Low interest rates have enticed thousands of Americans to seek funding for a new home or to refinance an existing mortgage. This surge has created a demand for mortgage brokers, whose job it is to help borrower’s complete applications and secure loan rates. It is estimated that brokers process hundreds of billions of dollars in mortgages every year. If you are thinking of buying a home or refinancing your existing one, here are some tips for finding a qualified broker to help;
- Get good references. If you want the help of a mortgage broker, ask friends or a trusted professional at your bank for a recommendation.
- Get an upfront estimate. This won’t be a problem, because federal law requires mortgage broker to provide you with a written estimate of the total cost of your mortgage transaction no later than three days after you apply.
- Be careful about fees. Brokers receive most of their compensation from lenders, who pay them a small commission on the mortgage deal. If you’re asked to pay more than you expected, ask your broker for a detailed explanation of all costs. You may find that you do not need all the services your broker offers.
Making exterior improvements to your home before putting it on the market will draw more potential buyers once it is listed. This is known as improving your home’s ‘curb appeal’, and because first impressions are important, it may help ensure a quick sale. But the first thing you need to do is decide how much time and money you are willing to invest in presale improvements.
You can go as far as resurfacing the driveway or applying a fresh coat of paint. The good news is that you should be able to recover the cost of these larger improvements in the sale.
If you’d rather not invest so much time and money, smaller improvements can also do a lot to improve the curb appeal. Try adding colorful flowers to your landscaping or simply adding potted flowers to your doorway. Painting the front door an inviting new color may attract potential buyers. Even polishing your doorknob and putting out a new doormat can help make a favorable first impression.
When shopping for a home, of course, you want to get the best property your money can buy. But sometimes, buying the best house on the block isn’t the wisest option. One smart real estate tip suggests buying the worst house on the best street. What does this mean and is it sound advice?
As a homebuyer, it’s a good idea to find a neighborhood that fits your needs – the right price range, close to work and schools, community activities, etc. For example, purchasing a home that is in need of some minor repairs, but is located in a desirable area may be a smart buy because as you make renovations or upgrades, the home will increase in value, like the other homes around it.
Finally, when buying or selling a home, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate professional that will provide you with the information you need to make the right choices.
1) Pricing too high from the start.
Fix: Statistics show that homes priced correctly when they first hit the market sell closer to the asking price than homes that start too high, then have to adjust downward.
2) Using an odd list price, like $683,257.
Fix: Always price in round numbers. Agents search for homes using price categories, make sure your pricing makes sense when agent search a window of $250,000 – 350,000, for example.
3) Not basing your price on sold homes
Fix: Searching actual “Solds” is the only true pricing guide. A home can be listed for any amount – that doesn’t mean the home will ever sell for that amount.
4) Refusing to negotiate.
Fix: Your asking price should have some built-in flexibility. Otherwise, you’re bound to turn away and turn off some serious buyers.
1. Accepting the buyer with the highest offer without regard to the other contractual terms.
2. Not properly handling multiple offer situations with multiple buyers.
3. Not properly handling back-up offers.
4. Entering into an agreement with no earnest money deposit from the buyer, or a very small amount.
5. Entering into an agreement before verifying the buyer’s financial ability to close escrow.
6. Not disclosing known material facts affecting value or desirability of the property.
7. Not providing the buyer with legally required disclosures.
8. Not obtaining the buyer’s written acknowledgment of disclosures.
9. Not considering whether to require the buyer to remove contingencies.
10. Not excluding items from the sale that the seller wants to keep.
Eight West Coast cities are among the top 10 sellers’ markets in the country, led by San Jose, Calif., San Francisco and Las Vegas, according to Zillow. In sellers’ markets, homes tend to sell close to the asking price and listings spend less time on the market. At the other end of the spectrum, Midwestern cities Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland are the top buyers’ markets, with homes taking longer to sell and buyers receiving average discounts of 5 percent off the asking price.
Zillow analyzed data based on sale-to-list price ratio, number of days on market, and percent of homes on market with a price cut. Then Zillow ranked the 50 largest metro areas to determine whether buyers or sellers have more negotiating power in a given market.
“It’s refreshing to see some markets swinging back in favor of sellers, with asking prices being met and listings spending fewer days on markets,” says Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries. “The housing recession has been long and rocky, and we’re seeing more balance during this summer selling season. Of course, many markets are still firmly in favor of buyers, and we expect that to continue until the recovery takes more of a hold nationwide,” Humphries says.
