be appealed and not paid for. the seller is not covering all of the closing costs, and I want to save as much as I can.
A: One of the first ways I learned to save big was by challenging junk closing costs. Here are some that you should challenge. You may not get them all deleted, but see if you can at least get them knocked down: application fee, document preparation fee, appraisal review fee, administrative fee, processing fee, courier fee, funding fee, lender closing fee. There are also title agent fees you can challenge and save thousands. I don't have room for that lengthy explanation here, but it's all in the book! Starting Jan. 1, new rules went into effect that are intended to prevent lenders from gouging people on closing fees, but I fear it will continue to take place.
Prepaying Your Mortgage