The Price is Right!

When you are ready to sell, determining what price to offer your home to buyers at can be much like playing The Price is Right with Bob Barker.

If you ask 4 people what your home is worth, you will get 4 different answers, no doubt one so low you will scoff at their judgement and one so high you only hope they are right.

In our current market, pricing your home right when you put it on the market is very important. The buyers who have been looking for a home, and likely have made many offers without success, have seen all the homes comparable to yours, and are very educated on price. When they see a home come on the market listed much above current market value, they tend to not even consider it. They believe either the seller is being unrealistic, or that they have time to wait for the price reduction.

It can be difficult as a home owner to look at the prices being paid for homes, and not think you should list yours at the price just attained by the house down the street. Well priced homes are currently attracting multiple offers, which tends to drive the final sale price up, sometimes to levels not previously achieved by similar homes. At times, if a property is the only home available, and has very desirable features, it will obtain an unrealistically high selling price, only because it is the only one available.

When a REALTOR® provides you with a Market Evaluation of your home, they take into consideration what has sold, what is currently available, and what has been rejected by the market. They have the expertise and knowledge to look at the sale prices of properties, and the events surrounding the sale to determine how they compare to your home. Combining this knowledge with information regarding other properties that are currently for sale (your competition) and also considering properties that have been on the market for a longer period of time (seemingly overpriced) they can provide you with a recommended range in which to offer your home for sale.

Many sellers are concerned that the suggested price range is too low. They see a similar house that sold for maybe $50,000 more that the price being recommended to them. The other home may have received 15 offers, driving the price higher. As a seller, you must price your home to attract the competitive offers in order to realize the highest sale price. Pricing at top dollar may very well discourage a number of the potential buyers of your home, and possibly make competition unlikely.

If you are considering selling your home, and would like an honest opinion and marketing plan, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives. They will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation, and help you make the right decision.

Can I Afford to Buy a House?

 
When is enough enough?

Today’s real estate market is all about competing offers. It seems most properties are being listed with a time period in which no offers will be considered. This is ideal for the seller, allowing everyone who might be interested in the property the opportunity to view the house, and decide if they want to make an offer. For all the buyers out there, it’s not quite so ideal, as it creates a situation where a buyer is almost assured of being in competition to buy a home.

When a buyer finds a home they want to buy, the first question they ask their REALTOR® is “How much should I offer to be sure I get this house?” Unfortunately there is no easy answer to that question.

In competition, houses quite often sell for more than their market value, which makes it a bit of a guessing game. Your REALTOR® can tell you what the property’s market value is, but they cannot anticipate how much someone will to pay to own a particular home.

When deciding how much to offer, a good test is to find the price point at which you as the buyer can say, “I would not be upset if someone else bought it at that price”. If the seller is asking $400,000 for example, and you as the buyer decide your top price for the home is $500,000, ask yourself, would you be upset if you learned someone bought it for $510,000? $505,000? If you can say to yourself, ”no I would not be upset”, you have reached your top price. If you say, I would have paid that much, you have not topped out on what you believe you would pay.

That said, listen to your REALTOR®. They will caution you not to offer so much that you put your financing availability at risk. Also, buying a house at any price is not the answer either. If in the example I mentioned above, you are able and willing to pay $500,000 for a home, be sure there is not another property on the market that you have not looked at because it is listed higher that you we thinking of buying.

As always, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home, be sure to speak to a REALTOR® first. Call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals reps. They are very knowledgeable, and will help you determine what is the best decision for YOU, right now.

Frozen

atlanta-frozen-pipeSadly I am not referring to the Disney movie of the same title…

Each winter we hear news reports of homes that have had the pipes freeze in the severe cold weather we experience. Everyone seems to be forecasting for us to have a colder than average winter this year, so I thought I would touch on this early enough for preventive measures to be taken.

Generally when pipes freeze it is because they either run through an uninsulated area, such as a garage, crawl space or an attic, or are located on exterior walls of the house without adequate insulation between them and the wall. Another unexpected, but common cause can be an outside hose that is left connected to an outside faucet. When it freezes it puts pressure on the interior pipes, and can cause them to break, so always disconnect your garden hose at the end of the season. Also, always turn off your outside faucets and drain the last of the water out of the spigot.

If your water pipes run through an uninsulated or poorly insulated area, you can purchase foam wrap for the pipes. If you are concerned that the pipes will be exposed to the full cold, you can also wrap the pipes with a heat tape that will maintain a minimum temperature to prevent them freezing.

For pipes running in exterior walls, the only effective way to correct the problem is to open up the walls and improve the insulation. On very cold walls, you may actually need to reroute the pipes to a less exposed location.

