How to Sell Your Home at the Highest Possible Price

Making a mistake in selling a home can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost profit. Often home sellers make the same mistakes over and over. Avoiding these mistakes is easy and takes little time and effort on your part. Take the time with your home sale and follow the guidelines in this report.

  • Distress Selling: At times, selling quickly is unavoidable. That’s when knowing the right techniques to sell your homewithout looking desperate and making yourself a target for low bidders really pays off. Know all there is to know about the market before listing and work hand in hand with the right real estate professional. Ensure that you are not settling for the first offer through the door.
  • Best Home in the Neighborhood: Your home is one of your most personal possessions. Don’t be blind to flaws and needed cosmetic improvements. This will cause overvaluing of the home, hurting it’s chances to be sold. Listing with the right agent gives you a well informed third eye that will help you price your home at a fair market price.
  • Limited Home Viewing: Buyers want to view a home on their own time schedule. Unfortunately their time schedule does not always coincide with your time schedule. Leave a lockbox or key with your agent so your home can be shown when you are not around. You never know if the one who got away was your buyer.
  • Restrain Emotional Decisions: Don’t allow a few hundred dollarsto ruin a sale. That money will mean very little to you in the long run. Take a look at the big picture and react rationally. Use sound business judgment!
  • Make Cosmetic Improvements: Prospects make up their minds within the first twenty minutes. First impressions can make all the difference in selling your home. Spending $1,200 on new carpet might add another $4,000 to the price of your home. Get an objective point of view from your real estate professional. They can provide you with a list of items that will maximize the profit of your home sale.
  • Disclose Property Flaws: Property disclosure laws require sellers to list any flaws required by your state. If you are unaware of flaws or attempt to cover them up, you risk losing the sale and finding yourself in court. Get professional assistance from your agent who can introduce you to qualified inspectors and ensure the smooth sale of your home.
  • For Sale By Owner: Most homeowners who decide to sell their own home do so because they believe they can save the commission paid to the real estate agent. Everything has a price and selling a home carries a high one. The enormous amount of time and effort required to sell a home often surprises the “For Sale By Owner.” Furthermore, many costly mistakes can be avoided with the right guidance.
  • Refusing to Trust Your Agent: Would you tell a physician that you’ve decided to run your own tests and come to your own diagnosis? By choosing the right Realtor, you can relax and trust their judgment. The right agent is a valuable team member who will protect your best interests and make your sale as profitable as possible.
  • Know Your Market: Most homes that do not sell in their first listing period are priced too high. Conversely, most homes that sell quickly are priced too low and cheat the homeowner out of profits. You need to understand the market and evaluate the value of your home based on fact, not gut instinct or conventional wisdom. A professional agent knows the market, just as you know the market for your business.
  • Choosing a Realtor Based on Personal Relationships: Home sellers often pick a friend or family member as their agent. Choose an agent with a strong track record and aggressive Marketing Plan. A top producer knows the market well and can generate many buyers. Selling your home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make! Base it on good, sound business sense and the rewards will add up.

Before you make one of your most important decisions regarding your home sale shouldn’t you become as informed as possible? By aligning yourself with a top agent you ensure that all the important issues and seemingly insignificant but….very important….details are handled professionally. Your home sale should not be a grueling ordeal. The more informed you are, the better chance you have of making a sound business decision.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

Attention For-Sale-By-Owners: Why People Are Afraid To Buy From You!

Many homeowners believe that to maximize their profit on a home sale they should sell it themselves. At first glance, they feel selling a home is simple and why should they pay a broker fees for something they could do themselves? In fact, close to 25% of all the homes sold last year were sold for sale by owner (FSBO).

However, close to half of the FSBO’s said that they would hire a professional next time they sold. Thirty percent said they were unhappy with the results they achieved by choosing FSBO. Why?

Many FSBO’s told us that the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved were not worth the amount of money they saved in commissions. For others, the financial savings were even more disappointing. By the time they figured the amount of fees paid to outside consultants, inspectors, appraisers, title lawyers, escrow and loan officers, marketing, advertising… they would have been better off having paid the broker’s fee which would have included many of these charges up front.

