Know Before You Owe – New Disclosure

Great handout from the Mortgage Bankers Association for Buyers.  Buyers & Sellers should  plan on 45 day closings starting 10/3/15.

Great 

Posted on September 28, 2015 at 6:12 pm
Michelle Blue | Category: Tips for Home Buying

Preparing your home for Sale?

How much preparation should you do?
Local home prices are continuing to appreciate, demand is high, and the supply of homes continues to be low – the perfect market for selling your home.
So why not just put your home on the market “as is” at a high price and see what happens? Because the statistics clearly show that is not a good strategy for selling your home for the best possible price. Well priced, well marketed, and well prepared homes are selling quickly and for top dollar. Homes that are not selling quickly, even in today’s market, are sitting because they weren’t well priced, well marketed and/or were not well prepared.

Here are some tips on how you can prepare your home for a top sales price:

  • Enhance Your Curb Appeal. Clean the roof, pressure wash walkway/entrance, mow & edge lawn, put down fresh bark, and add a spot of color (flower beds or flower pots). Buyers want to come in to see a house when the outside looks crisp & nicely maintained.
     
  • Prepare the Entry. Make sure your front door/entry is crisp and clean… this sets expectations for buyers as they wait to enter your home and keeps them excited about the potential. Repainting your door has the highest return on value of any remodeling for resale project.
     
  • Depersonalize. You want your home to appeal to as many buyers as possible – by depersonalizing it you help them visualize themselves in the house and not feel like they are trespassing on your home and memories.
     
  • Maximize Space. Declutter, declutter, declutter – throughout the house – walls, floors, counters, shelves. Remember you will need to pack up when you move, doing some of it before you put your home on the market will make a big difference. Help people see where they could put all of their possessions.
     
  • Interior Condition. The interior condition will dictate the price – have it in the best condition possible that is consistent with your pricing strategy. Generally – fresh neutral paint on the walls, clean carpets, clean/refinished floors, sparkling windows, organized cabinets & closets, fresh grout & caulk in the bathrooms – everything should be as crisp and clean as possible. Consider doing a pre-inspection and taking care of all major problems in advance. Make it move-in ready.
     
  • Differentiate. Determine and emphasize what is special about your home – the style, the layout, the view, the privacy, the low maintenance, the local schools etc. Professional staging, feature cards, and in-home marketing materials can all help make sure the buyer knows why they should stop looking after they see your home!

If you would like a complimentary market analysis to understand how to prepare, price and best market your home give us a call. The Blue Team – working twice as hard for you and providing you with the right expertise to guide you in all your Real Estate Transitions!

 

Posted on August 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm
Blue Team | Category: Tips for Home Buying | Tagged ,

Why Local Expertise is Important

Real estate is local and while it is good to know what is going on nationally and even regionally, what really matters if you are thinking about selling your home and/or buying one, is what is going on in your city and your neighborhood and even for your home style. Local expertise is invaluable in helping you explore your options and knowing what to expect with respect to the numbers, timing and process.  

Here is the data your local Real Estate expert should be able to provide you:

  • What type of market is it? You should know how many homes are Active, Pending (under contract), and Sold in the last 3 months.  This data will indicate the market supply and demand and whether it is a Seller, Buyer, or Balanced market and therefore who has the negotiation advantage and the correct pricing and offer strategy.  This information is available for your city, neighborhood and home style (1-story, 2-story, tri-level, split-level, etc.)
  • How quickly are homes selling? This is especially important if you are planning to sell your current home and buy a new home – there are different timing and financing strategies depending on the availability of home inventory and the average time that homes are on the market.  It is also very helpful knowledge if you have a target move date because then you can determine the optimal time for market preparation & listing, home touring and submittal of offers.
  • How close to list price are homes selling and what is their price per value? If all of the comparable homes are selling at or above list price – then you know that buyers will be searching for homes priced at or below their maximum purchase price.  This is very different from a market where homes are selling at a 5-10% discount so both sellers and buyers should adjust their strategy appropriately. Market time is also critical in both situations – knowing how to deal with multiple offers, single offers, or no offers can make a big impact on the final sales price of a home.

Call us if you want to explore your options and understand the market data specific to your home and goals. We work with buyers & sellers all over the Eastside and we live in and are local experts in Woodinville and its surrounding communities.The Blue Team – working twice as hard for you and providing a team of experts to guide you in all your real estate transitions!

