Selling Your Home During the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us!  Some of us are seeing snow flurries, the cold temps have settled in, and you need to sell your house!  While most of us are busy preparing for family gatherings, feasting on festive meals, and wrapping last minute presents some of us are preparing to relocate.  Yep, you probably guessed it, the holiday season is not ideal to be selling or buying a home for most of us.  Our plates are already too full and the last thing we want to be doing is having people trekking through our homes in wet boots.  It is also not an ideal time due to the already abundant financial and emotional stresses that find most of us during the holidays.

This is how the experts at Century 21 Lady of the Lakes can help!

Asking Price – Price Your Home to Sell

If you are trying to sell your home during the madness of the holiday season it is not time to over price your home.  Listen to your realtor, they know what they are doing when it comes to pricing your home to sell.  Buyers often have the luxury of waiting until the warmer weather approaches if they think your asking price is too high.  Buyers have the option to keep looking, do you have that same luxury?  All sellers want to sell their homes for the highest price possible, however it is important, especially given the time of year that you listen to your realtor.  They know what you can expect based on the current market, the sale price of other homes in your area, and the amenities your home has to offer.

Incentives

Create an environment that is open and inviting.  Offer buyers incentives to buy your home and deal with moving in the winter.  Consider updating the appliances in the kitchen or covering the buyers closing costs.  Sellers concessions and improvements to the home are just some of the many ways that you can make your home more appealing to buyers.

Decorate – Festive Displays

Buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in your home, so create an environment that does this for them.  Create the holiday spirit by staging your home with all of your very best décor.  Create curb appeal with outdoor decorations, fill the house with festive smells, and create a space that buyers cannot resist.  A space where they can totally immerse themselves in as their own.

Use the Weather to your Advantage

As miserable as it is to have people trampling through your house, think about the buyers who are trekking in and out of homes day after day.  Of course, this would put even the jolliest home buyers in a bad mood, so it is your job to make sure that doesn’t translate into how they feel about your home.

You can help create a more positive vibe by creating a warm, welcoming space.  Light candles, start a fire in the fireplace, provide warm beverages, and homemade treats.  The longer they linger in your space, the more likely for it to feel like their space.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.

Problems and Solutions to Common Issues in Real Estate

If you want a job in an industry where everyday is different and no two transaction are ever the same, you into real estate.  A boring day just doesn’t happen when you are working daily with a wide variety of people and personalities.  As much fun as it is to work with several different types of people on a regular basis, there are some challenges that can arise when working to find a buyer their dream home or a seller who is selling more than just a home, but an abundance of memories as well.

Common Real Estate Problems and Solutions

  1. Market Conditions That Are Not Ideal

Realtors do not have control over local real estate markets.  It is inevitable that local real estate markets will have ups and downs that need to be dealt with.  The longer you are in real estate the more you will see the market conditions fluctuate. The market conditions will play a huge role in if a home sells or not and if it sells at, below, or above the average market value. Realtors must understand and recognize if they are currently dealing with a sellers or buyers’ market.  The advice that you offer to your clients will make a huge difference in their perception and the outcome of the transaction.

  1. Emotional Sellers

Many times, the sale of a home can be quite emotional.  Real estate agents will get the full brunt of the emotion’s sellers are feeling during this process.  A wide range of emotion is felt from sadness, stress, excitement, uncertainty, and nervousness.  Selling a home is a time of mixed emotions for homeowners and you as their agent will need to help them overcome the feelings that they are having to get to the point of sale.  It will be important to remind the sellers of their initial motivation to sell, the benefits that come from the sale of a home, and how these play into their situation.  It is important not to become invested emotionally yourself in the sale of any home so that you can remain impartial throughout the process.

  1. Listing Price

There are many sellers and buyers out there that will take your recommendation when it comes to putting an offer in on a home or listing their home for sale.  However, there are times when people will feel like their home is worth more than it is or that a lower offer is better for later negotiations.  Price points are the biggest challenge most realtors will face with their clients. It is important that you as the realtor educate your clients with concrete evidence and current stats to validate your reasoning.   Point out how long comparable houses have stayed on the market and the difference in pricing points.

Most of the time real estate professionals can work out issues with their clients by listening to them and providing concrete information to reassure them.  Proper wording and empathy can often overcome any challenge that arises to help facilitate a compromise.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.

