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How to Sell Your House For the Most Money In the Shortest Possible Time

Your imagination is the most powerful tool you have to improve the value of your property – and it’s free. Here’s how: Step out of your own shoes and step into your potential buyer’s shoes. Then take a good, realistic look at your house and property, and consider: Is it appealing? Can you imagine yourself living there comfortably? Or do you imagine yourself putting in a lot of work to make the house and property acceptable?

Most buyers are interested in three things about a property they’re considering

¨      Visual appeal (landscaping, spaciousness, cleanliness, color, lack of clutter)

¨      Maintenance (everything in working order, nothing to repair or paint)

¨      Safety (locks and deadbolts, burglar/fire alarm systems, busyness of the neighborhood)

 

If a potential buyer can’t form a good mental picture of living in your house – no sale! With this in mind, you’ll want to give your property a good, hard look from the outside in. You want to create a fabulous first impression so everyone will want to come inside.

 

What to Look For On the Outside

¨      Roof and gutters: When buyers look at your house from their car, about 30 percent of what they see is your roof. Be certain it’s in good repair.

¨      Landscaping: A well-manicured yard and a smooth, even driveway reassure potential buyers that you care about your property. A yard free of mud and weeds suggests a good sprinkler system and low maintenance.

¨      Paint and siding: Neutral colors and a clean appearance are important. Consider repainting or power-washing both your house and roof.

¨      Porch or covered patio: Make sure it’s clean and uncluttered.

¨      Fence: Fencing should be in good repair.

 

What to Look For On the Inside

¨      Kitchen: Regardless of your kitchen size, you can make it feel spacious: Remove appliances and gadgets from your counter tops and store them. Repair broken or cracked counters.

¨      Bathrooms: Replace faucets, medicine cabinet, and towel racks if necessary; be certain the bathrooms are spotless and fresh-smelling.

¨      Master Bedroom: Spaciousness and décor are important. Remove and store nonessential furniture.

¨      Flooring: An investment in new carpeting almost always increases the perceived value of a home. Select a neutral color of medium-grade carpeting and padding. Replace cracked and broken tiles.

¨      Wall covering: A fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Always use neutral or soft, warm colors. Avoid wallpaper.

¨      Personal touches: Eclectic personal touches may distract potential buyers.

 

Deciding What to Do First

The most important thing to think about first is this: Fix what you can see! Cosmetic changes, regardless of the cost, will make a world of difference when it comes time to sell. Whatever you saw when you put on your potential buyer’s shoes, that’s what you do first, from the outside in.

Keep in mind that you want the best return on your investment. When you make cosmetic changes, you maximize popular appeal. People will see what looks great, and they’ll picture themselves living there. Conversely if your home looks untended, people will imagine how much work they have to do – again, no sale!

The cost of such a project might frighten you; however, think about the cost of not doing it. If it costs $2,000 to repair your roof and gutters and you balk at the price, think again. The same roof repair will probably decrease your asking price by $4,000 when a buyer begins to negotiate. Ask your Realtor for guidance.

How to Buy a Home With (Little or) No Money Down

Of course you want to buy a home in Ottawa with zero down payment. Who doesn’t?

Here’s exactly how you do it:

Many people never buy the home of their dreams simply because they don’t think they have enough money for the down payment. They’ve been told through the years that they need 10 percent or 20 percent of the purchase price in order to buy a home. Well, this simply isn’t true.

So why have so many real estate companies told them this?

Quite honestly, it’s because selling homes to people with 10 percent or 20 percent down is easier than selling homes to people who have little or no money for a down payment. Most real estate salespeople would rather go after the “easy sale” than try to help people who have special needs.

As a By Referral Only Consultant, my mission is clear: To Help People. That’s why we’ve created this special report and sent it to you with no obligation.

This report is specially designed for people with good credit and a good income, but who just don’t have much money for a down payment.

 

Option 1: Seller Financing

Some sellers may be willing to hold a second mortgage for you as a seller “take-back.” In this case, the seller becomes your lending institution. Instead of your paying this seller the full amount for the price of the home, and then making payments, you would be making monthly mortgage installments directly to the seller. It’s not unusual to find a seller who is willing to help you out, and in this case, it’s a win-win situation for all parties.

