Gantner: Ask these questions before choosing a Realtor

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime.

The median home price for homes in Williamson County in June was $280,000. If you had a $280,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a certified public accountant? If you had a $280,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a licensed real estate professional is just as foolish.

Now, it is important to know that all real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of Realtors are properly called Realtors.

They proudly display the Realtor logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. They are committed to treating all parties to a transaction honestly. And most importantly, they subscribe to a strict code of ethics and maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

But how to do you find a Realtor? This can be a very daunting process even if you’ve bought or sold a home multiple times. First off, this is not a time to be shy and reserved; this entails one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.

Some questions worth asking:

How long have you been in real estate? Are you looking for an agent that got their license yesterday or someone with a little experience under their belt? This is something to really consider. A more experienced agent should know the market better, know the programs available and be able to network your house. However, that doesn’t mean a new agent should be immediately discounted.

How long have you lived in this area? Another important question. You don’t want an agent who lives over an hour away helping you. An agent who has lived in the area for years might know more than an agent who has only been here for a couple years.

Do you have a team, or do you work alone? Understand expectations. Will you be communicating with only the agent, or are they going to pass you off to an assistant or another agent on the team? Don’t discount either option; just know what you are getting before signing that contract.

What is your schedule? Real estate is seen by many as a part-time job, and as such, it’s great to know if the Realtor you are hiring can only take phone calls after 6 p.m. and on weekends. You do not want to miss an opportunity finding your dream home because your agent is working another job. Also see if your agent is taking time off in the near future, and if they will work remotely in that case.

How will you market my property? Or how will you find my new home? There are many multiple listing services in Central Texas, and knowing if your Realtor belongs to one or more is very important. The more listing services an agent is a member, the wider the exposure. Many members of the Williamson County Association belong to two listing services: the Central Texas MLS, covering numerous counties including Williamson, Bell, Lampasas, Hays, Comal and Caldwell; and another covering Travis and Williamson counties.

Again, this is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life. Ask your friends and family for names of the agent they worked with, and if they were satisfied. Interview more than one agent, find out their style, do they return phone calls and how late or early will they answer the phone.

If your friends do not have any recommendations, visiting wclife.org is a good place to start.

I wish you the best of luck whether you are buying or selling real estate.

Original Source: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/gantner-ask-these-questions-before-choosing-realtor/qvIPMTOEfNdKU85XsywcLI/

Original Author: Suzanne Gantner

Original Date: July 12 2017

7 Things Buyers Need to Know in a Seller’s Market

A hot property market indicates a period in the real estate pricing cycle where the advantage goes to the seller, rather than the buyer. This scenario occurs when there is greater demand for houses than the supply of homes for sale. If you are buying into this type of market, then you need to ensure you are getting the best value.

The first thing to do is learn how to identify a great deal when you see one. Do your research and examine sales for at least the past three months in the area you wish to purchase.   If a home that you are interested in has a listing price of $120,000 but other homes in the area are only going for $90,000, there is a good chance the home that you are looking at is overpriced.  A home that is overpriced will have a difficult time being appraised for what is needed.

Getting the right agent is a must as they will give you every little detail you need to know to write up a compelling offer. Plus, they will also be able to guide you into making the best decisions.  Find a local real estate agent that is familiar with the area, different neighborhoods in the area, the schools, and more.  Their knowledge is incomparable.

Use logic when making your purchasing decision. If you fall in love with a house, you are more likely to make a ridiculous offer and pay too much. Reducing your decision to cold hard logic will help you get the best value.

Set your budget and stick to it. It’s a seller’s market and this means you won’t get your dream home at a price that is a fraction of its value. You have to accept that sellers are only going to take full price, or close to it, so only look at homes with prices that fit within your budget.

Get yourself into a position where you can offer more cash up front. A higher cash deposit can be the deciding factor on whether your offer gets accepted or not. The greater amount of cash you have to offer the stronger your offer will be.

Don’t overlook a home for sale that is a fixer upper. Sure, it may need a coat of paint or a new driveway, but if you can get it at the right price, the investment may well be worth it. And don’t forget, many renovations can dramatically increase the value of a home.

Consider if buying a home now is worth the stress. A sellers’ market often means you are going to be on the hunt for quite a while as offer after offer gets rejected. It may be better for your stress levels if you wait until more homes become available. Real estate values go up and down in cycles so you may even get in on a low point if you decide to wait.

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.

