Roh Habibi is the super dapper star of Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing San Francisco and a leading Bay Area estate agent. Regularly handling awesome seven- and eight-figure properties via his Habibi Group brokerage, here, the Afghanistan-born, California-raised reality-star realtor reveals the insider knowledge you need to get your head around to buy or sell property successfully.
10. Include your significant other. For buyers, take them to see property with you, ask them to help you pick out furniture, choose new finishes and so forth. Or if selling, ask for their help and advice on how to prepare the home in the best way. You don’t have to actually do anything they say, just keep them in the loop, informed, and a part of the process to avoid fights and headache.
9. Know the market. Take time to do your due diligence well in advance of your timeline for a future purchase or sale. Utilise the amazing tools, sites, and apps available today to brush up on comparison sales, school districts, amenities, parks, recreation, boutiques, shopping, highway and public transportation access, walkability, crime figures and so on. The more informed you are about your target area, the easier the process will be when the time comes to buy or sell.
8. Find and pick a great agent, interview a few, don’t just go off your friends’ or family’s referral, or someone that somebody knows who has a license. You’re not going to go under the surgical knife of just any physician, right? Well, real estate is the biggest purchase decision in many people’s lives: take it seriously. Interview agents, look at their strategy, and make sure you click with them personality-wise. Do they sound like they have your best interests on the top of their mind first and foremost? Or are they just hunting down a paycheck? How much value is this person adding to your potential sale or purchase? This is the biggest question of all. Establish best methods of communication right from the get-go.
7. Financing or cash? This is the most vital part of the home-buying or -selling process. The listing agent’s primary objective is to mitigate the risk of the seller so if a buyer is all cash, that’s wonderful. For buyers, if you are needing a loan to purchase a home, start this process early. Many things are needed that you will have to gather together for a pre-approval for a loan. Namely, past two years of tax returns, 12 months of bank statements, current paycheck stub with YTD as well as proof of employment, stock and bond accounts, other assets — basically everything proving you will be a good borrower. The lender will run your credit scores so if you know you will be planning on purchasing, run them yourself and take care of any collections, medical bills, and anything you did not know was affecting your credit score in advance.
6. For home sellers, it is all in the details and preparation of the home. Imagine yourself being a non-biased buyer and walking through your home — what lasting impression are you left with when getting back in the car with your agent at the end? Do you feel you need to have this home and want to write an offer immediately, or are you thinking of all the projects and extra costs this house will demand of you? Pay the extra money and take the extra time upfront to professionally paint the interior and exterior of the home (or power wash the fence and the exterior of the home and driveway), landscape the grounds, move out if possible, and professionally stage the home with amazing furniture. Make sure your agent does not cut any corners with photography and sales and marketing materials. This is how you’ll get top dollar for your home in the shortest amount of time for the sale. Use apps like Houzz and Pinterest for ideas.
5. Go house hunting. There is nothing better than to get into your car and hit the town looking at all of the other inventory on sale. For sellers, go in and dissect these homes, look at positives and negatives in the preparation of each property. You can learn from others’ mistakes and not repeat them for your home sale. For buyers, you will learn so much about your ‘must-have’, ‘need’ and ‘want’ list items and be able to check things off and compromise on others. However, you will have seen so many properties that when the perfect home for you shows up, you will know immediately and can go in guns blazing to buy it.
4. When writing an offer on a property for a buyer you must put your absolute best foot forward. Do not expect a counter offer or a “deal” — many buyers lose out on their dream home by holding back. Be prepared with your pre-approval, a beautifully written biography about yourself, your family and pets, and your current life situation and why this home specifically would be your ideal home to move into and live your life.
3. There is no transparency when negotiating for a home as a buyer — the seller and seller’s agent are pretty much in full control. They receive all of the offers to review; they may get no offers at all and the ambiguity will lead buyers to offer more than they would necessarily have to in order to win a property. It’s a messed up system and there need to be clearer guidelines. Trust your agent and go with their recommendations — they do this 24/7 and are advocates on your behalf during the transaction.
2. The buying and selling process is a crazy rollercoaster ride of emotions during the escrow process, which usually runs 30 days. There will be inspections, problems found in the home, the seller will not give any credits to fix them and insist on selling the home as-is, people will cancel appointments last minute, you may have buyer’s remorse, the seller may be thinking they could have sold for more money if they waited… So many different ideas come to mind during this time. Express your concerns to your agent, do not make any irrational decisions very quickly, take time to think about everything and take counsel from others. It will all be over soon! In other cases, it may be the smoothest and easiest transaction of all time — again this is where the agent you choose comes in and is so important.
1. Be grateful and don’t forget to celebrate. You have just bought or sold a home, which is an amazing milestone in life that many will never have the opportunity to experience or accomplish. Party time!
Looking to buy or sell property in Northern California — or simply in search of San Fran surfing and sartorial tips? Contact Roh at The Habibi Group (click link for details).