Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tired of trying to sell your house????

I came across this article that I thought was pretty good dealing with anyone wanting to or thinking about selling their house this winter!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving this past week and looking forward to Christmas coming up in less than 30 days!!  YIKES!!!! 


Top reasons to sell home in winter

Aside from less competition, low borrowing costs give buyers incentive
By Dian Hymer
Inman News™
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We're getting close to the end of the year, which begs the question of whether it's worthwhile trying to sell your home now. Is it a waste of time? Will it sit on the market and become shopworn? Should I take my house off the market for the holidays? Will the home-sale market be better for sellers in 2012?

The first question you need to ask yourself is: Are you emotionally prepared to sell? Selling is a challenge for most sellers, although some markets are better than others. Unless you bought more than eight to 10 years ago and preserved your equity, you may not be able to sell for enough to pay off the mortgages secured against the property and the other costs of selling.

For sellers who have no additional assets, a short sale or foreclosure may be the only option. If so, first look into government programs that might help you out financially. Also, talk to your attorney and tax adviser.

Sellers who have the resources to make up the difference between the sale price and the amount they owe need to ask themselves if they are willing to pay the additional cash in order to sell and move on.

There are two reasons why you might prefer bringing cash to closing. One is that your credit will not be negatively impacted, as would be the case with a short sale or foreclosure. The second is that many buyers shy away from short sales because of the lengthy and uncertain process involved.

The next thing to consider is the condition of your home. Is it ready for the market? The most salable homes are those that are in move-in condition.

Before racing to the hardware store, ask your REALTOR® about how much competition there would be for your home if you put it on the market before the holidays. Some areas are shy on inventory of good homes on the market. If so, now could be a good time to sell.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: The supply/demand ratio plays a significant role in the health of a local real estate market. No matter what is said about the housing market nationally, it's the local picture that tells the tale in terms of the possibility of selling your home at any given time.

Most sellers don't put their homes on the market during the last or first couple of months of the year. The inventory of homes for sale tends to dwindle during the winter months. Interest rates are low. So, if there are buyers in your local market, you may be at an advantage selling when most sellers are waiting.

Some sellers feel that if they've waited this long to sell, they should put the process on hold until spring and get the house ready in the meantime. Certainly, it's not a good idea to put your house on the market until it looks great. But if you and your house are ready to sell, move ahead.

The market in general tends to slow down over the holidays. But rather than pull your house off the market and miss a likely prospect, change the showing procedure to require advance notice. And enjoy your holidays. A sale before year end could be a great holiday gift.

There is a lot of pent-up demand, on both the buyer and seller sides. Sellers have been waiting for a better time to sell. Buyers have been waiting for more quality inventory and a sense that prices have bottomed or are close to it.

THE CLOSING: Recent projections call for another five or so years of bouncing along close to the bottom of this market cycle. Many experts believe that the big price declines are behind us.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years' experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of "House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers" and "Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer's Guide."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Baby Boomers Still Making a Difference

You think the older generation doesn't have something to say about the recovery?  Think again.  Here's the latest information from Coldwell Banker on the impact the 'Baby Boomer' generation is having on real estate and where things will head in the future:

While Majority of Agents Report Economy is Delaying Boomers’ Plans to Sell Homes, Many Are Still in the Market, Especially for Investment Properties
PARSIPPANY, N.J. (Oct. 11, 2011) – A new survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate finds that 87 percent of 1,300 agents and brokers polled agree that the economy is delaying baby boomers’ plans to sell their homes. That said, the desire to purchase and own a home, or more than one home, remains strong in this demographic cohort, especially so in the investment market segment. Another 87 percent of respondents said they have baby boomer clients who already own or are looking to own an investment property, including 22 percent of agents who report that at least half (50 percent) of their boomer clients either own or are looking to own such properties.
“The baby boomer generation has driven the U.S. economy for years, and like many Americans, they may be anxious about their next real estate decision,” said Jim Gillespie, CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “I know baby boomers are a very diverse group and cannot be described in generalities, but our survey clearly indicates that those boomers who are financially secure are actively seeking to buy their retirement home, or a second home, and they are taking advantage of the opportunities and value available in today’s market.”
The survey also underscored that by dividing boomers, which account for 79 million Americans, into two age categories, a more dynamic picture of the real estate market emerges. Here are the additional findings:

Younger Baby Boomers
(Ages 47-55)
Older Baby Boomers
(Ages 56-64)
Second Homes:
More than one-third (34 percent) of agents say younger baby boomers (ages 47-55) are interested in purchasing a second home.
22 percent say older baby boomers (ages 56-64) are interested in purchasing a second home.
Looking For Larger:
31 percent of respondents say that younger baby boomer clients are selling their current home and looking for a larger. home.
Compared to 6 percent of older boomers.
80 percent of agents say that older baby boomers are more likely to want to downsize than younger baby boomers (52 percent).
Although the economy has impacted boomers, the reason for downsizing is not only about the desire to save money. According to the survey, 49 percent of agents say the primary reason boomers want to downsize is because they desire a simpler lifestyle, while only 28 percent said the leading reason boomers are downsizing is to save money.
Single Family Home or Other Options:
Younger baby boomers are much more likely to prefer a single family home than older baby boomers (82 vs. 47 percent of agents agree).
For the older baby boomers, agents say about half are (47 percent) are looking for a townhome or condo.
27 percent of agents say their older boomer clients prefer an active adult community.