 

8 Dumb Reasons People Can’t Buy a Home

Buying a home—especially if it’s your first—can be a lot like losing weight in the sense that people end up doing, well, some pretty dumb stuff in the process. But while desperate dieters might waste money on “magical” weight-loss pills or silly exercise equipment (remember the shake weight?), misguided home buyers could be doing far more serious damage—like undermining their ability to purchase a house at all. Don’t be one of them! We asked real estate agents to shed light on some of the dumbest reasons people can’t buy a home. The good news? These flubs are easily avoidable. Read on and beware.

Dumb reason No. 1: Waiting to line up financing

Your first step in the home-buying process should be to meet with a mortgage lender to discuss your financing options, says Benny Kang, a real estate agent in Irvine, CA.

“You don’t truly know what you can afford until you meet with a lender,” says Kang. In other words, just because you think you can buy a $1 million house doesn’t mean you can actually get a loan to purchase a home that nice.

Dumb reason No. 2: Using a fly-by-night mortgage lender

The mortgage industry is rife with scams—including a slew of fake or unreliable lenders. Placing your trust in a bad lender can cause a deal to fall through. That explains why “sometimes sellers reject offers because of the buyer’s lender,” says Philadelphia real estate agent Kathy Conway. To make sure your financing is rock-solid, ask your real estate agent for lender recommendations instead of, say, just Googling it. And read up to know your mortgage basics.

Dumb reason No. 3: Getting pre-qualified rather than pre-approved

Pre-qualification and pre-approval might sound similar, but they’re not. Essentially, anyone can get pre-qualified for a loan, because it only involves having a conversation with a lender about the state of your finances (no documents are exchanged). Getting pre-approved, meanwhile, involves the lender gathering all necessary documentation—your tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, and more—packaging the loan, and submitting the file to an underwriter for review. If everything checks out, the lender will issue you a written commitment for financing up to a certain loan amount that’s good for up to 90 or 120 days.

When you submit an offer on a home, you’ll need to include a pre-approval letter from your lender, says Conway.

“Educated sellers won’t even entertain an offer unless the buyer has a letter of pre-approval” from a reliable lender, Conway says.

Dumb reason No. 4: Shopping outside your price range

“It sounds obvious, but some home buyers just have trouble sticking to a budget,” says Kang. Therefore, resist the temptation to shop online for homes that are simply outside your price range (i.e., how much you’ve been pre-approved for).

Dumb reason No. 5: Making lowball offers in a seller’s market

You need to rely on your real estate agent to determine whether a house that you’re interested in has a fair listing price. (Your agent will do this by performing a comparative market analysis, which entails looking at recently sold properties that are comparable to the house that’s up for sale.) If a home is priced well, it might make sense to offer full price, says Kang. Moreover, “if you’re in a seller’s market, making a crazy lowball offer can piss off the seller” and kill your offer, says Kang.

Dumb reason No. 6: Writing a bad personal letter to the seller

If you’re competing against other buyers, writing the seller a personal letter can help strengthen your offer. But Julie McDonough, a real estate agent in Southern California, says some home buyers are inclined to overshare, in which case a letter can actually hurt your offer.

“Stick to the fact that you love the house and the neighborhood,” says McDonough. “Don’t get into personal details” such as the fact that you’ve lost out on other homes or want to remodel the dated kitchen.

Dumb reason No. 7: Making a big purchase while in escrow

Some home buyers make the mistake of opening new credit accounts while they’re in the process of buying a house. But purchasing a big-ticket item like a car or a boat while you’re buying a house can jeopardize your financing. Why? Because your mortgage lender’s underwriter is going to re-evaluate your finances and recheck your credit report shortly before closing in order to determine that you’re still able to qualify for the loan.

“Even buying a fridge can throw off your credit or debt-to-income ratio,” says Conway. Translation: Don’t make any big purchases until after you close on the house.

Dumb reason No. 8: Not budgeting for closing costs

If you don’t have enough cash to cover closing costs, you won’t make it to settlement; and if that’s the case, you could lose your earnest money deposit. Thus, make sure to get an estimate from your mortgage lender of what your closing costs will be before making an offer on a property (currently, this is legally required—just make sure to read it).

Closing costs vary widely by location, but they typically total 2% to 7% of the home’s purchase price. So on a $250,000 home, your closing costs could come to $5,000 to $17,500. Both buyers and sellers usually pitch in on closing costs, but buyers shoulder the lion’s share of the load (3% to 4% of the home’s price) compared with sellers (1% to 3%), so you need to make sure you have enough cash on hand to pay your portion.

Original Source: http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/dumb-reasons-people-cant-buy-a-home/

Original Author:

Original Date: Jul 11, 2017

Is Now The Right Time To Sell Your Home?

