First Time Home Seller 41 Realty Group Sellers

Everything You Need To Know As A First-Time Home…

First time selling your home? Maybe you’re ready for more space, looking to downsize, or perhaps you simply want a new adventure in a new location. No matter the reason, we think it’s essential to be prepared for the entire sales process. Selling your home can be emotional and stressful, especially for first-time home sellers, as likely it’s your most significant investment. 

As a first-time seller, you have the advantage of having gone through the buying process. Now’s the time to spend your time prepping your home to look it’s best for potential buyers. Plus, depending on your plans, you may also have the extra pressure of selling your home and buying a new one at the same time. Let’s go over the entire process from top to bottom so that you feel a little more prepared before you sell.

Your Guide To Being A First-Time Home Seller

We think that having a basic understanding of the home-selling process can give you some peace of mind as you make your next move. Here’s a step-by-step guide that gives you everything you need as a first-time home seller.

1. Decide If You Should Sell Your Home Or Buy A New One First 

The first thing you should do is figure out when you’re buying your next home. Some people decide to sell first so they don’t have to worry about two mortgages at one time. We suggest talking to a real estate agent and look at your current housing market. In a buyer’s market, there’s a better chance that a seller will accept an offer on their home, even if it’s contingent on the sale of your current home. However, in a seller’s market, homeowners might not be keen on accepting a contingency that forces them to wait around.

We also suggest that you address your finances before getting too far into the process. Contact your current loan servicer to discuss your remaining mortgage balance so that you know how much equity you’ll have when you decide to sell. Learning this information will help you budget for any improvements you’ll need to make before listing. 

2. Choose The Right Agent

The next step is to find the right real estate agent to work with you during this process. The trick is to find someone who knows the area inside and out and is willing to work around your busy schedule. At 41 Realty Group, we have agents on our team that specialize in helping sellers and their unique needs. The right real estate agent will help you set the right price, negotiate offers, and give you the advice you need to sell your home for the best price.

Plus, real estate agents will be there every step of the way to help you navigate through any sticky situation that might come up. 

3. Set The Right Price 

A critical step in the home selling process is to set the right price. Both appraisers and real estate agents will give you an opinion based on comparable sales that occurred within the last 3-6 months in your specific neighborhood. They look at several factors, including the house’s age, square footage, location, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Your agent will perform a comparative market analysis for you to recommend a price that is right for your home based on current market conditions. 

4. Prepare Your Home To Sell

It’s probably no secret that there are many details to take care of before you officially list your home and show it to buyers. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Fix The Little Things

You know that to-do list you’ve had for years of all those little things you need to fix or replace? Now’s the time to do them. Maybe it’s a broken door handle, a faulty outlet, a sink that drips, etc. They might seem small to you, but potential buyers might attribute that to the house not being adequately maintained in the grand scheme of things. 

You might not need to do costly and extensive renovations. Though they will be impressed by the new countertops or new roof, they likely won’t want to pay more for those updates. 

Declutter And Clean

When showing, it’s vital to declutter and eliminate distractions that take away the buyer’s focus. Now is the perfect time to sell or toss anything that you aren’t planning on taking with you when you move. Clear out the closets and organize all of your storage areas. 

Once the clutter is all cleared away, the next step is a deep clean throughout the house. This is the time to scrub the baseboards, wipe the dust from ceiling fans, and get behind all those nooks and crannies you usually skip. 

Stage Your Home

Staging your house is a powerful tool that a first-time home seller should utilize when it’s time to sell. It can be as simple as cleaning well, removing extra clutter, and repainting a wall or two. Staging helps potential buyers look at your house like it’s already theirs. They will want to see details to help them imagine themselves living in this space. Try to make your home as comfortable and neutral as possible. 

Your real estate agent will help you find just the right placement of furniture, or even help you bring in rented pieces and decorations to freshen up your space. 

