MONOPOLY: So your family has decided to play Monopoly? Refill your beverage, grab a snack and change into comfortable clothes. You’re going to be there a while.
LESSON: Buying real estate is a process. There’s pre-approval for a loan, interviewing agents, searching for homes, submitting an offer, maybe submitting another offer, the home inspection, the appraisal, and final loan processing before you get the keys. Needless to say, buying a home can take some time. Instead of getting frustrated, focus on all of the great reasons you decided buying a home was right for you. Staying in close communication with your agent throughout the process will help, too.
2. Neighborhood matters
MONOPOLY: Everyone starts the game with one corner in mind: Boardwalk and Park Place. The highly priced properties have the best returns on investments, and the players who snag them first tend to do well in the game.
LESSON: Location is often a major consideration in real life as well. Home values, your lifestyle and so much more are factors in your neighborhood choice. Work with your agent to learn all you can about the neighborhoods that pique your interest.
3. Keep an open mind
MONOPOLY: Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue have a bad reputation because they’re the cheapest properties on the board, but they also present opportunity. Add a few houses and hotels and your return could be bigger than the one on nearby Connecticut Avenue.
LESSON: Keep an open mind when shopping for a home. An up-and-coming neighborhood may have appeal you didn’t see before, and more value for your budget.
4. Be prepared
MONOPOLY: You’re a Monopoly mogul! You have a handful of desirable properties and a steady stream of income from your houses and hotels. Then comes the Chance card: “Make general repairs on your property – for each house pay $25, for each hotel pay $100.”
LESSON: You never know what card you’re going to draw. But unlike Monopoly, the real world has home insurance available to help you prepare for unexpected repairs and disasters. A variety of plans, customizable to any budget, are available. Some homebuyers also opt for warranties covering potential appliance issues after move-in.
5. How to win a bidding war
MONOPOLY: Trading properties keeps Monopoly exciting. And there are no strict rules as to how a seller determines to accept an offer. Sibling rivalry, bribes involving candy or even business sense can play into a player’s decision.
LESSON: Sellers don’t always accept the highest offer. Writing a letter about why you fell in love with their home can sometimes sway their decision in your favor.
6. The importance of strategy
MONOPOLY: Monopoly is a game of strategy, but few players are inclined to study ways to win. What if you had a coach sitting next to you, advising how much to bid for a property, where to look next, and whether or not mortgaging a utility to buy Boardwalk is a smart idea? You would be unstoppable!
LESSON: Buying a home is an infrequent occurrence; for some it happens only once in a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have someone on your side who was up-to-speed on laws for your state, knew which neighborhoods would best fit your lifestyle and offered to help you navigate a bidding war? That’s the value an experienced agent provides.