Know the Difference Between Real Estate Myths and Facts

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, following conventional wisdom isn’t always…wise. Here are some of the top real estate myths and facts.

Real estate myth: With so much information online, you don’t need a real estate agent to buy a home anymore.

Fact: There may be a lot of information online about homes for sale, but you need to make sense of all that information. And since buying a home is such an infrequent transaction in your life, you need someone along on your journey who knows and studies the market, understands the process, and can help you interpret all the data. Also, don’t forget that buying a home can be an emotional process. You’ll want an objective teammate to help diffuse the feelings, navigate the ups and downs, and steer you in the right direction.

Real estate myth: You’ll need to put 20 percent down

Fact: After the credit and housing crisis, it became very difficult to get a mortgage. Lenders were strict, and financing killed deal after deal. In some cases, you had to put 20 percent down.

Today, however, you can get a loan with as little as three percent down. But while lending standards have loosened, it’s no slam dunk today. You must have great credit, verifiable income and assets to back you up. But you don’t necessarily need a 20-percent down payment.

Real estate myth: The appraiser is always right

A home’s appraised value typically comes in below the actual market value. Factors such as views, finishes, fixtures or neighborhood specifications can affect your home’s appraisal. But ultimately, the market value of a home is determined by what willing and able buyers and sellers agree on in an open market and arm’s-length transaction.

Real estate myth: Spring is the best time to sell

Fact: The best time to sell your home is when inventory is low, and that’s the dead of winter. Later in the year is better because buyers are still home shopping through the holiday season.

Many buyers get into the market in spring to secure a new home before the start of the following school year. This decades-long trend has caused people to assume spring is the best time to list a home for sale. But not all buyers today are families with kids. They’re also single women, downsizers, baby boomers and people who don’t know—nor care—about the school calendar.

Real estate myth: You don’t need to bother holding open houses

Fact: Open houses are in the DNA of real estate. The more you make your home available to potential buyers, the better chance you have of selling it. When you host an open house, you’re literally opening the door to let buyers come through and fall in love with your home. Without an open house, they might never set foot in the door.

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