Posted on 22. September 2011 03:25 by qmiskini

 

Before the housing market deflated in the current economic downturn, many home buyers were using their homes like an ATM machine, borrowing on their property’s current equity, thinking the well of easy to obtain cash would not run dry.  When faced with selling their home in this deflated housing values environment, they have discovered their home is worth less than their first mortgage and will likely never recover value sufficiently to pay off their second and sometimes third loans against their property.  The well is dry and the pump is broken.

Buying the right home for your current and future needs is still, long term, one of the best investments you can make.  Over the last thirty years, the recession and housing downturn we are experiencing is the third and certainly not the last.  Still, over the last 30 years, home values have appreciated many-fold over their original market value.  One difference this time around is the way many recent buyers viewed and used their properties.  Their vision of its value was short term, even though the mortgage contracts they entered into had long-term payback life spans.  True, lots of buyers using sub-prime loan vehicles were under-qualified and over-bought.   But many also viewed their home as a short term investment that would continue to rise in value and which they could both use as leverage to move up to a bigger, more valuable property, and also as a way of using “untapped” resources to buy other non-real estate items.

Sometimes the equity in your home can be a valuable asset for special or emergency needs.  But when choosing a Realtor and their Team to help you find the home that feels right at a great price, be sure they are advising you on how to evaluate the property for its long term economic return on your investment.   Return on investment?  Yes, return on investment.

With the exception of a few 100% loan programs still available such as VA loans for qualified military members and vets, these days a Buyer will be required to provide a minimum of 3.5% of the sale price as a down payment for their loan using an FHA loan vehicle.  Many lenders require no less than 5% and as much as 20% down for your home loan purchase.  For buyers (and some real estate professionals who jumped into the market when it was red hot) who thought the previous “easy money” hey-day of home buying” was the norm, it was not that long ago when lenders, as in today’s market, required borrowers to prove stable employment, have a debt to income ratio that was stronger on the income side, and had 10% - 20% down payment money available plus a cushion to support their purchase.  Loans were for 15 or 30 years.  No tricky mortgages.  And even then, not everyone qualified for a home loan. 

My parents saved for a decade in order to have the 20% down payment required. They purchased their home in 1964 for $29,000 and bought it intending to stay there until the loan was paid off.  They paid a little extra each month and paid it off in 22 years.  They stayed in the home for nearly forty years and sold it, thanks to normal inflation for over $500 thousand dollars. They never borrowed any money using their home’s equity as collateral.  They intended to keep it until they needed to sell it to aid in their retirement and worked to keep it in good condition and fairly well updated.  They kept up with their neighborhood association that helped manage the neighborhood’s home-values by encouraging all the homeowners to keep their properties in good condition.  They viewed their home as the place to build a life and raise their family, a property they carefully considered before purchasing, believing they would be living there for many years to come. It was a long-term economic investment.  They never used it to finance a new car, or vacations, or redecorating.  Even in tough times they stubbornly avoided encumbering their long term investment with unnecessary debt.

Your home purchase should be a happy event.  Buying the right home for a great price is a great goal.  Be sure that when developing your criteria for finding your new home, you let your Realtor know this is not just a short term deal, but a serious economic investment as well.  Finding the right home at the best price with a long term outlook can make your home purchase the best investment you can make. 

Your home will become a valuable asset over time.  Don’t use it like an ATM.

Because selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home selling or buying decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 

 


Posted on 21. September 2011 02:40 by qmiskini

 

 

Managing expectations is one of the most important tasks in delivering a successful short sale.  I say delivering because it almost feels like giving birth.  Over the past year a number of “safeguards” created to protect the consumer from unscrupulous real estate practitioners like MARS and the Georgia SAFE Act have added to the complexity of the process.  So whether you are a short sale Buyer in Marietta, or a short sale seller in Alpharetta, the Realtor you select to help you conclude a purchase or sale MUST be thoroughly familiar with the increasingly complex short sale process.

First and foremost all parties must understand that the time it takes to complete a successful short sale can be double, triple or quadruple the time it takes to conclude a retail sale or even a bank foreclosure (REO) sale.  There are some transactions that take even longer! Here’s a just a sampling of the real world tasks and issues that must be executed and solved, and the hurdles that have to be jumped.

