Four Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help Your Home Sell for More Than Your Asking Price

Four Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help Ensure Your Home Sells for More Than Your Asking PriceMost home sellers are thrilled to get the asking price they’re looking for when putting their home up for sale, but many have not thought about the possibility of getting even more! If you’re wondering what tricks of the trade your agent can use when it comes to getting a higher offer, you may want to have them test out some of the following tips.

Price It A Little Lower

It’s generally said that you should price your home at market value so it will not linger on the market, but by having your real estate agent price it slightly lower you may be able to get a lot more people through the door. Instead of lowering the price of your home, this can actually work to stimulate a bidding war for those who see the value in your home and are willing to pay more.

Hold Off For The Right Offer

The benefit of using a real estate agent is that they know the market and will be able to determine what amount the offer on your home should be, so make sure you consult with them before saying yes. It’s easy to be tempted by the first good offer that’s close to your asking price, but it’s often worth it to hold out for the amount you really want.

Sell In The Springtime

It’s possible to get a good price for your home at any time of the year, but Spring is the time that homebuyers like to hit the market and this means that you may have a lot more interested parties to choose from. Instead of waiting for buyers to come to you, put your home on the market when there will be a lot of people ready to invest.

Make It Unique

Whether you’ve recently made some renovations or your home has a number of unique features, ensure that these details are being properly promoted in your marketing material and at your open house. Not only can these features add a lot of value to your home, they can make potential homebuyers remember it so they’ll be willing to negotiate.

Most home sellers put their home on the market with the hope of getting a certain amount, but by highlighting unique features and holding out for a better offer you can get more than you asked for. If you’re currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Let’s Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its Appeal

Let's Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its AppealMany homeowners consider a fence around their property for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to keep the dog in the yard or to maintain privacy. However, the wrong fence can entirely change the look of your property and make a beautiful yard a bit of an eyesore. If you’re trying to determine what kind of fence will work for your home, here are some tips before you start to dig in the dirt.

What’s Your Fence For?

Before deciding what kind of material to use, it’s important to know what type of utility you want for your fence. While a stone fence may be elegant and offer a lot of privacy, it can also be quite expensive; on the other hand, a wooden fence may be more affordable but it can deteriorate over time. It’s entirely possible you have a material you’ve already decided upon, but ensure that it’s something that will live up to your expectations and have the functionality you’re looking for.

What’s Your Home’s Style?

An imposing stone fence may be the style that instantly draws you, but if you have a relatively unassuming home or a more whimsical style, it can be a bit much for what your home. Instead of basing your fence purchase around the budget you can afford and the style you like, ensure that it will complement the style of your home and the yards surrounding yours so there is no marked contrast between your fence and the rest of your property.

What’s The Neighborhood Vibe?

Most neighborhoods have a distinct style, so in order to get some ideas for what type of fence will work with your property, take a look around your local area. There will likely be homes that look similar to yours and they may be able to give you a good idea of what options you have when it comes to fencing. You’ll also want to take note of how particular fences look around the gardens and patios of other homes, as these are features you won’t want to obscure.

There are many fences available on the market that serve every purpose, but it’s important to be aware of what will work for your property so you can make a good aesthetic decision. If you’re currently renovating your home and are looking to put it up for sale, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here’s What You Can Expect at Your Closing Meeting

Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here's What You Can Expect at Your Closing MeetingIf you’ve decided to invest and have finally found your ideal home, it’s probably an exciting time for you and your family. But before the deal is sealed, there will be a closing meeting so that all of the loose ends can be tied up. If you want to be ready for closing and are curious what the final meeting will entail, here are a few things to be prepared for.

The Last Walk Through

The initial home inspection may have already occurred prior to your closing meeting, but a final walk through should also be granted in the event that anything has happened to the house since it occurred. If problems have been made note of and a price or repair has been negotiated, you won’t need to worry, but the final walk through is a good opportunity to cover off any additional maintenance issues.

Discussion Of The Details

It’s a good idea to bring any paperwork you have regarding your mortgage along to the closing meeting as this will enable you to follow up on any outstanding questions and go through the specifics of the home sale. In all likelihood, you’ll be going through items like the closing costs, escrow payments, the settlement costs related to the home sale and the deed of trust to secure your mortgage, so ensure you understand all of the documents and are prepared to sign on the dotted line.

All The Appropriate Parties

You may expect the closing meeting to be rather informal after the offer has been accepted, but there are many parties that will be present in order to transfer the ownership of your new home. In addition to the home seller, yourself and your respective real estate agents, there will also be any attorneys present, a closing agent, and the lender. While it can be overwhelming to have so many people present, it is generally a formality so that the proceedings can take place without a hitch.

