Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

  Baby it’s cold outside! Have you turned on the heat yet? Chances are, unless you live in Florida or Arizona, the answer is probably, “yes”. A lot of people think that they should wait until Spring to sell their house. They ask me if it’s best to wait until the holidays are over and the weather warms up. Not necessarily. There are a few reasons why you may want to test the market now. Lookie-loos don’t go out in the cold. That’s a Realtor term – haha. People that are just kicking tires, not serious buyers, are typically not going to browse around when the weather is bad. They are more likely to stay inside and look online. They also have too many things going on with the holiday season to fill their time so they don’t have time to window shop for houses. Therefore, most people that see your home will actually be serious, qualified buyers. Houses feel “homier” in the cold months. If you have a fireplace, it’s a great time to use it. If you have twinkle lights or holiday decorations, they all make the house feel cozier and more like a home. Warning: Don’t go overboard with decorations. The house still has to look spacious and too many decorations can make rooms look smaller, cluttered, and be distracting for potential buyers. There are less daylight hours. You may think this is a bad thing, however, if you are still living in your home, buyers will only have so many daylight hours in which to view your home and you will only be incovenienced with showings during those hours. Fewer houses are on the market. This automatically gives you an advantage versus waiting until the Spring when you have a lot more competition. You may be out of town. If you are travelling, you may be more open to showings at any time because you won’t be there anyway. You can clean before you leave and not have to worry about tidying up. Certainly there are negatives: There may be less showings. Because there are typically less buyers in the market at this time, you will likely have less people see it and, therefore, it may take longer to sell. Your holidays may be interrupted. A lot of folks travel for the holidays. Some think about moving closer to their relatives and since they are in town, they want to see houses. This may mean that they want to see your house on Christmas Eve or the day after Thanksgiving when your house looks like Cousin Eddie is visiting. Landscaping can look drab. While the inside of the house may be warm and inviting, the outside may look...

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I Love Zillow!

I Love Zillow!

  Why isn’t my listing on Zillow? Why is old information showing up? Why doesn’t it have all our photos? Why is another real estate agent’s information listed as if they are the listing agent? When I find houses on Zillow and send them to my agent, a lot of them are under contract and some of them have already sold.  Here’s the answer: In order to pull all of the information to the site, Zillow has to have an agreement with the local MLS or an individual real estate brokerage. If there is no agreement with Zillow, the listings will not automatically pull through and, therefore, not show up on the website. If they do pull through, the information may not be what your agent entered into MLS and/or your actual listing agent may not be the one listed. Zillow is a business. It is not set up as a service to hand out information for free. It is a marketing website that happens to use real estate as it’s platform. Zillow makes money by selling advertising. They sell advertising to real estate agents and put that agent’s information on pages advertising other real estate agent’s listings. Sound wrong? Yeah, some local MLS’s thought so too, so they decided not to allow Zillow to take the listings any longer. If this is the case in your market, your real estate agent needs to manually upload your listing to Zillow. There still may be other agents being advertised on the page, but your agent can “claim” the listing and make sure that consumers have their contact information in case they have questions or would like to schedule a showing. So, how do you make sure you are getting the most current, accurate information? My first piece of advice would be, consult a Realtor®. They can cross check the listings you find with the local MLS information to see how accurate the information is. They can also help you determine price by doing a Comparative Market Analysis of your home, taking into consideration upgrades and other factors. They can also help you with the For Sale by Owner properties you may find listed on Zillow. Secondly, there are actual real estate apps that pull directly from MLS and will have the most current, accurate information. One of those is a private app that I give my clients. You can do all the wonderful things you can on Zillow, it is updated every 15 minutes, you and in a few short weeks it will have nationwide listings (yay!) If you’ve read this far, here is a link to my app https://homescout.app.link/6157307050 My favorite feature is that when you “love” a property, the app will notify you immediately if there is a status change...

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The Real Estate Gamble

The Real Estate Gamble

  I was speaking with a past client last week. I helped her buy her house 11 years ago. Her house was built in 1905 and she fell in love the moment she walked in the door. The place had charm, it had character and best of all, to her, it felt good. She is only the fifth owner in over 110 years. That says something about the house. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the years and neighbors are selling to developers and building what we call “tall skinnies” on postage stamp size lots. My client understands people wanting to make money and because of the development, it has greatly increased the value of her home but she is not going anywhere. She receives phone calls, mailers, and personal solicitations frequently and she is not budging. She is determined to protect what is hers – a piece of history. She was so thankful that I was a part of helping her preserve history. She made my day telling me how happy she has been all these years and how she just wants to preserve the house and take great care of it for future generations. It got me thinking about how much I love what I do. I get to be a part of preserving history, building wealth, new beginnings, and growth. Some may just see it as a transaction. I see it as a lifelong relationship. To some, it may just be a property. I see it as a home or a tool to build wealth. You need someone on your side to look out for your best interest. Are you trying to build wealth or are you trying to find a forever home and preserve a piece of history for future generations? You need someone who is going to be there to help you navigate through the weeds 11 years later when your precious home is being threatened. Just like a financial advisor that you trust to help you make decisions that will affect you for years to come, a great Realtor can be a wonderful resource and member of your personal advisory council. Next time you are thinking about buying or selling, look at it with a fresh perspective. Have an advisor on your side to help you through the paperwork and possible legal pitfalls. If you wouldn’t take $100,000 or more to Vegas and throw it all down on one number, why would you trust a less-than-professional person with an investment that is likely worth much more than that? Can you do it yourself? Maybe. Should you? Probably...

