The quicker the sale the better!

3 Strategies for a Quick Home Sale

Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful New House.
Feverpitched/Getty

Most sellers have a specific goal when it comes to their transaction: a quick sale and top dollar. But sometimes fast action doesn’t align with achieving the highest and best value.

There are multiple schools of thought on this subject and the perspective varies not only with where you are in the country, but also by price point, neighborhood and even down to the block. When it comes to pricing and the search for a quick sale, it’s always best to get help from a local agent.

Here are some strategies you can use to get offers fast.

1. The Theory of Under-Pricing

Under-pricing means that you go to market with a list price that is just below what the comparable sales in your area support.

You can’t pinpoint the exact market value of a home until it sells. But before you list, there’s always a range. If you price your house at or below the bottom of the value range, you are under-pricing the home.

In many West Coast markets this strategy will work effectively. Take this San Francisco home, for example: priced at $1.1 million, it received 10 offers and sold for $1.425 million in less than a week.

Risk alert: If you price your home low, this plan could backfire — big time. If you don’t know your market and this strategy doesn’t work, you’d better be ready to accept that list price.

2. Staging and Market Presentation

Well-priced homes that also show well sell quickly. If you want a quick sale, you need to invest some serious time in getting the house ready.

Prepping the home means taking out large pieces of furniture and personal items, painting, replacing carpets, finishing floors and even doing some minor renovations.

Enlist the help of a home stager and take their advice, and you can be assured a quicker sale. The investment of time and money will pay itself back.

Risk alert: If you go overboard on staging or you don’t spend the time and money in the right places, it could be a waste. Don’t make staging decisions in a vacuum. Focus on kitchens and bathrooms, de-cluttering and cleaning. When in doubt, ask for help.

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Super helpful tips for starting out your home search…

10 Things I Wish My Realtor Would Have Told Me

Freshome.com | link

Ah, home ownership—the dream we all chase. Owning your own home is freeing, but it certainly catapults you quickly into the adult world of bills, brokers, and banking. There are so many things to know before buying a home, and even if you have owned and sold homes in the past, there may be things that your realtor never revealed to you.

Here we attempt to share with you the tricks of the trade, and perhaps the secrets behind the scenes, revealing what may really be happening when you hire your realtor. Here are the top then things that you will wish your realtor would have told you:

modern floor plan windows lights

 1) Spend A Bit More Than You Planned

While this seems to defy logic, there is some merit to spending a wee bit more than you initially intended. Say your budget is $250,000 USD. Well, it really won’t break the bank to buy that dream house for $275,000. Why?

Well, for one— your monthly mortgage payments will really only be around $15-20 more per month (depending on interest rates). Perhaps just give up your daily high-end coffee? Plus, that dream house has everything you want; it has the granite countertops; the walk-in closets; the finished basement.  These are the things you will eventually add to the less expensive house; thereby, spending that $275,000 in the long run. (Although, always be sure to stay within your means—see affordability calculator below)

outdoor porch built-in patio

 2) Buy In A Growing Neighborhood

Maybe you are single and buying your first home. Most likely, this isn’t going to be the home you raise kids in. We still encourage you to buy in a growing family neighborhood where schools are established or are in the phase of being built.

This is the perfect investment scenario. A home where families are flocking and schools are growing is only going to go up in value. So buy that family home even if you don’t plan on staying in it for the long haul—your wallet will thank you in the end.

Is home-buying your New Year’s Resolution?

At the start of a new year, many real estate agents’ phones begin ringing with calls from potential buyers who want to get in the market. If buying a home is on your agenda for 2015, now’s the time to begin working toward your goal. Here’s a guide to the home buying experience to get you started.

The dreaming phase

We are all more connected than ever, which makes researching a new home easy and convenient. The dreaming phase — which has no definitive start time or length — means thinking about what you want in a home, exploring neighborhoods and casting the widest net possible.

This phase includes looking at photos of homes online, comparing and contrasting listings or prices per square foot and understanding the price differential between two school districts.

Dreaming happens on your terms and your timing. It doesn’t require help from a real estate agent or mortgage professional. It’s a good time for you to play around with the market, start to get the real estate bug and develop a feel for what could be a reality in the future. Don’t rush, and don’t feel pressured.

