• Relocating? Tips For Buying and Selling in Varying Markets

    Zillow featured a blog post on tips for buying in one market while selling in another market.  The bottom line of the post was do your research ahead of time and know the local markets almost as well as your realtor.  The more you know, the more time and headaches will be saved down the line in negotiating.  Also a lot depends on whether a local real estate market favors a buyer or or seller at the moment.  

    How to Sell in a Buyer's Market

    A buyer's market is one with a high level of inventory of homes for sale, low demand from buyers or a slow economy.  Selling in this atmosphere may be more difficult.  That's why it's imperative to heed to the advice of a realtor that does his homework and knows the current climate of a local market.  Pricing your home to sell and preparing your home for listing before it goes on the market are two examples of ways to sell faster in a buyer's market.  Zillow's blog stated, "strongly consider any suggestions your agent makes for slight cosmetic fixes or staging" and we agree.

    How to Sell in a Seller's Market

    A seller's market is one where demand is high and there are a lot of buyers looking for homes, with lower level of inventory.  Although it may seem intuitive that this real estate climate is a "walk in the park" for selling your home, sellers still need to take precautions.  For instance, choosing the right buyer among a few offers is imperative to avoiding having to put your home back on the market.  The "right" buyer is one that has usually seen the home a few times, is pre-approved for a loan and/or has been looking in the market for a while.

    How to Buy in a Buyer's Market

    A buyer in a buyer's market may feel like a kid in a candy store...there are lots of homes to choose from and sellers give full attention to a prospective buyer.  But, before signing that contract, ask as many questions as possible through your agent to the seller.  Why is the seller moving?  How long as the seller lived there? What's the timeframe for moving?  These questions can unearth which properties have the best values and the buyer can get the best deal possible.

    How to Buy in a Seller's Market

    Competition is the name of the game here.  Few homes on the market and lots of hungry buyers looking at these few homes.  To give your "team" the best chance at winning, build a team!  Make sure to be represented by a buyer's agent and have a mortgage pro on hand.  Don't wait for open houses.  When a home comes on the market, have your agent contact you immediately and set up a showing of the home.  However, don't move too swiftly.  Sellers are aware of the desperation in many buyers.  And foregoing inspections or contingencies for the sake of "winning" a home is not the right approach.  Do your due diligence.

    To read the full post on Zillow, click here and as always contact us with any real estate questions you may have!



  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? 3 Things to Consider in Deciding Whether to Remodel or Buy a New Home

    Should you stay or should you go?

    Before making the decision to remodel your current home or buy a new home, consider these 3 factors according to Realty Times:

    1.  Local Market Conditions:

    There are 2 parts to buying a new home usually - selling your current home and then getting a good price and rate on a new one.  Check with your local real estate agent on the current market conditions in your area and the area you want to buy in.  Home prices and inventory can play significant roles in this process.  Some markets may be favorable to selling your home and then using the proceeds for a down payment on a new home... but some may not.  It is important to do your research on market conditions before making this decision, to avoid having to back out of a deal down the line.  You don't want to commit to a purchase and sale contract to  buy a new home, only to realize your current home either won't sell for the amount you need to purchase the new home or won't sell in the current market conditions in your area.

    2.  Counterproductive Upgrades:

    Homeowners should only consider remodeling if the upgrades will increase the value of their home over time.  Adding upgraded smart home appliances, energy efficient windows, and lighting for example are the most common upgrades that increase home value over time.  Remodeling can be less expensive than buying a home, but coming up with the capital to do so may require a home equity loan or line of credit, which creates new debt.  Be sure that the project(s) you undertake are not money pits and remove as many unknowns from the equation of remodeling as possible (ie get inspections or opinions of contractors if necessary before ripping up an area of your home!).  

    This is a very useful Cost vs. Value 2014 report in evaluating what remodeling projects to take on in your current home:

    Cost vs. Value 2014 Report

    3.  Future Market Conditions:

    Do your homework on future market conditions in your area and the area where you want to buy a new home.  Is the property walking distance to schools, parks, malls or other amenities?  If so, this will increase the value of the home, rather than if a home is only driving distance to everything.  If you see or hear of a new construction project being built near your current home or new home, inquire further about it.  Although construction in the short-term may be a pain to deal with, it may add value to your home or new home and should influence your decision whether to stay put or move to a new home.  

     Bottom line: Do your due diligence in deciding whether to remodel or buy a new home.  And contact us with any questions you may have about current or future market conditions in your area. 



  • 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Offer and Beat Out Competing Buyers

    Inman news and ActiveRain posted an insightful article about ways to gain the competitive edge when submitting an offer.  The purchase price isn't the only way to woo a seller.  In fact, a savvy buyer should consider the following 10 things before submitting an offer:

    10.  Present it in person. This rarely happens these days, with the ease and accepted norm of submitting offers via email or fax.  However, even submitting a letter or explanation of why the buyer loves the property and the story behind why this buyer wants the property can go a long way in a seller's decision to accept the offer.

    9.  Include any requested addendums and documentation.  If the seller and seller's agent has requested certain addendums and documentation, be sure to include them in your offer.  If there are multiple offers, and yours is missing essential requested information, the seller may choose another offer that includes all essential parts.

    8.  Include proof of funds in a cash offer, or a lender's pre-approval letter.  

    7.  Inclusions.  Don't ask the seller for additional personal property items to be included in the sale at the time you submit your offer in a multiple offer situation.  