Are you thinking of it is time to put your home up for sale?  Ask any real estate agent and they will agree that if you are looking to sell a home this is the perfect time!  Working with a professional agent aids in the sale of your home whether it is in a sub division, on a golf course or on a lake.

This article will help you know what signs to watch out for and how to know the right time for you to sell your home.

  • Change of Status: This seems pretty obvious but when your home no longer suits your lifestyle, then it’s time to sell it. If your family size is larger than the size of your home, if your kids have moved out, or if you want to change your location then it sounds like you are ready to sell your house.

No matter why you are selling it is always wise for buyers to look to make sure the new homes mortgage matches their budget.   Buying a bigger home is only wise when the payment is similar to the smaller one because of the large down payment you have from the sale of your house.  It is also wise when downsizing to consider a significant down payment from the sale of your previous home.

  • If you have the money to buy another home: There are times when you are bored or you want something new. If you can afford to buy a new home then selling your home isn’t a bad idea.

It is important that clients make investments that can help them in the future when they are putting their homes on the market.  Simple changes such as a fresh coat of paint or updated appliances often attract realtors.  If you can afford to remodel specific places like your bathroom and kitchen it will be a great advantage when selling your home. This is one place buyers pay attention to. You don’t need expensive countertops however updated faucets and fixtures go a long way. It is nice to keep your closets and shelves neat or tidy make your home look larger and attractive as well.  If you can do this then your house will sell.

In conclusion, there are no straightforward formulas to determine when and how to sell your home, but a real estate agent can help you decide.  People sell their homes for many reasons.  If you are looking to sell your home make sure you are doing it for reasons that satisfy you.

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.

What Buyers Need To Know When Buying A Home

A little knowledge goes a long way when buying a home during a sellers market such as the one we are currently experiencing.  Whether you are a first time home buyer, an investor, or a well seasonsed buyer there are many things that this article will identify that need to be addressed when you are purchasing real estate.

Are you considering a home that has been forclosed on?  It is important to identify items that wil have to be completed before you can occupy the home.  The same thing needs to be considered when you are looking at homes that are vacant and have not had regular maintenance provided to them. Consider the HVAC system, pest infestations, plumbing issues, and electrical maintenance.

Onе area оf thе fоrесlоѕurе mаrkеt thаt уоu mау wаnt to consider iѕ HUD fоrесlоѕurе hоmеѕ. Thеѕе hоmеѕ аrе houses thаt hаvе been financed bу FHA mоrtgаgе lоаnѕ аnd have gоnе intо fоrесlоѕurе. You may аlѕо bе аblе tо buу a HUD fоrесloѕеd hоmе with only a one hundred dollar dоwn рауmеnt. HUD iѕ currently оffеring programs wеrе you саn buy оnе оf thеir fоrесlоѕеd hоmе with a small downpayment using FHA financing.

Be flexible with what you are willing to look at in homes. Don’t limit yourself to certain criteria that might not fit the market that you are currently pursing.  Yоu mау have to ѕасrifiсе some оf уоur еxресtаtiоnѕ in order tо livе in thе neighborhood of уоur сhооѕing.  Think about looking outside of your current list of desires and look at all of the options that are available.

If уоu mаdе thе ѕеllеr аn offer thаt was rеjесtеd, thеу may still find ѕоmе way to mаkе thе hоmе аffоrdаblе ѕо уоu buу it. The ѕеllеr might bе willing tо meet уоu hаlf wау, соvеr сlоѕing соѕtѕ, or finаlizе ѕоmе rераirѕ. It nеvеr hurtѕ to соuntеr оffеr аnd ask what they are willing to compromise on and what agreements can be met to make the deal workable for both of you.

If you are uncertain аbоut уоur finаnсiаl future, уоu should bе саrеful whеn соnѕidеring purchasing a hоuѕе. Whеn уоu ѕign уоur mortgage agreement, уоu are hеld responsible fоr the payments, nо mаttеr whаt. If thingѕ аrе unsure аt the office, then ensure уоu саn make several mоnthѕ оf рауmеntѕ еvеn without income before you commit to buying a home.  This is especially true for first time home buyers.

Hоmе insurance is a necessity fоr anyone buying a house. It muѕt be dоnе рriоr tо moving in. Mortgage companies will make it a priority for you to put insurance on your home the minute the take your mortgageon.  They know that putting thiѕ off mеаnѕ that thе inѕurаnсе may not kiсk in if ѕоmеthing bаd happens.  Mоthеr Nature can bе quiet unpredicactable at times, as we all know.

