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4 Reasons to Sell Now


Selling a property in this tough market can seem like a challenge. Here are four factors that actually make this a good time to post a For-Sale sign.


1. Sell low and buy low. Because all property values are down, the loss on the property a home owner sells is really only a paper loss because the next property he buys also will be a bargain. If he buys smartly, when prices come back up in a few years, he’ll be in better shape.

2. Down-payment help is widely available. While nothing-down loans have disappeared, it is easy to find down-payment assistance for lower-income and first-time home buyers. Programs vary all over the country, but one good way to find them is to search online for “down-payment assistance programs” and the name of your region.

3. Your uncle has money to share. Besides the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up credit, there are an array of energy tax credits that can make home improvements pay off in cash.

4. Good help is available. Really talented real estate practitioners, contractors, and designers are available and eager for business.

Source: McClatchy Tribune, Kate Forgach (02/07/2010)

10 Inexpensive Ways to Wow Buyers


Now is the time for home owners contemplating a spring sale to spruce up their properties in anticipation of what Mike Larson of Weiss Research calls a potentially vibrant home-selling season.

"If you have been beating your head against a wall, this is going to feel a lot better,” he says.

Here are 10 cheap ways to make a property more attractive to shoppers:

  1. Improve first impressions. Touch up the paint on the front door and other areas that buyers see first.
  2. Clean up the landscaping. Trim the hedges and trees and plant some annuals in the flowerbeds.
  3. Paint the interior. A coat of light yellow or cream with contrasting white woodwork looks fresh and clean.
  4. Refurbish the floors. Buff the hardwoods. Install new carpets – or at least get them professionally cleaned.
  5. Take care of the big problems. If the house needs a roof or the front stoop is crumbling, get them fixed.
  6. Buy warranties. Putting appliances under warranty gives homebuyers a secure feeling.
  7. Improve energy efficiency. New windows or improved insulation tells a potential buyer the seller is on top of things plus they come with tax benefits.
  8. Replace light fixtures. Updated fixtures, especially at the entrance way and in the foyer, create a good first impression.
  9. Buy a stove. Home owners whose kitchen isn’t top of the line can jazz it up for a few hundred dollars by buying a new stove, which gives the room a fresh feel.
  10. Tidy up the bathrooms. Get rid of mildew, replace caulking, and replace stained sinks.


Source: U.S. News & World Report, Luke Mullins (01/21/2010)

12 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your REALTOR®

Make sure you choose a REALTOR® who will provide top-notch service and meet your unique needs.

1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.

2. What designations do you hold? Designations such as GRI and CRS®, which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training, are held only by about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

3. How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year? By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market? The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

5. How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices? This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.

6. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.

7. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.

8. Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.



9. What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

10. What’s your business philosophy? While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

11. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but how you judge the response will reflect your own desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you prefer not to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?

12. Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients? Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.

 

8 Tips to Guide for Your Home Search



1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.

 

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