Most home buyers and sellers start the process filled with questions. Though it may seem like a tall task, educate yourselves about the ins and outs of the process and find the right agent to assist you with your goals. Below your will learn about some of the common misconceptions about buying and selling homes.

1)  “I don’t need a real estate agent. ”Ah, the “I-can-do-this-all-by-myself” mentality — a common one among stubborn home buyers and sellers who don’t understand the value of hiring a professional whose sole job is helping consumers navigate the intricacies of real estate transactions. Many homeowners believe they can market and sell their home themselves though they don’t consider all the facets of the sales process that may be overwhelming to them. With negotiations, disclosures, contracts, lenders, appraisals and inspections, there is a lot of information to cover and even more liability that could get an overzealous seller into legal trouble. At the same time, buyers who choose to by-pass hiring an agent, may not be thoroughly informed about the home itself or their rights during the purchase process. Do the words “buyer’s remorse” sound familiar? It is very disappointing for a new buyer to find out there are major repairs needed to a home they just purchased or to find out they were mis-led by one of the many “vendors” involved in the process that may have been working for the seller, not the buyer.

2)  “I need an agent to help me, but any agent will do. ”Many buyers and sellers hire an agent based on the number of ads a given agent has placed around town. Not interviewing several agents could put you at a disadvantage. Agents often specialize in particular facets of real estate. Hiring a Buyer’s Agent to list your home might mean your home doesn’t get the proper marketing exposure since buyers agents typically focus on generating leads and showing homes. If you are a buyer and hire a listing agent, you may not get a full view of the availability as they may only show you their in-house listings. Yes this is against Real Estate Commission Rules in North Carolina, but it happens.

3)  “Finding a reputable agent in my community is impossible. ”Many home buyers and sellers don’t think the perfect agent (or anything close to one) exists. The perfect agent for the perfect buyer or seller can be hard to find. That is why it is important to do your research and ask the right questions when interviewing an agent to work with. Ask about their experience, sales philosophies and how they would go about working for you.

4)  “The best agents are the most popular and richest ones. ”Look at the top-earners in your market and you may think they’ve got their stuff together: They know how to generate lots of leads and they must be “A-plus” agents who know the market inside and out. Or, they could simply work solely with a few high-end buyers and sellers annually and just happen to make big bucks because of it. Too often, people think these agents are the best of the best because they earn the most and make a name for themselves, but that’s not always (or even often) the case. It is not unusual for an agent to head-up a team, as a team leader, and to heavily market that team leader by pooling the efforts of the entire team to gain a high local profile. Inevitably that team leader is the one who is featured on billboards and in glossy marketing but is seldom the one to actually deal with actually servicing your needs, that is often left to the team of less experienced ‘assistants’. Make sure that your needs will be covered by the person you choose and won’t be farmed off to someone less qualified or successful.

5)  “If I start with lowball offers, I’ll eventually get the price I want. ”Buyers certainly have a right to want the best price possible for a home, but making a bid well below the asking price could be seen as insulting and turn off sellers entirely. In turn, low sales prices aren’t going to boost the property value which is important to buyers and sellers. Good agents will provide appropriate “comps” which will help to determine a realistic starting point for an offer. Getting a good deal is important to both buyers and sellers in different ways. It is better to start off with a realistic number and negotiate from there.

6)  “My home is fantastic — I know an agent can sell it within weeks. ” If sellers only knew how much work goes into marketing, staging, and showing listings. It is very important to understand the concept that the market, not the quality or newness of a home, dictates what a home will eventually sell for.

7)  “I don’t need to stage my home to get buyers interested. ”Dressing up a listing is the best way (well, really the only way, in most cases) to sell a home for the right price and quickly. Why not put your best foot forward and create the best possible first impression. Buyers respond to well laid out homes and a lot of this impression can be impacted by the décor and furniture arrangement. Homes for sale should feature the best parts of the home and show the functionality while helping buyers picture themselves living there. Sellers should not look at a staging request from an agent, as a negative. Staging your home is an opportunity to help buyers fall in love with your home. Don’t pass it up! Considering that 46% of buyers find their new home on line now days, pictures and staging are more important than ever. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your home should appeal, in the first instance, to other real estate agents to encourage them to showcase it to their clients….if they are not impressed by it then it is highly unlikely to be seen by their clients.

8)  “All I need is a few grand in the bank to make a down payment on a home. ”There are so many factors that come into getting a loan for a new house. Credit scores, debt/income, location, job status and specialty financing like FHA and USDA loans. Since real estate agents are not loan officers, you should always speak to a trusted lender before looking for your new home. Find out about the loan terms and sales price that you can obtain before falling in love with a home that is out of your price range. Losing a home due to unexpected finance reasons can be avoided by doing some research ahead of time. Having your financial house in order will also help your offer stand out from other offers by showing your financial strength. Being realistic about your limits will help your overall experience be more positive, saving time and money in the long run.