Do You Really Need a Realtor to Buy New Construction?

I hear this question often, “Do I really need a Realtor if I’m buying new construction?” The short answer, ABSOLUTELY! You are likely making the largest purchase of your life, why wouldn’t you want someone in your corner, to represent you, especially when it doesn’t cost you anything!

When buying new construction many buyers believe it is a good idea to use the builder’s representative when building a new home rather than a licensed real estate agent because it will save them money.  This is 100% FALSE!  It costs the buyer absolutely NOTHING to be represented by a Realtor.  When a buyer chooses to work solely with the builder’s representative you are working with someone who represents the builder and their best interest, not you! They are representing the builder and without an agent, no one is truly representing you.

A buyer’s agent can help guide you when it comes time to select upgrades that will give you the most bang for your buck. Once in the design center you can easily spend thousands of dollars on upgrades that will not necessarily be of value when it comes time to sell. It can also be easy to over upgrade your new home and run the risk of the home not appraising at the final sales price. Your buyer’s agent has the market knowledge to help you choose upgrades that will provide you the biggest return on your investment.

A buyer’s agent can also negotiate for you on things like lot premiums and appliances. I recently negotiated with a builder on my client’s behalf and saved them $4,500 on a lot premium.  By knowing what questions to ask and having experience working with many different builders a real estate agent can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

Having a professional working for you and representing your best interest can save you money, time and unnecessary headache.

Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs

Summer has come to an end and you are probably thinking you’ve lost the opportunity to sell, and need to wait until next summer. But that’s far from the truth. Although it’s not as hectic and crazy with the swarm of buyers on the market, the fall season brings out the most serious of buyers. They are the pool of buyers that waited out the summer frenzy to find their perfect home in the fall, and you don’t want to miss these buyers! They are ready to make a move, today! Selling in a slower period does not equate to less money, that’s a misconception that home owners have based on untrue information that floats around. With the right agent, and your home being priced correctly, you can sell your home during the fall season.

 

Here are the top 3 benefits to listing during the fall season:

1. Serious Buyers – Let’s be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are not always serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a large crowd, that crowd contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the “trend” of house hunting. These people end up not really being serious about the process, and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.

2. Less Competition – Selling in the fall isn’t something many families can accomplish due to personal schedules. That’s why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season. Which means that summer time brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the house next door that has a few more upgrades that may have been listed during the summer, doesn’t make your home sit stagnant. It also doesn’t devalue your home because of the house that could go up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood, and draw all of the attention. With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale.

3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home – Not only do you get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful. Don’t feel rushed into buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has a calmer pace, then buying/selling during the fall may be perfect for you.

DEBUNKING MYTHS TO HOME BUYING

static1.squarespace.comFinally ready to make the transition into home ownership? That’s awesome, and in this exciting time you can be turning to friends and family for an insight into the process. However, there seems to be a circulation of misinformation spreading around, so we’re here to clear up a few myths.

1. THE FIRST STEP IS SEARCHING FOR A HOME

You know the saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse,” well that’s important to remember when it comes to buying a home. You don’t want to start looking for a house until you have gotten to sit down with a lender and discuss what the bank will qualify you for. If you fall in love with a house that’s $250,000 and come to find out you’re only qualified for $200,000 you can get your hopes crushed and waste a lot of time. Don’t start the process on the wrong foot and make sure the numbers line up.

2. YOU DON’T NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT

For starters, when buying a home, 99% of the time the buyer’s agent gets paid by the sellers. That random 1% can be for odd circumstances. So you’re getting to use the services of a real estate agent for free. Having a real estate agent on your side means you’ll get to see homes that aren’t as readily available on public searches, you avoid outdated listings and scammers (there are lots of them), and you have protection when it comes to navigating the legalities of contracts and buying a home. Why wouldn’t you want an awesome negotiator working to ensure you get the best from the transaction? For FREE!

3. YOU CAN’T BUY A HOME WITH BAD CREDIT

Fortunately for some, this is a myth. Lenders and banks come by the hundreds of thousands and all though there are a few loan options, a lot of lenders can work with credit scores down to the low to mid 500’s. Get in touch with me to help you connect with the right lender who can potentially help you get approved. There are a lot of factors that go into approvals, but your credit doesn’t have to be a sore thumb during the process. However, you will be doing yourself a favor if you connect with a credit repair specialist to at least get those numbers in the 600’s. A better score will lower you interest rate.

4. YOUR DOWN PAYMENT HAS TO BE 20%

Think you have to sell an arm and a leg to buy a home? Not at all! An FHA loan only requires 3.5%. There are a lot of programs that can potentially help you with down payment assistance or be 0% down mortgage. USDA and VA loans are the most popular 0% down programs. If you qualify, this can take a big chunk off the amount of cash you have to bring to the closing table.

5. DOWN PAYMENTS ARE THE ONLY UPFRONT COST

This is one of the biggest misconceptions. There is a lot of cost that goes into buying a home, and that includes upfront costs. One of the mandatory ones is an appraisal. If you are getting a mortgage, the home will have to appraise at the contract price or higher. An appraisal can range from $300-$700 dollars. Aside from your down payment, you then have to pay for closing costs. And NO, they are not the same thing. Closing costs can range anywhere between 3-6% of the purchase price. In certain markets, this can be negotiated for sellers to cover by rolling into the offer price, but whether that decision is smart to do or not when it comes to landing your dream home will need to be discussed with your agent.

Now that you have some knowledge to get the process started, get in touch with me so I can help you get through the process as smoothly as possible.

10 Staging Tips to Sell Your Home

 

Ready to sell your house? Here are a few staging tips to get your home prepared for the market. When listing a home you want to make sure it’s presented in the best light. You wouldn’t buy a $50,000 dollar car if it was filled from top to bottom in someone’s personal content and trash. This is the same mindset you need to carry into selling your home that will be worth well over a $100,000.

1. SAY BYE TO CLUTTER

The best thing you can do for your home before listing is to get rid of the clutter! Make a rule for your home that for every new piece that comes in, one must go. One of the biggest factors to a cluttered home is too much furniture. Generally, in a professional staging, half the home owner’s furniture is removed to make the house look much bigger. Look around your house and see what you can pack away. It’ll be worth the investment to get a storage unit for a couple of months to store away a lot of your furnishings and goods.

2. FURNITURE GROUPINGS

It’s largely misconceived that furniture pushed directly up against walls makes a room look bigger. Instead, you’ll want to float your furniture in each room and away from the walls. Position your sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groupings. Be sure the furnishings are placed to make the traffic flow in a room obvious. This will make the room more user-friendly and will make it look larger.

3. TRANSFORM ROOMS

If you have a room that has only served to collect boxes or other junk, it’s important to purpose the room into something that is functional. You can make it into an extra bedroom, a small cozy nook/reading room, office/study, game room, etc.

4. HOME LIGHTING

Great lighting is the trick to making a staged home look warm and welcoming. Most homes are improperly lit, which makes rooms look dark and dreary. There is a quick fix to this issue. Increase the wattage in your fixtures and lamps, aiming for about 100 watts per 50 square feet. Add three different types of lighting to each room: ambient (general overhead), task (under cabinets or pendants), and accent lighting (table lamps and wall accents). Utilize natural light by opening blinds and pulling curtains back when you can.

5. GO NEUTRAL

The simple trick to toning down dated finishes in any space is a little bit of fresh paint. You don’t want to go stark white, but look into neutral grey colors. Beige colors can also consist of warm honey like colors, soft blues and greens, and a variety of undertones that add a little life to a generally neutral color. If you do want to use bold colors, be sure to keep it on accent walls to help enhance structural features.

6. MAKE IT LOOK BIGGER

If you want to make a room look bigger than it is, paint the room the same color as an adjacent room and paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. For small kitchens and dining rooms, a seamless look will open up the space and make it seem much larger.

7. USE YOUR GARDEN

Staged homes have an emphasis in fresh flowers and pricey floral arrangements. If you don’t have the money to go all out on florals, you can get this same effect by raiding your garden space. You can DIY beautiful pieces with fern fronds, magnolia clippings, and more. Use the spring and summer months to find cheerful flowers and use them in your arrangements.

8. GET A FACELIFT

So you can’t afford new cabinets? Then you can just get new doors and drawer fronts. Then paint everything to match and add new hardware to them. Or if your cabinets are in good shape and not out dated just paint or stain the existing cabinets and add new hardware.

9.MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS

Unfinished home projects can really scare off potential home buyers, so you’ll want to be sure to make required repairs. Missing floorboards and large cracks in the sidewalk on the way to your door tend to be a red flag. Holes in walls and scratched up door frames can really look unattractive. These repairs cost you less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.

10. CLEAN YOUR HOME

Aside from de-cluttering, the most important step to staging your home is to clean it. A dirty house is a quick turn-off for potential buyers. Most homes, especially with children and pets, and smokers, have a smell that may go undetected to home owners, but are quickly picked up by strangers. Be sure to have your home professionally cleaned prior to staging to appeal to all buyers that your home is nice and fresh.

 

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your 1st Home

The real estate market is constantly changing, so of course DO YOUR RESEARCH! DO NOT jump the gun on this one! Unbiased advice from family and peers may be kind, but you are the only one who knows what your needs are when it comes to buying a home.

 

WHAT MADE YOU CONSIDER OWNING A HOME?

Forget finances for a minute and focus on what made you consider even buying a home in the first place!

·      Is your family expanding?

