5 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

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Staging a home for sale used to be considered a luxury. Now, many real estate agents consider it a necessity. The continuing slump in housing has given buyers plenty of options – making it increasingly important to have your house looking its most dapper.

1. Screen appeal trumps curb appeal: Nearly 90 percent of homebuyers now research homes online, according to realty industry research. So it’s important that the house be staged and looking its best before the photos are taken to post online.

2. Look outside in: A buyer first sees what’s outside your house, not in. Freshly cut grass, manicured shrubs, swept sidewalks and a power-washed driveway look inviting; sick or dead potted plants don’t.

3. Clutter kills: Go through every room in your house and decide which belongings you’ll need in the next six months and which you won’t. Get rid of the second pile – in the trash or in storage.

4. Nothing personal: Remove all photos, degrees and other personal effects. The buyers want to imagine themselves living there and too many reminders of your family can make them almost feel like they’re invading someone’s home. And that’s a sales turn-off.

5. Know your audience: The best home stagers research the types of people who buy houses in your neighborhood and adjust the house to suit that demographic. If most buyers are families with kids, keep all the bedrooms as bedrooms. If more singles are looking to move in, consider staging one of the bedrooms as an office or home gym.

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Source by Shelly Towns

How to Influence an Appraiser to Give You Maximum Home Value

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New appraisal rules called Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) came into effect on May 31, 2009. They are meant for loans that will eventually be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It clearly states that your lender can not influence the appraisal on your home. What these new rules do not say is that you or your realtor can’t talk to the appraiser.

1. Always be at your home when the appraiser comes. Your real estate agent should also present. A real estate agent will be able to support the asking price/offer with a list of comparable home prices. Lenders now want to see not only what has sold, but also what is currently on the market on the appraisal report.

2. Talk to the appraiser to find out how much they know about the neighborhood. If your neighborhood has special features that you feel increase the value of your property, let them know. Have a list of the location of local schools, shopping, parks and public transit ready to give them. If they see that these are nearby, it helps prop up your home value.

3. Find out whether they are aware of the latest sales in the neighborhood. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they had seen the property previous to its sale. If you know what the homes looked like, give your opinion. You want to make sure they are going to list property values that are comparable to your home on their report.

4. Make a list of all the improvements you have made to the home and go over each item with the appraiser. Have a copy available to give the appraiser. If necessary, also have copies of the receipts in case they have doubts about certain items. They won’t see all the money you spent on improvements unless you point each one out to them.

5. If you have a maintenance schedule that you follow, give it to them to show that you have not let the house get run down. This simple thing could give the appraiser justification when coming up with a higher property value.

By being able to talk to the appraiser it is now up to you to influence final property value for your home. If you are prepared ahead of time with all the documentation listed above, it will help you get the maximum value for your home.

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Source by Russie Weidl

The Pros and Cons of Real Estate Short Sales

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When it comes to real estate in the Phoenix Arizona area, many who are facing foreclosure decide to learn more about short sales, and how they work. No one wants to lose their home, but when financial worries are steadily increasing due to the economy, sometimes we feel we have no choice. This article will give you a clearer picture of the process, so that you may make an informed decision.

When it comes to short sales, you should speak with your real estate agent who will help you with any questions or concerns you may have. You know that foreclosing on a home will ruin your credit, and cause you embarrassment. Add to that the fact that you most likely will not be able to purchase another home for several years, and it simply is not an attractive option.

Here are some of the pros and cons of short sales:

Pros

You can purchase another home in only two years, instead of waiting five years. This is probably the biggest motivating factor for most people when choosing a short sale.

Your credit won’t be as badly damaged.

You may avoid the embarrassment and stress of the process for you and your family. A short sale as opposed to a foreclosure can also help your neighbors. One less foreclosure in the neighborhood will help the community.

Cons

Sometimes there may be a lengthy wait for the bank to respond to the offer.

There may be many potential buyers taking a tour through your home to see if it is something they are interested in, so keeping your house straightened and cleaned constantly may be a chore.

