Selling Your Home? 3 Secrets to Getting the Best Price

Selling Your Home? 3 Secrets to Getting the Best PriceAre you ready to sell your home? Whether you’re just starting to make your plans or you’re ready to list now, you likely want to know how you can get top dollar. It’s going to take more than just throwing up a high price on the listing and waiting for a buyer to show up with a check. With that in mind, here are three secrets to ensuring that when you sell your house or condo, you get the best possible price.

Great Staging Is Critical To Your Success

The first secret is that you’ll really need to consider how you want to stage the outside and inside of your home. Staging your home is your best way to make a positive impression on potential buyers. Think about the difference in perception it makes arriving to view a beautiful, spotless and well-lit home compared with one that looks dirty or messy. Invest the time and money in staging your home and it will increase the value in the buyer’s eyes.

Let A Professional Take Care Of The Heavy Lifting

It probably comes as no surprise that buyers who engage the assistance of a professional real estate agent end up selling for more than those who try to go it alone. A great selling agent will have their eyes and ears tuned to the local real estate market and will have insight into current selling trends. They can also research other recent home sales in your local community and can share which price is likely to attract the most offers. When it comes time to field offers, your agent will be able to help you understand how much you can counter-offer without scaring off the buyer.

Be Willing To Negotiate With The Right Buyer

Finally, to ensure you get the most you can out of your sale you’ll need to remain open to negotiating with potential buyers. You may find that a great buyer needs some extra time to close their financing. Or that they’re willing to bump up their asking price in exchange for you making some easy renovations before turning the keys over to them. The more you’re willing to be flexible with your pricing and terms, the better your chances of securing a buyer that will give you a fair price for your home.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, contact your professional real estate agent. We’re happy to share our insight and experience to help you with the selling process.

Four Mistakes to Avoid When Making an Offer for Your Dream Home

Four Mistakes to Avoid When Making an Offer for Your Dream HomeYou’ve scoured the new home listings, been to all the open houses and have finally found the home of your dreams. It is now time to draft an offer and begin the negotiation process. Below we’ll share four mistakes that you will want to avoid when making an offer on your dream home.

Mistake #1 – Not Working With A Professional

The first mistake that home buyers make is trying to buy a home without using the services of a real estate professional. Buying a home is a significant financial transaction and one where the seller and their agent are working hard to ensure they come out ahead. Having experienced representation on your side of the table ensures that you won’t be taken advantage of.

Mistake #2 – Skipping The Home Inspection

The second mistake – and one that is more common than you think – is skipping the home inspection. There are countless instances of home buyers thinking that the house looks great on the outside without realizing that there are issues with the roof, the foundation, the plumbing, inside the walls or some other area that’s tough to see. Having the house professionally inspected before tabling an offer ensures that issues are fixed up before the transaction is complete. Alternately, if you’re willing to move ahead regardless, you can ask for the price to be reduced as compensation.

Mistake #3 – Not Being Pre-Approved For Financing

The third mistake in our list is making an offer on a home without being pre-approved for the amount of mortgage financing you will need. Regardless of how good your credit is, the mortgage application process is one that can present challenges. Also, many home sellers will require evidence of financing pre-approval before accepting an offer, so it’s best to come prepared.

Mistake #4 – Taking On Other Debts

Once you’ve decided on the home you want to purchase, you will want to avoid taking on any other debts which can affect your credit score. Don’t buy a car, open any new credit cards or do anything else which will show up on your credit report. Once you are pre-approved for your mortgage, you’ll want to keep your credit as spotless as possible to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

If you’re prepared and clear-headed, the offer process will go smoothly and you’ll soon be moving into your dream home. When you’re ready to explore local real estate options, contact your trusted real estate professional.

Kids Moving Out of the House? Here Are 3 Tips for Creating a Warm, Welcoming Guest Bedroom

Kids Moving Out of the House? Here Are 3 Tips for Creating a Warm, Welcoming Guest BedroomIf you’re a homeowner with children, at some point, you’ll be saying goodbye. They’ll move off to college or to start their career and adult life. As children move out, you’ll discover that you have extra bedrooms and other living spaces that will need a new purpose. Let’s take a look at three ways that you can transform an unused bedroom into a welcoming place for guests to stay.

Get Started With A Deep Clean

The first thing you’ll want to do is engage in a top-to-bottom deep clean of the room. Get everything out of the room so that nothing’s left but the carpet. Clean the walls, windows, light fixtures and closets until they’re sparkling clean. If the carpet is still in good condition and doesn’t have a lot of stains, have it professionally steam-cleaned. Or if it’s a little beat up from years of abuse, consider replacing it with beautiful new carpeting.

