DISPELLING REFINANCING MYTHS

Refinancing_Mortgage_Loans

3 Things You Need To Know About Refinancing

“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE.

For years now, we’vtime-vortexe been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.

IT’S NOT TOO TIME CONSUMING.

Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?

 

 

adjust-fixed-250x250ARMS CAN BE REFINANCED, TOO.

Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing.

DEALING WITH SCRATCHED HARDWOOD FLOORS

Scratches-from-Wood-Floors

Best Ways To Fix Scratches on Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes.

Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like a variation in the wood grain.

Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.

Clever decor: It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement.

Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you’ll need to spot sand with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain and seal the repaired area.

6 Tips for Selling Your House in a Shifting Market

How to Sell your House in a Shifting Mark

What DOES it take to sell in a Shifting Market?  Pretty much the same things it takes to sell in any market.  But there are a few things that need a bit more attention when your competing with more sellers to get your property noticed.

1.  Price It Right!dollar sign

Contact a LOCAL real estate professional to ensure you have the most current CMA or Comparative Market Analysis for the homes sold in your area.  Real Estate websites that are nationwide, do not take into account local issues, conditions, and state disclosure rules.  This valuable tool will help you price your home in such a way that it will make it attractive to not only buyers, but other real estate professionals who may have clients interested in purchasing a home just like yours.

2.  Ask for a Merchandising Review.

This one page worksheet is a critical component to ensuring your home is sold for the most money, in the least amount of time and for the best possible terms. Why? It spells out, in detail, all the finer points of selling your home in today’s market.

3.  Out With the Old!family_heirloom_3

While the shelves full of novelties, mementos and family photos are treasures to you, prospective buyers need a “clean landscape” in which to envision their own personal possessions.  Clear away the clutter, box up the personal items and store them.  This presents a better “showplace” and also safeguards those items precious to you when your property is being reviewed by potential buyers.

4.  Grading on the “Curb.”

curbappeal“Curb Appeal” has never been more important than in a changing market.  First impressions are everything and your home can be a masterpiece inside but if your outside is drab, dirty, cluttered or unkempt you can be sure that your prospective buyers will drive on by. Polish or replace hardware such as door knockers, knobs and light fixtures.  Plant colorful flowers in the beds, trim hedges, keep your lawn tidy and consider a nice accent piece for your porch.  If your door looks faded or chipped, bring it back to life with a fresh “sand and paint” job!

5.  Make Certain Your Home is Properly Staged

Consider hiring a professional to “stage” your house before prospective buyers begin coming through your door, especially if your house has been vacant for a while.  A professional stager will generally charge between $1,000 and $2,000, and arrange home furnishings so that prospects can more easily envision their own furniture in the house.  At the same time, an experienced stager can add a touch of class to your home.  We at NextHome E-Realty offer a free two hour session with a local Home Staging company with every listing.

6.  Don’t Forget Financial Incentives

Offer buyer’s agents a bonus for bringing a ready willing and able buyer to close.  Offer buyers closing cost assistance.  Closing cost assistance is especially attractive now that credit has tightened significantly and there are only a few 100% loan options.

As a real estate professional, know that I’m always here to help.  Whether you have questions regarding the shifting market, how to best show your property or even want to learn how much your home is worth today – I can help you find the answers.  Call me – I’m a resource you can count on and an advocate you can trust.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PAINT FINISH

Why all the different paint types?

It can be intimidating to stand in front of the paint swatches at the paint or hardware store and try to make a decision. Picking a color can be difficult enough—and then you have to choose the finish. Choosing the color is up to you, but here’s a simple guide to choosing the correct finish for your project.

High Gloss
High gloss paint has the most sheen, and will be the most durable. That durability is best suited for the kitchen, on surfaces like cabinets, door frames, and window trim. It’s best to avoid using high gloss on walls, because it will be too reflective.high gloss

Semi-Gloss
It’s not as shiny as high gloss, but it’s still great for kitchens and bathrooms, because the sheen protects from drips, splatters, and other moisture.

Satin
Satin has a velvet-like look, but is still a durable finish, and works best in high-traffic areas. Be careful when applying, because satin paint will reveal sloppy brush strokes.

Eggshell and flat
These finishes have the least amount of sheen, and are the least durable. They’re great for hiding imperfections in your walls, but the low durability means they should be avoided if the room is subject to wear and tear from kids or pets. Use these paints in dining rooms, bedrooms, and other low-traffic rooms.paint-finishes-flat-satin-semi-gloss

 

You Don’t Want to Wait

5 Ways It Could Cost You and Why You Don’t Want To Wait To Put Your Property On The Market

It might be more convenient to wait to put your property on the market for various reasons.  If you knew that by waiting, you could be costing yourself $3,000 or more, would you still want to wait?  Part of the reason you hire a professional is to provide you with the facts so you can make an informed decision.  So here are 5 reasons you don’t want to wait or you could be to late for the best deal.alice rabbit

Interest Rates

Over history, interest rates have fluctuated up and down.  No one can guarantee interest will be in the months to come.  Currently, we know what the rates are.  If rates increase to much, buyers are knocked out of the marketplace.  The pool of  buyers in the marketplace decreases as the interest rates go up. Which then in turn changes your chances of finding a buyer willing to pay your price.  You can’t predict what’s going to happen with interest rates.  Nobody can.  There is an advantage in dealing with a known set of circumstances.

New Property Could Cost More

If you’re buying a new property that’s more expensive, you could cost yourself plenty.  For Example, let’s say you’re selling a $100,000 property and looking to buy a $150,000 property.  If both properties appreciate ar the same rate of 3% over the next 6 months, you gain $3,000 on your existing property.  However, the $150,000 property will now cost you $154,500.  A net loss of $1,500.

Time Is On Your Side

The very fact that you have time on your side could save you thousands.  Many sellers that have waited have put themselves in a “Have to” sell situation, and have to accept an offer for less than what they wanted.  The fact is when you have time on your side, you won’t feel pressured to accept an offer that’s less than what you want.

Supply And Demand

Right now in the marketplace there are a certain number of buyers and a certain number of sellers.  We are currently dealing with a known set of circumstances.  There is no guarantee that in a few weeks, or a few months, there might be fewer buyers or more sellers.  Either way, by waiting, you are taking a gamble with accomplishing your real estate objectives.

Tax Changes

Currently we enjoy a number of benefits for owning property.  See your accountant for tax advice.  Should the federal government decide to change capital gains or interest deductions, you could risk the current tax advantages which we currently enjoy.  The only thing that never changes is change itself.

 

Pitfalls of Overpricing

6 Pitfalls of Overpricing your House

pricing-pyramid

When it comes to getting the most money for your house with the lease headaches in the shortest amount of time, nothing can stop that process faster than overpricing your house.  In fact, it’s the number one reason houses don’t sell.

As a real estate professional committed to happy clients who are eager to get the most from their investment, sharing this must know information with potential sellers in on the tip of my to-do list.

The National Association of Realtors released a study earlier this month that not only reported an increase in home values of 6% from the same time last year, but it also reported that half of homes were on the market for less than 30 days.

 Timing is Everything:

Very often a seller will ask, “We can always come down later – Right?”

Historically when your house goes on the market, the greatest potential for buyer traffic is in the first 30 days.  By pricing it high with the intention of dropping the price later, you are completely bypassing your best candidates for buyers.

Showings Shut Out:

Agents have an obligation to do what is best for their clients.  Clearly, showing overpriced listings does not fall into that criterion.  Agents will choose to show properties that are with in their buyer’s price range and that meet the current Fair Market Value.

Benefits the Competition:

Unfortunately, when a home is overpriced, it not only sits on the market but it acts as a selling point for the market-priced homes.  It’s a cue to buyer’s to say, “I can get the same house for less down the street!”

Lender Trouble:

Even if an agent agrees to list your house too high, and even if you were to find a buyer willing to pay more – these are both BIG IFS – today’s lenders are extraordinarily cautious now.  They base their loans on accurate appraisals and appraisers must base their price on comparable properties that have sold.

Time on the Market:Time-on-Market

Overpriced houses will simply sit on the market.  Unfortunately, extended time on the market forces the question in a buyer’s mind of the possible bigger problems looming within the walls of the property.  Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.  What’s the first two things a buyer asks their agent when they consider a property?  What’s the price and how long has it been on the market?

Lower Proceeds:

Unfortunately, when a house starts its listing life overpriced, it almost always sells for less than market value.  With few buyers to choose from, zero leverage because of time on the market, too high an asking price, and carrying the cost to maintain the property; most sellers find themselves getting the least from their investment rather than the most.

 

 

5 Factors That Cause Your Property NOT to Sell

What makes a Property not to Sell

What makes one property sell and another one doesn’t?  What makes one sell in less than 30 days and what makes one sit on the market for what seems to be an eternity?  Below is a list of the top 5 causes for a property not to sell.

1.  Location!location

Over history it’s been said that there are only three things to look for in buying a property.

  1.   Location
  2.   Location
  3.   Location

There are positive and negative factors to almost every location.

Let’s say your property is right next door to a fire station.

You need the kind of marketing professional that can sell the benefits of not having to worry about your new home burning down, having EMT service practically at your door step or perhaps just the savings on fire insurance.   No matter where your property may be located, there is a ready, willing, and able buyer in the marketplace.  You just have to be creative and sell the benefits.

2.  Condition

Making a good impression is important in getting a property sold.

Painting the front door and trim

Making sure the doorbell works

Puting furniture and clothing in storage

Cluttered_Kitchen_Counter_StoveCleaning off countertops

These are just a few of the little things I suggest to my clients to make their property more marketable.

I would be more than happy to provide you with a Merchandising Review free of charge.  A Merchandising Review is a list of 18 factors that cause properties to sell.  I spend the extra time necessary with every client to assure all the little details are taken care of.  It’s that attention to detail that sets me apart and enables me to get properties sold.

3.  Price

How soon you want to sell has a direct relationship to the price you will recieve on your property.  A very important statistic to look at when pricing your property properly is the percentage of average sales price to list price.  Another good indicator is the average sold price per square foot for your area.  pricepft2These give you a realistic guideline as to what’s really happening in your marketplace.  It may not be what you want to hear; however, the Sold properties in your area are the ones that determine the “going rate”.

4.  Terms

Are you flexible as to the possession date?

Many times serious buyers that are relocating to an area only look at those properties that offer immediate possession.

Are you willing to assist the buyer with financing?

Sometimes a seller who is willing to assist with financing will help the property sell.

Are you buying another property?

If you are willing to consider trading part or all of your equity in the other property, to make your property more attractive in the market place.

5.  The Agent and the Company You Select

I pride myself on selling properties that other agents couldn’t sell.  I understand the frustrations involved when sellers are not able to accomplish their real estate objectives.  If you’re serious about selling and not just listing your property, call me today.  I will give you an honest evaluation of what it is going to take to get your property sold.Listing Agent Promo - Deborah Sharp

 

 

 

Customer or Client?

 Customer or Client?

What’s the difference?

Have you ever had a REALTOR say that your their Customer or Client?  There is a lot of confusion over this wording.  Do you know what the REALTOR means when they say that you are “their Client”?  What about a Customer?  Do you REALLY know the difference?  Who does it benefit you to be a Client versus a Customer?  I will try to explain…..

If you are the Buyer:

  • If you’re a client, a buyer’s agent will seek to negotiate the most favorable transaction terms for you—and will not disclose any material facts about your situation that could hurt your negotiating position.
  • If, however, you are only a customer, a buyer’s rep may not be in a position to answer even basic questions, such as “Why are they selling?” or “Is this home priced competitively?” This is because they are acting instead as a sub-agent for the seller.

YOUR SERVICES WILL VARY, DEPENDING ON YOUR STATUS.

If you are a CLIENT (fiduciary relationship), your agent will:

Pay full attention to your needs

Tell you all that they know about the seller

Keep information about you confidentialsurvey

Focus on choices that satisfy your needs

Provide material facts as well as professional advice

Provide price counseling based on comparable properties and their professional insights

Protect and guide you

Negotiate on your behalf

Attempt to solve problems to your advantage and satisfaction

If you are a CUSTOMER (no fiduciary relationship), an agent will:

dollarMaintain loyalty to the seller’s needs

Tell the seller all that they know about you

Keep information about the seller confidential

Focus on the seller-client’s property

Provide just the material facts

Only provide price information that supports the seller’s listing price

Protect the seller

Negotiate on behalf of the seller

Attempt to solve problems to the seller’s advantage and satisfaction

* Note that not every state or Agency requires a signed Buyer’s Representation Agreement to create an agency relationship. In some cases, an agency relationship can be formed if both parties simply behave as if one exists.

 

Is a Major Home Renovation Worth It in the Long Run?

Is a Major Home Renovation Worth It in the Long Run? | Simplifying The Market

Last week, we shared 7 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Home To Retire In. For some homeowners, these seven factors can be taken into account with a home renovation, but is it worth it to remodel or change floor plans?

Let’s look at this example.

Let’s say you have a 4-bedroom colonial style home in a great school district. The neighborhood is amazing, and you are very comfortable there, but your kids are all grown up and the original benefits of the home no longer apply.

You’ve always wanted a huge master suite and are considering merging 3 of the smaller bedrooms on the second floor to achieve this dream.

In the short term, you are over the moon excited about your newly renovated oasis.

In the long term, when you go to sell your home down the road, you’ve now taken a 4-bedroom home in a great school district and turned it into a 2-bedroom home. Your pool of potential buyers has shrunk significantly and so has the value of your home (unless you are able to find someone who has the exact needs you have today!).

Why not consider listing your 4-bedroom home now and moving into a gorgeous 2-bedroom with a master suite? Your house can become a home for the next family looking for that perfect neighborhood with a great school district to raise their kids in!

You may even be able to achieve your dream in the same area you love, without having to give up your favorite restaurants and grocery stores.

Bottom Line

If you are debating a major renovation that would change the layout of your home, before you pick up that sledgehammer, let’s get together and discuss the available listings in our area that might meet your needs today!

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In | Simplifying The Market

Choosing the home to retire in

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. Pets

“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”

Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. Mobility

“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. Convenience

“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Bottom Line

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!