Yоu need tо еxресt extra fees or соѕtѕ if уоu аrе buying a hоmе. Thе сlоѕing соѕtѕ fоr the buуеr are uѕuаllу dеtеrminеd bу аdding the рrо-rаtеd taxes with thе down payment and bаnk fееѕ. Hоwеvеr, mоѕt of the time, еxtrа thingѕ are inсludеd in сlоѕing costs, ѕuсh as improvement bоndѕ, ѕсhооl taxes, and оthеr ѕресifiс itеmѕ related tо thе аrеа.  Take this into account when considering the amount of downpayment you can put down while keeping a safe cushion in your savings.

When уоu are ready to start looking for a new home it iѕ еxtrеmеlу important that уоu hаvе a good rеаl estate agent wоrking with уоu especially in a sellers market such as the one we are currently experiencing. No matter what stage you are as a home buyer professional real estate agents know a thing or two about getting you the most bang for your buck.

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.

More Americans Think It’s a Good Time to Sell a Home

With home prices zooming up with no end in sight, a record number of Americans think it’s a good time to sell a home.

About 61% of folks said there was no time like the present to put a home on the market, according to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey for May. That’s the highest percentage it’s been since Fannie began the survey in June 2010. (Fifty-seven percent of participants said it was a good time to sell in April.)

The monthly survey polls 1,000 Americans with more than 100 questions on their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, price changes in the housing market, and the health of the economy.

However, those high prices don’t mean that homeowners are going to rush to plant “For Sale” signs in their front yards.

“They [still] have to find a new place to move,” says Sarah Shahdad, a market insights researcher at Fannie Mae. “If they don’t see an affordable buying opportunity, they might be hesitant to list their homes for sale—even if they think it’s a good time to sell.”

The bank account–busting price tags of properties are also leading more people, about 33%, to think it’s not a good time to be a home hunter. That’s compared with 27% who thought it wasn’t an ideal time to buy in April.

“People who think it’s a bad time to buy are concerned about high home prices,” Shahdad says. “The supply of homes is tight, which is pushing up home prices.”

And nearly half of Americans, 48%, believe those prices are going to get even higher compared with just 8% who think they’ll go down, according to the survey.

That makes sense as prices are usually the highest during the warm-weather months, when competition is the fiercest. That’s because many folks want to move in the summer, before the kids go back to school.

“As long as the supply remains limited, that’s going to push home prices up higher,” Shahdad says.

Original Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/good-time-sell-a-home/

Original Author:

Original Date: Jun 7, 2017

Choosing a Realtor

Finding a local realtor to work with when buying or selling a home can be quite a challenge but not impossible.  Finding a professional real estate agent that is attentive to your wants and needs is important.  This is especially true when looking into a home that fits into your recreational life style such as on a lake or a golf course.  Working with a local realtor that knows the area you are looking in is always a bonus.  This will allow you to focus less on navigating and more on day dreaming of your new home.

The most important thing a buyer can do before meeting with a real estate agent is to meet with a lender to get prequalified.  This will give the agent a starting pointing in determining if they will be able to get you the home of your dreams within your budget.  If it is going to prove to be an unrealistic goal then they can help you by showing you what type of homes around the area are within your budget.

Realtors have access to an interactive database of homes that allows then immediate access to homes that become available on the market.  Many times relationships between different realtors and agencies within the community will share information on homes that are going to become available even before they are on the market.  Finding a realtor with the inside scoop on homes within the area you are seeking is invaluable.

Sellers meeting with agents for the first time should ensure they are prepared with key information like when updates to the home were performed, recent upgrades, and financial information in regards to the mortgage pay off, taxes, and such.   The goal for an agent selling a home is to market your home and give you ideas how to increase the value or how to arrange the home in a better manner to draw more attention to areas that are important.

A good realtor will start talking about and drawing interest to your home the minute they know you are interested in selling.  This will help draw attention to your home.  Finding a buyer for your home without having to waste time listing and showing it day after day is every realtor and sellers dream.  The amount of stress that goes along with keeping your home in shape to show it at a moment’s notice can be quite overwhelming after a few weeks.

No matter if you are looking to buy or sell finding a professional real estate agent that understands your end goal is invaluable.  It is important to work directly with an agent that you can easily communicate with during both processes.   This allows the entire process to proceed seamlessly and with any luck quickly.

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 call 734-426-6060 today.

Buying Recreational Real Estate

The number one thing most buyers are looking for when buying a home is finding a place that meets their needs inside and out.  For many this includes finding a home that offers the benefits of recreational living.  Who wants to spend every weekend stuck in traffic heading north to sit amongst the wilderness or south to get a few rounds of golf in when you can find a local home that offers you these benefits.  It is a dream to find a home that meets your recreational wants as well as your family’s needs.

