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Six Key Questions to Ask when Hiring a Real Estate Agent to Market and Sell Your Home

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Six Key Questions to Ask when Hiring a Real Estate Agent to Market and Sell Your HomeThe work of a real estate agent can make or break how a prospective buyer feels about the property. Now that it’s time to sell your home, you want to find the right agent to market it.

How do you find someone you can trust who will make you feel confident they can sell your home quickly for the best price possible? Here are the questions you should be asking.

Are They Licensed?

This one is the easy one. You should be working with a member of the National Association of Realtors®. It is also important that you check whether they have any complaints on record about their practices.

You can check with your state’s real estate department as well.

Are They Successful?

A successful real estate agent is more than the number of sales they have completed. You should also find out the average difference between listing and selling prices on their most recent sales.

If an agent is closing deals at far below the original asking price consistently, that might be a red flag.

How Busy Are They?

Make sure you ask in advance how often the agent will contact you and how they will keep you informed of potential buyers. If you’re going to be working with one of their associates at times, you should know.

How Familiar Are They With Your Neighborhood?

A real estate agent is not just marketing your home – they’re marketing your entire community. If they have closed nearby sales before, they are familiar with the selling points of the neighborhood as well as the right price range for properties similar to yours.

How Much Commission Do They Expect?

Normally you will pay the agent about 6 percent of the sale price. If you find one that offers their services for a low percentage, you should know why. Are they just trying to stay competitive? Or do they expect you to do a large share of the marketing yourself?

Do They Have A Plan?

The real estate agent should be able to tell you exactly which marketing techniques they would use for your home and how they plan to promote the listing. They should come to the table with ideas from the very beginning.

Now that you have a clearer idea of the basics, use the internet to find trusted real estate agents in your area. Then pick up the phone and begin your journey toward becoming a successful home seller today.

Why a Detached Garage Can Drastically Improve Your Resale Price

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Considering a Major Home Addition? Why a Detached Garage Can Drastically Improve Your Resale PriceBefore you make a major structural change to your property, it is important to consider how this will affect your resale value. While there are many steps that you can take to improve your property, the addition of a detached garage may be beneficial to you and may drastically improve your resale price when you are ready to sell.

You should always first obtain customized information about how the addition of a detached garage may affect your property’s value.

Adding Square Footage to Your Home

As a property owner, you may be well aware that one of the most common ways the value of your property is determined is by the market rate for price per square foot of homes in the area. While factors such as age of the property, condition of the property and amenities in the neighborhood may affect whether your property’s price per square foot is above or below market average, the size of the improvements has a direct impact on property value. Adding a detached garage adds square footage to the property, and a real estate agent can help you to determine the true financial gain you may experience through this addition.

Increasing Appeal to Potential Buyers

Properties that are more appealing to potential buyers may sell for a higher price. When you add a detached garage to your property, you may be adding style and function to the property by adding a place to park vehicles and to store items like seasonal items and lawn equipment. You can also create a detached garage with a workshop or another functional area for added appeal.

Transforming Existing Space

Some home additions will add a detached garage to a property because a garage was never constructed on the property, but others will be added because the homeowner wants to transform the existing garage attached to the home into a more functional area. For example, a new home addition, may turn the existing garage into a living room, a bedroom or another functional area. With the addition of a detached garage, the property owner can retain the benefits of having a garage while also improving the functional use of the main area of the home.

The addition of a detached garage can benefit you and your family in a number of ways, and it can also improve the resale value of your home.

Sellers, Beware: Five Reasons You Might Not Get Top Dollar when You Sell Your Home (And How to Avoid Them)

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Sellers, Beware: Five Reasons You Might Not Get Top Dollar when You Sell Your Home (And How to Avoid Them)For most people, their home is their largest asset, so they want to maximize that asset by getting top dollar when they sell. Here are a few reasons you might not get top dollar when you sell – and how to avoid them!

Selling At The Wrong Time

From early spring to late summer is home-buying season for most people, especially those with children. Putting your house on the market during this period is when you are likely to get top dollar for it. Early fall is also a good time to list your home. Winter – especially December – is the worst time to list. If you list your home outside of prime selling season, you are likely to get less for it than you could have otherwise.

