6 Misunderstood Things About Buying & Selling Houses

Surprises are fun for birthday parties, scratch-offs, and finding an extra mint Milano at the bottom of a Pepperidge Farms bag. They’re quite the opposite when it comes to buying or selling a house. We’ve compiled the weird, the bizarre, and the generally misunderstood real estate facts to hopefully reduce any surprises the next time you’re on the market.

#1 “Selling” vs. “listing” agent terminology is misleading.

In layman’s terms, it’s a mess. Full disclosure, this writer has written for RealtyHive for more than a year and still struggles to keep the two separate (but thankfully has a real estate grandmaster for an editor).

The listing agent works with the person who posts the listing (in other words, the seller). The selling agent works with the buyer — this role is also sometimes referred to as the buyer’s agent. Ideally, that jargon would just make a permanent switch.

Oh, and did we mention that sometimes the listing and selling/buyer’s agent are sometimes the same person? This is called dual agency.

#2 You can’t fire your Realtor just because they haven’t sold your house.

You can work to fire a Realtor who is unethical or irresponsible but minor issues (or even the lack of a house sale) is usually not grounds to terminate your contract. Even if you stop working with your Realtor, there’s a chance that they could still take commission on your property.

If issues come up with your Realtor, talk to them first, then follow up with their broker if you don’t feel like things are working. 

#3 Houses that have spent a long time on the market are often overpriced.

If you spot a house that seems overpriced and you can’t figure out why, chances are it’s been on the market for a while. This can serve as a good bargaining tool if you decide to make an offer — you can try going lower than the listing price. 

Otherwise, keep an eye on listings consistently, specifically for ones that stay up for several weeks. Even if the price doesn’t change, you could still leverage a lower offer.

#4 Hope for a low assessed value.

While you want a high appraisal value (because that tells how much your home is worth and helps for selling), you want a low assessed value because that determines your property taxes.

#5 When you’re looking to buy a house, never call the listing number. 

The “For Sale” sign might look enticing, but don’t call the phone number. That number belongs to the listing agent who, like we discussed earlier, works on behalf of the seller. Contact a selling/buyer’s agent when you see a property you like (and consider working through Cashifyd since you could get cashback at closing!).

#6 Real estate trusts and wills are different.

Wills are usually for smaller assets, trusts are typically for larger ones. Real estate trusts are also private and can eliminate court time while wills can lead to lengthy court stints to divvy things up.

Real estate is one of those areas in life where the more you learn, the less you know. Or at least, it can feel like that. But by researching, learning and staying up-to-date on real estate blogs, you’re actively closing the gap on any unintended surprises — and becoming a well-versed buyer or seller in the process.

House Offers Keep Getting Rejected? Try These 4 Things

Like asking out your crush to the school dance, only to be turned down, no one likes facing rejection. But in the case of house offers, a rejection can impact more than your ego. 

Receiving a few rejections isn’t uncommon, especially if you’re buying in a highly desirable area. But at a certain point, if you’re only receiving rejections over a longer period of time, then it’s a good idea to take a step back. Use this guide as a way to reflect and move forward so that you can finally land your dream home.

1. Reflect on where you’re looking.

Countless cities in the US have houses that fly off the market like hotcakes. If you’re putting in house offers in highly competitive areas, it’s time to reassess your strategy. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • House or location? Is the house itself or the location more important to you? Can you sacrifice living in the city for a house that’s 45 minutes away? If so, start expanding your search area. If not, consider buying (or renting) a condo or apartment — and analyze if this is a good investment.
  • Quality or affordability? Can you afford to up your house offer? Are you comfortable with keeping your budget at the expense of going for a less desirable property?

2. Learn from every rejection.

Jenny P., a homeowner who has dealt with house offer rejections writes, “Use [the rejection] as an experience to understand what your favorite features were on the home, so you know EXACTLY what you want for when that right one does come along. With that, put your best hand on the table when the home you truly want most comes along.”

