Month: September 2012

Home Showing Tips for Sellers

1. Tidy up the clutter and clean the counters. Make sure to throw away all old newspapers and magazines. Clear away all the toys and trinkets strewn around the house. Take out all excess or rarely used furniture and store them in the garage. Remove clothing that haven’t been used for a year to lessen the clutter your closet. Clean out your garage.

2. Wash the windows and screens. This will allow more light inside the home and make it look brighter.

3. Clean everything. Nothing can create a stronger first impression than a clean home. Buyers will get the message that the home was well taken care of by its previous owners. Mop the floors, remove fingerprints and stains from walls and light switches, clean all appliances, especially your refrigerator and stove. Polish your door knobs and house number. Hire a cleaning service if your budget allows.

4. Eliminate odors. Eliminate cooking odors and pet smells by cleaning your carpeting and drapes. Air out your home by opening the windows. Place scented candles or potpourri in some rooms such as the living room and bedroom.

5.  Brighten your home. Brighten up rooms by replacing your lights with higher wattage ones.  Check all burned out lights in basements and closets and replace them. Cleaning the walls can brighten a room or you may also paint them a fresh neutral color.

6. Make small repairs. It may not seem a big deal, but minor problems like torn screens, cracked walls, sticky doors, or a dripping faucet may give buyers a bad impression that the house was not well taken care of.

7. Clean the yard. Trim the grass and bushes, add fresh mulch, rake the leaves, edge the walkways, and clean all gutters. Bright flowers near the entryway adds more curb appeal.  Add some color to your living room. Jazz up a dull living room by adding colored throw pillows on the sofa.

8. Set the scene. Create an atmosphere that will help buyers visualize living in your home like setting fancy dishes and silverware on the dining table.  Use sheer curtains in place of heavy ones. This will let in more light and show buyers a better view from your home.

9. Accentuate your fireplace. Put fresh logs inside the fireplace or if it’s not in use, you may place a fresh basket of flowers.

10. Spruce up your bathroom. Get rid of old towels and worn out toothbrushes. Make your buyer feel pampered once they enter your bathroom. Place a new shower curtain, fresh towels, and fancy soaps. Place your personal toiletries where they will not be seen.

11. Put centerpieces on the tables. A vase of fresh flowers or bowl of colorful fruit will do.  Take your pets outside. You may also ask your neighbor to take care of them during a showing. If this is not possible, confine them in a room like the basement where they will not be seen. Make sure to inform the real estate agent beforehand where the pets will be so they won’t be surprised.

12. Keep your valuables, jewelry, and money locked away in a safe place. It will be hard to keep an eye on everyone all the time during a showing. Better safe than sorry.

13. Don’t be there during the showing. It’s highly suggested that the seller should not be home during a showing. It would be awkward for buyers to express their opinions of your house while you are there with them.

7 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Home in a Tight Market

In a tight market, competition is tough and the odds of losing your dream home to another buyer are high. Here are some tips you should remember when buying a home in a tight market:.

1. Prequalify for a mortgage. You will be more confident in making an offer to buy, plus, the seller will find your offer more attractive.

2. Ask your agent to constantly update you on the most recent listings. Your real estate agent can help you to be always ready to see a new home as soon as it is listed. Great homes sell fast, so it is important to stay updated on the most recent listings.

3. Take the initiative to canvas new listings. Browse websites and local newspapers, or drive through the neighborhood and look for homes with “for sale” signs. Once you spot a home you like, jot down the address and the listing agent’s name and contact number. Have your agent schedule a showing with the listing agent.

4. Be ready to decide. You should already know way in advance what you are looking for and want in a home to avoid being unsure once you get the chance to make an offer.

5. Make competitive offers. Don’t start with the maximum amount you could offer, but don’t go ridiculously low either or you will end up losing the deal in a tight market.

6.Minimize restrictions. Offers can be rejected if you have too many contingencies like selling your home prior to moving or delaying the closing date. Ask your lender if they can give you a bridge loan to cover both mortgages for the meantime.

7. Don’t rush. Just because it’s a competitive market and homes sell fast doesn’t mean you should rush into buying a home. Even if you want to make your offer appealing, don’t overlook home inspections which will ensure that you are getting value for your money and won’t have to spend more in the future on repairs.

