Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The real estate fomrs you NEED to have

Anytime you spend your hard earned money to buy something, you should always have it documented. When you purchase smaller items, such as items at a convenience store, you’ll normally be given a receipt. When you purchase larger items, such as televisions and furniture, it will involve a bit more documentation. In exchange for your money, the seller will give you a receipt and in most cases a warranty that will protect your investment.

As you may already know, buying a home involves a lot more paperwork than furniture or even an automobile. Whether you are buying or selling a house, you should always have each step of the process documented. If any revisions are made, they should be recorded as well. Although buyers and sellers can prepare the documentation themselves, most choose not to due to the number of revisions that a single document can have. To help prevent consumers from these types of headaches, ready made real estate forms were introduced.

You can get a ready made form from a real estate agent or download the forms right off the Internet through a real estate website. Ready made real estate forms are easy to use, as they cover virtually all transactions you may encounter - from buying homes to selling them. There are forms that cover just the basics, which are ideal for those with no experience. If you are looking for a more legally binding form, there are also those that cover legal requirements and those that cover disclosure laws as well.

You can choose to purchase these forms on an individual basis as you need them, or buy an entire set instead. Individual forms are ideal for anyone who is involved with short term leases, such as rental property or homes that have been leased out. If you are planning to sell a home or buy a home, you are better of purchasing the entire set of ready made forms. This way, you’ll have all of the documentation you need and you won’t have to worry about purchasing more.

Unlike other types of real estate forms, ready made forms are assured for their accuracy, legality, and even their contents. Manufacturers of these forms spend a lot of time and a lot of energy verifying their documents, and making sure that they are perfect. Although these forms are normally up to date, you should still check with your local law and real estate offices to see if there are any updates. Real estate laws and regulations aren’t revised that often, and normally tend to stay the same for a long period of time.

If you aren’t sure about what forms you need, you should always ask a real estate agent. Even though ready made real estate forms are easy to understand and use, there are a few types available. If you are selling a home, you certainly wouldn’t want to use the same form as someone else who is buying a home. There are also ready made rental forms as well, which are ideal for those who are renting out property or leasing.

With ready made real estate forms, the process of real estate transactions are easier than ever before. By using these forms, you can do everything yourself - without having to forego realtors. You’ll save a lot of money as well, simply because there is no realtor involved. The next time you are buying, selling, or leasing out your property, you should look into ready made real estate forms and see just how easy they make real estate transactions.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dealing with the movers when you move

Here's 8 tips from the consumerist to help make your next move smoother, and help nip customer/company disputes in the bud, provided by Tiffany of ASAP Van Lines:

1. Read Your Order For Service. If something is listed as an additional cost, that means they can possibly charge you that the day of the move. Whatever a sales person promises, get it in writing on your order for service.

2. You can accompany your mover to the weight scale to verify your weight when they leave your pick up.

3. Movers do need to pack items safely in order to assure the same condition on delivery as from pick up. Make sure your items are packed or you know their packing charges if you choose not to pack your own.

4. Update your items list 72 hours before your move to ensure the most accurate weight....

5. You are always allowed a reweigh [ed. which you can either request with the company or contact your state weights and measures department] ...Weight is much more accurate then cubic feet and most states are not allowed to work by cubic feet.

6. Boxes add more weight, if you tell a sales person you have 20 boxes and the movers pick up 100....your weight can change considerably. Example 80 boxes at an average 20lbs are 1,600lbs.

7. Moving companies have legally 30 days to deliver you items but the general delivery spread is 7-21 business days. If you are not paying for an expedited shipment, understand they cannot always guarantee a specific day, only a delivery spread.

8. Content of boxes need to be verified for shipment if they are valued over $100. If you are moving dvd players, dvds, game systems, etc., show the movers and make sure it is labeled on the inventory.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How to ensure a quick home sale

At times you find it exigent to sell a property very quickly, almost in no time. Unavoidable circumstances like divorce or separation from your partner may drive you to such an emergency. The common chemistry that united you together is not matching any more. The moral maths of the moment demands a separation. To get over with the stress and strains you are undergoing, you need a quick sale of your property.

Or it may be that you are in need of cash in a flash. With a next to zero bank balance, you may turn to friends and relatives to avail that. You try every reliable source but in vain. So, you see no other alternative than to bank upon your property. But selling a property involves some documentation which, in turn, wastes lots of time. Sometimes it takes months to receive the cash. So, how can you ensure a quick sale of your property!

Well, the answer lies in the estate agents. Under any such circumstances when you need to sell your property quickly, they can provide you with valuable service. They will buy your home, sometimes directly from you. There will be no intervention of any third party. The hassle of documentation will be very less. Most importantly, you will have the cash in your hand very quickly.