The HAMP and HAFA programs set up by Congress and managed through HUD to help struggling home owners modify their loans or to assist short sale sellers in completing their sales are, for the most part, a failure.  It is not mandatory for lenders to even participate in these programs.  No question there are some homeowners who have modified their home loans, or benefited from the move-out program.  But most, like two recent clients who tried to modify their loans themselves with their lenders ended in failure. They spent months being passed from customer service person another, were repeatedly told their files didn’t exist, were lost, were wrong, and after all those months were ultimately turned down for modification or offered a modification program that was worse than the payment plan they started out trying to modify.  One fought the system right up to a week before foreclosure and lost their home having been told that they made too much money to modify.  A totally incorrect conclusion by the Lender but received too late for the home owner to take any other course.  The other pulled out of the process after a year with the same experience and no results, but did have sufficient time to place the home on the market as a short sale and his Realtor and short sale Team are working to complete sale approval with his Lender.

Even with a very experienced Realtor and the Realtor’s short sale Team, concluding a short sale is no easy task.  In addition to all the carefully crafted and targeted marketing that must be  done to expose the property to the right Buyers, the added burden of getting a reasonable and acceptable offer and hoping that the Buyer’s expectations are correctly managed by the Buyer’s Realtor, complicates the offer, negotiation, sale and closing process.  There are many excellent Realtors who have learned through tough experience how to navigate the stormy seas of a successful short sale.  But there are many who are woefully unschooled. They may have participated in one or two unsuccessful short sales and have no idea how to guide their Buyers through the process.  As a Buyer, if you think purchasing a short sale property can net you the best deal, be sure your Realtor thoroughly understands the short sale process before you start your dream home search.   Remember, the Seller wants to sell you their home… but is not in control of the process.  Their Realtor better be schooled, experienced and savvy or the sale process with the Seller’s Lender will fail.  Lose-lose.

Buyers must keep in mind the Sellers are losing their home.  They are under a lot of stress.  They have no control over a difficult situation, are being continually harassed by their lender’s customer service department or foreclosure department despite the fact they have a short sale in process in the short sale department.  They receive letters and phone calls regularly from disconnected clerks, lawyers representing the Lender, or collection companies representing the Lender (or the Investor in the background that actually holds the mortgage,) asking the Seller to pay up, make a deal.  When the Seller explains they are working on a short sale with the lender’s short sale department and ask “why don’t you know this, isn’t that information in your system,”   they are told it will be noted.  Then three or four days later another person calls and the same conversation starts all over again.

You would think after several years of short sale processing, the many lenders and investors who own or buy defaulting mortgage packages at discount prices in order to successfully profit from a sale would have developed a coherent system for short sale processing.  Unfortunately, for the most part they have not.  At the same time, with short sales having become such a large segment of the residential home resale market you would think Realtors would have learned how to correctly manage and execute a sort sale and manage their Buyers’ and Sellers’ needs and expectations.

Whether you are buying or selling a short sale property, the process is arduous, often disjointed and not always pleasant for either party.  So a word of caution, because with the right Team assisting you, your short sale can be successfully completed with a minimum of added stress.  When choosing a Realtor to guide you through the short sale process, be sure they are well schooled, experienced and backed up by a Team that has the track record of successfully closing short sales.  If they do, helping you through the process by both correctly executing each of the many added steps in the sale process and helping manage expectations with all parties will get the short sale job done.

Because selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home selling or buying decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 

 


Posted on 20. September 2011 03:09 by qmiskini

 

The search for the perfect home begins with painting a mental picture of your perfect home and then writing down your wants, wishes and needs – the special criteria that add form and color to that picture.  With that initial inspiration comes some key steps in the search.

Step 1: Find a Realtor who can offer you a variety of specialized services, each crafted to help you achieve your home buying goals.  That Realtor should have a Team of specialists available who can provide input and service each step of the way. And that Realtor should be able to offer you a HomeHunter Service ® that can provide you with a well-defined daily list of homes in a variety of categories like foreclosures, pre-foreclosure short sales, retail listings, special distress sale categories like estate owned properties and off market properties from all the realtors and for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) properties. This video can help you define the list of essential services your Realtor should provide.

Step2: Meet with a Lender to pinpoint just how much you can afford to pay for your perfect home. Knowing your price threshold will help you determine many of the wants, wishes and needs on your list of criteria, and will save you time by not searching out homes that are above or below your price.  Knowing the essential services your Realtor’s team can provide and having access to Lenders to confidentially discuss your finances and your ability to receive a home loan is a critical early step in your search for the perfect home. This video will help you with a check list of important service criteria you need to consider.

