Four Home Projects That May Seem Like A Good Idea


One of the benefits of owning your own home is that you can do DIY projects without asking for permission – unless of course permits are needed. Often times these projects include such things as adding on a family room; another bedroom or finishing the attic for more living space. These ideas can certainly add value to your home in the long run.

But there are some projects that may seem like a good idea at the time, but may hurt your home value later down the road. Here are four projects that homeowners often do that you may want to reconsider.

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Eliminating a bedroom – Even if you plan to eliminate the bedroom to expand other living space, removing a bedroom could affect the price of your home when you plan to sell it.

Renovating the garage into living space – Although the extra living space may be a plus for your life now and help at resale, not having a garage is a big turn off for the majority of home buyers, In a recent survey 74% of the respondents said that a garage was extremely or very important in selecting a home.

Eliminating or removing a closet – Removing a closet or even closet space can have a major impact on selling your home, especially in the master bedroom. In one such example a homeowner reduced the size of the closet to make a larger master bathroom. The bathroom was great, but the closet size was a major turnoff to buyers making selling the home more difficult.

Too much wallpaper – while removing wallpaper is certainly possible, it is a messy, time consuming project and wallpaper has the reputation of being difficult to remove. If there is “too much wallpaper” in the mind of a potential buyer, it is a turnoff.

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Stumbling Block to a Full Recovery in Real Estate


Trivia Question of the day!

What is the difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage?

(Answer to yesterdays Trivia Question at the bottom of todays blog.)

Although the real estate market has kicked into high gear in most parts of the country compared to what it was a few years ago, there is still a segment of homeowners that are not selling.

The National Association of REALTORS did a nationwide study that may reveal what is holding the real estate market from going full force.

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Currently, the average home seller nets about a 23% gain in equity from the time they purchased their property to the time they sell. That equates to approximately $40,000 for the average seller. That would normally be enough to convince most sellers to list their property if they were so inclined.

However, a closer look at the data reveals that homeowners who purchased their home during certain volatile years tend to fare worse than others. It is those homeowners who may have bought when the market was very high and now still has little equity which discourages them from selling.

The data indicates that buyer’s who bought their home within the last year or so, on average, earned a whopping 14% increase in equity. However, those buyers who bought between 8-10 years ago are still at the 1% gain in equity, making it difficult, if not impossible, to sell their property.

The chart below from the National Association of REALTORS gives the break down for the national average.

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It is important to remember that real estate is a very local matter and that national averages may or may not reflect what is occurring in your market.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Answer to yesterdays trivia question.
Where did the tradition of a “house warming” come from?

In the middle ages, when a couple was married, family and friends would go to the home where the couple would be living and start fires in the fireplaces to “warm” the house. The guests brought firewood for the new couple. This accomplished two things 1- it warmed the house for the newly weds, and 2 – by starting the fire it was believed to chase out any evil spirits that may have entered the house when it was empty and cold. Hence the word “housewarming” was started.

In Real Estate – What a Difference a Day Makes!


Trivia Question of the day!

Where did the tradition of a “house warming” come from?

(answer on the next blog)

 

Real estate is a face-paced business. Transactions that use to take days or weeks to come together can now happen in minutes with the use of mobile devices and electronic signatures. I always tell clients, that once you decide you want to make an offer or accept an offer on a house, do not delay. The phase in real estate is “time is of the essence.”

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Buyer’s will generally want to sleep on a decision before making an offer. And that is not in and of itself a bad approach. However, the adage in real estate is “The house you looked at today, and want to think about until tomorrow, may be the house someone looked at yesterday and wants to think about until today.”

Now just because there is already an offer on a house you would like to buy, your agent can still present the offer to the seller’s. But for buyer’s, a bidding war is not the game you want to play.

There is another factor to consider when we talk about the difference a day makes and that involves interest rates on your mortgage. Right now some mortgages are being offered around 4.0% – some a little lower, some a little higher. In any event, these are great interest rates. But interest rates can and do change.