    6.  Inspection contingency.  We don't fully agree with this one.  Unless a property has just been built or you know personally that the home has been meticulously cared for, never waive a buyer's inspection.  Obviously, waiving an inspection shortens the closing time, and in the seller's eyes, may eliminate any delays in closing due to the seller having to repair anything.  This is good for the seller, and may boost your offer, BUT we strongly encourage you to always request an inspection if you are a buyer.

    5.  Requests for seller concessions.  If you are going to make requests from the seller (ie, asking them to pay some of the closing costs, leave some personal property items behind, or dramatically reduce the purchase price), make sure every other aspect of your offer is mistake-free!

    4.  Earnest money.  In states that require a deposit, or earnest money, to be submitted along with an offer, buyers are encouraged to offer more money than less.  There is usually no requirement for the amount of the deposit, so the more you put down, the more the seller may be inclined to accept your offer in some cases.  

    3. Closing and date of possession.  Usually, the sooner you are willing to close, the more enticing the offer is to the seller. Or the more flexible you are with when the closing date can be, the better the seller will view your offer, based on the seller's ideal timeframe.

    2.  Costs paid by.  Costs of a sale are mostly negotiable between the buyer and seller.  Costs can range from appraisal, loan origination fees, septic inspection, a title policy etc.  Make sure you're not requesting the seller to pay for costs that are not usually allocated to the seller.  It is generally the rule of thumb in real estate deals that the party that benefits from a transaction usually pays for the majority of the costs.

    1.  Cash is king! While most buyers are not in the position to offer all cash offers, cash offers are perceived as more favorable to the seller because 1. cash closings are quick and uncomplicated 2. There won't be any chance of a lender finding something objectionable about the buyer or an appraisal coming in lower than the purchase price in the contract.

    For the full article, click here!



  • How Much Waiting a Year to Buy Could Cost You

    This week, Zillow's blog featured a post about the impact of a potential 1% increase in interest rates in a year.  Zillow applied next year's forecasted home values and a 1 percent percentage point increase to the median home price in 35 metro areas around the country.  They used that to calculate the difference in mortgage payments between today and a year from now.  

    “More often than not, buyers do not understand the profound effect of rising interest rates on affordability,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “Many buyers associate a 1 percentage point interest rate change with a 1 percent change on a piece of clothing or the price of a car, when in fact they are very different.

    As a rule of thumb, Lantz said, a 1 percentage point increase in mortgage rates reduces affordability by 10 percent."

    Their blog post featured how much mortgage payments would increase in some metro areas (Boston: increase by $198/mo for example). 

    However, as Zillow notes and we agree and advise, buying a home is not all about money.  Financial stability and readiness to make a longer term financial commitment are considerations that always should come before jumping on a deal just to get a deal or save money.  Feel free to contact us today for advice on home buying and selling!

     Click here to read the full blog post on Zillow. 


  • How much of a down payment do you actually need?

    You'd be surprised by the answer to this question.  According to Freddic Mac, 40% of today's homebuyers using mortgage financing are making down payments that are less than 10%!  

    "A recent survey by Zelman & Associates revealed that 38% of those between the ages of 25-29 years old and 42% of those between the ages of 30-34 years old believe that a minimum of 15% is required as a down payment to purchase a home. A recent questionnaire administered by Freddie Mac showed that over 50% of all respondents thought 20% was required as a down payment."

    Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers to the table.  Depending on your credit history and other factors, many borrowers may only have to put 5% - 10% down for the purchase of a home.  Whether you're a first time home buyer or saving up for a vacation home, do your research... you may find it's not out of your reach!

    To read the full article on Keeping Current Matters, click here!

    Contact us today for more information or inquires about the home buying or selling process!  

  • Existing Home Sales up 4.9% Nationally in May

    From Realtor.com:

    Existing home sales rose 4.9% nationally.  "This was the highest monthly rise since August 2011, but existing home sales remain 5 percent below year-ago levels."  See more below!


  • 7 Ways To Find Real Estate Deals

    Real estate deals still are to be had, even in a better market.  It requires daily research and keeping a close on the following:

    1.  The Realtor's Multiple Listing System (MLS)

    Every realtor uses this and there is no alternative.  A good realtor looks at the MLS several times a day to find good deals, and this ensures familiarity with the area.

    2.  Craiglist

    Desperate sellers may advertise their property on craigslist rather than listing it with a realtor on the MLS.

    3.  Foreclosures

    Look at foreclosures daily.  Most of them are taken back by Fannie or Freddie, but follow the property and see what local realtor ends up listing it and jump on it.

    4.  Property Sales

    There are services that deliver records of new deeds recorded each day.  You can learn a lot about other investor players in your market as well as the sold properties themselves.

    5.  Driving Around

    Sometimes this option offers the most potential to find a deal, especially in an area littered with second/vacation homes.  Look for overgrown yards or stacks of mail.  Investigate the property through local town records and you may stumble upon a ready and willing seller.  

    6.  Bird-dogs

    A bird-dog is someone who goes around and looks for real estate deals with substantial investment potential.  Keep in touch with a bird-dog and have them call you when the type of deal you're looking for comes on the market.

    7.  Marketing

    Develop a marketing plan, establishing relationships with potential sellers who will call you when they decide to put their property on the market.  

    Thanks to the Bigger Pockets blog for these tips!

    If you are currently looking for a good investment opportunity in the Seacoast area, give us a call or drop us an email today!


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