Sailing, golfing, hiking, fishing, and most any outdoor activity is more enjoyable when you are able to come home and enjoy a solid night’s sleep in your own bed.  Buying a home that meets your recreational desires is a sure fire way to leave everyday stress behind when you are at home.  When your home is a vacation spot in itself there is no way you won’t be able to relax and enjoy some downtime.

This is one reason that working with a professional real estate agent that specializes in recreational living when searching for a new home.  The process is simplified when you choose to work with a local real estate company that is known for offering homes for sale that focus on recreational real estate.  Nothing is more important to a realtor than finding a property that exceeds your expectations as quickly as possible without going over your budget.

This is never more important than when looking to relocate to an unfamiliar location.  It is often impossible to know what is available outside of the area you are currently living in without the help of a professional realtor.  The key to finding a home that matches your lifestyle, level of adventure, family’s needs, and is affordable is possible with the right real estate agents right beside you.

Don’t be afraid to allow your realtor a little freedom to look a little bit outside of your original scope.  An experienced real estate agent often knows more of what you really are looking for in a home than you do; especially if they have spent a few weeks going in and out of different homes with you.  Communication between the buyer and the realtor is a key element in each and every real estate transaction.

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.

A Checklist Can Often Be Helpful When Working With A Real Estate Agent

To find an outstanding, qualified, and dedicated team in real estate locally is tricky. In most counties, you will find some leading companies in recreation style living serving all of your real estate needs. A majority tend to cover areas within and extend to regions outside.  Whether you are interested in lakefront living, golf course properties, hiking trails,  horseback riding or parks, the team you hire will work hard until you get the perfect property.

Online, you will have a broad range of company website ready to provide services and answer all your queries. Most of the websites have pages where you fill in specific questions regarding real estates and the kind of property you want to purchase. Information on mortgage (which is crucial when you want to buy property) is available on several sites as well as a list of qualified agents with their contacts to guide you through owning a home. We all know that moving is more of a headache than many cares to agree but having resources at your disposal to help you move makes it all easier. Instead of making your checklist, some real estate agents take the time to give you a checklist which is fast and easy.

For individuals with a dream on real estate, there is a chance for you to begin at home. Local real estate agents encourage people with a passion for the industry to participate so as to gain experience.  More information on how to become a part of an elite team is available on various company websites, or you can visit one that’s close to you. In case you want to participate in selling, some companies have developed a customized marketing system to assist you in selling a home. On it, there are tools to help you save money. Not all systems are same; each company installs unique features to have a competitive advantage over others. Local real estate agents also offer to rent services as well. Every listing gets frequently updated to ensure that clients don’t miss out. Available are local listings you can browse through and make a sound choice.

Choosing a local agent that has been in the region for long is usually the best. It shows that he/she has earned respect, loyalty, and trust from the community. Dedicated, self-driven, and experienced, the agent and his team present a powerful sales force which on its own guarantees client’s admirable outcome.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Local Realtors Dominate In Their Markets

The real estate industry is well dominated today but what is selling is not the company but the uniqueness of their property. Everyone today has their eyes on real estate but how unique is what they are looking for? Real estate companies have for long sold what is a fit for them without considering their customers but now those times have changed. What is your local realtor best known for? Is there any unique kind of property they sell? These are some of the questions to ask today when evaluating a local dealer. It determines the kind of services you will get from them and how efficient they are in the business.

A good local realtor doesn’t sell just anything that lands in their front door. Going beyond the customer’s expectations is sometimes the best thing. Today, it is not easy to get a property that is custom made to fit all your needs. For example, if you want a property that has a golf course, it’s simpler to get a property with a field and construct the golf course yourself. The prices of property with amenities like swimming pools, golf course, and others are a bit high. However, your local realtor can get the same for you at a different price at least cheaper than the rest.

Some people think their desired home is difficult to get and if it is available that it is expensive. This is not always the case, but it depends on your local realtor. Have you ever wondered where people get property near the lakes from? This means their local dealer is good at what they do. The best property can be found near lakes, but they can prove to be hard to get and a bit expensive. This should not worry you anyway.

Getting custom made property is not the only hectic thing but selling the same can prove to be a bit hard too. Where do you get a person to buy your property that is at the lakefront? Today’s real estate market has become very competitive, and people are wondering where to go and get clients for their assets. Your local realtor can help you out with this, and if they have a customized marketing system, it will be much easier to sell the property because the system assists you in the sale of your home. Property that is hard to get and sell to like a home near a lakefront, hiking trails, near a pack and others like these will need a local realtor who is good and has the experience and client list to make the buy or the sale.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.