Tag Archives: selling your home

Understanding Today’s Home Buyers

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Home buyers used to have it easy – all they had to consider when buying a home was price, condition and location. Getting loans was a snap, and reselling the home was never a worry.

But today’s recessionary market is throwing home buyers a curve. They’re not so certain home buying is a good investment, and neither are their bankers.

If you’re a home seller, you need to know what buyers are facing in today’s real estate market, so you can do the one thing that will help the right buyer buy your home.

Price it to sell.

  • Buyers begin their search for a home with prices. Buyers may search many neighborhoods or look at homes out of their price range to get an idea of the marketplace. But, when it comes to serious shopping, they know their price and use it to see which homes they can afford.
  • Buyers are prequalified by their lender. A serious buyer will not be satisfied with day dreaming for long. They’ll share their financial information, and get prequalified by a lender who will tell them exactly how much they can afford. Is your home in the right price range?
  • Buyers work with real estate professionals. Once they have a green light, buyers start shopping. They ask their real estate professionals to start gathering and presenting homes they might like. If your home is priced too high, your best, likeliest buyer will never see it. Is your home overpriced compared to the competition?
  • Buyers have incredible sources to compare homes. Videos, virtual tours, feature sheets and multiple photos are the eye candy. They quickly sort through what’s available to a short list of the most appealing homes in their price range. Did you de-clutter, clean, stage and update your home?
  • Buyers choose homes based on bang for the buck. As buyers walk through listings with their real estate agent, they’ll quickly make snap decisions based on size, condition, and location as compared to price.  Does your home offer the most bang for the buck?
  • Buyers use the same comparables you do. Just as you and your real estate agent have examined the market, buyers and their agents do the same. They know which homes are overpriced, and they’ll assume that an overpriced home comes from either an unmotivated or unrealistic seller.  They’ll make their offer to the seller whose home offers the most for the money and who appears most reasonable to an offer. Do you appear negotiable?
  • Buyers’ banks confirm prices with appraisals. Today’s appraisals are strict. New codes of conduct require banks to avoid pressuring appraisers to “hit the numbers.” Appraisers are required to go back as long as one year, to determine if your home is in a “declining market.” If so, the appraisal can come as much as 5% under your list price. If the appraisal is under the list price, the bank won’t lend. Are you prepared to lower your price to make the deal go through?
  • Buyers face unprecedented banking challenges. Banks no longer offer non-conforming loans with abandon. Many banks are balking at offering conforming loans, and those are government-guaranteed. They require stricter proof from buyers that they are able to repay their loans, often qualifying them at much lower levels. Are you willing to help your buyer by paying down points?
  • Buyers are scared. They have to have a good reason to buy a home, and news of declining prices hasn’t provided much incentive. Help them by  showing them all the ways your home has rewarded your ownership. Show them how much you pay in property taxes, how much you get as a homestead exemption, how much you’re able to write off your income taxes as a homeowner. Are you willing to share what buyers need to know?
  • Buyers don’t have to buy. They want to buy. They want the joys of homeownership, and it’s your job as a homeowner to provide them with the tipping point they need – the best home at the best price. Is your home priced to sell?
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Moving with Young Children

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Are you excited and happy about moving? Or are you dreading the sorting, packing and other chores?

If you look at moving as an exciting adventure full of fun, new possibilities, then you’re halfway to getting your children on board for the ride. Your children will absorb your enthusiasm like little sponges.

There will be some worries, of course, but you can defeat those with a little preparation and understanding.

Most children don’t like the changes associated with moving. The younger the child, the less able they are to “see into the future” as you do. They tend to focus on losing the security they’re used to, and they worry about missing friends and family.

You can make childish anger and doubt grow into a sense of wonder and adventure. You can do that by acknowledging and empathizing with the loss they feel and showing them how to balance their feelings with what they have to gain.

1.Communicate with your child patiently and frequently.  Let your children know, step by step, what is happening and what is likely to happen next. Tell them what the move means to the family — how important it is that Mommy got a big promotion or that Daddy is opening a new office for his company.

