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Category Archives: home buying

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE OFFERS ON YOUR HOME

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.”~ Stevie Wonder

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6 TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST OFFER FOR YOUR HOME

Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don’t let the best slip through your fingers.

You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.

1. Understand the process.

All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

2. Set baselines.

Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a pre-qualified or cash buyer.

3. Create an offer review process.

If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

4. Don’t take offers personally.

Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

5. Review every term.

Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures — such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments — to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?

Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the down payment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.

Have the buyers attach a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?

Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?

With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

6. Be creative.

If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.

By: G. M. Filisko

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I – THAT IS THE QUESTION!

home for sale

 

There are many people out there who debated purchasing a home over the  course of the last year, but ultimately did not. Whatever their reasons were for  delaying, let’s look at whether the decision to wait to buy made sense.  To read  the rest of this article, please click the following link: http://goo.gl/tWiZ78

YOUR GOALS MUST BE SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE

YOUR GOALS MUST BE SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” –  Mark Twain

Key element number 3 in achieving your goals is that your goals must be specific and measurable.   Just saying you would like to make $100,000.00 this year won’t get you $100,000.00.  You need to map out your plan of action.  This course of action fits the self-employed as opposed to a person drawing a salary. If you are not self-employed, then your salary is tied to what the company thinks you are worth.  An employee will either have to prove he/she is worth more, change companies where there is room to grow or do something on the side that is your own business and where you control how much you make.

Remember, just saying you want to make $100,000.00 isn’t enough; you need to break that amount down into months, then weeks, then days and hours if that will help you visualize the way to achieve your goal.

For this example, I will use real estate sales, since that is what I am most familiar with, but you can apply it to just about any sales position or position where you are paid by the size jobs you bring to the company.

Let’s say the average sales commission – on your side – is $1,500; how do you figure you can make $100,000.00.  Simply divide 100,000 by 1,500 to come up with the amount of deals you need to achieve that number.  So 100,000/1,500 = 66.66 – we will round that number up to 67.  Now you are going to divide 67 by 12 – the number of months in the year (or you can divide by 11 or 10 if you want to take 1 or 2 months off during the year.)  Since you are just starting out, we’ll use the number 12. So 67/12=5.58.  That means you will have to make 5.58 sales every month, or rounded up, 6 sales every month. If you prefer calculating by the quarter, or every 3 months, you will need to make 18 sales every quarter.

OK that sounds easy enough, but are you going to sit and wait for those sales to drop in your lap, or are you going to do something pro-active to get those sales.  Let’s think in terms of how many people it takes to get one listing, or how many homes you need to show before you make one sale.

Let’s start with listings. I’m going to use an arbitrary number, but you will need to find your own number.  Ok, lets say it takes talking to 15 people before you get one listing and you want to acquire 5 listings per month. How many people do you need to talk to in one month to get those 5 listings?  Simply multiply 5×15 to get the number 75.  Now if you break that down into weeks you will divide 75 by 4.33 which equals 17.32.  I always like to round-up since it will be hard to talk to a third of a person.  So now we have a number – 18 people you need to talk to in one week.  You can break that down even further by dividing 18/7=2.57 people per day. Again, round-up to 3 people per day. So now you have a plan of action on getting more listings. To get 5 more listings in one month, you will have to talk to about 3 people per day who are interested in listing their home.

We all know, in this economy, just because you have a listing it doesn’t mean it will sell. You also have to try to sell homes.  On average, how many homes do you show a prospective buyer before they purchase a home – 10, 20, 30?  For this example, we will just use the number 12.  You will need to show 12 homes before your buyer decides to purchase one. You want to sell 6 homes in one month, therefore you will need 6 buyers and show each buyer 12 homes. That’s a whopping 72 homes in one month, or 17 homes in one week – a little easier number to work with! Break that number down more and you need to show 3 homes per day – 17/7=2.42.

Oh, you have no buyers and want to know how are you going to get 6 buyers every month. Utilize the same formula you used to get a listing.  If you have to talk with 15 people before you get one buyer you will need to talk with how many people? 15×6=90 people per month or 90/4.33=20.78 people per week – round-up to 21 then divide 21/7=3 people per day.  So there you have it.  You will need to talk to 3 people every day about selling their home and another 3 people every day about buying a home to get your listings and buyers; and you will need to show each buyer an average of 3 homes per day.

Now you have a plan of action to reach that number of $100,000.00 this year – so get talking!

If you want to lose weight, run a marathon or anything else – just apply the above formula and break down your goal into bite-size pieces.  It makes achieving your goal a lot easier to swallow.

“SHORT SALE” Great Starter Home!

“SHORT SALE”  Great Starter Home!

This is a great home for the price.  The neighborhood is excellent and the lot is one of the larger lots in the area.  All in all,  this little brick gem is a great deal! I sold this home to the owners originally, and now it is time for them to move on.  So here I am selling the home once again. It is adorable and whoever buys this home will be very happy in it as my sellers are. To view more pictures of this home click on the link below.

