Monday, April 22, 2013

Home For Sale

Monday, July 2, 2012

Q & A For Sellers

Selling Your Home - Pricing the House to Sell What is the difference between list and sales prices? The list price is how much a house is advertised for and is usually only an estimate of what a seller would like to get for the property. The sales price is the amount a property actually sells for. It may be the same as the listing price, or higher or lower, depending on how accurately the property was originally priced and on market conditions. If you are a seller, you may need to adjust the listing price if there have been no offers within the first few months of the property's listing period. What are the two most important factors when selling a home? Price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home, even in a down market. The first step is to price your home correctly. Use comparative sales information from your agent, or pay for a professional appraiser (usually $200 to $300), to objectively evaluate your home's worth. Second, go through the house and repair any obvious cosmetic defects that could deter a buyer. In a down market, you may have to consider lowering your price and/or making a major repair, such as replacing the roof, in order to lure a buyer. Also, make sure that your home is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and a listing on the local multiple listing service or online listings provider. If this isn't happening, take it up with your agent or agent's broker. If you are still not satisfied you are getting the service you need, you may have to switch agents. What is the best time to buy? Because many buyers prefer to move in the spring or summer, the market starts to heat up as early as February. Families with children are eager to buy so they can move during summer vacation, before the new school year begins. The market slows down in late summer before picking up again briefly in the fall. November and December have traditionally been slow months, although some astute buyers look for bargains during this period. What is the difference between market value and appraised value? The appraised value of a house is a certified appraiser's opinion of the worth of a home at a given point in time. Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process; fees range from $200 to $300. Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a real estate agent or broker. Either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis is the most accurate way to determine what your home is worth. What is the difference between list price, sales price and appraised value? The list price is a seller's advertised price, a figure that usually is only a rough estimate of what the seller wants to get. Sellers can price high, low or close to what they hope to get. To judge whether the list price is a fair one, be sure to consult comparable sales prices in the area. The sales price is the amount of money you as a buyer would pay for a property. The appraisal value is a certified appraiser's estimate of the worth of a property, and is based on comparable sales, the condition of the property and numerous other factors. How does someone sell a slow mover? Even in a down market, real estate experts say that price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home. If you are selling in a slow market, your first step would be to lower your price. Also, go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed and can be repaired. Secondly, you need to make sure that the home is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage, and listings on the local multiple listing service (MLS) and on the Internet. Another option is to pull your house off the market and wait for the market to improve. Finally, if you who have no equity in the house, and are forced to sell because of a divorce or financial considerations, you could discuss a short sale or a deed-in-lieu-of- foreclosure with your lender. A short sale is when the seller finds a buyer for a price that is below the mortgage amount and negotiates the difference with the lender. In a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure situation, the lender agrees to take the house back without instituting foreclosure proceedings. The latter are radical options. Your simplest, and in many cases most effective, option is to lower the price. How is the price set? It's very important to price your home according to current market conditions. Because the real estate market is continually changing, and market fluctuations have an effect on property values, it's imperative to select your list price based on the most recent comparable sales in your neighborhood. A so-called comparative market analysis provides the background data upon which to base your list-price decision. When you prepare to sell and are interviewing agents, study each agent's comparable sales report (the data should be no more than three months old). If all agents agree on a price range for your home, go with the consensus. Watch out for an agent whose opinion of value is considerably higher than the others. What are the standard ways of finding out how much a home is worth? A comparative market analysis and an appraisal are the standard methods for determining a home's value. Your real estate agent will be happy to provide a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on comparable sales in the neighborhood. Be sure you get listing prices of current homes on the market as well as those that have sold. You also can research this yourself by checking on recent sales in public records. Be sure that you are researching properties that are similar in size, construction and location. This information is not only available at your local recorder's or assessor's office but also through private companies and on the Internet. An appraisal, which generally costs $200 to $300 to perform, is a certified appraiser's opinion of the value of a home at any given time. Appraisers review numerous factors including recent comparable sales, location, square footage and construction quality. How do you prepare a house to sell? Doing whatever you can to put your house's best face forward is very important if you want to get close to your asking price or sell as quickly as possible. Short of spending a lot of money, here are several ideas for making your home show better: * Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. * Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. And speaking of paint, if your home was built before 1978, a federal law gives a buyer the right to request a lead inspection. If you think you might have some problems, do the inspection yourself beforehand and make any fixes you can. * Be sure that the doorbell works. * Clean and spruce up all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. * Organize closets. * Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. * Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Hide the kitty litter. * Put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. * Having pleasant background music playing in the background also will help set your stage. Where do I get information on housing market stats? A real estate agent is a good source for finding out the status of the local housing market. So is your statewide association of Realtors, most of which are continuously compiling such statistics from local real estate boards. For overall housing statistics, U.S. Housing Markets regularly publishes quarterly reports on home building and home buying. Your local builders association probably gets this report. If not, the housing research firm is located in Canton, Mich.; call (800) 755-6269 for information; the firm also maintains an Internet site. Finally, check with the U.S. Bureau of the Census in Washington, D.C.; (301) 763-2422. The census bureau also maintains a site on the Internet. The Chicago Title company also has published a pamphlet, "Who's Buying Homes in America." Write Chicago Title and Trust Family of Title Insurers, 171 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60601-3294. Is a low offer a good idea? While your low offer in a normal market might be rejected immediately, in a buyer's market a motivated seller will either accept or make a counteroffer. Full-price offers or above are more likely to be accepted by the seller. But there are other considerations involved: * Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer's current house? If so, a low offer, even at full price, may not be as attractive as an offer without that condition. * Is the offer made on the house as is, or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs or lower the price instead? * Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency? If so, then an offer at less than the asking price may be more attractive to the seller than a full-price offer with a financing contingency.

