POWERFUL TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR HOME

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Maybe you’re moving to a larger home to accommodate a growing family, relocating for a new career opportunity, or purchasing a townhouse for retirement.  Whatever the reason for the move, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to sell your home for the best possible price, within a reasonable amount of time.  Where do you begin?

 

If you’re like most people, you’ll start by seeking assistance from a professional.  A local real estate sales associate, who knows your neighborhood, can help you determine a fair market price.  The sales associate should also recommend the extent to which you should make repairs or improvements to your house.

 

In order to select a real estate professional who’s right for you, ask family, friends and neighbors for referrals.  Attend open houses and interview several sales associates to find out how professional or experienced they may be.  Get a written outline of how they plan to market your property and the services they will offer you.

 

Once you’ve identified a qualified professional, the rest is chemistry.  Is the sales associate someone with whom you would like to work closely?  Do you feel comfortable with the sales associate as your partner, working with you to give you advice and acting as your representative?  Does he or she practice a consultative selling approach, focusing on the long-term client relationship and on the importance of exceeding client needs and expectations or is he or she caught up in the proverbial ‘hard sell?’

 

The brokerage firm that your agent is associated with is also important.  Research the firm’s success rate and commitment to quality service.  Does it survey existing clients in order to ensure customer satisfaction?  What are the results of those surveys? How in tune are they with consumer needs?  Do they offer guidance with mortgages or any discounts for other home related or moving services?

 

Determining your home’s fair market value is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the home-selling/buying process.  Your sales associate can help you set a fair price based on local market conditions.  For instance, she or he will provide sale prices and other statistics of homes similar to yours that have recently been sold.  Prospective buyers will be comparing your home to others on the market.  Therefore, setting a comprehensive price can determine if your property will or will not sell.

 

For the first offer made, it’s rare that the prospective buyer matches the asking price.  If the offer is reasonably close to the asking price, carefully consider the offer before you consider turning it down.  Curiously, it’s the first offer that can often be the best offer.  If the first offer is unacceptable to you, it may in your best interest to have your sales associate respond with a counter offer.  Whenever considering an offer, ask yourself if you would purchase the property for the amount being offered.  Always be willing to negotiate, especially if the prospective buyer is pre-qualified for a mortgage.

 

Once you decide what terms are acceptable, let your sales associate negotiate with the prospective buyer to work out the best agreement for you.  You’ll need to be patient while the buyer arranges financing and as the real estate company compiles and prepares pertinent data.

Careful planning and sound advice from a real estate professional can make selling your home a very satisfying experience.

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Real Estate Terminology

UNDERSTANDING REAL ESTATE TERMINOLOGY

Purchasing a home can be a complicated and confusing process, especially for first-time buyers.  Throughout the process, first-time home buyers will encounter a variety of unfamiliar real state terms. There are several key terms associates with purchasing real estate that are helpful to learn.

For example, many buyers confuse the terms broker and salesperson.  A broker is a properly licensed individual, or corporation, who serves as a special agent in the purchase and sale of real estate, a salesperson is an individual employed or associated by written agreement by the broker as an independent contractor.  The salesperson facilitates the purchase or sale of real estate.

Once you decide to purchase, a salesperson will prepare a sales contract to present to the seller along with your earnest money deposit.  The sales contract is the document through which the seller agrees to give possession and title of property to the buyer upon full payment of the purchase price and performance of agreed-upon conditions.  The earnest money is a buyer’s partial payment, as a show of good faith, to make the contract binding.  Often, the earnest money is held in an escrow account.  Escrow is the process by which money is held by a disinterested party until the terms of the escrow instructions are fulfilled.

After the buyer and seller have signed the contract, the buyer must obtain a mortgage note by presenting the contract to a mortgage lender.  The note is the buyer’s promise to pay the purchase price of the real estate in addition to a stated interest rate over a specified period of time.  A mortgage lender places a lien on the property, or mortgage, and this secures the mortgage note.

The buyer pays interest money to the lender exchange for the use of money borrowed.  Interest is usually referred to as APR or annual percentage rate.  Interest is paid on the principle, the capital sum the buyer owes.  Interest payments may be disguised in the form of points.  Points are an up-front cost which may be paid by either the buyer or seller or both in conventional loans.

In general, there are two types of conventional loans that a buyer can obtain.  A fixed rate loan has the same rate of interest for the life of the loan, usually 14 to 30 years. An adjustable rate loan or adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) provides a discounted initial rate, which changes after a set period of time.  The rate can’t exceed the interest rate cap or ceiling allowed on such loans for any one adjustment period.  Some ARMs have a lifetime cap on interest.  The buyer makes the loan and interest payments to the lender through amortization, the systematic payment and retirement of debt over a set period of time.

Once the contract has been signed and a mortgage note obtained, the buyer and seller must legally close the real estate transaction.  The closing is a meeting where the buyer, seller and their attorneys review, sign and exchange the final documents.  At the closing, the buyer receives the appraisal report, an estimate of the property’s value with the appraiser’s signature, certification and sporting documents.  The buyer also receives the title and the deed.  The title shows evidence of the buyer’s ownership of the property while the deed legally transfers the title from the seller to the buyer.  The final document the buyer receives at closing is a title insurance policy, insurance against the loss of the title if it’s found to be imperfect.

Buyers should plan on a least four to twelve weeks for a typical real estate transaction.  The process is difficult and at times, intimidating.  A general understanding of real estate terminology and chronology of the transaction, however, will help any real estate novice to confidently buy his or her first home.

How to Avoid Home Buying Mistakes

 

1. Not doing your homework. Enter the market well-prepared by researching location, school district, deed restrictions and taxes.

 

2. Trying to make a shrewd investment. Focus on finding the best place for you and your family to live rather than trying to predict the real estate market.

 

3. Choosing a poor location. Consider what part of town you would like to live in and avoid homes located on busy streets.

 

4. Overlooking an inferior floor plan for an attractive exterior. Choose a great floor plan over a great exterior because you’ll spend far more time inside the house than outside.

 

5. Overlooking how the home will function for your family. Consider features that are most important to your family and choose a home that will meet those needs.

 

6. Not having the home properly inspected when buying a resale. Hire a state-licensed, professional inspector to evaluate the home’s true condition, which could save you thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance.

 

7. Not having the home properly inspected when buying a new home. Research the number of homes sold, homeowner satisfaction, years in business, industry recognition and warranties offered.

 

8. Not getting what you want because you’re impatient. If it’s a used home, allow time to negotiate and get the best deal possible. Refusing to rush the process could save you $5,000 on the purchase price.

 

9. Waiting for a better time to buy based on the market and interest rates. History shows that those who purchased homes and kept them for three to five years or more did better than those who didn’t. Waiting is one of the biggest mistakes a home buyer can make.

 

10. The biggest home buying mistake is not buying at all. Buying a home will give you a place to call your own and allow you to take advantage of tax breaks and build equity.

 

Avoiding common mistakes can make the home buying process simpler and less stressful.