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Monday, May 13, 2013
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If you’re like most homebuyers, you’re probably unfamiliar with the home-buying process, so you tend to second-guess yourself if your agent fails to meet your expectations. Are you being high maintenance, or is this just the way business is done? Take a look at this list of five red flags you could encounter as you shop for a home. If you run into any of these, the problem isn’t you—it’s your agent.
1. Communication Issues
One of the most common complaints homebuyers have about their real estate agents is that they can’t get in touch with them easily. As the housing market heats up, it’s becoming more important to move quickly when you find a home you’re interested in. If your agent isn’t responding to you in a reasonable amount of time and it’s costing you home-buying opportunities, you and your agent are missing out!
2. Power Struggles
It takes a certain level of confidence to walk with homebuyers through one of the most expensive purchases they’ll ever make, but that doesn’t mean your real estate agent can forget that you’re the boss. An agent who pressures you to consider homes that are out of your budget or pushes you to accept a price that’s too high may be more interested in their commission than in helping you find a home you can afford.
3. Lack of Leadership
The opposite side of that coin is an agent who agrees with you on everything and doesn’t offer any guidance. You want an agent who can give you honest advice based on their research and experience—even when you may not fully agree. An agent who’s too wishy-washy may not have the experience you need to negotiate a good deal on your new home.
4. Abundance of Attitude
As we mentioned, you want your agent to have confidence in their ability to do a great job for you, but that shouldn’t translate into rudeness. No matter how many questions you have or how basic they may be, your agent should have the patience to answer each one without a lot of confusing jargon. You should also be able to trust your agent to behave professionally on your behalf. Remember, you don’t have to put up with attitude to get a great real estate agent.
5. You’re Getting Nowhere
If you’ve been working with your agent for months and aren’t any closer to buying a home than when you started, that’s a big problem. Admittedly, you could be contributing to the problem if you’re being too critical of the homes your agent shows you. But if your agent isn’t showing you homes at all or is showing you homes that you’ve said aren’t right for you, you’re wasting time. It may be time to hire a new agent.
Monday, April 22, 2013
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There are some homes that just have it all and this is one of them. As you approach the majestic 5-acre wooded expanse, you’ll immediately feel as though you’re in a peaceful retreat – that you can call home!
The gorgeous colonial-style house highlights custom features such as an outdoor gazebo off the master suite deck, private hot tub, a premium kitchen and a very large, open foyer flanked by a gorgeous staircase. This house is brimming with attention to detail with all those high-end finishes you know, you love and you expect in an estate; details like crown molding, custom fireplaces, wall accents in the formal dining room and more.
From the moment you enter the home, you’ll feel comfortable and at ease in its large rooms and well laid-out floor plan. With oak floors throughout the home, a large great room that features vaulted ceilings, finished basement and more – this home is perfect! And like the other rooms in the house, the huge master suite is also spacious with vaulted ceilings plus a walkout deck.
The large kitchen features solid oak cabinets, granite counter tops and a conversation-flowing center island – not to mention a plethora of cabinetry and storage space.
Outside, you will feel right at home yet among the peaceful surroundings of beautiful mature trees and lush landscaping yet just minutes from highways 66 and route 50.
Sound intriguing? Wait till you see it. Call us today to schedule a tour of the home.
Friday, February 15, 2013
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Contrary to popular belief, a short sale does not have the same impact as a foreclosure when it comes to your credit outlook and buying another home. It turns out that with FHA loans you can typically get into another home just two years or so after a short sale. You do have to have an approved hardship such as divorce, job relocation or death. This does not apply to anyone merely trying to take advantage of the distressed sale market.
Homeowners Should Stay Current On Payments, Despite a Short Sale
The single most important thing to keep in mind is how you treat your debts leading up to the short sale. As long as the preceding 12 months are handled with care and all payments are up to date, most loan officers and underwriters will not have a problem with lending you money again.
Distressed Homeowners Need to Put a Plan of Action Into Place to Rebuild Credit
It’s important to have a solid plan in place. But even then, many homeowners are forced to stop making payments on their home, which leads to short sale or worse, foreclosure. If that were to happen the next step is to work hard at rebuilding your credit. This is where it can take anywhere from two years or more to get back into a home. The variance comes in a couple different areas. First, if you have some money to put down on a home it will likely increase your chances of being able to borrow after a short sale or foreclosure. With a conventional loan if you have 20% of the purchase price to put down, you can reasonably expect to move in 2 years after a foreclosure. It will be 3 years if you have 10% to put down and so on.
Creditors Will Scrutinize Those Credit Scores
Another factor is your credit score. Many people are able to maintain a good credit score despite being in situations of financial hardship. This works to their advantage when they go to buy another house.
The most critical piece to keep in mind is to maintain your payments and not be late on anything – even if you are facing short sale or foreclosure. Second, work to develop a game plan and then do whatever it takes to achieve your plan of action. For more information on this or anything else about a home in distressed situations, call your mortgage broker today.
