Here are three real estate myths that can cost us tens of thousands of dollars - whether we're selling or buying:

  • Spring is the best time to sell. Not anymore. According to the National Association of Realtors, that was true when most homes were bought by families who needed to get their kids into a new school by September. And since they were in a hurry to get settled by school-time, they were more likely to pay extra. But these days, most homebuyers are single, and they're likely to be home-shopping at any time. So it comes down to supply and demand - and since there are fewer properties on the market in the winter, that's now the best time to sell.
  • Sellers should start with a lowball offer. That's False. Real estate expert Brendon DeSimone says most homes get multiple offers, and some of them start above the asking price. So, a lowball offer makes it more likely you'll lose out to a higher bidder. He suggests basing your offer on the selling price of similar houses in the neighborhood - then, make a fair offer based on that.
  • You should get a discount if you offer cash. Sure, there's less chance of the deal falling through if you pay cash. But a 10 percent discount can mean $20,000 or more out of the seller's pocket. So, the seller is more likely to accept a higher offer from someone with strong credit and a good job. Because when the loan is approved, and escrow closes, they'll end up with a lot more money in the bank.