Let’s assume that you are looking at a 30 year fixed mortgage on a $400,000 house with 3.5% down. With interest rates at 4.0% your monthly payment including interest and principle, PMI insurance, home insurance and property taxes would be approximately $2,600 a month.

That same scenario with a 4.5% mortgage interest rate would make your monthly payment $2,713 a month. Over the life of the loan you would pay an extra $40,680 because of a .5% increase in the mortgage interest rate.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR – who can give you the answers you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

How To Pick A REALTOR


Selling your home can be a daunting challenge on a good day. That is why listing your home with a real estate professional – a REALTOR – can make all the difference in the world. But how do you decide who is the right REALTOR for you?

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As many REALTORS there are in this country is how many different styles and personalities there are. REALTORS are human and have all the same characteristics that people have. Quite often you will hear that you need to pick the agent with years (and years) of experience. That is usually suggested by agents who have years (and years) of experience.

Often times people will pick an agent that has the most advertising, assuming that they must be good if they do that much advertising – and they may be – but again, they may not be.

Every time I see an article telling people how to pick an agent, almost without fail, it will say that you need to interview three agents – but they seldom tell you what to look for in a “good agent”.

Here are my suggestions on how to pick a good REALTOR!

1. Very often sellers or buyers default to a friend or relative who it is assumed will get the contract. That may be a good choice or a bad choice, but do not select a friend or relative as your REALTOR simply because they are who they are. They should be able to persuade you with the facts and information just as any other agent will do.

2. Do not assume that because an agent has been in the business for many years, that they will automatically do a bang-up job. Realistically, they probably will, but do not discount new agents who are hungry for business and will go to the ends of the earth to develop a cliental base. Regardless of how new they are they are working under a broker who has a wealth of information that is at the disposal of new agents.

3. The number one complaint that clients have about real estate agents is communication. I think its a good idea to discuss upfront what does “good communication” mean and what does it look like. I have had clients who the wife wanted a phone call and the husband wanted a text message. If I know that upfront, I can ensure to communicate in a manner that works for them and for me.

4. Clients and real estate agents should have candid conversations of the importance of depersonalizing the home; keeping it clean and organized and being prepared for showings. I encourage clients to have open minds when it comes to what the agent is presenting to you. Their job is to sell the property at the best possible price in the time frame that works for you. Be wary of agents who provide a selling price that is abnormally high – this may be what we call “buying the listing.” When an agent presents the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) look at the properties that were used – or not used – to determine the price of your home.

5. The last thing I will mention is probably the most important. Select a REALTOR who has a business approach to real estate. They do not need to recite every home in a 50 mile radius that is for sale, was for sale or will ever be for sale, but they should be able to understand the data as presented in the MLS data base. Real estate is part science, and part art -but its all business.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me a 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

The Importance of Buyer’s Having Their Own Agent


If you are thinking of buying a house, whether its your first or tenth, the importance of having your own buyer’s agent representative cannot be over stated. It is by far one of the most important decisions to make.

Agents looking out for your best interest!

My suggestion is that if you are thinking of buying, the first thing you will want to do is to find a REALTOR with whom you are comfortable and confident that they will do a good job for you and sign on with a Buyer’s Representative Agreement. This will work to your benefit down the road.

Undoubtedly most buyer’s will search the internet for homes they like in areas they like. Often times if they see something they like they will contact the listing agent for additional information or stop by an open house to look at various properties. This is where it begins to get complicated.

When you talk or email, or have any communication with the listing agent, you are talking to an agent who has the best interest of the seller’s in mind – not the buyer’s. The listing agent has a legal obligation to work on the seller’s behalf to get the highest possible price and the best terms for the seller’s not the buyer’s.

Stopping at an open house is a very interesting exchange of information. Quite often – and it should be done – as you walk in the door you will be greeted by the agent holding the open house who will introduce themselves to you, smile, and then say something to the effect “I’m here representing the seller’s.” That may seem like a given, but the truth of the matter is that you have been now notified that anything you share with this agent WILL be shared with the seller’s. It is important to understand and to remember that the listing agent is the seller’s best advocate.