One promising development that will also impact homeowners opting for short sale to relieve their financial hardship is that the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act has been extended for another year. There had been much speculation as to whether or not this would happen in 2012 with the deadline the last day of the year but at the very last minute Congress decided to extend this benefit. Instrumental in helping struggling homeowners to get back on their feet, the Act provides tax relief by waiving the tax liability on discharged debt that would otherwise be considered income.
As always, we welcome the opportunity to serve you with this – and any other real estate concerns you may have. Contact us today so we can begin making your real estate dreams become a reality!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
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The Internet can be a great resource for a host of things centered on buying or selling your home but in some cases, the most you can expect to gain is a basic understanding of things. For something as serious and important as pricing your home to either value it or sell it, relying on the Internet can only go so far. Here we’ve outlined some key differences between the figures you will yield from online sources versus those that have been compiled by your local Realtor.
ACCURACY IS VITAL
In today’s market especially, accurately pricing your home to sell is essential. With it being a buyers’ market, you will have to gain a solid understanding of allfactors that contribute toward your property’s value. There can be negative repercussions of pricing a home either too low or too high. One such scenario is if there was a seasoned buyer who had taken the time to research in advance of searching for homes. That buyer’s knowing what to expect in the local market seeing your overpriced home could result in a turn-off and you could lose the sale. By the same token, you stand to get the shorter end of the stick in case of not knowing what you could have charged. Spending a little more time and/or expense can make a huge difference in the end outcome.
ONLINE TOOLS AND CALCULATORS
There are more than several websites where anyone can log on, put in their zip code and be given an instant “analysis” of their real estate value. The figures that appear as results from searches made through online resources stem from a conglomeration of several weeks and sometimes months of data collected from a particular region.
Websites such as www.zillow.com,www.realtytrac.com or www.trulia.comoffer a great way to get a generic idea of the value that homes in your region are going for or have gone for recently. As an added resource to other services also offered on these sites, the goal is not to assist homeowners in assigning a selling price on their property based on the data, rather to offer a snapshot on sales and pricing data for the area. In fact, for many people it is the perfect tool to add an extra edge when determining the fair market value of your home, along with other factors.
PROFESSIONAL COMPARABLE MARKET ANALYSIS
While online real estate tools are a great way to get a preliminary idea, they are only going to yield a figure that will show you where to start. To get an accurate assessment, you will need to avail the professional services of a Realtor. The only way to get an accurate “reading” of what the market rates are for homes in your vicinity and your neighborhood in particular, is to have a comparative market analysis conducted by a Realtor who understands your neighborhood. There is a good chance that they have dealt with properties in the area on a first-hand basis, regularly interact with the agencies and organizations that deal with very homes in your neighborhood and are familiar with the people in various facets that you will end up needing to interact with yourself, as the seller of your home.
Realtors conduct a detailed Comparable Market Analysis (sometimes also called Competitive Market Analysis) through a series of data compilation of area homes and properties, considering factors such as amount of land, the square footage and number of bedrooms or typical amenities in the neighborhood. But homeowners can also opt to delve into accurate detail about their property’s value by relying on an independent appraiser. Also, through the use of CMA data the County Tax Assessor determines the value of your property taxes.
When you are pricing your home to sell, it is vital that you use all available resources. At first, it makes sense to “shop around” and get to know the generalities before you head for the specifics. And as with most transactions dealing with your real estate world, it is always best to rely on your Realtor for quality, effective and accurate information that is relevant to you and YOUR market.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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Whether you’re on the buying side of the fence or selling, getting involved with a short sale might be the perfect situation for you. Though they have been around for a long time it wasn’t until the housing market crash of 2007 that more and more distressed sales came up to the surface. In fact, the influx of short sales that took place in our housing market skyrocketed after millions of homeowners suddenly found they owed much more on their properties than they were worth.
But if you are careful and mindful of all the benefits and drawbacks of selling (or buying) a short sale, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Here are a few reasons to consider before making a decision:
Short Sales For Sellers
Ability To Salvage Credit
When homeowners engage in a short sale as opposed to letting their home go into foreclosure they are causing much less damage to their credit than if they were to walk away from their mortgage commitment. Not only do short sales harm a credit report less but they also demonstrate commitment, accountability and responsibility to your debt.
Can Purchase A New Home In About 2 Years
Homeowners that opted for a short sale are able to recover financially in far less time than if they had allowed foreclosure. Where a foreclosure will remain on your credit report for up to 14 years, the negative impact of a short sale only lasts about 24 months, allowing the homeowner to recuperate and get back into a home relatively soon after the short sale.
Little or No Agent Fees
Given that it is a matter of distress, many agents will not charge any fees to process a short sale transaction. In fact, these types of real estate transactions can only be performed by licensed, certified short sale experts.
It May Take a Long Time To Sell the Home
Since banks are involved in every step of the process it can take many months to turn the sale around. Even if you receive a good offer on the home, unless your bank processes the offer, accepts it and puts it through several approval procedures, you will not be able to sell the home as quickly as a conventional sale.