Selling a property through estate agents is really smooth and easy. Whatever your circumstances may be, they will be ready to buy your property. You may need a quick sale for bizarre reasons. Apart from divorce, separation and financial difficulties, you may want to sell your property for some other reasons. Thus, you might be lagging behind with your mortgage repayment; so much so that you are heading towards property repossession.

Or you may be going to buy a new home and want to sell out the old one. It may even be the case of going abroad all on a sudden. In all the above circumstances what you need is a quick sale of your property to be in control of your schedule. Your singular effort will not be enough to meet such an emergency. So, the help of an estate agent is a must. They will buy the property instantly, sometimes even within twenty for hours and shell out the money on time.

About The Author: The author is a real estate specialist and through his writing has given guidance to many people who are in search of buying or selling property. He is currently associated with VIP Services, the UK's Leading Real Estate Specialist. VIP Services delicately focuses on helping people selling or buying houses within a short span of time and that too in cash, for people who are in urgent need of finance.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Home sale contract forms

I have written before about how important it is to have a proper contract if your are not using the services of a Realtor. Well here is a little info as to why you need that help and what to do make sure thing are done right.

A home purchase offer is a legal document presented by an interested buyer to a homeseller. This is no simple document because it actually includes all the terms and conditions of the sale which are mostly negotiable. It is just right then that homesellers focus on, not only a few, but all the terms of the sale.

The terms of a homesale cover the closing date, the specifics of how the purchase will be financed by the buyer, the closing costs and how they will be shared and paid, the items included in the sale and those that are not as well as the various contingencies of the buyer. Some of the common contingencies are for property inspection, appraisal, financing and review of the property title record. For homeowners selling their residential property on their own, real estate experts advise that they thoroughly review the purchase offer after receiving the document.

Evaluating terms

Be sure to evaluate all the terms and conditions before making a decision. Remember that every term can be negotiated so consider your options. If you are amenable to some of the terms, go ahead and accept them but you can also counter the other terms to adjust them according to your needs. It will be helpful if you list the terms and conditions on a separate sheet and make a note beside each of the term to determine if they are acceptable to you or not.

If, for instance, you don’t agree with some terms such as a low price, too long closing date and limited time to move out after closing, you can counter them with a higher price, shorter closing and more time to vacate your home. It’s just a matter of negotiating well and communicating your needs and concerns clearly to the buyer.

Here’s a tip. Read and examine a blank real estate contract to familiarize yourself to the standard and non-standard terms. Understand the special clauses normally written above the signature block as these are used by the buyer to make non-standard demands, to ask the seller to pay certain portions of his costs and to demand a specific date for the homeowner to move.

Important considerations

Before accepting the purchase offer, it’s advisable that you make sure your buyer has been pre-approved or at the least, pre-qualified for a real estate mortgage enough to buy your home. Avoid signing an offer until the buyer has been pre-qualified.

Other things to watch out for include longer time for buyer to get financing, low earnest money deposit, penalty if the seller fails to move out of the home during the specified date and requirement for the seller to pay the mortgage costs of the buyer.

After reviewing the offer, you have several choices. First, you can accept the offer as it is and sign it to become a legal sales contract or agreement. Second, you can make a counter-offer by eliminating the unacceptable terms and providing your own contract with your specific terms. Third, you can reject the offer if you are not amenable to all of the terms and conditions.

When considering the purchase price offered by the buyer, look at it as a whole. Sure the buyer may have offered a price lower than what you wanted but there may be some terms that counterbalance the low purchase price such as the buyer paying for the closing costs or a fast closing.

As for the earnest money, the minimum requirement should be at least $500. There are some homesellers who require buyers to issue an earnest money check before signing the offer. The earnest money is held by a third party such as your real estate lawyer, the buyer’s agent or whoever the two parties specify in an escrow agreement. However, if you know your buyer and trust him, an earnest money may not be needed.

You also have the freedom to accept a second or backup offer if you wish. Just make sure that your second buyer knows and understands that your house is already under contract and that he or she is only next in line.

This article is brought to you by Download real estate forms

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oral agreements will not stick

If you are either buying or selling a house and you have a great handshake deal, do not think that there is any guarantee. I have seen many people say "well my word is good enough" well your word MAY BE good enough but as far as money goes many people will reneg on a deal if they think that they are not getting the best one.

Always have a deal signed by both properties and really if you are not using a realtor at the very least get a real estate contract at the local Staples or Office Depot to get a good contract signed and head straight oover to a lawyer to have everything validated.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Staging your condo to sell

The thing that always drives me crazy is the way that people always have articles and info on staging your home that start with "your yard must be freshly mowed" Well if you have a condo you have no yard so why not look at the condo and the buyers of a condo differently than you look at a house. The priorities for staging a condo to sell are much different than the priorities of staging a house to sell. Here are some great tips.

When staging condominiums there are fundamental principles which MUST be applied. Too often sellers believe the art of home staging and condo staging is exactly the same thing. This way of thinking will cause them to make their FIRST mistake . . . which could result in their condo sitting along side countless others . . . long after the buyers have gone home!