Search and discovery mode

When you feel ready to make a reality of the dreaming phase, it’s time to move the process along. Search and discovery allows you to get the facts, build your team and begin to amass a strong approach to pushing ahead. Connect with a local real estate agent and a mortgage lender to get started.

Typically, buyers meet with a real estate agent first, who then refers them to a good local mortgage professional. Connecting with an agent means asking lots of questions about how the market works, school districts and the home buying process in general.

In the dreaming phase, you don’t know what you don’t know. But during search and discovery, you’ll start gathering solid information. A mortgage professional will run some numbers and do a full review of your finances, including pulling your credit. They will marry that data with available loans in the market and teach you about the different loan options.

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Looking for a new look in the New Year?

10 Things You Need To Know Before Hiring An Architect

modern home architecture 10 Things You Need To Know Before Hiring An Architect

Whether your construction or design aspirations are small or large scale—getting to the middle of a project and realizing you’re lost or out of resources can be an overwhelming feeling.

Many people choose to hire an architect when they know that there are limits to what they can personally provide, or they simply want to know that the project is in the hands of an expert.

When it comes to deciding whether or not an architect is the way to go for your next project, take some time to consider the following ten things you need to know before hiring an architect:

modern home big windows 10 Things You Need To Know Before Hiring An Architect

1) Understanding the Experts

Hiring an outside professional in any capacity takes a certain amount of open mindedness, however, when you’re considering hiring an architect, it’s imperative that you understand the flexibility required in projects.

Architects are trained professionals who have spent years studying building codes, interior and exterior design, structural integrity etc…

Architects are hired on with a wealth of knowledge to contribute, so be willing to listen and take their expert advice.  Having a clear understanding of what you want for final results will only help, but being open to professional suggestions will create a smooth path to a successful project completion.

black and white rooms 10 Things You Need To Know Before Hiring An Architect

VA Home Loan 101

Tell a Veteran About Their Homebuying Benefits

VA home loans
Scott SchaeferArmy veteran Richard Kuri, 81, used his VA loan benefits to purchase a home this summer with $0 down.

Richard Kuri had a beacon guiding him along the homebuying journey. Consider it one of the benefits of buying down the road from a lighthouse. The 81-year-old Army veteran closed this summer on his dream home, just three blocks from the Lake Michigan shoreline. Two years removed from a bankruptcy discharge, Kuri was able to land a loan using his VA mortgage benefit.

The Michigan resident worked hard to repair his credit following the bankruptcy. He also had something too many veterans and military members still lack: Awareness of the homebuying benefits

A whopping 1 in 3 aren’t even aware they have a home loan benefit….

earned by his service to our country.

VA loan volume has skyrocketed since the housing crash. Veterans and military families have flocked in record numbers to this $0 down mortgage in a time of tight credit. But millions upon millions of veterans are still missing out.

About 10 percent of the country’s 22 million veterans currently have a VA-backed loan. A whopping 1 in 3 homebuying veterans aren’t even aware they have a home loan benefit, according to survey data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To be sure, VA loans aren’t the best fit for every military buyer. But they should at least know it’s an option. Scores of veterans and service members have an incomplete home financing picture.

Simply making sure they’re aware of the home loan benefits earned by their service can help ensure veterans get the best deal possible.

Big-Time Benefits: The government created the VA loan program as part of the original GI Bill. Envisioned as a short-term benefit, the program aimed to boost the postwar economy and broaden access to homeownership for returning veterans.

Seventy years later, VA loans are still fulfilling that original mission. Rather than make home loans, the VA basically insures a portion on behalf of eligible veterans and service members. That fiscal guaranty helps gives lenders the flexibility to extend financing with some significant benefits, chiefly the ability to purchase with $0 down.

Time to return the favor!

How to Buy a Home for Your Parents

senior couple sitting in a...
ShutterstockA major issue to consider when buying a home for your parents is whose name goes on the deed.

It’s fairly common for parents to help their children buy a home. But sometimes, adult children are in a position where they want to help buy a home for their parents.

It may be that the children have been successful and want their parents to have a better home than they do now. Perhaps the current housing no longer meets their needs. Maybe the parents live some distance away and the children wish to have them nearby, but housing costs in the new location are considerably higher than where they live now. Or the parents may need a retirement dwelling but can’t afford to make the move on a fixed income.

