Tips to get your home sold quickly, we know real estate
7 Essential Steps to Selling Success

Tips to get your home sold quickly, we know real estateKnowing and using these 7 essential, yet simple steps is crucial to achieving the best deal possible - whether you decide to sell your home yourself or hire a professional real estate agent to help you.

 

Take a look at the seven-step system I have outlined in this report. Then, if this new approach to marketing your home makes sense and you want to learn more, I'll show you how to skillfully and specifically apply each of these critical steps to get your home sold for the most money in the shortest amount of time!

 

7 crucial steps you must take to get top dollar for your home in today's technically savvy world!

 

 
  1. Understanding the "Total Market" concept of positioning your home to attract the greatest number of buyers.

  2. Using the "Total Market" concept to accurately appraise the value of your home. (The standard CMA is simply not enough!)

  3. Pricing Your Home to Appear lower than market value, yet actually asking for more.

  4. than market value (This one crucial step will get buyers and agents flocking to your door!)

  5. Properly advertise and market your home - Using New Technology (Don't use the same old boring ads everyone else is using, and that nobody looks at!)

  6. "Detailing" your home for sale. (Your goal is to set your home apart from every other home on the market - instantly attracting buyers to your home.)

  7. Learn how to qualify buyers and negotiate offers. (Since we are talking about your money here, the risks of not knowing how to properly qualify and negotiate are too great to ignore or leave to chance!)

  8. Understanding and helping the buyer obtain financing, removing contingencies, and closing the sale. (You need a strategy to avoid and eliminate potential problems in escrow, which can undermine your sale!)

The better you understand and systematically apply these seven steps, the better the results you will get. And better results means more money, in less time, with the least amount of hassle possible. Isn't that what you ultimately want, whether you decide to sell your home yourself or use the professional services of a licensed agent to help you?

 

Please let me know if I can help you impliment these steps for you.

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.
A LITTLE PAINTING WORKS WONDERS!

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.New paint makes the entire home smell clean and neat, and can bring sellers top dollar. If your home has chipped paint, exposed wood, or surfaces that looks faded, it's time for new paint. If your carpet is worn, dirty, outdated, or an unusual color or style, you might consider replacing it.

Many houses do not sell because of these problems. Don't think that buyers have more money than you to freshen up a home. They typically don't. They will simply look elsewhere for a home that needs less work.

Please let me know when you are ready to sell and I can help you prepare your home for today's market.

Asbestos is a potential danger for home buyers.
ASBESTOS CONCERNS

Asbestos is a potential danger for home buyers.

Many sales agreements mention asbestos by saying "the buyer is aware asbestos may be used in the construction of this home." This can be a little unsettling. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and when exposed, tiny particles can be released into the air you breathe.

Asbestos is a common insulator used in many homes, and was used for everything from siding to tape wrapping for furnace air ducts and even sometimes in "popcorn" ceilings. There are several remedies that range from the simple to the complex.

Your home inspector can tell you if asbestos is present in easily visible places such as siding, taping, and insulation, and recommend remedies if necessary. More information on asbestos can be found right here.

Avoid the Top 10 Selling Mistakes
  1. Serious about selling your home? Before you sign anything, read about these common mistakes that home sellers make:

  2. Pricing Too High: It's no secret, price is everything. Overpricing does more to discourage buyers than any other single factor. When you overprice, you put your home in competition with homes that may be newer, larger or have more amenities than yours. You help your competition sell their home. This leads to long days on the market, and costs you, the seller, money in the long run. Make sure you get your pricing advice from a professional agent who knows the market.

  3. Poor Condition: A home that is in ill repair, or otherwise poor condition, does not excite buyers. A home like this is looked at by buyers as a work project and money pit. Having your home in good repair and great showing condition will significantly improve your chances for a sale at top dollar value. Having your home pre-inspected by a termite and dry rot inspector will also have a positive impact on buyers.

  4. Poor Curb Appeal:Most buyers today want to drive by. If your home is an attractive drive-by, it will gain more attention and certainly more showings. Doing the little things to help your home's curb appeal will make a huge difference.

  5. Dreary Dark Homes Don't Sell: Buyers like updated, light and bright homes. Dark carpets, paint, and curtains are often buyer turn-offs. through your home and remove clutter; touch up and update paint, counter tops, and carpets. Open your home up and make sure the sun shines in. Offensive odors from pets and smoking are also huge turn-offs to most buyers. Rid your home of offensive smells by burning scented candles and create a pleasant aroma. The most important rooms to concentrate on are the living room, family room, kitchen and master bedroom. Your entire home's atmosphere is set off by these rooms.

  6. Don't Over-improve: Get your home in good showing condition, but don't over do it. Huge projects such as complete remodels of kitchens, adding decks, and expanding room sizes may not pay back your investment. Before you jump into a huge improvement project, get some good advice.

  7. Be Financeable: Bad roofs, exterior paint, or structural problems may make your home un-financeable. The wider the scope of financing that your home can qualify for, the higher the overall market value. Remember -- government programs like VA and FHA will be the most picky.

  8. Get Good Advice and Good Market Exposure: Hiring a professional agent will help you get your home priced right, and will also get you started with the best fix ups. A strong agent will get your home exposed to the largest number of potential buyers. Paying the agent fee is often the least expensive part of selling your home. Trying to sell your home yourself can be costly. Most 'for sale by owner' homes close for less than comparable homes listed with an agent, and you have no representation.

  9. Don't Be Present During Showings: When your home is being shown, for a drive or a walk. Take yourself, your family, and pets and let the agent and their clients have the freedom they need. An agent can always do their best job of showing your home when you are not underfoot. Buyers are more at ease and much more likely to spend time looking at your home's features and benefits.

  10. Let Your Agent Do the Negotiating: If there is ever a good reason to have a veteran agent working for you, it's during the negotiation of your home sale. A good negotiator can mean thousands of dollars to you, and will protect your interests. Don't let your emotions run wild during negotiations. Try to separate your emotions from your business side. Remain cool and calm during this time.

  11. Act Fast With Offers: When you do get an offer on your home, act quickly and decisively. Letting offers sit around without acting can be a huge mistake. Things can change quickly in the mind of a prospective buyer. Acting quickly while the excitement and interest level are at a high point can be very important. Typically, a buyer's motivation level decreases with time. Buyers' remorse can even set in. Acting in a timely manner is essential.

 

Closing Costs Explained

Here is an overview of the types of closing costs you may incur on your loan. Some are one-time fees, while others reoccur over the life of the loan. When you apply for your loan, you will receive a Good Faith Estimate of Settlement Charges, and a booklet that will explain these costs in detail.

Loan Origination Fee: This fee covers the lender's administrative costs in processing the loan. It is a one-time fee, often expressed as a percentage of the loan. The origination fee is typically 1% of the loan, but remember, you can obtain a loan with no origination fee and a slightly higher interest rate.

 

Loan Discount: Often called "points", a loan discount is a one-time charge used to adjust the yield on the loan to what market conditions demand. One point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. This fee is rare when interest rates are low.

Appraisal Fee: This is a one-time fee that pays for an appraisal, which is a statement of property value viewed by the lender. The appraisal is made by an independent fee appraiser and can cost a standard $300 to $450, or much more, depending on the home's size and location.

Credit Report Fee: This one-time fee covers the cost of the credit report that is run by an independent credit reporting agency and is usually about $60-$75.

Title Insurance Fee: There are two title policies: a lender's title policy (which protects the lender against loss due to defects on title) and a buyer's title policy (which protects you). These are both one-time charges, but the one you usually pay as a buyer is $200.

Miscellaneous Title Charges: The title company may charge fees for a title search, title examination, document preparation, notary fees, recording fees, and a settlement or closing fee. These are all one-time charges and can add up to about $200.