If you’ve determined that the home you’ve made an offer on is right for you, the closing meeting will likely be a seamless experience. However, it’s important to ensure you’ve done your final walk through and looked over all the applicable documents to avoid any issues related to the purchase of your home.

Selling Your Home? Understanding Why a Buyer Might Withdraw — and How to Win Them Back

Selling Your Home? Understanding Why a Buyer Might Withdraw -- and How to Win Them BackIt may seem like the hard part is over once you’ve received a few offers on your home and are preparing for the negotiation process. Unfortunately, anything can happen until the papers and signed and this means that potential homebuyers can back out. If you’re dealing with a wavering bidder and are wondering how you can win them back, here are some reasons they might withdraw and how you may be able to win them over.

The Price Is Too High

It’s possible that when it comes to negotiating, many interested parties will offer to put down a little more than they otherwise would have; however, when it comes to sealing the deal, they may realize the price is a little higher than what they wanted to spend. Instead of letting the negotiations fall through, consider lowering your price slightly to give the potential homebuyer a hook. You don’t have to lower your price by a significant margin, but it will let them know that you’re still interested in selling to them.

An Unresponsive Negotiation

The power may be in your hands when someone is interested in your home, but it’s still very important to stay responsive so that you can ensure a potential homebuyer won’t lose interest. If you may have rubbed someone the wrong way with a slow response time, ensure that you reach out and keep them aware of the process and your timeline. It may seem like a small gesture, but it means a lot to someone who is interested in your home and may be working under a time crunch.

Still Not Convinced?

There are a variety of reasons that a homebuyer may withdraw from negotiations, whether it’s the neighborhood or too much home or they’ve found a better deal. But, if you’re really interested in the offer you’ve received, you may want to consider offering a little extra in order to win them back. Whether you decide to pay their closing costs or provide a closer move-in date, there are plenty of little things you can do that will make them re-consider their options.

There are many reasons that a buyer might withdraw their offer on your home, but by being communicative and offering some extras you may be able to re-negotiate a deal. If you’re currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 10, 2017

Last week’s economic data included releases on construction spending and labor-related reports including ADP Payrolls, Non-Farm Payrolls, national unemployment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Increases in February

February construction spending grew by 0.80 percent from January’s reading of -0.50 percent. Analysts expected a reading of + 1.00 percent. Housing industry pros and analysts continue monitoring construction spending for indications of future construction projects. Construction spending was boosted by unseasonably warm weather in regions typically subject to cold winter climates.

 U.S. homes are in high demand despite rapidly rising home prices due to short supplies of available homes; industry leaders contend that building more homes is the only remedy for the imbalance between would-be home buyers and low inventories of homes for sale. Home builders repeatedly cite shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor as obstacles to building more homes.

Job Growth Dips as New Jobless Claims and Unemployment Rate Falls

ADP reported that 263,000 private-sector jobs were created in March as compared to revised readings of 245,000 jobs created in February and expectations of 170,000 jobs created in March Private-sector employers were encouraged by potential reductions in taxes, regulations, infrastructure and improvements.  

Non-farm payrolls dropped significantly in March; the Commerce Department reported only 98,000 new public and private sector jobs added in March as compared to expectations of 185,000 jobs added and 219,000 public and private-sector jobs added in February.

Economists said that rapid growth of jobs seen in the last few years was not sustainable and cited severe reductions in retail jobs as contributing to the drop in the Non-farm payrolls reading for March. The steep drop in job creation could cause the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising the federal funds rate in June, but this is far from certain depending on economic readings for April and May.

National unemployment fell to 4.50 percent in March against expectations of 4.70 percent and February’s reading of 4.70 percent

New jobless claims fell to 234,000 claims as compared to expectations of 251,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 259,000 claims. Lower initial jobless claims despite the steep drop in job growth suggests that workers are leaving the workforce and are ineligible to file new claims or that the drop in jobs growth was a “correction” and future jobs growth reports may not show such sharp adjustments.

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Rates for fixed-rate mortgages were lower last week. Freddie Mac reported that average rates for fixed rate mortgages fell; the average rate for a 30-year mortgage was four basis points lower at 4.20 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgaged dropped three basis points to 3.36 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage ticked up by one basis point to an average of 3.19 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation, core inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates will also be released.

Expecting a Newborn? Baby-proof Your Home With This Quick and Easy Checklist

Expecting a Newborn? Baby-proof Your Home With This Quick and Easy ChecklistIt’s a very exciting time for most parents when their kids begin to crawl, but it can also be much more difficult to watch over your child and ensure their safety. If your child is starting to get along on their own and you’re preparing to baby proof, here are the main areas and items you’ll want to watch out for.