 

Option 2: Using A Tax Refund For A Cash Down Payment

By borrowing money for certain investments to a specified level, you may be able to generate a significant tax refund for yourself, and then you can use that refund as a down payment on your new house. While the money borrowed for these investments is technically a loan, the monthly amount paid can be small, and the money invested in both home and investment will be yours in the end.

 

Option 3: Special Loan Programs

Special loan programs come and go quickly.

So, how do you find out what type of loan programs are available for you right now? The best way is to work with an experienced mortgage consultant who keeps up to speed on these special programs. If you don’t know of one, I work with at least three such mortgage professionals and I would be happy to refer you to one of them, depending on your particular needs.

 

Option 4: Owner Financing

Owner financing means exactly that: The owner (or seller) finances a portion of your home purchase. For example, you might borrow 80 percent of the value of a home from a lending institution, and “borrow” the other 20 percent from the owner. In this situation, the owner “carries back” a second mortgage.

Owner financing can be advantageous, especially to investors who buy up properties and then rent them out. For the average home buyer, however, owner financing is difficult to find and requires some tricky negotiating. Even after successfully negotiating a transaction, it requires some detailed work by qualified attorneys in order to protect the interests of all parties involved.

While you shouldn’t rule out owner financing, keep in mind that by looking for someone who is willing to help finance your purchase, you severely limit your choices. There are a lot of houses for sale today, but not a lot where owner financing is an option.

 

Option 5: Lease-To-Own

With a lease-to-own, you essentially lease a home, but make larger payments in order to begin accumulating a down payment. For example, if a house would normally lease for $800, you might lease it for $1,000/month, with $200/month going into a special account. At the end of a specified period, you buy the home using the money in that special account as your down payment. However, if you decide somewhere along the line not to purchase the home, all of the money in the special account then goes to the seller.

Think of this option as renting with a forced savings account. If you can find someone willing to do this, it’s not a bad option. However, most people who are selling their homes need their money out of it in order to buy their next home, so finding someone who is willing to lease to you may prove more difficult.

 

Where To Begin

Now that you have five good options for buying a home for little or no money down, where is the best place to begin?

The first step is getting pre-qualified. And the best way to get pre-qualified is to let me refer you to a Mortgage Consultant who is dedicated to helping people like you get into the home of your dreams.

I do more than help you get financed!

Financing is only the first step in the home buying process. I am dedicated to helping you through the entire process, delivering world-class service all along the way. We can help you find the right home, negotiate the right terms, and then make sure that you actually get to the closing table. It’s all part of our Preferred Buyer’s Program, which you can join for FREE!

If you’d like to know more about your financing options and my Preferred Buyer’s Program, be sure to call me today.

Protect Your Home from Burglars

This article provides practical and effective techniques for securing your home and protecting your family from intruders. The report highlights the safety of doors, windows, alarm systems, and general security.

Doors:

  • Choose strong and sturdy solid wood or metal exterior doors.
  • Mount the hinges on the inside, so someone can’t remove your doors from the outside.
  • If there’s a mail slot in your door, make sure that it’s small enough to prevent a person from reaching in and grasping the doorknob or lock. If you have a pet door, investigate ways to secure the door. For example, there are now pet doors that open only when activated by a microchip in your pet’s collar.
  • For sliding glass doors, install a pin where the frames overlap to prevent the door from opening.
  • Change or re-key your locks when you move into a new or existing home. The former owners (or tradespeople) may have shared their keys with others.

Windows:

  • Don’t use crescent or “butterfly” latches to secure double-hung windows; they can be pried open easily with a knife.       Use a do-it-yourself nail or bolt window stop instead. Drill the hole for the stop at a slight downward angle to prevent a burglar from using pressure to jiggle the pin out of the hole.
  • Laminated glass windows (which can be cut only from one side) prevent an intruder from cutting glass to gain entry. Laminated security glass products can be customized for virtually any application, regardless of requirements for heat-transfer, visibility, or aesthetics. They are especially effective in front-door windows and sidelights.
  • Filming a window to reduce heat from direct sunlight does not make it stronger.
  • Lock windows when not in use.