Although it most likely won’t be a problem, there is no guarantee that the lender will accept the buyer’s offer.

The paperwork can be frustrating. The bank will ask you for personal records, other bank accounts, assets and liabilities, etc. This is done in order to prove your hardship, and additionally they may want a hardship letter in writing from you.

If you don’t mind a little extra work, this may be a way for you to avoid foreclosure and all of the nasty things that come with it. Money worries are a huge concern recently, and many are facing the possibility of losing their homes. Before you make a final decision, speak with a reputable certified distress property Phoenix realtor about how short sales may be the best option for you.

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Source by Maureen Karpinski

The Short Sale Process

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In today’s real estate market, investors have many discount properties at their possession. Everywhere you turn there is another property up for sale. Some of those properties can not be sold because of price. A lot of those homeowners must sell at the prices they are asking because they either paid too much for the house when they bought it, or they refinanced their equity out of their home. To add on to that problem, a lot of those homeowners took on an adjustable rate mortgage or an ARM. An ARM is a mortgage loan where the interest rate adjusts based on the market indexes.

Some of them even took on interest only loans. An interest only loan is a loan where a homeowner doesn’t pay down the principle on their home. They are only paying the interest. But you can pay principle too if you send the bank extra money stating that it should go toward the principle only. Most of these types of loans usually come with a balloon payment. Having a balloon payment means that your loan is due in full at the end of the balloon term.

Now that the ARM is kicking in (I didn’t know that arms can kick… lol) or the balloon payment is coming due, those homeowners cannot afford to keep paying on an adjustable rate mortgage. And they most certainly can not come up with the money to pay the mortgage in full. So what do they do? Well they have two options, they can take a chance at refinancing their property or they can sell through a short sale.

Most people will not be able to refinance their home in today’s real estate market because banks are not as lenient as they were a year or two ago. So that leaves them the option of doing a short sale on their home.

A short sale comes about when a lender is willing to take less for a home than the amount due. Lenders will usually do a short sale if it is more beneficial than going through the foreclosure process. Short sales are less expensive for the lender than going through foreclosure as well. Usually, lenders will allow a short sale to take place in the pre-foreclosure stage.

The following is a list of things that you will need to do in order to have a successful short sale transaction:

  • Call the lender and ask to speak to the supervisor or the person in charge of the short sale. Make sure you keep their contact information because they will be the decision maker in the transaction.
  • Get a letter of authorization to release the loan information from the homeowner. This will give you permission to discuss the loan with the bank on the homeowner’s behalf.
  • You will need a purchase agreement
  • You will need an escrow letter
  • You will need to get a 1099 for the home owner, a hardship letter which explains why the seller must sell, pay stubs, w-2’s, a credit report, and bank statements
  • You will also need a financial worksheet or a preliminary HUD sheet. This will help the lender get an idea of what to expect at the closing table.
  • Last but not least, you will need comps for the property

Doing a short sale can help a seller to save their credit. They won’t have a foreclosure on their credit which keeps them in good standing. This is huge when your buying short sale properties because it is a way to help the seller and create a win- win situation. Consider doing short sales in this market and you will have much success.

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Source by Jamel Gibbs

Short Sales – What’s Negotiable?

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The answer:  Everything!

Have you ever heard the saying “Everything’s for sale!”  This statement is usually used when people say “I’d never sell it” or something along those lines.  But truly, for the right price, EVERYTHING is for sale.

So you just love that new chair you bought?  You’d never sell it?  How about if someone offered you $100,000?  I’m not saying they would but that’s not the point.  Everything is for sale!  Just like Everything is Negotiable!

If you have two parties in any sort of contract and they both agree then you have a negotiation.  So in short sales, everything is negotiable.   Some deals may be easier to negotiate than others but eventually everything becomes a negotiation.