Step 3: Write down your criteria.  Meet with your Realtor and write down what you want your home to provide so that your HomeHunter ® searches focus on properties that match your vision of that perfect home.  This is when you begin applying form and color and shading to that picture.  Which area of your community do you want to live in?  East Cobb – Marietta or West Cobb – Powder Springs? Marietta or Woodstock? They are right next door to one another but in different counties. Are schools important? If so, you need to research schools for academic and resource standings. Are the neighborhoods or sub divisions you may be considering on the school bus routes? What style of home do you see in your picture? Contemporary or traditional? Raised ranch or 2-story? Lots of trees and grass or a small, easy to take care of home-site? How many bedrooms and baths? How about a master bedroom on the main level… or do you prefer to have all he bedrooms upstairs? Where should the laundry be; upstairs with the bedrooms or near the kitchen?  There are dozens if not more large and small criteria items your Realtor will help you sort through until you have a clear pleasing picture of your perfect home.

Step 4: Start to drive through neighborhoods with homes that peak your interest. Are they close to transportation, highways, schools, shopping? Do you like the sub division recreational area – pool, tennis, more? Or does that even matter to you?

Step 5 Preview homes with your Realtor. Walk through them and take notes. What do you like and not like. Which of your criteria worked on paper but not in reality?  On paper having the master bedroom on the main level and away from the children sounded good.  But in reality, you are more comfortable with all the bedrooms on the same level.  You won’t really know that until you visit homes with master bedrooms on the main level and homes with all the bedrooms grouped together.  Now your search matching locations, price, style neighborhood and home amenities and your feelings about the homes you are visiting begin to add clarity to your picture.  Once the picture becomes clear, you’ll be surprised how much easier the search becomes.

It all begins with painting that mental picture of your perfect home and then finding the right Team to help you find it, buy it and enjoy it for years to come.

Because selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home selling or buying decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 


Posted on 19. September 2011 09:13 by qmiskini

 

In Metro Atlanta, most residential real estate closings are completed at a Closing Attorney’s office.  Whether the sale is in Marietta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Kennesaw, Woodstock or Canton, the closing attorney that is part of your Realtor’s Team should have an office in close proximity to your new home.  Those present at the close usually are the Buyer and the Buyer’s Realtor, the Seller and the Seller’s Realtor, the closing attorney and occasionally the Buyer’s loan officer.

At the end of the closing, there usually an air of relief.  The sometimes long, occasionally arduous, usually emotional and too often stressful journey is complete.  Getting to the closing table should not be a painful and chaotic experience, but all too often it is.  This is the time when an effective professional Team can take the reins and guide the Buyer and Seller to a satisfying and happy conclusion.  The guiding concept is “grace under fire.”  When the inevitable but predictable “unforeseen” issues crop up, your Realtor and their Team should be prepared to mitigate even the thorniest issues and help everyone stay calm, focused and working towards the conclusion everyone desires: a pleasant and successful closing.

Remember that both the Buyer and the Seller want the same thing: to close on time with as little hassle and stress as possible.  Here are the highlights of a closing procedure and the key participants in each step.

Due Diligence

The Due Diligence period is a mutually agreed number of days, beginning most often the first day following Binding Agreement.  During this period the Buyer has the right to inspect the property, and the obligation to complete the financing phase of their loan application process.  Your Realtor should be able to recommend a number of seasoned professionals on their Team such as a Home Inspector, Termite and Pest Infestation Inspector, and any additional inspections the Buyer may feel necessary like Radon and air quality testing, mold and mildew inspections, additional electrical and plumbing and heat and air conditional system inspections and others as a property may require.  The Seller should be prepared by their Realtor for the results of the inspections which will come in the form of an Amendment detailing the Buyer’s concerns and requests for the Seller to address those concerns to the Buyer’s satisfaction.  As the Seller, your Realtor should suggest you have your home inspected prior to listing, and repair all the potentially problematic issues so that they do not become a problem during due diligence and inevitably lead to a request to make costly repairs under stress or even cause the sale price to be renegotiated.  The better the condition of the home, the stronger the negotiating power the Seller has regarding sale price.  This video will add some perspective to the home inspection process.