Alarm Systems:

According to the FBI, homes equipped with centrally monitored alarm systems are 15 times less likely to be targets of break-ins. These guidelines will help you choose one that’s right for your security needs.

1. Determine how much protection you need.

The goal of a residential security system is to detect an intruder as early as possible, alert the home’s occupants to his presence, and scare him away before he does any harm. Progressive layers of protection accomplish this goal. Imagine four concentric circles around your house:

  • Center circle: Your family and your most valuable possessions.
  • Second circle: The interior of your home.
  • Third circle: The exterior shell of your home.
  • Fourth circle: The property around your home.

For most people, a system that protects the second and third circles is both effective and cost-efficient. This involves installing sensors on the windows and exterior doors, and interior motion detectors as backup to the point-of-entry protection. The additional cost of protecting the innermost circle adds spot protection for high-value areas, such as a security closet or safe, and may include a 24-hour panic button. At the outermost circle of protection, motion sensors let you know when someone enters your property. Unless you live in a remote or concealed location, this protection may be more than you need when balanced against the equipment and installation costs.

2. Decide how you want the system to respond.

At a minimum, include one interior siren to scare off the burglar and alert you to the situation. You may want to add an exterior siren so your neighbors will hear your activated alarm. Some systems include automatic, silent monitoring, meaning they send a signal to a central station where operators notify the police, fire department, or security company.

3. Choose an alarm system.

A basic alarm system consists of a low-voltage electrical circuit with sensors installed on doors and windows. When someone opens a door or window, it interrupts the flow of electricity through a sensor and activates a siren or flashing light. Many systems also include motion detectors. When something moves within the detector’s range, an alarm sounds.

Electronic alarm systems come in two basic types:

  1. Wired systems (with concealed wires in the walls and crawl spaces) require running low-voltage electrical wires from a master control panel to doors and windows, motion detectors, keypads, and sirens.
  2. Wireless systems use miniature radio transmitters instead of wires, and require very little drilling and no special tools to install. You can take a wireless system with you when you move. A wireless system is a better do-it-yourself choice.

Optional enhancements are available in both wired and wireless systems – from motion detectors that can’t be tripped by pets to remote access that allows you to check the system by phone from a distant location.

4. Compare prices.

Get bids from two or three reputable security companies in your area. Compare the installation charges, annual inspection costs, and monthly fees (for monitored systems). Also, check with your insurance agent to see if you’ll receive a discount for installing a certain type of system.

5. Use it right.

Alarm systems are only a part of good home security. Make sure that all the people who live in your home understand how to use your electronic system. Check your protective devices periodically to ensure they’re in working order.

General Tips:

  • Pay attention to equipment that allows easy access to second-floor windows or balconies. If you’re remodeling or painting the exterior of your home, put ladders away at the end of each day.
  • Make it difficult for an intruder to hide; trim bushes and trees to allow maximum exposure of windows and doorways.
  • Motion-detection lights on all sides of the house make your home less inviting to burglars.
  • Don’t hide your house key outside. If a family member habitually loses or forgets his or her key, consider giving a set of keys to a trustworthy neighbor, or hanging the key on a long chain that a child can wear around the neck.
  • Lower the ring volume of your telephone so someone can’t hear it outside your house. (An unanswered phone may indicate that no one’s home.)
  • Don’t enter if it appears someone has burglarized your home; call the police from a cell phone or neighbor’s house.

Content provided by Better Homes and Gardens from the HomeAdvisor.msn.com Web site.

Making the Move Easy On the Kids

Most often, a move represents an important step forward for the adults in the family because of a new job, promotion, transfer to a different office, or financial success has allowed them to buy a more comfortable house in a different neighborhood.

Moving from one house to another is seldom easy and enjoyable for adults (who chose to move), and can be especially troubling for children (who prefer to stay where they are). But if parents are mindful of their children’s concerns and needs, they can minimize distress and discomfort.

A Move Affects Children and Adults Differently

People typically live in a house for about five years and then move on as their jobs and incomes allow. Five years is a small percentage of an adult’s life, but it’s half the lifetime of a 10-year old: It includes almost all the years he or she can remember. It may be the only home the child’s ever known, and the place s/he feels most safe and comfortable.

A house is much more than a place to live to children. It’s the center of their world, associated with familiar activities, sights, and sounds. A move threatens a child’s security and leaves something unknown in its place. Their friends, and the familiar streets, schools, shops, trees and parks are gone. The new neighborhood is someone else’s world.

The impact of a move on a child starts about the time he or she first hears about it, and often continues until the new house becomes home. It’s not necessary to tell young children about this big change immediately, although they must hear about it from their parents before someone else tells them.

Expect that your children may be even more distressed after the move. The new house will not be comfortable or beautiful the night the moving van leaves, or for months after. The furniture won’t fit the rooms, and the floor will be covered with half-unpacked boxes. The children won’t know anyone at school and, if you move during the summer, they may have little opportunity to meet others their age. They’ll need your help: Plan ahead to support and comfort them and ease the stress of the move.

Easing the Stress of the Move

Young Children Have Special Needs

Describe the move in a truthful, positive way. Tell upbeat stories about the benefits of the new house and location. Plan together to make the new setting feel like home:

  • Ask about their favorite activities (e.g., soccer), and plan to investigate youth programs in the new community.
  • Ask what they like best about the present house (e.g., the swimming pool) and assure them that you’ll find a place for them to swim in the new town.
  • Ask what they like best about the neighborhood (e.g., their friends), and make plans to invite the children on the block to a Welcome To the Neighborhood Party once you’ve settled in.
  • Ask what they like the most about their school (e.g., their teacher), and let them know that you’ll request a tour of their new school and a chance to meet their teacher beforehand.
  • Ask what they like most about their community (e.g., the video game parlor), and assure them that those activities will be available in the new location.
  • Use children’s literature. Books can help children prepare for and understand difficult situations. Story characters who model successful coping strategies are an excellent resource for children.
  • If the new home is too far away for the entire family to visit, show the children pictures of the house, yard, and neighborhood. Videotape it if you can. Include pictures of each child’s new room.
  • Ask the children to name the house with an inviting description, like “Oak Hill,” for the big trees and sloping lawn.

Young children need protection from fear of the unknown. Listen carefully to their concerns and respond quickly to relieve their apprehensions. It’s normal, for instance, for a young child to worry that his or her toy box and shelf of stuffed animals might be left behind. Uncover those anxieties by actively involving your children in the process.

  • Don’t just promise to let them decorate their own rooms – take them to the paint store and let them bring home color swatches. Shop together for bedspreads and towels and carpets.
  • They must leave old friends behind. Plan a going-away party and let them invite their own guests to bring closure to that parting.
  • Take pictures of everyone and make a photo album. If a child is old enough, send him or her out with a roll of film in the camera and the assignment to photograph the scenes he’ll want to remember.
  • Give each of them a long-distance telephone call allowance so they can keep in touch with people who are important to them.
  • Buy a stack of picture postcards that show positive views of your new community and encourage them to write messages to the friends and relatives they left behind.
  • Try to pack children’s things last and include them in the packing process.
  • Keep security objects such as a favorite teddy bear or blanket close by. Keep your routine as normal as possible. Regular eating and nap times are important.

Encourage children to get outside and get to know the people and the neighborhood. Encourage older children to distribute fliers for babysitting, lawn care, or car washing. Encourage them to participate in school activities that appeal to them. Get them on sports teams and into clubs. Throw a housewarming party for yourselves and invite all the adults and children on the block.

Teenagers

Most teenagers see themselves as adult members of the family, and may feel disrespected if they don’t hear about the move early in the process. Also, they’ll need time to work through the ordeal of leaving their friends. Ending relationships and saying goodbyes takes time, and is best done before the move. Some relationships will be extremely difficult to bring to an end, and these will require thoughtful, personalized planning. How, for instance, do you move a 17-year-old a thousand miles from her steady boyfriend?

Even though teens seem more advanced in their social skills, they may worry a lot about making friends and fitting in. Visit their new school and check out local activities and employment opportunities for young people.

Communities have their own culture and way of doing things, and this is often reflected in the way teens dress. How they look is really important to teens. Before spending money on a new school wardrobe, your teen may want to observe what’s “in.” Purchasing a few new outfits can often help a teen feel more comfortable.

It’s particularly important to let teens known that you want to hear about, and respect, their concerns. Blanket assurances may seem to your teen like you’re dismissing his or her feelings. It may help to explain that the move is a type of rehearsal for future changes, like college or a new job.

At any age, get help if emotional problems arise. Ask a teacher for assistance. Consider professional counseling. Don’t let a serious problem slide.

Eventually, the strangeness and temporary discomforts should diminish. New friends will become good friends. The new house may become the family gathering place that your grandchildren will visit on holidays. In the long run, everything will work out fine.

How Sellers Price Their Homes In Ottawa

How Much Should I Offer?

Clients often ask, “How much under the listing price should we offer?”

The best way to understand market value is through comparative research. Professional real estate consultants review and study at least 40 to 60 listings, visit 10 to 20, and inspect 5 to10 properties to develop a sense of relative worth for properties in a given area.

Additionally, a professional appraisal factors into determining the fair market value of the home. An appraisal protects you because Lenders want to make sure that you don’t overpay for a home. If the home value does not meet the sale price in the eyes of the appraiser, they’ll let you know. At that time, the Realtor can renegotiate the sale price or void the agreement and refund your earnest money deposit.

There are four basic factors that influence how sellers price their homes.

1. Sellers Get Poor Advice

Some real estate agents inflate the value of the seller’s home in an effort to obtain the listing. There’s a natural tendency on the part of sellers to list with the real estate agent who gives them the promise of the highest selling price.

When homes are overpriced, they

  • Stay on the market longer
  • May not sell
  1. Sellers Set an Unrealistic Price for Emotional Reasons

These sellers believe their home is worth every penny of their asking price for personal reasons. Sometimes they lose their objectivity and focus on features that seem more valuable to them (rather than to the buyer). For example, the suede wall-covering in the master bedroom may not appeal to potential buyers.

Additionally, some sellers, anticipating reticence to buy, feel it’s a good idea to leave a little “negotiating” room in the asking price.

3. Sellers Price their Home at Fair Market Value

These sellers carefully and realistically study other homes for sale, and may consult with a real estate professional. They price their home competitively, and it usually sells quickly at (or very near) the asking price.

4. Sellers are Motivated to Sell

When sellers want a fast sale, they price their home below fair market value. These homes usually sell right away, at or above the listed price. There are usually competing offers.

Five Deadly Mistakes Home Sellers Make In Ottawa

Sooner or later, most homeowners will be in a position to sell their home. This report summarizes the top five mistakes that home sellers make, simply because the experience is new to them.

Mistake #1. Using a Real Estate Agent Instead Of a Realtor When you’re looking for help buying or selling property, it’s important to remember that the terms “real estate agent” and “Realtor” are not synonymous.

–  To be a Realtor, you must be a member in good standing of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The equivalent organization in Canada is the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Both are non-profit trade organizations that promote real estate information, education and professional standards.

–  NAR and CREA members adhere to a strict code of ethics founded on the principle of providing fair and honest service to all consumers. Realtor business practices are monitored at local levels. Arbitration and disciplinary systems are in place to address complaints from the public or board members. This local monitoring keeps Realtors directly accountable to the individual consumers they serve.

–  The National Association of Realtors also has earned a strong reputation for actively championing private property rights and working to make home ownership affordable and accessible.

Mistake #2. Failing to Maximize the “Curb Appeal” of Your Home When you’re preparing your house for sale, remember the importance of first impressions. A buyer’s first impression can determine whether they’ll choose to look inside. It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of shoppers decide to purchase a home even before they get out of their car. With that in mind, be sure to stand outside your home and take a realistic “fresh look.” Then ask yourself (and your Realtor) what you can do to enhance the “curb appeal.” It could make a significant difference in your final sales price as well as the speed of your sale. Mistake #3. Not Appreciating the Buyer’s Point of View

Unreasonable though it may be, a prospective buyer would like to see a perfect home from top to bottom and inside and out. To improve the likelihood of an easy, fast and profitable home sale, we suggest that you attend to the following items:

On the outside

  1. Sweep the front walkway.
  2. Remove newspapers, bikes and toys.
  3. Park extra cars away from the property.
  4. Trim back the shrubs.
  5. Apply fresh, clean paint on your home, wooden fence, and outbuildings.
  6. Clean windows and window coverings.
  7. Maintain sprinkler systems.
  8. Maintain sealants around windows and doors.
  9. Make sure roof and gutters are clean and in good condition.
  10. Mow the lawn frequently and plant flowers.
  11. Keep pet areas clean.
  12. Take down out-of-season decorations.

On the inside

  1. The kitchen and bathroom should look and smell clean.
  2. Vacuum rugs and carpets (and have them professionally cleaned, if necessary).
  3. Place fresh flowers in the main rooms.
  4. Put away dishes, unless setting a formal display for decoration.
  5. Make all beds and put away clothing.
  6. Open drapes and turn on lights for a brighter feel.
  7. Straighten closets.
  8. Put away toys.
  9. Turn off televisions.
  10. Play soft music on the radio/stereo.
  11. Keep pets out of the way and pet areas clean and odor-free.
  12. Secure jewelry, cash, prescription medication and other valuables.
  13. Consider removing unnecessary furniture and appliances from counter tops to create a greater sense of space.
  14. Consider baking cookies or lighting scented candles to create a homey atmosphere.

Mistake #4. Thinking You Need To be In the Home to Provide Details to Prospective Buyers Allow your Realtor to do his or her job without you on site. Most potential buyers feel more comfortable if they can speak freely to the real estate professional without the owner present. If people unaccompanied by an agent would like to see your property, refer them to your real estate professional for an appointment. Mistake #5. Over-Pricing Your Home Perhaps the most challenging aspect of selling a home is listing it at the correct price. It’s one of several areas where the assistance of a skilled real estate consultant can pay for itself versus trying to sell your home yourself.

If the listing price is too high, you’ll miss out on a percentage of buyers looking in the range where your home should be priced. Some people think that if they leave some “wiggle room” in the price, they’ll always have the opportunity to negotiate and accept a lower offer. However, chances are the offers won’t even come in, because the buyers who would be most interested in your home have been scared off by the price, and won’t even take the time to consider it. By the time you correct the price, you’ve already missed exposure to a group of potential buyers.

The listing price becomes even trickier to set when prices are quickly rising or falling. It’s critical to be aware of where and how fast the market is moving – both when setting the price and when negotiating an offer. An experienced, well-trained real estate consultant is always in touch with market trends – often even to a greater extent than appraisers, who typically focus on what a property is worth if sold as is, right now.

How to Stop Spending Money on Rent and Own a Home Instead

If you’ve always rented a place to live, buying a home can seem like a monumental undertaking. This report breaks down this home buying process into clear steps.

Seven Steps to Transition from Renter to Homeowner

 

Step One: Identify Your Needs and Wants

Begin your search by considering the kind of home you need and want. Write down your specific requirements, such as the number of bedrooms, size of yard, floor plan, location, schools, etc.

 

Step Two: Determine How Much You Can Realistically Afford

Consider your budget and financial obligations. Decide what monthly house payment you can really afford. Most mortgage consultants advise limiting your payment to no more than one-third of your net monthly income. If you’re unsure, contact your mortgage consultant to assist with the calculations.

 

Step Three: Get Pre-Approved By a Mortgage Consultant

When you know in advance the amount of loan you can obtain, you can focus on searching for houses in your targeted price range. This can save you time when you find that perfect home, because sellers favor buyers who are pre-approved.

 

Experienced mortgage consultants can let you know what specific loan programs are best for you. By taking a look at your financial situation and credit history, a mortgage consultant will tell you if you can qualify for the home you want and will find a loan that best suits your needs.

 

For the approval process, you and your mortgage consultant will complete the required documentation and submit it to an underwriter. A pre-approval is an actual loan commitment from a mortgage consultant or lending institution. This means that you definitely qualify for a loan. Talk to your mortgage consultant about the costs and time involved to secure pre- approval.

