I have been moonlighting as a newspaper columnist for 12 years.
My day job as a real estate agent and state board member of Realtors provides fodder for my weekly missions to you, my readers. And for a dozen trips around the sun, it’s been my mission to guide you through the buying and selling of one of life’s most precious possessions.
From how to create an eye-catching V shape in sofa cushions to taxes and closing costs, from decorating tips to exterminating termites, I offer advice, tips, advice, tricks and, in my humble opinion, even wisdom. .
I’ve written over 500 columns, my editor estimates.
Ninety-nine percent of the content comes from real estate deals I’ve helped broker over the years and all the ‘splaining’ I’ve done with clients and colleagues.
Occasionally, I get feedback from readers.
A gentleman named Bill told me he appreciated my looking at things. A cat lady wants to challenge the expression, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
One broker told me he used my column in weekly office meetings to train his agents. Many readers asked for advice, and there was one sad story of a victim of wire fraud. For the most part, I reserve my advice for my clients and this column.
I’ve written about finances, scams, HOAs, repairs, organizing, cleaning, painting, planting, photography, and in recent years, coping with Covid-19.
And now, dear readers, I think I may have said everything I thought to say.
Which means, it’s time for me to call.
As a final sign of my hope and prayers for your success, I’ll repeat the most valuable tips I’ve shared over the past 12 years. In no particular order, they are:
Do the math for the money: Find out the maximum down payment, expected closing costs and monthly total payments (PITIA – principle, interest, property taxes, home owner insurance and home owner association fees).
Get pre-approved for a loan so you know not only if you qualify, but also the expected interest rate based on your income, assets and credit score.
Check your requirements: The more specific you can be about what you want and don’t want, the easier it will be to come up with a short list of options when you’re ready to buy.
Change from selling your home to selling your home: Stripping away all the memories you’ve created and viewing your home as an asset to get you to your next destination rather than a sentimental family home is critical to your success as a seller.
Protect your property: Protect yourself and your valuables as you prepare to invite a whole host of guests into your home. Keep jewelry, guns, prescription drugs, and small electronics out of sight and out of reach. Install security cameras and review the record after each screening.
Avoid congestion: Whether it’s an endless stream of shows making your life more chaotic, or receiving multiple offers in days or not getting any show requests at all, there will be a lot to add in the process.
Keep calm, take time to tackle the extra work and give yourself some grace, but don’t procrastinate or dillydally – this is a short-term project and will be over in a few weeks or months.
Expect bumps on the road; The unexpected may happen. Termites, tile leaks, roof leaks, unauthorized additions, and closing delays are just a few examples of unexpected situations you may encounter on your move.
Believe that these can mostly be remedied through creativity, negotiation and finance.
Enter the work; Clean the carpet or replace it with a new white carpet to make your rooms look better.
Clean the walls, floors, windows and cabinets. Sly. Remove all personal photos.
Find suitable towels. Get matching bedding, with tons of plush pillows.
Trim the trees, cultivate the lawn and fill the beds with flowers.
Market conditions are important: The main factors to be aware of when buying or selling are supply, demand and interest rates. Then it’s Econ 101.
Read the terms: Yes, it is long. Yes, it’s boring. Yes, you should read it.
If you have to ask if it should be disclosed, it should be disclosed. Barking dogs, leaky porches, rickety fences, noisy neighbors, and a broken faucet in the bathroom.
There are pages of explanations to jog your memory, but they don’t cover everything. Describe everything you think could affect your home’s value or desirability.
Start packing as soon as possible. Even before the sign enters the yard, start packing.
Sort your things to pack for moving to your new home, donate to a local charity, throw away. This is arguably the hardest part, so getting ahead of it will make the process easier.
If I come across something new and unique that needs to be said, I will submit another column. Until then, Aloha.
Leslie Sargent Eskledson is an agent with RealTone Group West and a member of the California Association of Realtors Board of Directors. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.