Tag Archives: First Time Home Buyers

Fun Facts and Inspiration for May 30


Fun Facts and Inspiration for May 30

 Inspiration…

“The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain.”

                                                                                                Kahil Gibran

Did you know that…

After the “Popeye” comic strip was launched in 1931, spinach consumption went up by 33% in the United States.

Elephants communicate in sound waves below the frequency that humans can hear.

The bands on hats traces back to the custom when knights wore their lady-loves scarves around their helmets.

To ensure continuity of government, Prince Charles and Prince William never travel on the same airplane as a precaution.

During World War II sugar was in in short supply making it difficult for theatres to obtain candy.  As a result, they turned to popcorn which is not the best-selling snack at movie theatres.

Men can read smaller print than women can; however, women can hear better.

The Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal is farther East than the Atlantic entrance.

In real estate, signing with a real estate agent as a buyers’ agent is the only way a buyer has true representation.  Until that contract is signed, the agent is most likely working for the seller, even if they are not the listing agent.  I have said this many, many times, if you are in the market to buy a home, always, always, always sign a contract with an agent so you have representation.

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

 

 

What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know About Buying or Selling


What Every REALTOR® Wants You to Know About Buying or Selling

Whether you are looking to buy or sell real estate, and whether it is your first transaction or your tenth, one of the most important things you can do is pick a REALTOR® who is the right fit for you.   If you talk to a seasoned real estate agent, they will undoubtedly tell you that you that you have to select a seasoned real estate agent.  If you ask a new agent, they will tell you that a new agent (who doesn’t have a lot of clients) will be able to spend more time and energy for you.

Step-1-choose-a-realtor

As a seasoned agent I will tell you the truth (the truth according to Roland).  You can pick either a seasoned agent or a new agent – what is more important is how well you communicate with each other and whether or not you are on the same page with communication, open houses, showings etc.  A new agent still has the experience of a broker that they can turn to for advice.  And sometimes, seasoned agents think their way is the only way.

That being said the biggest problem is that 70% of buyers or sellers pick the first real estate agent they see.  Quite often if buyers go to an open house they will have the agent on site write a contract for them.  It is critical to remember that the agent that is at the open house works for the seller!  It’s the seller’s best interest that they are looking out for, not yours.

When sellers’ list their house for sale, they have a real estate agent that is representing them.  Buyers’ should do the same.  As buyers’ I strongly suggest that before you start looking, find a REALTOR® whom you are comfortable with and sign a buyers’ representation contract with them.  Then – and only then – do you have representation for your best interests.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell, I have a booklet to help you with many situations.  This booklet is free of charge and there is absolutely no obligation when you receive this booklet.  At the end of this blog is a form to add your name and email address and I will forward it to you.

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 contact me by text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Buying a Home


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Buying a Home

 Buying your first home is a very exciting but stressful time.  If you are thinking of buying your first home or your tenth, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  It’s stressful for everyone – however, the first time home buyers have more to deal with in many cases as they navigate the world of real estate.

Home Buying 101

Here are six steps that every home buyer needs to be aware of whether you’re buying your first home or your tenth.

Issue #1 The Chicken or the Egg

 If you ask any REALTOR® they will tell you to select a REALTOR® first and foremost.  If you ask a mortgage officer, they will tell you to select a mortgage officer first.  The truth is both positions should be on your team at the very beginning as you begin your search for a home.

The mortgage officer and the REALTOR® will work very closely together and it is important that both of these professionals are on your house-hunting team from the beginning.  It is important to note that the REALTOR® will be with you every step along the way from finding the right house, the mortgage officer, home inspector, title company, possibly contractors, moving companies and on and on.  Quite often the mortgage officer will be selling you the mortgages that are offered through their company.  If you meet with a mortgage company and they tell you that you do not qualify for a mortgage, I suggest that you talk to a REALTOR® who may be able to put you in touch with a mortgage company that will approve your mortgage.

Issue #2 The First Step is Not What You Think

 Very often home buyers begin their search for their new home by looking on the Internet to see what is out there.  They may drive around to different neighborhoods to get a feel of what they want.  The search on the Internet will have pictures of a low-priced homes that look wonderful.  The truth is that many REALTORS® – myself included – hire professional photographers to take pictures that make the average house look stunning.  I recently had a photo shoot on a rainy, cloudy day that was as dreary as one could imagine, but when the photos came back the skies were clear with beautiful white clouds and perfectly blue skies!  What’s not to love about a house that has beautiful skies!!

In addition, if buyers do not know what price range they will be able to get a mortgage they very often will look at houses that in reality they cannot afford.  Often times you will see dazzling pictures of a home with a caption of monthly payments that look enticing.  However, in the small print it says a percentage rate that only few people get and 20% down.  Looking at houses that are in your price range is absolutely critical.