Document Prep Fee: There may be a separate, one-time fee that covers preparation of the final legal papers, including the note and deed of trust. These legal documents run about $150.

Lender Fees: Other lender fees include an underwriting fee, a flood certification fee, an amortization schedule fee, and other miscellaneous fees that should be disclosed by your mortgage lender at loan application. These fees vary dramatically from about $450 to $900.

Prepaid Interest: Depending on the time of month your loan closes, this charge may vary from a full month's interest to just a few days' interest. If your loan closes at the beginning of the month, you will probably have to pay the maximum amount. If your loan closes at the end of the month, you will only have to pay a few days' interest.

PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) Premium: Depending on the amount of your down payment, you may have to pay an up-front fee for mortgage insurance (which protects the lender against loss due to foreclosure). You may also be required to put a certain amount into a special reserve account (an impound account) held by the lender for PMI.

Beginning of the Escrow Account: Your lender will typically have an account w here your property taxes and property insurance will be held. This account will be started with taxes approximately equal to two months in excess of the number of months that have elapsed this year. (If 6 months have passed, they will collect 8 months of taxes.) Your property insurance will be collected one year in advance, plus two months will be kept in your escrow account.

Earnest Money Deposit: It is important to have an understanding of the earnest money deposit, so you will not be placed in an uncomfortable position when you purchase a property. At the time a written offer is initiated, you will be required by the seller to include a personal check, cashier's check, or cash. The amount is normally deposited (cashed) into the designated title company's escrow account upon the offer's acceptance, and will remain in escrow until the time of closing. This amount is credited to you as a partial down payment and represents your intent to purchase the property. If the offer is not accepted, this amount is returned to you promptly. Depending on the price of the property, you should anticipate a minimum of a $1,000 earnest money deposit. Also, in the event that you do not qualify with a lender for a new loan, the earnest money is refunded to you, provided the sellers are given written notice regarding the lender's disapproval, and provided you have supplied the lender with all documentation they have requested.

Title Insurance: When you purchase your home, both you and the lender need a preliminary title commitment that will indicate exactly what recorded liens, encumbrances and recorded easements are currently in effect on the property. The title commitment will also indicate the vested owner of record and any restrictions on the use of the property. Title insurance is, for all practical purposes, required on all property in most states and is normally a seller's expense. However, the buyer is required to furnish the lender with a lender's policy showing the lender as lien holder on that property. These charges will be incurred at the time of settlement as a part of your closing costs. When the purchase of the property is closed, and the title company has recorded the necessary documents, the title company will then issue a title insurance policy binder to you and the lender, showing clear title to the property.

Reminder: For the closing, you must bring a driver's license and a cashier's check for the remainder of your down payment, made out to the title company. At the closing, you may sign the cashier's check over to the title company. If the closing does not occur, you can deposit the cashier's check back into your own account.

energyeWindows
ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOWS

Single pane, double pane, thermo pane, triple pane windows, plain glass, leaded glass, low "e" glass, wired glass, and tempered glass, too. WOW - There's a lot to know!

Some children have been known to shatter a window or two. Tempered glass can prevent this. Fogged thermal pane windows might need to be replaced if their seals are broken. New argon gas filled windows work well to insulate, while low-e coatings reduce the heat transfer for south facing rooms.

 

There is a lot of information available on the web, but this site seems to be one of the best ones out there. We will be happy to show you the different types of windows and glass as we show you around homes, so be sure to ask us.

Efficient heat sources for your home can save $$$!
HOME HEATING SOURCES
Efficient heat sources for your home can save $$$! The method of distribution can be forced air, under floor boilers and pipes, baseboard, zonal, gravity, heat pumps, ceiling wires and, of course, wood stove and fireplace. Some have higher purchase prices, while others cost more to maintain or operate. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run and the lower your utility bills. Use this knowledge to evaluate the asking price of any home. You'll be money ahead as you factor its heat source into any offer! More information on heating is available right here.
HOME INSURANCE HOME BUYING TIP

When purchasing a home, you will need to acquire homeowners insurance. In fact, all lenders will require a policy be in force prior to funding the loan. Make sure you have enough coverage, should anything happen. Policies refer to "replacement costs" that may not cover everything.

 

You should ask your insurance agent a lot of "what if" questions. The deductible amount also plays a big part in setting your premium. Higher deductibles lower the number of claims, and reduce your insurance costs.

 

Check with your insurance agent for more information on these issues, and any others. If you don't have an insurance agent, we have access to several top-notch agents we can refer you to with confidence. A great online resource can be found right here.

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.
HOME WIRING

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.The type of wiring in residential homes generally depends on when the home was built, where it was built and if it has been updated. In the older homes, knob and tube type wiring was the norm, replaced later by encased plastic-sheathed wiring.

 

In most cases the newer plastic-sheathed wiring is copper, insulated with plastic and then wrapped with insulation and another layer of plastic for protection. Breaker boxes are another story; sometimes a well-meaning home owner can inadvertently make things unsafe.

 

It is always wise to consult a reputable home inspector and even an electrician before you buy. A little homework today can save you a lot of money down the road. more on home wiring is available here

How Much House Can You Afford?

Determining how much home you can afford, or what payment you feel comfortable with, can be a trying process. Calling lenders, looking at mortgage loan programs and interest rates can be confusing, to say the least. There is an easy way to get started, and give yourself an idea of where you stand.

 

The first step is to find out what mortgage interest rates are at the current time. You can typically do this with a couple of phone calls to lenders or some quick searching on the internet. Get your rates on conventional fixed rate loans.

To obtain a very clear picture of how much home you can actually qualify for, the best idea is to contact a reputable local lender and let them analyze your entire situation. The lender can calculate your income-to-debt ratio, do a quick credit score and give you the information you need. Typically, lenders like to see a ratio not exceeding about 28%. This does not take into consideration long term monthly debt. As an example, to qualify for a loan, lenders may require ratios of 28% or 36%. This means you can spend up to 28% of your gross monthly income on a motgage payment, and no more than 36% of your gross monthly income on all forms of debt, mortgage included.

HSA Home Warranty
HSA HOME WARRANTY

A home is one of the largest investments a person will ever make, and it's important too protect that investment. With an HSA Home Warranty, you can. The home warranty is a one-year service contract that will help safeguard against the high cost of repairs or replacements to the major systems and appliances that fail due to normal wear and tear.

 

HSA offers the convenience of one source for most repairs so you can avoid the hassle of finding a service contractor in your area. When a covered system or appliance breaks down, all you need to do is contact HSA to report the problem. A qualified, pre-screened service technician will contact you to schedule an appointment that works for you.

It's that simple.

 

HSA Home Warranty is committed to deliverign exceptional service every step of the way. When you're in need of a repair, you'll find HSA's commitment to quality throughout the process. From the customer service representative who handles yoru request to the service contractor who promptly completes the repair, we'll provide a speedy, reliable solution.

 

At HSA, requesting service is easy. If a problem arises, you simply contact HSA to report the problem. You can request service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-367-1448, or you can report a claim online at www.onlinehsa.com.

Insider Tips for Buyers
  1. Be a Pre-Approved Buyer: A pre-approved buyer always has the advantage in an offer situation. Becoming pre-approved is very easy: you complete your loan application with a credit check prior to beginning your home search process. Pre-approval means that you have actually been approved for the purchase by a lender, which gives you the edge in home purchase negotiating.

  2. Beat The Competition to The Best New Listings: The search process can be both fun and trying. You will notice that some homes sell very fast and others hang around for long periods of time. The best homes at the best prices sell fast. Keeping on top of this is essential. Connect with a professional Real Estate agent that knows the market and keeps you updated.

