When it comes to buying and selling houses, there are a lot of assumptions people make that aren’t necessarily true. Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling, it’s important to be clear on how the market usually works.

Buying is always better than renting: This depends a lot more on circumstance than people tend to think. Particularly since you can’t count on your home value going up—or on getting favourable financing deals—anymore, the investment value isn’t certain, and the other expenses and troubles that go into maintaining your own home add up quickly.

You get more for your money in the suburbs: While the cost per square foot can be lower, the sprawl tends to add to incidental costs like transportation, plus larger houses can have higher utility bills.

Remodelling always adds value: Depending on what the project is, you might not get a high return. Smaller projects, as well as less flashy ones like roof repairs, will typically pay off well. Major kitchen remodels or adding a master suite, on the other hand, likely cost a lot more than you’ll be able to get back in the selling price.

A high asking price guarantees you’ll get more money: Market value for your house is determined by a number of factors, including the prices similar houses have sold for in your area and the condition of your house, not just the price you set for it. Buyers might simply offer a lower amount that they think is right, or be turned off completely.

I don’t need a real estate agent: From either side, a real estate agent will help you negotiate a deal that may be better than what you could get on your own as well as making sure the transaction goes through, and will be able to find more information than you could on your own.

If I just wait, I’ll find the perfect house/the perfect deal: For one thing, there is no perfect time for everyone to buy or sell. It’s better to focus on whether or not you need to move than on trying to make money from a house as an investment. As for finding the perfect house, you’ll need to be realistic, and keep in mind your needs and not just your dream home. Think about making the house you do find your own. Holding out won’t necessarily help you.

A home inspector hired by the agent will favour the agent: While there are shady people out there, reputable agents build business by doing what’s best for the client and will want to make deals based on the truth. They also don’t want to open themselves up to lawsuits or other accusations of misconduct.

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