Navigating the Real Estate Market: Tips from an Experienced Realtor

A photo of a house miniature with house keys
Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Navigating the real estate market was never simple. However, with technological advancements in reach for any new or seasoned investor, the modern real estate world offers newfound ease that is now combined with increasing complexity and competition. Fortunately, many experienced real estate professionals with decades of real estate knowledge have the tools and techniques to help make your real estate transaction – whether it is a sale or purchase- as smooth as possible. 

Tips from an Experienced Realtor  - As You Begin Your Process

Here are some tips from an experienced realtor that can help when buying (and even selling) a home -

1. Clearly Define Your Priorities

To streamline your search, define your priorities and preferences for the property you want to purchase. Understand that finding the perfect home is more of a theoretical concept than an achievable reality – unless you have access to unlimited funds. 

And that finding a home that you like (and one that meets your particular needs) usually involves compromise. Consider these factors as a partial starting point - 

  • Location/Neighborhood - Location is a critical factor in real estate. Consider the property’s proximity to work, schools, amenities, and neighborhood developments. A good location can enhance the property's long-term value.
  • Distance of commute, if relevant
  • School district, if relevant
  • Size of home and lot
  • Amenities
  • Budget, to name a few items that need prioritization and often compromise.

Defining your priorities as a seller is a simpler task – as these priorities are usually based on price, timing, and often, unknown, personal factors that influence a seller's motivation and decisions.

2. Be Realistic About Your Proposed Budget

This requires an honest look at what you and any other borrowers can realistically afford – including the costs associated with –

  • Buying the property
  • Closing the property and mortgage loan
  • Potential renovations/improvements
  • Property insurance
  • Real estate taxes
  • Upkeep, utility bills, and maintenance
  • Association dues, if applicable

3. Become Qualified by Being Pre-Approved for a Mortgage By a Quality Lender 

A pre-approval from a mortgage lender confirms – from a mortgage underwriter's perspective as the authority that issues loan approvals, that the budget you created is realistic and within lending guidelines. In addition, navigating the real estate market with a pre-approval letter offers these benefits –

  • A confirmed budget and pre-approval allow you to focus on an accurate home search and not waste time, money, and effort looking at (and falling in love with) properties for which you would not secure financing.  
  • A pre-approval allows buyers to negotiate from a position of confidence – reducing what can be a stressful and tense negotiation process.
  • A pre-approval may provide an added advantage in a competitive market with multiple bids, as potential sellers know an offer attached to a pre-approval likely reduces the risk of the buyer's deal falling apart due to an unexpected financing problem.
  • The transaction's closing may be expedited because several of the initial financing steps have been completed. 

4. Local and General Real Estate knowledge is invaluable. 

Do you have a good understanding of the local market and real estate customs? 

Which of the four market cycles are you operating in? While you can't avoid living through a real estate cycle, you can learn how to work in each phase to optimize your investment outcome strategically -  

  • Expansion is when demand increases, and vacancy rates drop. Builders supply the market until the market tips to a hyper-supply phase. 
  • Hyper-supply, which is often tied to a larger shift in the economy, is when a sudden and significant drop in demand is combined with overbuilding – leading to increases in vacancy rates and an inability for investors to turn a profit in the marketplace. This leads to the next phase – recession.
  • When the market begins to correct itself, it is known as the recession phase. When vacancy rates and prices bottom out, there are deals to be had – especially in certain industry sectors. 
  • Recovery is when a new real estate cycle begins, with a slow-down in new construction and slow growth in the market – until economic or global data trigger a shift into the expansion phase – and the cycle begins again. 

Subscribe to free alerts from the many online platforms so you, as a market player, have the same current market metrics as real estate professionals as well as the seller looking to find a buyer for a house you want –

  •, and a host of available local MLS and real estate web data sites.

5. Stay Flexible

Realize that the real estate market is dynamic and constantly evolving. This requires players on all sides to remain flexible to market conditions that may require a strategy modification to stay competitive in a changing market.  

6. Consider Future Resale Value

Even if you're not planning to sell immediately, it is smart to keep in mind the potential resale value of the property. Factors like neighborhood trends and property conditions can impact its future marketability.

Tips from an Experienced Realtor  - When You Find a Home

Negotiate strategically with a plan and final price in mind. Trust your licensed realtor's experience and guidance during what is typically an unfamiliar process regarding a significant asset. Important considerations- 

  • Get a thorough home inspection, as this can help identify potential problems from a neutral professional's point of view. 
  • Review the contract carefully with your realtor. Understand all terms and conditions before signing, and don't hesitate to seek legal advice if needed.
  • Be prepared for closing costs which vary among properties and states.  A realtor or your legal representative can help you estimate these fees.

Tips from an Experienced Realtor  - The Take-Away

Remember that the real estate marketplace is typically impacted by various factors, so it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable professional by your side when making large, often life-changing decisions.

A headshot of Judi Kutner- realtor

Senior Contributor: Judi Kutner - Realtor

Throughout her career, Judi has contributed to financial and real estate publications and various education endeavors including authoring hundreds of hours of continuing education coursework to meet state/ARELLO standards for licensees. She currently holds a Florida real estate license and has held a NY Mortgage Broker's license, a Florida Community Association Manager license, plus several SEC licenses during her career. A skilled writer-influencer for the financial and real estate industries - Judi is also a passionate photographer/videographer/artist and Reiki Master – interests that enhance her ability to communicate the important effectively but often hidden subtleties that make a difference in understanding and succeeding in real estate and business. As a proficient business writer, Judi’s goal is to share her passion for (and three decades of knowledge about) the many fascinating facets of the financial and real estate worlds.

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