Clearing Away The Crib

There’s no place your child is going to spend more time, so ensure that there are no toys left in their crib when they’re going to sleep. You’ll also want to stay away from fluffy blankets that can smother their breathing. It’s entirely likely that you’ll have a lot of stuff to store for your baby, but ensure there are no heavy pieces of furniture in the room that they will be able to pull over or move.

In The Bathroom

It goes without saying that you should never leave a baby in the bathtub alone, but there are other things to do as soon as they become mobile. In addition to non-slip mats for the tub and the area outside of the tub, you may also want to invest in soft covers for the knobs and the spout on the bathtub. It’s also good to keep any hazardous cleaning products out of reach.

Care In The Kitchen

Your baby is likely to wreak havoc on all of the door handles they can, so ensure that you have cabinets that don’t close automatically and a latch for your oven door. If you happen to be cooking in the kitchen when your baby is about, ensure that all pot handles are turned in and all cooking items are kept away from the edges of the counter.

Around The House

Your quickly crawling child will be able to find many hazards if they move fast, so ensure you’ve covered up any electrical outlets or cords that can be pulled out. If there are sharp edges your infant can reach, put safety guards on them to protect your baby’s head. Safety gates should also be used at the top and bottom of stairs to avoid any falls.

Most parents get pretty enthusiastic about the idea of their baby starting to crawl, but it’s important to be prepared for that time by baby proofing your home. If you’re currently getting ready to buy a home for your growing family, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Pamper Your Pet With These Five Awesome Pet-friendly Home Upgrades

Pamper Your Pet With These Five Awesome Pet-friendly Home UpgradesThe best addition to many a family is the beloved pet, but beyond the regular treats and pillows, there are plenty of ways to spoil your pet and let them know how much you love them. If you’re looking for some neat concepts for your favorite pooch, here are some unique ideas you may want to try out.

A Relaxing, Personal Place

Many animals will gravitate towards your new couch, but by giving them their own special spot, you can make them happy and keep your living room looking great at the same time. Instead of a second-hand pillow, buy them their very own bed for their very own corner of the house so they can feel right at home.

Make It Organized

It’s quite likely that your pet will not be cleaning up after themselves, but by creating a bookshelf or cabinet for all of their toys and treats, you can be sure they’ll be right at home. It’s not only good for organization, it will be easy to find everything if it’s all in one place.

Install A Pet Door

Most pets long for the freedom of the outdoors, so a pet door can be one of the best investments in the happiness of your pet. While it may not necessarily appeal to potential homebuyers who are pet-free, it may be an added benefit for those who think of their four-legged friends first.

A Doggie Dream Home

The expression “in the doghouse” may have a negative connotation, but your dog’s backyard home doesn’t have to be dreadful. Instead of something subpar, build your own doghouse from scratch and paint it in bright colors so that it can be popular with your dog and aesthetically appealing too!

A Canine Course

There are few things a dog likes to do more than run, so instead of leaving them out in the backyard on their lonesome, build them their very own doggy course. Whether you want to add in a small slide, a slippery surface or a hoop for jumping, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog active, even in the backyard.

There’s no doubt that your pet is one of the happiest members of the family, but there are things you can do to make your four-legged friend even more content. If you’re currently doing some upgrades and preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Trim Your Mortgage Closing Costs by Following This Easy 3 Step Guide

Trim Your Mortgage Closing Costs by Following This Easy 3 Step GuideYou may be so busy with determining your debt-to-income ratio and deciding what kind of offer to make that closing costs have gotten lost in the mix, but it’s important to remember that finalizing your mortgage will cost you extra. While there’s no way to get around paying money to solidify your mortgage, there are a few steps you can take in order to make it more economical for you.

Shop Around For A Lender

Many people go with the lender that is offered to them, but it’s a good idea to do the research so you can find the deal that’s right for you. Instead of sticking with one option, look into the closing costs for a handful of well-reviewed lenders that have been on the market for at least a few years. While it takes more than a list of fees to make the right decision, it will give you a good sense of the true cost of your mortgage and can help you make a more informed choice.

Be Prepared To Negotiate

There are people who are comfortable with negotiation and those who are not, but if you want a better deal it’s worth discussing it with your lender. While there are a number of third-party fees that are non-negotiable, many of the fees that lenders charge can be so you’ll want to get a list of what they charge and what they might be willing to budge on. It’s unlikely you’ll get everything you ask for, but it doesn’t hurt to ask in the event that it leads to substantial savings.

