Thursday, October 23, 2014

5 Serious Tips to Attract the Serious Fall Home Buyer

Home sales typically cool down along with the weather in the fall and winter months – but realtors say that some savvy sellers can quickly sell a property for a decent price this time of year. 
Because fewer people are on the market in the fall means you have less competition. Plus, people on the prowl for houses at this time of year tend to be more serious shoppers, compared to the browsers and neighborhood nosy bodies who might make a day of hitting open houses just for fun in the spring. 
“People who are house hunting now are the real buyers,” says Billy Wynn, a San Fernando Valley, California, realtor. “They wouldn’t be out there if they didn’t need to be.” Full Article

Take photos ASAP.If you live in the Northeast and are thinking of listing your home in the next few months, get a few shots of the exterior now. That way, when you’re ready to list, you won’t be stuck with photos of bare trees and a lawn under several inches of snow.
In general, it’s better to list your property earlier in the fall anyway. “Thanksgiving is a dead week, and things are slower during the holidays,” says Michael Corbett, a real estate expert with Trulia. “Not only are buyers home celebrating with their families but realtors are, too.”
Price your home correctly. Yes, it’s a seller’s market right now but the pace of price increases is slowing. Bidding wars are becoming less frequent and tend to occur when homes are underpriced, realtors say. The best way to sell a home quickly is to price it correctly at listing. Otherwise it may sit on the market until you cut the price, which could push you into the competitive spring selling season with a stale listing.
Keep it warm. Have all the curtains drawn back to provide as much light into the home as possible. That, combined with a constantly open front door that lets in potential buyers, can make for a chilly house. Be sure to keep an eye on the thermostat so that the temperature remains comfortable. Even better than turning up the heat: Start a fire in your fireplace, to show off that feature, says Zillow’s real estate expert Brendon DeSimone.
Go easy on the holiday decorations. You may want to put your holiday cheer on hold this year, at least when it comes to sprucing up the homestead. Holiday decorations add clutter and religious-themed d├ęcor could turn off some buyers. A simple understated wreath or a basket of acorns and gourds is plenty. “Nobody wants to see ten inflatable ghosts on your lawn for Halloween,” says David Fogg, a real estate agent in Burbank, California. 

Refocus on curb appeal. 
Even in the dead of winter, curb appeal matters, though you don’t have the benefit of lush plants. It might be worth an extra coat of paint on your shutters and doors to help them pop against the bleaker winter background. Also, make sure there aren’t 
Clear out non-holiday related clutter, too. Start now; the process can take longer than you think. Remove as many personal items as possible to make it easier for potential buyers to see themselves living there. Aim to clear away about 50 percent of your belongings. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year, and put extra furniture or other large items in storage.

Monday, October 20, 2014

30-year mortgage rate falls to lowest in 16 months

 Average U.S. mortgage rates tumbled this week. The 30-year loan hit its lowest level since June 2013 as Treasury bond yields marked new lows amid concern over global economic weakness.
It was the fourth straight week of declines for mortgage rates, making it more affordable to borrow to buy a home.
Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average for a 30-year loan dipped to 3.97 percent from 4.12 percent last week. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, fell to 3.18 percent from 3.30 percent. Full Article

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tips For Buying and Selling A Home at the Same Time

And you thought buying or selling a home was scary. Either one can be, of course, but there’s nothing like doing both at once to foster a flurry of “what ifs.” What if I buy a new house, but my old one doesn’t sell? What if I sell my old house, but can’t find a new one? And what if I try to do both at once and end up going completely crazy in the process? Full Article  

Don’t worry, you won’t, as long as you take the time to think things through. Depending on your particular situation, it may make more sense to buy first, then sell — or just the opposite. Either way, here are some of the factors to consider:

Buy First, Then Sell
  • Can search for new home without pressure
  • No need to find interim housing
  • Risk of double mortgage payments
  • Equity from current home unknown
Sell First, Then Buy
  • Equity is immediately available
  • No double mortgage payments
  • Risk of having to find interim housing
  • Pressure to buy can lead to rash decisions

Clean It Up

Clearly, buying and selling concurrently comes with its own brand of stress, but with a little pre-planning you can keep it under control. Simply put, you should get as much done to your old house before you even start looking for your new one. At a minimum:
  • Get rid of stuff. You don’t want to be hauling junk to the dump while the clock is ticking.
  • Fix what you can. If necessary, hire an inspector to determine what needs doing and get it done. Quibbling with potential buyers over who’s going to pay for what is counter-productive.
  • Disclose what you don’t — fix, that is. If you don’t want to take on a major repair, be sure to disclose the problem to the buyer. It may be better to accept a lower offer than to have the deal fall apart. 

Tools of the Trade

Regardless of the route you choose, you can ease the process in others ways, too. One is through a bridge loan, a short-term loan that “bridges” the gap between buying your new house and selling your current one. (Watch out, though: Bridge loans often carry high fees and interest rates.) Other options include taking out a home equity loan or borrowing against a 401(k).

You can also structure your deals to include contingency clauses, in which you agree to sell your current home contingent on purchasing your new one and/or agree to buy your new home contingent on selling your old one. Just be aware that most sellers prefer contingency-free offers: If your offer is contingent on selling your current home and a competing offer has no such constraints, many sellers will go for the free-and-clear sale.

The Reality of Rent-backs

If you’ve sold your current home but can’t move into your new one (or haven’t even found it yet), you may be able to negotiate a rent-back with the buyer. In a nutshell, that means you can stay in “your” home as a tenant who pays rent to the new owners. If the buyer is amenable, you’ll not only have the proceeds from the sale, but also more time to plan your next step.

The problem, of course, is that the buyer calls the shots. They’ll probably want you to cover their mortgage payment and other costs, which, assuming your house has appreciated, are probably quite a bit higher than you’re used to paying. Add in the utilities, renter’s insurance, and other expenses, and it may make more sense to find a rental apartment — or redouble your efforts to find your new home.