Blog :: 2017

Why Is It Important to Use a Professional to Sell Your Home?

Why Is It Important to Use a Professional to Sell Your Home?

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the first step that “…44% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.

However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

Do Your Future Plans Include a Move? What's Stopping You from Listing Now?

Do Your Future Plans Include a Move? What's Stopping You from Listing Now?

Are you an empty-nester? Do you want to retire where you are, or does a vacation destination sound more your style? Are you close to retirement and not ready to move yet, but living in a home that is too big in size and maintenance needs?

How can you line up your current needs with your goals and dreams for the future? The answer for many might be the equity you have in your house.

According to the latest Equity Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner in the United States gained $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year. On the West Coast, homeowners gained twice that amount, with homeowners in Washington gaining an average of $38,000!

Do you know how much your home has appreciated over the last year?

Many homeowners would be able to easily sell their current house and use the profits from that sale to purchase a condo nearby in order to continue working while eliminating some of the daily maintenance of owning a house (ex. lawn care, snow removal).

With the additional cash gained from the sale of the home, you could put down a sizeable down payment on a vacation/retirement home in the location that you would like to eventually retire to. While you will not yet be able to live there full-time, you can rent out your property during peak vacation times and pay off your mortgage faster.

Purchasing your retirement home now will allow you to take full advantage of today’s seller’s market, allow you to cash in on the equity you have already built, and take comfort in knowing that a plan is in place for a smooth transition into retirement.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons to relocate in retirement, including a change in climate, proximity to family & grandchildren, and so much more. What are the reasons you want to move? Are the reasons to stay more important? Let’s get together to discuss your current equity situation and the options available for you, today!

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    Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better!

    Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better!

    Forbes.com recently released the latest results of their American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”

    The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.

    The national index score was rounded out to 100.0 in January as a baseline for comparison and it rose the fourth straight month in a row to 101.8.

    Alaska, coming in at 89.4, represented the lowest score on the index due in part to the recent collapse in oil prices. In contrast, Wyoming came in with the highest score at 115.1. The full results can be seen in the map below.

    Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

    “The American Dream Index rose for the fourth straight month to 101.8 propelled by gains in goods-producing jobs and building permits, as well as declines in unemployment claims and mass layoffs.

    Goods-producing jobs (manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture) were up for the ninth straight month in May…Building permits rose for the fourth straight month compared to the prior year.”

    Bottom Line

    The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of one’s own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality.

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      Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

      Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

      The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

      The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

      Other interesting findings in the report include:

      • Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
      • With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
      • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

      Bottom Line

      Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let's get together to find your dream home.

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        Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]

        Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]

        Some Highlights:

        • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).

        • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete kitchen remodel are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.

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          If Your Home Hasn't Sold Yet? Definitely Check the Price!

          If Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet… Definitely Check the Price!

          The residential housing market has been hot. Home sales have bounced back solidly and are now at their fourth highest pace over the past year. Demand has remained strong ­throughout spring as many real estate professionals are reporting bidding wars with many homes selling above listing price. What about your house?

          If your house hasn’t sold, it could be the price.

          If your home is on the market and you are not receiving any offers, look at your price. Pricing your home just 10% above market value dramatically cuts the number of prosp­­ective buyers that will even see your house. See chart below.

          Bottom Line

          The housing market is hot. If you are not seeing the results you want, sit down with your agent and revisit the pricing conversation.

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            What You Need to Know About Qualifying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

            What You Need to Know About Qualifying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

            Some Highlights:

            • Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.

            • You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don't have perfect credit.

            • Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.

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              The Importance of Using a Professional to Sell Your Home

              The Importance of Using a Professional to Sell Your Home

              When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

              In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the percentage of buyers who used the internet in their home search increased to 94%.

              However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

              Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

              The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

              Bottom Line

              If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

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                Renting or Buying? Either Way You're Paying a Mortgage

                Renting or Buying… Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage

                There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s.

                As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained this month in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

                While renting on a temporary basis isn't terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you're serious about your finances. It won't make you rich overnight, but by renting, you're paying someone else's mortgage. In effect, you're making someone else rich.”

                Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

                “With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

                As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

                Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. https://www.FreddieMac.com latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.23% last week.

                Bottom Line

                Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

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                  How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home

                  Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

                  1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

                  This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In reality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for their house (see chart below).

                  Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

                  Realtor.com gives this advice:

                  “Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

                  2. Use a Real Estate Professional

                  This, too, may seem counterintuitive, as the seller likely believes that he or she will net more money if they don’t have to pay a real estate commission. With that being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

                  Research posted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:

                  “The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $185,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $163,800. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $245,000 – nearly $60,000 more for the typical home sale.”

                  Bottom Line

                  Price your house at or slightly below the current market value a

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