Real Estate News, Tips & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Jan. 11, 2021

Buying Quality Properties At A Discount

As a buyer, it’s important to recognize the difference between getting a great price and BUYING QUALITY PROPERTIES AT A DISCOUNT. Price is only part of the valuation of a property. You do not have to look further than some of the Bank Owned Foreclosures and Short-Sales in your market to see the difference. There is a trap many buyers fall into at some point, and that is leaning toward the best price vs. the best value. Imagine you are buying an investment property that you plan on holding for a minimum of 5 years. There are two properties that are essentially identical for you to choose from. Same size, same number of bedrooms, etc. One is priced $15,000 below the other unit. Which one do you purchase? If you say the lower priced property you are not alone. Many inexperienced buyers and investors would say the same and possibly make a mistake. They are choosing price over the other factors that affect value. Here is why you want to Buy Quality At A Discount.

  • They are priced correctly: Because they are Quality properties they typically don’t need to be priced below similar sales. They can compete as is. Quality properties will be on the market for a shorter time and sell closer to their asking price.

  • They are Typically In Good Condition: Less out of pocket cost up front means more capital and higher profit early in the investment which adds to better overall performance. This allows for a quicker turn time because you don’t have to recoup the extra cash.  

  • Well maintained homes equal less long term expense. Quality homes have been cared for on the outside and preventative maintenance items have been taken care of on the inside. This will add to your bottom line profit over time.

  • Quality properties are the first to sell. In a market with a lot of inventory, they are the first to begin to appreciate.

  • Quality properties have a higher upside. In a market that is appreciating the value of EVERYTHING is rising. Values rise because of a lack of inventory. When there is little inventory, and the B and C grade properties are appreciating, people will pay a REAL PREMIUM for the Quality properties so they don’t have to spend more money on improvements.
Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 11, 2021

3 Things A Buyer Can Negotiate To Get A Better Deal




  1. PRICE

    Know Your Market: Let’s face it, in order to get the very best deal possible, you need to know what the market value is. A savvy buyer and a professional agent are going to be market experts. They will be able to identify what is market value and then negotiate to get BETTER THAN MARKET VALUE. 

    Present Your Knowledge To The Seller: Negotiating begins with the presentation of the offer. Simply putting an offer in on a property with no “Setup” is going to leave you with limited leverage in the negotiation. Many times you will be perceived as a “Shark” simply trying to take advantage of the seller. A powerful offer presentation will tell your story and humanize you to the seller. This allows them to be more flexible FOR YOU, NOT YOUR COMPETITION.   

    Let Them Know You Love The Home..........But: In order to negotiate the BEST PRICE, you have to bring the seller back to reality. The seller knows you like the property because you submitted an offer. It’s imperative to remind them of the short-comings that you are willing to overlook as long as the value makes sense.       

    Obtain and Maintain leverage during negotiations: In EVERY negotiation, there are times when the leverage shifts. Learn the strategies that will allow it to shift in YOUR FAVOR and you can negotiate with the TOUGHEST SELLERS and get the best price.

  2. CONCESSIONS 

    It Starts With The Presentation: When you set up the offer with a powerful presentation, you have laid the groundwork for the seller to make some concessions on things that may need to be updated, upgraded, repaired or replaced.     

    Changes Vs. Cash Back: Once you are close to where you want to be financially, you can refer back to those items. Most sellers know there are things that not EVERY buyer is going to like in their home. Sellers that stop negotiating on price will often be willing to move more on repairs, etc. that they know could come up in another negotiation.

  3. CLOSING COSTS  

    The Surefire Price Reduction: Sellers are not surprised when a buyer asks for closing costs. Similar to concessions, the closing costs offer a good avenue for the savvy buyer to negotiate a better price by minimizing the cash they have to bring to closing. Closing costs are a great negotiating tool. Whether you need them to do the closing or not, as long as you know how to present the offer.       

    Know The Guidelines And Limits: It’s important to know the rules. There are limits to what you can and can not ask for and your Agent or mortgage lender can educate you on these important items.      

    The Biggest Closing Cost Mistake: Avoid asking for closing costs on Cash Deals. Some would argue that it makes the seller feel like they are getting a higher price. Just like you, the buyer, the seller is only concerned with HOW MUCH WILL I NET. Most sellers are completely confused and feel taken advantage of when closing costs are requested on cash deals. When they are confused they shut down in the negotiations. A Great Negotiator can assist you in buying under market value in many cases. A poor negotiator can cost you thousands!

Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 11, 2021

Why Properties Fail To Sell In Your Area

In most markets, you don’t have to look far to find properties that fail to sell month after month even though the surrounding market seems very healthy with many properties going under contract. This can be a very frustrating situation for property owners who have their properties on the market month after month, as well as owners who are trying to determine why one home in their neighborhood sells, while another sits.  

  • Property Condition - In some cases, the property condition will determine whether or not it can be sold. Condition and location are important to potential buyers because both of these variables can affect the value of a property before and after purchase. A property that is clean, well kept, maintained and in a desirable area will typically generate more activity earlier in the listing process and usually sells for more money. Properties that appear to have been neglected, or seem to have a significant amount of deferred maintenance that needs to be taken care of, can often sit much longer than their competition. There is often an “unknown” factor that many buyers don’t want to take a gamble on.

  • Pricing - The pricing strategy that a seller or the sellers agent uses can also cause a property to sit on the market for long periods of time without offers. Many times, new or less experienced agents will price a property purely off of what the industry refers to as “comparable sales”. Using comp. Using comp. There are a lot of differences from one home to the next, even on the same street. There are a lot of differences from one home to the next, even on the same street.

  • Marketing of the Property - In most cases, the #1 reason a property doesn’t sell is that it’s not being marketed correctly. An effective marketing plan involves identifying the ideal buyer for a property and creating a specific plan to attract that type of buyer. It’s also important to “Merchandise” the property. Think of marketing as the big picture exposure that you have as an agent or a company, the audience you have, the top of the funnel. Merchandising is the strategy you use to separate the property you’re working on from hundreds of others the buyers may consider. An active marketing plan that combines passive activities like advertising, as well as aggressive activities like database marketing and micro-marketing, will always outperform things like print advertising and passive selling techniques like open houses. 
Posted in Seller Tips
Jan. 9, 2021

Buyer Closing Cost Estimates

There are typically 2 Types of Expenses for a buyer when they are purchasing real estate. The amounts for these services vary widely within regions and according to the price and type of property.     

Lender Fees which vary depending on the loan program include but are not limited to: 

Title Expenses

Title Search

Title Abstract

Title Insurance

Points

Processing Fees

Origination Fees

Attorney Fee (if your state is an attorney state)

Title Company Fee   

Miscellaneous Fees That Could Come Up Depending on Property:  

Taxes (pro-rated)

HOA (pro-rated)

HOA start-up fees

Home Owner Insurance

Home inspection

Appraisal

Survey

Termite and Pest Inspection


 

Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 9, 2021

90 Day Seller Forecast

Sellers in our market often ask me what the best time of year is to sell their properties. It’s an interesting question because we actually sell properties every month of the year. In fact, there really isn’t much change in values from one season to the next; unless the actual market is in an upward or downward trend, which of course will affect the values for an extended period of time until things flatten out again.       

Typically, the biggest factor in choosing when to list the property should relate to the sellers time frame for closing out. It’s important to look at the average days on market for the property that you are selling and determine how long it is taking similar properties to get an offer. In general, selling in 30 days means that you are either selling a very HIGH DEMAND property with very little competition, or you are pricing it right at the price it should sell and are not willing to negotiate. This can be an effective scenario depending on your situation.     

When you are planning on selling in the next 6 months, let’s look at how the time of year can affect you. The time of the year actually affects the way that a property should be marketed more than the salability of the actual property. A professional agent will know what kind of buyers to market the property to based on the time of year.       

Winter Buyers: Highly motivated, usually buying because of a move that just happened. Usually have less time to make a decision, are less concerned with details and more concerned with getting something that fits their general parameters.   

Spring Buyers: Starting their process early to move in during the early and mid summer months. Many times, they are families that are looking for a property to purchase after the school year ends. Sometimes they have another property to sell and can be lured away from other sellers properties by offering to pay closing costs or other “incentives.”    

Summer Buyers: Similar to spring buyers, they are often families trying to get into a property prior to the school year beginning. These buyers can be wooed in because this is usually the BEST a home looks from a curb appeal perspective. The grass has been growing for a while, all of the landscaping is grown out and generally because of vacations, etc. buyers are in very good spirits.     