  3. Do The Research: Make yourself a "home value expert." Investigate the areas and price ranges for the kind of home you are looking for. Get a good idea of the price ranges these homes sell for and how long the market time is for them. Your agent is a great asset here.

  4. Have Your Offer Presented in Person: Your agent represents you and your best interests. To adequately do this, make sure that your home offer is presented by them directly to the seller. The personal touch will give you the edge. Your agent also might pick up critical information during this meeting.

  5. Prove That You Are a Serious Buyer: The best way to accomplish this is with strong earnest money. This might mean that you put 5% or more down to get the sellers attention.

  6. Don't Crazy: Even in a hot market, be cool and calculated with your decisions. A knowledgeable agent can really help you here. Your home purchase may be your single largest investment. It is important to make sure that you get the best deal possible. Overpaying now will make it harder to get your value back when you sell.

  7. Keep Your Offer Simple and Clean: Make sure that your contract to purchase is simple, clean and not bogged down with unnecessary contingencies, especially repairs. Keep the time frames of repairs and responses to a minimum. The cleaner your offer, the more interested the seller will become. This may help you purchase the property at the best price.

  8. Don't Wing It Alone: What you need most in today's complex marketplace is an experienced and professional real estate agent who represents your interests only. No matter how heated the competition or the negotiations, a professional agent will represent your best interests, keep you from paying too much and help you maximize your investment.
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INSULATION "R" VALUES

The most important thing to be aware of with insulation, other than the safety issues of urea formaldehyde and asbestos (covered elsewhere), is the R value, or the insulating factor. The higher the number, the better the insulator.


Don't be too shocked if the insulation in the 15 year old home you are considering isn't near the R value of a brand new home. While there is no question you could save on heating bills by adding more insulation, sometimes it can take many, many years to recoup the costs.

Often, gas or power companies have financial assistance programs including low interest loans or even grants available if you boost your insulation. Talk to your home inspector about any upgrade recommendations before purchasing your next home. More on insulation is available here.

Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!
INVESTING IN PLUMBING REPAIRS

Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!You will spot several different types of plumbing systems in any housing market, including your own. Copper, galvanized, rigid plastic, polybutylene, and soft plastic are but a few. Certain systems are more prone to having certain problems.

Fixing minor plumbing repairs today can save you time and money when you are ready to sell. Buyers are expecting your home to show its absolute best while on the market. Anything less suggests that other things might also be wrong.

At the same time, big upgrades may unappreciated.

Before you make improvements, give me a call. There is a huge difference between cost and market value. I can help you determine which areas will pay the highest dividends, and which ones won't!

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.
IS YOUR HOME WIRED TO SELL?

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.The type of wiring in residential homes generally depends on when the home was built, where it was built and if it has been updated. In older homes, knob and tube type wiring was the norm, replaced later by plastic-sheathed wiring.

Often, newer electrical panels and updated wiring are good indications that a home has been maintained to code. It is always a good idea to have any electrical work completed by a licensed professional. The investment will not only make your home a safer place to live, but will also pay dividends for you when it is time to sell.

Lastly, when staging your home for buyers, avoid using extension cords or outlet splitters. Reducing this type of electrical clutter will keep buyers focused on your home, and not its outlets!

Pay close attention to the siding on your home
LAP SIDING

When you are checking out homes, there are several items in our market you need to be aware of - including man-made siding. A lot has been said about L.P.( Louisiana Pacific) OSB (Oriented Strand Board) products, and they have borne most of the bad press.

 

But did you know that there can be issues not just with LP, but with Omni Board (made by Masonite) Stimson Fortestex, Weyerhauser and others? You need to know, Siding replacement can cost tens of thousands of dollars!

 

When the time is right, ask us about ASHI home inspectors and the benefits of making your offer contingent upon YOUR approval of a home / siding inspection where necessary.

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.
LEAD BASED PAINT

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.

All sellers with homes built prior to 1978 are required to fill out a lead-based paint disclosure form and provide you, the buyer, with a lead-based paint educational booklet in any sale. Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes.

 

Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.

 

On the other hand, there are millions of homes with lead paint out there, and many have been painted and repainted several times so the lead paint is well covered up. If in doubt, have the paint tested and evaluated either at a local laboratory, or with one of the home test kits available at your local hardware store.

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MAKE THE MOST OF CURB APPEAL!
Most buyers choose to drive by your home first before wanting to set an appointment to view. An attractive yard that is free of debris will gain interest quickly. …
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MAKING YOUR HOME SHINE
It's a common fact that clean homes net more money. Most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanness or odor when looking at homes to purchase. Sellers lose thousands of dollars because they do not adequately clean their homes or rid them of offensive odors. …
Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!
PLUMBING ALERT

Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!
You will spot several different types of plumbing systems in any housing market, including our own. Copper, galvanized, rigid plastic, polybutylene, and soft plastic are but a few. Certain systems are more prone to having certain problems.

 

Galvanized water pipe is most prone to rusting on the horizontal surfaces (such as under a floor) versus vertical surfaces (running up a wall) and it corrodes from the inside out. Some rigid plastic systems have been recalled, while others have fared very well.

 

The most reliable types seem to be made of copper, but again there can be issues to check: are the hangers plastic lined? Are there any lead solder joints? A good home inspector can help you identify any problem areas before you buy. There are several reputable inspectors in our area that I would be happy to refer.

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PRICING YOUR HOME TO SELL
Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less the seller will net upon the sale. …
Questions to Ask Any Agent
  1. How long have you been in residential real estate in our area? If they have not been in local real estate for several years, they have not been involved in the cyclical market that has defined our market to date. Along with this, ask how many transactions they average per year. One agent could have been in business 10 years and have only closed 30 transactions, while another agent could have been in business 5 years, yet closed 500 plus transactions. Experience is relative to the amount of business the agent does.

  2. What is your procedure for assisting a buyer from beginning to closing? Make sure that the agent has a precise presentation for you that explains exactly how they work and how they represent only you and your best interests.

  3. What is your experience with financing alternatives, and what might they be in my situation? Each buyer's situation is different. We can literally put you in a much better financial situation with the same monthly payments simply by adjusting the financing. You might have many alternatives. Don't depend solely on the lender. Your agent should lead the way.

  4. How do you determine my qualifications and when? You would be shocked at how rare it is for an agent to complete your qualifications right away. Even so, it is important to have this done early in the process. This way you are ready to make a strong offer at a moment's notice, increasing your chances for not only finding, but buying the home of your dreams.

  5. How do you provide me with information on new homes for sale? Your agent should have a system that automatically updates you when new homes meeting your criteria come on the market.

  6. What is your negotiating philosophy, and how do you apply it to me? This is important. Play close attention to how many transactions the agent does per year. More is better. The more transactions the agent closes, the more experience they have in negotiating just about every situation that could come up.

  7. How do you find the best value for me? How do you make sure it is a good value? This is important because the agent should have some immediate and concise answers as to how they accomplish this for you. They should have systems in place and be able to explain them to you.

  8. How do you protect me from the extensive costs that lenders, title companies, inspectors and others charge a home purchaser? The typical answer is that these charges are just normal. Make sure that the agent has relationships with companies that can offer you good service and some discounts. Also make sure that the agent has an immediate knowledge of what typical costs are.

  9. Can you sell us a new, resale or foreclosed home? Most agents will answer affirmatively, but you should follow up with questions about specific builders and areas.
Questions to ask to choose the right Realtor
Questions to Ask Before Listing

Choosing the right Realtor to sell your home can be difficult, especially when they all sound so convincing. The following list of questions will not only help you select the right Realtor, but will also help you get the very best from the agent you choose.

