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Excellence in Real Estate

Don't buy the first house you see.

If you like the first house you see, don't be tempted to make an offer right away. You should look at least a few other houses first so you can get an idea of the homes that are available in your price range.

Use a REALTOR(R).

Some homeowners think that selling their own home will save money and give them an advantage over the Realtor-using majority. Before you start down this complicated path, here are a few reasons why using a real estate professional is important: 1) You will be drastically limiting your exposure to potential buyers, which means it can take between 10 and 15 times longer to sell your home. Houses that take a long time to sell usually sell for less because buyers believe there must be something wrong with them. 2) Most buyers find negotiating with sellers extremely awkward, and therefore avoid For Sale By Owner situations. 3) Most buyers use a Realtor in their home search, and most buyers' agents will typically not work with FSBOs because they will not be paid. This means you will have to offer a selling commission to attract buyer's agents, which will cut into your expected "savings." 4) Lack of negotiating experience can result in a lower selling price, or worse, a bungled contract and possible lawsuits. It is probably unwise to pit your negotiating skills against those of experienced professionals. 5) If you plan to use a lawyer to help you negotiate, your lawyer's fees could be considerably higher than a Realtor's commission. Unlike Realtors, lawyers do not get paid for proactively representing your best interests or mediating delicate situations. 6) You only pay a commission to your Realtor if they successfully sell your home at a price you are happy with.

Understand the process.

Buying real estate is a complex matter and can be especially confusing for the first-time homebuyer. Do yourself a favor and learn as much about the process as you can before you begin. There are plenty of resources on the Internet, and most real estate offices will have pamphlets to explain things in plain language. You may also be able to research the real estate process by attending community-sponsored classes, or you can take a look at books like Home Buying For Dummies by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown, (IDG Books Worldwide, Inc.)