Last week, I finally published my book – 365 Rules about Real Estate. It’s available as an ebook in every imaginable format and later this week I will have printed copies available. Before I move on to my next book, I thought I’d post my top 25 Rules about Real Estate from the book.
Rule #14: The Brokerage owns the listings, not the Realtor. The Realtor works for the Brokerage and the Brokerage works for you.
Rule #28: Make money when you buy. You generally make your money when you buy your house not when you sell it. This may seem a little strange but it’s true. You are in your strongest bargaining position when you buy.
Rule #42: Don’t buy a problem house. If the house is proving difficult for the present owners to sell, it will be difficult for you to sell too. Some people don’t like living on a busy street. Some people don’t like corner lots. These things might not bother you, but one day you will have to sell.
Rule #64: Neighbourhoods are more important than houses. It’s better to have an okay house in a great neighbourhood than a great house in an okay neighbourhood.
Rule #87: Most people don’t want to spend more than 40 minutes commuting to work. A good commute is not more than 25 minutes. There are hidden costs (financial and emotional). Also, pay attention to the direction of the sun on your commute to work. Facing the sun on your drive to work and again on the way home from work is no fun at all.
Rule #91: Buy in a good school zone, even if you don’t have children. Homes in a good school zones not only appreciate at a higher than average rate, they also are easier to resell.
Rule #102: There can only be one #1. A lot of Realtors claim to be #1. Read the small print. #1 in their office five years ago. #1 team for service. #1 this and that. What are they trying to prove anyway? How does that help you?
Rule #114: Realtors’ products are not houses and condos. They are themselves. Much of the activity you see around real estate is not about selling your home. It’s about selling your Realtor. Studies show that advertising a home for sale in the newspaper or worse yet, a monthly magazine, will lead to a house being sold less than 7% of the time. That kind of advertising is all about the Realtor – his ego and his image. It’s not about selling houses. We have the Internet for that.
Rule #121: Make your offer based on the market value. You should be able to justify your offer by showing comparable sales.
Rule #128: Sometimes you should walk away from a deal, but only if the other side is not behaving rationally, legally, in good faith, or politely.
Rule #140: Beware of vague language. “To the best of my knowledge” doesn’t mean anything.
Rule #164: One of the main reasons people can’t get a good mortgage loan is because they haven’t saved enough money to cover the down payment and closing costs.
Rule #171: Requesting your credit report too many times will adversely affect your credit rating. Shopping around too much for mortgage may backfire.
Rule #178: Condos lead the market. If condo prices rise, single-family homes will follow. Condo prices fluctuate more widely than prices of single-family homes.
Rule #201: Buying a new condo or home from the builder is almost completely different than buying a resale home. You’re not dealing with Realtors. You’re dealing with salespeople. It’s a different game with different players and different rules.
Rules #223: Defrost your refrigerator the day before moving.
Rule #236: Your neighbour’s property affects your price. What is the condition of their front yard, porch and driveway and what can you do to improve them? Approach the situation very delicately with a civil conversation about your concerns. In many cases, you’ll find that your neighbor is very accommodating. If you’re uncomfortable doing this, your Realtor can help.
Rule #242: If you have a qualified buyer at your door, let him in. Be cooperative. If an agent calls on short notice, let them in. He is helping you sell your house. Selling your home is going to be disruptive.
Rule #248: The buyers have been in the market longer than the sellers. They started before you. Homebuyers have a lot of homes to choose from. Many houses get eliminated for small reasons: (musty smell, poor paint colour, garden requires too much work). Find out what the objections are and fix the ones you can.
Rule #283: Make your home easy to buy.
Rule #292: Talk to the Realtor at Open Houses. Although the Realtor is working for the seller, he will answer all of your questions about what’s going on in the market, about the neighborhood, and of course about the house. Knowledgeable Realtors are great resources for information about the features of houses and neighbourhoods.
Rule #326: Do not pay cash for home renovations. It makes it much more difficult to sue if the work is done incorrectly.
Rule #337: Do not expect to get the unseen money back. Spend your home improvement money wisely. If you spend $10,000 for a waterproof membrane on your foundation you’ll never see it or that money again.
Rule #346: Converting your attic into a bedroom, media room, or playroom is a great way to gain space at significantly less cost than adding on. Add a dormer window to increase natural light, air circulation, and gain headroom. Attic bedroom conversions have a more than 70% return on investment.
Rule #364: Gardening is a hobby to some and a hassle to others. If your garden is too grand and will require too much work, some people are not going to like it. Although curb appeal is very important to selling your house in a timely fashion, you only recover about 35% of your costs put into the outside of your house and garden.
The book is available FREE as a download.