  1. Do you work as a full-time Realtor?

  2. Do you handle incoming property inquiries?

  3. How many listings do you have at this time, and how does this work to my benefit?

  4. Do you have a help system to see that no details are overlooked?

  5. How many potential buyers and sellers do you speak with each day? Each week? Each year?

  6. In what ways will you encourage other Realtors to sell my home?

  7. Do you have references that I can check?

  8. How will you set my listing apart from the crowd with out costing me more money?

  9. What is my property worth? What listing price do you recommend? How did you arrive at that price?

  10. How will you assist in my relocation plans?

  11. Do you have a written plan of action designed specifically to sell my property?

  12. How will you give interested buyers 24 hour access to my property?

  13. How will you make information on my property available to out-of-town buyers?

  14. How do you promote properties on the Internet?
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REPRESENTING YOUR BEST INTEREST
In today's real estate market it is more important than ever to have a professional who truly represents your best interest. A qualified listing agent works for you -- the home seller. …
Save Money on Taxes and insurance
Save Thousands on Interest & Taxes

Purchasing a home can save you money very quickly. FIRST, you'll save on taxes because the interest on your home mortgage is tax deductible. If you rent, your landlord gets the break.

 

SECOND, you'll save on interest payments while keeping the great tax advantage.

 

For example if you are paying $900 per month in rent, you are paying a portion of this towards your landlord's property taxes and mortgage loan interest. Your landlord can write this amount off. You derive absolutely no tax break. When you own a home, you now reduce your taxes for the mortgage interest and for your property taxes. Your interest is always the highest during the early years of your loan, so your overall write-off is largest during these early years.

 

Paying rent is like throwing your money out the car window each month. You pay it out and never see it again. With home ownership you receive loan interest write-off, and gain money over the years from the increased value of your home. Over a ten year period, on an initial purchase price of $100,000, you could gain over $100,000 in tax advantages and appreciation based on an 8% mortgage interest rate and 5% per year increase in home values.

 

On both the 15 year and 30 year loans, your interest deduction is highest in the first few years of the loan, so your tax deduction is highest then, too. Remember, if you plan to move or refinance after 5 years, you will maximize your tax deductions. Keep in mind that as you pre-pay part of your loan to reduce the interest expense, you also reduce your tax deduction. How long you plan to keep your current mortgage loan can help determine which type of loan, and which payment strategy, is ideal for you.

 

Have questions? Give us a call. We are happy to help.

construction
Seller's List of 25 Easy Fix-ups

The condition of your home will have a huge impact on how fast it sells, and its eventual selling price. Preparing your home for sale can pay you huge dividends. Many fix ups cost very little and consist mostly of time and some elbow grease. Here are some simple tips to help your home show its best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Indoors
:

  1. Clean the entire home thoroughly. Shampoo carpets, wash walls, clean sills, window screens and blinds. Clean out light fixtures and dust shelving. Get detailed here.
  2. Clean the clutter from all closets, cupboards and cabinets.
  3. Make your rooms look as spacious as possible. Store unnecessary furnishing items that make your home look crowded.
  4. Arrange furnishing so that it is easy to walk through your home.
  5. Scale down the number of photos, pictures, portraits and posters hanging on walls. Make sure you patch all nail and screw holes.
  6. Keep your curtains and draperies open as a rule. You will want your home to show very light and bright. Find ways to screen any unappealing views.
  7. Make your kitchen shine. Remove clutter from counter tops and cabinets and store it. Keep your sink clean and clear of any dirty dishes.
  8. Clean your refrigerator, inside and out. Make sure that you do the simple things like putting an open box of baking soda in your fridge. Also, remove unnecessary clutter from the door.
  9. Clean your oven. Degrease it and keep it looking as good as possible.
  10. Keep scented candles burning in the kitchen and bathrooms. Pleasant fragrances will entice buyers to stay longer in your home.
  11. Keep bathrooms scrubbed and tidy with fresh soap and neatly hung towels. Try to color coordinate your bathrooms.
  12. Keep all sinks in the home clean and repair leaks or slow drains.
  13. through your entire home and touch up paint. Pay close attention to corners where there is traffic wear. Touch up baseboards, trim and cabinets and cupboards.
  14. Place plants or flower arrangements in strategic parts of the home. A splash of color from plants, flowers, pillows or small rugs can give your home some real flair.
  15. Make sure that your home is well lit. Put higher wattage bulbs in dark areas or corners. Keep all lights on during showings, even in mid day.
  16. Use mirrors on walls if necessary to reflect light and make rooms look larger.
  17. Make sure that all door knobs and keyed entries are working. Replace any worn knobs or handles.

 

Outdoors:

  1. Clean up all around the house. Remove any debris piles such as wood, firewood and landscape trimmings. Trim all hedges, bushes and shrubbery away from the house. Keep all garden beds weeded and mulched.
  2. Put some color by your home's entrance with potted flowers. Keep them watered and looking attractive.
  3. Keep all walkways clear, clean and in good repair. This includes your driveways and any parking areas.
  4. Keep all outdoor furniture clean and in good repair.
  5. Clean your gutters and roof. Keep moss or algae from growing on, in or around them.
  6. Keep your yard and lawn areas clean and in good health. A green lawn makes a home look great. Keep your lawn edged and free from weeds.
  7. Repair any broken windows, screens, shutter or awnings.
  8. Clean your garage area. Remove clutter and make it look organized and as spacious as possible. Try to have nothing in your garage but cars.

By following these 25 fix up tips, you can do a lot to increase the perceived value of your home and make it stand out above the competition!

tip_staging_thum
STAGING YOUR HOME TO SELL
The greatest way to show a home is to have a key available. This is typically done by placing it in a secure lock box, provided to you by your Real Estate Professional. This will give agents, with prospective buyers easy access to your property and promote showings. …
stucco
THINKING OF STUCCO?

Check on the pros and cons of stucco on your future home.Many newer homes are now being sided with artificial stucco siding, or EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems). This is essentially polystyrene foam with a base coat, reinforcement mesh, then another base coat and then a finishing coat of stucco over the top. This is a terrific product, as it adds insulation value to the home, not to mention classy looks. However, it can also be a serious and very expensive repair if it isn't installed correctly and/or water gets behind it.

 

There are several manufacturers of artificial stucco, and many builders installing it. Having it inspected allows you to know if there is a problem, and even if there isn't, you will be aware of the areas you need to keep caulked, and what to look for in case of trouble. Get more information on improperly installed EIFS by clicking here.

Getting the best value from your home
Your Home's Best Selling Price

Getting the best value from your homeStatistics show that the best opportunity to sell your home is often within the first few weeks of putting it on the market. This can be good news, or bad, depending on your motivation. Some homes sell right away, while others sit on the market for months without a single offer.

To maximize your selling opportunity, it is important that your home be priced right. What is the right price? Many factors will determine your home's best asking price. Our current real estate market has a lot to do with it. Using sound judgment, research, and experience, a good agent can help you determine the right price for your home. They will help you evaluate your location, the recent sold data, current market trends, and your home's special features that set it apart from the competition.

 

"What's wrong with pricing my home a little high?" Price your home too high and most buyers won't even bother looking at it. Over priced homes tend to sell the competition first. This scares away many qualified buyers simply because they can elsewhere and get more house for the money. As the house sits on the market, people will shy away from it thinking there must be something wrong with the home.

Should I under-price my home? Price it too low and you could lose thousands of dollars. There are times when you will attract multiple bidders making multiple offers, but this is only recommended when you need a faster-than-average sale.

In most circumstances, pricing your home correctly from the very beginning will net you the best results in both time and money. To find out your home's perfect selling price, contact us for a No Obligation Market Analysis. We will take the guesswork out the entire process and suggest an accurate market price for your home. It has never been easier!