Loan Approval

This also takes place during the Due Diligence period.  The Buyer, the Buyer’s Loan Office and the Buyer’s Realtor all working together as a Team should be certain all the Buyer’s credit and job history documentation has been verified by the Lender’s underwriter so that once a bound Purchase and Sale Agreement is provided to the Lender, only an appraisal and the inevitable last minute minor verification documents will be required by the underwriter to complete loan approval.  Also during this period the Buyer’s Loan Office will provide the Buyer with an updated Good Faith Estimate (GFE) detailing all the loan application fees and additional expenses such as the first year’s Hazard Insurance policy, appraisal fee, pre-paid expenses like 2 - 3 month’s escrowed funds for taxes and insurances and other important expenses the Buyer will be required to pay at Closing.  Often a document indicating Lender loan approval is also required.

Preparation for Closing

With all inspections completed, repairs negotiated and completed, and loan approval received, the Closing Attorney will be ready to receive the Lender’s closing package for final document preparation for the Close.  Prior to loan approval the Closing Attorney will have performed a title search to insure clear title to the property can be conveyed from the Seller to the Buyer, will have ordered title insurance (preferably for both the Buyer’s Lender and also for the Buyer) and will be checking the Agreements and subsequent Amendments to be sure the entire Agreement is correct and signed and dated by all parties to the transaction. Based on the terms as agreed from the Purchase and Sale Agreement and the terms and finances as enumerated in the Buyer’s Lender’s closing package, a Closing Statement also known as a HUD will be prepared and distributed to all parties before the closing to check for any possible errors that can be corrected prior to the Closing.

The Close

Now it’s time to close the transaction. There are a variety of ways it can be executed, but if all parties are together at the Closing Attorney’s office, document signing, the exchange of monies for the close and the “handing over of the keys” at the end of the close caps off weeks, and sometimes months of hard work. 

Because selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home selling or buying decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 

 


Posted on 16. September 2011 03:04 by qmiskini

 

Nearly every “great deal” distressed property for sale comes with strings attached.  That’s because it’s not just the home that is “distressed.”  It is the seller and the selling situation that is distressed.  So, before starting your search for your great deal distress sale property, whether it is in Marietta, Alpharetta, Roswell, or anywhere in the Atlanta Metro area, be sure you select a Realtor who is well educated and experienced in representing Buyers in distress sale transactions.  These types of sales can easily become distressing for the buyer as well as the seller if both Realtors in the transaction are unfamiliar with managing this specialized purchase and sale process.  They can be great opportunities for a buyer, but closing a distress sale transaction takes skill as well as patience.

A distressed property can be a foreclosed home owned by a Bank or investor.  It can be a short sale, sometimes referred to as a “pre-foreclosure” property.  It can be a home being sold because of a divorce, or an estate owned property.  No matter the condition of the property - and they can range from neat, clean and in move-in condition to smelly fixer-uppers or even total rehabs - as the Buyer, you must view both the property and the sale from the point of view of the seller, or you will have a really difficult and unpleasant experience when trying to actually buy and close on a distress sale transaction.

Here are some of the “strings” attached that must be either tied into neat bows or removed altogether in order to have a successful distressed property sale for one of the fastest growing categories of distress sale purchases, the short sale.

A short sale property is one in which the Seller can no longer afford to keep the home and is asking their lender, or lenders (often a home will have more than one loan that must be satisfied) to accept a loan payoff amount that is less than the seller owes and forgive any deficiency (the amount not paid back by the seller at closing) allowing the sale to close with no further debt burden for the seller. There are many reasons why a seller must short sale their home including job loss, divorce, personal or family illness resulting in extreme financial distress… and intense personal distress.   Although the home may be in good condition remember, the sellers are definitely in distress.  These homes are usually sold in “As-Is” condition with a variety of special stipulations and sale conditions.  The time frame to close a short sale transaction can range from sixty to ninety days on the quick side to many, many months.  Many of these homes can be purchased at below fair market prices. A great deal!  But unless the Buyer is willing to wait for the seller’s lenders to assess the short sale request, assess your offer and make a decision about whether to even accept the short sale vs. foreclosing on the property, making an offer on a short sale property can be an exercise in futility. 

From the seller’s point of view, when a Buyer loses patience and pulls out before the short sale negotiation with their lenders can be completed, it often kills the seller’s chances of finalizing a short sale and they lose the home to foreclosure.  From the Buyer’s point of view, if the seller’s Realtor fails to keep the buyer updated and informed, even if there is no progress to report, the absence of information scares buyers who come to believe nothing is happening or will ever happen, and prompts them to rescind their offer before the seller can complete the short sale work to close the sale. Lose-lose.

