Realtor Dale Warfel

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Selling Your Flipped House: Staging is Key

You've sweated for weeks, or perhaps months, and your house flip is finally finished. Now it's time to sell it, and you should put just as much care and effort into this aspect of your flip as you did when selecting materials and subcontractors.

First impressions are important, and when potential buyers guided by your real estate agent walk through the front door, it's important that they immediately get a good feeling about your house. Staging is the term used to describe the process of creating a pleasant ambience for potential buyers. It's a simple process and will dramatically improve your chances of a quick sale.

Put Out a Welcome Mat
Buy an inexpensive welcome mat that says WELCOME, and put it at your front door. You might also put a pot of flowers next to the door.

Rent Furniture
People sometimes have difficulty imagining themselves living in a place that is completely empty. Help them along by furnishing your house, but don't go overboard -- you want your house to appear to be spacious.

Use Flowers and Candles
Flowers are cheerful, and candles are relaxing and romantic. Placing flowers and candles throughout your house will make visitors feel at home.

Play Music
Music is an important, but often overlooked, part of staging. In the background you should have music playing at a low volume. Classical music or soft jazz are good choices.

Bake Cookies
Just before your open house, bake some cookies and let the scent fill your house. Nothing says home like the scent of cookies baking. Put them on a plate on the kitchen counter so guests can help themselves.

Make Sure the Temperature is Comfortable
This is a fact: buyers do not want to sweat when they're viewing houses. It's a big turnoff. If it's hot outside, spend a few pennies and turn the air conditioner on.

Following these simple steps won't cost much but will make a big difference when it's time to sell your flip. Spend the extra money -- you'll be glad you did.

Selling Homes in a Changing Real Estate Market

The real estate market is cooling which for many people will mean less money for their homes after more time to sell them. Staging professionals aim to change that trend for agents who know the advantage of this service for their listings. Homes that have been staged have been known to sell three times faster, on average, than homes that haven’t been staged and they bring up to 15% above the asking price on an average home. Unlike interior decorating and re-design, the staging process prepares a home for sale—it involves depersonalizing it and broadening the appeal to buyers by maximizing space and lifestyle selling.

Staging professionals have specialized training to assist the home seller and real estate agent. They provide a service that benefits this industry through their understanding of the marketplace. Homeowners can see the results from the staging process—multiple offers that are above the asking price within days of an open house, for example. They can also see that major renovations needing lots of time and money are not required to get top dollar on a property.

The reality of real estate is that most homes are not ready for a competitive market. Every day the agents must tell the sellers the news that their home needs work in order to get the best price. Reluctance to be frank with the seller can result in lower offers and longer times on the market which is not the best scenario for the listing agent or the seller. Stagers have the experience to diplomatically guide sellers in the preparation of their homes for today’s discerning buyer.

Stagers do not renovate, decorate or design a house but help agents and sellers to create a strategy for selling the house. They have a proven colour palette to work from that has major appeal to buyers. They can provide economical furnishing and accessory rentals to show spaces in a new way. They can provide the homeowners with options that make the house look good, better and even best depending on the budget, timelines and the desire of the home seller.

Staging, or preparing a home for the market, works—and works well. It is another part of the top selling agent’s marketing tool kit.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Top Obstacles of Home Selling

After listing a house several times and receiving little or no response from prospective buyers most people begin to wonder what the problem is. Some realtors will tell you that selling a home takes time. Indeed it does. If you notice that similar homes in the market are selling and yours is not, there could be a deeper problem.

One of the biggest obstacles of selling real estate is the price of the home. If your home is priced to high, it is unlikely that you will receive inquiries. The best way to price your home is by comparing it to similar homes in your area that have recently sold.

Many sellers price their homes by using a dated appraisal combined with an appreciation calculation. This is not the wisest method for pricing your home for two reasons. Your home is not guaranteed to appreciate over time. In fact, some homes depreciate in value. The second reason is that an appraisal even as little as one year ago does not win over current market worth. The best way to price your home is based on today’s market.

A second obstacle that could stand in the way of selling a home is the condition of the home. Buyers are looking to purchase homes that are in top condition. Anything less will likely not receive an offer. It is important to make sure your house is presentable – both inside and outside – before showing it to any prospective buyers. In fact, the outside should be prepared before the home is listed. If a prospect drives by the house and deems the outside not presentable, he or she will not bother with inquiring about the inside of the house.