Not Staging Your Home Properly

Many people think of staging as simply rearranging the furniture or changing curtains, but there is so much more to it, and not doing it properly can mean less money for your home. To stage your home properly, you must declutter, putting knick-knacks and family pictures away. You also want to make sure your home is as clean as possible and that you correct any defects such as holes in the wall or cracked window panes. Another thing you should do as part of your staging routine is to paint your walls in neutral colors and update cabinet hardware and light fixtures that are out of date. These little changes can make a big difference. 

Not Paying Attention To Curb Appeal

You can spend all the time and money necessary to spruce up the inside of your home, but if your lawn is a patch of dirt and your gutters are falling down, all that work and money can go for naught. To get top dollar for your home, you need to improve your curb appeal. This includes seeding or sodding bare spots in your lawn, trimming trees and shrubbery and fixing up home-related items such as broken concrete and sagging gutters.

Not Getting The Price Right

You might think that to get the highest price out of your house, you have to price it high. However, that’s not necessarily always the case. If you price your house too high, it can make other similar houses that are priced lower look like better deals. You should make sure to pay close attention to what comparable homes are selling for in the area and price your home accordingly.

Not Working With A Real Estate Agent

Many people think they can save a bundle selling their home by not working with a real estate agent. While you do save on the real estate commission, you can lose more than that amount by making mistakes in pricing and marketing. A real estate agent will have access to resources you don’t, such as information on buyers looking in your neighborhood. An agent will market your home, make sure it is priced accordingly and set up showings. It is worth your time and money to call an agent experienced in selling homes in your neighborhood who can give you a market evaluation.

Feng Shui 101: How This Ancient Art Can Help Improve Your Home Staging

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Feng Shui 101: How This Ancient Art Can Help Improve Your Home StagingIt is a buyer’s market, making home selling a challenge that can range from relatively simple to downright frustrating. Boosting ones’ chances of selling their home can be done in a number of ways. One simple way is to utilize the art of Feng Shui – an ancient Chinese art, used to manipulate the flow of energy in your home.

Feng Shui can be as inexpensive or as costly as you would like. Using what is already on hand is one way to keep it free, but sometimes a simple coating of paint on the front door or a few decorative pieces can make a big difference in the room.

The Entry Way

First impressions are everything, so one of the most important rooms in the home is the one that is entered into first by potential buyers. If the entry way is followed by a hallway, making the hallway look as wide as possible is important, as open, spacious rooms have better energy flows. Using a long, runner rug is one way to achieve this look, as well as brighter paint colors on the walls.

The Main Living Area

The living area will be one of the main draws to potential buyers. They should be able to envision themselves spending time there, reading a good book or entertaining guests. Upon entering the room, buyers should not be looking at the backside of furniture. The furniture should be outward facing, in an inviting way. A simple table in the middle of the furniture arrangement keeps the flow going, while also allowing for utility and style. A few simple art pieces on the walls or on shelves are a nice addition, as long as the space does not look cluttered or ill-kept.

The Bedrooms

Electronics have a negative effect on energy flows, so keeping electronics out of the bedroom during the staging process is important. The bed should be in full view of the door, but the headboard should not be against the wall that is directly in front of the door. Allow as much natural light into the room as possible.

The Bathroom

In Feng Shui, drains are seen as energetically negative, so toilet seats and shower curtains or doors should remain closed. Again, natural light is important, as well as uncluttered counters. Mirrors should be easily accessible and have a good source of light, preferably natural.

The Kitchen

Many counters and tables are magnets for junk – keeping these spaces clear and free of clutter is essential to a nice energy flow, as well as successful staging. Fresh flowers add a nice touch to the room, and make it seem more open. Yellow is considered good for digestion, so painting the room a nice shade of yellow, or adding touches of yellow here and there can be beneficial.

Home staging is a vital, but sometimes overlooked aspect of house selling. Feng Shui can be a great way to interest more buyers, and sell a home quicker. Energy flow is the basis of Feng Shui, and both natural lighting and arrangement of furniture make a difference in the energy levels of a home.