It may seem like a lot of work to do on the chance that the pipes may freeze, but broken pipes will lead to larger repair bills down the road, including the potential for mold removal.

If you are buying an older home, be sure to have your home inspector check where the water feed is in the house. It is always better to know before winter strikes whether you may have a problem…

Also remember if you have a home with a lawn sprinkler system, have the water blown from the system at the end of the season.

As always, one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals will be happy to speak with you about this and other home ownership concerns.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, we don’t strive to be the biggest, we strive to be the best!

The Grass IS Always Greener Over the Septic Tank – Erma Bombeck was right

 

grass-is-always-greener

Most home owners may not have ever experienced this phenomenon, but those who have lived with a septic system know this is a fact…

If you are thinking of selling your home, curb appeal is especially important, as many buyers make up their mind whether they even want to look inside a home by driving past first. Whether you live in the city or on a rural property, keeping up your lawn and gardens can be a challenge, especially during summers like we just enjoyed.

Buyers are looking for well cared for homes, with lush, cared for grass. If you have gardens, they like to see them well tended, weeded, edged up, perhaps with a mulch cover to discourage weeds. Most hope for a finished driveway, whether paved, concrete, or interlocking block, that has been well maintained. In a rural setting, a gravel drive is common, but it still must be cared for, with a good gravel cover, distinct edges and no weeds.

If you are a true gardener, your efforts will garner attention. Many buyers love to see the gardens, and hope to become proficient at taking care of them. Buyers especially like to see perennial gardens, believing them to be lower maintenance.

Your lawn can be a big seller. That lush grass you can find over the septic tank appeals to buyers. If you can’t count on the septic bed to make your lawn look pretty, and you are planning to sell your home, prepare to keep your lawn well watered. You don’t need a weed killer company at your home, but regular maintenance to keep the weed population under control is necessary.

If you have a rural home, the lovely expanse of front lawn can make buyers anxious to see more…

If you are looking for more tips on how to make your home ooze curb appeal, speak to one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. They have lots of tips and tricks up their sleeve to help you get top dollar for your home.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, we don’t strive to be the biggest, we strive to be the best.

Flip or Flop

Flip-or-flopThere’s lot’s of money to be made flipping homes!

That may be true if you know what you are doing. HGTV makes it look easy… buy that neglected home, rip out the kitchen and bath… throw down that hardwood floor and you can make thousands, if not hundred of thousands of dollars…

It’s not that easy, as many renovators will tell you. In a hot market, the first challenge is to find that property listed at the right price, in the right neighbourhood, that you can renovate quickly, and not have to enter into a bidding war to purchase. Nothing to it, right?

Flipping houses truly comes down to the math. What you buy it for, plus the cost of renovations, plus the cost of carrying it while renovating, plus the legal and real estate fees, and plus your profit. The last item is the most important one. You cannot be flipping houses without having a reasonable profit built in. And keep in mind, that profit is taxed as income when you are in the business of flipping homes.

Still think flipping homes is a good idea? Call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, and have them help you find the right property at the right price to renovate.

Some Like it Hot!

imagesBut some sellers don’t like a hot market!

The question many sellers ask their sales rep in this market is “What if I under price my home?” Experience would tell us that the bigger problem in a hot sellers’ market would be “What if I over price my home?”

In the type of market we are currently experiencing, under pricing a home will result in many showings and likely a number of competing offers. By under pricing, I mean being close to market value, but just under. Buyers know the prices in the market and can be put off by a seller grossly underpricing their home as easily as by a seller grossly over pricing their home. If the sellers price their home too low, buyers may assume the seller is just fishing for a sky high offer, and wait to see what happens. Buyers don’t like to guess what the asking price should be.

Speaking of over pricing… Some sellers believe that they can’t over price their home. They believe that there are so many buyers looking that one of them will buy their home regardless of the asking price – they just have to wait for the right buyer. The buyers looking in our current market are well versed in prices. Odds are they have lost out at least once in competition, and know the market almost as well as their REALTOR®. They may be prepared to pay top dollar, but they will not pay well over market just because the seller is asking. By pricing their home too high, sellers take the risk of being ignored by the buyers. The buyers will wait for the seller to drop the price, and often by then the seller’s home has been sitting on the market long enough that buyers perceive that there is a problem with the home. Over pricing the home at the start can result in the seller receiving less money for their home than they would have, had they priced it closer to the market value initially.

If you are considering selling your home, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. They can help you determine what your home is worth today!

It’s Too Hot!

 

images-3Am I talking about the weather or the real estate market? This year it could be either one.

Let’s start with the weather. In my opinion it’s never too hot! I just have to think about winter, and immediately the heat and humidity feel delightful. I didn’t even need to book a flight to get the island weather!