Issue #3 You Do NOT Have to Have 20% Down

 Hogwash!  Mortgage companies would love to have 20% down and it’s a way to avoid the PMI Insurance, but there are other options out there that can still get you into a house.  FHA will generally only require 3.5% down and a VA loan requires zero down on your home purchase.  There are many, many options for down payment assistance, especially if buying your first home.  Talk to your REALTOR® about mortgage officers who can get you the mortgage that fits your needs.

Issue #4 The Cost of Closing on Your Home

 Home buyers are amazed at what is included in costs on closing on your home.  They understand the down payment, but there are many other closing costs that are involved.  A good mortgage officer or REALTOR® will walk you through those costs and explain what they are.  As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to plan on closing costs between 3% – 6% of the purchase price of the home in addition to the down payment.

Issue #5 The Home Inspection

 Understandably, home buyers are trying to conserve as much cash as possible and often times they think that foregoing a home inspection is a way to save a few hundred dollars.  Bad idea!  The home inspection is one of the things that no home buyer should ever ignore – ever – not even for new homes.  It may cost a few hundred dollars, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Issue #6 Making a Low-Ball Offer is Not Always a Good Idea

 Everybody wants to save money.  Chances are that the seller has placed their home on the market at the high end or above and the buyer will offer on the low end or below.  The further they are apart, the more unlikely it is that the two sides can come to an agreement.  As a buyers’ agent, before they make an offer I will complete a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) on the property to determine the fair market value of the home.  If the house if priced high, certainly I will suggest a lower offer, but if the house is priced properly I would suggest making an offer of the fair market value.  To be honest, you will most likely wind up paying that anyway and by low-balling your offer you run the risk of another buyer scooping the buy or making the seller angry.

This list could go on and on.  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

 

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know – Its’ Hard Work Buying A House


Buying a house takes a lot of hard work. That is why having a REALTOR® on your side is a critical step in the buying process. But even then, home buyers will find themselves inundated with tasks that need to be done in order to get to the closing table and moving into the home of their dreams.

Deciding the type of home; the location; if school district is important; how long you plan to live there; if you’re planning a family; travel time to work or grocery stores; and on and on. Its’ also important to get with a mortgage person early on to make sure you qualify for a mortgage and decide which mortgage is the best option for you. And if you are a couple, coming to an agreement of what is important is often times twice as challenging.

All too often when people want to buy a house they search the Internet, and there is nothing wrong with that. But when they find a house that they are interested in they wait until their calendar is clear and then call an agent to maybe look at the property. Often times the property is already sold. Disappointed, they go back to the routine of looking for a house when their calendar is clear and “they have time.”

Finding a house to buy is hard work. It takes a coordinated effort by the buyers and the REALTOR® and it has to be a focal point in their lives. Quite often I talk with potential buyers’ who truly want to buy a house, but if they are renting, they wait until their lease is about up and then start the search only to find out that making it all come together will not happen in a short period of time and they wind up renewing their lease. If you are a current home owner and will be selling your home and buying another, that brings a whole other set of challenges.

But there is a solution to this dilemma. My suggestion is that if you are considering buying or selling in the foreseeable future, talk to a REALTOR® early on. If you are a first time home buyer, a year before you would like to buy is not too far in advance. It doesn’t mean that you will be consumed with home buying for the year, but it gives you a chance to lay the ground work of what you are looking for. More importantly, if there is a blemish on your credit report it will give you time to correct the problem before you try to get to a closing table.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, 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

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know: Buyer Beware!


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know: Buyer Beware!

During the last several months I and every other REALTOR® has been advising potential buyers that are thinking of buying real estate to do it NOW! Many did, some did not. Here are the reasons for sounding the alarm for buyers and what to do about it.

Home Buying 101

No one doubts that there is a huge pent-up demand for home buying. Buyers are slowly moving back into the market, but they are facing a rapidly changing market place of which they need to be aware.

In the Frederick, Maryland area, home sales have been a buyers’ market for quite some time. A couple of months ago the inventory levels have dropped to the point that the market is now considered neutral – neither a buyers’ market nor a sellers’ market. And last month that number dropped even lower. Its still a neutral market, but closer to a sellers’ market, and that is bad news for buyers’. Good news for sellers’, though.

The good news for buyers’ is that mortgage interest rates remain low and that will help boost a home buyers’ purchasing power or enable more buyers to qualify for a mortgage. Mortgage applications for this year are up 20% compared to last year.

The REALTOR® website has reported a record number of searches for homes on its’ website. Nevertheless, there are about 2% fewer homes on the market compared to last year, making the search for buyers more critical. Not only are their fewer homes on the market, those homes that sell are selling faster than last year. The first two weeks of April of this year showed that homes sold 14 days faster than in March of this year.

Here is what I suggest that anyone even thinking of buying within the next year do.