5. Market And Show Your Home 

Once you’ve prepared your home and made it fit for selling, your selling agent will start marketing your home to buyers. Marketing involves several different elements, all designed to paint your home to the best light and find the right people interested in buying. They’ll most likely start with professional photographs of your home to create an online profile. This listing will include all the details about your home that buyers will be looking for.

Your agent will also use the multiple listing service (MLS). The MLS is a private database that is used only by licensed agents to find homes for buyers. Your home will be listed on the MLS and syndicated to all popular home search websites. Agents will also put a sign in your front yard, perhaps use flyers and direct mail for marketing your home, using a video tour, and of course, share your property across their social media pages. 

Another marketing strategy is open houses. Your agent will give you tips on when the best time to host an open house is and what you can do to prepare for buyers coming in and out of your home.

6. Negotiate And Accept An Offer

Negotiating is a significant part of the home selling process. As a first-time home seller, you can expect your agent to work on your behalf to ensure your best interests are represented. They want you to save money and get the most for your house. 

When entering the negotiating phase, our advice is to have realistic expectations and remain flexible and open with your agent. They will help you set realistic pricing goals and tell you what buyers will be looking for and what offers they are likely to make. 

Especially if you’ve been on the market for a while, talk to your agent about what you can do to speed up the process without losing too much money. They’ll be your guide when it comes to handling all the tricky parts of this negotiation process and help create a win-win for you and the buyer.

7. The Closing Process

Did you accept an offer? Congrats! Now comes the official closing process. Here’s how it works:

First, you’ll prepare for the appraisal and inspection. A licensed appraiser will evaluate your home and make sure that the amount matches or is similar to the sale price. An inspection is ordered by the buyer to assess your home’s structure and systems. This is done to find out if there are any significant repairs needed. 

Frequently your listing agent will recommend having a pre-inspection before putting the home on the market so that no surprises come up that you might have to pay for later. If things do come up during the inspection, your real estate agent will help negotiate repairs and help you decide what you should do, whether it’s making repairs yourself or lower the house’s price.

The next step in the closing process is to get all your paperwork in order. Likely you’ve already filled out the listing agreement and the purchase agreement. Now your agent will work with the title company to get the rest of the documents squared away. This will include title work, property tax documents, property surveys, any plans and permits associated with your home, and your homeowner’s insurance information. 

As soon as all the terms of your purchase agreement are met, and the loan paperwork is ready to go, an escrow agent will deliver a settlement statement that details all the money transfers. On closing day, you’ll sign all the paperwork required to transfer ownership of your home officially.

8. Tie Up Loose Ends

Once you get through closing, you’re just about done with the entire process. We wanted to mention a few loose ends you’ll need to tie up. Don’t forget to change your address with the post office and cancel your homeowners’ insurance on the home you just sold. Now is also the time to close all accounts delivered to your home, like utilities or newspaper subscriptions. 

If you have any manuals that go with appliances in your home, leave them on the counter for the new owners. That’s it! You’re free to begin the next adventure in your life.

Conclusion

Ready to get started? We can help! Give us a call at 41 Realty Group, and we’ll answer your questions, help you sell, and even help you find a new house. 

Click here to get started!

General Real Estate

Do You Know All These Billings Trivia? [VIDEO]

In this video, Nicole King, owner and broker of 41 Realty Group, went downtown and asked local Billings residents some trivia. Some they got right, some they didn’t. Do you think you can get all of this Billings trivia? Watch the video or keep reading to find out!

Most Montanans Will Know This Billings Trivia – Do You?

Let’s break it down by question and see if you know Billings as much as you think you do.

Questions #1 – What year was Billings founded?

People struggled with this question when Nicole asked local residents, but the answer is 1882.

It was first founded by the Northern Pacific Railroad on a site originally known as Clark’s Fork Bottom.

Question #2 – Where did Billings get its name?

Billings was named after Frederick Billings, the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and was established as a rail hub in 1882. 

Question #3 – How many people live in Billings?