In idle conversation buyer’s will inadvertently share information that should be held confidential. If the house is listed for $499,900 and the potential buyers are pre-approved for $550,000 buyer’s will often times share that information so that they appear like serious buyer’s. But that information can be very detrimental should they make any offer below the asking price.

Another bit of information that can be very harmful is sharing the time frame in which you must move. Often times renters will wait shortly before their lease expires and then are frantically trying to find a house they can buy before they have to renew their lease and then they are stuck for another period of time.

Just as a listing agent has the best interests of the seller’s in mind a buyer’s agent has the best interest of the buyer’s in mind. It is critical that you sign a buyer’s representative agreement to be afforded full protection. Once you have that contract the agent then is legally obligated to perform in your best interests. You should share any and all information that will be helpful to the agent to operate in your best interests.

If you are thinking of buying, or selling, talk to a professional – talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to text, call or mail me at 301-712-8808 or RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

THINKING OF SELLING YOUR HOME? – HERE’S SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT


Selling a home can be a real challenge, especially if you or other family members are not known for keeping things picked up.  It never fails that the day you run late and decide you do not have time to make the beds, there is a showing scheduled for later that day.  But there are a lot of other things to think about when deciding to sell your home.

The most important thing is determining the selling price.  There are many people who believe that you can list your home for $50,000 over the market value and if the people decide to pay that amount, so be it.  But it doesn’t work that easily.

For an example:  Lets say your home’s market value is $350,000 but you decide to list it for $400,000 with the hopes of getting that amount.  Agents that are working with buyers that are looking for homes that are priced at $400,000 may show your home, but it will  not equate to the other homes that have a market value of $400,000 and as such will not be considered.  To complicate the matter, those buyers looking at homes priced at $350,000 will not show your home in the belief that its worth more than their buyers are willing or able to spend.

In addition to determining the correct price REALTORS will walk with you every step along the way to provide you with sound, professional advice to sell your property in the time frame you want and at the best price.

Many discount brokers maintain that you put a sign in the yard and put the information in the MLS and buyers will beat a path to your door.  Colby Sambrotto listed his condo in New York with http://www.ForSaleByOwer.com for six months with no luck.  He finally decided to list his property with a REALTOR who sold the property for $150,000 more that he was originally asking – which is certainly more than the commission.  Who is Colby you may ask? Colby Sambrotto is the founder of the discount broker http://www.forsalebyowner.com!

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a professional – talk to a REALTOR – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to email, text or call me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Roland

The Real Issues of Buyer’s Remorse


 

The Real Issues of Buyer’s Remorse

Almost every buyer that I have encountered over the years has had that tinge of “OMG, what have we done” when they sign the contract to buy a home.  It usually hits that evening when things are quieting down a bit and they have a chance to think.

That being said, in the vast majority of the time a REALTOR can review the information with them and put their mind at ease about buying a house, after all people buy homes all the time.

But there are some issues that may in fact cause buyer’s remorse when it comes to buying a home.

  1. The first one is buying a house that is not the right size.  Whether its too small or too large can be an issue in a very short period of time.  The average couple buying a house stays in that house for 7 years.  Some will plan to stay for only a few years and others will plan on staying for many years.  I suggest that buyers figure that into their plan when buying.
  2. Another factor buyers need to consider is the layout of the house.  If you have young children and you are buying a four bedroom home, that may sound like a good idea.  But if two bedroom are on the first floor and two on the second, it may not be a good idea.  Another example of layout factors to consider is the layout of the kitchen.  Its not only the size of the kitchen that matters, but also how well it flows.  Its a good idea to stand in the kitchen and visualize how preparing dinner would flow.
  3. Most people prefer a shower over a bathtub, however, I also suggest that you need at least one tub in your home.  Either for the occasional soaking, the aching back or if you have small children its something to remember.
  4. One of the biggest regrets is buying a house that has all of the current day fads, only to find that in a few years it will be outdated.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

If there is anything I can do to help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to contact me.

Roland