The following is a list of additional mistakes to avoid when staging your condo for sale:

Think Square Footage - Many condominiums have limited space. When planning your furniture layout, instead of thinking square footage . . . think square inch, and make each one count!

Size Really Does Matter - When shopping for furniture focus on scale and proportion, NOT bigger is better! Oversized furniture may look great on the showroom floor, but when you get it home it will look much different. You will swear that the "elephant in the room" is definitely not what you ordered!

Flex Areas - Condo living calls for carefully planned, creatively designed, multifunctional spaces known as flex areas. Because of the growing demand to meet the diverse needs of today's condo buyer, more and more manufacturers are offering proportionately scaled, multipurpose furniture to their lines. They include upholstered slipper chairs that fold out into guest beds, ottomans that serve as extra seating and storage, high-low tables that instantly transform from cocktail tables into dining tables for entertaining . . . just to name a few. And for the savvy targetted condo buyer, staging a multi media/home office area is always advisable.

Defining Spaces - Whether you prefer the clean, contemporary lines of ultra urban or the graceful warm feel of timeless traditional - remember to use COLOR to define your spaces and create memorable WOW effects. Too often sellers believe that by keeping the walls neutral, it will make the limited space of a condo look larger. Actually the opposite is true. By bumping out a few accent walls with well chosen COLORS you not only will add excitement to the room, but visually add depth, giving the illusion that the space is larger than it is.

Presentation Is Everything - Choose fewer, but larger, more dynamic artwork and accessories. This is one of the most frequently made mistakes by sellers who believe you should do quite the opposite. Just remember . . . scale down your furniture and scale up your artwork and accessories to successfully stage a condo with limited space. Your presentation and end result will certainly be more dramatic . . . and memorable!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida., and

There are a few tips here to better understand why your condo is different and what to do to get it sold easier. Again, your condo is not a detached house so do not stage it that way.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What makes your home sell for more?

I see this all of the time. People try to sell their home and find that they can not get as much as the neighbor did a little while ago. Why not? The marekt seems the same? Well here are a few answers.

When we try to determine property value for your home, we compare your home with old listings and active listings on the Charleston MLS. No two properties are completely alike, but some properties are similar enough to compare prices. So, we look at comparable homes that have recently sold in your area (sold listings), homes that were for sale on the market but never successfully sold (expired listings), and homes that are currently for sale (active listings). Aside from these comparisons, we also take other factors into consideration when determining a home’s value.

1. One of the most important factors that affect value is location. Homes that are closer to the beach or to downtown Charleston sell at a higher price. You can install all of the Brazilian cherry flooring and stainless appliances you want, but you cannot change the location of a home!

2. While we’re on the topic of upgrades, another major factor is what improvements the owners have made to the house. Updating kitchens, replacing flooring, repainting walls, and adding landscaping can add to the value of a home. However, sometimes homeowners can spend too much on a house and not get all of their money back when it comes time to sell the house. Before making drastic improvements to your house, be sure to talk with your real estate agent so that you use your money wisely on your investment.

3. The neighborhood or general area surrounding your home can greatly affect your home’s value. Some neighborhoods are more desirable than others. Also, some areas are avoided because of major traffic, large roads, or flooding.

4. If a seller needs to sell the house quickly, he or she may be willing to take a slightly lower asking price for the house. For this reason we talk with our clients to find out why they are selling their home and by what date they need to move.

5. The time of year also can affect a home’s current market value. People generally tend to avoid major holidays when it comes time to buying a house and moving. The most active time of the year is probably March to August. So, if you are trying to sell your house in late November, you will be in a less active market and may have to wait longer or accept a lower price for it.

So, location, improvements, general area, the seller’s time frame, and the time of year can affect property value.

Lee Keadle is a full-time real estate agent in Charleston, SC. He works with a team of three agents to give buyers and sellers the best services possible. You can search for homes and vacant land on our website at

Does this anser some of your home sales problems? Do you think that you have a better idea why you have had trouble? I hope this is good for you as I have found this info invaluable.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What to look for in a home sale contract

When you go to sell your home you will have a contract that will be negotiated. After you finish the negotiations you will need to remove the subjects on the contract before you have a firm deal. Here are a bunch of things to look at in the contract.

Anyone who has ever purchased or sold a home should be familiar with the concept of contract subjects. For those who have never heard the term, I will explain in more detail. During a home sale there are a number of negotiations that happen between the concerned parties. Sometimes they are detailed on paper if they are of enough importance, these are known as subjects. Subjects occur after the initial offer for the home is made when the buyer would like certain changes made to the home. Below we will explore some of the more typical subjects involved in real estate contracts.

