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Archive for September, 2012

You know your home is one of a kind. Soon buyers will know too; you’ve just made the decision to list. The question now is: How do you price that unique property? There is truly a fine-line between pricing a home correctly versus incorrectly. Our current market conditions defines that truth. How else can you explain one home selling with multiple offers and another lingers for months with no activity.

Here’s where your real estate agent shines. Pricing is an exact science, but strategic pricing is an art. That’s why you should entrust this function to someone who will accurately price your home, whether it’s a buyer’s or a seller’s market.

A good agent knows that pricing strategies depend on many factors; what works for one home may not work for another.

In a seller’s market, your agent might recommend pricing to encourage multiple offers. However, this will depend on the neighborhood and  on the home’s value. The best candidate for this strategy is a well-maintained home in a desirable area where inventory is low. In this situation, the listing price will likely be at the lower end of a price range that reflects the home’s fair market value to encourage competing offers.

In a buyer’s market, the factors influencing price are the same – the neighborhood and the value of the home – but the strategy is very different. Here it’s all about demand and competition. Your home is in direct competition with others for sale in your neighborhood, and it should be priced to compare favorably. It also should be in top condition, and your agent may recommend fix-ups and staging to highlight its attributes.

Your agent will also look for trends. If properties in your area consistently sell below asking price, prepare for offers below the listing price and expect to have to adjust, particularly if you’re in a hurry to sell. It’s vital that your initial asking price be at fair market, otherwise your home could be one of the many properties that lingers for months. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

Whatever the market, a well-thought-out pricing strategy can make the difference between selling quickly at a fair price and sitting on the market with an overpriced property.

It’s worth getting it right the first time.

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Every seller wants that magic potion it takes to get their home sold for top dollar with little inconvenience. That can be accomplished by following a sure-fire strategy that has worked since homes have been bought and sold. Selling a home in a down market takes more planning and preparation but with a little know-how it’s still possible to get a great response with these quick tips:

Price Matters

Without a doubt, the most important consideration is to price the house right…especially if you want a quick sale. When the market was red-hot homes sold fast so it is easy to forget that historically homes are on the market an average of six months before selling. Be realistic and work with your agent to price right.

Staging & Updating

Make sure your home looks its best by updating paint, making small repairs and taking the time to properly stage your home for online and in-person viewing.

Pre-Qualify

Window-shopping is a popular past-time even when it comes to real estate. One of the benefits of working with an agent is the ability to preserve your valuable time and only entertain serious offers from qualified potential buyers.

Reach Out

Reaching the best potential buyers isn’t always easy especially in a down market. It takes experience, objectivity and great marketing skills to know how to position your home to reach the right buyer. Does your home have a great view? It might be perfect as a vacation get-away. Is it located near a major International airport or business center? International buyers could be searching for a second home due to the favorable exchange rate.

Offer Incentives

Get noticed by offering buyer incentives. Buyer incentives are a welcome addition to any deal and include things like gift cards, LCD televisions or new appliances. Find out what tops the local “wish list” when it comes to amenities then calculate the cost of offering an incentive. They are an easy and effective way to capture the attention of potential buyers in a crowded market.

With the scales now tipping back in favor of the seller, these valuable tips are still vital in getting your home sold no matter the market condition. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs, join my professional networks on Twitter and LinkedIn and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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There are many reasons why comparable sales in a neighborhood are vital in determining the value of any property. Whether you are buying or selling a home or other type of real estate, chances are you will hear a lot about “comps” so it might come in handy to understand what they really are and why they matter.

Comps are comparisons between your property and other similar properties. Age, location, amenities, and the general condition of the home are all used to compare your property against others in the same general vicinity in order to establish a price or fair market value.

Do Not Make This Mistake

Many sellers mistakenly look at the asking price of homes in the immediate vicinity when trying to establish a listing price, but that is often a major mistake. Actual sales data is a much more reliable indicator of value, since some sellers can be overly optimistic when it comes to setting an asking price.