Contact a REALTOR® and discuss with them your plans. They will be able to tell you the market conditions in your particular area. Real estate is a very local matter.
Once you decide to buy, not look, but buy, it should be like a job search. If you’re only looking now and then when its convenient, then you are probably wasting your time. Buying a house takes time and commitment.
If you find a house you want, don’t risk losing that house by over-thinking it. Sleeping on it a day or so may be wise, but the rule of thumb is ‘The house you looked at today and wanted to think about until tomorrow, may be the house someone looked at yesterday and wanted to think about until today.’ Be prepared to move – aggressively.
Your REALTOR® will most likely ask whether or not you have been pre-approved for a mortgage and for what amount. If not, get pre-approved immediately. You want to be able to present a pre-approval with any offer you make. It shows the sellers you are serious.
I advise buyers to make realistic offers on a home. Your REALTOR® will most likely be able to advise you if the asking price is a reasonable price for that market. If it is, my advice is to not low-ball the offer. More than likely you’re going to wind up close to the asking price anyway and you risk losing the house during the process. I have had clients who insisted on low-balling so bad that the sellers would not consider any offer they made. May not be right, but it happens.
Think seriously about what contingencies you absolutely need to have incorporated into the offer. I am a firm believer that a house inspection is an absolute must, but don’t nit-pick the findings as if you expect everything fixed.
If you want to give the impression to a seller that you really want to buy their house, do not drag out any response to a counter offer. Be prepared to respond quickly and concisely. By dragging out a response it tells the sellers that you may not be as excited about the house as they hoped. During that time sellers can retract any counter offer and accept a new offer.
The last thing I will mention is that buyers’ need to be clear on what they need and what they want. All to often I have clients tell me that granite counter tops “are a must”, yet those counter tops can be added at anytime for relatively little cost compared to a home.

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

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Professionalism


What Every  REALTOR® Wants You To Know

About Professionalism

There are as many different styles of real estate agents as there are real estate agents. Every one of them has their unique style and belief in what is important to bring a real estate transaction to successful conclusion.

REALTOR® Means Professional

But there are some basic issues that I believe are at the core of what separates the “men from the boys” or “women from the girls”. To put another way what separates professional from non-professional.

I am dismayed when I talk to people, and even agents, who believe that the only thing that needs to be done to sell a house is to list it on the MLS. And even then I see listings on the MLS with misspelled words, inaccurate descriptions of the property and photos that are all but worthless. This is not what I would consider “professional”.

Here are some areas that I think separates professional from non-professional agents.

1. Even though you can take great pictures with a smart phone or iPad, they are no comparison for a professional photographer who takes high resolution photos, with lens that are not available to non-professional photographers.

2. A professional video of your property that is included in your marketing.

3. A dedicated website for your address that includes the photos, video, additional information and contact information for anyone interested in your listing.

4. As a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker my listings are promoted on the Coldwell Banker website and syndicated throughout the Multiple Listing Service.

5. Today’s homebuyers’ use social media to search for their new home. As a result, professional real estate agents will embrace wide use of social media to get the message out that your home is for sale.

There are two more areas that are often overlooked, but I think are critical to professionalism in real estate:

6. Your home must be priced accurately. I’m not talking about the little wiggle-room that will undoubtedly be included, I am talking about listing a home for the price that the sellers’ want for their home as opposed to what the agent knows the market will handle.

7. One of the most over-looked skills of a professional real estate agent is their negotiating skills. Very seldom is a home sold with the buyer giving the asking price without any kind of negotiating involved. All too often, people let the emotions get in the way of the negotiating and a deal crumbles.

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

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Buying and Selling


Anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows that there is a lot of work involved. Getting it on the market is only the beginning of the work for sellers and often times the sequence of events of listing your home is out of whack.

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My advice to anyone even thinking of selling their home is to find a REALTOR® whom you are comfortable with. The general belief is to find a REALTOR® who has sold a lot of homes, or who has been in the business for many years or whatever the prevailing wind is that day. My suggestion is to talk to REALTORS® until you find one you are comfortable with and sign a contract. The biggest issue that faces most clients and REALTORS® is communication. So, discuss up front how you would like to communicate with each other.

There are REALTORS® who have been in the business for years and are not what you would expect, and there are REALTORS® who have just started their careers and will do a top notch job.

All too often home buyers’ begin the process by looking for a home they want to buy. Once they find that home, they are under the gun to get their home ready to sell in order to buy their new home before losing it to someone else.

Here are some suggestions to help you if you are even thinking of selling your home and buying another one.

1. Select a REALTOR® whom you are comfortable with to handle both your listing and buying. Many times home owners will find a house they want to buy and then have that agent – who represents the sellers – sell their home. Never a good idea!!

My suggestion is to select a REALTOR® that you can communicate with and has a high degree of professionalism. Listings that have misspelled words or photographs that do not show the property in the best light, have no place in real estate these days.

2. Have your agent determine a realistic selling price of your home. Determining a listing or selling price is part science and part art. How much you want or need to get for your house has no bearing on what the market says. The rule of thumb: Sellers’ determine the listing price, buyers’ determine the selling price.

3. Declutter and clean! This is one area that cannot be stressed enough. Homes must be decluttered and clean. The whole idea of declutter is to enable a potential buyer to walk into the house and feel it is theirs, not yours. Personal family pictures that are near and dear to all of us, make selling a home more difficult.

If you are even 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