As of 2020, the population of Billings, Montana, is 109,868. It is known as the largest city in Montana and the 282nd largest city in the US. Billings has a population density of 2,463 people per square mile, spanning over 45 miles. Billings is the only city in Montana with a population of more than 100,000.

Question #4 – What street does the West End start on?

Many people in the video guessed that the West End of Billings, Mt starts on 24th street, and anything west of that is considered the “West End.” However, this is still up for debate across town. 

What do you think?

Question #5 – What is the area before 19th street or the West End called? 

This is another Billings trivia question that is up for debate! Some people called it central, and some people called it midtown. Other people just answered that it was the area around their house! What do you think these areas should be called, and where do they start and end?

Question #6 – Do you know where Rehberg Ranch Is? Is it in the Heights or the West End?

If you watched the video, most people answered this question correctly. Rehberg Ranch is located in the Heights! Rehberg Ranch is one of Billings’ most desirable residential subdivisions. 

It’s a newer community named after AJ Rehberg, a man who staked a claim in the early 1900s on a high stretch of rimrock prairie land above Billings that is mostly hidden from the rest of the town.

Question #7 – Who is the current Mayor of Billings?

Only one person answered this one correctly, but Billings’s mayor is a man named Bill Cole. He was born and raised in Bozeman, MT, and graduated from Dartmouth College with a history degree. He then received his law degree from Columbia University School of Law in New York City. In 1991, he and his wife Anne Remmer Cole moved to Billings. 

His term ends in December of 2021.

Question #8 – What do you love most about Billings?

Some of the residents that Nicole interviewed answered similarly to one another, saying that Billings has always been their home, and the people are the best part of the town. Others said that they love everything that Billings has to offer surrounding the city, like hiking and fishing and the scenery. Another person said that the Billings music scene is what they love the most.

A lot of people love the blend of city and home-town vibes that Billings offers, as well as the ability to get away from the people when you need some open spaces. Another group of people said that the best part about Billings is that there is always something to do. There are always events and activities happening around town for the whole family to enjoy. 

Question #9 – What is one thing you would like to see added to our community?

When asked what they would like to see added to the community, the answers differed. One person said they would like to see more community-based events. Several people said they would like to see more diverse fast-food options like Chik-Fil-A and In-N-Out, while another said they would love to see more parks and areas for recreation. 

What do you think would benefit the Billings community? We’d love to hear your comments and see what you thought about this Billings trivia and whether answers differed from the video’s locals!

Billings Real Estate Agent 41 Realty Group General Real Estate

How To Choose The Right Billings Real Estate Agent

Thinking about buying or selling a home? Both of those processes can be an exciting experience and a life-changing one at that. Whether it’s the thrill of the house hunt and the possibility of a new life and growing family, or moving on to the next chapter, a new home is full of hopeful opportunities. The entire process can be enhanced by a good real estate agent who knows all the ins and outs of your market. However, we know that in Billings, MT, there are so many different brokerages and agents out there to choose from, which means that finding the right one is more of a challenge than even finding the perfect house. Especially since working with the right real estate agent who is both experienced and trustworthy can help you sell your home for the best price or find your dream home within your budget. When you’re looking for a Billings real estate agent, you’ve come to the right place.

To help you with the selection process, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you find the best real estate agent, no matter where you live.

Simple Tips To Help You Choose The Best Billings Real Estate Agent

Here are a few tips to help you choose the best Billings real estate agent to help you buy, sell, and even fix and flip.

Start By Looking For Referrals In Your Own Network

The first thing you should do when looking for the right Billings real estate agent is to ask around. Ask friends and family members who they’ve worked with and trusted in the past. Use your network to find out who had amazing experiences. You’ll want to work with someone who has worked with people who are in the same situation as you. Specifically, first-time buyers’ needs are different from those of frequent buyers or homeowners looking to downsize.