Banks May Not Accept Your Chosen Selling Price
Selling a short sale home entails the homeowner deciding on a price to list the home. Even though most people utilize the services of a Realtor to assist with setting the list price, banks will not always accept the price. Whether or not it will be accepted will be determined once an offer goes through the pipeline.
Complicated When Multiple Mortgages/Lenders Are Involved
In many cases homeowners facing foreclosure that are contemplating a short sale have taken out more than one mortgage on their property. Going through a short sale when it involves multiple lenders can become tedious and complicated since moving ahead with the transaction requires the approval of each lender.
Buying Short Sale Properties
Great Deal On A Good Home
The single most compelling reason to buy a short sale property is because it allows buyers to afford the home of their dreams at a very affordable price. Though sellers of short sales are interested in getting as much money as possible for the property, the selling price is less than standard sales. Also, since the homeowners still live on site in many cases, chances are the condition of the home will be better than what a buyer might find in a vacant foreclosure property.
Strong Potential For Solid Return On Investment As Value Will Go Up Eventually
Getting the house for a lower price amounts to being able to cash in on a greater return on your investment later on. As long as the buyer plans to remain in the property for a while the home will appreciate eventually, rewarding them with a good financial return on their purchase.
No Disclosure Statement
One of the first things short sale buyers must come to terms with is that the short sale home they are considering will not have a disclosure statement as is with standard sales. This can be a difficult thing for buyers since they would have to rely on the home inspection and appraisal rather than the otherwise required by law disclosure sellers must provide to buyers in regular real estate transactions.
Unknown Processing Times
The most commonly asked question Realtors specializing in short sale transactions hear is “how long will the process take?” and the answer is always “it depends”. If a buyer is in a hurry to get into their new home they should strongly consider whether a short sale property is right for them. A lot of patience is required since it can take months to follow through with all the processes involved and to obtain approvals from each department involved at the bank.
Lots of Negotiating And Re-Negotiating
Banks may or may not agree or accept the offer made by a buyer so the result is a lot of going back and forth during negotiations. This can add a significant amount of time to the transaction, end up in frustration possibly leading to the deal completely falling through.
If you are in a tough situation and are considering putting your home up for a short sale to avoid foreclosure – or if you want to take advantage of the great interest rates coupled with lower home values right now, call us today and we will get your questions answered. We look forward to helping you achieve the best outcome possible!
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
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Now that we are well into 2013, there will be some changes to our real estate outlook with some familiar programs back in action. With all the talk about the impending Fiscal Cliff, it is no wonder that homeowners everywhere are wondering how the outcome will impact them individually.
But first, we want to congratulate our lucky friends from Facebook that have won some exciting prizes in our latest drawing! We hope you have a great time enjoying your prizes and we appreciate your support, keeping up to date with us on Facebook!
Now, back to the latest and great news in real estate. Here are three recent changes and/or updates to the programs available out there that will have a significant impact on our marketplace this year and moving forward. This is good, folks!
Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act Extended Through 2013
On the minds of many homeowners that have mortgages falling short of the current value of their homes, the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act was set to expire on December 31, 2012. Among the many issues discussed within Congress during the last few hours of 2012 was the extension period of this important tax relief for distressed homeowners. Primarily as a means to help consumers faced with hardships overcome their financial difficulties when they incur forgiven debt – the Act serves to waive tax implications on what otherwise would be considered taxable income.
Private Mortgage Insurance Tax Relief Now Applies to Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013
Each year millions of homeowners look forward to the tax relief that comes with being able to write off their private mortgage insurance premiums. By the end of 2012, no one was sure the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 would be extended to include the coming year. Once again, at the final hours of negotiations the Act was extended through fiscal year 2013 to allow homeowners paying private mortgage insurance to deduct that amount when filing their income taxes.
Capital Gains Tax Rates Increased from 15% to 20%
A topic of confusion for many, the capital gains tax increase set for higher income levels is more lenient than most people realize. Though the theory is that this increase in tax impacts individuals and households with higher income levels, the truth is the income and gains cap is relatively high. The capital gains tax increase will only apply to individuals earning an Adjusted Gross Income of $400,000 or more. Furthermore, people in these income brackets will incur the capital gains tax only on income earned above and beyond the cap which is $250,000 or more for individuals and $500,000 or higher for households.
If you would like to discuss these or any other issues in the real estate marketplace or if you are considering buying or selling a home – contact us today! We would love to help make your real estate dreams become a reality!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
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To all our cherished friends, neighbors, family and clients – we are so proud to have been able to work with you and be a part of your lives! As we end this year and turn to the exciting time and events that 2013 holds, we just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you bring to our lives.
We have some really great plans in the coming year to bring more success to all your real estate endeavors. And with each transaction that makes it to the closing table in the coming months and years ahead – we know that there will continue to be new and exciting things to follow for all of us.
On behalf of the entire group – Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Peace and Joy!