Fall Buyers: A very good time to be on the market is in the fall because the buyers that are looking are very motivated. There is so much going on in the 4th quarter that the people who are looking at homes are NOT tire kickers. This is often the time of year that many people take their homes off the market so there is less inventory. This is great because you have very motivated buyers looking at a time that there is less inventory.       

It’s important to remember that every property is different. Selling for the most money starts with knowing your audience and having an aggressive marketing plan to attract the most motivated buyers.

 

Posted in Seller Tips
Jan. 8, 2021

How To Get The Seller To Pay Closing Costs

One of the strategies that many buyers will use to save out of pocket expenses when they purchase is to request that the seller pay some or all of the closing costs. When this is presented correctly to the seller through their agent, it’s usually something that most sellers are willing to consider.    

There are 3 critical parts to making this work, and it’s important that you have an agent that understands the process in order to be successful.  

STEP 1 

Find out what is really important to the seller about the terms of the sale. Contrary to what most people think it’s not always priced
. If you know what is most important, you can adjust your terms to meet the seller's primary need and offer flexibility on your end for flexibility on their end in order to help with closing costs.

STEP 2 

Present a reasonable offer. If closing costs being paid is an important item in your negotiation, this is not the time to submit a low-ball offer. Remember, that the closing costs are coming out of the seller’s “net”. A low ball offer with closing costs added in, typically won’t set you up for a good negotiation.  

STEP 3 

Present the offer to the seller by letting them know that the original offer was going to be lower, but you raised your offer price to cover the closing costs that you’re asking for.

 

 

Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 8, 2021

Traps To Avoid When Selling Your Home

When considering the sale of your home, there are several traps, or pit falls to be aware of. In many situations, these traps lead to added time on the market, which can mean less $ for the seller, and in some situations, the property may not sell at all. Knowing what to avoid in the pre-listing process can put you in a position to sell for the most amount of money within your time frame.  

  • Over-Improving Before The Listing - It’s always a good idea to spruce up around your home, improve curb appeal, and make the home as attractive as possible before you list your home. It’s important to realize that in many markets you can actually spend more on larger improvements that you could reasonably expect to get back when you sell the home. Focus your attention and money on improving small items that make a big aesthetic difference, versus adding high dollar improvements, and finishes.

  • Choosing An Agent Without A Proven Marketing Plan - Let’s face it, just like all homes are not created equal, neither are the agents that you may interview for the job of listing and selling your home. While individual differences will occur between all agents, it’s imperative that you hire an agent that. 1. Has a written marketing plan that they can show you. Don’t rely on “I’m going to do these things”. Make sure you can actually see their plan.
    2. Make sure their plan works. Insist on seeing their track record and be cautious of agents that say they can sell everything.  
    3. Make sure they have the resources to give you the service you’re looking for. Many agents are only selling a couple of properties a year. Be clear on who is going to do what during the process. Many times a single agent is going to have a tough time doing enough business to market your property effectively and still have time left to communicate with you.

  • Using The Wrong Pricing Strategy - Another reason that choosing the right agent is so important is that an experienced agent will be able to develop and articulate the best pricing strategy for your property in order to get it sold within your time frame. Pricing a property too low can generate a lot of activity, but it’s at the expense of your bottom line. Pricing a property too high, can add to extra time on the market, and keep you from capturing the most motivated buyers which typically show up very early on in the listing.
Posted in Seller Tips
Jan. 8, 2021

How To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar

There are 4 critical factors that will affect the price that you can sell

your home for. 

1. THE AGENT YOU HIRE

2. ACCESSIBILITY

3. CONDITION

4. LISTING PRICE

All of these factors will affect the time that you spend on the market AND your ability to sell at the highest price possible.

  • AGENT - As expected, this is the # 1 variable in you selling for the most money within the time frame. Your agent should have a comprehensive WRITTEN marketing plan for your specific property. They should have a significant presence online and be able to demonstrate the ways they are using technology to attract and convert buyers for properties like yours. They should have a proven track record of selling properties like yours and they will often have a support team behind them to handle the administrative tasks associated with selling your property. It’s very difficult, if not impossible for a single agent to do everything needed to market a property effectively.