Selling a home requires an intimate understanding of the real estate market. If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop a reputation for being a problem property. If the property is priced too low, you will cost yourself serious money. Some FSBO’s discovered that the lost money as a result of poor decisions outweighed the commission.

Before you decide to sell FSBO, consider these questions and weigh the answers of assuming the responsibility versus employing a professional. A little time spent investigating up front will pay off tenfold in the end.

Questions To Consider:

Do I have the time, energy, know-how, and ability to devote a full forced effort to sell my home?
One of the keys to selling your home efficiently and profitably is complete accessibility. Many homes have sat on the market much longer than necessary because the owner was unwilling or unavailable to show the property. Realize that a certain amount of hours each day is necessary to sell your home.

Am I prepared to deal with an onslaught of buyers who perceive FSBO’s as targets for low balling?
One of the challenges of selling a home is screening unqualified prospects and dealing with lowballers. It often goes unnoticed… how much time, effort and expertise it requires to spot these people quickly. Settling for a lowball bid is usually worse than paying broker commissions.

Am I offering financing options to the buyer? Am I prepared to answer questions about financing?
One of the keys to selling, whether it’s a home, a car… anything, is to have all the necessary information the prospective buyer needs and to offer them options. Think about the last time you purchased something of value, did you make a decision before you had all your ducks in a row? By offering financing options you give the home buyer the ability to work on their terms and open up the possibilities of selling your home quickly and more profitably. A professional real estate agent will have a complete team, from lenders to title reps for you to utilize…they’ll be at your disposal.

Do I fully understand the legal ramifications and necessary steps required in selling a home?
Many home sales have been lost due to incomplete paperwork, lack of inspections or not meeting your states disclosure laws. Are you completely informed of all the steps necessary to sell real estate? If not, a professional would be a wise choice.

Do I have the capability of handling the legal contracts, agreements and any disputes with buyers before or after the offer is presented?
Ask yourself if you are well versed in legalese and if you are prepared to handle disputes with buyers. To avoid any disputes it is wise to put all negotiations and agreements in writing. Many home sales have been lost due to misinterpretation of what was negotiated.

Have I contacted the necessary professionals….title, inspector (home and pest), attorney, and escrow company?
Are you familiar with top inspectors and escrow companies? Don’t randomly select inspectors, attorneys, and title reps. Like any profession there are inadequate individuals who will slow, delay and possibly even cost you the transaction.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

75 Tips on Preparing your Home For Sale

If you are thinking of selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to improve the “showability” of your home. But first, let’s look at your home through the eyes of the buyer.

Inside:

1) Open the window coverings and let the sun shine in. Window coverings should be cleaned so that they are not dusty. Have your windows professionally cleaned – you won’t believe the difference!

2) Turn on all lights – day or night. Clean all light bulbs, light fixtures and chandeliers. Wherever practical, install higher wattage light bulbs to further brighten your home.

3) Create the illusion of spaciousness, remove all clutter from each room to visually enlarge them (imagine a builder’s model home). Improve traffic flow and create a feeling of spaciousness by removing unnecessary furniture, knick-knacks, hobby items, children’s items, etc. Organize your closets and cabinets, remove unnecessary items and put them in storage. Rent a storage area if needed, or pack it in the garage. You’re going to move anyway — start now!

4) Light your fireplace during the winter.

5) Keep your home dusted and vacuumed.

6) Have a family “game plan” to get the home in show condition quickly – everyone should have an assigned task.

7) Remove all smoke odors, pet odors, and odors resulting from hobbies. When possible, air out your home before the showing. Lightly spray room freshener so that it has a chance to diffuse before the buyer arrives.

8) Make sure that beds are made.

9) Bathrooms should be kept clean, toilet lids down, no hair in the sink. Do not leave dirty towels out; wipe down the shower areas after each use. Repair or replace broken tiles on walls, floors or in showers/tubs. Recaulk if the caulking is chipped and/or stained. Put out fresh towels and decorative soap for showings.

10) Fix dripping faucets, remove rust stains from basins.

11) The kitchen should be kept clean. Remove all grease from range hoods, ovens, stovetops, walls, etc. Expand your counter space by removing small appliances – everything except those items used on a daily basis – remember: picture a builder’s model home.