5 Things You Should Do Before Selling Your Home

5 Things You Should Do Before Selling Your Home

1.Have a home inspection. Arrange for a home inspection prior to putting up your home for sale. A home inspector can give you a rundown on trouble spots in your home that might turn off potential buyers. This will allow you ample time to make repairs before the selling process.

Clean your home. Make sure to keep the house looking presentable by cleaning all windows, lighting fixtures, carpets, etc. Aside from cleaning your home inside out, you should also lessen the clutter by packing up items that you rarely use like large kitchen appliances, tools, old clothes and toys, etc. and store them in boxes that you could put away in the garage or basement where they will not be seen.

Get estimates for replacements. If some major items in your home need replacement due to wear and tear (like your carpet or roof), it would be wise to get an estimate on how much it would cost to replace these items, even if you don’t intend to replace them yet. The estimates will give buyers an idea if their budget would be enough for the home, and will be useful when negotiations start.

Gather your warranties. If you are including major items and appliances with the home you are selling such as washer, dryer, furnace, dishwasher, etc., gather all the warranties, user manuals and guarantees.

Boost your curb appeal. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and look at your home from the outside. does your home give a good impression as you approach the front door? Do you clearly see the address?  Is the lawn freshly manicured? Do you have pretty flowers and plants in your front yard? Does your outdoor lighting illuminate and highlight your home nicely in the dark?

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

Before buying or selling your home, you should have your home inspected. A home inspector can warn you of trouble areas in your property if you are a homeowner; or help you make an informed decision if you are a buyer.

Here are some basic questions you should ask your home inspector:

1. Does your inspection meet state requirements?

Inquire with your inspector if both the inspection and the inspection report meet all state requirements and comply with a widely recognized standard of inspection and code of ethics, like the one utilized by the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). You may view

their standards and code of ethics through their website www.nahi.org or www.ashi.org. State regulations are available on the website of ASHI.

2. Are you associated with a professional home inspector association?

The home inspection groups mentioned in No. 1 are just some of the many widely recognized home inspection groups in the US. But be careful of groups that have questionable credentials and certifications that resort to scamming people for money. Only hire home inspectors who belong to nonprofit trade organizations of outstanding reputation and always ask to see their membership ID.

3. How long have you been a home inspector?

Ask them about their experience, how long they have been inspecting homes, and how many inspections they have done. Upon your request, they should be able to provide you with referrals of previous customers. There are also many new inspectors who are highly qualified but you should inquire about their training and whether they plan to work with a partner who has more experience.

4.How do you keep your skills updated?

A good indication of a home inspector’s professionalism is if he or she constantly seeks more education and upgrades his or her skills in home inspection. It is especially important to have advanced skills in cases of older homes or homes with exceptional elements that would require further training.

5. Is residential inspection your specific focus?

Inspecting residential homes are very different from inspecting commercial buildings or construction sites. Make sure that the home inspector is skilled most specifically in residential inspection. If you have a unique property like a historic home, ask the home inspector if he or she has experience with inspecting such properties.

6. Do you also provide repairs or improvement services?

Some trade organizations, if state laws permit, allow the home inspector to offer repair services on problems that were discovered during the inspection. But there are certain states and organizations that do not allow this since it would be a conflict of interest. To learn more about the laws in your state, check with your local ASHI chapter.

7. How long will it take you to inspect the home?

A typical home inspector usually takes 2-3 hours to completely inspect a single-family home. Use this as a benchmark. If the inspector takes less than that, it may not be a thorough enough inspection. For larger homes, ask whether additional inspectors are necessary.

8. How much will the inspection cost?

Factors that affect cost are the size and age of the property, the extent of the inspection, and your geographic location. The average cost for single-family home inspections are $320 or even more for larger homes. Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.

9. Can you give a sample of your inspection report?

Looking at samples of the home inspector’s previous reports will give you an idea if you will understand their reporting style. Usually, inspectors provide their reports within a day after their inspection.

10. Can I be there with you while you inspect the home?

The home inspector should allow you to be present while the home inspection is being done. This is a crucial opportunity to educate the buyer. If the inspector refuses, this should be a warning sign.

6 Things You Should Look for In a Neighborhood

6 Things You Should Look for In a Neighborhood

A neighborhood can have a big effect on your way of life. If you are looking for a new home or moving into a new neighborhood, make sure you follow these guidelines in selecting a neighborhood.