Friday, March 9, 2012



It's been far too long since I've blogged and I'm sorry. This year is really going by fast. Here we are in March already and looking forward to Spring. Yeah!

The world feels renewed when we see buds emerging on trees, longer days of sunlight and the sounds of early birds first thing in the morning.

Real estate has gotten a real jump on activity as well this year and I thinbk its due to the mild weather the last few months provided. There is also pent up desire for homes as people in our area are feeling they have waited through the uncertain economy and now want to move forward with important decisions.

All for the best...they are looking for the expert who can guide them with relevant information. The agent who consults the positive and negative aspects of buying and selling in your local market.

I'm here for you. Call and get an update today. It's my pleasure to help you, your friends, and families.

Regards, Nancy

Monday, May 23, 2011

"It Can Pay To Snoop On Neighbors!"

Going to the open house of a home for sale down the block may make you feel like a nosy neighbor. But there are good reasons, beyond sheer curiosity, to take a peek inside.

By knowing the selling prices and how properties look inside, homeowners can become more educated about values in their neighborhood, says Karen Goodman, a real-estate agent in the St. Louis area.

Attending open houses is especially important if you plan to sell soon. But it's also a good idea even if you plan to stay in your home for a while. Eventually, these homes will become the competition, and it's smart to know how your place stacks up, says Ken Shuman, spokesman for, a real-estate website.

"Look at the upgrades they've made, look where they haven't made upgrades," he says. This exercise helps you "find out where your advantage is and you can focus on that when you put [your house] on the market." And you'll know where your home may fall short.

There are other reasons to check out neighborhood open houses:

To prioritize home-improvement projects. Seeing what the neighbors have done can help you decide which projects to take on first. Perhaps you know you need to fix your roof. Noticing that five neighbors have replaced their roofs recently might cause you to put that project at the top of your home-improvement list, Mr. Shuman says.

To avoid over-improving your home. "Make sure [improvements] are in line with what's considered popular in the area," Ms. Goodman says.

In a $150,000 home in the St. Louis area, for example, you may not get a good return on your investment for the installation of a granite countertop in the kitchen, she says. By seeing other homes, you'll know what kind of finishes typical homes in the area have; that can help you make smart decisions when planning projects.

To get remodeling and decorating ideas. "For a lot of people, it's fun to see homes, decorating styles, the layout of furniture," Ms. Goodman says.

If you live in the same subdivision and your home has a similar design, it'll be easy to steal some of the ideas -- from how to arrange the furniture to how the living area would look if, say, a wall were removed to create an open floor plan.

To shop for a real-estate agent. If you want to sell your home soon, open houses are a good way to interview agents. Notice how attentive they are to prospective buyers walking through the property. And make sure they're selling the home they're standing in -- only bringing up other listings when it's clear buyers are definitely not interested in the home, Ms. Goodman says.

One of the reasons agents hold open houses is to meet prospective clients, so it's a good opportunity to assess whether you'd like to work with that agent.

To gather comparables. If you're selling your home, you may want to attend open houses to collect information about the competition in the area, says Joseph C. Magdziarz, president of the Appraisal Institute, a professional association that represents real-estate appraisers.

"Assessor's records don't always include all the improvements to a property," he adds. "Appraisers rely on interviews with sellers and [real estate] brokers." The only party who isn't allowed to speak with an appraiser during the process is the lender or mortgage broker -- whoever is involved in approving the financing, he says.

While it may feel awkward walking through a neighbor's home, sellers and agents typically don't take offense. "In today's market, people understand," says Mr. Magdziarz.

From their perspective, the more foot traffic they can get, the better, and they're hoping you spread information about the home to family and friends who might be interested in buying it.

"You never know where that buyer is going to come from," says Julie Ann Giachetti, a real-estate agent with Lang Realty in the Boca Raton area of Florida.

But be honest and tell the agent that you're not a buyer, just an interested neighbor. "That allows us to gauge how much interest there is," Ms. Goodman says. "Ten people, one buyer is very different than 10 buyers."

Also, sign in with the agent, just as everyone else does -- there's a good chance your neighbor won't see the sign-in sheet anyway, Ms. Goodman says.

