Whether you're considering purchasing a or selling a home, it pays to look at the numbers.
If you're considering selling, then you'll want to find out the approximate value of your home, and whether what you would collect from a sale would allow you to finance wherever your path in life will take you next. In addition to the knowledge and personal service of a local real estate agent, there's also a wealth of websites that can help you get an idea of what your home might sell for. Zillow's Zestimate and Realtor.com are two websites that ordinarily give homeowners decent estimated values for their abodes.
If you're considering purchasing, then you'll want to start your search with a trusted mortgage broker. If you have an idea of how much you'll be able to spend before looking for a home, then you'll create the opportunity for a much more efficient and enjoyable search.
But what happens then? All of the numbers add up, you're ready to purchase or sell, you've found the real estate agent who you'll work with (or you've decided to test the market without an agent), and you've carried out most of the necessary breathing in and breathing out meditative exercises that your yoga instructor has insisted that you utilize on a daily basis.
If you feel lost, there's a wealth of resources to help you. For New Yorkers, one that you'll find particularly helpful would be Neil J. Binder's Ultimate Guide to Buying and Selling Coops and Condos in New York City.
While resources such as these can be helpful, there's one resource that can't quite be matched: creativity. Commonly defined as, "The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work," creativity can be an essential tool for bringing about solutions.
For homeowners who are selling, and for those who are looking to purchase, though the problem is simple: to find a buyer for their home, or to find an apartment to buy; the solution isn't always easy.
For buyers in a tight sellers market, to combat the problem of being outbid for apartments on multiple occasions, the solution may be putting offers in on more than one house at a time.
For sellers in a hot market that favors their property, the problem of having to evaluate several offers from multiple qualified buyers may seem like a good problem to have; however, even this can sometimes create tricky situations. For instance, if a seller chooses to accept the wrong offer and spends weeks (or even over a month) negotiating the terms of the deal, it's possible that each of the other back-up offers will have found a different property to purchase during the time in between.
While the application of creativity that's not supported by a quality basis and model has the potential to leave you in a position worse off than where you started, the rote application of a model devoid of any original ideas or creativity may hold you back from getting to your desired solution.
Whether you're a buyer or a seller, as you move through the process of negotiating and closing a transaction, stay open to previously unimagined possibilities. If you're buyer, this may mean considering neighborhoods different than from where you originally began your search.
For a homeowner, this might look like showing your house at unconventional hours (a Tuesday afternoon open house), working with a real estate agent from a lesser known company, or putting an offer in on a house that you want to buy before you've secured a buyer for the house you'd like to sell.
Overall, as you move through your search for the perfect house or perfect buyer, from time to time, call upon creativity to help you stay loose, play jazz, remain flexible, and let yourself be surprised and delighted by what the market, the city, and your intuition can bring about.