Home Buyers Face Common Questions

Thinking about buying a home in the near future? If you are, you probably have lots of questions about the process. Even if you’ve purchased a home before, the real estate market is always changing and home buyers need to be up to date on all the information they need to purchase their home.

Are you a first time buyer? Sounds like an easy question, but there are actually surprising answers. A first time homebuyer is anyone that hasn’t owned a home in the past three years. So if you’ve never purchased a home, or you bought a home years ago but have been renting for the last three years, you are considered a first time buyer. Why is this an important distinction? Because there are all kinds of home buying opportunities that are available to first time buyers. If you can take advantage of these home programs, you should embrace them.

Home much do you need for a down payment? This question simply doesn’t have one answer. There are all kinds of home buying programs, some that require no down payment, and others that require 3% or 5% down. The most traditional lending option was to put down 20% of the home purchase price, but almost no one uses this option anymore. It’s just too expensive to put that kind of money down on a property.

Do credit scores really matter? You bet. Your credit score is one of the most important parts of your overall financial picture. Borrowers with good credit scores (620 and better) are able to qualify for different loan programs than those with lower credit scores. You can save a lot of money on interest rates by knowing your credit score before you shop for a home, and you can even take steps to improve your credit score by a few points.

Can you buy a home if you have credit problems? Absolutely. Many lending experts can help you polish up your credit score, but even if you have a tarnished score, you can still find lending programs to help you buy your home. It may take a little bit of time to find the right loan program, to repair your credit score as much as possible, but you can buy a home.

Becoming a home owner is an important step in your financial growth and stability. Take the time to find out about your mortgage options and your personal financial position before you begin shopping and you’ll find the home buying easy and a painless process.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Steve Essington

More People Use a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home

Did you buy a house last year? If not, were you thinking of doing so, maybe visiting open ones and browsing online listings of available buildings, condos, and other properties? If you were to bid on a place to live tomorrow, how would you go about it – by yourself or with help? These days there are many options available for the home buyer, and in a buyer’s market the benefits tends to increase. Yet, despite new technologies people seem to keep to the tried and true process of working with a real estate agent to buy a residence.

Recently the National Association of Realtors (NAR) published its annual profile of home buyers and sellers. Their survey on how buyers purchased property in 2008 is especially telling, as it blends old and new methods of buying. Here is the breakdown by percentage of how people found the homes they eventually purchased, according the NAR’s 2008 study:

  • 34% purchased through a real estate agent
  • 32% found them through the Internet (though it does not specify how through the Internet the home was bought – online classifieds, online Realtor, etc.)
  • 15% bought after seeing a yard sign (again, no specification if these signs were „For Sale by Owner“ or agency signs)
  • 7% went through friends, neighbors, or relatives
  • 7% went through a home builder or the builder’s agent
  • 3% responded to a print newspaper ad
  • 2% knew the seller personally
  • 1% consulted a sales book or magazine

Studying these numbers, we can readily assume the Internet’s influence on buying and selling homes is significant, yet the majority of people continue to defer to the expertise of a real estate agent when taking that final step toward home ownership. If you are thinking of looking for a new place to live, whether moving across town or relocating to another state, consider placing your trust in a reputable, knowledgeable real estate agent who knows your desired location and understands your needs as a homeowner.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Katie Lively

Why A Waterfront House For Sale Is A Good Investment

Waterfront property is immune to most market trends, and for good reason. Splendid summers can be spent on a lake or river, promising family bonding time and decreased stress. Full-year houses and cabins are becoming more frequent. They can also be converted into permanent residencies that promote privacy and communing with nature. A waterfront house for sale is rarely on the market for long and should be pounced on by interested buyers.

Privacy

Privacy is an increasingly valuable commodity. With lakefront property, real privacy is obtainable. The distance between homes and dense foliage dampens sound, leaving the owner to appreciate their thoughts and conversations with friends and family. With limited space for development, no houses will pop up between the property and water’s edge, resulting in a clear view of the water. A waterfront house for sale will also likely feature a private dock, or at the very least, an intimate, walk-up access to the shoreline.

Fun Water Activities

Water activities are a great way to bond with families and friends. The water presents a wide range of options for fun, such as fishing, skiing, swimming, and boating, among others. Many of these activities cannot be replicated on land and give a thrill of being unique. Even simple activities like reading a favorite book while drinking a cup of coffee are suddenly mystical when paired with a lake sunset.