12) Shampoo all carpets and vacuum as necessary. If the carpet does not clean up well, ask your agent if you should replace it.

13) First impressions: Does the doorbell work? Invest in a new doormat. Make sure the front door, screen door, etc. open easily and are visually appealing. If necessary, paint all entrance doors.

14) Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorating accents, mirrors, rugs, etc. and by removing all unnecessary clutter.

15) Remove any excess extension cords and exposed wires.

16) Clean and shine all accessories (door knobs, knockers, lamps, mail boxes, address numbers, etc.)

17) Paint inside walls with a neutral colored paint. Usually, all walls should be painted, not just washed. This will brighten the home and make it look bigger and cleaner. Depersonalize teenager’s rooms and decorate in a more neutral manner. Remove posters and adhesive from walls and doors and putty any holes resulting from nails or other mishaps. An investment in painting your home can make a big difference. Where necessary, repair or replace doors, closet doors, and/or windows and screens so that they open with ease.

Outside:

Remove dying plants or keep them out of sight. Keep the yard mowed, raked, weeded, fertilized and watered. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed. Use plants and flowers on porches and front walk way – create curb appeal! Hoses and garden equipment should be kept neatly out of sight. Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unattractive patio furniture, trash, etc., from the yard. Outdoor furniture should be kept clean.

Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept and in good condition. Keep trashcans deodorized, covered and out of sight.

Highlight your pool area, water garden, etc. with lighting, benches, planters, flowering plants, etc.

Create an outside living/dining area with furniture and plants.

Don’ts:
Don’t volunteer information
Don’t answer nosey questions
Don’t let strangers in “off the street”

Do:
Enlist the service of a professional marketing agent such as Kay Cochran, to market your home in trade magazines, newspapers, call capture 24 hour hotline, Internet sites, Virtual Tour, etc. Make your home look like a model even if isn’t – contact Kay and ask her about her on staff professional decorator (no additional charge).

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

Seven Selling Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make!

Mistake #1 — Pricing Your Property Too High

Every seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her product. Ironically, the best way to do this is NOT to list your product at an excessively high price! A high listing price will cause some prospective buyers to lose interest before even seeing your property. Also, it may lead other buyers to expect more than what you have to offer. As a result, overpriced properties tend to take an unusually long time to sell, and they end up being sold at a lower price.

Mistake #2 — Mistaking Re-finance Appraisals for the Market Value

Unfortunately, a re-finance appraisal may have been stated at an untruthfully high price. Often, lenders estimate the value of your property to be higher than it actually is in order to encourage re-financing. The market value of your home could actually be lower. Your best bet is to ask your Realtor for the most recent information regarding property sales in your community. This will give you an up-to-date and factually accurate estimate of your property value.

Mistake #3 — Forgetting to “Showcase Your Home”

In spite of how frequently this mistake is addressed and how simple it is to avoid, its prevalence is still widespread. When attempting to sell your home to prospective buyers, do not forget to make your home look as pleasant as possible. Make necessary repairs. Clean. Make sure everything functions and looks presentable. A poorly kept home in need of repairs will surely lower the selling price of your property and will even turn away some buyers.

Mistake #4 — Trying to “Hard Sell” While Showing

Buying a house is always an emotional and difficult decision. As a result, you should try to allow prospective buyers to comfortably examine your property. Don’t try haggling or forcefully selling. Instead, be friendly and hospitable. A good idea would be to point out any subtle amenities and be receptive to questions.

Mistake #5 — Trying to Sell to “Looky-Loos”

A prospective buyer who shows interest because of a “for sale” sign he saw may not really be interested in your property. Often buyers who do not come through a Realtor are a good 6-9 months away from buying, and they are more interested in seeing what is out there than in actually making a purchase. They may still have to sell their house, or may not be able to afford a house yet. They may still even be unsure as to whether or not they want to relocate.

Your Realtor should be able to distinguish realistic potential buyers from mere lookers. Realtors should usually find out a prospective buyer’s savings, credit rating, and purchasing power in general. If your Realtor fails to find out this pertinent information, you should do some investigating and questioning on your own. This will help you avoid wasting valuable time marketing towards the wrong people. If you have to do this work yourself, consider finding a new Realtor.

