The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

5 Ways to Sell A Home Faster, for More Money!

Wall St. recently asked real estate experts and organizations how sellers can sell their house for the best price within the shortest amount of time. Here's what they had to say.

Pay Attention to "Curb Appeal":First impressions last forever, and are critically important. Homes with pleasant exterior and landscapes usually tend to sell better. Make sure the driveway is in good condition, the house is freshly painted, and the lawn is well groomed.

Set the Right Price: Real estate agents are trained to sell houses and put them on the market at the right price. They use comparable homes sold within the last 90 days to set a realistic price for the home to be sold. By setting a realistic price in the beginning, sellers are aware that this will prevent them from having to drop the price several times and sit on the market for some time.

Talk About Energy Effeciency: Most buyers don't understand the concept of "green homes" but they do understand the word "savings". Agents should highlight any features in their homes such as energy effecient appliances that could save buyers money with utility costs.

Give the Home Web Appeal: Photographs do an unbelievable job at givinghomes first impressions. Realtor.com claims that 6,300 photos are viewed every minute on listings posted on its site. You should use at least 12 photos per listing.

Make it Move-in Ready:  Fix any needed repairs whatever they may be. Even the smallest flaws in a home can distract a buyer, and should be fixed even before the home is put on the market. Some agents recommend sellers get a home inspection before even putting the home on the market...

No More Low Balling

Low Balling is the offer that is below 25% of the asking price. It usually hurts to get low balled, but it it happens all the time; and it is the most common complaint on realtors. In today's high-demand and high-cost markets the sellers are firmly in control. It is true that multiple offers on a property are the rule, and not the exception.

Part of this problem could be associated with the fact that more homes are coming into the market at priced at fair market value. There is a learning curve taht sellers have had to comprehend, but since the six years since the collapse of the housing market, reality pricing is more the rule than the exception.

This quote by Jayne Esposito, a San Francisco realtor, sums up her recent and most realtors recent experiences, "Sure, I've had a few buyers try to lowball and they wouldn't listen, but that didn't work out well for them."

Lowballing has been a popular practice by buyers in the past, but in today's 2012 environment lowballing can be counterproductive if you truly want to buy.

...

What Realtors Do that You Cannot

Good piece of advice: Don't try to buy a house without a realtor. It's a smart home-buying advantage. I have a bit if information below as to why it's so helpful to have one working with you.

When you are buying a house, it's good to know some things, but not all. Have you heard the expression "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". It's only dangerous when that little bit of knowledge gives you a false impression that you don't need to be surrouded by professionals. It's vitally important to know what you dont know. In order to buy a home successfully, you need to rely on the expertise, knowledge, and professionalism of expert real estate agents. Realtors know to business like the back of their hand and experience in every step of the buying and selling process. When you see or hear about a property that you're interested in the best thing to do is to call a realtor to make sure some professionalism is put into action. Here is a list of things realtors have that we don't. 

  • They have access to every home on the market through Multiple Listing Service, including ones that aren't listed publicly.
  • Inside track of the deals before they even hit the market.
  • The ability to combine your price range with your dream house checklist.
  • Recent knowledge of comparable properties what they've sold for and how long it took.
  • Neighborhood knowledge.
  • Negotiating abilities with sellers on your behalf.
  • The inside scoop from the sellers agents.
  • Expertise to negotiate and close the deal.
  • Legality experience on foreclosures and distressed homes.
  • Muscle to get a deal through the escrow or "under contract" period.
  • they know groups of referrals for inspectors, mortgage brokers, and even tradesmen for renovations.
  • Professional advice if you have buyer's remorse.

Also remember that today home purchase agreements can be ten pages or more, and agents will...

What to do with the House After a Divorce

Most newly married couples buy a home together, and some marriages unfortuantly fall into a divorce. Then both partners want to continue living in the house, but cannot agree on the terms of who gets to stay. Sometimes they compromise and get a dovrce decree which one partner can sell the house and split the proceeds, or they can buy the other out in a period of time.

Often times when on spouse moves out and another stays, the one who stays doesn't end up staying for very long. In one situation the person who stayed ended up refinancing the mortgage. Since the person who stayed refinanced and moved out shortly after, stopped paying the mortgage, they file for bankruptcy. So since the house is in both names at the time of the purchase, does this mean one person will lose the investment in the house.

Answer: The good news is only one person refinanced the house in THEIR name only. One possible solution is for you to start making the mortgage payments for your ex-significant other, and let them sign the deed over to you. If you do this, you need to understand what value, if any, the house has left. The last thing you want to do is to take responsibility over a house that is already "underwater". The first step should be to get an appraisal on the house.

If your ex-spouse doesn't like this situation, you can probably sue to start making payments. But then again you don't want to spend more than the house is worth.

