Tuesday, March 11, 2014

10 Reasons To Hire a Buyer's Agent

1. Knowledge of real estate contract writing
Entering into a real estate contract is legally binding and not to be taken lightly. A buyer’s agent has written and reviewed purchase agreements before. She will make sure that it includes contingencies in the right places to allow you to walk away from the contract to purchase if you are not satisfied.

2. Market knowledge
A buyer’s agent will know how much the homes you are looking for should cost. They will have experiencing putting together a CMA, or comparative market analysis, so you can also know how the market is behaving.

3. Know what to look for in homes
Because a buyer’s agent regularly helps buyers find homes, she will have an experienced eye when attending walkthroughs. Tell-tale signs of damage or modifications will stand out to buyer’s agent and she will pass that information to you. Armed with what the buyer’s agent’s trained eye has noticed, you’ll be able to make an informed choice.

4. Local listing agent contacts
The best way to get the best deal on a house is to know about it before it hits the market. Buyer’s agents use their network of listing agents to locate homes that match your needs. Some will also be able to draw from their company’s research tools. Keller Williams Agents have team meetings where they announce upcoming listings and an internal posting forum where we can share listings before they are listed in the multiple listing service (MLS) and often days before they are available on public websites.

5. Industry Contacts
Unless you are involved in the real estate industry yourself, you probably don't have a rolodex of mortgage brokers, title closers, real estate attorneys, inspectors, movers, contractors, etc.  Your agent can connect you to these professionals.

6. Emotional filter
Buying a home is an understandably emotional time. Having an agent who is not emotionally attached to the purchase will ensure you have a voice of reason when you fall in love with a home’s layout and don’t notice a decaying roof. Your buyer’s agent will also help you make sure you find the home you need instead of getting side tracked by wants.

7. Help you understand financing options
Finding the best mortgage for your situation is the key to being a successful homeowner. It could mean the difference between being able to afford your mortgage payments and finding yourself underwater or foreclosed. Your buyer’s agent will be able to not only explain each financing option to you but also help you find a great lender.

8. Professional negotiation
Regardless of your price point, negotiation is going to factor into buying a home. Since most homes are listed with a listing agent experienced in negotiating, you want to make sure your financial interests are equally represented in the negotiations. Aside from straightforward negotiations, buyer’s agents employ certain tricks like offering or receiving concessions to make sure you come out ahead or happy, depending on the current market’s behavior.

9. It costs you next to nothing
As the buyer, you will not have to pay your agent’s commission. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay both the listing agent and buyer’s agent a commission. Basically, you have the opportunity for free representation. Take advantage of it.

10. The seller is represented, you should be too
Why would you go up against a seller and their agent on your own?  After all, two heads are better than one, right?

Protecting yourself against any unseen problems with your future home and to make sure you get the best deal on the best house is top priority for the buyer’s agent you hire. Don’t make the mistake of entering into a contract without a professional to guide you through the nuances.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Selling My Parents House

Is your parents' house an asset or a liability?

Many times as our parents are aging we think about the logistics of who will take care of them, is their will/estate planning in line, etc and of course we go through a series of emotions about the potential of losing them.

Something that is often over looked or pushed aside is their home. We often forget that maintenance gets harder as people age, physically, financially and even mentally (did I change the furnace filter?). Not only do homes that aren't maintained deteriorate faster, the plummet in resale value.

What can you do about it? Make a list and prioritize. Here is a list from Bob Vila to get you started or you may visit my (longer) list by clicking HERE.

So what do you do if your parents have already moved out and you are getting ready to sell their house?
Go through he whole maintenance checklist now or hire an handyman to do so.  You will want to find any problems before a potential buyer does.  What may only cost you $100 to fix will look like $1000 to a potential buyer and hurt you when it comes to negotiating the best price for the house.

Once you have had the home maintenance reviewed and completed, it's time for cosmetics.

The cheapest thing to do is CLEAN.  Cleaning often includes de-cluttering.  Tis best to have have only a few key pieces of furniture in a house.  Buyers often have a hard time seeing past all the "stuff" in a house.  You may want to consult a professional if this is overwhelming to you.

Once you have everything clean, you can evaluate for updates that will provide the best return.

Removing wallpaper and painting a neutral color can make a huge difference in a home that is otherwise out of date. You may need to hire this one out but it's often worth the return on your investment.

Other items you can do to quickly update a home are:

  • New cabinet hardware
  • New light fixtures
  • New appliances
  • New Carpet and Linoleum (especially if it is very worn or a color that is 20 years out of date)

Imagine this room minus the curtains and with fresh paint and carpet!
Paint and carpet are two things that you will see a lot of banks doing with foreclosures.  Why would they make this investment on a property they most likely have already lost money on?  Because it has proven to be a good return on their investment in both the price they get for the house and the amount of time it takes to sell.  Often they will also add a low cost set of new kitchen appliances if they were missing or in poor condition.

Are you ready to sell or need referrals to help get these things done?
Let me know!