“SHORT SALE” Great Starter Home!.

5 EVENTS THAT ROCKED HOUSING IN 2011

5 EVENTS THAT ROCKED HOUSING IN 2011

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” –  Bob Hope

Re-printed from Trulia
January 3, 2012|Tools & Trends|No Comments
Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist

5 events that rocked housing  in 2011; by Jed Kolko

Government, lending changes, and forces of nature all shook the housing market in 2011. They had both an immediate impact and slow-burning effects. They set the stage for a bumpy 2012 with more foreclosures, political battles and local market risks – which will affect the industry and how agents do business.

1) Robo-Signing Reverberations

The “robo-signing” scandal – where banks were accused of approving foreclosures with incomplete or incorrect documentation – exploded in October 2010, but where are we now? Banks want a settlement in order to avoid costly, drawn-out lawsuits. One is shaping up that could reduce loan balances or interest rates for current homeowners, give payments to people who lost their homes and establish new mortgage servicing standards for the future.

Even if you think there’s money coming to you because you lost your home, don’t start spending against your settlement windfall just yet. One estimate from the Wall Street Journal is for a settlement of $25 billion if all states participate. Another report from TIME says that will translate into $1,500-$2,000 for households who were mistreated in the foreclosure process. A couple thousand dollars will give people some breathing room, but it won’t change anyone’s financial lives. And, be patient: it could be months before a deal is reached, an administrator is in place and the details are finalized.

Until that’s all figured out, here’s the immediate drama: who’s in and who’s out? Some states might hold out for a better deal or decide to sue these mortgage servicers directly, as Massachusetts has. California was the first and most vocal state to back out, and New York, Delaware, and Nevada have spoken out, too.

What Really Mattered: The threat of robo-signing lawsuits made banks gun-shy about pursuing foreclosures in 2011, which left many homes stuck in the foreclosure process. But once a settlement is reached, we’ll see a rush of foreclosures in 2012.

What It Means for Agents: More foreclosures will hurt prices and consumer confidence. Short sales could be harder to get approved if the foreclosure process gets easier.

2) The Debt Ceiling and the Budget Deficit

The federal government is running a deficit — it is spending more than it collects in taxes and other revenue – so it borrows to cover the gap by issuing debt. When there’s a deficit, we add to the pile of debt. To shrink this pile, the government needs to collect more than it spends (or, if you prefer, spend less than it collects) and use the surplus to reduce the debt.

In August, the government played a game of chicken over whether to raise the debt ceiling – which is really just a formality acknowledging that the deficit requires issuing debt to keep the government going. However, the right way to deal with the debt is to reduce the deficit – not by fighting over the debt ceiling.

Long before the debt ceiling debate and Standard & Poor’s federal credit-rating downgrade, we all knew that the federal budget was in bad shape. The debt ceiling debate rattled the markets and consumer confidence temporarily but interest rates stayed low. The important effect was that Congress created a bipartisan supercommittee to tackle the deficit – but it couldn’t reach agreement by its November deadline.

What Really Mattered: The deficit-reduction supercommittee teased us with some policy proposals that will surely rear their heads again. One idea that both Republicans and Democrats didn’t totally disagree about was reducing the mortgage interest and other tax deductions. If and when that happens, high-income homeowners with mortgages would pay a lot more in taxes.

What It Means for Agents: Scaling back the mortgage interest deduction would lower the offers buyers – especially high-income buyers – will make on homes. And some buyers will drop out of the market if the deduction, which favors homeownership, shrinks or vanishes.

3) The Expansion of HARP

In October, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said seriously underwater homeowners will be able to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Originally, refinancing under HARP required a loan-to-value of less than 125% — that is, you couldn’t be more than 25% underwater – but that rule goes away for fixed-rate mortgages. But there’s a catch! Loans must be guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and – more importantly – borrowers must be current on their payments and must not have missed a payment in the last 6 months.

What Really Mattered: Some seriously underwater borrowers who fell behind on their payments in hopes of negotiating a loan modification are now kicking themselves because those missed payments make them ineligible to refinance. But those who can and do refinance will have lower monthly payments and extra money to spend — which will help stimulate the economy.

What It Means for Agents: Even if easier refinancing may not affect the home-purchase market directly, it will stimulate the economy a bit, which will raise housing demand and give buyers more confidence.

4) Natural Disasters Cause Insurance Disaster?

In 2011, several tornadoes, floodings and a hurricane temporarily halted what little construction there was to begin with, but this was just a short-term slowdown. The bigger long-term effect was the near-collapse of the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Still struggling financially under debt amassed after Hurricane Katrina, the NFIP’s insurance premiums don’t fully cover insurance claims when disaster strikes. August’s Hurricane Irene and its flood damage returned this problem to center-stage.