However, the best thing to do is to discuss this situation with your divorce attorney to find out how many options you have and which one is the best for you. They will also tell you how much this process will relatively cost.

...

Where to Begin with Home Insurance

Good news for everyone is that shopping for home insurance has become a much easier task now that shopping can be done online with sites like Insweb.com. Insweb.com offers a free database which gives quotes from up to 8 insurers. They are basically a search engine comparisopn site which gives you quotes compared to another site. Picking out which insurance is right for you and your home can be a cumbersome tasks especially if it is your first time. There are numerous providers out there with countless packages, and it is very difficult to tell which one is the right one for you.

There is also an article on the CNN site under the money section which i recommend reading, which discusses the top 'need to knows' about insurance. They also hold some other fabulous articles that pertain to general home ownership.

Insurance coverage and requirements usually depend on which state and or country you live in. For example, residents of San Francisco have the option of buying earthquake insurance since that area is very earthquake prone. People who live in the midwest are prone to tornadoes, which in turn makes buying insurance more expensive. Regardless of where you live, it is important to always check out two or four quotes before making a purchase decision. It will save you money and it gives you piece of mind knowing you didn't just select the first insurance plan that came across your path. Goodluck in your search.

...

Loan Applications Rise 7% for Home Purchases

Home purchase mortgage applications last week have risen 7.2 percent. This is the highest level since  December 2, 2011 the Mortgage Bankers Association reports.

They said 'Applications for to buy a home picked up last week, and are running more than two percent above the leve reported at this time last year,' says MBa'S VP of research and economics.

He also said loan application for home buying from conventional loans are ten percent higher than last year. What also increased by ten percent was purchase and refinance applications for government loans. They believe this was caused by borrowers seeking to apply before the scheduled increases in insurance premiums at the start of April.

Overall, mortgage applications for purchase and refinancing increased 4.8 percent last week, and applications for refinancing increased 4 percent from the previous week. this increase is the first increase in six weeks of consecutive declines.

Let's hope this is the start of a popular long-term trend!

...

Senate Banking Democrats urge FHFA to Allow More REFIS

Recently all twelve Democrats in the Senate Banking Committee pressured the Federal Housing Finance Agency to remove more restrictions to refinancing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages.

The FHFA eased a few rules last November under a renewed Home Affordable Refinancing Program. It lifted the loan-to-value cap, specific appraisal requirements, up front loan-level price adjustment fees, and removed some representation-and-warranty risk if the borrower refinances with the same lender.

Last Friday the lawmakers sent a letter requesting more. They suggested the removal of upfront fees when Fannie and Freddie already have the credit risk. They asked for FHFA to make refinancing easier with buyers who have 20% or more in equity on their house. They also wanted to reduce more rep and warranty risk in order to remove disincentives for servicers to refinance.

They explain in their letter that as citizens you all can no onger wait, and as 'elected officials' neither can they.

Around 2,700 mortgages with a loan-to-value ration between 105% and 125% received HARP refinancing in December, and nearly half of the 5,100 such loans refinanced in November.

More than 20,600 with LTV's between 80% and 125% received HARP refinancing which was also down 31% from the previous month. Meanwhile, mortgage rates sank below 4% last week according to Freddie Mac.

...

Top Cities for Foreclosure Deals

'Impressive' would be a good word to describe the number of distressed and foreclosed homes in years the most recent years. In most towns these foreclosed properties have been drawing investors in to sign a contract. All that is fore sure is that these homes need to sell.

Some investors and buyers may feel a slight sting known as guilt that they're taking advantage of sellers, but keep in mind that these homes are already in the bank's posession. These homes aren't individually owned, and buying up these homes can help reinvigorate the market.

Nearly a third of today's sales consist of foreclosed homes. Most of these homes should be been put on the market a few years ago, but are just now popping up. Don't feel any guilt, because today any sale is a good sale.

According to RealtyTrac.com there are great deals out there. In some towns buyers are able to buy homes at a 50% discount of more over non-distressed properties. They're reporting 'these steep foreclosure discounts are available in a wide range of markets, with a wide range of average priced homes. At the high ends of homes in San Francisco and Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the average price of a foreclosure was more than $300,000-- still 50% below the average price of homes not in foreclosure in the markets.'

Some of these eleven markets had amazingly low prices below $100,000, which made affordability rates sky-high. These cities were Saginaw, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The city that lead the way with an average of 68% discount was Trenton, New Jersey, where the foreclosed property was selling for an average of $108, 302.

The remaining towns in the 50% discount list were Springfiled, Massachusetts;  New Haven, Connecticut; and Atlanta Georgia.

Other cities are still seeing major improvements of their sales being attributed to foreclosures or bank-owned properties. Most of these citites are in the state...