3. Detach your emotions.

Who hasn’t scoped out a house they love and imagined themselves living there? While fantasizing about wraparound porches and breakfast nooks is fun, your hopes will rise and subsequently crash with each rejection. You’ll save yourself some heartache by channeling your inner zen gnome as pictured above, which we didn’t know was a thing but are here for it.

Remember that even an accepted house offer isn’t a guarantee, especially not if you write in contingencies that end up affecting closing. Until closing, try to not get too emotionally invested or it will make the process even more challenging.

4. Try a new approach.

Feel like you’ve done all of the above and it’s not working out? Don’t despair. There are still plenty of things to try!

Write an escalation clause.

Most home buyers put in an offer with their max price. They often can end up paying more than their max price, potentially more than was necessary.

Escalation clauses leverage this by listing your initial offer, your maximum, and an incremental amount that you’ll pay up to that point. In practice, this looks like saying, “I don’t want to pay more than $300k. My offer for this house is $280k but I’ll increase my offer by $1,200, up to $300k.”

Look for overvalued properties.

Overvalued properties are properties that sit on the market for months. Do some research to find an overvalued property and put in a lower offer.

Work with a Realtor.

If you haven’t hired a Realtor at this point, it’s a good time to do so. The right agent has knowledge on writing house offers and knows of more properties to look at than what you might see in your Zillow search.

Try a time-limited event. 

The time-limited events at RealtyHive connect motivated sellers with buyers. You get to choose how you want to bid and put in an offer and the sellers might accept your offer before going to auction (like a regular house sale). Look through our listings and test your new knowledge today!

How to Tell if a House Is Overpriced

What does this July weather and the current housing market have in common? Both are hot, hot, HOT. Tons of people are buying and houses are often going in days (or even hours). When things are at such a fast pace, you can easily get sucked into offering on just about anything. 

Fast paces can be fun, but not when you’re competing on already overpriced homes. Learn how to tell if a house is overpriced — and preferably before you put an offer in!

It has spent a long time on the market.

This tends to be the best indicator that a house is overpriced. If you’ve seen a house on the market for a year or longer, there’s a good chance you can put in a lower-than-usual offer. Granted, sellers will probably throw your offer out the window if it’s too low. Talk to a real estate agent to get more insight on the property and for guidance in making an offer.

PS: If you’re a seller in this situation, bring your property to RealtyHive! Our time-limited events mean that you keep the integrity of the list price while getting to open up the conversation with more buyers.

The numbers don’t match with similar homes in the neighborhood.

If the 3-bed, 2-bath that you’re looking at doesn’t seem all that different from the 3-bed, 2-bath down the street, but is listed as $20k+ more, this should raise some eyebrows. 

Of course, factors such as the amount of land and renovations will up the price, but do some investigating before you make an offer. The takeaway: always do your due diligence! Research other homes for sale in the area to see how the one you’re looking at stacks up.

The value doesn’t match the cost of living.

Sometimes house prices start competing with each other, this grows and continues over time, and suddenly you have house prices that are outrageous for the area. For example, a small town in the middle of nowhere where even the shabby-looking 2-bed, 1-bath houses are closer to $300k than to $200k

In these instances, it’s probably not the homeowner’s fault that their house is overpriced. All the same, it’s something to look out for. If they don’t bite on what feels like a more reasonable offer, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

3 Reasons Why an Overpriced Home Is Bad

  1. It could be a bad investment. In housing-bubble-crash style, you might have to sell for less than you originally bought it on (lose money on the house).
  2. Value affects everything. HOA fees, property taxes and closing fees are just some examples of things that will increase with an overpriced home.
  3. It doesn’t just hurt buyers. Sellers often struggle to sell homes that are overpriced. Even if someone puts an offer in on your overpriced home, the appraisal might not match. The buyer would then either have to come up with the difference or find a different lender.

Avoid Inflated Prices With RealtyHive

Our listings feature highly motivated sellers who are looking for bids, as well as have the discussions that are necessary to sell. Find better transparency with RealtyHive and avoid overpriced homes in the process!