By far the most common subject is "subject to the home passing an inspection." This means that the buyer's offer is subject to the home's passing of a legitimate inspection. Therefore the buyer has the right to rescind the offer if the home does not pass the inspection. Although it is also true that if the home fails inspection the buyer may still want your home. IF a home does not pass the inspection then the buyer may alter their subjects to incorporate the necessary repairs to ensure that the home does eventually pass. These will typically read some thing like "subject to the necessary repairs being made to the home at the cost of the buyer." Now, usually the subject will go into more detail about the fixes that are necessary; but as we aren't making an actual offer here the preceding statement is a bit of a blanket statement. Let's use the example of a faulty roof on a home.

The buyer has an inspector come in and do their thing. The report comes back saying that there are leaks in the roof and on that basis the home does not pass. The buyer can then make the subject of "upon completion of a new roof with warranty." If the seller accepts this subject they are then responsible for the installation of the new roof and upon completion the sale can go ahead as outlined in the contract.

Sellers can also utilize subjects during the contract process to put rules or guidelines on the transaction. The most common of these is a subject to omit certain items from the sale of the home. For instance, the seller has just purchased an expensive custom range and grill and when they move they are planning to take it with them. Their subject will clearly state that in the sale of the home, the new range is not part and parcel of the deal. This kind of subject can also apply to window coverings, other appliances, or indeed anything that the seller wants to take with them, provided that it is agreed upon by both parties.

Joshua Keen is a real estate agent located in Atlanta, Georgia. The Keen Team specializes in the sale and purchase of Intown Atlanta real estate. When looking for Atlanta MLS Listings, contact Ben and Joshua for the best Atlanta realty services!

This info especially as far as home inspection subjects go is great for your to think about throughout the home selling process

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sell your home by getting rid of pet smells

Have you had trouble selling your home? Well maybe there is a bit of a smell problem. Try getting rid of that smell with these tips.

It has been well established that when people are house shopping they buy what they see. What you may not have been told however, they also buy what they smell!

As a professional home stager, my primary job is to meet with Realtors and home sellers, go room by room with a critical eye, and tell them honestly and exactly what needs to be done to best prepare their home for a quick, profitable sale.

I have written many articles on the art of home staging . . . addressing demographics, and how to use them to target your broadest spectrum of buyers . . . outlining the importance of creating warm, inviting environments with emotional connections strategically positioned . . . I have talked about preparing your home as a 'product to be sold', depersonalizing and decluttering each room, as well as updating both interiors and exteriors . . . and stressed the importance of creating memory points and WOW factors. Above all I have stressed the fact that . . . there are no second chances to make a 'great' first impression!

The following are a few suggestions to help you combat offensive odors:

1. Have your carpets professionally cleaned. For extreme cases when this does not eliminate the problem, replace the carpeting, INCLUDING the padding! This is where most pet odor is absorbed. Note: Before replacing the carpeting make sure you heavily treat the affected bare cement with baking soda or the odor can reappear.

2. Bathe your pets, and change litter boxes often! Because you are desensitized to the odors in your home, you should always go the extra mile 'just in case'. You may not smell anything, but your buyer might . . . a chance you can't afford to take! And when showing your home don't forget to send the cat to grandma's house if at all possible. When people see pets, they will immediately start looking for the smells! The same rule applies for all pet dishes, toys, beds etc. Remove them. Remember the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind . . . !"

3. Place open boxes of baking soda (inconspicuously of course) in smell-prone areas. Good old fashioned baking soda is still considered one of the best 'odor absorbers' on the market. Use in kitchens, baths, under beds, inside trash cans etc.

4. Open it up . . . Air it out! This one is a tactic that is centuries old and pretty self explanatory. Fresh air can do wonders for any home, especially one that has been closed up for the season. I am aware this is not always a possibility, but when you can . . . do!

5. Introduce pleasant smells . . . naturally! Before you show your home bring in fresh flowers, potpourri, bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies to leave for your guests, or have a large vase of eucalyptus leaves attractively displayed. I don't recommend the use of scented oils or deodorizers to mask offensive odors. First of all they don't cover them up, and secondly, many people have allergies and are sensitive to perfumes and artificial fresheners. (This is also an area where many have mistakenly applied the "more-the-merrier" rule instead of "less-is-more". Then scented deodorizers take center stage and are as offensive as the odors they were trying to mask!)

Having once again addressed all of these very important steps that will lead you to a quicker, more profitable sale . . . let me now discuss the issue that will make all of the above "to-do's" obsolete, and keep your house on the market long after the buyers have bought elsewhere. If your home SMELLS . . . nothing else you do will really matter! This is a problem that, unfortunately, rears it's ugly head . . . or should I say nose, more than I would like to admit. I am called into homes in all price categories, beautifully decorated, well manicured and maintained . . . but, they SMELL! What do I do? I tell them. Because this is a sensitive issue, (especially if it involves "Felix" or "Fido"), I am as tactful as possible, but they must be told. Usually odors caused by family pets, or just everyday family use, are not detected by family members. They have become desensitized, and are unaware of the problem. But to outsiders walking in, this is the first impression they will form, and it will linger in their mind, (and nose), long after they leave the home!