When you really sit and think about it, isn’t a short sale really sort of the same as bargaining at a garage sale?  I am going to make probably the first comparison in history utilizing a weed whacker and a piece of real estate….(If you don’t know what a weed whacker is, it’s one of those electronic or gas powered garden tools with a piece of string attached at the bottom and it spins at some ridiculously high rate of speed and makes mulch out of any weeds, dandelions, or people’s toes in its path)

YEAR PURCHASED AND PRICE PAID

Weed Whacker:  2005  – $100.00

House:  2004 – $525,000

CURRENT CONDITION & VALUE

Weed Whacker:  Good – $25.00

House:  Good – $315,000

LOSS IN VALUE

Weed Whacker:  75%

House:  40%

FOR SALE PRICE

Lawn Tool:  $25.00

Property:  $320,000

BUYERS OFFER

Weed Whacker:  $15.00

House:  $300,000

SELLERS COUNTER

Weed Whacker:  $20.00

House:  $310,000

FINAL NEGOTIATED PRICE

Weed Whacker:  $20.00

House:  $310,000

Now take a look at that example and you’ll understand a little about why short sales make sense for everyone involved.  Is it really all that  ridiculous to try and compare a weedwhacker at a garage sale and a short sale on a home?  Both were purchased a price you would never get today, both lost a lot of value, both were listed for sale at or about market value, both got offers from buyer’s looking for a deal, both were countered, and the sale was finally negotiated.

All it took was for a buyer & a seller to come to an agreement and the deal was consummated.

Remember this:  EVERYTHING CAN BE NEGOTIATED!

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Source by Sean Bonini

Sell My Home – Home Staging Tips Beyond the Basics

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Many home sellers wonder why their home languishes on the market. They’ve deep cleaned, freshened paint, priced it right, and staged the dining room table with china. Are you begging your listing agent to: “Sell my home” and thinking about dropping the sales price?

Before you cut your price or pay more seller’s costs, reevaluate your home staging.

The average home buyer only spends four minutes previewing a home. You must get them to invest more time to CONNECT emotionally to your home. The more time a buyer spends in a home, the more they think about where their furniture could go.

That’s you goal when showing your home–to get buyers to imagine living in your home. People will pay more for a home they fall in love with and want to live in.

To get buyers to imagine their grandmother’s clock or cream sofa in your living room, you need to allow plenty of empty space. This is where so many home stagers miss the mark; they think they need to fill a home with furniture.

On the other hand, many real estate investors paint a fixer all white, install boring beige carpeting, and show a stark house with no accessories to spark the imagination.

What you should do is to stage suggestions of happy living in your home.

Home Staging Tips

Of course, you know to deep clean and declutter your home. Beyond these steps, take YOU out of the home. Pack up accessories like family photos and anything that doesn’t speak to a buyer. You want the buyer to imagine their possessions in the space.

Remove extra furniture that makes the space feel crowded. This is especially important in warm weather. Fewer furnishings make your rooms feel cooler.

One you’ve lightened your rooms, take a critical look. You might want a friend to come in and help you evaluate the space. If the home feels sparse instead of “homey,” add accessories that will make your potential buyer feel at home. For instance, a game table with a chess set for upscale buyers or a family board game for first-time home buyers.

Adding suggested activities to your home gives buyers something to look at and keeps your buyers in your home longer than four minutes. You just might get them imagining their new home!

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Source by Jeanette Joy Fisher

Marketing Your Home-Based Business

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Marketing is the do-all and end-all of achieving financial success. Marketing pays your bills, pays your insurance premiums, and your children’s school fees. It is what your business needs to survive. All home-based businesses are in dire need of marketing to gain a foothold in the market. And yet, not enough freelancers pay enough attention to it.

Marketing for the home-based entrepreneur is the art of selling your services, or products. It is the process of advertising your business. If one does not advertise, then how are people to know that the vacuum in a particular field has been filled? If you do not promote your business, how are companies and agencies to know that you are available for the out-sourcing of certain projects?