We suggest looking for Realtors with a capital R. This specific title means that they are National Association of Realtors (NAR) members. Loosely speaking, this means they have formally agreed to abide by the NAR’s code of ethics. Some Realtors and agents also have specific certifications to show they’ve completed additional training. 

Once you’ve found a name or two of local agents and brokers, the next step is to examine their online presence. Look at their social profiles, their website, and how they promote their current listings. It is also helpful to look at online reviews, but be cautious. One or two negative reviews are normal for successful agents, but if more than 50% of their reviews are unhelpful experiences, that might be a red flag.

Look For Signs Or Open Houses

If you aren’t really excited about digging online for agent profiles, check out your local market in person. Drive or walk around your neighborhood or the neighborhood you want to be in and look for repeat agent names on signs. If you’re seeing the same name or brokerage name time and time again, it most likely is because they care about their business and want to be recognized as an asset to their community. 

Another way you can get to know an agent is to visit open houses. Get a feel for them in person and see how well they are selling another home and interacting with potential buyers. This is a great way to get a feel for their personality and see how they work.

Ask The Right Questions 

When you’re interviewing or getting to know your potential new agent, make sure you are asking the right questions. Find out how long they have been working in real estate, whether they work primarily with buyers or sellers, and how many active clients they have at a time. 

Ask if they are a part of a team, their specialty, and their marketing strategy for both buying and selling. Working with a brokerage is usually a great bet because you’ll have a team of knowledgeable agents and brokers to handle any issues and questions that come up.

Set Clear and Realistic Expectations

When picking an agent to help you buy and sell, you must set your communication preferences and let your agent know your expectations. Usually, the greatest complaint regarding any Billings real estate agent is that they aren’t communicating well. Make sure you are on the same page with your agent from the get-go. Ask them what their expectations are for you as the buyer or seller and ask them how often they will contact you. Maybe your agent prefers email while you prefer phone calls. This might not make for a great client-agent relationship. Similarly, if you’re looking for weekly updates and have a lot of questions, and your agent isn’t great at answering the phone, then you might want to look for someone who is a better fit.

We also think that it’s important you clarify your motivation and goals. If you’re on a strict timeline or have wishlist items that can’t be broken, make sure you’re communicating that with your agent. Layout everything you’re expecting right away so your agent knows all of your expectations. 

At the end of the day, you want to agree with your agent on all the important details. A great agent relationship starts with clearly defined expectations and communication strategies.

Go With Your Gut

We know that when it comes to choosing the right agent, an agent’s ability to make the process smooth and easy is just as important as experience and knowledge. You want to feel mutual trust and comfortability with your agent, as often the closing process can get a little complex.

At the end of the day, you should go with your gut. Finding the right agent is a little like dating; you’ll know if you have chemistry right away. It’s about personality fit just as much as finding someone who knows their stuff.

The Bottom Line When It Comes To Finding A Billings Real Estate Agent

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, the bottom line is to shop around and do your research. You want someone you connect with, someone you trust, someone who knows the industry and has a large network and inventory on their side at the end of the day. 

Have questions about real estate? We’d love to help. Reach out to us today to discuss your goals.

First Time Home Buyer 41 Realty Group Buyers

Everything You Need To Know As A First-Time Home…

If anyone knows how difficult being a first-time home buyer can be, it’s us. There are so many steps, tasks to complete, requirements, and documents to fill out. Many people looking to buy are anxious about the process because, more often than not, this is the biggest financial decision they will ever have to make. However, we want to encourage first-timers not to be afraid of the process and enjoy some of the advantages of buying for the first time. 

To make this process a little easier and clear up some of the mystery, we’ve compiled a brief overview of what to expect from the buying process. Hopefully, these tips will help ease some of your worries and make life a little easier before buying your first home.

Your Go-To Guide As A First-Time Home Buyer

Thinking of buying your first home? Here’s everything you need to know to get started. 