Giving and Getting: Why the Terms of a Home’s Sale Are Far More Important Than the Price Paid

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Giving and Getting: Why the Terms of a Home's Sale Are Far More Important Than the Price PaidOne of the most significant factors home buyers and sellers focus on when buying real estate is the negotiated sales price in the purchase contract. While the sales price is undeniably important, the reality is that other terms in the sales contract may have more far-reaching and significant effects on the transaction.

In fact, with a closer look at some of the most important terms, you will see why you and your agent should actively negotiate for improved terms rather than a lower sales price.

Closing Costs

Some buyers and sellers will haggle over a few thousand dollars in the sales price without paying attention to the closing costs, but the fact is that the closing costs for a typical transaction may cost the buyer between two to five percent of the sales price on average.

A sales contract may be negotiated so that the seller assumes some or most of the closing costs, and this can result in considerable savings the buyer. Likewise, when a contract is negotiated in the interest of the seller, the seller may save thousands of dollars at closing if the contract states that the buyer is responsible for these costs.

The Appraised Value

In an ideal world, a home would appraise for the contracted sales price, but this is not always the case. A sales contract may be written with terms that allow for the sales price to be renegotiated after the appraised value is confirmed, and this may benefit both parties. Some sales contracts, however, state that the negotiated sales price is final regardless of the appraised value.

The Property Inspection

Many home buyers opt to obtain a property inspection to determine if there are hidden issues with the property structure, foundation, roof, air quality and other components. Some inspections reveal that a home is in fairly good condition, but others may reveal that a property needs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.

Some sales contracts may be written so that the buyer may back out of a contract within a certain period of time after receiving the property inspection report or so that the terms of the sales contract may be renegotiated once the property inspection report has been completed.

Special Contingencies

A real estate transaction may extend for several weeks or even months while the buyer contracts with a lender, an appraiser, a property inspector and other third parties. During this period of time, many events can occur that may adjust the interest level or even the ability of the buyer and seller to fulfill the contract.

Some sales contracts are written so that the buyer may opt out of the contract within a certain period of time with minimal expense and regardless of other factors related to the appraisal and inspection.

Generally, there are standard terms found in many real estate sales contracts, but these terms can be adjusted by either party to benefit buyers or sellers. Those who are preparing to buy or sell property should actively communicate their needs and desires with their real estate agent so that the contract may be negotiated with terms most favorable to their needs.

What’s Your Home’s Real Value?

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What's Your Home's Real Value?As a society, it seems like we’ve gotten away from appreciating our homes for their emotional and sentimental worth. Instead, we focus solely on their monetary value. 

An Appraiser Can Estimate A Home’s Monetary Value, But To Gain A True Concept Of Your Home’s Worth, You Must Also Take Into Consideration:

  1. Pride Of Ownership. You don’t buy a pair of Prada shoes because you’re going to be able to resell them and make a profit. You buy them because they make you look good and feel good.
  2. Security And Stability.  Your home provides a roof over your head that’s in your control. You can decorate it how you want. You don’t have to worry about a landlord selling the property or asking you to move out. In the “olden days” (or should I say “golden days”), we called our homes our castles because, as owners, we felt like the kings and queens of our homes. You can still feel that way! Claim your castle and crown yourself king or queen today.
  3. A Safe Haven.  After a tough day at work or a day of disappointments, where’s the first place you think of going? Home! As Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.”
  4. A Place To Make Memories.  Your son’s tree house and daughter’s playhouse.  The markings on the wall that tracked your children’s growth. The porch swing where you start and end every anniversary celebration.    
  5. A Neighborhood Full Of Friends.  In the event of an emergency, your neighbors are your first line of defense. They’re also the simplest, best and least expensive form of security. Additionally, they may have the exact tool you need for a project; the extra pair of hands you need to complete a project or children to become playmates with yours. Neighbors also give you that much needed in-person, up-close social network.

Even if your home’s economic value has dropped, you continue to benefit from its emotional values of community, stability, security and success.

Thinking of buying a home? I can help you evaluate the emotional and monetary worth of homes and find a home that fits your values and lifestyle. Give your trusted mortgage professional a call today.

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