Consider A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Have a look at the condition of the paint and walls. Does the paint still add a colorful “pop” to the room? Or have the years taken away its luster? Do the walls have scratches, dents, and holes in random areas? Are they in need of repairs?

Even if the paint is in good condition, this is an excellent opportunity to completely change the look and feel of the room. Consider going with a lighter color palette that gives off a welcoming vibe.

Go With Matching Furniture And Tables

Once the room itself is in tip-top shape, you’ll need to focus on the bed, dresser, tables and other furniture. As mentioned above, this is the perfect time to get rid of any mismatched furniture and replace it with a matching bedroom set. Also, be sure to toss out any dated mirrors or light fixtures that don’t match up with the room’s new look.

As your children get older and move out of the family home to start their own lives, you’ll be granted with a lot more space to make use of. Having a welcoming guest bedroom or two will ensure that you’ve always got some room for family members to come and visit. But if you decide that you’ve got too much space, contact your local real estate agent. We’ll share how you can downgrade the size of your home while improving your quality of life.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 5, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on home prices, pending home sales and construction spending. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were released along with labor-sector readings on Non-Farm Payrolls, ADP employment and National Unemployment.

CaseShiller: Three Western Cities Hold Top Three Places for Home Price Growth

According to Case-Shiller’s June edition of its 20-City Home Price Index, the top three spots were again held by Seattle, Washington, Portland Oregon and Dallas, Texas. Seattle home prices outstripped Portland, Oregon with a reading of 13.40 percent home price growth on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Portland, Oregon home prices grew by a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year rate of 8.20 percent while Dallas, Texas held third place with its year-over-year reading of 7.70 percent growth.

 David Blitzer, CEO and Managing Director of S&P’s Index Committee, said that he sees no indications that home prices will cool anytime soon. Strong labor markets and economic growth are encouraging home buyers while low inventories of homes for sale coupled with high demand continued to fuel home price growth.

Construction spending dipped in July by -0.60 percent as compared to expected growth of + 0.60 percent and June’s reading of 1.30 percent growth in spending. Real estate pros said that building more homes is the only way to ease demand for homes, but builders cited labor and lot shortages along with rising materials costs as obstacles to building more homes faster.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates remain relatively low; Freddie Mac reported average mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell four basis points to 3.82 percent; interest rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage were four basis points lower at 3.12 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 3.14 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types.

First-time jobless claims rose by 1000 claims to 236,000. Analysts had expected no change from the prior week’s reading of 235,000 new jobless claims.

ADP payrolls rose to 237,000 new jobs reported for August as compared to 201,000 new private-sector jobs reported in July. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 156,000 new public and private sector jobs in August; Based on the ADP report and the expected reading of 170,000 new public and private-sector jobs, revision of the Non-Farm Payrolls report appears likely.

The National Unemployment rate ticked up from July’s reading of 4.30 percent to 4.40 percent in August. Low readings for unemployment indicate that layoffs are not significantly contributing to unemployment.

Whats Ahead

No financial reports will be issued Monday in observance of the Labor Day Holiday. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report will be released along with reports on productivity and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Is It Possible to Get a Mortgage With Less-than-Perfect Credit? Yes – and Here’s How

Is It Possible to Get a Mortgage With Less-than-Perfect Credit? Yes – and Here's HowAre you thinking about buying a new house? Whether you’re a first-time or experienced buyer, if your credit score isn’t looking too hot it can affect how much mortgage financing you receive – or whether you’re approved at all! But don’t fret. It’s still possible to get a mortgage approved, even with credit issues. Below we’ll share a few ways that you can get a mortgage loan even if your credit is less than perfect.

Consider An FHA-Guaranteed Mortgage

For many individuals with credit issues, the Federal Housing Administration’s guaranteed loan programs are a good choice. In essence, the FHA guarantees your mortgage with select lenders, which allows them to worry less about the risk of lending to someone with past credit problems. It’s worth noting that FHA programs do come with some additional costs attached. Mortgage insurance may be assessed, which helps to protect the mortgage lender in case you default. And there may or may not be an additional monthly premium cost as well.

Do Everything You Can To Improve Your Credit Score

Before taking the next step and applying for a mortgage, you’ll want to ensure your FICO credit score is as high as possible. Call or visit the website of one of the major credit reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. You’ll want to review any outstanding issues on the report and eliminate anything that shouldn’t be there. For example, in the past, you may have had a credit card or small loan that went into collections yet is still in the report even though you paid it. Contact the credit agency to challenge anything that shouldn’t be on your report.

Don’t Stretch Beyond Your Means

If and when you’re approved for a mortgage, it’s critical to remember not to reach beyond your ability to pay the mortgage payments each month. Yes, it might seem like an excellent idea to get a larger or more luxurious house if a larger mortgage is offered to you. However, don’t forget that you’ll need to manage payments each month for many years and it’s tough to predict the future.