The Most Important Repairs to Make Before Selling Your Home

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance… I can’t stress the importance that keeping up with your home’s maintenance, repairs, and overall general well being can make when it comes time to sell.

For many buyers it is important to get into a home without having to do a ton of repairs to make it inhabitable.  It is also not on many buyers’ agendas to make an offer on a home only to determine upon inspection that there are issues that they just don’t want to deal with.  With a little bit of preparation before you place your home for sale, along with regular maintenance and consistent updates while you are actively living in the space your home should be buyer ready when you decide it is time to sell.

Listed below are just a few of the areas to pay special attention to as they are high on the list of priorities that buyers are looking at when buying a new home.

Kitchen & Bath Renovations and Updates:

  • These two spaces have the potential to make or break the sale of a house.  They also employ the most technical mechanics of the house from appliances, to plumbing and electricity, there is a lot that can go wrong.  If not kept up on kitchen and bathroom spaces can easily fall into despair.
    • Kitchen Appliances: Although it can be beneficial to have updated, energy efficient appliances when selling your home, the most important aspect is that they are all in solid working condition.  Maintenance is key in keeping appliances running properly.
    • Cabinets: Cabinets are an essential visual and functional element in both the bathroom and kitchen.  Not only should cabinets be free of damage and in good working order, new hardware never hurts to modernize a slightly older space.
    • Faucets, Sinks, Showers & Tubs: Not only are aesthetics important so is the functionality of drains and faucets. The drains within sinks, showers, and tubs should all drain properly, free and clear of any problems.  Overflow drains should also be in proper working order.  The hot and cold faucets should be properly installed.  (Believe it or not many homes I have remodeled have the hot and cold feature set up backwards) Exhaust vents should be working and clear of debris. Check all surfaces for cracks, chips, and peeling.  Homes that undergo routine maintenance should have addressed all of the above issues as problems arose.

Walls & Ceilings:

    • As part of regular maintenance homeowners should take care to repair nail holes, dings, and dents that occur. If discoloration is seen on the ceiling this will instantly turn off a buyer.  Damage from water should be repaired and brought back up to par aesthetically before placing a home for sale.  All water damage and repairs should be properly documented to give future homeowners a record if asked upon inspection how the problem was solved.

Flooring:

  • Flooring does not need to be replace before selling a home. What is important however is that it is clean and in good condition.  Chips and cracked tiles have been replaced, carpet has been cleaned, and hardwood refinished if scratches and dents are an issue.

HVAC:

  • The heating and cooling systems in the home should be in working order with updated filtration installed. Thermostats should work properly or be replaced.  Hiring an HVAC tech to complete a tune up can be a bonus to ensure everything is in proper order and can be used to market your home.
Electrical Panels and Circuit Breakers:
  • Take time to have the electrical panels in your home meet current codes. This is a perfect time to have the electrical in your home inspected by a professional.  This documentation can be given to your realtor to use as added bonuses that prove maintenance on a home has been done.  This looks really good in the eyes of a buyer even if there is a hiccup somewhere else in the home.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.

Essential Terms to Know in Real Estate

There are several industry specific terms used in real estate that are crucial to have an understanding of when looking into becoming a first-time home buyer.  When the lingo is unfamiliar to you it is easy to become overwhelmed which leads to added stress to an already stressful situation.  To prepare yourself for a fast and efficient transaction we have compiled a list of terms you are sure to hear throughout your transaction.

Appraisal: This is the estimate given by professionals that values the home, property, or combination of.  An appraisal is sought by lenders when looking to verify that a property is worth the amount of money the buyer is seeking to purchase it for.

Buyer’s Agent: A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional that works on behalf of the person buying a home.  They seek to represent the buyer’s best interest throughout the entirety of the transaction.

Contract: A sales contract is a legally binding document between the buyer and seller that states the terms of the sale.

Closing: This is the moment the sale of the home is final.

Closing Date: This is the date that is set in place as a marker for when ownership of the home occurs.  It is the expected date that the home inspection is to be completed, a mortgage obtained, and keys exchanged.

Contingencies: Conditions within the contract that need to be met for the sale to move forward.

Counter Offer:  Once an offer has been received if it is not deemed acceptable to the seller they can respond with an offer they deem acceptable.

Debt-to Income Ratio:  This is a number that is used my mortgage lenders to determine how much outstanding debt you have including the mortgage vs how much income is coming in.  Debt is divided by income times one hundred.

Due Diligence: This is the process in which a person takes reasonable actions to satisfy legal requirements of a contract.