Mistake #6 — Not Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities

It is extremely important that you are well-informed of the details in your real estate contract. Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, and they can often be complex and confusing. Not being aware of the terms in your contract could cost you thousands for repairs and inspections. Know what you are responsible for before signing the contract. Can the property be sold “as is”? How will deed restrictions and local zoning laws will affect your transaction? Not knowing the answers to these kind of questions could end up costing you a considerable amount of money.

Mistake #7 — Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property

Your Realtor should employ a wide variety of marketing techniques. Your Realtor should also be committed to selling your property; he or she should be available for every phone call from a prospective buyer. Most calls are received, and open houses are scheduled, during business hours, so make sure that your Realtor is working on selling your home during these hours. Chances are that you have a job, too, so you may not be able to get in touch with many potential buyers.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

Top 10 Mistakes Sellers Make When Choosing a Realtor

Selling a home should be like any other business transaction, but all too often sellers make emotional or impulsive decisions that cost them money and time. Choosing the right Realtor to market a property and negotiate the sale is the most important step in the process.

“My friend (or family member) sells real estate.”

Friendship alone isn’t enough to establish a professional’s credentials. Use tough standards when selecting an agent, just as you would when hiring an attorney, a doctor, or an accountant to handle your taxes. A true friend will understand and appreciate that this is a business decision and will offer their credentials and expect to compete for the listing. Besides, if a problem or challenge develops while selling your home, do you want to risk damaging a friendship or family relationship?

“Your presentation sounds good. I’ll list right now”

Look at more than one presentation and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. Making an impulsive decision when caught up “in the moment” could be difficult to correct later. Since you normally contract to list your house with the agent for a specific period of time, you may find yourself unable to “switch” to another if you find yourself unhappy with the service you receive.

“You’re the only agent who agrees with my selling price.”

Some agents tell you what you want to hear. In the real estate profession, this is known as “buying a listing” and is employed by shortsighted agents who are more interested in themselves than they are in you. However good it works as a short-term “sales tactic” in getting your listing, it is an extremely poor strategy in selling a home at the highest possible price.

You see, your house gets the most attention from other agents when it is a “new” listing. If priced properly, lots of agents will show it to their buyers. If you price it too high, no one will show the house and it will sit on the market for some time. When you finally drop your price to reflect its real value, your house is “old news” and buyers may think you are growing desperate. Therefore, the prices you are offered will come in lower and lower – and you may find yourself accepting a price that is below what you could have received had the house been priced properly to begin with.

Besides, pricing your home too high will only make similar houses for sale look that much better. Overpricing helps sell those houses, not yours.

“I don’t need references. I’m a good judge of character.”

A snap judgement isn’t good enough. You also need to determine if the agent is competent and the best way to do that is to check up on references. Ask for references on recent sales — check up on references of recent customers. Find out how an agent’s customers feel about their selling experience.

Remember that how long an individual has been in real estate isn’t necessarily all you should look for. Experienced agents can grow jaded and not work as hard – newer agents sometimes make up with enthusiasm and effort what they lack in experience.

“I’m going to list with the agent who has the lowest commission.”

You get what you pay for. Paying a cut-rate commission will often get you a sign in the front yard and placement in the Multiple Listing Service, but little additional effort from your agent.
Realize that agents and real estate companies put up their own funds to market and advertise your home. Marketing and advertising costs money — the lower the commission, the less incentive for an agent to put up his or her own money to market your home.

Incentive plays a very important role in sales. A “full service” agent earning a full commission will often “drop everything” to handle any challenges that come along – an agent earning a small commission does not have that same incentive.

Incentive is also important to the buyer’s agent. Since there are almost always two agents involved in every sale, they split the commission according to the listing agent’s instructions. One agent is your listing agent. The other agent is the buyer’s agent. When your listing agent dropped his commission, did he also reduce the commission that will be paid to the buyers’ agent? If so, you won’t find as many agents willing to show your house – they’ll be showing houses that offer a customary commission to the buyer’s agent.