Try not to worry if you have a low credit or FICO score and you’re interested in buying a home. A great first step would be to contact your local real estate professional.

Real Estate Negotiations: 3 Tricks That You Can Use to Ensure Yours Is the Winning Bid

Real Estate Negotiations: 3 Tricks That You Can Use to Ensure Yours Is the Winning BidYou’ve toured through a number of listings, attended all the open houses and have found your potential new dream home. Now the hard part begins, especially if you’re working against other buyers who are keen on getting the same home as you. Let’s take a look at three tricks that you can use to make sure the bid you submit on a home is the one that wins.

Don’t Start With A Lowball Offer

First, it’s important to note that the offer itself needs to be a fair one. If you approach a home seller with a low offer, you’ll likely discover that they’re not too interested in accepting it. Even worse, if your offer is too low, you risk the seller feeling insulted. And that might prevent you from being able to counter with a higher price to be more competitive. Instead, consider bidding on the low end of a reasonable, fair price range as your starting bid. That way the seller knows that you’re serious and is more willing to entertain the conversation.

Let A Real Estate Agent Handle It

If you want to make an offer that a seller can’t refuse, you’ll want to work with a real estate agent. An experienced agent that has helped dozens of buyers with the purchasing process will have critical knowledge that will be useful in making the right bid. Plus, if you end up receiving a counter-offer from the seller, an agent can assist you with understanding the terms and touching up your bid to get the deal done.

Keep Your Cool And Be Ready For The Counter

Speaking of counter-offers, you’ll want to ensure that you keep an open mind when it comes to negotiating with the home seller. Unless your offer is close to or over the listing price, the seller is likely to counter your opening bid. This is normal and is a sign that they’re interested, so from here it’s your job to ensure that you sweeten the deal just enough that they’re willing to close.

These are just a few of the ways that you can ensure that the bid you make on a home is the one the seller accepts. For more tips and insight into buying a house in your area, contact your local real estate professional today. We look forward to connecting!

Case-Shiller Home Price Index: National Home Prices Reach Pre-Recession Level

According to the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for June, Seattle, Washington continued to lead home price growth for the tenth consecutive month with a June reading of 13.40 percent growth year-over-year. Portland Oregon held second place for home price growth in the 20-City Home Price Index in June but trailed Seattle by 5.20 percent with 8.20 percent year-over-year home price growth. Dallas Texas held third place with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 7.70 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index increased by 5.70 percent year-over-year and was unchanged from May’s reading.

Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index reported a reading of 5.80 percent home price growth in June as compared to May’s reading of 5.70 percent.

Wage Growth, Strong Economic Indicators Drive Demand for Homes

Case-Shiller’s month-to-month home price data also reflected continued growth. 14 cities reported higher home prices in June after seasonal adjustment. Home prices rose 0.40 percent month-to-month nationally; the 20-city index rose by 0.10 percent month-over-month after seasonal adjustment.

Shortages of homes for sale continue to drive up home prices as sales of pre-owned homes outpace new home sales. Builders haven’t kept up with demand due to ongoing labor and lot shortages and rising materials costs. There was an estimated 4.20 months’ supply of homes for sale in June; the average level is a six-month supply. Low mortgage rates continue to encourage first-time and current buyers to enter the market.

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director, and CEO of S&P Dow Jones Indices Committee said that although home prices are rising steadily, wage growth and overall economic growth were driving demand for homes in June. Mr. Blitzer said that current economic trends indicated home price growth was not expected to reverse anytime soon.

Itching to Start a Project? Don’t Forget These Four Key Tips to Avoiding Renovator’s Remorse

Itching to Start a Project? Don't Forget These Four Key Tips to Avoiding Renovator's RemorseTake a look around your home. Do you feel that burning desire to renovate or upgrade certain areas? Perhaps it’s the kitchen countertops or the décor in the master bedroom. Whatever the case, if you’re itching to take on a home renovation project you’ll want to ensure it’s one that makes your life better – not worse! Let’s take a look at four tips that will help you to avoid experiencing “renovator’s remorse.”

Ask Yourself: Will This Project Add Value?

If you’re renovating to build equity in your home, you’ll want to determine if the project is worth undertaking. There are many renovations that might seem to make the home more appealing, but in truth add next to no value that can be realized later when you sell. Be sure to choose those projects which will bump the home’s value by a significant amount.