You know there are no second chances to make a great first impression, so make your first chance count by remembering . . . people not only buy what they see, they buy what they 'smell'!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida. Please contact Jeannene Edwards or David Edwards at:

If you are still having trouble getting rid of those smells there is always the opportunity to paint or change carpets. The problem of course is that the future buyers of your home may not like your choice of paint and carpet so try to make sure that you pick very generic colors that no owner would have a problem with.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lending Trees tips for new home buyers

Looking forward to spring home buying season? Get some tips from before you start.

Charlotte, NC (PRWeb) April 8, 2007 -- Finding the home of your dreams is exciting. Placing a bid to purchase it might be a different story. Buying a new home can often lead buyers into a major Goldilocks dilemma: is my offer too high, too low, or just right? But don't worry - the decision on how much to pay for a home can be as easy as doing a little homework.

So, how do you determine the right amount?

To get to the bottom of that question, offers up the following tips.

Don't exceed your budget.
First, understand your budget. This is the most important rule to following: never offer more for a home than you can actually afford. Getting a pre-approval letter from your lender can help keep you in the ballpark of how much you have to spend, but keep in mind that letter details how much the lender is willing to lend you, not necessarily how much you can realistically afford.

Let your agent be your guide.
Real estate agents are in the business of knowing how much a particular home can and will go for in your local real estate market. He or she can guide you using information such as prices paid for other homes sold in the area, prices your market will bear, and how motivated the seller may be.

Reasons you might want to offer a lower price include a weak market and the possibility that the home needs some repair work not done by the seller in advance of listing the house.

Reasons you might want to offer a higher price for a home include: the home has the exact features you want, including some that aren't available in other area homes; time pressure; and if your market is a strong one characterized by multiple offers and strong demand.

Online home value estimate (HVE) and Competitive Market Analysis (CMA)
Automated valuation services on real estate Web sites are a popular resource for home price estimates. These tools rely heavily on historical home-sales data, but current market forces that might be affecting prices in your local area. An online home value estimate (HVE) will give you a good baseline to work from but also consider getting a Competitive Market Analysis or a CMA. A CMA will draw on your agent's experience in the area as well as recent sales data for the neighborhood you are buying. Each service is a free or inexpensive way to equip you with valuable information prior to making an offer on a home

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Home information pack scams

Home inspectors could make up to 250 million pounds a year on producing packs that never get used, causing huge waste for home owners trying to sell their homes, according to the Law Society. The prediction comes as leading professionals continue to call for a delay in introducing the controversial home selling scheme, which is due to start in June.

Paul Marsh, the vice-president of the Law Society, said that buyers would be forced to ask for a fresh Home Information Pack (HIP) when a property had been on the market for more than six months, leading to nearly half a million packs being pulped every year. With each one costing at least 500 pounds, the total bill would hit 250 million pounds.

He said: "Not only is it the money it is the performance of inspectors getting in their 4x4s driving around and producing all the sheets of paper. This is supposed to be eco-friendly." Nearly two million homes are put on the market every year, with a quarter going unsold after a year, it is estimated.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has also raised concerns about the system and has called for the Government to re-examine how the proposed home inspectors are trained. Senior chartered surveyors with decades' of experience have to undertake a 27-day course to learn how to undertake the inspections, which involves checking the energy efficiency of each house.

With little time before the packs become compulsory, only 100 qualified chartered surveyors have started their training. Jeremy Leaf, the housing spokesman for the RICS, said: "The fact that their skills are not being sufficiently recognised is a deterrent to many." Other organisations are credited with being able to certify inspectors and Ruth Kelly, the minister responsible for introducing the scheme, insists that there will be 3,000 qualified inspectors by June.

A spokesman at her department said yesterday that the Law Society was scaremongering. "Some HIPs providers will offer HIPs for free - others have said they will offer them on a no-sale no-fee basis - so it's possible for buyers to not make a sale without losing out. At the moment if a sale fails the buyer is often left with wasted costs."

Mr Marsh disputed that failed sales would fall after the introduction of the scheme. "Sales fall through for a whole host of reasons," he said. "Tell me why a report into energy-efficient light bulbs will make any difference."

The Government guidelines suggest that a HIP could remain valid for well over a year. On its official website it says: "Some documents can be no be more than three months old when marketing starts, but there is no obligation to update packs as long as the property remains on the market."

However, most experts believe that the packs will have to be updated at least every six months.

Mr Leaf said: "If you are moving to an area you are not familiar with, you - as a buyer - might well want to get a fresh search done after three months."