Finally, in return for having a look around, give honest feedback about the home. "You can give us an honest opinion without jeopardizing your buying power," Ms. Goodman says. This can help the seller address issues with the property.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

The buzz I'm hearing (no not "feeling" from new years eve champagne ;)) is that a lot of people are very very optimistic 2011 will be a positive and successful year.
Hope is back on top of the list describing their outlook!
How exciting!!

I personally can't wait to see what the universe has in store.

Here's to a prosperous, healthy and joyous new year for all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Best Places to Retire

Many people dream of moving to a new location in retirement. When you are no longer tied to your job you can finally take off for a warmer climate, pursue your hobbies, or simply move closer to your grandchildren. Selecting a place to retire requires a great deal of thought and planning. Use our Best Places to Retire search tool to find a place that has both beautiful scenery and big city amenities. Read more...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

7 Reasons Why Your Property Won't Sell

1. Your property won't sell because your photos are "less than impressive". The vast majority of home buyers start their search for a home on the Internet, so your property had better look fantastic in print. Not just nice, it has to look downright fabulous. Today an internet view is the same as a 'virtual showing'... if your house gets past that, then they might (just might) make an appointment to see it in person... You should really consider that your SECOND showing. Today's online viewers are expecting good quality photos (and lots of them...the picture below... taken from Google Maps... is completely unacceptable. That's a $500,000 listing, take a moment and your digital camera and force your agent to go earn their commission), a virtual tour, maybe even a floor plan, and they need to be high-quality, or don't bother.

2. Your property won't sell because it's overpriced. It's important to be as objective as you possibly can. Look at the home as though you were a "buyer"... if necessary, make an appointment with your Realtor to view other properties that are priced comparably to yours. Be brutally objective. Given the other options on the market (and yes, you DO have to include short sales and foreclosures on your list... your potential buyers are!), would YOU buy your home, over the others that are currently available on the market?

If the answer is "NO", (and try to be as honest as you can) well then you have your work cut out for you, don't you? You either have to "update" your home to meet or beat the competition...(that might mean an updated bathroom or kitchen, or neutralizing some decorating... remove that old wallpaper that was there when you bought the house or lower your price to adjust for it. if you can't afford to sell it for the price, that you KNOW it should sell for, this may not be the right market for you to sell. Consider taking it off-market.

3. Your property won't sell because it shows badly. This could mean almost anything... from the 60 pound Rottweiler, barking and drooling at the potential buyers from behind the safety of the flimsiest child-gate, to the lingering smell of 30-years of smoking. Maybe the carpeting shows traffic-pattern wear, or your windows allow in slightly more than daylight. All things that aren't visible from the internet, but whoa.... once you get inside the house... they show up, like a cat-urine-soaked-shag carpet on a 95 degree day in New Orleans!

4. Your property won't sell because you're invisible. Today's buyer comes from the internet, almost exclusively. Have you (or your agent) simply plopped the property on the MLS, and started praying? Are you on all the websites...(Trulia, Zillow, Craig's List, Google Base, etc...) all the places that buyers are searching? If not, you need to be, now! Don't try to be a secret, in today's electronic world. You want to be found, and the sooner the better.

5. Your property won't sell because your listing is tired and stale on the market. Okay... yes, you overpriced your home initially when you first came on the market a year and a half ago. But since then you have reduced your price almost monthly, constantly chasing the market down. Now, finally you're truly priced where you believe should be, but your listing (not your house) has become tired and stale. Everyone who is looking for your type of property (ie: 3br/1.1 bath) in your area has already seen the listing online, or in person and they remember that there was "something" about it that they didn't like... but what they don't remember is... what they didn't like.... was the price. Time to take the listing off market. Let it cool off (3-6 months), and bring it back on fresh in the Spring. Yeah, you'll have 6 mos. worth of holding-costs... but you'll more than make up for it in your purchase price.

btw... Resist the temptation to bring the house back on at a higher price, than when you left the market. Just "don't do it"!

6. Your property won't sell because your house won't appraise. The house looks great... you've finally gotten someone to bring you a bid on your slightly over-priced, but beautiful pied-a-terre. But the bank appraiser says it's worth $20,000 less than your buyer has agreed to pay. Heavy sigh... bite the bullet.... negotiate with them. If you have to drop the price $20,000 to make it work.... "make it work"... chances are, anybody else trying to buy your house will run into the same problem. If you're not willing to negotiate the difference, you may find yourself with no buyer, and accepting a lower offer somewhere down the line.

7. Your property won't sell because it's unavailable to show. You have a baby, and a 1-year old. And they need their naps. So you've told your Realtor in no-uncertain-terms, that you'll only allow showings between 9:00a.m - Noon, and then again from 2:30-5:30 p.m. And no showings on Saturday or Sundays. "After all", you've told him "we still live here.. it's our home!". Well guess what? They can't buy it, if they can't see it. As good as your online photos are, they're no substitute for an in-person visit. "If they really want to see it, they'll reschedule", you're already answering as you read this. Nonsense! What they'll do, is they'll just move on to the next property in line (there are dozens like yours available) and maybe they'll buy that one instead. Once you put your property on the market it stops being your "home", and has become your "product". And you want your product to be seen by as large a buying audience as possible.