Real Estate Expectations vs. Reality

Oh, to be a starry-eyed newcomer to the real estate game. Where you think you’ve found the perfect house, only to learn about some skeletons in its closet (sometimes literally). Where you put in an offer, convinced that this house is the one, only to have your offer rejected. Where you were sure your house would sell in two weeks and now you’re past the two-month mark.

No one likes going into a situation unprepared, so we’ve compiled some essential real estate tips for those times when expectations don’t line up with reality.

Misleading Description

“Charming cabin in the woods” sounds great, until you show up to the property and it looks like the most recent “Saw” film was shot here. 

Just like a salesperson, homeowners trying to sell will do what they can to amp up their property. Descriptions are made to captivate buyers so it’s up to the buyers to see through the charades. A few examples:

  • “Quaint” — might be too small
  • Old Victorian home with lots of history” — might need lots of repairs, require more upkeep
  • “Off the grid” or “secluded” — probably lacking access to anything from nearby restaurants and stores to decent internet service
  • “Lots of potential” — it’s a fixer upper
  • “Close to the action” — might be near a busy road, noisy

Misleading Photos

If you’ve ever eaten a microwave dinner, you know a thing or two about misleading photos. Photos won’t show the pet hair that’s embedded into the carpet or the leak in the ceiling that appears after a torrential thunderstorm.

While it’s true that staging photos are often trying to highlight the good and push the bad to the back of the closet, there are also times where you, the buyer, have to look with a critical eye. For example, photos of a private driveway in fall with the leaves changing are beautiful, but these photos don’t show the nightmare of plowing in winter. 

Another thing to keep in mind: some photos are fake. Graphic design and digital renderings have become life-like. If you’re just going by photos alone you might find that the house you’re looking at doesn’t even exist yet.


It’s a huge jump to go from renting to being ready to buy. In that excitement, it’s easy to forget that buying a house isn’t like buying a car — the latter can happen in a matter of hours and the former can take months. The same is true with selling a house — it won’t happen as quickly as putting your bike up for sale on Craigslist.

In both instances, patience and strategy are key. First-time buyers might benefit from working with a real estate agent (sellers could too). Sellers need to have proper marketing and a good platform to list on. Buyers need to keep in mind that their offer might not get accepted, especially in a competitive market. Both parties need to recognize that real estate very rarely works on a perfect timeline.


FSBO sellers usually don’t realize the amount of deadlines and contract obligations they’ll need to deal with. You might think saving money from selling FSBO is worth it, but a lot of people don’t realize how involved the closing process is.

The same goes for buyers. The last thing you want is to show up to a closing without a lawyer or real estate agent present. Houses are massive investments and not having someone to walk you through the paperwork and process could hurt you in the end.


First-time buyers often have the expectation that the listing price is what they’re going to pay. There are a lot of unexpected closing fees that end up surprising buyers. Expect to pay anywhere between 2 and 5% of the listing price for closing — and plan on paying in full.

Killer Deals

A “killer deal” house is often not what it seems. True, there are times when you can absolutely snag a deal, but it’s extremely rare to come across a low-priced home that needs no additional work. 

Here are a few things to do before jumping on that killer deal:

  • Walk through the house. Take pictures, ask questions, even bring a tennis ball to lay on the ground — if it consistently rolls in one direction, this could indicate an uneven foundation.
    Some property investors are all about the deals and purchase things site-unseen. This is extremely risky for first-time buyers or for people wanting to live in the home they purchase right away.
  • Get a home inspection. This is also something that property investors sometimes pass on but skipping an inspection is not a good real estate tip for beginners.
    Additionally, make sure you include contingencies regarding this inspection in your offer.
  • Do the math. Calculate all the estimated repair costs and weigh out if this house is still a “killer deal.”

If all this info has led to beads of sweat dripping down your face, don’t worry (and don’t feel bad). Real estate is a complex, highly nuanced industry and even the experts still have things to learn. 

The way you can make this easier is by listing with an all-inclusive platform like RealtyHive. We have a network of agents from you to choose from (and with Cashifyd, you can even get cashback at closing) and countless properties available, all over the world. For sellers, our time-limited events and marketing tactics are designed to shorten your time on the market. Buy or list with RealtyHive today!

Home Buying Tips for New U.S. Citizens

The home buying process is often daunting for many people, but for those who are new U.S. citizens, the task can be particularly difficult. However, having a house to oneself is a dream for many immigrants, and there are options available that can help make the process easier to navigate. 