The home-based businesses require a lot of publicity to take-off, and take-off well. This publicity is beneficial in a number of ways. First of all, your pool of clients increases, when the value of your products or services is noted. Also, advertising creates awareness that increases competitiveness. By offering better rates and better quality, one can obtain projects that were previously hard to come by. So how DOES one market their business?

Simple. Set aside a budget for this. Also, set aside a few hours every week. If you’re just starting out, you have to devote more time to publicizing your business. Once you’re established, marketing becomes easier. However, you must devote as much energy and funds to your marketing as you do to your other business endeavors.

Advertise your product or service, send emails to old clients asking if they have a need for you, and do your networking online via blogs, forums, and the like! Your website must be up-to-date, and your product or service should be of the type that fills a vacuum in the market. You can’t go about selling Hawaiian print sarongs in the middle of winter, or settling somewhere in the US selling Arabic books. Geographical location does matter, even with the advent of the internet.

Remember, marketing is what gives you that edge over your competitors. Do it well, and you’ll be where every home-based business owner wants to be; at the peak of your field!

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Source by April Boone

Real Estate Agents – How to Choose the Best

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Hiring the best real estate agent is one of the most crucial aspects of a real estate transaction. Whether you are buying a house or selling one, the success depends mostly on how good the agent is in getting you the maximum profit in terms of money or property. A real estate agent is a person who represents a buyer or seller. It is important that he must be a trustworthy person who can work for your best interest. Apart from this, there are some basic qualifications and characteristics that you need to consider while choosing an agent for your property deals.

There are a lot of honest agents who know well the job they do. There are the fake ones as well. So how do you know whether one is a reliable agent? Well, the most basic thing is to do some research. Check the credentials of the real estate agent; consult with homeowners’ associations or local Realtor agencies; confirm that the person has an up to date Realtor license issued by an approved authority. Find out the other deals in which this agent was involved and ask the parties concerned how successful it was.

The next point to look for is the expertise of the agent in the various areas of the real estate business. Some have specialized knowledge in certain areas of the business and can take you through each and every aspect of the deal with great ease and skill. He must also be very familiar with the local rules and regulations concerning real estate deals and must have a good understanding of the various contracts and how to fill in the different forms. Most importantly, he must be able to analyze the needs of the clients and provide suggestions to find out the most suitable deals within the budget.

A good agent will have a thorough knowledge of the local markets and will assist you in getting the best value for your deals. You will be able to find out the current trends and prices in the local real estate markets with the help of the agent and choose wisely.

Before you select an agent for your property deals, make sure that you consider more than one agent. This will help you to choose agent who can suit your property requirements and budget considerations. If you are hiring the services of a brokerage firm, find out the reputation and credentials of the firm and the real estate agents working for them. The experience of the agent or firm is an important aspect you should consider. The more the number of years of experience, the more benefits you get. It also tells a lot about the reputation and dependability of the agent; no agent will survive for years in a market where there is cut throat competition.

Finally, make sure that the agent you are considering will be available whenever you need him; he must be accessible for the client at all times.

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Source by Mohd Aizat Hassan

Real Estate Agent Selection Primer – How to Choose the BEST Realtor for YOU Part One of Two

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The average person will buy or sell a house only a few times during their lifetime. It is important to have a logical strategy to select a REALTOR. Purchasing and selling a home for your family is a very emotional event. If you chose wisely, your REALTOR will be your partner through the entire transactions even when emotions are running high.

As a Minnesota REALTOR, I love assisting people to find the perfect home. My clients come from the referrals of past clients and friends. When I meet a potential client, I expect questions about myself and my business. Not all of these buyers and seller will ask relevant questions. Some can be caught up in the emotional buying process or a major life change and not thinking logically. I have outlined a step-by-step approach to selecting the perfect real estate agent for you. Part one of this article outlines how you can prepare yourself to set up meetings with potential REALTORS. Part two will give you specific questions you can ask of potential agents so that you can make a good decision.

Step ONE

Ask YOURSELF these six questions?

