October 17th, 2012
There is nothing more frustrating in the world than dealing with a reality that differs from our expectations. We’ve all had experiences involving this. Maybe it was booking a vacation and finding out the hotel did not live up to the pictures on the website. Or maybe it was something as simple as showing up for a doctors appointment and being told the doctor was running behind and you would have to wait longer than expected.
What it boils down to is managing expectations. In the first scenario if I had seen recent photos of the hotel I was staying at, maybe I would have realized why the “5 star” hotel was priced so low, and either decided it was worth it for the price, or looked for a better hotel elsewhere. Or in the 2nd scenario if I had known I would have to wait a little bit longer at the doctor’s office, I could have simply shown up later or brought a book to read. In either scenario simply knowing what to expect would have helped me prepare and deal with the surprise in a well thought out manner.
It can be easy for a normal real estate agent to become accustomed to the ins and outs of a real estate transaction because it’s their job and they do these things year round. The problem arises when it becomes routine for them. Our REALTORS® at RE/MAX Real Estate Group have the experience in buying and selling homes, but also know that buying or selling a home is one of the most important purchasing decisions you will ever make, and more importantly they know that this likely isn’t something that you do frequently. Because of this our REALTORS® will guide you down the path of purchasing or selling your home and keep you fully informed of what to expect. It doesn’t help us, or our clients to keep them under-informed. When making such an important decision it’s best to keep expectations in line with realty.
For example, take a person who is making a purchase of a home in a short sale. Although these types of sales are closing much quicker than they have in the past, they still take a significantly longer time to close than a traditional transaction. Is your real estate agent communicating this clearly to you and explaining why it takes so long? If not that can be a problem. If you expect to move into the home in 2-3 months, but the short sale takes 5-6 months then you might have some problems. However if your real estate agent communicated that clearly to you in the beginning then it can be planned for accordingly.
It all boils down to managing the expectations of the home buying and selling process. Are your real estate agents doing this for you?
February 9th, 2010
If you are a first time buyer or someone that has bought more houses than Donald Trump there are 3 questions that every home buyer needs to ask before buying a house.
1. How is the neighborhood?
Purchasing a house is a lot like getting married. Not only do you get a wife or husband, but you get the family that goes along with it. When you buy your house, you are pretty much stuck with the neighbors and the neighborhood. Take time to do a bit of research to find out what the neighborhood is like. Are there other children in the neighborhood for your kids? Is it near your usual conveniences? Is there a history of crime? Go to the neighborhood some evening while it is still light and go for a walk. You will be surprised about what a 30 minute walk will reveal.
Aside from asking the neighbors some questions (which is a great way to meet the neighbors) there are a few online tools you can use to do research. Google Maps can show you what businesses are in the area and www.SpotCrime.com can help you understand the crime trends:
2. Are there other “costs” associated with buying this home?
Nobody likes surprises when it comes to home buying. Association dues, tax assessments, limits to association members, high utilities, rural utilities, etc. can surprise a new homeowner. Ask your REALTOR© if they are aware of any of these things. Ask the neighbors about their associations, any current problems, and any potential raise in dues. Call the utility company and get an average utility cost to help you understand what your budget for utilities might be.
3. Has there been any significant damage to the home?
Although water and fire can be cleaned from a home they can often leave lasting effects that might not become apparent for some time. Water damage from a flood or fire hose can result in mold growing in walls and under carpet. Mold remediation can be quite expensive and time consuming. Smoke damage can discolor walls, causing peeling of paint and wallpaper, and can leave lasting smells in the house.
Purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions a person can make. Taking the extra time to do a bit of research can make this process a lot more rewarding when you end up purchasing a great home in a great neighborhood!
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January 29th, 2010
So you’ve decided it’s time to sell the house and you’re concerned because all you’ve been hearing in the news for the last two years is how hard it is to sell a house in this market. It’s true that times are a bit challenging for home sellers but there are three simple things that you can do to give yourself an edge and make your home more appealing to a buyer.
1. Curb Appeal
First impressions are HUGE. If someone pulls up and is unimpressed with your house before they even go inside, it can be a bit impossible to change their mind.
You don’t have to go out and hire a company to come and do an overhaul of the landscaping but make sure that your current setup looks good. Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and weed the flowerbeds.
Don’t let the little things go any longer: that gutter that’s hanging down; the shutter that fell off; the light bulbs that burned out. These simple repairs don’t cost you much, if anything, and will make it easier for your buyer to focus on the house rather than all the work they will have to do if they buy.
Even in winter, landscaping is important. Although you can’t mow the lawn or care about flowers you can make sure that you have a clean driveway and sidewalk. People can tell when someone has a sense of pride in their home and a driveway and sidewalk clear of snow and ice shows that you care.
2. Clean, Clean, Clean!
You know the feeling that you get when you finish with spring cleaning? A clean house not only shows pride of ownership but it also helps the potential buyer navigate through your home easily.
Get rid of the stacks of junk. Remove all the stuff you leave laying out for convenience (pens, notebook, bottle opener, phonebook, letter opener, etc.) Less IS more. The less clutter you have, the more open your space looks and the less distracted the buyer will be.
Most buyers will look through the cupboards, in closets, and in storage areas so make sure yours are in good order. If your kitchen cabinets are packed and cluttered it could give the impression that there is not enough storage space. Same goes for closets, garages and storage spaces.
Before you put your house on the market, make sure you take the time to make your house look like a house again and not a home. Home is where the heart is and a house is where someone else could see themselves living!
Take down all the family photos and personal mementos. Take the “original artwork” from the kids off of the fridge. By removing the “you” from the house you are making it easier for the buyer to focus on the house and not on the people that lived there.
A professional REALTOR can help you with the many other tips and tricks that come with selling a house. Some real estate offices even have a Professional Stager on staff to assist you with things like: Rearranging furniture, Paint colors, Carpet suggestions, Staging the bathroom and kitchen. They can also help you recognize what to replace if you want to take it with you (blinds, fancy lights, etc.).