Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why work with a buyer's agent?

When you are involved in a business transaction it is always important to have someone working on your behalf.  Although buying a home is personal, it is no question that it is a business transaction.  I am often asked why a buyer would need a buyer's agent working for them.  Many think that just going through the listing agent of the home they would like to buy somehow get them the best deal. It is quite the opposite.  Here are the reasons it is always best to have a buyer agent represent you when purchasing a home:
It's FREE - That's right,  having a buyer's won't cost you a thing. It's the seller who pays the commission, not the buyer.
It's Convenient - Targeting the right neighborhoods,  finding homes that fit your criteria and scheduling showings can be a full time job. If you already work 9-5 it can become daunting and overwhelming very quickly.
Market Knowledge - Understanding the local market is key to finding the best home at the best price possible. And market knowledge is something that isn't easily attained in a short period of time.
Professional Negotiation - Making an offer and negotiating with a seller is by far one of the most specialized parts of the home buying process. A good buyer's agent will be skilled and experienced in the negotiation of the price you will pay for a home.
Professional Connections - Getting to the closing table requires the expertise of a number of professionals. Mortgage brokers, inspectors, contractors just to name a few. Buyer's agents have worked with a number of providers, both great and not so good. When you hire a buyer's agent you get access to their network rather than having to research and build relationships from scratch.
Access to Comps/Sales Info - Comps are extremely valuable when you're considering how much to offer on a home. Agents have access to the latest sales prices of comparable homes and can help you submit an offer that will be acceptable to both parties. This is just one way that a buyer's agent can save you money during the home buying process.
Mitigator of Emotions - Buying a home stirs up a lot of emotions, which is to be expected. However, if those emotions aren't kept in check it can cause many problems that could otherwise be avoided. A good agent removes the 'emotion' in a transaction and helps all the parties keep on track with their goals and more or less 'neutralizes' most situations.
Buying a home can be a long, emotional, expensive process. It is also an exciting, life changing step in a person's life, whether it is your first home or your 10th home. It is important to have expert advice, every step of the way, to make sure that you make a sound investment and get the most from your money. Plus, it can take some of the pressure off while you attend to other responsibilities in your life.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Making Small Spaces feel Larger

Even if your home is not for sale or you do not plan to sell, there are ways to make the best of what you have, and that includes making a small living space feel larger.  If you are selling, then you will want to consider making a small space feel larger so that buyers do not feel cramped.  Here are a few ways to make the best of a small space:

Get rid of clutter. A small room is going to feel even smaller if you have a lot of clutter. Try to  keep a minimalist decorating approach.
Remove all furniture that is not essential. This will depend largely on the type of room that you are dealing with. For example, a bedroom really only needs a bed and a nightstand. Your dresser can be placed in the closet if necessary, and big nightstands can be replaced with smaller versions. You can also purchase a bedframe without doors. You will still have enough room for your clothes, but it won't take up any extra space.
Paint the walls a light, neutral color. Avoid dark colors when you are painting a small room. White, cream or a light tan will make the room seem lighter and bigger.
Replace any dark upholstery or bedspreads. Once again, dark colors make the room feel smaller. Replace any dark bedspreads with lighter colors. You can change the color of dark sofas, couches, and chairs with slipcovers.
Add mirrors.  If you want to make a small room feel bigger, try adding mirrors to one wall. That will give the illusion of having more space.


Consider changing the flooring. A carpeted room can feel smaller than it actually is. Replace it with wood floors and add a small throw rug in the center. This will increase the amount of visual space in the room and it will feel bigger.
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Buying & Selling at the same Time

Now that the real estate market has picked up again, many are taking that leap of faith to sell their homes.  Obviously when you sell, you have to move somewhere, so that usually means purchasing another home. While doing both at the same time can be challenging, a little planning can help for a smooth transition.  Here are 5 things you can do to successfully sell and buy a home at the same time:

Prepare for the stress. Buying a home is stressful, so guess what? Selling a home is stressful too! When both cross paths it can be, to say the least, overwhelming.  It can bring on emotions that can be difficult to deal with on many levels. The potential of two mortgages and trying to time everything just right will probably cause a lot of sleepless nights and pressure on the family.

Part of making it a little easier is accepting up front that it will be stressful. It is best to try and understand that most homeowners go through this, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Do your homework, plan as much as possible, and most importantly, take care of yourself.

Meet with an agent early on.  Researching online tools  will help to guide you,  but a local agent will help you understand your home’s true current market value and marketability. A good agent is in the trenches daily and knows your neighborhood and market inside and out. Many homeowners are far off from what the value of their home is or what the current market will bear. A good agent will put them on the right track.

Learn about the market where you want to purchase. After getting some numbers for your home’s sale you need to do the same on the purchase side.  What are your priorities? Determine your needs and understand what you will get for your money when you buy. You need to know this to factor in how financing will work with the buy/sell. Ask these questions about that market- Is it more or less competitive than where you live now? How long can you expect to search for a home? This will factor into your sale timing. If you’re moving within the city or town where you live, your listing agent will likely serve as your buying agent. If you’re moving just outside your area, you may need to ask your agent to refer you to an agent knowledgeable about that area.

Understand your financial position. Once you understand the numbers on both the purchase and the sale, you need to know your financing options. Most people today do not have the financial means to purchase another home before selling their own, so knowing this upfront can help you plan. Ask a  local mortgage broker to give you an idea of what kind of down payment you’ll need to make a purchase, given the price point and type of home you wish to purchase. How much equity do you have in your current home, and is the equity available? Do you have enough of a down payment already available and would a lender allow you to make the purchase before selling the home? Knowing these things are invaluable and will avoid any unnecessary surprises.

Make a plan. Now that you know your numbers, it’s time to come up with a plan. The plan can vary greatly, depending upon any number of conditions. 
  • Buying in this competitive market?  Adding a contingency that your current home must sell before may not always work.
  • Selling in a competitive market? You may be able to negotiate with the buyer for a longer escrow. This would buy you time on the purchase side.
  • Need temporary housing? Start researching those options now.

  • There are so many variables that can come into play when buying or selling. Each  affect your decision-making process. Planning for the variables as much as possible early on will help you avoid sleepless nights, stressful days, or even fights with your loved ones!
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