The Best Real Estate Advice Spotted on Reddit Could Save You Both Time and Money

published Nov 28, 2022
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Where do you go when you’re not sure about a real estate question, but you don’t exactly want to ask your agent? Reddit, of course. The Real Estate subreddit is a treasure trove of good (and sometimes bad) advice on everything in this realm, making it possible to comb through any related topic under one roof — pun intended.

In case you want to have the best nuggets of information at your fingertips, I searched through many different conversations to find some of the best and timeliest advice out there. If you’re making real estate plans, hopefully these six tips will point you in the right direction.

Pull Your Credit Score in a Short Period of Time

It’s true: When your credit is pulled, it can impact your credit score. And when you’re trying to get pre-approved for a home loan, you’re probably wondering how to go about this process without getting dinged.

Don’t worry. User u/The_Void_calls_me says, “All credit pulls within the same timeframe count as one. So you can get a quote from every lender in existence, and your score won’t go down further than the initial lender’s pull.” And since financial advice from Reddit needs a second source, echoes this, noting that you have a 45-day window during which inquiries into your credit score by lenders all count as one.

Move On If Your Realtor Isn’t Working in Your Best Interest

If you’re hoping to sell a property in a timely manner, but it doesn’t seem like your agent has enough pep in their step, it’s OK to get out of that relationship as soon as the red flags start to appear.

It’s sometimes hard to keep this in mind when you’re in the midst of a stressful process, but you don’t have to settle for less-than-stellar treatment from your agent. User u/beachteen advises, “If a buyer made an offer and your agent didn’t promptly present it, you need to have a serious conversation with your agent, and then your agent’s broker.” 

Don’t Trust Zillow Estimates

It’s exciting to watch the estimate on the property you just bought trend upward. But it’s definitely not as exciting if that’s a property you sold recently. Either way, those estimates are not to be trusted. Websites like Zillow and Redfin want you to keep coming back and checking how much your home is worth — but that doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

“Their goal is to get traffic to their site. The estimates are just that, ‘We’ll tell you what we think your house is worth if you give us some clicks,’” says user u/binghamL.

Those numbers are driven by algorithms and comps, so while they are based on some level of AI-driven fact, that doesn’t mean you should take them as a true representation. User u/caldwellgroupsd explains, “Scroll down their homepage and you’ll see their disclosures. They’re practically useless and functionally effective in lead generation for them.”

Factor Maintenance Costs into Your Monthly Payment 

From HVAC issues to mold and beyond, a home requires a lot of upkeep, and most of that is costly. “Years ago, a wise lender told me to set aside 25 percent of the monthly mortgage cost for unexpected expenses, maintenance, [and so on]. I’ve done that with all three homes I’ve bought,” says user u/Baremegigjen. If that seems like too high of an expense, it may be time to adjust your overall purchase budget.

They go on to add, “We haven’t needed to spend it all, but knowing it was there when the air conditioner died a few years ago in the middle of a heat wave meant we could get a new one installed without worrying about how to pay for it.”

Don’t Cut Corners on Your Photos

As user u/gravcycrunnow says, “‘More photos to come’ just means you shouldn’t have listed it yet.” It can be tempting to list a home with photos quickly shot on an iPhone and the promise of uploading professional photos eventually, particularly when you’re in a hot market. But first impressions matter. When a potential seller or Realtor lands on a listing full of dark photos — or even worse, without photos — they’ll immediately bypass you for more compelling options. 

In their feedback to a Redditor asking for thoughts on their own photos in a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) listing, user u/gravcycrunnow said, “Your photos aren’t that great. You need a wider-angle lens and better lighting, and some of your angles make no sense.” It’s tough love, but it’s a truth sellers need to hear.

Buying Isn’t Always the Right Answer

With mortgage rates soaring, the old argument that buying is always better than renting isn’t accurate for everyone. Just the other day, a realtor friend shared with me that one of their clients will have a $6,300-per-month mortgage on a two-bedroom, $820,000 home. They say you date the rate and marry the house, but sometimes, renting just makes more sense.

And that’s what user u/jmac21242 shared on Reddit, when they asked users to chime in on their theory, “Can we admit that paying rent isn’t 100 percent interest?” They explained that real estate does not exist in a vacuum and said, “There’s a host of reasons why renting is more advantageous than buying a home, right? Maybe you won’t be living in an area for too long, or you don’t want to ever worry about maintenance and repairs, or maybe you just don’t have the means to buy right now, and renting allows you to plan for a purchase in the future.” In all of these cases, especially when you add in current mortgage rates and home prices, renting can make more financial sense than buying.