2. List all the advantages there are for the child in the move. For example, will the family be closer to Grandma, the ocean, or another favorite person, place, or activity? Will they be able to see old friends and family frequently? Or at least at holiday time?

3. Show the child as much as you can about the new home. When you show your child their room, bath, and play area, make a game of it by asking where certain favorite toys or furniture should go. Have fun by showing your child the new house plans, or draw them yourself and let your child cut out furniture and toys to place in the rooms. Show your child a typical day in the home as you go from room to room.

4. Introduce your child to the new community online. Draw a map, and show how close Mommy and Daddy work, where schools are, where Aunt Bea lives, and other points of interest to help them orient themselves in their new surroundings.

5. Be ready for those “What about me?” questions. If your child is in scouts, little league, or other organizations, contact those associations for referrals in your new neighborhood or city. Knowing they won’t have to give up favorite hobbies or sports goes a long way toward helping children adjust.

6. Let your child participate. Make a fun activity out of researching services you’ll need online, like finding a new veterinarian for your dog. Older children can find blogs online about their new school.

7. Keep your child occupied by letting them plan and pack a box or two of their special things. Consider their input on new decor and the layout of their new rooms. Encourage them to take the time to exchange good-byes with friends and loved ones and get addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers to stay in touch.

8. Try to stick to normal routines as much as possible. Let your children know that, although they will soon live in a new house, the rules of the household will still be the same. Bedtime is still at 9 p.m., and homework must still be completed before TV time is allowed. And although Mom and Dad are a little busier and distracted with the move, they love their children very much and are giving the entire household a new opportunity to grow.

9. On moving day, have a bag packed of personal belongings for each member of the family, being careful to include medications, clothes, and personal items. Let your children choose what amusements and favorite “loveys” they wish to take along, and reassure them they will see their other favorite toys when they arrive in their new home.

Your preparedness will go a long way in reassuring your children that their needs are being considered, even while big changes are happening around them.

www.loveforhomessac.com

Selling Tips in a Buyer’s Market

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A buyer’s market means it’s the seller’s turn to be flexible, especially with sale terms. Purchase price, closing dates, move-in dates, storage, appliances, window treatments, points and fees may all require a little negotiation. Whatever the terms, don’t let personal feelings stand in the way of a good deal.

Selling in a soft market

The basics

In a buyer’s market, curb appeal, cleanliness, overall good condition and updates are especially crucial. Any little flaw should be taken care of before the first buyer drives up.

  • Attend open houses in your neighborhood to see what “sell-ready” really looks like. If you’re shy, ask your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate sales associate to walk you through a few sell-ready examples.
  • Back home, start with the exterior to ensure you’re making a good first impression. Reseed or throw down some turf on lawn patches, change the lights in the lamppost, and if necessary, reset the walkway stone.
  • Clean the interior beyond your standards. Even if they are impeccable, rent an industrial carpet cleaner or hire a professional cleaning service. Brighten the interior ambience with light fixture updates, as new lighting is one of the most inexpensive and noticeable improvements you can make prior to listing.
  • Fix leaky faucets and make sure the water pressure is strong in both the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • If necessary, a great way to improve the appearance of your home is to paint. Use only neutral colors that can easily lend themselves to different décor and styles of furniture.

Don’t reject low offers; negotiate

  • Don’t dismiss lower-than-expected offers. Instead, consider buyer incentives that help you meet your asking price. Offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs, moving costs or loan origination fee. These can help the buyer with upfront costs. As well, you may consider offering a limited home warranty that covers HVAC systems and some appliances for a definitive period of time.
  • Be careful of purchase offers that are contingent on the buyer selling their home first. Their home may be in a softer market than yours and you could be in for a long wait. Be sure that the purchase agreement includes a contingency-release clause. This way you’ll be able to sell if another buyer comes along.
  • Work with your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate agent to find creative solutions to make a deal come together. The purchase price is just part of the deal. Anything that makes your property stand apart from the competition will give it an edge in a buyer’s market.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri
www.loveforhomessac.com

Making the Right Offer

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It is important for the home buyer to really understand the market in his/her area before making an offer.  We, as Realtors, can give you our input, but it is important to spend the time to educate yourself as well.