Resources

Tips to get your home sold quickly, we know real estate
7 Essential Steps to Selling Success

Tips to get your home sold quickly, we know real estateKnowing and using these 7 essential, yet simple steps is crucial to achieving the best deal possible - whether you decide to sell your home yourself or hire a professional real estate agent to help you.

 

Take a look at the seven-step system I have outlined in this report. Then, if this new approach to marketing your home makes sense and you want to learn more, I'll show you how to skillfully and specifically apply each of these critical steps to get your home sold for the most money in the shortest amount of time!

 

7 crucial steps you must take to get top dollar for your home in today's technically savvy world!

 

 
  1. Understanding the "Total Market" concept of positioning your home to attract the greatest number of buyers.

  2. Using the "Total Market" concept to accurately appraise the value of your home. (The standard CMA is simply not enough!)

  3. Pricing Your Home to Appear lower than market value, yet actually asking for more.

  4. than market value (This one crucial step will get buyers and agents flocking to your door!)

  5. Properly advertise and market your home - Using New Technology (Don't use the same old boring ads everyone else is using, and that nobody looks at!)

  6. "Detailing" your home for sale. (Your goal is to set your home apart from every other home on the market - instantly attracting buyers to your home.)

  7. Learn how to qualify buyers and negotiate offers. (Since we are talking about your money here, the risks of not knowing how to properly qualify and negotiate are too great to ignore or leave to chance!)

  8. Understanding and helping the buyer obtain financing, removing contingencies, and closing the sale. (You need a strategy to avoid and eliminate potential problems in escrow, which can undermine your sale!)

The better you understand and systematically apply these seven steps, the better the results you will get. And better results means more money, in less time, with the least amount of hassle possible. Isn't that what you ultimately want, whether you decide to sell your home yourself or use the professional services of a licensed agent to help you?

 

Please let me know if I can help you impliment these steps for you.

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.
A LITTLE PAINTING WORKS WONDERS!

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.New paint makes the entire home smell clean and neat, and can bring sellers top dollar. If your home has chipped paint, exposed wood, or surfaces that looks faded, it's time for new paint. If your carpet is worn, dirty, outdated, or an unusual color or style, you might consider replacing it.

Many houses do not sell because of these problems. Don't think that buyers have more money than you to freshen up a home. They typically don't. They will simply look elsewhere for a home that needs less work.

Please let me know when you are ready to sell and I can help you prepare your home for today's market.

Asbestos is a potential danger for home buyers.
ASBESTOS CONCERNS

Asbestos is a potential danger for home buyers.

Many sales agreements mention asbestos by saying "the buyer is aware asbestos may be used in the construction of this home." This can be a little unsettling. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and when exposed, tiny particles can be released into the air you breathe.

Asbestos is a common insulator used in many homes, and was used for everything from siding to tape wrapping for furnace air ducts and even sometimes in "popcorn" ceilings. There are several remedies that range from the simple to the complex.

Your home inspector can tell you if asbestos is present in easily visible places such as siding, taping, and insulation, and recommend remedies if necessary. More information on asbestos can be found right here.

Avoid the Top 10 Selling Mistakes
  1. Serious about selling your home? Before you sign anything, read about these common mistakes that home sellers make:

  2. Pricing Too High: It's no secret, price is everything. Overpricing does more to discourage buyers than any other single factor. When you overprice, you put your home in competition with homes that may be newer, larger or have more amenities than yours. You help your competition sell their home. This leads to long days on the market, and costs you, the seller, money in the long run. Make sure you get your pricing advice from a professional agent who knows the market.

  3. Poor Condition: A home that is in ill repair, or otherwise poor condition, does not excite buyers. A home like this is looked at by buyers as a work project and money pit. Having your home in good repair and great showing condition will significantly improve your chances for a sale at top dollar value. Having your home pre-inspected by a termite and dry rot inspector will also have a positive impact on buyers.

  4. Poor Curb Appeal:Most buyers today want to drive by. If your home is an attractive drive-by, it will gain more attention and certainly more showings. Doing the little things to help your home's curb appeal will make a huge difference.

  5. Dreary Dark Homes Don't Sell: Buyers like updated, light and bright homes. Dark carpets, paint, and curtains are often buyer turn-offs. through your home and remove clutter; touch up and update paint, counter tops, and carpets. Open your home up and make sure the sun shines in. Offensive odors from pets and smoking are also huge turn-offs to most buyers. Rid your home of offensive smells by burning scented candles and create a pleasant aroma. The most important rooms to concentrate on are the living room, family room, kitchen and master bedroom. Your entire home's atmosphere is set off by these rooms.

  6. Don't Over-improve: Get your home in good showing condition, but don't over do it. Huge projects such as complete remodels of kitchens, adding decks, and expanding room sizes may not pay back your investment. Before you jump into a huge improvement project, get some good advice.

  7. Be Financeable: Bad roofs, exterior paint, or structural problems may make your home un-financeable. The wider the scope of financing that your home can qualify for, the higher the overall market value. Remember -- government programs like VA and FHA will be the most picky.

  8. Get Good Advice and Good Market Exposure: Hiring a professional agent will help you get your home priced right, and will also get you started with the best fix ups. A strong agent will get your home exposed to the largest number of potential buyers. Paying the agent fee is often the least expensive part of selling your home. Trying to sell your home yourself can be costly. Most 'for sale by owner' homes close for less than comparable homes listed with an agent, and you have no representation.

  9. Don't Be Present During Showings: When your home is being shown, for a drive or a walk. Take yourself, your family, and pets and let the agent and their clients have the freedom they need. An agent can always do their best job of showing your home when you are not underfoot. Buyers are more at ease and much more likely to spend time looking at your home's features and benefits.

  10. Let Your Agent Do the Negotiating: If there is ever a good reason to have a veteran agent working for you, it's during the negotiation of your home sale. A good negotiator can mean thousands of dollars to you, and will protect your interests. Don't let your emotions run wild during negotiations. Try to separate your emotions from your business side. Remain cool and calm during this time.

  11. Act Fast With Offers: When you do get an offer on your home, act quickly and decisively. Letting offers sit around without acting can be a huge mistake. Things can change quickly in the mind of a prospective buyer. Acting quickly while the excitement and interest level are at a high point can be very important. Typically, a buyer's motivation level decreases with time. Buyers' remorse can even set in. Acting in a timely manner is essential.

 

Closing Costs Explained

Here is an overview of the types of closing costs you may incur on your loan. Some are one-time fees, while others reoccur over the life of the loan. When you apply for your loan, you will receive a Good Faith Estimate of Settlement Charges, and a booklet that will explain these costs in detail.

Loan Origination Fee: This fee covers the lender's administrative costs in processing the loan. It is a one-time fee, often expressed as a percentage of the loan. The origination fee is typically 1% of the loan, but remember, you can obtain a loan with no origination fee and a slightly higher interest rate.

 

Loan Discount: Often called "points", a loan discount is a one-time charge used to adjust the yield on the loan to what market conditions demand. One point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. This fee is rare when interest rates are low.

Appraisal Fee: This is a one-time fee that pays for an appraisal, which is a statement of property value viewed by the lender. The appraisal is made by an independent fee appraiser and can cost a standard $300 to $450, or much more, depending on the home's size and location.

Credit Report Fee: This one-time fee covers the cost of the credit report that is run by an independent credit reporting agency and is usually about $60-$75.

Title Insurance Fee: There are two title policies: a lender's title policy (which protects the lender against loss due to defects on title) and a buyer's title policy (which protects you). These are both one-time charges, but the one you usually pay as a buyer is $200.

Miscellaneous Title Charges: The title company may charge fees for a title search, title examination, document preparation, notary fees, recording fees, and a settlement or closing fee. These are all one-time charges and can add up to about $200.

Document Prep Fee: There may be a separate, one-time fee that covers preparation of the final legal papers, including the note and deed of trust. These legal documents run about $150.