  • ACCESS -  Homes that are for sale need to be accessible. If you have very limited times that the property can be shown, understand that you will narrow your buyer market. Even with limited inventory, many buyers and agents will pass over homes they can’t see on their terms.

  • CONDITION - You will often notice a direct correlation between the condition of a property and the price they are able to demand. Buyers will assume that if your home is sparkling clean, with everything in its place, it’s likely that you’ve taken care of the regular maintenance items on your home as well. Homes that are clutter-free, neutral in décor and paint schemes will allow the buyers to see themselves in your home and that influences their opinion of the value. Many owners will ask what upgrades are necessary to complete before the home is listed. The answer really depends on your competition. If you are trying to compete with homes that had quartz countertops, hardwood floors, and large outdoor living spaces, you will need to consider upgrades to compete in that category. With that being said, sometimes it’s quicker and more cost-effective to simply adjust your expectation on sale price than to spend money making changes that the buyer may not give you credit for.

  • PRICE - Pricing strategies are critical to selling within a reasonable time frame and maximizing your sale price. Buyers make their decisions by comparison shopping. They are comparing your home to the others that are available to purchase and those that have recently sold. It’s important to understand that buyers have all of the sales data available to them. If they see a home that they like but it is overpriced, this will give them the comfort level to keep looking at other homes because they probably don’t feel like the overpriced home is going to sell any time soon. On the other hand, if they see a property that is priced correctly, they will often make a move out of fear that if they don’t put an offer in they may lose the property to someone else. The benefit to you as the seller for pricing a property correctly is that you typically receive offers sooner, and negotiate less, often leading to more money in your pocket.
Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 8, 2021

My Marketing Strategies

As you know, one of the most critical components to getting a property sold is deploying an ACTIVE Marketing plan vs. a passive plan. If you ask most agents to tell you the difference between active and passive marketing they will refer to their effort or the time they put in for a certain activity. For instance, because an agent is willing to do an open house they may feel they are being very active in marketing the property, but their individual activity has nothing to do with the exposure of your home.     

An active marketing plan takes into account the need to get the property in front of as many people as possible to identify new leads. It also means identifying the perfect buyer type and then going after that specific target buyer.    

In other words, think of passive marketing as taking the property and making sure people are aware it’s for sale (open houses, sign in the yard, MLS, websites, etc). Many of these activities are a necessary part of the business but are unlikely to get the home sold if you have competition in your neighborhood or nearby.     

If you want to create massive exposure, you have to do all of the passive marketing activities as well as employ an active approach. Active marketing strategies involve things like database marketing, Co-broke agent marketing, and target marketing for specific types of buyers.    

Identifying the correct type of buyer and going after them specifically, so they don’t have to “stumble across your property”. This is the best way to create demand and an edge over your competition.

Posted in Seller Tips
Jan. 8, 2021

3 Mistakes Buyers Make In Our Market

1. Not Consulting A Market Expert -  Without the most relevant information regarding property values, market trends, upcoming development, etc. buyers can’t be fully informed. Knowing the ins and outs of the local market is the only way you can make the best decision. A Professional Agent is working in the market every day. They have a knowledge base that extends beyond the actual properties, as well as the potential pit falls that could surround a property that looks good on the surface but may cost the new buyer thousands in the future.

2. Not Having A Plan For Their Purchase - Buying without a business plan for your property is like getting in your car and driving with no particular direction and wondering why you didn’t get where you were wanting to go. Many buyers make decisions based off everything EXCEPT their plan for the property. In order to make the best purchase choice, the property should fit your plan. Your plan will include variables such as: HOW LONG WILL I OWN THE PROPERTY AND WHAT IS IMPORTANT ABOUT THE PROPERTY IF I RESELL IT SOONER THAN I THOUGHT? WHAT TYPE OF FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE DO I EXPECT FROM THE PROPERTY? (Future appreciation, income potential, etc). 

3. Not Sticking WitH The Plan They Made - Many buyers will have a plan for their purchase up until the point that they start looking. Because there are always choices when you are buying, you can be tempted to abandon your attempt at finding a property to fit your plan. Instead, you find a property and then adjust your plan to fit 
the new property. Rarely will a property’s performance change if it didn’t fit what you were trying to accomplish.

Posted in Buyer Tips