If buying a sort sale property offers the best opportunity for a great home that may need nothing more than some TLC, be sure the Realtor you choose to guide you through the process has experience, patience and tenacity to help you walk knowledgeably through this often difficult but usually rewarding purchase process.

There are many excellent opportunities to purchase a distress sale property.  This Distress Sale video series will help you choose which type of distress sale property is best for you.

For access to a complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home purchase whether it is a distress sale property, retail sale or new home construction, you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE BUYER VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line. 

If you just want to start out by searching the MLS to see what types of distress sale homes are available in your projected price range and area of preference CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

When searching, remember: Distress Sale property purchases require patience and focus.

 


Posted on 15. September 2011 01:38 by qmiskini

This is a blog from a fellow Realtor in Connecticut, Peggy Chirico, Realtor.  Her explanation about the value of and importance of Buyer Representation for you the Buyer is a clear and fact-filled discusssion of how all Buyers should have appropriate representation in order to protect their best interets in any real estate transaction. Enjoy this excellent Blog.

 

Via Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900 Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty):
When I am speaking for the first time with potential buyers, one of the most misunderstood aspects of buying a home concerns buyer representation. Although we have had buyer representation in Connecticut since 1996, many people still do not understand that, as buyers, they have the right to have an agent who solely represents their interests. Here are some of the most common questions about buyer representation. I hope this will clear up WHYyou need buyer representation!

What is buyer representation?

When you agree to work with a buyer's agent, you have the benefit of someone representing your best interests and negotiating on your behalf. The agent has a fiduciary responsibility and pledges to you loyalty, confidentiality, obedience, accountability, reasonable care, and diligence. These are not just words; you have an agent that helps you through every step of the transaction and puts your interests above everyone else's, including her own.

Can't I just call the agent whose name is on the sign in front of the house?

You can call that agent, but you must remember that he/she is representing the seller and will work in the seller's best interests. The agent can show you the house, and you must either consent to unrepresentation (you are on your own) or dual representation. If you choose to be unrepresented party, you must sign a paper that says that you understand that. If you want the agent to represent you, both you and the seller must sign papers that you agree to dual representation, and the agent will do his/her best to represent both parties fairly. A third option is that the agent can assign another agent from her broker's office to represent you, in which case you will have designated agency. But my question to you is: Why would you notwant to select your own agent who works just for you?

Won't I get a better deal if I go to the listing agent?

This is a misconception that persists among novice buyers. Some people think that an agent will talk the seller into accepting a lower offer if that agent has both the buyer and seller because the agent will be getting all the commission. The reality is that the agent may be representing both parties, but the people in control of the final outcome are the seller and the buyer.If the seller doesn't want to accept your offer, it isn't going to happen. If you, the buyer, don't want to agree to the terms, it isn't going to happen either. Wouldn't you rather have an agent who will negotiate fully on your behalf so that you don't have to worry about where someone's allegiance lies?

Can you show me properties that aren't your listings?

Yes! No only can I show you any property that is listed on MLS but I can also show you For Sale By Owners (FSBOs). When the sellers list their homes for sale, they agree to pay the buyer's agent if they sell the home. The same is true for most FSBOs as well. The owners of FSBOs save money by not using a seller's agent, but most agree to pay a buyer's agent a commission. So if you see a property that interests, just let me know and I will arrange for us to see it.

How much does buyer representation cost?

In 99.9% of the cases, the commission is paid by the seller, so buyer representation costs you nothing. I have never had an instance where a buyer has paid my commission, even with FSBOs. The buyer representation agreement, however, will spell out that you will be responsible for my commission if the seller does not pay. But two things are important here: First, it is extremely rare; and second, we generally know ahead of time if there are any issues with the commission.

Do I have to sign anything?

Yes, our agreement is called Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer/Tenantand it outlines what each of our responsibilities are. State law requires that I can only show you other brokers' listings if we either have an Exclusive Right to Represent agreement or if I have permission from each seller to show you the property. Rather than getting permission for each property, the Exclusive Right to Represent allows me to show you all properties that are listed by any broker. When we meet, I will go over each section of the agreement so that you understand it, but essentially is says that for a period of time we will work together in an agency relationship and that I will represent you in the purchase of your new home or land. You agree that you will use me exclusively as your agent and will let others know that you have signed a buyer representation agreement. This protects you, me, and other agents by letting them know that we have an exclusive relationship.