Lender Fees: Other lender fees include an underwriting fee, a flood certification fee, an amortization schedule fee, and other miscellaneous fees that should be disclosed by your mortgage lender at loan application. These fees vary dramatically from about $450 to $900.

Prepaid Interest: Depending on the time of month your loan closes, this charge may vary from a full month's interest to just a few days' interest. If your loan closes at the beginning of the month, you will probably have to pay the maximum amount. If your loan closes at the end of the month, you will only have to pay a few days' interest.

PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) Premium: Depending on the amount of your down payment, you may have to pay an up-front fee for mortgage insurance (which protects the lender against loss due to foreclosure). You may also be required to put a certain amount into a special reserve account (an impound account) held by the lender for PMI.

Beginning of the Escrow Account: Your lender will typically have an account w here your property taxes and property insurance will be held. This account will be started with taxes approximately equal to two months in excess of the number of months that have elapsed this year. (If 6 months have passed, they will collect 8 months of taxes.) Your property insurance will be collected one year in advance, plus two months will be kept in your escrow account.

Earnest Money Deposit: It is important to have an understanding of the earnest money deposit, so you will not be placed in an uncomfortable position when you purchase a property. At the time a written offer is initiated, you will be required by the seller to include a personal check, cashier's check, or cash. The amount is normally deposited (cashed) into the designated title company's escrow account upon the offer's acceptance, and will remain in escrow until the time of closing. This amount is credited to you as a partial down payment and represents your intent to purchase the property. If the offer is not accepted, this amount is returned to you promptly. Depending on the price of the property, you should anticipate a minimum of a $1,000 earnest money deposit. Also, in the event that you do not qualify with a lender for a new loan, the earnest money is refunded to you, provided the sellers are given written notice regarding the lender's disapproval, and provided you have supplied the lender with all documentation they have requested.

Title Insurance: When you purchase your home, both you and the lender need a preliminary title commitment that will indicate exactly what recorded liens, encumbrances and recorded easements are currently in effect on the property. The title commitment will also indicate the vested owner of record and any restrictions on the use of the property. Title insurance is, for all practical purposes, required on all property in most states and is normally a seller's expense. However, the buyer is required to furnish the lender with a lender's policy showing the lender as lien holder on that property. These charges will be incurred at the time of settlement as a part of your closing costs. When the purchase of the property is closed, and the title company has recorded the necessary documents, the title company will then issue a title insurance policy binder to you and the lender, showing clear title to the property.

Reminder: For the closing, you must bring a driver's license and a cashier's check for the remainder of your down payment, made out to the title company. At the closing, you may sign the cashier's check over to the title company. If the closing does not occur, you can deposit the cashier's check back into your own account.

energyeWindows
ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOWS

Single pane, double pane, thermo pane, triple pane windows, plain glass, leaded glass, low "e" glass, wired glass, and tempered glass, too. WOW - There's a lot to know!

Some children have been known to shatter a window or two. Tempered glass can prevent this. Fogged thermal pane windows might need to be replaced if their seals are broken. New argon gas filled windows work well to insulate, while low-e coatings reduce the heat transfer for south facing rooms.

 

There is a lot of information available on the web, but this site seems to be one of the best ones out there. We will be happy to show you the different types of windows and glass as we show you around homes, so be sure to ask us.

Efficient heat sources for your home can save $$$!
HOME HEATING SOURCES
Efficient heat sources for your home can save $$$! The method of distribution can be forced air, under floor boilers and pipes, baseboard, zonal, gravity, heat pumps, ceiling wires and, of course, wood stove and fireplace. Some have higher purchase prices, while others cost more to maintain or operate. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run and the lower your utility bills. Use this knowledge to evaluate the asking price of any home. You'll be money ahead as you factor its heat source into any offer! More information on heating is available right here.
HOME INSURANCE HOME BUYING TIP

When purchasing a home, you will need to acquire homeowners insurance. In fact, all lenders will require a policy be in force prior to funding the loan. Make sure you have enough coverage, should anything happen. Policies refer to "replacement costs" that may not cover everything.

 

You should ask your insurance agent a lot of "what if" questions. The deductible amount also plays a big part in setting your premium. Higher deductibles lower the number of claims, and reduce your insurance costs.

 

Check with your insurance agent for more information on these issues, and any others. If you don't have an insurance agent, we have access to several top-notch agents we can refer you to with confidence. A great online resource can be found right here.

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.
HOME WIRING

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.The type of wiring in residential homes generally depends on when the home was built, where it was built and if it has been updated. In the older homes, knob and tube type wiring was the norm, replaced later by encased plastic-sheathed wiring.

 

In most cases the newer plastic-sheathed wiring is copper, insulated with plastic and then wrapped with insulation and another layer of plastic for protection. Breaker boxes are another story; sometimes a well-meaning home owner can inadvertently make things unsafe.

 

It is always wise to consult a reputable home inspector and even an electrician before you buy. A little homework today can save you a lot of money down the road. more on home wiring is available here

How Much House Can You Afford?

Determining how much home you can afford, or what payment you feel comfortable with, can be a trying process. Calling lenders, looking at mortgage loan programs and interest rates can be confusing, to say the least. There is an easy way to get started, and give yourself an idea of where you stand.

 

The first step is to find out what mortgage interest rates are at the current time. You can typically do this with a couple of phone calls to lenders or some quick searching on the internet. Get your rates on conventional fixed rate loans.

To obtain a very clear picture of how much home you can actually qualify for, the best idea is to contact a reputable local lender and let them analyze your entire situation. The lender can calculate your income-to-debt ratio, do a quick credit score and give you the information you need. Typically, lenders like to see a ratio not exceeding about 28%. This does not take into consideration long term monthly debt. As an example, to qualify for a loan, lenders may require ratios of 28% or 36%. This means you can spend up to 28% of your gross monthly income on a motgage payment, and no more than 36% of your gross monthly income on all forms of debt, mortgage included.

HSA Home Warranty
HSA HOME WARRANTY

A home is one of the largest investments a person will ever make, and it's important too protect that investment. With an HSA Home Warranty, you can. The home warranty is a one-year service contract that will help safeguard against the high cost of repairs or replacements to the major systems and appliances that fail due to normal wear and tear.

 

HSA offers the convenience of one source for most repairs so you can avoid the hassle of finding a service contractor in your area. When a covered system or appliance breaks down, all you need to do is contact HSA to report the problem. A qualified, pre-screened service technician will contact you to schedule an appointment that works for you.

It's that simple.

 

HSA Home Warranty is committed to deliverign exceptional service every step of the way. When you're in need of a repair, you'll find HSA's commitment to quality throughout the process. From the customer service representative who handles yoru request to the service contractor who promptly completes the repair, we'll provide a speedy, reliable solution.

 

At HSA, requesting service is easy. If a problem arises, you simply contact HSA to report the problem. You can request service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-367-1448, or you can report a claim online at www.onlinehsa.com.

Insider Tips for Buyers
  1. Be a Pre-Approved Buyer: A pre-approved buyer always has the advantage in an offer situation. Becoming pre-approved is very easy: you complete your loan application with a credit check prior to beginning your home search process. Pre-approval means that you have actually been approved for the purchase by a lender, which gives you the edge in home purchase negotiating.

  2. Beat The Competition to The Best New Listings: The search process can be both fun and trying. You will notice that some homes sell very fast and others hang around for long periods of time. The best homes at the best prices sell fast. Keeping on top of this is essential. Connect with a professional Real Estate agent that knows the market and keeps you updated.

  3. Do The Research: Make yourself a "home value expert." Investigate the areas and price ranges for the kind of home you are looking for. Get a good idea of the price ranges these homes sell for and how long the market time is for them. Your agent is a great asset here.