 

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm
Blue Team | Category: Real Estate Transitions, Tips for Home Buying, Tips for Home Selling | Tagged , , ,

Using a Reverse Mortgage to Stay or Move

Many people have heard about reverse mortgages but don’t really know what they are. To put it simply, a reverse mortgage is where the payment stream is “reversed” and instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to you.  If you, or a loved one, is 62 or older, a reverse mortgage can help convert 50-66% of the appraised value into cash without having to sell the home, give up title, or take on a new monthly mortgage payment.  It can also be a way to purchase a new home without having to make monthly mortgage payments.

What does that really mean?

  • Stay in your home and be able to access part of the equity you have built in order to consolidate debt, eliminate mortgage payments, cover unplanned medical expenses, pay for in-home care, remodel home for current needs, avoid foreclosure, supplement retirement income, or any other need you may have for cash.
     
  • Purchase a new home that provides more affordable living, is smaller and easier to care for, is on a single level or more accessible, is closer to friends or family, or even is the dream home have always wanted.
     
  • Features of Loan Program: FHA Insured, No monthly mortgage payments (must continue to pay home insurance, property taxes, and home maintenance as needed), Retain title to home, Non-recourse loan (no recourse to borrower/estate/heirs if loan balance exceeds the home’s value at maturity as long as the home is sold to pay off the debt or balance is paid in full if borrower/estate wants to retain property), Right to Remaining Equity (any equity that remains in the property after the reverse mortgage is retired, belongs to borrower/estate/heirs), No time limit on length of time staying in home, Mandatory Mortgage Insurance Premium (insures that the mortgage balance will be paid in full, if the home sells for less than owed), a Single set of Closing Costs when purchasing a home, and funds are available as a line of credit or monthly payment.
     
  • Qualifications: Homeowner must be 62+, home in name of homeowner and is primary residence, must have at least 50% equity in home or ability to make a monetary investment at closing from an allowable funding source, must occupy property within 60 days, mandatory counseling session required, and must be able to and continue to pay taxes & home insurance.
     
  • Eligible Properties: Single Family, 1-4 unit, FHA approved Condos & Town homes, meets minimum FHA property standards, within maximum FHA loan limit ($625K currently), no other 1st or 2nd liens against property and any existing mortgages must be paid off with the loan proceeds.

 

We are not lenders, but can recommend a fabulous Reverse Mortgage Loan Officer if you’d like to explore this further. The Blue Team – working twice as hard for you and providing a team of experts to guide you in all your real estate transitions! 

Posted on May 4, 2015 at 4:47 pm
Blue Team | Category: Home Tips for Seniors, Real Estate Transitions, Tips for Home Buying | Tagged , ,

Tips on Buying New Construction

Thinking about buying a new home? It is a slightly different purchase then residential resale where you need to consider the seller’s emotions and plans, so make sure you plan accordingly and take the right steps to optimize your new home buying experience.  Here are just a few tips for you to consider.

Timing: To get the best deal on a new home, pay attention to timing. Builders are businesses and so they are more likely to offer a price reduction, or more likely a “hidden discount” by paying for closing costs or home appliances & upgrades at no charge in the following situations: (1) End of quarter/end of year closings; (2) Homes that are already built or within weeks of completion; (3) First couple homes in a development to get sales started; and (4) Last couple homes in a development – when they want to close out the site.

Contracts: Builders require their own contracts so make sure you understand what is and what isn’t included in the price (appliances, landscaping, “decorator options, etc.) as it is much easier to negotiate for items to be included before you enter into the agreement. Warranties – these can really vary, know what is and isn’t included and during what timeframes and whether it is transferrable to the next owner should you decide to sell during the warranty period.

Inspections: Yes, you should get an inspection on a new home since it is always easier to get repairs done before you close then after – no matter what warranty is offered by the builder. Remember, things can get done incorrectly or even missed with new construction, here are some potential big ticket red flags:

  • Sticky doors: If the home is new, it shouldn’t have sticky doors and windows – this can be an indicator of more serious structural problems.
  • Diagonal cracks: Anything more than a hairline crack should be checked out and straight vertical cracks are more likely to be insignificant than a diagonal one.
  • Puddles near the foundation: When it rains, do puddles form against the home’s foundation?  This could be a sign of problematic landscape grading that could lead to flooding in your basement or crawl space.

It is also good to do an internet search for reviews of the builder to see what if any recurring problems they have had in other neighborhoods they have built and make sure your inspector looks for those potential defects on your home.

Want to explore your options?  Contact The Blue Team – working twice as hard for you and providing a team of experts to guide you in all your real estate transitions! 

Posted on April 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm
Blue Team | Category: Real Estate Transitions, Tips for Home Buying | Tagged , ,