Finally, negotiating ability is an important skill in a listing agent. Are you willing to put your faith in an agent who can’t even negotiate his or her own commission?

“The agent is what counts – not the company.”

Agents who work for large well-established companies with lots of agents do have some advantages. Large companies generally have longer office hours, so someone is always available to answer an ad call on your home. Large offices often have larger budgets and can spend more on advertising. The ad space for your particular home might not be huge, but because the total ad is so large it gets lots more attention.
Large real estate companies often have lots of agents. This is important because when your house is newly on the market, the company may stage an “office preview” where every agent in the office comes through and tours your home. Every agent who views your home and is impressed is another agent on your sales team.

Additionally, larger companies are often better at offering ongoing education to their agents. As a result, your agent may be better qualified and prepared to offer a quality service. Although most states require real estate agents to enroll in “ongoing education” to keep pace with changes in the real estate market, many agents only take the “bare minimum” in ongoing education courses. Sometimes, large offices are better at convincing their agents to go beyond the minimum.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Some very effective agents go off on their own and open private offices or “boutique” agencies.

“All realtors passed the same test so they must know the same things.”

The real estate profession is constantly changing and, as mentioned above, the best real estate professionals stay abreast of those changes by continuing their education. Some go beyond the required minimum requirements. Many agents acquire “professional designations” that show they took additional specialized courses.

“This agent will hold an open house every week.”

Open houses can and do sell homes, but usually not your home. Only a small fraction of the homes held open are sold as a direct result of the open house. More often, “open houses” are a way that real estate agents “prospect” for potential clients. If they develop a rapport with those visitors to your open house, they can find out about their housing needs and sell them the home that most closely matches those needs. Meanwhile, the person who eventually buys your home may be visiting someone else’s open house.

Good agents know better than to pin all their selling efforts on an open house. They use their time in more effective marketing methods. The most effective marketing is not directly to the public, but to other agents. By getting other agents interested in your home, your listing agent multiplies your sales force beyond just one individual.

“I want an agent who lives in my neighborhood.”

Knowledge of the local market isn’t only acquired by living in the immediate neighborhood. Sure, your agent should have intimate knowledge of recent sales, models, schools, businesses, and so on, but that is easily achieved through extensive research. Convenience shouldn’t be the primary reason for choosing an agent.

“This agent sold more homes last year than anyone else.”

That should only be the beginning. What is more valuable — an agent who listed 32 homes and sold 25 – or an agent who listed twelve homes and sold all twelve? So you need to ask some questions. How many of their listings did not sell? How many were reduced over and over before they sold? How long were the houses on the market? How smoothly was the process handled? How accessible was the agent when there were questions or problems?

Quantity is important, but only if all of the quality questions have been answered satisfactorily.

Conclusion

The best agent is the one who will do the most effective job of marketing the property, negotiating the most favorable terms and conditions, and communicating with the seller to make the process as smooth as possible.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

Buying Your First Home? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Crissie Cudd
Prudential Florida WCI Realty

You’ve made the decision to make one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life-buying your first home. You’re excited, but at the same time anxious. Some of the questions you may be asking are: Will I be able to afford the home of my dreams? Do I have enough money for a down payment? Can I get a home inspected before I make an offer?

Rest assured, you are not alone. According to the 2000 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, first-time homebuyers accounted for 40 percent of the homes purchased in 1999. The homebuying process can be overwhelming, but if you go into it prepared, your first purchase can be a good experience. Here are some things to consider before making the plunge.

Getting a mortgage – Fear of being rejected for a home loan is one of the main concerns for first-time homebuyers. To lessen the stress, you may want to get pre-approved for a loan before looking at prospective homes. This will not only help you feel more confident, it will also give you an advantage when there are multiple offers for a specific home. The fact that your loan has already been approved is of great value to the seller: because it shortens the purchase process and there is less of a chance that the buyer will back out of the sale.

Mortgage Payments – The costs involved in the purchase of a home can be overwhelming to first-time buyers. However, with the help of a real estate professional, you can calculate out how much they you be able to pay each month in mortgage payments, and from there, what prospective homes offer a feasible payment plan.