Earnest Money: This is the financial portion of the initial contract, typically 1 to 3 percent of the cost of the home, that is held in escrow and is applied to the buyers down payment when the sale goes through or is paid to the seller if the contingencies are not met and the buyer reneges on the contract.

Escrow: Money that is kept in the custody of a third party until certain conditions are met such as paperwork is signed, or taxes are paid.

Equity: The market value of the home minus the liens against it equals the money left over.  Equity refers to the money that is left over as “profit” from the sale of the house.

Inspection: This process involves a professional that is hired by the buyer to assess the homes condition.

MLS: A database of properties that are up for sale.

Offer: The initial agreement that is made with conditions that the buyer gives to the seller with terms in which they would like to purchase the home under.

Principal: Is the amount of money the buyer needs to borrow to purchase the home.

Seller Concessions:  These are incentives offered by the seller to make the home more desirable to buyers.

Title Search: This is the process that is taken to determine proper ownership of the home.  It assures buyers that the seller has the legal ability to sell the home free of outside obligations.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

Buying and Selling a House at the Same Time

The process of buying and selling a home can be very stressful especially if you find yourself in a situation where you are doing both at the same time.  Depending on the housing market in your area it can be tricky for to juggle both process at the same time.  It becomes incredibly important to rely on a reputable, local realtor to facilitate.

 

In this installment, we will provide valuable tips and recommendations to educate homeowners in the process of achieving what may seem like an impossible task, to sell their current home while purchasing a new dream home.

 

Understand the Housing Market

Before you jump right in and look to buy and sell a home, you want to be sure that you find out about the housing market. If you are looking to buy a new home in the same market that you currently live it should be slightly easier than if you were leaving the area for whatever reason.

 

Create a Plan of Action

One of the best ways to ensure that you will be more likely to be successful in buying and selling a house at the same time is to plan. This plan should be as realistic as possible, make all your goals actionable and attainable. There is no sense making a goal that is not achievable, that would be one sure fire way to be unsuccessful. Including a professional real estate company in the process is a must.

 

Don’t Rely on Timing

When buying and selling at the same time there are so many things that can go wrong and timing may seem right, but it could easily change when the buyer of your home runs into problems during closing. It could also happen to you when you are set to close on purchasing your new home and then something sneaks up and throws a monkey wrench into the works and you are stuck. Sometimes even the best plans can go awry, and you will have to go back to the drawing board to salvage your overall goal.

 

Align Your Finances

One way to make buying and selling houses simultaneous much less stressful is that if you are able to work with a new lender that is willing to work with you to establish your new mortgage and discuss the possible need for a bridge loan to help with paying both mortgages until you can sell your home. You can also request a contract contingency option which means that your home purchase is contingent on the sale of your home. This may or may not be a viable option in all circumstances.

 

Don’t Let Fear Make Your Decision

When it comes trying to buy a new home and sell your existing home at the same time it can be a bit unnerving. The likelihood that you could be stuck carrying two mortgages for a brief or not so brief amount of time is fairly high. However, you must at all cost not allow yourself to let the fear of not being able to afford the two mortgages at the same time to make a bad decision that could end up costing you a lot of extra money.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.

 

Why It Is Better To Use A Realtor Than Going It Alone

At one point or the other in our lives we are faced with the problem of buying homes that meet our specific needs. Some people however, may decide to confront this problem by themselves. Thus, they begin to look for homes for sale. Good and cost saving as this approach might be the unforeseen problems associated with going it alone may wipe away the costs saved.

It is therefore advantageous to find a qualified realtor who has access to real estate listings that are available in one choice area. These realtors have the skills to hunt for homes that meet your taste, income and needs. This will save a considerable amount of time that might be used in productive activities. Realtors are experts that have been licensed to practice and they are guided by codes of conduct which if breached will attract serious penalties. They are expected to place the interests of their clients above their own, hence, they are expected to work for their clients’ satisfaction.

Going it alone may lead to paying more for a home than the actual value. Realtors are pricing experts who are conversant with the prices of different properties. They can come to the aid of their clients by making fair negotiations with sellers. The prices of homes for sale differs from one neighborhood to another depending on the facilities available. Realtors have information about different areas and they can offer valuable advice to prospective buyers. Most times when a property is chosen from real estate listings, it is the job of realtor to inspect the home and request for repairs where it is necessary on behalf of the buyer. A prospective buyer may not be able to handle this issue effectively, which may lead to friction with the seller. The realtors have adequate sense of what is fair when requesting that a home be repaired because of their experience in handling such cases.

