Posts Tagged ‘homes’

Buyers and Buyer’s Agents: How to Avoid Losing a Sale

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Recently I had a sale fall apart at the 11th hour, and it could have easily closed had the buyer’s agent been in constant communication with his client’s mortgage professional. It was very frustrating for my seller, who was trying to accomplish a 1031 exchange and close the sale prior to closing a purchase – she ended up canceling a sale after issuing a notice to perform and close escrow. This could have been prevented, but a few people dropped the ball, including the agent.

If you are a buyer’s agent, please read on. If you are a buyer, also please read on and make sure your agent is doing his/her part to assure you close escrow on your next home. fault

If you are a buyer’s agent you must stay in constant communication with your buyer’s mortgage professional. You can never sit back and assume things are going smoothly. It is NOT the listing agent’s job to chase your client’s mortgage professional.

All buyer’s agents need to do the following in every sale, even if the mortgage professional seems to be on top of things – because the minute you know there is a problem, the better chance you have of helping to remedy it.

  1. Call and email the mortgage person immediately upon getting an offer accepted – introduce yourself and provide all your contact information.
  2. Forward the contract and related documents to that person right away, including a synopsis of deadlines (I like to email this and highlight it – even though the mortgage professional will have all the information in the contract, it helps to remind them).
  3. Check in with the mortgage person several times a weeks to get a progress report, or let him/her know right off the bat that you would like a progress report emailed to you on Tuesday and Friday, even if there is not much to say. If you don’t get it, call or email.
  4. Make sure you get any further documentation to the mortgage professional right when it is requested.

If you already have a relationship with a preferred lender you know how that person works, and that will undoubtedly help you and your buyer. I know when I am working with my preferred lender, and a few others out there who have great communication skills, that I will always know what is going on with my client’s loan and there will be no surprises.

As the old adage goes, no one can do it better than you can do yourself – so buyer’s agents: please take those words to heart and make sure you are on top of your transactions. You will make your clients very happy in doing so and you will be more successful.

 

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Getting Ready to Sell: Staging

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

With the Spring selling season approaching there are likely sellers considering placing homes on the market. While this is great news, especially since there are still many buyers and low inventory levels, it is important for sellers to understand the current market before listing their homes. To get top dollar, all sellers should consider staging, and there are many different levels of staging – from simple decluttering and rearranging furniture, to heavy staging.image_023_mls

Today’s buyers have changed from the buyers of yesterday. They are more savvy, more on top of what they should expect in certain neighborhoods, and many know the comps and understand them inside and out. They are not likely to jump on something if they feel it does not make financial sense; for example, if a home shows well but has few upgrades, and other homes in the price range have more upgrades, buyers are more comfortable with walking away rather than trying to negotiate the price down. Even more so, they may simply note this after viewing the home online and not even bother to come see it.

Anyone who is considering selling their home should find a listing agent who can help determine the individual needs of the home so that it shows the best it can. Having your agent help you see things from a different perspective is a big help, as often it is hard to step back and view your own home from a potential buyer’s eyes. From adding more light to painting, rearranging furniture or decluttering, there are many things most sellers can do to help their homes show in the best light. Let’s look at different levels of staging.

No Staging. There are some homes that show like models. I just sold one, and I probably could have sold it to at least 10 other buyers. It was so pristine and showed so well that there was nothing that needed to be done. Of course, this is rare because most people do not live this way, but it was sure nice as a listing agent to market such a beautiful  home! Many sellers get staging going before they even contact a real estate agent, so by the time one comes the home already has improved on the showing meter. But others need assistance.

dreamstime_2647321Light Staging. Light staging is the easiest kind, and often costs no or very little money and effort. Keeping in mind that every room should be made to feel as spacious as possible, this is where cleaning and decluttering come in. Have your sellers take out stacks of magazines and books, extra furniture that makes the room feel smaller or crowded. Open window treatments and let in the light. Clear off tables and put away knick knacks. In the kitchen, try to get as much off the counters as possible – buyers want to see how much work space there is. Take down pictures if walls are covered with them, and only use a selective few pieces of art in each room.