Moving on, let’s talk real estate… (pun intended). This year so far has been a tough market if you are trying to buy a home. Multiple offers have been the norm, and sadly missing out has happened too many times to too many buyers. Sellers are even hesitating to put their homes on the market… what can they buy? will their home be worth more if they hold on another month – 2 months – or more?

The ‘experts’ all have opinions on where the market is going. Some suggest 2017 will be an even hotter market than 2016, and yet others are still talking about the balloon that’s going to break and spiral us all into a quagmire of overpriced homes. The government keeps suggesting they need to intervene in order to slow our ‘out of control’ market.

Experience tells us that the market will correct itself. There are many reasons why people move, and they can only put it off so long. New jobs, adding to the family, retirement, divorces, to name a few. Sooner or later, sellers will decide they are not waiting any longer, and more houses will come on the market. Prices likely won’t decrease, as there are a lot of buyers waiting to absorb the available properties.

As a seller, if you are thinking about selling, now is a great time. It is a strong seller’s market, and summer sometimes sees fewer homes being put on the market.

Either way you look at it, this summer is HOT! Make sure you are part of it. Enjoy the weather, and good luck if you are trying to buy a home.

If you are looking for a great agent to help you, look no further than Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. Call us today to see how we can help you.

Time to Renovate? or Time to Sell?

homerenovations

Did you know that in our community, renovating is becoming one of the largest sectors of discretionary spending?

The discussion around renovating your home, often becomes a discussion of whether you should renovate and sell, or maybe renovate and stay. Often when families start to discuss moving, it is to correct problems they see in their current home. Sometimes these issues can be fixed by a simple renovation, such as a bathroom that needs a facelift, or refinishing a floor. Other problems such as not enough room, or needing one floor living when you own a two storey home can be more complex. When you begin to consider building additions, or repurposing main floor living spaces, it pays to fully consider your options. The cost of renovation may well out pace the value of the renovated home.

Another time families discuss renovating is when they have decided to move. Many times families downsize, or decide they want to enjoy condo living instead of maintaining a property, or perhaps just a change of area. In these cases, much thought should be given to renovating to place your home on the market. Studies show that some renovations will result in you increasing the value of your property by the amount you invested. Two examples of this are kitchens and bathrooms. You should always keep in mind that this is not always the case.

You should always consult with a professional when you are considering spending money on your home before selling.  Often buyers have entirely a different idea on how they would renovate your home if they were to buy it.  A larger percentage of home renovations are completed by people after they buy a home – ususally within the first 12 month of living there….

If you have questions, or are considering a move, call one of our real estate professionals.  They know their community and can help guide you in the right direction.

How to Win Every Time with Competing Offers

The only guaranteed winner when there are competing offers on a property is the Seller.

The real estate market this year has been inundated with competing offers. It seems the combination of low interest rates, a lack of listing inventory over the past few years, and a strong employment/economic outlook has fired up our market.

Sadly, with competing offers, only one buyer is happy with the outcome, and the rest are disappointed at best, and sometimes downright upset at worst. Many buyers have lost 5 or 6 times before being successful in making a purchase. I believe that if your REALTOR® has explained how competing offers are handled, and what your options are, you may be disappointed, but you should never be upset.

In the Hamilton market, when you are one of two or more offers, you have one opportunity to make your best offer. Your REALTOR® should ensure that they explain the process to you, and help you to determine what is the maximum you would be willing to pay, finding the point where if someone buys the property for $100 more, you will not be upset… you may be disappointed, but you are at the limit of what you are willing or able to pay. They should explain that starting at a lower price and expecting to have an opportunity to improve you offer is not how it works in competition.

Also, it is not always the highest price that wins. It can be the offer with no conditions, or the best closing date for the sellers, or maybe just the buyer that the seller liked the most. The seller can accept any offer they wish, or none.

There are some instances when the seller does not accept any of the offers, telling the buyers to come back with a better offer if they wish. This can happen when the offers the seller receives are very close in price and conditions, and the seller can see no benefit in accepting one over another, or it may happen if the seller was hoping to receive higher offers, and is not willing to accept the price they have been offered.

If you are currently house hunting, be sure your REALTOR® has explained how the buying process works, including how competing offers are handled.

If you are ready to start you home search, be sure to call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate representative. They will provide you with excellent, professional service, and ensure that you know exactly what to expect.

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

kcm copyThis is an interesting post on the  KCM blog just this week…

 

 

If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home. There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:
1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:
A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
A place where you and your family feel safe
More space for you and your family
Control of the space
What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.
2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number. Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:
Home values will appreciate by 4% in 2015.
The cumulative appreciation will be 23.5% by 2019.
Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 15.1% by 2019.
3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.
Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.