Friday, August 23, 2013

Why is it so important to use a high-quality real estate agent?

Here are some key reasons.

Professional Buying and selling a house is a complex process with a multiple of steps and paperwork. Your agent should be a trained professional who listens to your needs and understands the market. 

Connections Successful agents have long-term relationships with past clients, prospective clients, vendors, and other agents - all of whom they can call upon when helping you buy or sell.

Pricing skills Top real estate agents have the important marketing and sales data necessary to properly price a home. This also comes in handy for buyers when making an offer.

Marketing savvy A good agent knows the most effective marketing methods to showcase your home in the best light and to elicit the highest level of exposure possible.

Neighborhood knowledge Your real estate agent's extensive knowledge of different neighborhoods helps you find just the kind of neighbors, amenities, and schools you want.

Negotiation skills Successfully negotiating the buying and selling of a home is an art that requires strategy, experience, and training - skills that a high-quality real estate agent has in spades.

The Multiple Listing Service The MLS is the real estate industry's main database (the vast majority of all homes for sale are listed there), and only licensed real estate agents have access to it. 

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur

Monday, August 12, 2013

getting pre-approved

I'm one of those agents who won't let a buyer in my car unless they are pre-approved. This rule might seem self-serving, but it's not. In fact, I think it's providing clients with the best kind of service. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at houses, but we all know how frustrating it can be to fall in love with a place you just can't afford. Saving my clients from that experience is key to their overall happiness with this process.

The estate I would like to buy

The cottage I can afford to buy

That's why the best place to start when buying a home is to find out how much house you can afford.

Here are the basic steps involved in getting pre-approved by a lender:

no. 1 Meet in-person with a mortgage representative.

no. 2 Complete a loan application. You will need to provide all the particulars regarding your income, assets, and expenses, as well as the estimated purchase price and down-payment.

no. 3 Provide the lender with documents confirming your financial standing, including your most recent bank statement, W-2 form, and employment pay stubs, as well as proof of stock ownership, mutual funds, IRAs, and other investments.

no. 4 The loan agent/officer/broker will spend a few days confirming your financials and employment, which includes no. 5.

no. 5 Your application will undergo "underwriting," which is an internal evaluation by the lender to weigh the risks of making a loan in your situation.

no. 6 Once you are pre-approved for a loan, the lender will provide you with a "good faith estimate", the lender's official estimate of ALL the fees and costs associated with the loan.

If you simply want an estimate of the amount you might be qualified for, consider getting pre-qualified. This process can usually be handled over the phone and typically only takes a few minutes. Keep in mind, however, that most sellers and their agents are looking for buyers who are pre-approved.

While there are many well qualified mortgage brokers and lenders in the greater Seattle area the professional I go to, and refer whenever needed is Eric Freemen of Lakeview Mortgage. Eric has proven to be of exceptional ethics and follow-through with connections to many local and national lenders.

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to avoid the most common home selling mistakes

The process of selling a home can have plenty of twists and turns, but with some smart decision making, you can avoid the most common mistakes and pitfalls of selling your home. An experienced agent can guide you every step of the way, so at the end of the day, you will achieve a satisfying and successful real estate experience.
Clients, Steve and Lisa used smart decision making when readying their home for market. They worked diligently during the months leading up to listing their home, making sure it was in the best condition to get top dollar. Their hard work paid off as we were under contract within seven days.

Avoid becoming emotional or sentimental about the sale
Once you decide to sell your house, it's time to strip out the emotion and look at it as a commodity in a business transaction. If you start reminiscing about all the good times you had and the hard work you invested, it will only make it that much harder to successfully price, prepare, and market the home.

Fix problems (or price accordingly)
Homes with deferred maintenance and repair issues can take far longer to sell and can be subject to last-minute sale-cancellations. These homes also often sell for less than their legitimate market value. If you simply can't afford to address critical issues, be prepared to work with your agent to price and market your home accordingly.

Spruce up the exterior grounds
It is important that your home looks as well cared for as it is. Cleaning up the grounds is key. Start by  trimming and pruning trees and bushes, mowing and edging the lawn, painting the porch and rails, power washing the hardscaping, and adding some warm welcome like a new welcome mat, freshly planted planters and bright pillows on a nearby bench.

Don't overprice your home (and/or refuse to negotiate)
Getting top dollar is the dream of every seller. But it's essential that you let the market dictate that price, not your emotions or financial situation. Allow your agent to research and prepare a solid market analysis that factors in the value of similar homes in the area and trust those results.

Use quality photos
The vast majority of prospective buyers today search for homes online first. In order to make a good first impression, you need a wealth of high-quality photos of your home and surrounding grounds. You may also need to consider professional staging in order to position your home in the best possible light for prospective buyers. There are many ways to approach this and a great agent will be able to provide a variety of budget-friendly options.

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur