REALTORS®: More Than Just Finding Homes

It’s no secret these days that just about anyone can get online and search for homes anywhere in the country. You’ve likely even seen tv commercials showing how easy it is to do even from your phone. So why do people still need real estate agents?

A truly qualified agent will do more than just give you a list of homes, they should be a qualified professional with insight into the market who can help you navigate the real estate transaction process with greater ease as well as understanding. But what are some other reasons you might want to work with a professional?

Comfort
Buying or selling your home is one of the biggest decisions in your lifetime and it often involves major changes to living situations as well as finances. Real estate can seem like a treacherous undertaking, especially if you’re a first time buyer or seller, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t be facing it alone is worth it’s weight in gold — just like a good agent is!

Knowledge
Whether you’re buying or selling an agent familiar with the industry will be invaluable throughout the process. Offers, counter-offers, amendments, all of these steps can be overwhelming to take on alone. Even just knowing where the prices are in the market and how to negotiate will be well worth a commission when it brings you greater return on your investment.

Resources
This is especially important for sellers! A full time real estate agent will have marketing resources you yourself couldn’t hope to have on call without huge cost. They will be able to list your home, showcase it on their real estate website, share it on social media, and do many other things to get your home not only sold more quickly but generally for a higher amount. For buyers? You’re not left out either! An experienced agent will likely have many personal contacts and other options for finding you the perfect place.

These are just a few of the things many people don’t consider when thinking about buying or selling their home; it’s easy to understand – if you’ve never dealt with real estate before you can’t understand the value of a real estate experts experience. Don’t let hesitations keep you from reaching out to a Realtor® in your area with questions, you may be surprised to find how much easier working with a local pro can be!

Real Advice for First Time Home Buyers

homeraceSo you’re just getting settled into the first new home of your own; as might be expected you’ve learned some valuable lessons during the process of making it yours.

Now, there are plenty of “10 Tips for Home Buyers” out there on the internet, so we won’t bore you with more of those, but what about the things you need to consider that aren’t typical?

Here are a few things that most first time buyers don’t even consider:

Make a Checklist
Buying a home can be an emotional process; ideally you would set those feeling aside to make the most logical decisions. It never happens, but it would be ideal – so a good way to help fight the effects of the inevitable is to make a list of things you want in your new perfect place. Organize it with Must Haves, Would Be Nice, and lastly No Big Deals – this will make it easy to visualize the home you want and clearly asses which items may or may not be deal killers. Print this list out and keep it with you when you’re out house hunting – if nothing else it will keep the important features of your potential home in front of you.

Think Long Term
Thinking long term in home ownership means thinking re-sale. Thinking re-sale means thinking about VALUATION, so consider all the factors that go into improving your home and how easily they can be accomplished. Also, your needs as homeowner will change over time as well; your job may change, you may have kids, or other more unexpected life changes that might not fit with the ideal home you start with.

Grill the HOA
Find out the facts about the Napoleonic authorities that will be governing the home you worked so hard to own. In many cases these over-powered authorities can make your time in your new home difficult at best – and their word is law – so it’s definitely a good idea to find out as much about the HOA organization before you buy. Some might say it may be an even better idea to choose a community that does not have these sort of antiquated restrictions on how you can live in the house you’re paying for.

Don’t Get Upstaged
Houses are often staged for sale in order to look more appealing, and while there’s nothing underhanded about the sellers wanting to present the house in the best light you do need to look through the glamour. Realize that as nice as the house looks now that the furniture and everything else you see will be gone when you move in. Dispel the staging and instead visualize how your own furniture and accessories will fit the home.

The Legends Are True
There are a lot of old adages about real estate…location, location, location of course and buy the view not the house are common. Lesser known axioms that can truly be life savers include: have an emergency fund! Save for your down payment of at least 20%, and start saving early on. Don’t buy more home than you can afford, and avoid large purchases (especially on credit) right before you start house hunting.

The last most obvious tip of course is to work with a qualified and experienced real estate professional. Your REALTOR® will do much more than just shuffle the paper work for you — although believe us you’ll be glad to have them around for that too! If you’re thinking of buying, or are just starting to look don’t hesitate to get in touch and find out how we can help you!

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

rhbr6r99Selling your home can be a real challenge; a unique process compared to buying a home or any other real estate transaction. It can be hard to know what to do and how to progress in the proper manner; it is for that reason that having an experienced real estate agent can make all the difference. We’ve put together a few hot button items to help you steer clear of some of the most common pitfalls when selling your home, but of
course always recommend working with a professional.

Make Sure the Time is Right
Don’t sell before you’re ready. Don’t sell before the market is ready. Don’t sell before the house is ready. Only you can know whether the time is right for you, your REALTOR® should know if the market is good, but you can do a lot on your own make sure the home is ready. Take care of any repairs that are outstanding, especially if they are major, to insure the best return on your investment.

Don’t Over Improve
What you consider an improvement might not be to the taste of the new owner; not all home improvements are the same either – some can return more or less when it comes to monetary value on return. You may love your new bright pink lady lair, but that coat of paint could cost you the sale if potential buyers aren’t so hot on that style. Lastly, if the improvements you choose are costly you may not recover their cost even if you do end up selling the home.

Don’t Play Hide And Seek
Selling a home is much like any other business, it needs to be based on trust and honesty. Considering that, don’t hide any details about your home or your finances that could pop up as potential pitfalls later on. Some less than desirable details about your house may be ill received, and even cost you a buyer or two, but that’s nothing compared to the fallout of having to deal with outraged buyers or even charges of fraud after the fact.

Simmer Down
Selling a home is a process, with a lot of money at stake, and it’s never a good idea to rush into ventures of that nature. Take time to plan not only your sale itself but the steps leading up to the sale – preparing the home, talking to the kids about the move, packing your home, and a myriad of other details. Don’t rush into thing, make sure the agent you choose is a good match for you and also knows the market. A little patience
can go a long way and even in a fast moving market it takes time for the sale itself to be processed.

Things Home Sellers Need to Do in 2015!

2015The new year is upon us and it’s time to embrace the change and seek a brighter tomorrow! For those considering selling their home the warmer Spring months ahead it’s prime time to get things ready for making the big move. Here are some tips for not only those looking to sell their home but also for those looking to spice up the place they’ve hung their hat for years already.

Get Creative.
Step back and really look at your space. Sometimes it helps to clear the room of furniture – and hey, with Spring cleaning, you were going to be doing that anyway right? Consider doing a full remodel, if it makes sense. Knock down a wall, but in a bar or kitchen island.

Bail on Beige.
Blah. Neutral. Beige. Off-white. Honestly, even taupe is better! Be bold! Claim your walls! Be mindful of current styles and trends, and maybe not go full chartreuse, but really…we can’t suggest this one enough.

Update your lighting.
Did 1995 call and tell you that 8 glass panel chandelier in the dining room was missing? Yeah. It’s like that. Consider not only new updated fixtures but also the bulbs themselves! Lighting has come a long way in the last 20 years; you could actually be saving yourself money.

Clean out the garage.
If you are going to be selling your home this just makes good sense. You’ll be making the task of moving a little bit easier. If you are not moving then it’s a good idea just because it will help you use the space more efficiently – imagine! being able to actually park your car…in the garage! It can happen! The legends are true! Start by getting rid of anything you haven’t seen or used in the last 5 years. Chances are, unless it’s a family treasure, you can do without it.

There are a hundred tips to get your house in tip-top shape! Most of them you can find on your own just by stopping and really taking a look around. From de-cluttering to just old fashioned cleaning and painting you can do a lot to make your home more sellable or to keep your house more livable for yourself!

Rent VS Buying

Inman News recently published research they analyzed from Trulia regarding which major metropolitan areas had more affordable homes for purchase than for rent.

It really wasn’t surprising to find that in 98 out of 100 U.S. cities buying a home was the better decision between the two. Low home prices and mortgage rates are the largest contributing factor to this on-going trend, but the simultaneous rise in rent prices in many cities pushed the rent over buy index to new lows.

East coast and west coast giants California and New York had some of the highest priced-to-rent ratios in the country, with lower ratios were to be found in the Midwest. Northwest mecca Seattle came in at #81 with a somewhat higher than average ratio, but still within the bounds of a city where it is better to buy.

This could be a very nice turn for the real estate market as the economy struggles to rebound; doubtlessly this sort of news will spur home prices to begin to rise. NOW may be the best time to buy a home!