Buying and Selling Real Estate in Lake Mary & Beyond

It’s safe to say that just about any decision pertaining to real estate is a big decision. Are you ready to buy a home? That’s a major investment, and one that deserves plenty of thought before you place an offer. Likewise, if you’re preparing to sell, you’ll want to be sure you’re making the most of all the love and care you’ve given your home over the years. Both buying and selling real estate come with lengthy lists of considerations and steps to take. Real estate agents can help you navigate all the to-do lists and questions you may have.

What many don’t realize, however, is that you don’t need to settle for the first real estate agent you talk to. Before you commit, it can be immensely valuable to speak with a few different real estate agents or brokers in your area. A real estate agent’s expertise and guidance can have a major impact on the bottom line as well as your overall experience. When it comes to real estate wisdom, experience, and a willingness to go above and beyond for our clients, the professional team who make up Gitta Sells & Associates excel. Connect with us to learn more about our 30+ years of experience in Lake Mary and the surrounding areas, and how we put that knowledge to work for you!

Understanding Real Estate

Often, when people talk about real estate, they refer nebulously to “the real estate market.” This does more harm than good for those who aren’t familiar with how real estate works. Rather than one unified national market, real estate actually works on a much more localized basis. Housing trends can differ from one city to another — and even from one neighborhood to the next. Understanding the localized trends for pricing and demand can help you determine whether it’s the right time to buy, the right time to sell, and how to decide on those all-important financial factors.

Of course, most people don’t have that in-depth of a level of knowledge of real estate trends, even for the area in which they live. This is where some real estate agents can stand out above the rest. Some of us, like the Gitta Sells & Associates team, are so committed to our craft that we keep track of the ups and downs for each neighborhood we serve. This information allows us to help you price your home accurately when it’s time to sell, minimizing how long your home will sit on the market. Likewise, keeping track of localized market trends means we’re in the perfect position to help you find neighborhoods with the best prices based on the size and price range you’re looking for. A real estate agent’s knowledge and experience (or lack thereof) can raise or lower a home’s value by as much as $100,000. It’s important to take the time to find the right real estate agent so you don’t pay the price for their lack of experience. Try these suggestions for what to look for and questions to ask based on whether you’re buying or selling.

Buying

Buying a home is a big financial investment, but it’s also a decision that will have a rippling impact on your family as a whole. Choosing a home also means choosing the schools your kids will go to, what amenities you’ll have access to nearby, and all those other things that can mean big changes for your lifestyle. Taking the time to find a real estate agent who understands those elements, and not just your budget, means you’re more likely to find the right home in the right area within your budget — an almost impossible-sounding trifecta.

When it comes to choosing an agent to help you buy a home, experience is a valuable factor, but it’s not the only thing to consider. A big part of this is because many real estate agents will have experience working in certain areas and price ranges. No matter how many years of experience a potential agent has, if all of their experience is primarily with homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, they may not be the right person to help you find a home in the $800,000 range. Years of experience mean an agent can help you over any potential hurdles, which is great. But someone with years of experience working in the specific areas and price range you’re looking for will have a better understanding of market trends and potential problems to be on the lookout for (and how to help).

The other big element to consider may sound superficial, but it’s an important one: you’ll want to find a real estate agent you get along with. A real estate purchase is not a swift, single day process. The process from initial contact to closing on a home can take multiple months, so you’ll want to find an agent you feel comfortable working with for that duration. Choosing an agent you get along with also makes it easier to communicate throughout the process, and communication is key to enjoying as smooth a home buying process as possible.

Before you settle on a real estate agent, take time to discuss these important questions:

1. How long have you been in real estate, and what’s your area of focus?

As we mentioned above, experience is good, but experience specifically related to your housing needs is better. That specific experience means a real estate agent will be better equipped to know which homes are priced well and which are priced too high.


2. Do you work with buyers and sellers?

Some agents work mostly with buyers, some with just sellers, and some real estate agents work with a good mix of the two. This is a good question to ask in order to gauge how relevant their experience is as well as how busy they are.


3. Do you work with a team?

Some real estate agents work on their own, and some prefer to work on a team. The benefit of working with someone on a team is that their teammates may step in to provide assistance as needed. It’s a good idea to also ask how much you can expect to work with other team members throughout the process.


4. What is your preferred communication method?

As with so many things in life, communication is invaluable, so it helps to determine those expectations up front. If you prefer to be contacted by phone, you may struggle with a real estate agent who primarily connects through email.  Don’t let this be a deal-breaker, but do use it as a means of setting your expectations, establishing what type of communication you prefer, and dictating how frequently you’d like updates.


5. How will you handle my unique situation?

Every real estate transaction is unique, and yours should be treated as such. When you meet with a real estate agent, explain what your specific needs and situation are. From there, don’t just ask if they have experience with similar situations, ask how they would plan for your needs.