Buyers also benefit from obtaining accurate comp data in order to determine what amenities, upgrades, and other items are included. Even homes that superficially look exactly the same in terms of square footage or floor plans may have substantial upgrades or extras that dramatically impact the price of the home.

Get the Most Accurate Data

Insist upon accurate and up-to-date comps when buying or selling a home, and do not confuse true comps with estimates or other inaccurate sources of data. Many popular websites use estimates based upon self-reported data or generalized insurance replacement rates.  While these may be useful for rough guidelines, they may cost you tens of thousands of dollars when buying or selling a home.

Work with an agent who provides the latest information specific for the area you are considering. Age, condition, maintenance, upgrades, amenities, landscaping, appliances, energy efficiency, attractiveness, and even whether or not you have a corner lot can make a tremendous difference in the desirability and price of a home.

The most vital point to consider when it comes to using comps to decide on a homes value are the importance the appraiser puts into these same comparable sales to determine if the buyer can actually obtain the loan. If comps do not justify the price, the appraisal could derail the sell. Comps are truly a homeowners best friend. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale.

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I have never understood how a consumer can diligently shop around for the best deals on groceries but refuse to use the same approach when shopping for a home loan. We suggest interviewing a minimum of four competent lenders or banks. Let each bank know you will be comparison shopping for a home loan. Request a good faith estimate and allow no one to pull your credit report yet. The good faith estimate is an itemized list of all fees and cost associated with that particular loan. Compare these estimates side-by-side to determine who offers the best loan for your situation. The eventual lender that gets your business can then pull your credit report.

Tips to Help You Get the Best Mortgage Finding your dream home is easy, but obtaining a competitive home loan is not. Thankfully, with sufficient planning, you can obtain the best mortgage possible – providing you with significant financial savings in the long run.

Check for Credit Score Errors

The most important element of obtaining a competitive loan is your credit score.  Even if you have stellar credit, obtain a copy of your credit report from the three reporting agencies to check for any reporting errors.  Considering that 40% of credit reports have errors, it is important to resolve these problems before you apply for your mortgage.   Raise Your Credit Score

Generally, it takes six months to one year to improve your credit.  The earlier you begin, the better your score will be.  However, if you plan on applying for a loan within the next two months, you can still improve your credit.  Reduce your debt-utilization ratio by paying down your credit cards and staying well below your maximum credit limits.

Show Your Savings

During the mortgage application process, the lenders will scrutinize your financial health.  Do not keep your savings in a checking account.  Instead, open a savings account or CD to demonstrate your ability to save money.  Remember, the more you have for your down payment, the better your mortgage rate will be.

Become Pre-Qualified

Becoming pre-qualified for your home loan locks in interest rates, protecting you from fluctuations.  In addition, being pre-qualified demonstrates that you are a financially serious buyer, which aids greatly during your closing negotiations.

Planning ahead increases your probability of obtaining the best mortgage possible for your dream home. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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When it comes to selling a home, almost everyone understands the value of working with a knowledgeable real estate agent.

But buyers can often benefit even more than they might expect.

Find out the top reasons more buyers than ever choose to work with an agent when searching for their next home or investment property.

Saves Time

Undoubtedly one of the most commonly cited benefits of working with an agent when buying a property is the ability to save time. Real estate agents do the hard work for you by obtaining all the details and then showing you only those properties that meet your preestablished criteria.

Saves Money

Not only does working with an agent allow you to focus efforts on properties that meet your needs, but research also shows that it actually saves money in the long run. Sellers view agents as more objective during the negotiation process, and buyers that work with agents have access to the best deals. Remember, even in a buyer’s market, the best deals go fast. Many properties are already under contract by the time they make it into the magazines or online MLS listings, whereas many agents send out weekly or even daily updates of newly listed properties.

Reduces Stress

Real estate agents are able to work with lending officers, appraisers and others to streamline the entire transaction and keep things moving along by providing a single, reliable point of contact. Should anything go wrong, agents are able to access their network of contacts and expertise to assist every step of the way.