Survey Methodology: Coldwell Banker Real Estate conducted an online survey among 1,333 Coldwell Banker real estate professionals across the United States about housings trends for baby boomers. The survey was fielded between September 6 and September 15, 2011.
*Some answer percentages in the above may not total 100 percent, if only the most popular responses are listed. In other cases, respondents had the option to check all that apply, which may mean that percentages total more than 100 percent.
Some might say that the Baby Boomer Generation isn't going to be buying homes or selling homes but, honestly, I would have to say just the opposite.  In this 'time of opportunity' where interest rates are low and prices are low, some will see this as a time to add to their retirement 'nest egg' with investment property so they can maintain their current lifestyle as the survey indicates.  At the same time, some might be very comfortable with what they have and actually have too much of a home to maintain so, they're wanting to downsize into smaller living space to stretch their income further.  Either way, it has a positive impact on the real estate economy and the future of real estate ownership as we all know it.  I get excited at the opportunities out there for homeowners in all facets of the market; whether it's a first time home buyer or the person wanting to take advantage of the lower price to buy the dream house or the person wanting to sell their home to downsize.  Either way, the market, contrary to what the news will lead you to believe, is alive and the heartbeat is real. 
It's a great time to be in real estate!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simple things that will make you smile.......

There are a few things in life that will make you smile and here's one......

A new grandson will make you smile every time.  Caiden came into the world this past Sunday and mom and son are doing fantastic.  Just had to share this information....I know it has nothing to do with real estate.

Here's something that will make you smile dealing with real estate.  This video was done in 2008 but, it's just as important today in today's market if your wanting to sell your home.

The message on this is that in today's market, to get top dollar for your home (I mean top dollar for this market), you must appeal to the buyer and not your personal preferences.  Always remind yourself, 'your not going to live here anymore'.  You will never appeal to everyone but, you can make it attractive to the masses where folks can say, 'I might not buy this house but I could live there'.  Folks that will be interested in your house will see themselves very comfortable, having usable space and be able to place their most important possessions in the house.....making it THEIR home!  Sure, they may change the color, front door or other items but, the point is that you don't want to TURN OFF your prospective buyer. 

Just to summarize the video:

1. Spiff up everything on the outside of the home. Edge the yard and plant flowers.
2. Add lighting to the interior and exterior. While it may seem like a small expense, most buyers will probably drive by your home at night.
3. Touch up paint where needed.
4. Go with neutral paint colors on the inside.
5. De-clutter and tidy up the house.
6. Pay attention to the front door. Make sure it's spotless.
7. Deep clean the house.
8. Straighten up the basement.
9. Buy a pre-home inspection. It may cost about $300, but it will eliminate unpleasant surprises.

You possibly know someone that needs help buying or selling and if you do, I would honored if you suggested they contact me.  You can be assured you will have a hard working Realtor in your corner!

Have an outstanding October.  If you get a chance to, stop by my website at and see what is out there on the market today.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's a terrible time to buy a home

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a road trip with my wife and in laws to North Carolina for a week long mini vacation to visit family.  On the way back, we stopped in Nashville for a couple of days just to break up the ride back.  While there, we obviously had to go out to eat; our favorite pastime it seems.  While at a restaurant, I pick up a local free news paper.  On the 2nd page of this is an article titled  'Despite rates, it's a terrible time to buy a house'.  Immediately, my mind hits the phrase 'are you kidding me'?  But, me, being somewhat open-minded to differing opinions, I had to read what he has to say.

I'll spare you the details so here's the highlights;

  • His basis for the comment is from a conversation from a principal broker of a commercial real estate firm who is trying to sell his personal home.  (He's obviously having an issue selling the house)

  • He touts that sales are up from 2010 by 16% but said sales are 1/2 from what they were in 2006.

  • Homeowner equity has appreciated from 3-10% per year since 1991 through 2006 - that's 15 years of growth.  But, during that time, 'it was simple to buy a home'.  You put it on the market, make a profit, invest some or all of the profit in a new house and 'carry on'.  He talks about how easy it was to gain financing and that now, 'there is no money available for down payments'!!!