6. Do you have references I can speak with?

Not only is it a good idea to speak with others who recently worked with that agent, it’s even more beneficial to talk to a few recent clients who bought in similar neighborhood and price ranges.


Real estate agents should facilitate the home buying process to make things flow as smoothly as possible. Here at Gitta Sells & Associates, we use our 30+ years of experience to work for you. We take the time to keep up with local trends in Lake Mary and many of the surrounding areas, so we are more than happy to answer your questions and explain more about the real estate market where you want to buy. Connect with our team to learn more about how we use our knowledge of Lake Mary and the surrounding areas to help you find the right home for your unique needs.

Selling

Just like buying real estate, selling a home comes with its own special considerations to find the best success possible. Whether you’ve owned your home for decades or a scant few years, you’ve undoubtedly put effort into your property. When it’s time to sell, there are several steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the most from all the time and care you’ve given your home.

Surprisingly, most of the work to help sell your home is done before a buyer ever steps foot through the door. We suggest starting to work with a real estate agent at least a few weeks before you intend to list your home because there are several steps that should be taken to get your property ready. These include:

Preparing Your Home

Before you start considering when to list your home or what you want the asking price to be, it’s important to get your home prepared. Even if you’ve been great about upkeep over the years, there will need to be some extra effort put in to make sure your home looks its best for potential buyers. Preparing your home to sell includes:

In order to help your home sell for what it’s worth (or more), it will need to make a great first impression with potential buyers. A thorough cleaning, fixing that leaky faucet, and otherwise sprucing up your home can help it sell for top dollar. It’s important to make sure your home looks its best before you list it because even those superficial things like faded paint or dated fixtures can devalue a home in a potential buyer’s eyes. You don’t necessarily need to undertake major renovations, but it is important to at least make sure your home looks like it’s in great condition. If you have questions on what needs to be done, the real estate agent helping to sell your home can guide you through suggestions for small repairs or minor upgrades that can help increase the value of your home without major cost. If you are prepared to make a bigger investment in terms of renovations, your real estate agent can help you determine whether those renovations are likely to pay off based on local market trends.

Photos and Staging

First impressions are key, and in our modern digital age, that first impression often happens online rather than in person. After you’ve spruced up your home — and before clutter has a chance to accumulate again — it’s generally worthwhile to have professional photos taken of your home. Since your online listing provides most of the information buyers will see first, those photos can help you present your home with its best foot forward.

If you’ll be moving out before the home sells, it may also be worthwhile to have your home staged, fully or just partially. This will depend largely on the location and price range of your home, but staging is a great way to help your buyers envision their lives in your house. However, staging isn’t always necessary, so discuss this option with your real estate agent for guidance.

Pricing Your Home

This step is key. The way your home is priced when it goes up for sale can actually have a major impact on how quickly it sells and how much over (or under) the initial asking price it will sell for. Pricing your home too high means it will likely sit on the market for a while. Even after lowering the price, that history will make buyers question what could be wrong with it, which is likely to hurt your bottom line. Price your home too low, and you could spur a bidding war, but you could also sell for less than your home is worth — thus cutting into your equity.

This is where choosing the right real estate agent can have a major impact. An experienced, knowledgeable agent will understand the local buying and selling trends in your area. They can take that information, add in current demand and quantity of other homes for sale near you, the condition of your home, and other factors (like size and age) to determine the appropriate price. The better your home is priced, the more it should sell for and the better your bottom line is likely to be. Yes, all of that just from picking the right price.

Choosing Experienced Help

When choosing a real estate agent, you’ll want to look for someone who has experience selling homes in your area. Take your time to interview a few different agents. As with buying a home, you don’t need to choose the first real estate agent you talk to. While you meet, be sure to ask how many homes they’ve sold recently, where those homes were, and what they sold for. This will help you gauge whether that person has the right sort of experience to suit your needs. At Gitta Sells & Associates, we focus our efforts on keeping up with the demand and sales trends in Lake Mary and many of the surrounding areas so we can provide the best knowledge and education to help your home sell well. We have more than 30 years of experience in Lake Mary real estate. Connect with our team to help you prepare your home, list it, price it, and sell your home well!

The Gitta Sells & Associates Difference

Here at Gitta Sells & Associates, real estate is our passion. We bring that dedication to every client we work with, house we sell, and home we help you buy. We don’t want you to feel like just another transaction, we want to take the time to get to know you and your family. Taking the time to get to know each of our clients helps us better understand what you need and how we can better help you find the right home for your family or the right buyer for your home. Whether you live in Lake Mary or halfway across the country, we are happy to help you learn all you need to know about the beautiful Seminole County and Orange County areas. Connect with our experienced and passionate team today and let us help you come home in central Florida!