First Things First – Get Pre Approval 

All first-time home buyers feel both the exhilaration and the fear that comes with buying a home for the first time, and it’s no surprise you’re here looking for tips. Our first piece of advice? Shopping for a home, no matter your budget, without getting preapproved for a mortgage is a big mistake. 

Getting preapproved before you even start looking for a home can help you in a variety of ways. First, it ensures that you have the financial ability to purchase a home, and also makes sure that you know how much you can actually afford. In addition, it lets real estate agents know that you are serious about buying a house.

Shopping for a home before you get approved runs the risk of finding homes that you love that aren’t in your price range. This means you find a way to buy a house you really can’t afford or every other house you look at is a disappointment. Instead of getting your hopes up, start by evaluating your finances and talking to a mortgage lender. Then create a list of must-haves and deal-breakers for the home that you want, so that when you get that pre-approval letter, you’ll know where to start looking.

Consider The Costs of Home Ownership

Like we mentioned above, it pays to know the state of your finances before you really start to look for houses. Any first-time home buyer needs to consider the true costs of homeownership. For example, your down payment requirement will depend on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender. Many lenders offer first time home buyer loans that allow as little as 3% down. But even a small down payment can be challenging to save for. A 3% down payment on a $300,000 home is still $9,000. 

Another thing that a lot of people don’t consider is the closing costs. There are the fees and expenses that come with finalizing the mortgage, and they can range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. Sometimes you can ask the seller to pay a portion of these closing costs and shop around for some of those other expenses that come up. Some other expenses might include having the home appraised, getting a home inspection, running a title search, private mortgage insurance, and other surveys. Ask your real estate agent for all of the ins and outs when it comes to closing costs.

Don’t forget any immediate move-in expenses! You’ll want to make sure you have some funds after moving in for home repairs, upgrades, and any new furnishings you might want. 

Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

Another important aspect to consider when you are a first-time home buyer is to make sure you choose the right agent. The right agent will be able to meet all of your needs and guide you through the entire process. 

Make sure you have a connection and mutual trust with your agent. Get referrals from your friends and family and ask them about their experience. Then ask your potential real estate agent about their process for first-time home buyers.

Pick The Right Type Of House And Neighborhood

With the help of your agent, the next step is to find the right house in the right neighborhood. Think about your long term needs and whether you need a starter home or a forever home. If you’re thinking about starting a family or expanding your current one, then it might make sense to buy a home with a little extra room. 

You’ll also want to weigh the pros and cons of different home types, and knowing your lifestyle and budget will help you. Though condos and townhomes are more affordable, sharing walls and having neighbors close by means less privacy. Maybe you’ve found the perfect neighborhood but can’t afford a move-in ready home, in which case a fixer-upper might be your best bet. 

Whatever you choose, make sure you check out the neighborhood thoroughly. It might even be a good idea to test out the commute from your home to your workplace or your children’s schools.

Make An Offer and Close On Your Home

When it’s time to make an offer, your real estate agent will help you decide how much is fair to offer for the house, along with any conditions you might want to ask for. Your agent will contact the seller’s agent and do all of the negotiating for you. Offers and counteroffers will be handled until ultimately, an agreement is reached. Once you reach an agreement, you will then make a good-faith deposition, and the process will then transition into escrow. Escrow is the short period of time during which the seller takes the house off the market with the expectation that you will buy it – provided you don’t find any issues with the house during the inspection.

Once you reach an agreement, and there are no serious problems with the inspection, you are ready to close! Closing is the process of signing a ton of paperwork in a very short time period, and your Realtor will help you make sure everything goes smoothly. 

Let 41 Realty Group Help You Find The Perfect Home

First-time home buyers shouldn’t be afraid of the complex process because you’ll have a real estate agent on your side to help you with every step of the way. Hopefully, you have a better idea of what to expect so that when you’re ready for this fun and life-changing commitment, you’ll be ready. At 41 Realty Group, you’ll find a team of agents who love helping others make Billings their home. Give us a call or contact us online to let us help you start this process.