Down-Payment – The down-payment amount varies depending on the value of the home you choose and your mortgage lender. And in some cases, first-time home buyers can purchase a home with no money down. Although it varies from state to state, most offer government-funded programs for first-time buyers that help people buy a home with no down-payment. Your real estate professional will be able to explain the different options available to you.

Closing Costs – First-time buyers often forget to consider the closing costs when making an offer on a home. Paying closing fees of up to 10 percent of the home sale amount is not unusual. Add that to the down-payment and you’ll have quite a sum to raise before the final papers can be signed. However, a smart first-time buyer takes this into account before making an offer, and with some professional help, the costs can be estimated in advance.

Making offers – Don’t feel pressured into making an offer on the first home you see. This is a common mistake of many first-time homebuyers. Make sure you view different homes to get a feel for the marketplace. When you do decide on a home to make a bid on, work with your real estate professional to get all of your questions answered first before making an offer. But don’t wait too long to make an offer. The longer you wait, the greater the chance other prospective buyers may place offers, making it harder for you to negotiate a good deal.

Condition of the Home – Buying a “problem” home is another fear of first-timers. A home that needs major repairs can become a costly venture. And, unless the asking price is adjusted to reflect the hidden repairs needed, chances are the home is not worth as much as the seller is asking for it. To avoid unfortunate surprises, your real estate professional may advise you to hire a home inspector before making a serious offer. That way, you know what you are getting into.

Above all, remember that there are no silly questions. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with every aspect of the transaction. Your real estate professional can be an invaluable asset in helping you make educated decisions so that your first-home purchase is a rewarding experience.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

A Few Points About Interest Rates!

Less is more

If you’re new to investing or real estate and don’t know the first thing about interest rates, here’s a good tip: the higher the interest rate, the more expensive it’s going to be. High interest rates mean you will have to pay back more on the money you borrow. Another good rule of thumb is that affordability increases if you use an adjustable rate mortgage (it’s easier to qualify this way). Of course, there will be a wide range of prices that you can choose from, depending on what kind of financing you choose..

Not even the Fed knows for sure

The Fed holds a considerable amount of power, but they can’t control everything. Mortgage interest rates are affected by many unpredictable political, economic and social events. So there is no guarantee what direction interest rates will go, despite the forecasts of the experts. Therefore, make your financial decision based on where things are today including your budget, your needs and your future plans.

Locking in rates assures your lowest interest

If you do decide you want to lock in at a certain interest rate, you will need to complete a loan application and send it to your lender as soon as possible. This must be done so that your commitment doesn’t runout before your loan is approved. Follow up and be se sure that the lender is receiving all of the necessary documentation. Get a property appraisal, which usually costs about $300, through your loan agent as soon as possible.

Don’t obsess and miss a good real estate deal

Although rising interest rates can create more problems for home buyers, waiting and hoping for low rates is not necessarily a smart move. You may end up paying a higher price. Also, refinancing is always an option in the event that interest rates come down.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

I Have the Internet – Why Do I Need a Realtor When I Buy a Home?

The internet is great. Never before have home buyers been so empowered. With the internet it is possible to research homes in another town, compare prices, size, features, etc. without ever speaking to a real estate professional.

If that’s the case, why should anyone ever use a Realtor to buy property? Isn’t that a waste of time? Not if making a good buying decision is the main objective. The internet can offer data but it can not interpret it. That’s the big advantage of working with a Realtor. Realtors not only know the market but they know how to interpret it.

A Realtor doesn’t just spend time working with buyers and sellers. Realtors study market trends. Which areas of town are appreciating fastest? Where are properties turning over quickly and where is inventory piling up? What features are buyers looking for that they are willing to pay more for? What features make a home dated in buyers’ eyes?

All of these are questions that Realtors research every day. With over 7000 resale properties on the market in the Naples area at any given time, and thousands more being built it is a full time job to stay on top of this ever-changing market.

Features that might be considered standard in one neighborhood could be overbuilt in another. Knowing that properties are taking longer to sell in one area than in a comparable area might make a difference in what price a buyer might want to offer. Even knowing what government or environmental regulations are new or pending can make a difference in a home’s value in the future.

