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Archive for Realtor

Selling Your Home In A Difficult Market – 1

How do you sell when competition is high and equity is low?

If you are a home owner and you need to sell, you are no doubt aware that the competition is fierce. Your reasons for selling will likely dictate the level of aggression that you put into marketing it, but here are some things you need to know to separate yourself from the pack.

Get ready to sell

Getting ready to sell your home can come in many forms. You need to have your home clean and tidy for buyers to view it. You need to make sure that the front yard is presentable and inviting. This is called curb appeal, and if buyers don’t even want to get out of the car, it will be hard to sell them your home.

Getting ready to sell is also a state of mind. You have to think like a seller, and picture your home the way that a buyer would. This can mean several things but here are the most important ones:

De-personalize your home

De-personalizing means to make your home look more like a model home and less like someone is currently living there. If you have lots of pictures on the mantle and knickknacks everywhere, go ahead and box them up (consider this as part of preparing to move since you will have to box it up anyway). The more clutter you have, the smaller the house will feel, and buyers are looking for space.

The cheer leading trophies and spelling bee awards are a tremendous source of pride to you and your family, but buyers don’t care. As a matter of fact, it may be a turn off.

Make Minor Fixes

If you have a hole in the drywall where the door knob hits it, take a little time to get some drywall patch at Lowes or Home Depot. It is not a big job, and depending on the size of the hole, it is a relatively easy fix.

Make sure all light bulbs work, and fix the ones that don’t. Make sure that there are no leaky faucets, and fix them if there are.

Check back on the next post for additional tips, and how to choose the right Realtor.


How Do You Choose The Right Realtor?

How Do I choose the right realtor?

Choosing the right realtor

I am not the first person to write about this, and will most certainly not be the last. Here are some simple things to look for.

We are in historic and interesting times in the real estate business. There are more choices, and at better prices for buyers than have existed for decades. This creates a problem whether you are a buyer or a seller as to who you choose to help you in the process. For buyers, the first thing you should know is that you need your own “Buyer’s Agent”. This is important for 2 reasons: 1) the agent that has the home listed represents the seller, and the seller is their primary responsibility, and 2) the seller pays the fee for both Realtors whether you get one yourself, or use theirs.

For sellers, the chore is more daunting. Finding a real estate professional is the most important part of selling your home. If you get the right one, they could potentially have it sold for you in weeks. And, if you get the wrong one, you might go into foreclosure without ever even getting an offer. As a seller, the relationship between you and your agent is complex, but it must be open minded to work. If you are unrealistic about the price or willingness to negotiate, you will not sell your home. If your agent is so hungry that they will tell you whatever you want to hear, rather than stick to hard market data, you also will not sell your home. Take a look at a few simple suggestions for choosing the right agent for your situation.

  • First, steer clear of the inexperienced agent. You may have a brother-in-law that is an auto mechanic, but just got his real estate license, and you feel more comfortable dealing with family. As you prepare to sell the largest asset that you and your family own, you need a professional in the same way that you would not go to a family practitioner to get open heart surgery.
  • Find someone who knows your neighborhood better than anyone. There’s an old saying in real estate that is “Live where you sell, and sell where you live”. If you find the “super agent” in the Sunday paper, but he lives 40 minutes away from your home, you will be dissatisfied with his service regardless how many awards he has.
  • Be open minded about the price, and decide if you want to “list” the property, or if you want to “sell” the property. The typical home owner may ask “what’s the difference?”, and someone in the business knows exactly what I am talking about. If you look at the comparable sales that have taken place for similar homes in your immediate area, and you are priced 20% above them because you refuse to accept less than “X” for your home, then you are wasting everyone’s time, including your own. You don’t dictate the price, the market does, and if the market is not in the right place for you right now, you need to either change your mind about selling, or change your mind about needs and wants on the price.

There is a lot more to selling your home than these simple pointers. But, the most important thing you need to take away from this article is to trust your Realtor and his(her) judgment. If you don’t….you have the wrong Realtor.

Realtor vs. FSBO – Which Is Better For You?

Realtor vs. FSBO

Confused about real estate

Is it better to sell your home yourself, or get help from a real estate professional? Ultimately this is a personal decision, but let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

As a seller in this market, you are no doubt aware that the competition is fierce. (If you are not aware of this, you can stop reading now and go find a Realtor.) As with any competitive atmosphere, you have to set yourself apart from the competition to get noticed.

As a Mortgage Banker, the biggest problem that I see with buyers right now is CHOICE. You would think that would be a good thing, but in fact, there are so many choices for buyers (because of the flood of homes for sale), that many of them find themselves overwhelmed and frustrated. This leaves them like a kid in a toy store with strict instructions to only pick one.

The number one reason that seller’s want to handle the transaction themselves is cost. A real estate commission is typically between 5% and 7% depending on your area of the country (in North Florida it is usually 6%), so the natural instinct is to handle the transaction yourself, and save the thousands of dollars. Here are some things not always considered by a seller handling the transaction themselves:

  • A FSBO (For Sale By Owner) house will not be shown by a Realtor representing a buyer unless there is “Agent Participation” in the form of a fee. Agents work on commission only, and to assume they will show your house knowing that they won’t get paid is naive and unrealistic. This means that the buyer will have to find you on their own. The only way for that to happen is through advertising, which costs money.
  • Nationwide statistics show that the average sale by a Realtor is 16% higher than a FSBO. Take away the commissions to the Realtor, and you still come out ahead in net proceeds.
  • When selling a home, you are dealing with contract law. A mistake made on the contract could cost thousands more, and if you refuse to make good on the contract, you can (and probably will) get sued by the buyer for what is called “specific performance”.
  • If you owe more than the house will sell for, you can find a short sale specialist that will sell your home and negotiate with the bank on a lower payoff to make the transaction. In most cases, the lender will pay for the Realtor fees in this transaction, and many of them will not allow a short sale transaction at all without a licensed Realtor involved. You can find a local short sale specialist here if you owe more than the house is worth.

Whats Your Home Worth?

Now that we have looked at the bad, lets take a look at the good. There are situations where it may be to your advantage to sell FSBO. These situations are rare, but they do happen:

  • If you already have a buyer, and an agreed upon price, you may be able to justify selling FSBO. This could be a friend or family member that wants the house, and both parties are getting what they want out of the deal. To avoid the contract law issues discussed above, contact a local Real Estate Attorney to get some help with the contract. They will often do this for little or no fee if they also perform the closing and provide the title insurance (they have to make money somehow).
  • If the market is so hot that you have buyers coming to you to sell even if you don’t have it listed, you may be able to justify a FSBO. Remember though, that is very unlikely in the current economy, and you still need to contact an attorney about the contract issues. In addition, make sure that you have an accurate assessment of the market value of the property, it is worth the $350 you would pay to an appraiser to avoid losing thousands to a savvy buyer.

Overall, your best situation will be with a Realtor. I will discuss choosing the right Realtor in another post.