A spokesman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders agreed. "Searches more than six months old will have to be re-commissioned; and searches are the only significant component left in the pack," he said. HIPs were meant to speed up home-buying and make it cheaper for first-time buyers by shifting the cost from buyer to seller.

6 more home buyer tips

While buying a home is without a doubt an exciting endeavor in some cases home buyers overlook things until after it’s too late, creating a sense of buyer’s remorse that can be time consuming and expensive to correct. By learning about the most common and biggest mistakes, other buyers have made; however, you can make sure you do not fall into an expensive trap when you set about purchasing your next home.

1. Some buyers, particularly first time home buyers, have a tendency to change their financial status prior to closing on the sale of their home. It is always important to keep in mind that just because you qualified for a mortgage several weeks ago you very well might not if you make any type of major purchase just before closing. This means you should avoid buying anything on credit after you have made your loan application. In particular, avoid purchasing expensive major items such as electronics or computers, furniture for the new home, gardening equipment, refrigerators and other appliances and especially automobiles. Even a small change in your credit ratio could cause your loan application to be denied.

2. The second most common mistake made by many home buyers is simply purchasing the wrong home. This is because home buyers can frequently get so caught up in the excitement of the buying process or the ‘look’ of a home that they may fail to get proper consideration to what they really need in a home. Overlooking critical features in a home can easily result in purchasing a home that becomes difficult to live in and with later on.

3. One of the most common mistakes buyers make is withholding information from their real estate agents and real estate lawyers. Reasons for this tend to include believing that some information simply isn’t important enough to mention as well as a fear of how they might come across to others if they do bring up concerns. It is important to keep in mind when you are purchasing a home that the professionals that you work with are just that-they are experienced professionals who have handled a number of transaction. There is a good chance that there isn’t much they haven’t already heard. Remember that their job is to represent your best interests. They cannot do that if they do not have all of the information. The best way to bring about a smooth transaction is for everyone to be up front.

4. When considering the purchase of a home it is also critically important to consider how much house you can realistically afford. Remember that just because you can qualify to purchase a home in a particular price range doesn’t necessarily mean you can really afford. Besides that mortgage payment you will also have other expenses including insurance, home maintenance and possibly home owner’s or association dues as well.

5. Buying a home without a professional inspection is also another critical mistake. If you are financing the purchase of your home a professional inspection is usually required; however, if you are not financing the purchase or if the seller has agreed to finance it you won’t be required to have a professional inspection completed. Even if this is the case, it is always recommended to have an inspection completed anyway by a professional who might spot something you overlooked. This gives you the opportunity to ask the seller to make necessary repairs as well as possibly renegotiate terms of the sale as well.

6. Buyers also frequently make the mistake of simply not looking at enough homes. This results in not knowing enough about what’s currently on the market; which can cause you to miss out on a better home. Only after you have looked at several homes should you begin narrowing it down. At that point it is important to re-visit each home at least once and view them again with fresh eyes. You may find that a home you previously thought was ideal has hidden problems. Taking a look at several homes allows you to make a much better educated decision and ultimately find a home that is best suited for you and your needs. A compulsive purchase while shopping around for a home could end up being not only one that you will regret but also extremely expensive as well.

By taking the time to learn from the mistakes of others you can avoid making some of the most common errors when you begin the home purchasing process.

Andrew owns a Home Buying Guide website that provides many home buying tips. You can visit his website at:

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

10 Buyer Turnoffs

Here are a bunch of great tips for home sellers that a Realtor put together after having to show just too many houses to buyers. Take heed for a faster sale.

I show a LOT of houses. I am not one of these agents who refuse to show a client more than 3 houses and I KNOW agents that will drop a client if they have to show over 5. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I've ever showed less than 5 to one person. I have shown as many as 125+ (I lost count around 123ish).

This brings me to our subject- What really grosses a buyer out or turns them off to buying a certain house? Let me tell you...

10. Too much STUFF. Picture 2 people with an agent or an agent team trying to bob and weave their way from room to room. Do you have more than one couch per room? 12 antique tables that you just LOVED at that flea market and HAD to have? Please do our hip bones a favor and put them in storage. We want to see your house, not your STUFF!

9. Pet distractions- I have a pet, I love my dog but not everyone feels the same way. Cat people often find dogs smelly and needy. I know because I used to be a 'cat person'. When pets of any kind are at our feet during a showing, we NEVER look at your house. We worry your cat will escape or your dog will attack but we are NOT looking at the features of your home. As a matter of fact, your house was probably forgotten 10 mins after leaving. BUT we remember how cute your pet is!

8. The weed yard- the weed yard is something that lets us know you don't take care of your grass so chances are your house is neglected as well. If we need a machete to get to the front door, the house automatically becomes unkempt in the mind of the buyer, no curb appeal means less dollars in your pocket as a seller. Hire someone to cut your grass and keep things under control if you are too busy. Unless you are about to go into or are already in foreclosure, there is no excuse for this look.