National news from my CRS Connect on-line newsletter
The stigma attached to buying a foreclosure seems to be fading. According to a new survey released by Realtor.com, nearly two-thirds of homebuyers (64.9 percent) say they are likely to buy a foreclosure compared to 25.3 percent who said the same in October 2009. A majority of buyers (92.1 percent) say they plan to live in these properties rather than use them as investments. Realtor.com attributes the increased demand for foreclosure properties to reduced supply of homes on the market, expectations of rising home prices and changing attitudes toward foreclosures.
However, many Americans remain concerned about the large number of foreclosures on the market. More than half (55.7 percent) worry that the 1.5 million backlogged foreclosures expected to be released by major lenders will drive down home values in their local markets. Midwesterners (62.2 percent) are more concerned than residents in the nation’s other three regions.
Foreclosure data varies considerably from one study to the next, but according to Realtor.com, foreclosures have declined 34 percent nationwide in the past 12 months. Still, most Americans say they have not seen improvement in foreclosure activity in their local markets. Nearly half of those surveyed believe the foreclosure situation is about the same today compared to a year ago. While 34.9 percent of Americans are concerned that they or someone they know will lose their home to foreclosure within the next year, that figure is far below March 2009 when 52.5 percent of Americans expressed this same concern
Great info from CRS Connect on-line newsletter
If you are considering buying or selling a home, you may think you will “save some money” and do it yourself. But did you know that by using a knowledgeable real estate professional, you are more likely to save not only money, but also valuable time and energy? With the many tasks you are currently trying to juggle, do you have the sales skills – not to mention the contacts and resources – to do it on your own? Instead of trying to take on more work for yourself, think about what a real estate representative can do for you.
As buyers, you know what your financial reserves are and what your future earning potential may be. You can give your real estate professional information about your income, saving and current debt. Then, your agent can take that information to help you make a choice about which homes best meet all of your needs, and to offer you objective information about homes that are on the market.
If you are selling property, a real estate representative will be aware of ways you can significantly increase the salability of your home. In addition, a real estate professional knows how, when and where your property should be advertised.
As a real estate professional, I can help with all of your buying and selling needs.
Simple and affordable do-it-yourself projects can greatly increase a home’s resale value, according to HomeGains annual home improvement and staging survey. The marketing company surveyed nearly 600 real estate professionals to discover which DIY home improvement projects five sellers the biggest return for their buck.
Here are the six projects under $1,000 (approx.) that made the list.
- Cleaning and decluttering. Remove any personal items, unclutter countertops, organize closets and make the home sparkling clean.
- Brightening. Clean all windows inside and out, replace old curtains, update lighting fixtures, and remove anything that blocks light from the windows.
- Smart staging. Rearrange furniture, bring in new accessories and furnishings to enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and play soft music in the background.
- Landscaping enhancements. Punch up the home’s curb appeal in the front and back yards by adding bark mulch, bushes, and flowers and ensuring current plants and grass are well-cared and manicured.
- Repairing electrical or plumbing. Fix leaks under the sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure all plumbing is in good working condition.
- Replacing or shampooing dirty carpets. Steam-clean carpets, replace any worn carpets, and repair any floor creaks.
Excerpted from HomeGains 2011 Home Sale Maximizer Survey
The leading expert in color, Pantone, Inc., has made it stated that Turquoise was the “it” color for 2010. But before you deck the house from top to bottom in the gemstone hue, consider the other latest trends.
Behr paint company says neutral is still in–think light colors such as grays, camels and off-whites. Experts suggest buying bigger furniture such as sofas and armchairs in these safe colors, which never truly go out of style. Complement neutrals with aqua and gold tones, but stay away from the darker browns, which are becoming passé.
While monochromatic schemes are still versatile and dependable, HGTV says the real winners in the color game right now are bold jewel colors such as ruby red or emerald green and the brighter the better–especially if it’s a purple hue. Experts advise pairing these daring tones with a smoky charcoal or a softer black to give a room a vintage feel.
Going green and getting back to nature is a major trend, too. Earthier tones, such as sand or yellow-greens, are perfect for living rooms or kitchens. But going back to your roots doesn’t just mean dipping into Mother Earth’s favorite colors. Decorators say Asian-inspired or tribal patterns are adorning decorative elements consumers look to get the most bang for their buck. Think pillows, area rugs or murals as key items this season.