In order to help get your footing on the home buying process as a new U.S. citizen, here are a few tips and resources you can utilize to make your journey as easy as possible.

Save Early

While there are first-time homeowners loans available that immigrants should certainly take advantage of, these loans still require a down payment of 3.5%. Therefore, saving money in advance is imperative to the process. 

Signing up for a bank account in the United States as a new citizen can be difficult, especially due to the potential lack of a U.S. credit score. However, there are now online banks that don’t require credit checks to sign up, allowing you to have a safe place to save your money during your home buying process.

Build Credit

As mentioned previously, credit scores play a major role in the home buying process; your credit history will impact the interest rates and loan amounts you have access to. This applies to most mortgage services, aside from a few agencies that perform underwriting for home buyers and don’t take credit score into account when applying.

However, there are options available for new citizens looking to build their credit. One option would be to use your international credit report to get credit in the United States. This means that you won’t need to spend time signing up for credit cards and building credit, if you have a solid credit score from your previous nation of residence.

Find Community Support

Remember that the home buying process isn’t something that you need to take on all by yourself. Through the support of your friends, family, and other members of your local community, you can find a great network of people who have been through the home buying process themselves. Many of them would be more than willing to provide insights and advice on how to navigate it in the best, most cost-effective way. 

Finally, look for real estate agents that have experience working with new citizens, as they can often point you in the direction of the best resources for you to utilize while searching for a home. They will also be more understanding of your current situation, and give you the time and advice you need, to avoid rushing into the process and overspending, or settling on a home you don’t enjoy. At the end of the day, being a homeowner is a wonderful experience, and the day you finally sign the final deal will be incredibly rewarding.

Relatable articles: Why “We Buy Houses for Cash” is a Bad Idea

Do I Need a Water Softener?

Water softeners are not a necessity, but they are super useful to have. Whether you’re trying to update your current home or are looking to buy, find out why you should invest in a water softener—once you have one, you’ll never go back.

RealQuick: How to tell if you have hard water

If you have a water softener, it should be located somewhere near your home’s plumbing. A basement, utility room, or even a garage would be good spots to check.

Still not sure you have a softener and don’t want to pay for a specialist just yet? Check for these signs:

  • Excessive lime/chalk buildup on areas that come into contact with water (like the shower)
  • Colored clothing fades faster than it should
  • Low water pressure
  • Clean dishes have residue on them once they dry
  • Feeling dry or itchy after showering

These are all indicators that you probably don’t have a water softener, or that you have one, but it’s not working properly.

Reasons to Get a Water Softener

You’ll save money

A water softener removes the mineral ions that are normally found in water. These ions lead to buildup, and this can cause lots of problems in your home. A water softener can help prevent the need for frequent plumbing and appliance repairs, and it also saves you money on energy bills—your systems will have to work harder to turn water hot or cold.

Your appliances will last longer… 

Your dishwasher, washer and dryer, and even your coffeemaker all are negatively impacted by hard water. That mineral residue wears down your appliances a lot faster than if water is run through a softener.

…and so will your clothes

Those same hard water minerals leave their mark (and get left behind) on your clothes. Bright colors will fade faster, and certain minerals can even stain white clothing. Soft water also dissolves detergent better than hard water, so your clothes will likely feel softer and cleaner.

You’ll have an easier time cleaning

The mineral buildup from hard water takes more time to clean and it comes back fast. Plus, you’ll likely be cleaning and rinsing your shower and sinks with even more hard water. A water softener will prevent you from having to deal with this residue.

Your skin and hair will feel better

Knowing that hard water irritates appliances, would you really want to use this water on your hair and skin? The minerals in hard water can leave your skin and hair feeling dry and itchy. It’s also harder to work up a lather with soap, which often leads to buildup of shampoo and conditioner. All around, you will actually feel a difference with softened water.

If you’re hoping a showerhead water softener will do the trick, save yourself some dough—these don’t work because water passes through too quickly to remove hard minerals. 

And for our last benefit, a water softener could help add value to your home when you’re looking to sell! Whether buying or selling, you’re on your way to becoming a knowledgeable homeowner. RealtyHive is here to make the “home” part come to life. Work with us to find your home or to sell in a time-limited event.

Banner with white man standing in front of house with text "Buy. Sell. RealtyHive."