Start With A Realistic Budget

Ask any friend or neighbor that has renovated their home and you’ll discover that costs can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not careful. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to start with a realistic budget that incorporates some additional room for last-minute tweaks or changes. Once you have the project scoped out, take a trip to your local building supply store and chat with the professionals. They’ll be able to help you understand what the actual costs of your renovation will be and they can point out things that you may have forgotten.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Even the most skilled carpenters and tradespeople make mistakes, so you should rest assured that it can happen to you. Even if you have to go over your plans twice or three times, it’s worth knowing exactly what you’re going to do before getting started. As the saying goes: “measure twice, cut once.” Spending the necessary time preparing your work will go a long way in saving you time and money later.

Don’t Start If You Can’t Finish

The last piece of advice is to finish any home project that you start. A half-finished renovation project can degrade your quality of life significantly. And the longer it takes to get done, the less motivated you will be to finish it. Stay on task and get the job done as soon as possible.

If you’re interested in learning more about the home selling process or listing your home for sale, contact your local professional real estate agent.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 28, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released, along with coverage of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s remarks at a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Home Sales Lower in July

According to the Commerce Department, new home sales fell to a seven-month low in July; 571,000 new homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in July.  This reading fell short of the expected sales rate of 608,000 new home sales and June’s reading of 630,000 sales. This was unwelcome news for home builders, who have been under pressure to build more homes.  pronounced shortage of available homes coupled with high buyer demand has pressured builders to increase their rate of housing starts. A sudden dip in new home sales could impact builders’ production rates if slow sales persist.

Buyer demand may be waning as home prices have continued to climb. July’s national average home price rose to $313700, which was 6.30 percent year over year. The National Association of Realtors® said the current inventory of available homes rose to 5.70 months. This was the highest reading in highest reading in several months. Real estate pros consider a six-month supply of homes for sale an average reading. Regardless of record high demand for homes and low inventories, rapidly rising home prices reduce the pool of potential buyers due to affordability.

Sales of previously owned homes also fell in July. The National Association of Realtors® reported that pre-owned homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.44 million sales. Analysts predicted a rate of 5.50 million sales based on June’s reading of 5.51 million sales.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported mixed mortgage rates results, but mortgage types surveyed were little changed. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell three basis points to 3.86 percent; the average rate for a 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 3.16 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.17 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types.

First-time jobless claims rose to 234,000, which fell short of the expected reading of 238,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 232,000 new claims.

Fed Chair Defends DoddFrank Act

Fed Chair Janet Yellen defended Dodd-Frank mortgage legislation passed after the financial crisis. The legislation established credit standards for mortgage lenders to eliminate irresponsible lending practices. Speaking at the Federal Reserve’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Chair Yellen’s comments responded to recent indications by the administration and banking officials that the Dodd-Frank Act should be repealed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller on home prices. Pending home sales, construction spending and inflation reports will be released in addition to weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. Several labor reports will also be released including ADP Payrolls, Non-Farm Payrolls, and the national unemployment rate will also be released. 

Staging Small Spaces: How to Highlight Your Outdoor Areas Even If They’re Not That Big

Staging Small Spaces: How to Highlight Your Outdoor Areas Even If They're Not That BigIf you’re planning on selling your home, you’ve probably already started to consider how you’re going to stage it. Staging is one of the most important parts of the selling process. The way you present your home is key to leaving a positive impression on a potential buyer. Let’s explore a few ways that you can stage smaller outdoor spaces to make them feel like they’re much more than they are.

Go With Smaller Furniture Options

If you’re trying to stage a small patio, deck or yard area, you’ll want to stick with smaller furnishings. Yes, that means packing up the enormous hammock or chaise lounge that you love to lazy around on. Remember, perspective is going to matter as potential buyers have never seen your outdoor spaces before. So any large furniture sitting in a small space is going to appear to be that much bigger.

One great idea is to use furniture that you can see through, as it will give the illusion that the area around it is much larger. Consider options like open-backed or Adirondack chairs which let light pass through.

Use Glass To Create A Spacious Illusion

Keeping visibility in mind, the second trick you’ll want to leverage is to use as much glass as possible. Glass-top tables and other transparent items which let light through are an excellent way to highlight a small space. And don’t forget – keep any glass spotlessly clean! The last thing you want is to be showing off a pile of greasy fingerprints.

Take Your Plants Vertical

Another excellent tactic for making the most of smaller spaces is to grow any plants vertically. If you have the room for it, a plant wall can really shine as it adds a pop of green and other colors to the area. If not, just stick with slender plants that grow straight up. Try to avoid plants that tend to spread out wide as they grow. If they look like they’re taking up a lot of space, any potential buyers touring through will have the impression that your outdoor areas are smaller than they are.

There you have it – three easy tips for staging your small, intimate outdoor spaces. When you’re ready to list and sell your home, contact your local real estate professionals.