7. Nasty carpet. I have walked into houses that look like the kids eat, sleep, drink and maybe worse on the floors and there is nothing more disgusting than filthy carpet. Spend that $200 to have the carpet cleaned and restretched if it needs it. You may think a 'carpet allowance' is going to be a big bonus for a buyer but newsflash- most buyers don't have that much imagination. If I feel like I need to go home and wash my shoes, your carpet is NASTY.

6. Bad paint decisions- picture an excited buyer coming into your house, they have just bought a brand new olive green couch and loveseat and they can't wait to picture it in your living room- but wait, your living room is royal purple... not good. Resales are in direct competition with new construction. If my buyer can go down the street and get a brand new house, neutral tones, AND clean, why would they want to come in and do a ton of painting and changing to get your house like they want it?

5. That brings me to number 5 which is - Bad Wallpaper. Unless you have had some foo foo designer in your house hanging silk or grasscloth at $40 bucks a roll, your wallpaper is probably outdated and probably NOT for my buyer. I know that grapes were all the rage 10 years ago but again, new construction..... think new, think blank slate...

4. The Dirty Bathroom- Granted, the dirty bathroom is subjective but if I even see a hint of body hair of any kind, I'm already grossed out. It may sound extreme but even something as simple as a water stain in the toilet just is not a good image to have. No soap scum in the shower or tub. Flush those unused toilets and pour some pine cleaner in there. Make it smell clean! Selling a house is HARD work and Lord knows I had to clean my way out of my house every day before going to work when I was selling mine.

3. The Dank, Mildewy Basement- Many buyers go down into the basement and immediately start sniffing for mold or mildew. There is not much you can do with an unfinished basement- let's face it, they smell but if you know you have moisture issues, get a de-humidifyer and run it to take that out of the air. You can easily run a buyer off if they suspect you have 'water issues'.

2. The basement leads in to what I call general "House Whiff". That is my word for a strange unidentified smell that is inherent to every house. If you go away for a couple of days and come back home you can usually detect your own house smell. If it is too offensive, get some plug ins. don't burn a bunch of candles because candles are too conspicuous. It looks like cover up. Dust regularly and open those windows. A carpet powder will help take some of that weird smell out too. Sprinkle it before you vacuum.

1. The top buyer turn off is THE OVERPRICED HOUSE- You won't even have buyers in your house to worry about if you think your house is worth more than everyone else in the neighborhood. You may love your house and have sentimental attachment to it. However, others are viewing it as an investment and not the place where you raised 4 children. Did you know that Realtor Magazine statistics say for every $10,000 you go down in price, you increase buyer exposure by 50,000 people via the internet and other sources? That means if you are at $260k and you go down to $250k, 50,000 MORE people are checking out your listing. If you have a lifetime to wait, leave it as is but keep in mind -the house still has to appraise.

Kim Chitwood is a Realtor in Atlanta, GA. Call today to discuss your relocation 770-328-9169 or Click here for a 'no hassle' MLS search of Atlanta Real Estate, no registration required!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Buying seized properties

I have always been intrigued by the money that people can make with all of those no money down type deals but as we all know they are incredibly hard to come by. The trouble with no money down is that there are not that many people out there that are willing to sell you their house far enough below market value that you are taking over the mortgage without having to put money into the deal.

One other option is to buy property that has been seized by banks and other lenders. There is an active market for seized property and one of the maxims that you need to remember is that banks and other lenders are not in the real estate sales business so they are not as savvy at selling and often lose some money on the deal just to get our of property ownership.

I have run across a website that has lots of seized real estate properties. The trouble is that there is a cost for access to the site. Seized Real has a lifetime membership of $39.95 and if you know anything about my attitude on buying memberships then you know that I think that any way that you can automate your systems for cheap is a great investment of your time and money.

So check out this site if you are looking at finding cheap real estate and stay aware of the fact that lending institutions hate to be holing onto properties for any length of time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Denver Realtors home buying and home selling tips

1. Pick a growing area. This is essential. Yes, it’s hard to predict economic cycles and which metropolitan areas are going to prosper over the next year or so. However, if you read the business pages regularly, you’ll have a much better idea of where to buy/invest.

2. Learn the market. This is also essential. You’ve got to know what’s out there, what houses are going for and how to spot a bargain from the overpriced. When you find your bargain, you probably won’t have much time before the competition gets wind of it. So you must be ready to make a solid offer right away.

3. Make your offer contingent upon a thorough inspection. There’s nothing worse than buying something with plenty of infrastructure problems. They’ll cost you time, money and aspirin. If you discover only a few problems, try to get the seller to lower the price to counterbalance the flaws in the property. They often will.

4. Finally, recognize that you will not likely land your first prospect. Therefore, be patient and be prepared to keep looking until you find the right house that makes good economic sense for you to purchase.