Price and condition are two of the biggest obstacles for home selling. If your home is not selling, these are the first to attributes you should check.

Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

As a first time home buyer you are prone to making a lot of mistakes. However if you can avoid them you can turn this nightmare into a pleasant dream of owning a home

First, changing jobs during the home buying process is a definite no-no! Lenders like to see employment stability and job tenure, and as a general rule will hold job hopping against you.

Second, never give earnest money deposits directly to For Sale by Owners. If the deal falls through you won't have any leverage to get it back. Instead, put the deposit into a trust account until the transaction is finalized - title companies, attorneys and closing agents can help you with this.

Third, stay practical and realistic during the home buying process and understand that while some sellers are willing to fix their homes to sell them others aren't.

Fourth, arrange in advance to have the utilities turned on in your new home. The utility companies usually need at least a few days to switch the service. Also, don't forget to cancel the service at your old residence.

Fifth, be sure to get hazard insurance for your new home and be able to show proof of purchase prior to closing. Failure to have insurance at the time of closing may delay the closing, which could result in all kinds of unforeseen complications; angry sellers, you've already given notice to move out of your old place and have no place to go, etc.

Sixth, purchasing a home is a business deal, so treat it that way. Don't get too close and personal with the seller, as it could unexpectedly lead to hurt feelings and/or deal breaking situations.

Finally, use an agent, unless you're well schooled in real estate transactions. It's most buyer's fantasy to save money by cutting out a Realtor. However, it's a full time job keeping up with all of the daily details of a contract, including the lender, the seller, and the seller's agent. It'll be your agent's responsibility to do all of this; as well as disclose any information that they are aware of that you might otherwise be unaware of.

Buying a home is a business transaction and may be one of the largest transactions you'll ever make. By treating it that way and surrounding yourself with knowledgeable professionals you can have smooth, safe transactions.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Buyer tip - What kind of home insurance should I get?

A standard homeowners policy protects against fire, lightning, wind, storms, hail, explosions, riots, aircraft wrecks, vehicle crashes, smoke, vandalism, theft, breaking glass, falling objects, weight of snow or sleet, collapsing buildings, freezing of plumbing fixtures, electrical damage and water damage from plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group for the insurance industry.

Such policies are "all-risk" policies, which cover everything except earthquakes, floods, war and nuclear accidents.

A basic policy can be expanded to include additional coverage, such as for floods and earthquakes and even workers' compensation for servants or contractors. Home-based business-coverage, an increasingly popular rider, does not cover liability associated with the business.

Insurance experts recommend that homeowners obtain insurance equal to the full replacement value of the home. On a 2,000-square-foot home,for example, if the replacement cost is $80 per square foot, the house should be insured for at least $160,000.

For personal items, homeowners can increase their coverage beyond the depreciated value of items such as televisions or furniture by purchasing a "replacement-cost endorsement" on personal property.

Some experts recommend an inflation rider, which increases coverage as the home increases in value.

Buyer tip - Should I hire a home inspector for a new home?

Most experts recommend having a home inspected, new or old. For new home, ask the builder to provide copies of any inspection reports on the property, architectural plans, surveys and pertinent construction documents for your inspector to review. Your inspector should either be a professional home inspector, an engineer, an architect or a contractor.

If you hire a professional inspector, look for one who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge about structures and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite.

Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $400, but costs go up with the scope of the inspection

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Buyer tips - How do I find a home inspector?

In order to find a home inspector, Dian Hymer, author of "Buying and Selling a Home A Complete Guide," Chronicle Books, San Francisco; 1994, advises looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications. "Ideally, the general inspector you select should be either an engineer, an architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations."

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge of structures and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite.

One can usually find an inspector by looking in the phone book or by inquiring at a real estate office or sometimes at an area Realtor association.

Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $400, but costs go up with the scope of the inspection.

Buyer tip - What's a home inspection and do I need one?

A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector -- often a contractor or an engineer -- inspects the home, searching for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and or paid by the buyer. The inspection usually takes place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed.

Yes, do definitely do need a home inspection. Buying a home "as is" is a risky proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars. Plumbing, electrical and roof problems represent significant and complex systems that are expensive to fix.