How long do I have to sign the agreement for?

The period of time that we are under agreement is negotiable. I want our relationship to be a mutually satisfying one, and I believe that we should both wantto work together. For that reason, I encourage you to select a period of time that you feel comfortable with. If you don't want to sign a long agreement at first, that's fine with me; we can always extend it later if we both agree.

What else do I need to know about buyer representation?

The other thing that many homebuyers don't understand is that buyer representation not just about finding the property and writing up the contract. A buyer's agent is critical in the steps leading up to the closing. The inspections need to be done, and inspection issues need to be negotiated. After inspections are completed, a buyer's agent will monitor the mortgage process, make sure that the commitment date is met, and make sure that the final walkthough meets the buyer's approval. Any extra services, such as coordinating attorney services, utility switchovers, and verifying that inspection issues have been completed may be part of the agent's responsibilities. This conversation does not happen over the phone. I always meet with a potential buyer first so we can discuss each step in the homebuying process. I want to provide as much information as possible and answer any questions they have so they will feel comfortable about the process. After I have explained what buyer representation is, I will ask them to sign an Exclusive Right to Represent agreement. I want them to feel comfortable that I am going to work for them, but I also want to know that they are committed to me. We go over everything they will need to do for homeownership:
  • Do they understand each step of the homebuying process?
  • Do they understand that the monthly payment includes mortgage principle and interest, taxes and insurance?
  • What do they need to provide to a mortgage lender to see what they qualify for in a mortgage?
  • What is the timing? When do they need to move in? Do they have flexibility?
  • What are their criteria for their first home? Are they flexible in what they must have and what they would like to have?
  • Are there any other decision makers?
I hope this answers some of your questions about buyer representation. If you have any other questions, please ask. Or give me a call and we'll get started!

 


Posted on 14. September 2011 04:05 by qmiskini

 

In today’s roiling housing market there are a lot of reasons why a home isn’t selling. Many are actually true!  But when you boil down all the theories about why a home isn’t selling it comes down to just three fundamental elements: Marketing, Presentation and Price.

There are two ways to market a home, “passive selling” and “active, innovative marketing.” Passive selling is placing a sign in the yard, listing the home in the multiple listings, offering the home on the office tour, occasionally running an open house and waiting for an offer to come in.  All too often that is the level of service provided.  Advertising and marketing is expensive. These days if your home is advertised at all it may be incorporated into a broker’s ad featuring five or ten or twenty homes in a single ad. A confident full service Realtor will go way beyond that level of service.  Their marketing strategy will be active, innovative marketing. They will sell your home’s benefits, not its features. They will target market to Buyers looking for the benefits your home has to offer.  “Walking distance to schools.” “Large, private, level, fenced rear yard.” “Quiet, low traffic cul-de-sac home site.” “Awesome lake views.”  Buyers are looking for homes that fit their needs, wants and wishes. Print ads are great.  But how about the Internet with distribution to high traffic real estate portals that syndicate your home’s listing to dozens, sometimes hundreds of real estate sites nationwide?

Great presentation of your home is vital to a sale. Did your Realtor spend the time walking through your home with a checklist of items that make homes saleable?  A home should be clean, neat and uncluttered. Small details that Buyers always notice like carpet stains, fingerprints on walls, household cooking odors, cracked switch plates, dark colors in key rooms like the dining room, family room or master bedroom, unkempt shrubbery and uncut lawns… the list of easy to fix and usually inexpensive repairs that make a home attractive, bright, welcoming easy to view.  The exact things Buyers react positively to.  Did your Realtor take you to other homes for sale in the area that are similar to yours and show you what the competition looks like?  How about a home in your sub division that sold in less than a month?  What made that home so attractive to the Buyer?

The old saw: “price fixes everything” is true. Make a home price cheap enough and someone will buy it.  But that’s not the point of understanding price.  Great marketing will get Buyers to preview an internet feature but price gets them to preview the home.  The Buyer is looking at value vs. price.  If the home has the features they are seeking – number of bedrooms, bath rooms, location, style – and the benefits of the home are appealing, does the home’s price equate in their mind’s eye with their perception of the home’s value?  On the selling side you as well as your Realtor want to sell the home for the highest attainable price.  Does the price your home is offered for meet the value expectations of the Buyers seeking homes like yours?  In this or any market there is often a discernable difference between what you want to receive for your home and what the market is willing to pay.  Has your Realtor done a thorough Market Analysis and developed an achievable pricing strategy?  Were you shown, with statistics to back it up, what the market is saying your home – “in show quality condition” is actually worth? Chances are it may conflict with what you want or “need” to net from the sale of your home.  Did your Realtor give you a preliminary market analysis to see what your home’s completion is, even before you met?