Who do you trust for advice?

Is it a parent or grandparent? Maybe a close friend or uncle? Or is it your sibling or boss? Think about the qualities that person possesses and why you look at them as an advisor. If your trusted advisor is your grandfather, you might prefer working with someone older. If you tend to bring your problems to your best friend, you might want a Realtor with similar characteristics to your friend.

How demanding are you?

If you are an impatient person who needs answers as soon as you think of a question, you will need a Realtor that is available to you. If you are more laid back, you might prefer a Realtor with a similar style.

Do you prefer to use email or the phone as your main source of information?

Some Realtors are very computer savvy and will answer an email within the hour. Others answer emails once a week or less. There are Realtors who return calls only one time a day or week. There are others that always answer their own phone and others that have an assistant to field calls and answer basic questions.

Are you into gadgets?

If you are listening to your Zune while you surf the net on your wireless laptop, you might prefer working with an agent who presents your market analysis in a Powerpoint presentation or emails it to you in a pdf file. If you prefer a paper document to refer back to and make notes on, a Realtor with more a more traditional style might be what you need.

Do you have expensive tastes and exclusive brands? Or are you more conservative?

If you like the finer things in life, you might prefer a Realtor who drives a BMW and signs your contract with a Mont Blanc pen. If you are more conservative, a Realtor in a Ford F250 that uses personalized ballpoints might be more your style.

Step TWO

Research

Now that you have answered these questions, you have a bit of an idea as to what you are looking for. Armed with this information, it is time for the second step. Research websites of potential agents BEFORE you meet them. Read their profiles and determine what their style is. If you cannot ascertain their style from their site, move to the next agent. There are hundreds of good agents out there. But if they cannot market themselves, how will they be able to market your home? Come up with a list of 4 or 5 potential agents and visit your state’s department of commerce website to check for violations on each potential agent’s record. Also, check independent local sources like the Mpls/St Paul Magazine’s listing of Super Agents.

Now you are ready to interview the potential agents. Get some great questions ready so that you can find the best Realtor for you. Having trouble coming up with great questions? Real Estate Agent Selection Primer–How to Choose the BEST REALTOR for YOU! (Part Two of Two) will give you some advice.

Copyright 2007 Teri Eckholm

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Source by Teri Eckholm

How to Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent

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There really are a lot of real estate agents. People get the idea that it is possible to make money acting as real estate brokers and getting a big commission when a sale is concluded. If you are thinking of investing in Utah real estate or Provo real estate, where there are plenty of buyers and big time deals, you are going to find even more agents than normal. In some desirable parts of the country it is hard to kick over a rock without a couple of real estate agents scrambling out and handing you a business card.

You don’t need just a real estate agent; however, you need a reliable one. How much commission the agent makes will be of no concern if your own needs as a buyer or seller are met. You can listen to people when they refer you to a relative or friend who dabbles in real estate. If you do, remember that personal friendships and family are fine but a real estate deal is a serious business matter. What you should be looking for is an indication of past success. You should be looking for signs of someone who has a high energy level, and is working a viable marketing plan. The active and energetic agent will be active and energetic for you, also.

The initial evaluation and first meeting with a prospective agent is extremely important. Try calling the agent, and making a note of how quickly your call is returned, and how urgently it is handled. Listen carefully to your agents plan to market your home, or if you are buying how they will go about locating what you are seeking. People skills are vital to a real estate agent. If they inspire faith and trust in you, you can be pretty sure they will in the other party as well. You should get the feeling you are the most important client the agent has, even if you see signs they are very busy.

When you focus on what the role of the agent or broker really is, it is easy to get a clear idea of what you should be seeking. The role of the agent is to bring together buyers and sellers, and to guide the negotiations to a mutually satisfactory conclusion, but making sure your best interests are considered. The measure of reliability in a real estate agent is not measured by the size of his commission, but rather by the level of your own satisfaction at the end of the deal.

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Source by Natalie Aranda