The decision to go it alone without an expert realtor may affect negatively the proper transfer of the home to the buyer. It is the responsibility of the realtor to handle paper work. He must see to it that all the papers are signed by those who need to do so. Apart from that, the realtor has the duty to keep these records properly, so that they can be easily retrieved if the need arises in future. Secured record keeping is guaranteed when a realtor is involved in the transaction. There are some properties that are not in the real estate listings in other words such homes are not advertised. Realtors will know about such homes which the buyers can inspect and make choices that suit them.

To forestall future problems with homes for sale, a realtor has the duty of guiding prospective buyers in the choice of property so as to ensure peace of mind and eliminate potential problems. Although, saving a percentage of what a home costs is a good idea however, the problems and the stress associated with such purchase without the expert guidance of a realtor will wipe away such gain.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

How Staging Your Home for Sale Can Affect Its Value?

When it comes to selling a home, everyone seems to have their own opinion as to what will make it sell faster and for more money.  Some realtors believe that the smell of freshly baked cookies will convince a person to buy, while other real estate agents think that a home needs to be perceived as warm and inviting to entice a purchase.

Well, if you are the type of person that thinks that an empty home is easier to keep clean through all those open houses, and you want to remove everything, you may want to think twice.  It turns out that the aroma of cookies and cozy spaces can decrease the amount of time a house stays on the market, because potential homeowners can see themselves living there.

In addition to staged homes selling faster, most sellers and their real estate agents will agree that the value of the home will increase, due to the way that it looks when potential homeowners are walking through it or looking at the pictures online.  Some real estate agents believe that the home’s value will only increase by a percent or two, while other realtors believe that the value of the home will increase by as much as twenty percent.

One of the easiest things that you can do when staging your home is remove all the personal items from each room.  These items often include family photos, as you are trying to have someone else imagine themselves living in the space, and that is difficult to do when another family is staring down from the walls.

You will also want to remove any clutter, including that pile of shoes by the front or back door.  The idea when staging a home is to show how everything has its place and that there is room for everything.  It gives the appearance that the home is larger than it is, which is why many realtors will also recommend removing half of the items from inside all the closets.

Your real estate agent will want you to stage your home a specific way prior to having any pictures taken for the website.  That will ensure that your home looks exactly right to potential buyers from the start and hopefully will lure them to the open house.

Of course, once your home has been staged by your realtor, you will not be able to make any changes to it until it has been sold.  This can be difficult for some people, as you may feel that you are living in a museum but keep the end result in mind.  That shouldn’t be too hard, as a little extra money can usually motivate anyone.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

Dual Agency-Why Buyers and Sellers Should Avoid It

There can be some confusion when it comes to the role of real estate agents whenever a real estate transaction is being executed. In most states, an agency disclosure form is required and should be signed by both seller and buyer. This form is typically a disclosure, not an agreement and details the roles of each party in the real estate transaction.

In a typical real estate transaction, there is either a single agent or a dual agent. A dual agent is a real estate broker who represents both the seller and the buyer. This is important because, in a traditional real estate deal, the broker only represents the seller. Sometimes the lines become blurred and the broker crosses over to the buyer and negotiates a better buying price. While this is a common practice in the real estate arena, it is considered unethical and can even illegal in many states. In a dual agency setting, the broker is required to disclose that he or she is working with both the seller and the buyer.

Single Agency

In a typical real estate setting, the buyer works with a single buying agent. Sellers, on the other hand, work with brokers or selling agents who are working in a single agent capacity listing agents. Legally, these single agents owe a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and documents are signed to this effect. For instance, they cannot share confidential information with the other party or the other party’s agent. Single agency agents must exercise due diligence in the performance of all their duties, be forthright, and disclose all material facts.

Dissecting Dual Agency

Owing to the fact that all real estate agents are licensed under a real estate brokerage, it is not uncommon to find the same agent licensed by the same broker as the listing agent. This situation creates a dual agency. Even if the agents are located in separate offices and do not know each other, nevertheless a dual agency scenario exists because they are both licensed by the broker (one representing the buyer and the other representing the seller).

Here is how dual agency essentially plays out in the real world: after qualifying for a home, the buyer works with a real estate agent who in turn is registered under the same brokerage firm that has listed the home. In this scenario, a dual agency has been created by that real estate agent. In many cases, the agent proceeds as if it is a single agency transaction. The law, however, requires that this dual agency is disclosed.