In the Sacramento area home prices are already at rock bottom, so putting in a low ball offer isn’t going to get you the house.  In fact, most of the time you don’t get the house unless your offer is above the asking price for traditional sales.  How much above asking price will depend on the number of offers, whether or not the house is in a highly desirable area, the home has designer or uncommon features, etc.   In many cases, it may not matter what the comps show.  Value is what you are willing to pay for the home, not necessarily what the home is appraised for.  And if your Realtor is doing their job, they should be on good terms with the listing agent to find out as much as possible about other offers, the seller’s bottom line, the seller’s motivation for selling, and the like.  Not all listing agents are forthcoming with information, but sometimes the buyer’s agent gets lucky if they build a good enough rapport with the listing agent.

To make matters worse, inventory is extremely low right now.  There are a lot of buyers out there looking at the same homes.

It may take a buyer losing out on several homes to realize that paying above asking price may be the only way to get the home they want.  When this happens, the buyer may lose out on that perfect home.

Bottom Line:

  • Know your market and understand how difficult or easy it is to find exactly what you are looking for.
  • Determine how much you are willing to pay to get the home you want.
  • Make sure you have a Realtor that asks all the right questions to all the right people.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri
www.loveforhomessac.com

Staging Your Home to Sell

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A potential buyer knows within 15 seconds of walking into a home whether they want to continue the tour or not.  That is why staging your home is so important!  Statistics show that staging your home sells it more quickly than if you did not stage your home.  Here are some DIY tips on staging your home prior to putting it on the market:

Get Rid of Clutter: It’s hard to see the charm of a house if there is clutter everywhere.  A truly lived-in look is not a plus when it comes to selling a home, so clear away everyday clutter including paperwork, collections and personal photos. The buyer needs to be able to visualize themselves in the space, and they won’t be able to do that with constant reminders that you’re still very much in residence.

Make the Space Feel Bigger: The objective of home staging is to leave potential buyers with the impression that a home is spacious.   This may mean removing some of the furniture in a room or rearranging so that the space does not feel cramped.

Minimize the Flaws: Potential buyers may see minor flaws which detour them from looking any further.   Find the flaws and fix them or pay someone to fix them.

Paint if Necessary:  Dirty walls or brightly colored walls may detour potential buyers, so you might want to consider paining.  Neutral tones are best because they appeal to the masses and they make the room look larger.

Spring Cleaning:  Every inch of your home should sparkle with the kind of clean that tells buyers the property is cared for and in tip-top shape. Remove corner cobwebs, keep windows squeaky clean and banish any odors resulting from pets, cooking, smoking and the like.

Clean  & Organize Garage:  Believe it or not, potential buyers also want to see a clean garage!  Get rid of all the things you don’t need anymore and organize your garage.  The most inexpensive way to get organized is to buy the large plastic bins and categorize the things you keep in your garage like Christmas decorations, camping gear, etc.

Less is More:  After you’ve cleaned, painted and repositioned furniture, carefully select the art and accessories you choose to replace in every room of the home. Remember the rule of threes to create pleasing, uncluttered groupings of items, and add welcoming vitality with a few thoughtfully placed plants. Stow away all personal items and limit wall decorations to fewer and larger pieces, including strategically placed mirrors that expand spaces and reflect your best assets.

Curb Appeal: Get potential buyers in the door by creating a grand entry. A front door that’s energy efficient as well as beautiful makes a great impression, and polished hardware, a tidy new doormat and planters overflowing with colorful blooms complete the look. And don’t forget to trim the lawn and tend to landscape plantings, because these chores can bring you a different kind of green: according to the Professional Landcare Network, lush landscaping adds as much as 15 percent to the property value of a home.  Don’t forget about the backyard as well!

Posted by:  Sheri Negri
www.loveforhomessac.com