Monthly Archives: July 2017

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