Follow the above four tips and you’ll do better with your property investment.


What to get the best price for your home? Just follow these six tips:

1. Everything (usually) looks better in brighter light. So let the sun shine in. Open curtains and blinds and turn on lights in all the rooms.

2. Fix up those little things. Oil or WD-40 those squeaky door and window hinges. Tighten any loose door handles. Replace broken shutters, fix leaky faucets, etc.

3. Deodorize! Nothing turns off a potential buyer than a “funny” or unpleasant smell. You’ve heard of the bake bread or cookies in the oven trick…it’s a lot easier to just use plug in deodorizers.

4. One of the easiest things to do is clean the place. Clean in the corners, clean the cabinets, re-grout the kitchen and bathroom sinks, tubs, etc. Wash the baseboards, make the place shine, especially in the entrance way.

5. Get rid of the clutter! Buyers need to envision the home as they would live in it. Anything interfering with that vision works against you in selling your home to them. So divide all your possessions into three groups:
a) things you really need to live in the house,b) things you don’t really need but want to take with you to your next home, andc) things you don’t want to take with you and should really toss.
Now, put those things your want to take with you to your next home in a rental storage facility. Hold a garage sale and/or donate everything else to charity. That’ll leave your home looking elegantly simple…the best way to present it to potential buyers.

6. Paint, paint, paint. Virtually every home has some areas that could use a fresh coat of paint. It is one of the most important (i.e., best and inexpensive) investment you can make is maximizing your sale price. Make sure you patch cracks and peeling paint first, though.

Follow the above six tips and you’ll sell your home faster and for a better price that if you didn’t.

For more information:
By Marshall Colt, Ph.D.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

8 home sellers tips from the National Association of Realtors

Sure they have a vested interest in having you use a Realtor but the National Association of Realtors have these great tips to think about to get you home sold. Most of them are good tips and a few are to use a Realtor.

1. Know your home’s value.
Beware of companies offering to buy your home to save you the “hassle” of putting it on the market – these companies often profit at the seller’s expense. Ask several Realtors® in your area for a comparative market analysis, or CMA. These real estate professionals will analyze recent sales and market conditions to provide a realistic assessment of your home’s value, and can suggest strategies for the best sale.

2. Protect yourself and your home.
Don’t allow random passersby into your home unescorted. A serious buyer will be working with a real estate professional or should be willing to contact your agent to schedule an appointment. Lock valuables away before an open house – the agent on site will be monitoring traffic, but it’s impossible to be everywhere at all times.

3. Understand the purchase contract.
A Realtor can help evaluate purchase offers and advise you on counteroffers and contract acceptance. It is important to know how contingencies such as appraisal, financing and inspections will affect the transaction, and understand their implications for you as the seller. Remember, a high price offer is worthless if the buyer never makes it to the settlement table.

4. Hire the right real estate professional for the job.
Relying on the experience of a real estate agent makes financial sense. An NAR survey of recent home buyers and sellers found that the median home price for sellers who use a real estate agent is 16 percent higher than a home sold directly by an owner; $230,000 vs. $198,200.

NAR encourages innovation and competition, and recommends that home sellers interview at least three Realtors® to evaluate their qualifications and fit. Examine each professional’s level of experience and service, ask for referrals and talk to past clients. Don’t make an agent’s commission the sole deciding factor – you wouldn’t put your life in the hands of a doctor because he or she had the lowest fee; why would you want to do that with your largest financial investment?

The recent real estate boom has encouraged an explosion of real estate licensees. But getting a license and succeeding as a professional in the industry are two very different things. To find a true real estate professional – one who will represent your interests and provide valuable insight and advice regarding what is likely your biggest investment – follow these steps.

5. Do your research.
Drive around your neighborhood or the area you’d like to live in, and make note of the active real estate agents in the area. Call local brokerages for agent recommendations, and specify whether you are buying or selling a home.

6. Ask trusted friends and relatives for referrals.
According to the 2005 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 44 percent of all recent buyers were referred to their real estate agent through a friend, neighbor, or relative.

7. Interview at least three agents.
Ask each about their business approach and philosophy (do they offer full service, or will you have to assume some responsibilities in the transaction); experience; designations and advanced training; and referral network (home inspectors, lenders, contractors, etc.). Home sellers should also ask about the number of homes sold in the past year, length of time on market, average sales price in relation to asking price, and the agent’s marketing plan.

8. Make sure your agent is a Realtor.
A Realtor is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics, which obligates Realtors® to be honest with all parties involved in a transaction, whether it is the buyer, seller, or cooperating agent.

Through membership in NAR’s affiliated institutes, societies, and councils, Realtors® devote themselves to continuous study of the most recent trends in their fields to stay abreast of industry developments in their specialized areas and better address industry issues.

A real estate licensee has passed an exam; Realtors are real professionals.