  • He states that money is cheap because there are no borrowers and prices are low because there is no demand for the product.  No equity in most houses and 'almost none of those bought in the past eight years!!!

OK, I get all the facts that today's market is different than in 2006 and even some before.  BUT, none of those topics make any case whatsoever that now is a terrible time to buy a house.  First, there IS money for down payments.  Especially for first time home buyers!!!  Do lenders want buyers to have 'skin in the game' or money at risk?  You bet and I don't blame them either. 

Used to be, buying a house was 'more simple'; Find a house, get it under contract, talk to the loan officer, complete the application, show you have 15-20% for a down payment, get a loan approved....maybe a week or two later since the application has to be reviewed by loan committee....then the appraisal and inspection is done......oh, I forgot to mention that interest rate is 9.75%.  If you were really lucky, you get 9.5% and 1 point.  For the sellers, their house is 'tied up' with the contract waiting for approval during that time so, in the meantime, other potential buyers cannot negotiate on that house until that contract falls through. 

Today, even in these tight times, you do have to still have some 'skin in the game' but for owner occupied houses, 10% down will get you in a house.  You can pre-qualify so you'll know exactly what your costs will be BEFORE you negotiate a deal and the seller is more apt to go under contract since your pre-qualified.  Approval is based on the appraisal and inspection which is done in 10 days and closing can happen immediately after that is done.  Interest can negotiate if you've got excellent credit.

Only downside I see is that since buying a house is cheaper than it was in 2006 in both price and interest rate and you won't want to sell the house and ride the appreciation up when the market does pick up.

By the way, the only reason a house won't sell in today's market is because the house is overpriced for the condition it's in.

I'm writing an email to the author of the article to see if he'll gain a different perspective.....again!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Case-Shiller home price index for June 2011.

In case you are wondering if there will ever be a change in the market, take a look at this price index report and graph for June.  Here in the midwest, we don't see the changes as quickly as the East and West coasts but, it appears that very thing is beginning to happen now.  Who knows how long, how strong or how fast it will change but, you can bet it will change.
I was out of town last week and came upon an article in Nashville Tn from a guy who said that now is NOT the time to buy real estate!!!!  I was in complete shock!!!  It appeared from the photo that he was old enough to remember the mid 70's when real estate was extremely tough.  At that time, if you could get a mortgage for 15%, you smiled all the way to closing and prices were not supressed like they are now.  Jump forward 35 years and interest rates are less than 4% and prices are the lowest they've been in years!  And he says now is NOT the time to buy?????  Does he think we'll be giving away real estate?????  I'm telling you, now is a GREAT time to buy real estate.  Actually, ANYTIME is a great time to buy.....IF you buy right and buy smart.  You can't just buy anything and everything no matter how much money you have and no matter how bad or good the market is.  Be smart, have a plan and execute the plan.  You can always make money in real estate.
Have a fantastic week and outstanding Labor Day Weekend.  Be safe!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The seller and disclosures

As a listing agent, we have the opportunity to provide to the public, on the sellers behalf, honest and truthful disclosures about the house that is for sale.  Items like structural issues, leaky roofs, or flooding inside the home.  We, as agents, have to rely on our own abilities to recognize things but mostly rely on the seller for the information that is represented.

We had a closing a couple of weeks ago that went great; listing, fast activity, contract, and close....just the way everyone wants.  Seller is happy, buyer is happy, agents happy and everyone in between.  2 days after the closing, the buyer finds out that there is a water line break from the meter to the house!!!!  Of course, the buyer chose not to have an inspection since he was getting the house at a good price.  That's fair of course.  Did the seller know it was broken?  Don't know!  They had not lived there for some time and the utilities were turned off.  Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. 

Here's the thing.  As a seller, if you know there are issues with a house and you disclose the condition....disclose everything.  You have the right to NOT disclose anything.  It's an all or nothing thing.  If you choose to not disclose anything, you have to be ready to not get top dollar for your house.  Buyers will believe there is a reason you are not disclosing anything and suspect there are some issues they may have to deal with.  Nothing wrong with that at all but, the sellers have to be prepared for that.

It's fantastic when transactions work because most of the time, everyone is happy.  It's important for agents to do everything possible to make the transactions a fun and pleasant experience.  These are big deals for everyone.  Many times, the owners largest single asset they own.  Agents have to take that very seriously. 

Hope everyone has a terrific week and outstanding upcoming weekend.  Make real estate fun and it will be profitable for everyone involved.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Closings should be fun for EVERYONE

Had a closing today on a listing it took only 4 days to sell!!!  Those are the best when you can put the buyer and seller together quickly and everyone wins.  One thing about closings; along with the whole process, is that it should be fun for both buyer and seller.  Agents need to work hard to make this process stress free as possible working for their clients so the closings go smoothly.  We are responsible for a ton of paperwork and I'll admit, I'm not the greatest when it comes to crossing all the 'T's and dotting the 'I's' but, the major stuff is definately covered. 