1. Proximity to your favorite places and activities

Write down the activities and places you do or visit most frequently such as church, gym, shopping mall, etc. Calculate how far and how long you will have to travel from your target neighborhood to these places.

2. School District

This should be a top priority especially if you have school-age children, but for those without kids, don’t overlook this since it also affects the resale value of a home. Check out the Department of Education in your area for information on class size, percentage of students who attend college, test scores, and special enrichment programs. Try to look at different schools in the neighborhood and assess which would best suit your child’s needs.

3. Security

Make sure the neighborhood is safe before moving into it. Check out the police department for the crime statistics in the neighborhood. Take into consideration the type and frequency of crimes and in which areas they usually happen within the neighborhood.

4. Economic Stability

You may visit your area’s city economic development office to check if property and income values in the neighborhood are stable or increasing. Find out the percentage of homes to apartments. More apartments may mean residents are more transient. Be on the lookout for vacant houses as well as homes that have been staying in the market a bit too long.

5. Your Home’s Price Appreciation

You may acquire information about price appreciation in the community through a local Realtor. Although there is no guarantee that past trends will continue, this information will at least give you an idea if your home will be a good investment. Planned developments as well as other modifications or changes in the neighborhood (such as a new school or highway) may affect your home’s resale value so it is wise to check these information with your local realtor.

6. Your Own Observation

Walk around the neighborhood and make your personal observation. Are the houses clean and well-maintained? Are the streets the peaceful? Do you feel good inside the area? It is also a good idea to talk to people living in the neighborhood about their experiences or problems with the area and if they are happy with the neighborhood.

 

5 Reasons Why Real Estate Deals Fall Apart

5 Reasons Why Deals Fall Apart

It’s now a common fact that 29% of all signed contracts do not ever reach the closing table.  Almost 3 out of 10 deals wherein an agreement has already been reached by the buyer and
seller fall apart. In a typical market place, the normal closing rate should be 90% of deals. If you want to increase your chances of closing a deal, then you should be aware of the reasons why deals fall apart.

1. Short Sales

Short sales seem great on the surface since the buyer can haggle for a lower price with little resistance from the seller (the seller won’t bother resisting since they won’t profit from the
deal anyway). But then again, the present lender won’t just settle for any offer. Appraisals are performed and closely examined. Lenders usually won’t agree to big price reductions. On top of that, lenders will usually take months to decide, resulting in impatient buyers withdrawing their offers (and looking for another home).

2. Appraisal Concerns

Presently, much more appraisals are coming in short than in any other time in history . A home’s market value has been generally considered as “what a reasonable buyer would be willing to pay to a reasonable seller”. But “unreasonable” sellers are plentiful in today’s market (short sales, foreclosed properties, distressed circumstances, etc.), most of the comparables utilized for an appraisal tend to pull the figures below normal.

3. Title Issues

The evaluation of Permits and Certificates of Occupancy are at a record high. Judgments and liens are more commonplace among buyers and sellers. The issues regarding title are breaking up and stalling deals.

4. Lousy Pre-Qualifications

Lots of deals never should have passed as deals in the first place. Lending officers should be more careful in analyzing contracts, tax statements, bank statements, pay stubs, and other
contracts prior to giving pre-approvals and receiving applications. A simple slip-up such as overlooking expenses that were not reimbursed on the tax returns can ruin a loan.

5. Unexpected Problems

Expect lots of unusual and unpleasant circumstances to come up – buyers getting fired from their jobs, problems with credit as a loan being processed, damage to property, buyer’s
remorse, and the list goes on.

Several of these issues could be easily detected early on if only people closely look at them. The issues that can be easily detected are usually seen by seasoned real estate agents, loan
officials and lawyers. Most of these issues can easily be resolved if addressed early on. This is the reason why it is of utmost importance to look for and deal with only the best professionals in the industry.

 

Susan Rupert Group

Realtor, ABR, CRS, SRES, MCNE, e-PRO
Kissinger Bigatel & Brower

2300 South Atherton Street
State College, PA 16801
Mobile/Direct: 814-280-0364
Office: 814-234-4000 ext. 3213
Email: Susan@StateCollegePARealEstate.com

You have questions regarding our services? Please feel free to contact us.

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