Sunday, May 28, 2006

For Sale by owner pitfalls

There are a few pitfalls if you try to sell your home on your own. offers a few reasons why you should not sell your home on your own and of course they do have good reasons here.

1. FSBOs can't list their home in the MLS. FSBOs aren't permitted to put their home in the multiple listing service (MLS) because these industry membership organizations are open only to licensed real estate brokers and agents. FSBOs are also locked out of many home search engines and Web sites, including the gigantic Sure, a determined FSBO can put a for-sale sign in his or her front yard and run a tiny advertisement in the local newspaper, but the home won't receive nearly as much exposure as it would through the MLS.

2. Agents won't show for sale buy owner homes. In a typical home sale, the buyer's agent receives a percentage of the commission that the seller pays the listing agent. Without a listing agreement, there's no guarantee that the buyer's agent will be compensated for his or her services, unless the buyer has signed a buyer's brokerage agreement that specifically provides for such compensation. Even if a FSBO offers to pay the buyer's side of the commission, most agents won't want to go through a transaction with an unsophisticated self-represented seller across the table. That means the pool of potential buyers for FSBO homes is limited primarily to unrepresented and probably unqualified prospects.

3. For sale buy owners usually overprice their home. Like most homeowners, most FSBOs honestly believe their own home is worth more than comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Usually, they're wrong. A real estate agent can provide an update on market conditions, an assessment of the likely selling price of the home and tips for improving the home's buyer appeal. Overpricing a for-sale home is a sure way to deter potential buyers.

4. Buyers will feel intimidated trying to buy a home from a by owner. Potential buyers will spend less time in a for-sale home if the owner is present during the showing, and they'll be shy about discussing its pluses and minuses with their own agent if the owner is within earshot. Buyers will also be less inclined to make an offer if they know they'll be negotiating directly with the seller. Having an agent on each side creates an effective emotional buffer between the seller and buyer.

5. For sale by owners are likely to stumble into legal trouble. Real estate transactions are fraught with potential liability for unwary sellers, particularly in states that have extensive disclosure requirements (e.g., California). A FSBO who overlooks even one required form or legally mandated disclosure could face a protracted and expensive buyer lawsuit after the transaction closes.

Take heed at these if you are going to try to sell your home on your own. The other thing to think about is that a buyer buying a home from a buy owner is going to discount the price by the amount of commision that you would have had to pay.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Interest rate fears

I hate trying to be a real estate analyst but if you are planning to sell this year this is probably your best time. The markets around the country are hot right now and it looks like interest rates are on their way up for the rest of the year.

Actually to be really clear about it interest rates are incredible low and if your are thinking of making a move up be aware that rates could go up 3 percent over the next couple of years on fewer of the American dollar not being able to compete with international currencies as well as war and oil issues both domestically and abroad.

is there a real estate bubble. you bet, the trouble is people have been saying at least for a couple of years that the bubble is about to burst and as we all know no one has got it right yet.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

When is it time to sell your home?

Your friends just sold their home for an amazing profit. You are considering putting your home on the market, but how do you know if the time is right.

Whether you are simply a homeowner or a real estate investor, you may have been paying attention to the market. It has been exceptionally hot for the past few years. In many areas, price appreciation has been through the roof. And though there is a slowdown happening in the market, there are still plenty of properties that are selling quite well.

One thing that is working in many sellers' favor right now is a fear of where the market is going. In areas where appreciation has been modest, rising interest rates are causing a few homebuyers to jump on properties before they can no longer afford them. Many consumers are afraid that they will pay to much if they wait much longer.

While interest rates are on the rise, they are still at a very low point. They haven't risen enough to knock the majority of potential buyers out of the market. Add in new loan programs designed to lower the monthly payments, and you will find that there aren't a lot of people shying away from buying.

In fact, most buyers buy because they are ready, not when the market is ready.

And perhaps that is the way to sell a home. Are you ready to move on? Do you have substantial equity in your home? Is your home in good shape?

If you answered yes to all three questions, then you are probably ready to sell your home. You can get an idea of what your neighborhood market is like by watching it yourself. Look at home that are similar to yours in style, size, age and location. See how long they remain on the market.

You can also talk with a Realtor about your decision to sell. Ask how long their listed properties are staying on the market. Is this up or down from last year? Where do they see the market heading?

The market is an interesting force. The thing is that we tend to focus on what it is doing right now, instead of looking at overall trends. Is the rise in interest rates really hurting the consumer when it comes to a potential for foreclosure? Even when interest rates were declining, foreclosure rates were increasing. Maybe they aren't as tied as we think.

What should determine whether you should sell your home or not? Consider your job status, your income level, your age, your family and all the other factors that are important to your everyday life. Yes, we would all like to make a huge profit on our homes, but no matter what the market is like, chances are you will not get any more than your home is worth.

So are you ready to sell your home? Are you ready to buy a new one?

Look to yourself and your finances and not the market. The market isn't always easy to pin down. Let your timing be right, not the market's. When your focus is on your own finances, you are able to make better decisions. Good luck.

Martin Lukac, represents, a finance web-company specializing in real estate/mortgage market. We specialize in daily updates, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies! Visit today

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What to look for in your homeowners insurance

Most Homeowners insurance companies will simply send out a reminder for a renewal of your home insurance policy when the end of the year is up for your insurance coverage. Many will also automatically renew your policy unless you call and let them know that you want to change or cancel that policy. This makes it easy for many homeowners to simply begin sending in the next set of payments for another year without reviewing the policy to make sure it adequately reflects their needs for the year.

Whether you have upgraded or remodeled the home, added a deck onto the back, turned the home into a rental property or realized that you may have problems with flooding in your area, there are several reasons to review your home insurance policy every year to assess whether the coverage still meets your needs.

Even if you have just begun a new home insurance coverage policy, it is important to review the policy as soon as you receive it to make sure the policy has the correct coverage amounts and coverage needs you have asked for. Remember that this policy will be in place for an entire year and will most likely cost between $300-$2000 so be sure that you are getting what you want.

If you asked for personal liability of others in the amount of $100,000 and the policy only shows $50,000 don’t be afraid to call the insurance agent back to have this problem corrected. The problem can simply be solved by issuing a new policy or a policy change.

Once the year time period has expired on your current policy and you are getting ready to renew again, it is always a safe bet to call the insurance agent and ask if the replacement cost value has gone up on your home or on anything in your home.

Remember that the financial market continues to increase and with this rates of building and replacement tools will go up, so there is no shame in calling to ask if the figures on your policy need to be changed.

If you have done any renovation of the home in the last year, such as replacing countertops or flooring, or even adding on a deck, it is important to inform the insurance company of these changes. This protects you from being underinsured in case of damage or loss.

If you have acquired any major purchases of personal property, it is also important to contact the insurance company about changing the coverage amount on your interior belongings. This could include major electronics equipment like an LCD television, a personal computer or laptop, an expensive piece of jewelry or fur coat, or even new furniture or a new piece of artwork.

It is also important to review your insurance coverage policy every year to determine if you have adequate peril coverage and liability insurance. Although some basic plans cover certain types of natural disaster and others cover personal liability, you may want to consider adding on specific insurance clauses for flooding, hurricanes, or tornados if you live in a high risk area.

If you started a plan out with little or no hurricane insurance but realized that the previous year brought major hurricanes to your area, then you may want to reconsider the amount of coverage. As well, some policies do not require homeowners to have personal liability insurance but this is a good idea if you are planning on having others in your home quite often.

This could include construction workers who are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or even a babysitter or housekeeper. You will also want to change your policy if your children are starting to get older and invite over friends to play in the yard or to spend the night. Personal liability insurance will cover any accidents that happen while others are in your home.

One final reason to review your insurance policy each year is to assess discounts or possible price quote deductions that you may be able to receive. When you purchased the home it may not have had a security system installed, fire sprinklers or been equipped with up to date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

But if you have installed this equipment over the past year, it is a good idea to call and inform the insurance company to see if you this makes you eligible for a discount. You may also be able to receive a discount if you started receiving car insurance from the same company, turned a certain age, or began a membership to a certain club or organization that the insurance company recognizes and gives discounts to on a regular basis.

Credit: Ian W Anderson of, the homeowners insurance information site. For more homeowners insurance information and articles like this one visit: Homeowners Insurance

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How to decide on seller financing

Why offer seller financing when you sell? A higher price, a good return on your money, a faster sale and to sell a property that is otherwise difficult to sell. Some good reasons, but how do you do it safely?

1. Get a large downpayment. The most obvious way to be safe, and not always possible.

2. Get other security. If they want it with little down, and you like the return you'll get, make it safe by putting a mortgage on other property the buyer owns, to be released when they've paid down the balance to a certain level.

3. Check their credit. Have them pay for and bring you a credit report. Bad credit may be okay, but type of bad credit is important. Unpaid hospital bills they're disputing are not as relevant as unpaid loans.

4. Trust your instincts. If you are usually right about people, give some weight to your judgement of their character. I'd trust a man who felt morally obliged to pay his debts over a playboy that happens to have decent income at the moment.

5. Consider the whole picture. Suppose a bank will loan 90%, and is okay with you taking back a $5,000 second mortgage, allowing the buyer to get in with what cash he has. If you're getting $6,000 more than you expected by accomodating the buyer's needs, where's the loss? You're okay if he never pays the $5,000, right?

6. Talk to a lawyer. Maybe in your area it takes two years to get a foreclosure on a mortgage through the courts, and only six months to foreclose on a "contract for sale." Knowing these things can help you sell in the safest way.

Offering seller financing makes it easier to sell, and to get a higher price. Just be safe about it. Have a real estate lawyer review your paperwork, and use the tips here.

Steve Gillman has invested in real estate for years. To learn more, and to see a photo of a beautiful house he and his wife bought for $17,500, visit

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Reasons to refinance your home

Many people will take whatever mortgage they can get when trying to purchase a home. Sooner or later, you will start wondering if you can get a better deal. Welcome to the world of refinance.

Reasons to Refinance Your Home

Traditional mortgages are like any other loan in one important respect. You can pay them off early, although mortgages will sometimes have prepayment penalties for the first few years of the loan. In the world of real estate, people prepay loans all the time by taking a second loan to do so, better known as refinancing. Why would someone do this? There are a variety of reasons, but here are the most common.

Purchasing a home can be a bit stressful. Between home inspections and the escrow deadline, buyers tend to feel pressure to get any financing they can. As time passes, however, they start to realize they could have obtained a better deal on their mortgage. Even a quarter point reduction in a mortgage interest rate can save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. With this in mind, they start to look at refinancing their original mortgage to cut down on the total interest paid on the loan.

In tune with this idea, many homeowners also look to refinance to gain cash flow flexibility. Instead of looking to cut the total payments on a loan, they look to find terms that will allow them to lower the amount of the monthly payment. Saving $400 a month on payments puts an additional $4,800 in your pocket each year, which can be attractive if cash flow is a little tight on a monthly basis.

On the opposite end of the scale, many homeowners will refinance to pull cash out of the home. They have built up equity over time and wish to convert that non-liquid asset into funds that can be used for something else. Often, this can be to pay for expenses associated with an emergency situation, such as a health crisis, or to put their kids through college. The reasons vary, but the purpose is the same.

The decision to refinance a mortgage is much less stressful than originating a loan. There is no deadline to act, so you can shop for the best possible deal for your situation.

Dan Lewis is with Great Western Mortgage - San Diego home loans provided by San Diego Mortgage Brokers. Great Western Mortgage is a San Diego mortgage company providing San Diego mortgages, San Diego home equity loan and San Diego mortgage solutions.

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which mortgage - long or short

Discussions of mortgages often focus on interest rates, but there is a much more basic decision to make. Should you go with a 30 year mortgage term or a 15 year mortgage term?

30 Year vs. 15 Year Mortgages

Any discussion of mortgages tends to turn on two points. How can you qualify for the most money with the lowest payment? How can you get the lowest interest rate for the mortgage? While these are two important issues, there is an addition one that people fail to consider, resulting in significant wasted money.

The term of a mortgage is extremely critical for a couple of reason. First, it sets the length of the obligation you are undertaking. Second, it defines the amount of interest you are going to pay over the life of the loan. These are huge issues when it comes to building equity.

The longer the loan, the more total interest you are going to pay. The trade off, of course, is you are going to have smaller monthly payments the farther you stretch out the obligation. While this may sound like a good goal when you first get the mortgage, it can backfire on you in the long run.

Most people focus on interest rates as a way to save money on mortgages. This is a valid approach, but playing with the length of the loan is a better way to save money. If you can cut the payments in half by going with a shorter loan, you can save huge amounts on the total interest repaid to a lender.

The decision on the term of the loan is relatively simple, but entirely dependent upon your personal situation. There is no absolutely correct choice. First, you need to determine if you can comfortably afford the higher payments that come with a shorter term loan. In general, a 15 year mortgage will have payments 20 to 25 percent higher than a 30 year loan. Of course, you will pay the loan off faster, to wit, be building equity in the home quicker.

The modern mortgage industry has a variety of different term length products. When applying for a loan, take the time to evaluate the different terms to see if you can find a loan that is perfect for your situation.

Dan Lewis is with Great Western Mortgage - San Diego home loans provided by San Diego Mortgage Brokers. Great Western Mortgage is a San Diego mortgage company providing San Diego mortgages, San Diego home equity loan and San Diego mortgage solutions.

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