There was a closing ahead of mine today where the buyers and sellers were visiting prior to signing.  They were really getting along and having fun.  The buyers were learning all the little 'quirks' about taking care of the pool etc.  The title company personnel were getting all their details together and the agents were visiting.  That's the way business should be conducted ALL the time.  As agents, we make good money and have a lot of responsibility and definately earn our keep but, to the buyer/seller, they don't see that but, you can bet if they have a bad experience, they'll remember it in a negative way! 

We need to take care of those clients cause they take care of US!  Have fun with our jobs and enjoy the ride!!!  Have a great weekend.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's all about consistency

Working in real estate is really all about consistency and perserverance.  You have to be willing to meet people and know that as an agent, be willing to share your knowledge.  I've been amazed at the people that do not understand what a short sale is or the difference between short sales and foreclosures.  I've even had people ask, 'what's the difference between a foreclosure and repossessed properties'.  Education is a large part of earning the trust of clients and helping them along the way make their purchases or sales happen as smoothly as possible.  When an agent can be willing to show and help people HONESTLY, they'll become successful.  They'll have others recommend them to their friends and their business will grow.

I had the privledge to meet a person this week that is looking to buy their first home.  I take that an extreme honor to help them navigate through all the paperwork and questions.  Typically, agents don't make much on that because their smaller, less expensive homes but, you know, that's your future income when they want to sell that home and move to a bigger and more expensive home.  It all feeds on itself if your consistent with your service and contacts.

Hope everyone out there has a super and productive week.  Regardless of what Congress does this coming week, we'll still have business to do out there and property to have bought and sold.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Want to sell your home fast? Here's some information....

So, you've decided to sell your home and everyone thinks your nuts!!! Maybe not! You can buy so much more home now for the price than you could just a few years ago. The trick is not owing much on your existing home. If you can get any equity out or just break even, you can still buy more home now while the market is down. When it starts back up, and it will, you'll look like a genius when others are standing on the sidelines.

Here's what you have to do to get the most for your money.

1. Make your room colors more neutral. Now, I don't mean boreing but, neutral. Soft colors will add warmth and make the rooms look fresh.

2. Clean or replace carpet. It's relatively inexpensive but, it makes a difference to a buyer when they can just walk into a live-in-ready house.

3. Get rid of the clutter. You're moving OUT right? So, pack up the 'stuff' and get it out. Leave some furniture and accent pieces but, personal photos, etc. need to be gone. It makes the potential buyer feel like they are intruding plus with all the 'stuff' around the house, they can't visualize how their 'stuff' will fit. Remember, you're wanting to move so, someone else can move IN. Make it inviting.

4. Clean up the yard. Trim bushes, flower beds, grass, edge the sidewalk. Anything that makes it look like the buyers are getting a bargain. Less work for them will mean more dollars for you.

5. Make repairs or update things you've put off. Hot water heaters, HVAC systems, stove/ovens, dishwashers, things that might go out the minute you move out. This adds more value for the buyer and more cash for you. Besides, these are things you've been putting off anyway and the home you're buying will gain more cash for you later.

I know it might sound like a lot but, don't think of it as money your throwing away. You're investing in your NEXT home that's going to increase in value more than your existing home. You'll get it returned to you in the next house. I've never EVER seen a market like this where you can borrow money so cheaply and buy at such a low price.

Mark my words, there will be more millionaires come out of this recession than you can imagine.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Selling your home yourself

Many people look at selling your home themselves rather than hiring an agent.  Believe it or not, you can find an agent that will work with you to make that happen.  I'm one of them.  Selling your home yourself is a very tricky proposition.  You have to consider many factors; like marketing!  Putting a sign in the yard will cover those that drive in your neighborhood but, what about all the others that don't?  Ok, take an ad in the newspaper.  Not many folks are looking the the paper these days and you still have to pay for the ad.  Internet!  There are some sites that advertise but, your still paying for the membership and you have no guarantees to find buyers. 

Now, say you have a buyer.  What do you disclose that's wrong with the house?  If you don't, you could get into some trouble later with the buyer should you close.  What about paperwork, contracts, addendums, closings.  The list goes on and on.  Truth is, you will get more money using an agent and less headaches, at less costs than if you did sell it on your own.  FSBO's can be successful and there are stories where the right buyer comes along but, odds are much less that you'll sell the home for the highest price in the shortest amount of time unless you use a real estate agent.  I enjoy working with folks like that though and don't mind if they were successful selling their house on their own.  I know I've helped someone along the way and that will come back to me someday.