Category Archives: Interesting Facts

Learn These Real Estate Terms

These terms are handy to know terms when you are involved in either buying or selling real estate:

Disclosure Statements
These are most often prepared by the person selling a property. They can include a property condition disclosure, a lead based paint disclosure (for properties built prior to 1978), and a septic disclosure to name a few. You should ask for copies prior to preparing a written offer.

Good Faith Estimate
A lender is required to provide a borrower this document at loan application. It provides the borrower a breakdown of their loan costs, closing costs and downpayment required. It also gives an estimate of the total monthly payment. The numbers from the Good Faith Estimate and the closing statement should align fairly close, if not you should ask questions.

MIP
This stands for Mortgage Insurance Premium. If your obtaining a mortgage with a loan to value greater than 80%, then the lender will require mortgage insurance in most cases. The premium is usually paid as part of your monthly house payment. For some loan programs a portion of the premium is collected when the loan is funded. 

Lien
This is a claim by someone or a company on a property, usually for money owed. In Tennesse a Deed of Trust is filed with the Register of Deeds in the county where the property is located. This document reflects the terms of the loan, and is a matter of public record. 

Buyer’s Market
This is a a term used when the market is in the buyer’s favor. The buyer usually has the advantage when it comes to negotiations. A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to purchase them, thus forcing sellers to me more aggressive with pricing. Usually homes take in excess of six months to sell in this type of market.

Seller’s Market
This term is used when there are not enough homes available for the number of buyers looking to purchase. This environment gives the seller the advantage when it comes to negotiations. In this type of market you will see home prices on the rise as many properties will receive multiple offers. In this kind of market, homes that are priced right and in good condition may only be on the market for a few weeks.

Most For Sale By Owners Lack Success

Selling a home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is not an easy task, that’s why most FSBO’s end up hiring a REALTOR®. Nationally the success rate of FSBO’s is very low. Over 80% of all FSBO’s end up hiring a REALTOR® to get their home sold in the end.

Why is it so hard to sell without a REALTOR®?

1. Determining the right listing price – Pricing a property correctly is probably the most important step when placing your home up for sale. If your home is not priced right, then you stand a slim chance of selling in a competitive market. A REALTOR® will have access to the sales data, plus their experience to best advise you on a proper listing price.

2. Buyer’s want your commission savings – One of the things most sellers don’t understand when deciding to go the FSBO route, is that many buyers know you are marketing you own home in order to save the commission, and they want a part of that savings. Many of the buyers will take 5% right off the top regardless of whether the home is priced well or not.

3. Availability for showings – It’s hard for many homeowners to be available to show their home at the time buyers want to look. Buyers can come at all hours of the day and night. Most serious buyers are looking at a number of homes within a given time period and are not willing to rearrange their schedule to accommodate an unworkable seller. One advantage of having a REALTOR® is they can take care of all showings, thus freeing you up to keep your life as normal as possible during the selling process.

4. Showing to unqualified buyers – It’s a waste of your time and the buyers if they are unable to obtain the financing needed to complete the purchase. If a REALTOR® is involved, in most cases only pre-qualified buyers will be looking at your home.

5. Negotiations & inspections – This is an area where an inexperienced seller can put their self at great risk. When your dealing directly with the buyer you can be put of the spot with answering questions and making decisions without thinking them over carefully. You might unknowingly commit to something without understanding all of the cost and time considerations. Negotiating buyer inspections on your home can be tricky as well. These are areas were a REALTOR® will look out for your best interest.

While it’s not impossible to sell your home on your own, you can see there are many pitfalls along the way if your not experienced. By hiring a REALTOR® studies have shown that you will usually sell your home for a higher price, and you will have someone on your side to make the process much easier.

Increase Your Productivity in 2014

Productivity is about managing your priorities and time. The skills and habits needed to be productive can be learned with dedication and effort.

Here are some tips to start you on a road to being more productive:

Know what’s important – Learn to tell the difference between important tasks and ones that just keep you busy. Spend the most time on the ones that are important.

Plan your day – Take some time at the end of the previous day or at the beginning of the day to plan what you want to get accomplished that day. A handy tool might be creating a to-do list each day, and refer to it often. This will help to keep you on track and focused.

Know your priorities – It’s not about just getting things done, you want to get the right things done. Learn to delegate tasks that others can do for you. This will free you up to work on higher priority items. Also learn to say no. Protect your time, energy and focus. 

Solve problems – Take the responsibility for solving problems both at work and home. Once things are resolved it will relieve you of some undue stress and free-up your mind for more productive activities. 

Focus – Concentrate on the task that you are engaged in at the moment and tune out distractions. 

Get organized – Keep your work and home space in order. This will cut down on wasted time looking for things, plus it will help reduce stress.

Be disciplined – Be accountable for your goals. If you aren’t focused and disciplined on what you want to accomplish, you’ll wander aimlessly.

Keep learning – You’ll never know everything. Keep you mind open and actively seek opportunities to learn new things in life

Considering a Real Estate Career?

As one works each day in real estate, every day is a new day. Boredom is not an option and meeting new people is a must. In addition, real estate agents gain invaluable skills such as marketing, sales, operations, negotiations and networking. Most real estate agents operate as independent contractors, which mean they decide their own business model and set their own schedule.

Working at a local real estate firm adds value to the community by helping fellow residents and new neighbors realize their dream of home ownership. Not only can it be personally rewarding, but practicing real estate is also a great way to network and meet new people in the community.

If you think that you might be interested in a real estate career, go to www.TopOfKnox.com to find out more.

Tips to Ready Your Home for the Market

Before you decide to list your home take a look at these areas to see if changes are warranted:

1. Curb appeal – This is your first chance to make a good first impression with a buyer. Stand in the street and take a hard look at your home’s exterior. Are the shrubs overgrown, is the lawn neatly trimmed,
should you add some flowers, do you need a new mailbox and etc. You want to have landscaping that’s welcoming, looks great and will keep the buyer interested.

2. Exterior – Walk around the outside of your home and make an assessment of the condition of its exterior. Do you find some damaged trim, do you need to paint, are the window screens in good order, do you find areas that need to be caulked and etc. If the buyer finds the outside of your home to be in good repair, then you’ve set the stage for a more favorable showing on the inside..

3. Kitchens – They can often make or break a sale. You want the buyer to walk-in and fall in love with your kitchen. Take an objective look at your kitchen; could it use some improvements? It could be as simple as a fresh coat of paint, or all the way up to a full blown renovation.

4. Baths –  A nice bath rates high on a buyers list. It much like the kitchen in that you can simply improve it with a fresh coat of paint or do a full renovation. Many small improvements on a bath can have a great impact, such as, new lighting, new towel bars, a new sink and the like.

5. Decorating – You may love the color schemes in your house, but many buyers may not. You want to have your house decorated so that it appeals to the masses, not a select few. Generally neutral color tones work best.
 
6. Pets – Pets bring unwanted issues when trying to sell. If at all possible try to find a good temporary home for your pet while your house is on the market. If that’s not possible, at a minimum remove your pet from the home when it’s being shown.

Recover from a Foreclosure or Short Sale

If you lost your home due to a foreclosure or short sale, you probably would like to own a home once again. The good news is that a number of guidelines have changed which may allow you an opportunity to buy a new home sooner than you think.

The traditional waiting period after a foreclosure is seven years. However; these waiting period guidelines may change and you would be best served to get up to date information from a qualified mortgage professional. Many lenders will shorten the waiting period some if there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the foreclosure of your home. Was there a death or illness that prevented you from earning enough money to meet your mortgage obligations? Did you loose your job or incur a substantial pay cut for some reason? These and similar reasons might be enough for a lender to shorten your waiting period after a foreclosure.

Your credit is often re-established quicker after a short sale than a foreclosure. Generally lenders will require only a two-year waiting period before they will consider you for another mortgage. Once again; seek the advice of a licensed mortgage professional to obtain the latest information on their qualifying guidelines.

Guide to Home Buying

Most people only buy a couple of homes in their lifetime. This lack of experience leads to many home buyers feeling woefully unprepared, increasing their stress level which affects their decision making at the worst possible time. The process doesn’t have to be so complicated if you keep things in perspective.

Keep in mind you’re not getting married. You don’t have to make a lifelong commitment to a home. So relax, you only  need commit to a home for a few years. You can always move later if you fall out of love with your home, as long as you buy it right.

Here are a set of rules that will help you through the process:

*Determine your needs for the next five years. Affordability is number one. Make sure you consider all the costs: mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. Your family size, lifestyle and profession are also important factors.

*Get the facts. The number one rule is do not overpay for a home. Try to determine what a home is worth based on comparable sales. If the home needs repairs, be realistic when you estimate those costs.

*Don’t fall completely in love. Lacking experience, people rely on their emotions. Remember a house is just sticks and stones and there are plenty of them out there.

*Get professional help. Seek the assistance of a REALTOR® to help guide you through the different steps. Educate yourself as much as possible so that you can better utilize your agent.

*Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger or walk away. Once you compile all the facts concerning a house you love, it becomes a much easier decision. If you love a house, the price is fair and affordable, then don’t be afraid to seal the deal.

Home Buyers can be Thankful for 2013

There were several favorable events that benefited the average home buyer in 2013:

•Mortgage rates remained low

•The heated bidding wars that were happening in some markets ceased

•Investor buyers have cooled off, creating less competition and holding down prices

•The latest in technology has made home shopping easier for most buyers