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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate

  As a Realtor, I get asked a ton of questions. I compiled a list of the top 10 most frequently asked real estate questions and my answers. (Disclaimer: These answers are my personal answers. Different agents and different areas may require different things.) How do you (the Realtor) get paid? In most cases, Sellers will pay a commission to the Listing Broker. That Listing Broker will offer compensation to a Buyer’s Agent. Therefore, as a Buyer, you do not owe a commission for the work a Realtor does for you. In cases of For Sale by Owner properties, some Sellers choose not to offer a commission to an agent. In those cases, a Buyer would be responsible for the Realtor’s fee. Realtors generally don’t get paid unless a closing takes place so all their expenses are paid by them up front and they only get reimbursed and/or paid if someone buys or sells a property. Some people have thought that I receive a salary and that I am reimbursed for my expenses. Most Realtors do a lot of work before ever getting paid and sometimes we don’t get paid at all. Can I be at the home inspection? If you are a Buyer – absolutely. You might want to give the inspector some time to inspect before you get there so he doesn’t get distracted. Getting there for the last 20-30 minutes of the inspection is a good idea so the inspector can walk you around and let you ask any questions you may have about what he found. If you are a Seller – stay away! You may have legal liability to disclose anything you know the inspector finds. Talk to your agent, but typically you do not want to know more than you need to. If you are concerned about security, ask that the Buyer’s agent be at the inspection and/or make sure the inspector is licensed and insured. Do I need to be at the appraisal? No. Appraisals typically take less than 30 minutes. Your Realtor may decide to be in attendance to let the appraiser in and/or give them some comparables, particularly if the property is unique but it is not necessary for you, as the Buyer or Seller, to attend. If you are the Seller, however, you may be at the property if you so choose. You may give the appraiser a list of improvements of the property to help the appraised value. How long does closing take? If you are the Seller, generally, you have very few documents to sign so your closing is about 30 minutes or less. If you are a Buyer paying cash, your closing will be very short as...

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Chicken Little – The Sky is Falling!

Chicken Little – The Sky is Falling!

  For those of you who don’t remember the nursery rhyme, you may remember a recent movie in which Chicken Little fears the sky is falling when, in reality, it was just an acorn that fell on his head. We can get ourselves in such a panic over things that are not a big deal. What seems like a big deal in the moment, can sometimes be easily resolved or not have any significance a few months, weeks, days, or even hours later. Lately, when something has been bothering me, I write it down. I edit it, read over it, and keep it. I will read it several times throughout the day and if it still has the same impact, I will deal with it then. I have learned that when I react to a situation immediately, I can regret it later. If I wait and let things settle a bit, sometimes there is no need to confront the issue at all. Sometimes, I realize that I looked at it all wrong or misunderstood. I ask myself if I can change it. If I can’t, often, there is nothing to do but move on. I have seen this, recently, in real estate. Many Buyers thought the sky was falling when the mortgage interest rates were rising, the home inventory was low and the houses that were on the market were taking longer to sell. Individually, those can seem like doom and gloom is setting into the real estate market. In reality, if you look at the history of mortgage rates in our country, we have been enjoying historically low rates for 10 years now. In the 1970’s, 30-year fixed interest rates were under 8%, Rates began to rise in the early 1980’s and were at an all-time high in 1981 at 18.63%. Guess what? People still bought houses and people still sold houses. Yes, as a Buyer, it would be great to be loaned hundreds of thousands of dollars for under 10% interest over a period of 30 years. However, as my title attorney says, if I was going to give you this much money, I’d want much more return than that! Are rates rising, yes. So do most things. However, at some point (and I am starting to see it now), people will just go on with life with a new normal and Seller will sell and Buyers will buy. Real estate is still a great investment. Sellers will become more realistic about the prices they can get and Buyers will understand that they may not get everything they want for a “deal”. In the meantime, the next time you think the sky is falling, take a step...

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Fast Food – Fast Houses

Fast Food – Fast Houses

We live in a fast-paced society. Fast food, fast cars. Some people get pets on a whim and then once they realize the cost of time and money, they give them back. Others get into business relationships and get out after they realize the red flags were there from the beginning, but they didn’t pay attention. The same thing happens in real estate. I’ve had clients “want” to sell their house only to come to me after an offer is received, having second thoughts. I’ve had other clients that “have to have” this house but get cold feet once the reality of the costs sets in. Some people will tell you that it’s never too late and that it is a good thing you figured it out before making a big mistake. Yes, that is true. However, it is MUCH better to be sure BEFORE you get into the situation. Have you ever dated someone and thought later, “Wow, there’s 6 months of my life I’ll never get back”? When you get into real estate deals, you are not only wasting your time and energy, you are putting others in the same position. There are many people and expenses that are involved. That being said, one of the most unfortunate things I’ve seen is people who buy a house without much forethought or due diligence and sell it less than a year later because they didn’t think the whole thing through. They not only waste their time and energy, but a LOT of money. They have closing costs, real estate commissions, loan fees, and moving expenses that all could have potentially been avoided if they would have slowed down enough to make an informed decision. Does the house sit near a train track and you think it might be no big deal? It might not be, but if you are a light sleeper or you have a dog that barks at every little noise, you might want to re-think that purchase. Is the house a dream house but far from work or the conveniences you are accustomed to? The drive might not bother you at first but when you forget something at home or need something quick from the store for the recipe you are making for guests tonight and have to go back, it might be less than desirable. Have you always thought you wanted the charm of an old house? The charm is great but so can be the expense of maintaining it. If you have the money, time, and it is worth it to you, it could be a perfect fit, however, if either of those is scarce, you might consider a newer home built to...

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