  4. Have Your Offer Presented in Person: Your agent represents you and your best interests. To adequately do this, make sure that your home offer is presented by them directly to the seller. The personal touch will give you the edge. Your agent also might pick up critical information during this meeting.

  5. Prove That You Are a Serious Buyer: The best way to accomplish this is with strong earnest money. This might mean that you put 5% or more down to get the sellers attention.

  6. Don't Crazy: Even in a hot market, be cool and calculated with your decisions. A knowledgeable agent can really help you here. Your home purchase may be your single largest investment. It is important to make sure that you get the best deal possible. Overpaying now will make it harder to get your value back when you sell.

  7. Keep Your Offer Simple and Clean: Make sure that your contract to purchase is simple, clean and not bogged down with unnecessary contingencies, especially repairs. Keep the time frames of repairs and responses to a minimum. The cleaner your offer, the more interested the seller will become. This may help you purchase the property at the best price.

  8. Don't Wing It Alone: What you need most in today's complex marketplace is an experienced and professional real estate agent who represents your interests only. No matter how heated the competition or the negotiations, a professional agent will represent your best interests, keep you from paying too much and help you maximize your investment.
tip_insulation_thum
INSULATION "R" VALUES

The most important thing to be aware of with insulation, other than the safety issues of urea formaldehyde and asbestos (covered elsewhere), is the R value, or the insulating factor. The higher the number, the better the insulator.


Don't be too shocked if the insulation in the 15 year old home you are considering isn't near the R value of a brand new home. While there is no question you could save on heating bills by adding more insulation, sometimes it can take many, many years to recoup the costs.

Often, gas or power companies have financial assistance programs including low interest loans or even grants available if you boost your insulation. Talk to your home inspector about any upgrade recommendations before purchasing your next home. More on insulation is available here.

Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!
INVESTING IN PLUMBING REPAIRS

Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!You will spot several different types of plumbing systems in any housing market, including your own. Copper, galvanized, rigid plastic, polybutylene, and soft plastic are but a few. Certain systems are more prone to having certain problems.

Fixing minor plumbing repairs today can save you time and money when you are ready to sell. Buyers are expecting your home to show its absolute best while on the market. Anything less suggests that other things might also be wrong.

At the same time, big upgrades may unappreciated.

Before you make improvements, give me a call. There is a huge difference between cost and market value. I can help you determine which areas will pay the highest dividends, and which ones won't!

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.
IS YOUR HOME WIRED TO SELL?

Home wiring, if not done correctly, can be a danger in your home.The type of wiring in residential homes generally depends on when the home was built, where it was built and if it has been updated. In older homes, knob and tube type wiring was the norm, replaced later by plastic-sheathed wiring.

Often, newer electrical panels and updated wiring are good indications that a home has been maintained to code. It is always a good idea to have any electrical work completed by a licensed professional. The investment will not only make your home a safer place to live, but will also pay dividends for you when it is time to sell.

Lastly, when staging your home for buyers, avoid using extension cords or outlet splitters. Reducing this type of electrical clutter will keep buyers focused on your home, and not its outlets!

Pay close attention to the siding on your home
LAP SIDING

When you are checking out homes, there are several items in our market you need to be aware of - including man-made siding. A lot has been said about L.P.( Louisiana Pacific) OSB (Oriented Strand Board) products, and they have borne most of the bad press.

 

But did you know that there can be issues not just with LP, but with Omni Board (made by Masonite) Stimson Fortestex, Weyerhauser and others? You need to know, Siding replacement can cost tens of thousands of dollars!

 

When the time is right, ask us about ASHI home inspectors and the benefits of making your offer contingent upon YOUR approval of a home / siding inspection where necessary.

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.
LEAD BASED PAINT

From Lead Based paint in older homes to a fresh coat, paint really makes a different.

All sellers with homes built prior to 1978 are required to fill out a lead-based paint disclosure form and provide you, the buyer, with a lead-based paint educational booklet in any sale. Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes.

 

Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.

 

On the other hand, there are millions of homes with lead paint out there, and many have been painted and repainted several times so the lead paint is well covered up. If in doubt, have the paint tested and evaluated either at a local laboratory, or with one of the home test kits available at your local hardware store.

tip_curb_thum
MAKE THE MOST OF CURB APPEAL!
Most buyers choose to drive by your home first before wanting to set an appointment to view. An attractive yard that is free of debris will gain interest quickly. …
tip_shine_thum
MAKING YOUR HOME SHINE
It's a common fact that clean homes net more money. Most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanness or odor when looking at homes to purchase. Sellers lose thousands of dollars because they do not adequately clean their homes or rid them of offensive odors. …
Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!
PLUMBING ALERT

Always have the plumbing inspected by a certified Home Inspector!
You will spot several different types of plumbing systems in any housing market, including our own. Copper, galvanized, rigid plastic, polybutylene, and soft plastic are but a few. Certain systems are more prone to having certain problems.

 

Galvanized water pipe is most prone to rusting on the horizontal surfaces (such as under a floor) versus vertical surfaces (running up a wall) and it corrodes from the inside out. Some rigid plastic systems have been recalled, while others have fared very well.

 

The most reliable types seem to be made of copper, but again there can be issues to check: are the hangers plastic lined? Are there any lead solder joints? A good home inspector can help you identify any problem areas before you buy. There are several reputable inspectors in our area that I would be happy to refer.

tip_pricing_thum
PRICING YOUR HOME TO SELL
Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less the seller will net upon the sale. …
Questions to Ask Any Agent
  1. How long have you been in residential real estate in our area? If they have not been in local real estate for several years, they have not been involved in the cyclical market that has defined our market to date. Along with this, ask how many transactions they average per year. One agent could have been in business 10 years and have only closed 30 transactions, while another agent could have been in business 5 years, yet closed 500 plus transactions. Experience is relative to the amount of business the agent does.

  2. What is your procedure for assisting a buyer from beginning to closing? Make sure that the agent has a precise presentation for you that explains exactly how they work and how they represent only you and your best interests.

  3. What is your experience with financing alternatives, and what might they be in my situation? Each buyer's situation is different. We can literally put you in a much better financial situation with the same monthly payments simply by adjusting the financing. You might have many alternatives. Don't depend solely on the lender. Your agent should lead the way.

  4. How do you determine my qualifications and when? You would be shocked at how rare it is for an agent to complete your qualifications right away. Even so, it is important to have this done early in the process. This way you are ready to make a strong offer at a moment's notice, increasing your chances for not only finding, but buying the home of your dreams.

  5. How do you provide me with information on new homes for sale? Your agent should have a system that automatically updates you when new homes meeting your criteria come on the market.

  6. What is your negotiating philosophy, and how do you apply it to me? This is important. Play close attention to how many transactions the agent does per year. More is better. The more transactions the agent closes, the more experience they have in negotiating just about every situation that could come up.

  7. How do you find the best value for me? How do you make sure it is a good value? This is important because the agent should have some immediate and concise answers as to how they accomplish this for you. They should have systems in place and be able to explain them to you.

  8. How do you protect me from the extensive costs that lenders, title companies, inspectors and others charge a home purchaser? The typical answer is that these charges are just normal. Make sure that the agent has relationships with companies that can offer you good service and some discounts. Also make sure that the agent has an immediate knowledge of what typical costs are.

  9. Can you sell us a new, resale or foreclosed home? Most agents will answer affirmatively, but you should follow up with questions about specific builders and areas.
Questions to ask to choose the right Realtor
Questions to Ask Before Listing

Choosing the right Realtor to sell your home can be difficult, especially when they all sound so convincing. The following list of questions will not only help you select the right Realtor, but will also help you get the very best from the agent you choose.