Limited Supply

Substantial property directly on a body of water is rare and priced accordingly. They retain their value, especially compared to fluctuations of city housing, and can be sold at almost any time if need be. When not in use, renting cabins can provide large profits. Owning a waterfront property requires some amount of upkeep. However, a house for sale in an area that is desirable can be a great family experience, as well as a smart investment.

Closeness to nature

While this depends on the area, lakes and rivers are a natural habitat for a plethora of wildlife. You can watch birds from the dock, fish for sport or food, catch the occasional appearance of deer or owls, and experience an intimate moment with nature that a city cannot duplicate. Of course, having a fully operational house means that nature can be enjoyed on the individual’s terms, which is especially important in humid climates and at night.

Health Benefits

Many studies have shown that spending time close to water has immediate health benefits. For those who have spent time around or on water, this should come as no surprise. Spending time on the lake creates a serene atmosphere that reduces stress. For those who are used to living in a city, the clean air and decrease in noise and light pollution will be a welcome change.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Alfred Ardis

Listing Your House With a Local Realtor

So you’ve decided to sell your home – great! It’s a big decision that no one takes lightly. But it can also be a very stressful decision that leaves you unsure of what to do next. That’s just one of many reasons you should consider using a realtor to sell your home.

A realtor takes, „I’m going to sell my house“ into „I’m selling my house.“ And they save you stress while they do. Otherwise, you can spend weeks just finding the right platform to sell your house on. Not to mention you have to filter all the potential buyers yourself. This is incredibly time consuming and comes with a ton of drawbacks. Only one of which is hearing every reason you should either give your home away or do owner financing. You can even end up potentially putting yourself in danger.

When you work with a realtor, you work with bigger numbers. Your agent can set you up with more verified, serious buyers than you can find yourself. They also have access to bigger advertising funds and more resources for home listings. All of this leads to a much better, happier sell.

Have you ever wondered why some homes have handwritten signs on a post while others have full-color gloss sheets? The answer is usually one has a realtor involved. Realtors know exactly what potential buyers want to see and know. They have the funds to create professional, appealing advertisements for your home. You aren’t left waiting for someone to call a number written on a sign that could fall off the next time it rains.

The combination of professionalism, knowledge, and connections leads to faster sales with bigger dollar signs. While time might not always be a huge factor when you’re selling, you are responsible for the costs of your home even when you aren’t living in it. That does make selling quickly a priority for most. It can also lead to a much bigger payout, meaning that you will get the money you want and deserve when selling. This isn’t something most people can say when they choose to sell on their own.

So do you need a realtor to sell your home? No. There are plenty of ways to sell it on your own. But it does offer you protection, alleviate stress, and get you more out of your home sale if you choose to go with a realtor. So do yourself a favor and go with the best!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Shaun Greer

Financial Help for First Time Home Buyers

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and transitioning from renter to property owner presents a long list of significant long-term benefits. Yet, there are numerous thoughts and fears many have when considering buying their first home.

When beginning the initial process of owning a home for the first time, most people spend a fair amount of time looking around for the perfect house, in the right neighborhood and in the right location. Selecting the right property that is a good fit on all levels and ensuring the location will meet all of your requirements is obviously a big part of making sure your short-term and long-term needs are met.

However, as you get past the initial stages of simply looking at different properties and trying to determine your exact needs, you may find buying a home is a bit more involved than you first realized. Most first-time home buyers go through feeling a little overwhelmed at the beginning and a top notch realtor can offer significant help for first time home buyers.

Financial Help for First Time Home Buyers

Plus 5 Important Tips

Think About Today and the Future

When you are looking around for the right home to purchase it is important to think about what will meet your needs today and in the future. Most of the time, buying a house is not only a financial commitment but also a commitment of time; meaning, you will probably live in the home for at least several years.

If you don’t have any children a small cottage on the lake might sound fun now, but if you decide to have kids in a few years it may become impractical very quickly. Thinking about your current lifestyle and how it might change in the coming years is an important consideration and can help make your home purchase successful on a long-term basis.

Choose a Realtor Carefully

Choosing the realtor you work with is a very important consideration, perhaps the most important. A good real estate agent can help make the home buying process much easier and much more successful. Real estate agents are experienced professionals who know what to look for, what to be careful of and all the important details that you will need to take care of throughout your first home purchase.

Some real estate agencies offer special programs that can provide significant help for first time home buyers such as down payment assistance, tax credits and special mortgage programs. There are even a select few real estate agents that are willing to give up a portion of their commission and offer it to home buyers as a cash back rebate. If restrictions on cash back rebates exist due to guidelines of the lender, then buyers can apply the rebate towards closing costs instead. Either way it is a significant financial bonus and can provide tremendous help for first time home buyers.

Pay Attention to the Type of Mortgage You Accept

Knowing the price range of home you can really afford is based on many factors such as your credit score and your debt to income ratio. Knowing your budget from the lenders perspective is very important so you do not waste your time looking at properties that do not fit your budget and do not fit a lender’s criteria either. A well-seasoned realtor can assist you with the mortgage pre-qualification process so you are ready to not only make an offer on a property, but you are actually able to secure a loan and close on the property successfully.

In some trending real estate markets the seller will not even consider an offer unless the buyer has a pre-qualified certificate from a lender. Working with the right realtor who can help you get pre-qualified and who is also affiliated with multiple lenders, title companies and home inspection services will help you be prepared for a successful buying process. Additionally, it will allow you to negotiate on the selling price of a home from a position of strength.

The details, terms and costs involved with your mortgage are important for knowing how much a home will cost you on a monthly basis and over the length of the entire term of a mortgage. Knowing if there is a free down payment program associated with the loan, the interest rate, term and closing costs are just a few of the considerations you should be clear about before committing to a mortgage. One very important element of a mortgage is if the interest rate is fixed or variable.

A fixed interest rate will give you a set rate of interest for the entire term of the mortgage, which will result in a predictable monthly payment that is the same month after month from the very first month until the last payment is made. A variable rate mortgage will typically offer a fixed rate for a short period such as 1 year, 3 years or 5 years and then the rate will fluctuate based on a set parameter such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, also referred to as LIBOR.

Other Expenses In Addition to Your Mortgage Payment

We all know it is important to make sure you can afford the monthly payment for a new home, but what about the other costs involved with home ownership? Besides your monthly mortgage payment, there will be other costs involved with owning a home that some first-time buyers may not have thought about. Take some time to make a list of all the possible expenses that will fall under normal maintenance for any property you are considering.

For instance; will you need to maintain your yard up to the standards set by the neighborhood homeowners association which means purchasing lawn maintenance equipment or hiring a service to do it for you. What are the costs for your monthly water, electric and gas bills? Is there adequate WiFi and or cable service available and the fees associated with it.

Keeping a home in top condition is not only important for maintaining a quality standard of living and following the rules of the HOA, city ordinances or even just implied rules based on how your neighbors care for their homes but also for the resale value of a home.

Resale Value

When you look around at all the different properties available it is always a good idea to listen to the advice of your realtor on what homes present the best resale value opportunities. Depending on the area you are in, there will be certain properties that lend themselves to higher potential resale values due to the number of bedrooms, how much property the home sits upon, the school district or other factors.

An experienced realtor will know the area well and what will sell quickly. Listening to their advice will not only ensure a good decision today but can also save you from big headaches when you try to sell the property many years from now.

An Experienced Realtor is the Best Help for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home or even your next home can be a little intimidating and it does involve making several careful decisions. However, working with an experienced realtor who works for you specifically as your buyer’s agent rather than a transaction agent will help keep the process smooth and successful.

„We cannot imagine a better home buying experience. Our Realtor was professional, courteous, and straightforward and did whatever it took to get us a fair deal and made sure that we were buying a home that was right for us. On top of all of that, they offer a 1% rebate back on the purchase price of the home! I would recommend them without any hesitation… you simply won’t find a better realtor. They gave us $3850 cash rebate when we purchased our home through them. Thank you Kellie and Kent Lighthall.“

Stay on your goal to purchase your first home and explore the available programs offered by some realtors; like down payment assistance and home buyer’s cash back rebate program as both are available to all home buyers first time or next time purchasers.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Carol Vizzi

How to Plan the Perfect Open House

Have you ever spent time and energy planning an Open House, just to have less than five people attend? Have you ever had a ton of people show up at your Open House, and been unable to convert a single one of them into a sale or a future client? Are you unsure about why your Open House failed?

Open Houses are now more important to the real estate agent than ever. A report in 2015 by the National Association of Realtors Home Buyers and Sellers indicated that 48% of home buyers cited the Open House as an important source for most of their information. The reasons for this are obvious, for many it’s the first time that they’re getting to smell, see, and feel the home in person. It’s also a way to see what other people think of the house, which is a powerful push in a person’s perception of a particular home.

I’m Cindy Bishop of Cindy Bishop Worldwide. I pride myself not only on being a successful real estate agent with over 28 years of experience, but a knowledgeable and helpful trainer and coach. I’m committed to making everyone who comes into contact with me succeed, and have compiled the following open house tips for you, both from my own experience, as well as teaching and coaching friends of mine. Use them to succeed, and contact me if you have any questions at all!

Here are the best ways to make your Open House perfect:

1. Pick a unique property, that’s easy to find.

We often don’t have control over which property we’re showing, but when we are able to select a house at which to host an Open House event, we should look for properties with the following:

* A direct route to them with very few turns. Street names are easy, and street signs are visible.

* Properties that are well kept, and visually pleasing from both the inside and outside.

* A home with some kind of „conversation starter“. It has a unique feature, and is not just four walls. It might have an infinity pool, a walk-in closet, or a newly redesigned kitchen.

* Your signage should be larger than life. On the event day, you need something to make the signs stand out even more. Balloons are often used, or you could even try streamers, or pinwheels. Be creative, just try to find something professional, but that catches the light and people’s attention.

2. Have your Open House event at the right time.

* Don’t have your event after dark. Plan your event to end at sunset.

* Consider having a separate open house preview, for neighbors only. And then an open-to-the-public type of event later. Neighbors love this preview event concept, because it makes them feel special, and they love suggesting who should live in their neighborhood. It also allows them to start thinking of friends and family they want nearby, and they become part of your sales force for you, as well as your advertising force for the actual open house.

* If you do have an event only for neighbors, consider taking out a camera and interviewing and recording them talking about the neighborhood. This is something you can add to your website, or social media, or have on repeat loop during your Open House. For example, imagine how powerful it is to have a recorded testimonial from a mother in the area about the school district?

* Don’t pick a date and time where people are not available, for example, the majority of people work Monday through Fridays from 8am-5pm, and may not be free on a Wednesday at 3pm. Additionally, people are usually not free on holiday weekends.

3. Make your Open House event the right vibe, and the more exciting, the better!

* Entertaining music is a possibility, but be careful that it’s not distracting and that you avoid certain genres or language that may be offensive. Music may be seen as a way to cover up noises or mechanical failures in the house. Make sure that you’re sensitive to how the music is being perceived.

* Snacks are a must! Try wine and cheese, or beer and wings. The most important part about the food is that it needs to match what type of neighborhood you are in. Fried chicken and hamburgers probably aren’t appropriate at a million-dollar listing, but champagne and caviar probably aren’t appropriate in a first-time homebuyer situation, either. Just a word of caution; however, if you are serving alcohol, be very careful about who you serve. You may even want to get someone on your team to help you out with this. The last thing you need is for someone to drink at your open house as a minor, or someone to drive off over intoxicated and get into an accident. If in the right kind of setting, having comfort foods is especially welcoming and makes many visitors feel more at home. Careful to avoid foods with bad odors or smells, as you don’t want them attributed to the home.

* Consider leaving a hand-written sign to „Help Yourself“ along with a list of ingredients, so that visitors feel like they are able to eat the snacks provided without fear.

* Consider having a slideshow or interactive photo board featuring the home at various times of year. You may want to show the home off in summer months, for example, if it’s currently January and the garden and pool are frozen over.

* Consider making a table, desk, or station with local school information, neighborhood information, etc. The more resources you can provide, the better. You want the guest to stop at this station and pour over the resources, and ask as many questions as possible.

* Make sure to engage each and every visitor so they have are interested, and want to stay longer.

4. Don’t just advertise your Open House, create buzz around it.

* Create an event on social media, and share it with all of your friends and clients, as well as everyone on your e-mail lists. Facebook ads have become an amazing resource for reaching a ton of people in your area that wouldn’t have been in your networks otherwise. And it’s incredibly cost-effective, for what it does. You should filter the Facebook ad to include only people in targeted zip codes. You can also un-invite or exclude people who work for other realtors or competing brokerages.

* Flyer surrounding businesses and schools in the area of the listing. Knock on as many doors as possible.

* Visit neighbors‘ homes with nice newsletters or invitations. The nicer the invitation, the higher the chance that they will pop in to see what all of the fuss is about. Some agents even suggest using wedding style invitations.