 

Step Four: Work With an Experienced Real Estate Consultant

You can learn a lot about consultants by talking to them about their experience. In a short time, you’ll be able to determine if they’re the right person to meet your needs.

 

Questions for Agents:

 

  1. In what areas of town and price ranges do you specialize? (Keep in mind that some agents specialize in only one area or one price range.)

 

  1. My objective is to buy a house by ___________. How will you help me achieve this goal?

 

  1. How often will you update me with new property listings?

 

Step Five: Tips for Successful House Hunting

 

  1. Keep an organized record of your research. Write down comments about the homes you see. Keep track of your likes and dislikes and offer feedback to your real estate consultant. Some buyers are reluctant to tell an agent what they really think of a house; they think the agent might take it personally.       Remember, the homes don’t belong to the agent!

 

  1. Make sure your agent is aware of your time schedule and expectations. Do you like to look at one or two homes per session? Four? Eight? Discuss this with your agent.

 

  1. Tell your agent about any homes you see that interest you and that you’d like to know more about. This includes homes you’ve “discovered” as you explore the area and those advertised in the newspaper and on the Internet.

 

  1. If you like to spend time driving around by yourself looking at houses, ask your agent for a list of drive-bys – homes to consider first from the outside. Your agent can make appointments to show you the interior of the properties that appeal to you.

 

  1. It’s important to know beforehand whom your agent represents.       Some agents work only for the seller.

 

Step Six: Make a Purchase Offer

 

Work with your real estate consultant to determine the most appropriate purchase offer. Your consultant will present the offer on your behalf.

 

Step Seven: Save on Your Initial Investment and Monthly Payments

There are only two major investments to consider when buying a home. These are the initial investment, which includes the down payment and closing costs, and the monthly payment, which includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Here are some things to consider.

 

Initial Investment

 

  1. Choose a low or zero down payment loan. You don’t necessarily have to put 20 percent or even 10 percent down. You can pay 5 percent, 3 percent, or even zero down on some loans.

 

  1. Some Lenders have programs to cover your closing costs.       Ask your mortgage consultant about them.

 

  1. As part of your offer, ask your real estate consultant about the seller’s paying some of your closing costs.

 

  1. Shop around for your homeowners’ insurance. A little comparison shopping can save you money.

 

  1. You may be able to deduct money paid for discount points from your gross income before computing your tax. See a CPA for more information.

 

Monthly Payments

 

  1. Get a loan that doesn’t have monthly mortgage insurance premiums. You may be able to reduce or eliminate them by paying a little more at closing. By putting 20 percent or more down, you can eliminate them entirely. Talk to your mortgage consultant about other ways to eliminate monthly mortgage insurance payments.

 

  1. Take advantage of rate lock programs that are currently available. You can generally lock in a low interest rate 30 to 45 days in advance. Secure an appraisal before you lock in a rate.

 

  1. Remember that interest payments on a primary residential mortgage are fully deductible. Your property taxes are also deductible. Tax rates definitely favor homeowners. Be sure to declare both your mortgage interest and property taxes when you file your income tax returns.

 

  1. Consider an adjustable rate mortgage. Adjustable rate mortgages (or ARMs) can be as much as 3 percent lower than fixed rates. Only choose this option when you’re in a position to refinance, should the adjustable rate rise sharply.

 

The Ten Commandments When Applying For A Real Estate Loan

  • Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job.
  • Thou shalt not buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it)!
  • Thou shalt not use charge cards excessively or let your accounts fall behind.
  • Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for closing.
  • Thou shalt not omit debts or liabilities from your loan application.
  • Thou shalt not buy furniture.
  • Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit.
  • Thou shalt not make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer.
  • Thou shalt not change bank accounts.
  • Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone.

Pricing Misconceptions

It is very important to price your property at competitive market value at the signing of the listing agreement. Historically, your first offer is usually your best offer!

Discard:

  • What you paid
  • What you need
  • What you want
  • What your neighbor says
  • What another agent says
  • Cost to rebuild today

Buyers & Sellers Determine Value

The value of your property is determined by what a BUYER is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept in today’s market. Buyers make their pricing decision based on comparing your property to other property SOLD in your area.