What Really Mattered: In flood-prone areas, you can’t get a mortgage if you don’t have flood insurance. Without NFIP, housing markets in these areas would skid to a stop. Could the program actually expire? It could, but as part of last week’s payroll tax agreement, the program got a last-minute extension until May 2012. No doubt, the political fight over this program’s long-term future will continue in into next year.

What It Means for Agents: Those working in flood-prone areas should be aware of private-sector flood insurance options for buyers in case the federal program lapses after May. And agents in these areas should follow the debate over NFIP on websites and blogs that cover the insurance industry.

5) Lowering the Conforming Loan Limit

Starting in October, the government lowered the upper limit for loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) from $729,750 to $625,500. Why? Government agencies now back or insure most loans, but it’s time to make the housing market less dependent on the feds. Lowering loan limits is one step in that direction; however, the real estate industry has urged the government to push the loan limits back up. And you know what? They scored a half-win in November, raising the loan limit back up for FHA loans but not for Fannie and Freddie.

What Really Mattered: Mortgage lenders are willing to charge lower rates for loans that are backed by Fannie or Freddie; with a lower conforming loan limit, a small number of loans that used to qualify for federal backing no longer do. As a result, homes that are now on the wrong side of the conforming loan limit will see fewer potential buyers and lower sales prices. This will matter more in California, New York, and other high-cost areas.

What It Means for Agents: Agents need to know the local loan limits, which may be different for FHA insurance and Fannie/Freddie backing. Homes for which loans will be above the new limits might see less buyer interest and price reductions.

XERISCAPING – A FUNNY WORD!

XERISCAPING – A FUNNY WORD!
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”  – Khalil Gibran

According to Wikipedia, Xeriscaping “refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift.”

Xeri, comes from the Greek “xeros,” meaning dry, and “scape,”  is a kind of view or scene. When you put the two words together you have a  landscape with slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water and establish a waste-efficient landscape.  Xeriscaping will also reduce the high cost of your water bills and comes in very handy during the drought periods we sometimes have in Florida.

For an in-depth explanation with lots of suggestions for choosing plants please click on the following link – xeriscaping. This link will bring you to the IFAS website, which looks like a newsletter.  There is a plethora of helpful information other than gardening and landscaping.  For example, you can find helpful information on energy, water conservation, waste management, wildlife, natural history, food and other local information.

There is a home on NW 8th Avenue in Gainesville that makes use of one aspect of xeriscaping.  All the plants have been strategically planted so that the water runoff on the property goes to these plants. It is truly a zero maintenance yard in spite of the variety of plants growing there.This home sits next to Rattlesnake creek and boasts a magnificent variety of trees such as:

  • Japanese persimmon
  • grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Satsuma tangerine
  • an avocado tree from Mexico and
  • Three varieties of olive trees
    1. green olive
    2. black olive
    3. brown olive
  • a Hong Kong Orchid tree and/or Mountain Ebony
  • camellias
  • two kinds of Bougainville’s
  • Paw Paw trees, and of course
  • Saw Palmettos

If having all this fruit isn’t enough, the home itself is an architects’ delight with  2 story soaring windows in the family room, an updated kitchen, a mother-in-law suite, a loft overlooking the pool area and a free form salt water pool.

There is a ravine along the back portion of the property, where rattlesnake creek runs, which has a cross-country trail system running through it.   This ravine sustains the life of, and breeding habits of, 60 of the 65 varieties of dragon flies found in Florida.

This home has over 3000 square feet of heated and cooled living space and is located only 8 blocks from the University of Florida in Gainesville. This is not only a great home, but you can purchase it at the great price of only $219,000.00.  This is a pre-approved short sale and the home will not last long on the market. For more information about this great home, please click on the following link: MLS# 329532.

Regarding the slide show below, the smaller pictures are of the home cleaned up when someone who cared about the property was living there.  The larger pictures are of the home in its current condition.  It can very easily be restored to the way it used to look – all it needs is some elbow grease and trimming of the yard. If you would like to take a tour of this property, please call for an appointment at the numbers below.

Jocelyne Grandjean-Brown

CDPE Trained

RE/MAX Professionals

Gainesville, FL 32606

Office: 352-375-1002

Cell: 352-870-9929

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IT’S ALL IN PERSPECTIVE

IT’S ALL IN PERSPECTIVE

“A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.” – William Feather

When it comes to selling you home, everyone has a different perspective on what the price should be.  This is a big problem, especially for Realtors who have studied the market and different subdivisions, and are knowledgeable on the value of a home.  Sometimes there is a wide difference of opinion in pricing the home to sell, between the Realtor and the seller.  I have also found the lender, appraiser and tax assessor also have their opinions.  Following is a pictorial description of the discrepancy of these opinions.  I hope this helps eliminate any confusion current sellers may have.

YOUR HOME AS VIEWED BY….

YOURSELF, THE SELLER

YOUR LENDER

YOUR BUYER

YOUR APPRAISER

YOUR TAX ASSESSOR….

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