A listing agent for a property who also represents the buyer of that property automatically becomes a dual agent. Because dual agents cannot operate in a fiduciary relationship with both the seller and buyer, they must treat both equally. They can offer advice to both but cannot disclose confidential information. There are instances where real estate agents have found themselves embroiled in lawsuits for failing to adhere to these standards.

Consider the complications that a dual agency can cause.  If an agent is adamant about proceeding in the representation of both transactions be careful and consider hiring an attorney to review the transaction thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Realtor

When it comes to buying or selling property it is extremely important that you enlist the assistance of a real estate professional in the area you are looking to buy or sell the property. Regardless of whether you have some amount of real estate experience you cannot equal the knowledge that an agent that is from the area that you are looking at has of the local market.

 

When you find a local realtor that you think you might be interested in working with you should sit down and discuss things in order to select the best one for your needs. We put together a list of essential questions that should help you to glean all of the information from that you will be able to use to make your final selection.

 

10 Essential Question to Ask When Choosing a Realtor

 

How many years have you been in the area?

This is extremely important to get to know whether or not they have enough knowledge of the local community. If they don’t have many years of experience, this should give you a reason not to go with them.

How many clients are you currently working with?

Finding out how many people they are working with will give you an idea of how much time they could devote to your needs.

Do you work with most buyers as compared to sellers or vice versa?

If an agent works mostly buyers or mostly sellers, they may not have as much experience with the other and that could be an issue.

Is there a specific area that you cover?

Finding out up front if your agent is tied to a specific area can end up limiting you in your opportunities.

Does your agency use teams and are you part of one?

Knowing if your agent is part of a larger team is a good thing to know so that you know that you could be working with another agent at some point.

Are you able to handle a few of these unique situations?

Put together a list of unique situations and see how they respond to each specific situation.

How do you prefer to handle communication with your clients?

It is a really good idea to find out right off the bat how you will be communicating with your agent.

 Do you have a rapport with some of the local professional groups?

It is really important for an agent to have a really good working relationship with the key vendors that work in the areas related to real estate.

Can I get 3 references with contact information?

It is always important to get references so that you can find out what other people who already worked with think about them.

Do you have any questions for me?

Last but certainly the least, ask if they have any questions.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

 

Real Estate Tips for Buying Homes on the Water

Living near the water is a dream for most people. It is peaceful and tranquil.  Most often home on the water are away from the city’s utter over population. There is a level of calm that always exists along with a view that is spectacular every time of the day. Living on the water also means more privacy as your house is not blocked by houses stacked one on top of each other.  Water front homes are directly in front of the open water. Which allows you to take part in water-related activities such as swimming, water skiing, fishing, boating, ice skating and more.  Waterfront homes also retain their value better than most other types of real estate.

Often lake homes are more difficult to buy and harder to negotiate than a land-locked property. Here are some tips from professional real estate agents to keep in mind when looking into buying waterfront property.

  1. Finding a Real Estate Agent That Specializes in Waterfront Homes

Many real estate agents do not have the expertise and knowledge it takes to purchase waterfront properties. As a home buyer you should always look for a real estate agent who specializes in lake front property as they would have a better understanding on the pros and cons of different waterfront properties.

  1. Focus on The Property

Don’t just buy a home on the lake to say you have lakefront property.  Many buyers are disappointed on their home once they have moved in when they realize the homes pitfalls.  The basement may leak, the view may not be what you wanted, it can be muddier than you are wanting to deal with or many other issues may exist that you took for granted being focused only on getting a home on the water.

  1. Taking Out a Home Loan/Mortgage

Lake homes are often more pricey than other types of property.  Buyers looking to purchase a home on the water are advised to investigate mortgage preapproval sooner than later.  Lenders often consider the most eligible and credit worthy buyers.  With pricey water front property, it may take longer to work out a loan agreement between the lender and the buyer.  It will be important for the lender to be sure that the buyer has considered the cost of insuring a lake front house as well.

  1. Focus on The Structure of the Home

Properties in front of the water receive more abuse from added elements.  It is suggested that extra measures should be taken to protect the property. For example, using stainless steel locks or storm shutters.  The homes structure should be thoroughly inspected to make sure that there are not signs of any structural damage which could destroy the integrity of the home.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.