May 13, 2013
Spring is the season for home improvement. The weather is great, and everyone is in a “fix ‘er up” mood. In addition, many sellers consider home improvement before putting their home on the market.
A few small improvements could make a world of difference in selling your home. While major renovations might raise the cost of your home, minor fixes might help it sell faster.
Whether it’s big or small, I strongly recommend hiring a home improvement professional for a variety of jobs: Electrical, structural or even cosmetic. While painting the house might seem like a job you might be able to handle on your own, there is a chance that your time could be better spent elsewhere.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with some key questions to ask your contractor before signing any type of contract with them: Read the rest of this entry »
May 6, 2013
The critical first step in the home buying process today is the pre-qualification/pre-approval process. Home sellers should be very selective when considering which buyer’s offer they will accept when they have multiple offers to choose from. The only thing worse than no offer, is selecting the wrong offer based on a meaningless pre-qualification letter!
The truth is most pre-qual letters only mean that the lender has pulled a credit score on the potential buyer and the credit score meets the minimum score requirements. This is simply the first hurdle in the total mortgage loan underwriting process. Lenders issue “pre-qual” or “pre-approval” letters every day based solely on a credit score only. The language in their pre-qual letter goes something like this: Read the rest of this entry »
April 29, 2013
Spring is here! Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate has launched an updated Greenhouse for BHGRE Metro Brokers sales associates! The new CRM (known in the Greenhouse as the “Customer Relationship Management” tool) allows you to make a fresh start on building or growing lists of contacts, customers and clients to massage for future business.
Since our very livelihoods depend on relationships, this is a great opportunity to do some “Spring Cleaning” of our contact/customer/client relationship skills and eliminate things that clutter or completely undermine those relationships. We may be dismayed to find that some or many of our relationships are not in as great shape as we would like to believe them to be. Do we recognize any of these bad relationship habits: Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2013
It’s absolutely true that the housing inventory is very low in the Metro Atlanta. Some areas and price points are tighter than others. Not only is this true in Atlanta but in most major markets throughout the U.S.
In a market like this, buyers need to understand that multiple offer situations are common in sought after communities. The current market conditions are especially critical for transferees moving into Atlanta for two reasons.
First, they are armed with a long list of properties they think will be possibilities for them and, of course, when they get here homes have either been sold or they were not what they really needed.
Second, because they are only here for a short period of time to look for a home, it’s especially frustrating because they only have the inventory that’s still on the market once they arrive here and even those properties sometimes have offers pending as they fly or drive into Atlanta.
WOW! Read the rest of this entry »
April 15, 2013
This weekend, open houses will be held at listings across the country! The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has been promoting a Nationwide Open House Weekend each year, and this year it falls on April 20 and 21.
Be sure to tell your buyers about this incredible opportunity to view homes this weekend. With listing inventory being as low as it is, this will give buyers a chance to see what homes are available in their area.
Plus, listing agents should tell their sellers about this unique occasion to attract buyers for their home. This only occurs once a year, and it could be their chance to sell their home!
In honor of Nationwide Open House Weekend, I’d like to share my checklist for preparing for an open house: Read the rest of this entry »
April 8, 2013
Email has become one of the most common methods of communication, especially when it comes to being a real estate agent. When it comes to sending and receiving contracts, forms, information and more, the fax machine is simply a dinosaur. Can you imagine not being able to email a buyer an MLS sheet? We use email for everything nowadays!
But have you considered that your e-mails may be sending the wrong message to your clients or your peers? Forbes highlighted e-mail habits that can send the wrong message in a recent article. Here are five items on their list: Read the rest of this entry »
April 1, 2013
Attractive housing for sale inventory is at an all-time low. Some predict that we will actually run out of houses to sell before the builders can construct enough homes to satisfy current demand.
What can you do NOW for your buyers who want to buy in specific areas? What can you do NOW for listings that will sell quickly? Here are some easy, inexpensive, tried-and-true methods for finding homes for your buyers and finding homes to list NOW. Read the rest of this entry »
March 25, 2013
At FUSION 2013 in Las Vegas, I sat in on a session called “The Digital House Hunt: Using Data Search Trends to Tailor Your Online Marketing” hosted by Heather Elias of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). She discussed a special NAR report called “The Digital House Hunt” that was performed with the assistance of Google.
Released in Jan. 2013, this report connects the dots between online home searches and shopping patterns. It shows how shoppers use online tools and sites as they progress through the process. More importantly, it gives you a blueprint for how to market to these consumers.
Here are some highlights from the report: Read the rest of this entry »
March 18, 2013
As I am sitting in a gorgeously decorated ballroom at an annual sales achievement awards event, I am listening to the speaker talk about how the average real estate buyer is in their 30’s and the average “pent up demand” buyer (aka fairly recent college grad who is finally employed and out of the family basement or post-college rental) is in their late 20’s or early 30’s, but the average Realtor is 56.
The stats and message come across to some of the attendees as if this is a bad thing, a mismatch or a train wreck about to happen. Looking around the room of top agents, I would bet money that the average age was every bit of 56 or higher. These are the high achievers; the ones making more than a “living” selling real estate; the ones who live and breathe real estate day in and day out with bargain-hunting buyers and house-proud sellers.
I’m also listening to the stats that 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day, creating a huge market for retirement housing and a huge supply of “family homes” to sell. Something isn’t matching up here. Read the rest of this entry »
March 11, 2013
For the first half of 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has made two major changes to their policies:
1. Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) are scheduled to increase affective April 1, 2013. While Upfront MIP is remaining the same at 1.75%, Monthly MIP is changing from 1.25% to 1.35%.
2. June 3, 2013 the FHA will no longer allow an FHA borrower to cancel their mortgage insurance premium payments when the loan balance drops to 78% of the property’s value!
This is the fifth increase HUD has made to the FHA MIP cost in the past 3 years. In April of 2012, FHA increased the MIP rates from 1% to 1.75% on the Upfront MIP and from .90% to 1.25% on the Monthly MIP. Read the rest of this entry »
March 4, 2013
Did you know that Craigslist generates more than 20 billion page views per month, making it the 7th overall most trafficked website in the world? Many sales associates take advantage of Craigslist as a listing resource, but they aren’t using it effectively.
Craigslist isn’t like eBay or other auction sites that charge you to post an item and takes a percentage of the selling price. It’s free to have an account, and you aren’t charged for posting or selling a home, so it’s no wonder that agents across the country use this tool to augment their selling power.
Here are some tips for using Craigslist successfully: Read the rest of this entry »
February 25, 2013
As many of you know, a large meteor cruised across the skies of Russia a few weeks ago and wreaked havoc. The odds of this happening are apparently “astronomical”, pun definitely intended.
It was reported that several hundred people were injured by debris. In addition, photos showed several areas of heavy property damage. Read the rest of this entry »
February 18, 2013
How do I know what price range to look in? How do I make sure my offer is accepted? These are two of the most commonly asked questions from first-time and experienced homebuyers alike.
Give your buyer the added advantage of a true pre-approval, not just an empty pre-qualification in this highly competitive market where multiple bids are common and sellers are considering every aspect of every offer they receive.
Identify your property price range and strengthen your bargaining power by understanding the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval. Here’s the difference: Read the rest of this entry »