Bang for your buck

Posted on 09 Oct 2007 at 1:22pm
By Arnold Wayne Jones

Experts weigh in on how to make the most on a sale
and spend the least on a buy

Everyone who wants to sell a home hopes to fetch the best price and everyone who wants to buy one wants to get the best bargain. What are some ways to make sure you’re doing it right?

We asked area real estate professionals to weigh in with their suggestions: How do you suggest someone looking to buy a house or condo get the most bang for their real estate buck? How about selling to maximize offers?

Here’s what they said:


Bob McCranie

“The best bang for your buck depends on what the buyer wants in a home. There are lots of foreclosures and bank-owned properties but many of them need substantial repairs. The best opportunity for one buyer may be the worst option for another. A great agent will specialize the search to the buyer’s needs. If the buyer is handy or has capital set aside for updates and repairs, the low end repo house may be the best option. But if the buyer is not up to doing repairs or doesn’t have the capital, the more effective purchase plan would be to get a home that is up to date, maybe at a higher cost.

“To sell your home quickly, you really have to be at the top of your game. The house has to be spotless and have as many features as possible. Pricing a home right is always the best way to attract a buyer. Find an agent with the best education and experience who will tell you the true market conditions. Overpricing a home or marketing it poorly will hurt your chances in this market. It’s also a great time to buy investment property or to convert existing property to investment property. Your real estate agent can tell you the pros and cons of making these decisions.”

Bob McCranie with William Davis Realty


Matt Watson

“In the current market, there are five listings for every buyer, so if a seller wants to be the “‘chosen’ one and attract buyers, I recommend the following:

“First, price about five percent below market value. Second, make sure the property is staged to show it off best (hire a professional stager if needed). Third, have your agent take great pictures of the property and post a listing on Realtor.com. Fourth, hire a Realtor so the seller gets the most exposure possible and reaches the qualified buyers.

Finally, have the property pre-inspected by a licensed inspector to avoid buyer fallout during the contract period.

The seller should repair any major issues that come up or use them as negotiation tools.”
Susan Melnick with Virginia Cook Realtors

“My mother always said that some people’s problems are others’ opportunities. Well, opportunity knocks in real estate foreclosures, divorces, estate settlement and relocating sellers. These can all be dreaded words for some but opportunities for some.

“Purchasing a property is an adventure and should be exciting and mentally stimulating. Buying a home in an “‘up and coming’ area to me is not risky. I could kick myself for not purchasing some properties in Oak Lawn in the early 1990s (lots that are now worth $250,000 could be purchased for $40,000-$50,000).


Susan Melnick

“There are many movements underfoot in Dallas that will enhance the city and values will rise. The Farmers Market area is unique and the city has targeted the market for a makeover. Soon you will see new restaurants and retail in the area. Deep Ellum is scheduled to undergo a transition as well. DART Rail will be adding a stop to the area including to the medical district and Maple Springs. The Canton Lofts in that area are priced well and have a feel of a New York apartment in Dallas and provide bang for your buck in my opinion.”

Keith Yonick with Prudential Texas Properties

“These are tips I use when working with condo buyers. First, think about how long you’re going to stay in one place.

Buying a condo is no different than buying a single-family home: You need to live there at least a couple of years to recoup closing costs, assuming the property will appreciate.

“Give some thought to what you want. If you’re not interested in the pool or sauna, understand that the condo’s price and ongoing monthly association fees will reflect their use regardless of your interest in swimming or sweating.

“Request a market analysis from a real estate agent regarding the selling prices of condos in the building or area. Check the price appreciation on the market analysis to evaluate how quickly the condos are increasing in value.

“Ask to see the minutes from a recent meeting of the homeowners association (HOA). Find out what the hot issues are and if members are fighting tooth and nail.

“Check the HOA’s history of assessments to see how many have been made in the past 10 years and how large they have been. This information will help you gauge how likely it is that you’ll be assessed in the near future, and indicate how well-managed the building is. Better-managed buildings make fewer assessments.

“Budget into your cost association dues, which are above and beyond your monthly mortgage payment. To assist in long-term financial planning, ask the condo association whether association fees have increased in recent years. Also estimate monthly maintenance costs that you’re responsible for in addition to the association fees.”

Jeff Updike with RE/MAX Urban; 2007 President MetroTex
Association of Realtors

“The best way for a buyer to get the most bang for his buck is to work with an agent and tell the agent what they want. The more options that the buyer leaves open, the better the opportunity. For instance, if you have to have a penthouse condo with a Downtown view, the options are limited and you can only expect the best of a limited supply. But if you are looking for an appreciating 2-bedroom, 2-bath house or condo, then the options are open and I can give buyers lots of ideas and let them choose where they see the market going up. Keep your options open!”

Matt Watson with The Michael Group

This article appeared in Defining Homes Magazine on November 9, 2007

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