Review Your Loan Estimate

You have the ability to call off your mortgage at any time up until you’ve signed on the dotted line, so ensure you’ve read through the paperwork and understand your closing costs clearly. If there’s anything you’re uncertain about or any cost you weren’t made aware of, it’s imperative to address it with the lender before signing. This will be the last chance you’ll have to negotiate and go over everything so the lender may be a little more flexible on any final hesitation.

There are a number of costs associated with home ownership, but it’s important not to forget about the final closing costs as these can greatly impact the total cost of your home. If you’re currently getting prepared to purchase a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

It’s Tax Time: Learn How Buying a New Home Can Help to Reduce Your Tax Burden

It's Tax Time: Learn How Buying a New Home Can Help to Reduce Your Tax BurdenMost people do not look forward to tax time, whether they get money back or not, but as a homeowner there are a lot of things you can do that will help to reduce your taxes and get you a refund. If you’re getting prepared to invest in a home and are wondering how it can benefit you, here are some deductions you’ll want to watch out for.

Minimizing Mortgage Interest

One of the best benefits of having a home is that you can actually deduct mortgage interest at tax time and save considerable money as a result. While the amount you receive will depend on your interest rates and the type of loan you have, this can make a significant dent in the amount of your monthly payment when all’s said and done.

Deducting Property Tax

Property tax is another fee that comes along with home ownership, and it can be a rather debilitating amount depending on where you live. While you have the ability to deduct this amount on your primary residence, you also have the option of doing this if you happen to own a vacation home. This is not only a benefit for money savings, but can be a boon for future home investment too.

Capital Gains Credit

Many people stay in a home for a few years and then invest in something larger, and the Capital Gains Exclusion is a great way to take advantage of tax-free profits on your home. While you’ll have to live in the primary residence for at least two years to take advantage of this deduction, you will not have to pay any capital gains tax up to a certain amount.

Line Of Credit Reduction

If you happen to have either a line of credit or a home equity loan, you can also deduct the interest off the amount paid for a refund on your taxes. In addition to the lower rates provided by these loans, you can also save on interest when tax time comes around, making it a considerable benefit.

Most people do not look forward to doing their taxes, but if you’re a new homeowner you may not be aware that there are many financial benefits associated with buying a home. If you’re currently considering home ownership and are wondering about other ways it can benefit you, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 3, 2017

Last week’s economic news included Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports, pending home sales, and consumer confidence readings. Weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

CaseShiller: Home Prices Higher in January

According to Case-Shiller reports released last Tuesday, average home prices increased in January. The national average home price rose 0.20 percent from December to January; year over year, home prices grew by 5.90 percent. Home prices were 0.90 percent higher on a month-to-month basis when seasonally adjusted. The West continued to dominate home price growth. Seattle, Washington reported 11.20 percent growth in home prices year-over-year. Portland, Oregon reported year-over-year home price growth of 9.70 percent and Denver, Colorado reported that home prices grew by 9.20 percent year-over-year.

San Francisco, which posted double-digit home price growth in recent months, posted year-over-year home price growth of 6.20 percent. Home prices declined 0.40 percent month-to-month. While short supplies of homes for sale continued to drive up home prices, slower home price growth rates in San Francisco, California posted fell by 0.40 percent month to month and were 6.30 percent higher year-over-year. San Francisco posted double-digit year-over-year growth in recent months; slower home price growth over a period of months could signal a cooling of red-hot home prices in high-demand markets.

The three cities with lowest home price growth rates were Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, DC, where home prices rose 3.90 percent year-over-year. New-York City posted a year-over-year gain of 3.20 percent.

Pending Home Sales Rebound in February, Mortgage Rates Drop

The National Association of Realtors® said that pending home sales reached their second highest reading in ten years. Pending home sales rose 5.50 percent in February as compared to January’s negative reading of -2.80 percent. The Pending Home Sales Index rose to 112.30 in February as compared to January’s reading of 106.40. Unseasonably warm weather, home buyers rushing to buy before mortgage rates and home prices go higher. Improved jobs markets and few layoffs were also seen as boosting consumer confidence in buying homes.

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by nine basis points to 4.14 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was five basis points lower at 3.39 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.18 points. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Lower mortgage rates could help first-time buyers who’ve been sidelined due to rapidly increasing home prices and mortgage rates.

In other news, new jobless claims were lower than last were with 258,000 new claims filed as compared to last week’s reading of 261,000 new jobless claims. Analysts expected a reading of 247,000 new claims filed. Spring holidays and school vacations can create additional volatility in week-to-week first-time jobless claims.

Consumer sentiment index readings for March increased to 96.90 against expectations of a 97.60 index reading. February’s index reading for consumer sentiment was 96.30.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending, ADP payrolls, Non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.