·      Does your family feel safe?

·      Is there a STELLAR school system in the area so your children can get the education they deserve?

·      How about that unbearable landlord?

 
WHICH WAY IS THE REAL ESTATE MARKET GOING?

DON’T SLEEP ON YOUR DECISION TOO LONG! Home prices are on the rise! Not only are they on their way back up, but these increases are happening monthly.

According to Existing Homes Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average price of homes in May 2017 went up 5.8% from last year.

If you wait until next year to buy, you might be scrapping for change in the couch cushions to say the least! Not only will it cost you more to buy, but you will also need to increase your down payment to account for the higher price of the home.

 

WHAT IS THE MORTGAGE FORECAST?

The initial process of purchasing your home may seem easy and quick, but there is more to it! The ‘long term cost’ of buying a home WILL haunt you if you buy at the wrong time! Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR have projected that mortgage interest rates will DEFINITELY increase over the next twelve months. The smallest increase in mortgage rates can have a huge impact on a home owner.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you and your family feel it is the right time to buy a home then GO FOR IT! Consider these points when making the final decision.

Don’t forget, this move is FOR YOU!

The Joy of Owning Your Home

If you haven’t bought a home yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful feeling! That moment when you walk through your doors, throw your purse or keys on the floor, plop down on your couch and breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, “Finally, it’s ours (or mine)!” And the joy of looking at all of your boxes, getting to roll your eyes about why you buy so much stuff, then giving yourself a moment to take a nap because you worked hard to get here and earned it! Yes, that’s a real feeling! We often hear, and read, about the cost effectiveness of home ownership. The equity build-up, the freedom it can give us from finances in our retirement years, and a plethora of other ways owning a home can be a positive impact on your bottom dollar. But we don’t often hear about the emotional impact owning a home can have. Yes there will be days the fridge is acting silly and you need to call your home warranty, or days you have to get outside to mow your own yard, but nothing beats the pride and joy of owning a home.

 

There is a sense of security, and a sense of “this is mine and I worked my way up to this moment,” that provides moments of bliss. The ability to do with your home as you please, not pay a pretty penny for every member of your fur family, and the privacy it provides can’t be beat.

Home ownership also gives you the ability to put down some roots. And we mean that figuratively and literally. You get to build memories through the holidays and go through many milestones with your family, that leave a significant impact into the later years. You also get to build bonds with your neighbors, and grow in a community oriented neighborhood. With rentals, people come and go annually, but there are deeper roots planted with building relationships with those living next to you. Potlucks, 4th of July and New Year’s Eve spent lighting fireworks, and just the excitement of getting to know each other and build new relationships.

Buying a home isn’t about the dollars and cents for everyone, sometimes it’s just about the joy of owning your own place, and getting to build amazing memories in it. If you’ve been longing for this, get in touch with me, and let’s make it happen. You owe it to yourself to make your dreams come true!

Why Rent If You Can Buy

Home ownership rates are the lowest they have been in the last 50 years. Yet a large portion of Americans are still renting properties, instead of enjoying a home of their own. Consumer reports believe this is an issue because of a buyer’s lack of trust in their ability to purchase. It is still a long standing notion that a buyer needs 20% towards the cost of the home in order to move forward, but this isn’t true. With countless down payment assistant programs, and closing cost roll-ins, a home owner could move in with as little as a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Which is a huge difference in the time it takes to save up to make the move.

With interest rates at an all time low, home ownership in today’s market is a great investment. The money saved over a mortgage’s lifespan can result in tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds. That’s more money in your pocket today. Don’t wait to buy when interest rates soar again. With low interest rates, that means your monthly mortgage payments are at a significantly lower cost, as well. With such a heated housing marketing, rental prices are soaring, and statistics are constantly showing that home ownership can be equivalent to your rental rate each month, if not less. Why get stuck in a small 2 bedroom apartment, if you can move into a home a pay a monthly rate that is the same, and get a 3 bedroom house with a great backyard?

There is also a fear that a home can keep you “stuck” or “rooted” to one place, without an easy transition out if you decide to move. Although the future of the housing market isn’t easily predictable from location to location, you can always discuss with your agent about buying a home in an area that has a strong turn-over rate when a home hits the market. The equity build up when it comes time to sell is going to be far more beneficial, than if you put money into a rental and decide to move. The money from selling the property can be used to purchase a new home. With renting, there would be no additional funds to transition into a new place.

 

Now imagine if you were renting a home for $2000/month. If your landlord is renting to make a profit, think how much less you’d be paying on a monthly basis towards your mortgage, if the home was yours. Then you wouldn’t be paying a landlord to profit off of you, you’d be paying a reasonable rate, and get to call the property your own. Discuss with your agent and lender the steps you need to take towards home ownership, you might be happily surprised about the type of home you can afford to move into.