Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yes, there is a compromise!

Most people expect to negotiate the price of the house they are planning to buy or sell.  Some come with fire in their bellies, invigorated by the challenge.  Others quiver at the thought of having to put their emotions aside and work through the potential back and forth they may face.
Rather than approaching negotiations from an adversarial winner-take-all perspective, focus on your top priorities and don't let your emotions overrule your better judgment.

"Win-win" does not mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will get some and give some.

And some of you will feel better knowing that not every real estate deal requires a lot of compromise or negotiating. (See Is that home priced right?)

Be prepared to compromise and you will come out feeling like a winner!

Get professional necotiating help!

Visit: www.CallSarahFirst.com or call Sarah at 651-964-0289

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh no! The Appraisal is Low!

Congratulations! Your offer was accepted on a home! ....But your lender ordered the appraisal and it's less that what you offered for the home...

Is the value hanging in the balance? 
So your appraisal was low... now what?
Get a copy of the appraisal from the lender and open up a discussion with the seller. If it's an FHA appraisal, the appraised value will stick with the home for six months or maybe longer, even if the contract is terminated and another buyer comes in who agrees to the listed price.

Then what?
You have some choices. Some are in the buyer's favor and some are in the seller's favor.  This is where having an agent good at negotiating can really help!
  • Have your agent review the comparable properties selected and the facts, such as number of rooms, age of the property, square footage, etc, in the appraisal for errors.  If justifiable errors are found, the appraiser may adjust the value.
  • Ask the seller to reduce the purchase price to the appraised price. Since almost every buyer needs mortgage funding to purchase a home, it's highly unlikely that the seller will be able to find a buyer who won't be negatively affected by a low appraisal. The worst the seller can say is no.
  • Pay the difference in cash. If you were planning to put a large amount down, you may be able to reduce the amount you were going to put down and still qualify for the loan. Keep in mind that a higher loan-to-value ratio will result in a higher interest rate and higher payments. In addition, if putting less money down brings your loan value to more than 80 percent of the appraised value, you'll have to pay mortgage insurance.
  • Decide on a compromise with the seller if neither of you can afford to drop the price completely or pay the difference in cash. As long as you still want the house, it's better for both of you than walking away from the deal.
  • See if the seller and your lender will allow for the seller to hold a privately held second mortgage. Some lenders will not allow for a total mortgage amount over a certain percent, but others might allow it if your credit is good enough, you're putting enough money down and the lender feels it's an acceptable risk.
  • Get a second appraisal. You may have to change lenders to do this, and there's no guarantee that another appraisal would be higher (it may even be lower). FHA appraisals require the appraiser to register his appraisal to the property, so a second appraisal is not an option in those cases.
A good Realtor® will help you navigate rocky waters such as these.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Can you keep the family photos up or must they come down?

I’m in a lot of homes every week as I consult with buyers and sellers and I do see many beautiful and stylish photo displays on the wall. Wall Words are very popular right now as well as frames with meaningful sayings that celebrate the family displayed and what is important to them. I see gorgeous photography of families, children and pets. And let’s not forget those baby shots that just melt your heart!

When you are SELLING…as stunning as these pictures and wall displays are, they are DISTRACTING to your potential buyers.

So…now the BIG question….What do we do with these beautiful photo displays on the walls?

Do we take them all down, patch the wall/re-paint and stare at a blank boring wall?
Do we add a piece of artwork instead?
What if we have A LOT of walls with photos?

Don’t despair! There is a STAGING TECHNIQUE that works quite well.

One of the easiest and inexpensive ways to NEUTRALIZE those family and pet photos is to just replace the photos inside.

Here’s how in 3 Easy Steps:

Take inventory of all the personal photos you need to cover; note orientation and frame sizes.

Seek out your vacation photos of landscape or visit a photo sharing site and do a search for black and white nature/trees/flowers/landscapes... or even architectural photos. Whatever you prefer or will work for the room and style of house. (It can be in color if that works best in that particular space.)
Once you find the ones your looking for, print them off in the appropriate size either at home if you have a photo printer or online to pick up at the local box store. This works best for 4×6, 5×7 and 8x 10. (Any bigger than that, it gets a little more difficult.)
Put it over the existing photo in the frame and TA DAH!…..you have a nice, neutral photo to display temporarily.

Remember that there is also a balance that needs to be achieved throughout the house when it comes to all those personal photos. To achieve balance, follow these guidelines:

There may be some walls that everything will just need to come down and you’ll patch and repaint.

There may be a wall that will need a piece of artwork in place of the photos.
Be sure that all the frames in your display are the same. This creates a nice, clean simplistic presentation that does not distract from the selling features of the room. If you have a display of photos with all different types of frames, they definitely need to come down. Please do not attempt to replace the photos with the neutral photos suggested above using all those different frames. It just won’t work.

What about those collage frames that hold 4-10 pictures? Gone. Again, please do not attempt to replace the photos with the neutral photos suggested above using all those different frames. It just won’t work.

Yes, there can be people in your staging photos BUT they should be silhouettes or distance shots.

Are you feeling sentimental about taking down the photos of your loved ones? I promise you'll appreciate them more after they've been gone for just a bit.

So, are you going to swap out those pictures so people look at the house or are you going to keep your personal life on display?

Call me if you need help!