  1. Do you work as a full-time Realtor?

  2. Do you handle incoming property inquiries?

  3. How many listings do you have at this time, and how does this work to my benefit?

  4. Do you have a help system to see that no details are overlooked?

  5. How many potential buyers and sellers do you speak with each day? Each week? Each year?

  6. In what ways will you encourage other Realtors to sell my home?

  7. Do you have references that I can check?

  8. How will you set my listing apart from the crowd with out costing me more money?

  9. What is my property worth? What listing price do you recommend? How did you arrive at that price?

  10. How will you assist in my relocation plans?

  11. Do you have a written plan of action designed specifically to sell my property?

  12. How will you give interested buyers 24 hour access to my property?

  13. How will you make information on my property available to out-of-town buyers?

  14. How do you promote properties on the Internet?
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REPRESENTING YOUR BEST INTEREST
In today's real estate market it is more important than ever to have a professional who truly represents your best interest. A qualified listing agent works for you -- the home seller. …
Save Money on Taxes and insurance
Save Thousands on Interest & Taxes

Purchasing a home can save you money very quickly. FIRST, you'll save on taxes because the interest on your home mortgage is tax deductible. If you rent, your landlord gets the break.

 

SECOND, you'll save on interest payments while keeping the great tax advantage.

 

For example if you are paying $900 per month in rent, you are paying a portion of this towards your landlord's property taxes and mortgage loan interest. Your landlord can write this amount off. You derive absolutely no tax break. When you own a home, you now reduce your taxes for the mortgage interest and for your property taxes. Your interest is always the highest during the early years of your loan, so your overall write-off is largest during these early years.

 

Paying rent is like throwing your money out the car window each month. You pay it out and never see it again. With home ownership you receive loan interest write-off, and gain money over the years from the increased value of your home. Over a ten year period, on an initial purchase price of $100,000, you could gain over $100,000 in tax advantages and appreciation based on an 8% mortgage interest rate and 5% per year increase in home values.

 

On both the 15 year and 30 year loans, your interest deduction is highest in the first few years of the loan, so your tax deduction is highest then, too. Remember, if you plan to move or refinance after 5 years, you will maximize your tax deductions. Keep in mind that as you pre-pay part of your loan to reduce the interest expense, you also reduce your tax deduction. How long you plan to keep your current mortgage loan can help determine which type of loan, and which payment strategy, is ideal for you.

 

Have questions? Give us a call. We are happy to help.

construction
Seller's List of 25 Easy Fix-ups

The condition of your home will have a huge impact on how fast it sells, and its eventual selling price. Preparing your home for sale can pay you huge dividends. Many fix ups cost very little and consist mostly of time and some elbow grease. Here are some simple tips to help your home show its best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Indoors
:

  1. Clean the entire home thoroughly. Shampoo carpets, wash walls, clean sills, window screens and blinds. Clean out light fixtures and dust shelving. Get detailed here.
  2. Clean the clutter from all closets, cupboards and cabinets.
  3. Make your rooms look as spacious as possible. Store unnecessary furnishing items that make your home look crowded.
  4. Arrange furnishing so that it is easy to walk through your home.
  5. Scale down the number of photos, pictures, portraits and posters hanging on walls. Make sure you patch all nail and screw holes.
  6. Keep your curtains and draperies open as a rule. You will want your home to show very light and bright. Find ways to screen any unappealing views.
  7. Make your kitchen shine. Remove clutter from counter tops and cabinets and store it. Keep your sink clean and clear of any dirty dishes.
  8. Clean your refrigerator, inside and out. Make sure that you do the simple things like putting an open box of baking soda in your fridge. Also, remove unnecessary clutter from the door.
  9. Clean your oven. Degrease it and keep it looking as good as possible.
  10. Keep scented candles burning in the kitchen and bathrooms. Pleasant fragrances will entice buyers to stay longer in your home.
  11. Keep bathrooms scrubbed and tidy with fresh soap and neatly hung towels. Try to color coordinate your bathrooms.
  12. Keep all sinks in the home clean and repair leaks or slow drains.
  13. through your entire home and touch up paint. Pay close attention to corners where there is traffic wear. Touch up baseboards, trim and cabinets and cupboards.
  14. Place plants or flower arrangements in strategic parts of the home. A splash of color from plants, flowers, pillows or small rugs can give your home some real flair.
  15. Make sure that your home is well lit. Put higher wattage bulbs in dark areas or corners. Keep all lights on during showings, even in mid day.
  16. Use mirrors on walls if necessary to reflect light and make rooms look larger.
  17. Make sure that all door knobs and keyed entries are working. Replace any worn knobs or handles.

 

Outdoors:

  1. Clean up all around the house. Remove any debris piles such as wood, firewood and landscape trimmings. Trim all hedges, bushes and shrubbery away from the house. Keep all garden beds weeded and mulched.
  2. Put some color by your home's entrance with potted flowers. Keep them watered and looking attractive.
  3. Keep all walkways clear, clean and in good repair. This includes your driveways and any parking areas.
  4. Keep all outdoor furniture clean and in good repair.
  5. Clean your gutters and roof. Keep moss or algae from growing on, in or around them.
  6. Keep your yard and lawn areas clean and in good health. A green lawn makes a home look great. Keep your lawn edged and free from weeds.
  7. Repair any broken windows, screens, shutter or awnings.
  8. Clean your garage area. Remove clutter and make it look organized and as spacious as possible. Try to have nothing in your garage but cars.

By following these 25 fix up tips, you can do a lot to increase the perceived value of your home and make it stand out above the competition!

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STAGING YOUR HOME TO SELL
The greatest way to show a home is to have a key available. This is typically done by placing it in a secure lock box, provided to you by your Real Estate Professional. This will give agents, with prospective buyers easy access to your property and promote showings. …
stucco
THINKING OF STUCCO?

Check on the pros and cons of stucco on your future home.Many newer homes are now being sided with artificial stucco siding, or EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems). This is essentially polystyrene foam with a base coat, reinforcement mesh, then another base coat and then a finishing coat of stucco over the top. This is a terrific product, as it adds insulation value to the home, not to mention classy looks. However, it can also be a serious and very expensive repair if it isn't installed correctly and/or water gets behind it.

 

There are several manufacturers of artificial stucco, and many builders installing it. Having it inspected allows you to know if there is a problem, and even if there isn't, you will be aware of the areas you need to keep caulked, and what to look for in case of trouble. Get more information on improperly installed EIFS by clicking here.

Getting the best value from your home
Your Home's Best Selling Price

Getting the best value from your homeStatistics show that the best opportunity to sell your home is often within the first few weeks of putting it on the market. This can be good news, or bad, depending on your motivation. Some homes sell right away, while others sit on the market for months without a single offer.

To maximize your selling opportunity, it is important that your home be priced right. What is the right price? Many factors will determine your home's best asking price. Our current real estate market has a lot to do with it. Using sound judgment, research, and experience, a good agent can help you determine the right price for your home. They will help you evaluate your location, the recent sold data, current market trends, and your home's special features that set it apart from the competition.

 

"What's wrong with pricing my home a little high?" Price your home too high and most buyers won't even bother looking at it. Over priced homes tend to sell the competition first. This scares away many qualified buyers simply because they can elsewhere and get more house for the money. As the house sits on the market, people will shy away from it thinking there must be something wrong with the home.

Should I under-price my home? Price it too low and you could lose thousands of dollars. There are times when you will attract multiple bidders making multiple offers, but this is only recommended when you need a faster-than-average sale.

In most circumstances, pricing your home correctly from the very beginning will net you the best results in both time and money. To find out your home's perfect selling price, contact us for a No Obligation Market Analysis. We will take the guesswork out the entire process and suggest an accurate market price for your home. It has never been easier!

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