* Don’t just advertise on one channel. You can try Facebook events, Twitter, your own website, your e-mail list, your newsletter, NextDoor.com, and even Craigslist. Just make sure you follow all of the appropriate advertising and marketing laws as designated by your brokerage and state laws.

5. Logistics, Logistics, Logistics

* Make sure everything is in order so that you look your best, and the house looks it’s best. it should be clean, light bulbs should be new, dust should be gone, air fresheners should be working, the climate should be controlled. I’ve even heard of certain agents baking cookies in advance of the big event so that the house feels and smells extra homey.

* Consider removing clutter, which makes navigating the home difficult. You can also remove or hide offensive art, or anything that might make someone feel uncomfortable. But be careful- make sure the homeowner doesn’t just throw the clutter into closets or cabinets! People care more and more about storage these days, and if it looks like the cabinets and closets are busting at the seams with junk, they’ll automatically assume that the amount of storage space in the house is not sufficient

* Use natural light to your advantage. Make sure all window treatments are open and all curtains are drawn. All light switches should be turned on, regardless of where they are. You don’t want someone afraid to go in the basement, or thinking they aren’t allowed to enter the garage.

* Make sure the home owner is not present. The last thing you need is them having an emotional breakdown because they are going down memory lane, or answering a question incorrectly. People also feel uncomfortable freeing roaming when the person who owns the property is looking over their shoulder.

* With that said, valuables, if left in the home, should be secured. At the very least, you should know what they are and where, and make an inventory of them. I strongly advise you insist that the home owner take them out of the property before the open house, so you’re not held liable for them in case of damage or theft.

* Use your team. If you are alone at an Open House, you may be spread too thin. If you leave for a minute to check that a sign on the corner hasn’t fallen down, you may miss someone who pops in to find no one there. Have one person for signage and the guest book, one person on food and drink detail, and that leaves you free to talk to and engage guests.

* Have a loan agent or lender on hand, in order to answer any potential questions the home buyer may have about the process.

* Make sure you have the necessary paperwork required. You can print out a copy of the MLS but it’s strongly suggested that you make a booklet, flyer, or something more personalized to the property, and to yourself.

* Make sure you know the neighborhood, and have done comparisons of values in the neighborhood. You may lose credibility if someone asks you a question and you’re unfamiliar with this territory, and I’m sure you’d rather look like a pro!

6. Use the Personal Touch

* It’s not enough to have each visitor sign in. You should take detailed notes on your conversation with each person. If you can’t remember this, a helpful suggestion is to hide a notebook or tablet inside a kitchen drawer, and make notes as the day goes by.

* You should remember one thing about each visitor and bring it up at some point during their tour of the home. „Jerry, wouldn’t this be an amazing place to store your golf clubs?“

* Don’t try to sell anyone. They will come to you, and request the information they need, when they need it. This is a time to establish relationships. Your only objective should be to make this home (and yourself) memorable.

7. Follow Up

* Add all visitors to your e-mail list, as well as your newsletter list. AM Open House is a great app and resource to make sure you’re keeping on task with this.

* For those visitors who were seriously interested in the home or in you, handwritten cards should be sent out thanking them for coming, and encouraging their business in the future. Take out that handy notebook you stashed, and make personal notes in each card. They’re more likely to keep it the more personal it is. Above all, make sure your contact information is on each card.

* Some agents even send videos. You could forward on a Facebook live video of the open house, or send a YouTube video of the listing. You could even send some kind of greeting card video for a special way to say „thanks for attending!“ BombBomb is a great resource for this type of video.

* Text message is a wonderful way to contact people, and has a 95% open rate. It’s less invasive than a phone call, which people may avoid answering if they don’t know a specific caller. Send a very specific text message with a thank you, the property address, and more information on the property, or a link for more information.

* Send a follow up to the follow up starting with the subject header „I forgot to tell you… “ – You can then point out a feature you neglected to tell them about on the current property, or even point out other properties that you may have listed, if this one fell short for them.

Of course, the best resource for an Open House is a coach, who can suggest strategies unique to your community and clientele. Not only is this more effective, but a coach should follow up with you to make sure that everything went smoothly, and question each step if it doesn’t.

Cindy Bishop is the Managing Director of Cindy Bishop Worldwide, a real estate education company specializing in Business Enhancement and Growth training for the Real Estate Community. Cindy is an active coach specializing in real estate agent business development.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Cindy D Bishop

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