These are not easy time for Sellers. When you chose a Realtor, be sure they understand the three key reasons why homes do, or don’t sell: Marketing, Presentation and Price.

Because selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home selling or buying decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

 

 


Posted on 13. September 2011 03:24 by qmiskini

 

Developing a strategy for buying the right home is both an art as well as a science.  The art is understanding your wants.  The science is identifying your needs.  Combining the two provides a picture of the right home for you.

Here is a short primer on some of what your Realtor and their Team will help you identify to get you started on the path to successful home buying.  It all starts with writing it down.  You can call it the wish list, the want list, the need list.  But it’s really all three.

Start with the most important first step you can take – meeting with a Lender to get pre-approved for a home loan.  Your Realtor will have home loan specialists on their Team who can offer a menu of options for loans.  They can provide you with information about the various programs offered, whether or not you qualify for special programs like 203K FHA renovation loans, what you must do to qualify for a home loan, and how much of a home loan can you afford. With a pre-approval letter in hand, you now know what price home you can purchase.

Next you will begin putting all of your specific criteria on paper, developing an image of the size, style and location of the home that fits all your specific criteria. For example, you may want a home in the Walton High School District in Marietta GA, or you want to live in the Milton GA or Alpharetta GA community. You like the schools, but how long will your commute time be to work? How many bedrooms will you need? How about a basement – will storage or expansion be important to you?  Big lot and back yard – room for the kids to play, love gardening? How about a master bedroom on the main level vs. all the bedrooms upstairs?  And you’ve only just begun.  Here’s where working with your Realtor to develop that list in order to generate a daily HomeHunter ® Service list of homes pays off.

Knowing your budget will also help you focus your wish, want and need lists.  For example, a $225,000 budget will buy a newer construction 4 bedroom, 2.5 Bath home on a full basement in the Sprayberry High School District of Marietta GA, but perhaps a somewhat older 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in the Walton High School District of Marietta GA.  Are you handy?  Will taking on a lower priced foreclosed property in Alpharetta GA needing fix-up work to make it your dream home help you bridge cost vs. size vs. location issues?   Or, is new home construction in a new home community in Woodstock GA a better choice for you?

As you can see, wandering through the maze of options available is not the best way to find the right home in the best location at the lowest price with the least hassle.  Engaging a Realtor with a Team of specialists who can help you focus on the best properties for you – those that meet the important criteria you identify -  will not only simplify your search, it will go a long way toward making it more memorable and enjoyable experience.  To help you get started here’s a brief video – How To Make The Most From Your Home-Buying Experience that will outline the process we’ve been talking about.

Because buying or selling a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home buyers and sellers. For access to the complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home buying or selling decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home buyer or home seller series. 

If you just want to start out by searching the MLS to see what types of homes are available in your projected price range and area of preference CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

 

 


Posted on 12. September 2011 01:17 by qmiskini

Buying a home is not a hop, skip and a jump. It is a process that often begins many months before you ever start visiting properties with your Realtor.  Preparing for the journey is important because once you begin, unless you are prepared for the emotional roller coaster it can sometimes become, you will feel frustrated, become disappointed, and lose sight of the fun it should be and the marvelous end result at the end of the journey.

This is a word of gentle advice and caution to all couples embarking on the search for a new home.  Part of your planning, and a definite chapter in your discussions with your Realtor is for both parties (meaning the adults who will be purchasing and living together in the home) to spend quality time discussing your individual needs, wants and wishes – everything from basement or no basement to which direction the master bedroom faces.  Not to put too fine a point on this, but there will be the inevitable compromises.  However they should not be capitulation because one or the other partner in the purchase digs in their heels and refuses to budge.

It all starts with your search on paper.  We, for example, offer a specialized daily feed of highly costumed listing information through our HomeHunter Service®. The Realtor on our Team working with you will have spent a considerable amount of time talking with you about everything from price to home style to school preferences and distance to work issues and more.  That preliminary information goes in to crafting your daily HomeHunter Service® list of homes to consider.  This is the time to get the big issues out on the table.  You love Cape Cod style homes with peaked rooflines and wide front porches in Woodstock.  Your spouse or partner loves traditional 2-story homes with clean lines and lots of windows in Marietta.  You want to be close to work; he wants to be close to his job too, but you work on the opposite ends of Cobb County. 

You can begin to see that spending days or weeks and sometimes months looking for the “compromise home” can both stretch out the process and add unnecessary stress and discord to the search.  Here is where using your Realtor as a sounding board for ideas, working with your Realtor to help you really break down the positives and negatives of homes you are previewing, and then categorizing those yea’s and nay’s will help you to see the difference between compromise and capitulation. You will have worked through and appreciate those wants, needs and wishes that can divide rather than unite you in making a good decision about the right home at the best price.

One young couple working with one of our Team’s Buyer Specialist Realtors found themselves in exactly the position we all strive to avoid.  Although they were able to agree on most of the major issues, their more subtle likes and dislikes – owing to how a home “felt” to each of them, caused significant strife during the search process.  It was not until they and their Realtor spent some quality time talking about what felt right and what felt wrong to each of them that they discovered what was separating them and stopping them from picking a home to purchase.  Now finding properties they both “felt” good about was much easier and within a week they agreed on the home they will be closing on next month.

All the checklists in the world won’t make a home purchase right if, despite the great price you bought it for, you love it and he hates it… or he loves it and you hate it! We love our new home are the most important 5 words you want to say to one another about your new home purchase!

Because buying or selling a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home buyers and sellers. For access to the complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home buying or selling decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home buyer or home seller series. 

If you just want to start out by searching the MLS to see what types of homes are available in your projected price range and area of preference CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

 

 


Posted on 9. September 2011 02:31 by qmiskini

 

Whether you are buying or selling a home, look for a Realtor with the reputation of going the extra mile for their Clients.  Going the extra mile can mean many things.  Often they are small details that crop up before, during and after the end of a purchase or sale.  Did I say after a sale closes?  Yes, even after a sale closes.

Here’s a simple example of how duty and service should extend beyond the closing of a transaction.  It may seem like a small issue, but to the Buyer involved it was really important.

For one young first-time home buyer couple, finding a home they could both afford and fall in love with in Alpharetta Georgia, and then the process of buying the home was a continual, seemingly never ending list of “oh my gosh” details.  But this is true in nearly every purchase or sale of a home.  As Realtors we work daily through the list of items necessary to be taken care of during the process of buying or selling a home.  Most of the steps repeat over and again from transaction to transaction.  For Buyers or Sellers who may only purchase or sell a home once every seven to ten years, or only once in their lifetime, everything you have to do can, at times, seem monumental.  Because most of the tasks you must take care of, most of the decisions you have to make, are being done for the first time, we must be your trusted advisor, educator and guide.

So now the transaction is complete. You have made it through the Closing. The Seller has presented the key, garage door openers and their best wishes to the Buyer and its move-in day.  This young couple who was so nervous about every detail is moving in and is really excited about spending their first night together in their own home!  Move-in day is on a Saturday. For most of us who work with Buyers, Saturday is a busy day of showing homes to our Clients.  Ring, ring… the Realtor on our Team who successfully guided this first-time home buyer couple through their first home-buying experience is calling and there’s the sound of panic in their voices.  “None of our toilets work! What do we do?”

At the walk-through the day before the close of their sale, everything seemed to be in good order.  Sink faucets flowed, toilets flushed, lights switched on and off.  But now its 4 PM on a Saturday, they are exhausted and ready to crash, and “all the toilets are broken!” 

“Okay,” she replied. “I’m way on the other side of town in Kennesaw, and I’m certainly not a plumber, but I’ll call the Seller directly to see if they did anything before they moved out that might have caused the toilets to stop working. “  And so she tracked down the Seller who explained that he had cut off the water to each of the commodes just to be sure there wouldn’t be any leaks during the time between the walk-through and the closing. “Hi guys…problem solved.  Just turn the water valve at the base of each commode a few turns and the water will start to flow.” 

Several days later, after settling into their new home they called that Realtor.  They wanted to thank her for “going the extra mile” for them.  “We tell everyone about how you helped us find our dream home and were there for us even when it was no longer your responsibility. We love our new home! Thank you!” 

Choose a Realtor who will Go the Extra Mile!

For access to a complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home buying or selling decisions you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line and let us know if want the home buyer or home seller series. 

If you just want to start out by searching the MLS to see what types of homes are available in your projected price range and area of preference CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE