Thursday, August 23, 2007

Revenge of the Buyers

Oh yes...It's your time in the sun NOW first time homebuyers. Bask in your new found power and get out there and buy your house!

Reasonable sellers (even if it takes them several months to get to that point), the re-birth of seller's assist, and your prime position of having no home to sell make this a great time to buy. If you've been thinking about buying a home, I'd really suggest that you get serious about it now, especially if you need some help in the mortgage department.

We are starting to see a move towards old practice lending - you're going to need a reportable income, money down, and good credit to secure financing. If you need a no doc loan, or 100% financing, they can still be found, but the volatility of the mortgage market may make them more difficult to get in the future.

My suggestion: work with a responsible, seasoned mortgage lender (and I happen to have a great one - shoot me an email if you want his contact info) who will get you what you need without getting you into trouble and go shopping!

"What's that smell?" and 4 other things that run off Buyers...

Five of the quickest ways to drive Buyers out of your house...

1. Cooking smells, including: tuna fish (blech!), bacon, garlic, deep fry oil, etc. If you can still smell it after you've cleaned up, you shouldn't be making it while the house is on the market. Coffee and cinnamon buns? Good. Hot Dogs and Sauerkraut? Baaaaaad.

2. Giving Buyers a "tour" of your home. Buyers HATE (I mean really HATE) having the homeowner following them around telling them about the house. They really want to check out your closet and cabinet space, and to do it while you're there is rude for some reason. Besides, it always comes across as a little...desperate.

3. This is a touchy one...anything really personal that would make someone else uncomfortable. Nude portraits (even tasteful ones) above your bed, shrines to deceased loved ones, self-help books, etc. If it's private, remove it.

4. Animals freely roaming the house. I'm desperately afraid of birds. I once ran out of a house crying because some large parroty type thing squawked and dive bombed me. Once your animal scares someone, they spend the rest of the tour worrying about when BooBoo is going to eat them alive, rather than looking at your house.

5. Not wiping down the kitchen and baths. Your house should be spotless while showing (har har) but at the very least, make sure that the kitchen and bathrooms have been wiped down before a showing. A kitchen counter with crumbs or a bathroom with toothpaste on the sink or (ahem!) on the toilet seat gives the impression that the house isn't just "lived in" but "gross."

Want more? Shoot me an email and I'll regale you with more horror stories from my showings...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Seller's Assist and the "But THEY got $ for their house!"

Do you know that the price listed as the "sales price" in the Real Estate Transactions in the paper is sometimes $5-10-15 THOUSAND dollars less than the true sales price?

In today's real estate climate, we are seeing the rebirth of "Seller's Assist." This is when the Buyer offers you a certain price for the home with the agreement that you are going to "kick back" some of the money at settlement to go towards their closing costs (or mortgage discount points, or repairs, or "decorating allowances"). It's important when you are pricing your home for sale that you get the NET sold price - the sale price minus any credits.

In the past few Comparative Market Analysis that I have done, I've had at least 2 of the comparative properties have some sort of credit given at settlement. It's important that you know that the price published in the paper is often grossly different from what the Seller walked away from the table with.

Have a question regarding Seller's Assist, or want to check the net sold price of a recent sale in your area? Shoot me an email and I'll get you the information!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Open Houses and Agency

The inaugural blog...the pressure is overwhelming! What to talk about? Myself? Selling Real Estate? Buying Real Estate? I guess I'll just pick a topic and run with it...

How about a quick comment on open houses, since the weekend is coming up?

If you're working with a REALTOR, or you have someone in mind who you would like to work with, it's pretty critical that you let the agent working the open house know that. If not, the agent working the open house can refuse to pay YOUR agent a commission (and your agent isn't going to work for free). Agents get paid by being the "procuring cause" (or the person who finds the Buyer) NOT for writing the contract.

Now, as a professional courtesy, most agents will honor agency if they're informed up front that you're working with someone, but you can sometimes run into a problem when you try to bring in your own REALTOR later on.

Also,you don't have to use the Open House Agent if you don't have a REALTOR and you love the house. If you don't want to have that agent representing both you and the Seller in the transaction (or you just don't like the agent!) ask them to refer you to another agent to act as your Buyer's Agent for the transaction.

Happy Open Housing!