Most new communities are not found on the internet through the same sources as resale homes. It makes it difficult for a prospective buyer to compare apples to apples. Realtors tour new communities on a regular basis and track their sales as well.

This market demands constant education. Seminars put on by the Naples Area Board of Realtors, the Collier County Building and Industry Association, and others are invaluable resources. Realtors work with appraisers, home inspectors, lenders, and other professionals on a regular basis. These become sources for market information as well.

Buyers can use the internet to save time and to get ideas. They can eliminate homes that do not meet their needs and explore areas that look interesting. A good realtor will not talk a customer into or out of buying a home, but will make sure it is an informed decision that results in satisfaction for years to come.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com

5 Secrets to Buying the Best House for Your Money

1. Get “Pre-Approved” – Not “Pre-Qualified!”

Do you want to get the best property you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one element in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller.

In years past, I always recommended that buyers get “pre-qualified” by a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you “pre-qualified” and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. Sellers are aware that such certificates are WORTHLESS, and here’s why! None of the information has been verified!

Many times unknown problems can come to the surface! Some of the problems I’ve seen include recorded judgments, alimony payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the clients’ bank account long enough, etc.

So the way to make the strongest offer today is to get “pre-approved”. This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It’s VERY POWERFUL and a weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiating arsenal.

2. Sell Your Property First, Then Buy the House

If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! Contingency sales aren’t nearly as strong as one that comes in with a ready, willing and able buyer. Consider this scenario: You’ve found the perfect house – now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that this is a risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN’T have to sell a house while he’s waiting for you. So he says OK, he’ll do the contingency but it has to be a full price offer! You have now paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency, and you have to sell your existing house in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the house! So to sell quickly you might take an offer that’s lower than if you had more time. The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you THOUSANDS of dollars.

If you’re concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that then put your house on the market.

Another tactic is to make the sale ”subject to seller finding suitable housing”. Adding this phrase to the listing means that WHEN YOU DO FIND A BUYER, you will have some time to find the new place. If you don’t find anything to your liking, you don’t have to sell your present home.

3. Play the Game of Nines

Before house hunting, make a list of things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the things you don’t want. You can use this list as a guide to rate each property that you see. The one with the biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you’re comparing dozens of homes.

When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between ”STYLE AND SUBSTANCE”. The SUBSTANCE are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. The STYLE represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings. Buy the house with good SUBSTANCE, because the STYLE can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant.

Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller’s decorating skills.

4. Don’t Be Pushed Into Any House

Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don’t make a decision on a house until you feel that you’ve seen enough to pick the best one.

A decade ago, homes were selling quickly, usually a few days after listing. In that kind of market, agents advised their clients to make an offer ON THE SPOT if they liked the house. That was good advice at the time. Today there isn’t always this urgency, unless a home is drastically underpriced, and you’ll know if it is.

Don’t forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you’re considering. Information is available on every school; such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from this web site.

5. Stop Calling Ads!

Please note – ads are sometimes created to make the phone ring! Many of the homes have some drawback that’s not mentioned in the ad, such as traffic noise, power lines, or litigation in the community. What’s not mentioned in the ad is usually more important than what is.

For this reason, I want you to be very careful when reading ads. Remember that the person writing the ad is representing the seller and not you! The most important thing you can do is have someone on your side looking out for your best interests. Your own agent will critique the property with an eye towards how well it meets your needs and will point out any drawbacks you should know about. So whether you decide to work with me or not, pick an agent you feel comfortable with and enlist the services of that agent as a buyer’s broker. Then you become a client with all the rights, benefits, and privileges created by this agency relationship, and you’re no longer just a shopper. Did you know that many homes are sold WITHOUT A SIGN ever going up or an AD EVER BEING PUT IN THE PAPER? These “great deals” go to those people who are committed to working with one agent. When an agent hears of a great buy, who do you think he’s going to call? His client, who he has a legal obligation to work hard for you, or someone who just called on the phone and said “keep your eyes open”? So to get the best buy on a property, I always recommend that you hire your own agent and stick with him or her.

Article reprinted courtesy of Total Real Estate Solutions
http://www.totalrealestatesolutions.com