Access

Some of the best buying opportunities never even make it to the MLS listings; instead, foreclosures, bank-owned properties and even government repossessions are often handled by specific agents. Likewise, agents are often aware of creative finance options or specialized programs that may benefit veterans, first-time buyers, investors or even small-business owners.

Negotiating Skills

It’s a proven fact that by working with a realtor when buying a home can save a buyer money in the long run. From negotiating the best price and terms for the buyer to expert advice on getting the best mortgage loan for the buyer makes working with a realtor a no-brainer, rather you’re a buyer or seller. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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While the burst real estate bubble might be bad news for the economy, it could be good news for first-time homebuyers. In fact, now might just be the best buying opportunity of a lifetime. Follow these steps to determine where to begin:

Establish a Realistic Budget. Owning a home involves more costs than meet the eye. In addition to mortgage, taxes and insurance, wise homebuyers set aside a little savings toward maintenance and unexpected emergencies. Remember, you will eventually need to repair or replace many items in the home.

Buy What You Need. While real estate is often considered an excellent investment, it’s important to only purchase as much home as you actually need. Bigger isn’t always better; sometimes it’s simply more expensive. Higher taxes, bigger insurance bills and more maintenance can eat away at even the best budgets. So buy what you need, unless it’s wise for you to…

Plan for Growth. First-time buyers can also be too modest when it comes to purchasing their first homes. If you intend to begin a family, you may quickly outgrow the home. Plan for growth to ensure you will be as happy in the home tomorrow as you are today.

Understand Appreciation. Although you don’t want to base the purchase of your home solely upon appreciation, it’s important to understand how the future value of your home is likely to impact your ability to move up later in life. When the time comes to sell, rent or exchange the current property, a home with long-term appreciation provides greater buying options in the future. Search for neighborhoods expected to rise in value over time.

Work with a Reputable Agent. A great real estate agent or broker is often worth his or her weight in gold, which is why you will typically find that investors would never think of going it alone. Unfortunately, many first-time buyers are under the mistaken impression they can save money by helping the seller eliminate or reduce the commission. Research shows this is rarely the case. Most agents help negotiate a lower sales price and ensure that funding, necessary paperwork and other important legal considerations are all taken care of. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs, join my professional networks on LinkedIn and Twitter and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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Buying a home is similar to fishing, if you don’t have the right bait, fish won’t bite. If your landscaping is inadequate, buyers probably won’t look. Sellers should put as much effort in the front and backyards as they do the home itself. Creating an inviting landscape not only ensures a positive first impression with buyers but may also increase your home’s value and lead to a quicker sale.

You don’t have to spend a lot to make big improvements in your home’s curb appeal. Keeping your lawn manicured – mowed and edged – and trimming bushes and trees is an inexpensive way to make a positive impression on buyers. You’ll also want to remove any dead or diseased plants and ensure beds are weeded and freshly mulched.

Before beginning any landscape project, make a plan. And if you live in a neighborhood with restrictive covenants requiring approval by a landscape committee, be sure to follow proper procedures to avoid spending money on projects that you may be forced to undo later. A project plan will also help ensure that you make wise choices and stay within your budget.

Use color and depth to create visual interest, and select a variety of plants that bloom or change color throughout the year so your yard will be attractive regardless of the season. If your yard is open to neighbors’ yards, a street or public areas, consider screening to create a more private space. This can be accomplished with evergreen trees and bushes or with an attractive fence.

Sometimes what you remove from a yard can be as important as what you put in. If the front of your home is obscured by overgrown trees or bushes, remove them or trim them back to help buyers get a clear view of your home. Remember that the goal is to create a welcoming first impression that says, “Come in!”

Trends in landscaping

  • Low maintenance vegetation: less lawn to mow, helps keep weeds in check.
  • More trees: enhance beauty and provide shade.
  • Decks, patios and terraces: offer outdoor living space for dining, entertaining and relaxation.
  • Outdoor lighting: provides enticing views of your home and landscaping at night.
  • Irrigation system: costs more but simplifies lawn care and is attractive to buyers.

Follow these simple rules of landscaping and enhance your chances of getting peak value for your property. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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