Basically, you have three options:

1. Buy a home for them outright and allow them to live there.

2. Assist them in buying a home if they’d have difficulty obtaining a loan by themselves.

3. Buy a home and rent it back to them at an affordable cost.

Coupled with these are questions about financing, title, taxes and the eventual sale or inheritance of the property, which vary among the three options.

1. Buying the Home Yourself: If you’re planning to finance the purchase of the home yourself, you probably have significant assets to draw upon. In that event, Malcolm Hollensteiner, director of retail lending products and services for TD Bank in Cherry Hill, N.J., recommends leveraging those assets rather than financing the property through a regular mortgage.

“If the financing is in their (the adult child’s) name but they don’t intend to occupy it as a primary residence, the lender will view it as a second home or an investment property,” Hollensteiner said. That could mean paying a higher interest rate and more in closing costs than on a primary residence.

If the buyer has a lot of equity in their own home, Hollensteiner suggests that they might wish to tap that instead. A cash-out refinance would likely provide a lower interest rate than they could obtain…

For all your relocaters out there!

How to Buy a Home in One Market While Selling in Another

Brendan Desimone | Zillow Blog | October 3, 2014 | link

Someone being transferred for work or making a major move for personal reasons may end up selling in one market and buying in another. The ideal scenario would be to sell in a sellers’ market, like the San Francisco Bay area or Seattle, and buy in a buyers’ market, such as Providence, RI. The worst-case scenario is to do the opposite.

Here are some tips for buyers and sellers in any market.

Know before you go

The days of a national estate market are gone. Today, markets vary by state, town, city and even block by block. But most people don’t realize this. So it’s important to start by researching the hyper-local market of the town or neighborhood that interests you. Read local blogs. Watch the number of days a home is on the market. Understand the sale price to list price ratio in the town where you’re buying. Upfront research can save you a lot of time and headaches. Plus, you don’t want to rely entirely on your real estate agent to tell you about that market. Get informed on your own.

How to sell in a buyers’ market

Selling your home in a buyers’ market can subject you to a harsh reality. Your market could be slow due to a high level of inventory, low demand from buyers or simply slow economic times.

If you need to sell in a buyers’ market, put your best foot forward from the start. Make sure your home is priced to sell. You may not have the luxury of waiting for six months to test the market. Homes will sell, no matter the market, when priced right.

Spend days or weeks removing junk and prepping your home for the market. You’ll have to pack up when you move anyhow, so it makes sense to start packing before you even list your home. Not only will it save time later, but it will help thin out the house, make more space available and help the home show better during open houses. Strongly consider any suggestions your agent makes for slight cosmetic fixes or staging.

How to buy in a buyers’ market

Who doesn’t love being a buyer in a buyers’ market? You have lots to choose from and the full attention of sellers.

Take your time to see as many homes as possible to get the lay of the land. Focus on the most motivated sellers, as this is where you may uncover the best values. If a handful of homes meet your needs, ask questions such as: Why is the seller selling? What is the seller’s time frame for moving? How long has the seller lived in the home? You can ask these questions through your agent or by asking the seller’s agent directly.

The more you ask, the more you may uncover just who is the most motivated seller. Be open to taking on some renovation work, because that can add value to the property. The market will eventually turn, and there’s no better feeling than knowing that you bought low, with some bonus equity.

How to sell in a sellers’ market

Along the West Coast, sellers are being overwhelmed with buyers at open houses and private showings. Demand is high, and things are moving quickly. But you still have to work at selling. If you don’t clean the home or present it to the market in its best possible light, you may leave money on the table for the buyer who is desperate for a “deal.”

If you have the luxury of receiving multiple offers, focus on the best buyer and the best terms and not so much on the bottom line. You want the buyer who is going to close. The last thing you want is to have to go back on the market. When this happens, everyone will wonder what’s wrong with your home.

It could be that the buyer got cold feet or remorse. If you aren’t sure who is the best buyer, ask your agent. The best buyer is the one who has seen the home multiple times, is pre-approved for a loan, has been in the market and has even lost out on recent home sales. This buyer is working with a local agent and committed to buying. Your agent will know who they are.

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