Moderate staging: This involves a little more work than light staging, but with many of the same concepts. For moderate staging the seller might paint a room or several, plant flowers out front and spruce up the landscaping to heighten curb appeal, or even purchase a few pieces to place strategically around the home (like plants or artwork). If it is necessary to make bigger purchases the seller may want to consider hiring a professional stager.

Heavy Staging: This is where most agents recommend hiring a professional staging company. If the home has an unusual layout or is vacant or not fully furnished, or where the current furniture does not compliment the home (such as big chunky pieces in a small cottage), you may need to bite the bullet and call in reinforcements. It’s a small price to pay to stir up the interest from buyers (and of course your agent will be having professional photos shot once it’s all ready!)

It is important to keep in mind that if you are a seller who wants to get top dollar for your home, and likely sell it more quickly, you should definitely think about staging. Speak with your agent about what you need to do to get your home in tip-top shape.

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California Median Home Prices

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

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How Do You Find the “Right” Home?

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Buying a home is one of the most challenging and emotional processes – with such a big purchase of course buyers want to make sure they are making the right decision, but oftentimes that is difficult to do. Let’s look at some of the things to consider when looking for the “right” home (in no particular order).house_question

Location. Of course this is a big ticket item when buying a home. Location takes into consideration many things – proximity to work, school or loved ones, or to highways and public transportation, airports/train stations. It might be that someone wants to live by the beach, or far from it. People may wish to be away from power lines or noise, or may want to live where all the action is. No matter what the location issues might be, a buyer needs to identify them and then focus on the properties that are in the right locations. Many buyers end up changing their minds and expanding searches to other locations, so the searches can mold into different shapes as the search progresses (and a skilled agent can help you with this as well).

Amenities. Whether you want to be close to transportation or have personal or community amenities like a pool, spa or tennis courts, this is an important part of your decision. Focusing on properties that will meet your specifications will help you find the right property.

Schools. For families with children or planning to have them, schools are very important. Many buyers have definite ideas as to which districts they want to live in, and that will help narrow the search. If you are a family (or plan to have one) moving into an area from out of town, it is important to research local schools and districts – visit them, speak with staff and families whose children go to the schools, research the test scores and other relevant information so that you can feel good about the schools in the neighborhood(s) in which you are looking.

house_shoppingcartAffordability. Of course price will always be a factor in home shopping. It is important to get pre-approved with a lender and to know how much mortgage you can afford before home shopping. This may also have an effect on the areas you search.

Gut Reaction. I don’t know about you, but I am a big believer that my gut instinct is always right. The few times I have decided to go against my gut I have always realized down the road – whether sooner or sometimes later – that I should have trusted my gut. As a Realtor I can often tell when a buyer finds the “right” home, and usually I can see it very quickly, even if they are not yet sure. You won’t always know right away what home is “the one,” and sometimes they actually grow on you, but if you do have instincts listen to them.

Get Help From Your Agent. Another key factor to finding the right home is to make sure you are working with a local agent who not only knows the area and different neighborhoods, but can really understand what you are looking for. S/he can guide you in your search, and even point out some things you may not have considered that could broaden or narrow your search.

Note that there may be challenges even if you find the right home, such as financing issues or appraisal problems. All you can do is be prepared to deal with these should they arise; for example, if your “right” home does not appraise, you can try several things – click here to read about dealing with appraisal challenges. Just stay informed and work with your agent to try and anticipate challenges, and hopefully by doing so you will be able to overcome them.

There is a “right” home for every buyer, sometimes even many that can feel right. The best way to know if you have found “the one” is to do your homework before you start looking at homes – research neighborhoods, amenities, different areas and the proximity of desired places. Study comparables and floorplans, drive around neighborhoods before going inside any homes, chat with people who live there. Once you have identified those areas that have the right characteristics you will feel great about looking at homes in those neighborhoods. Trust your instincts, get help from your agent, and you will find a wonderful home.

 

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10 Reasons to be Optimistic About the Real Estate Market

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

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A History of California Home Prices

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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