Category Archives: Real Estate

This About Home Appraisals

A home appraisal is an opinion on value by a qualified, unbiased third party. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to be completed when you are refinancing your mortgage. An appraisal is also completed in a transaction when someone is buying a home to make sure they have not over paid for it.

Mortgage Lenders require appraisal to ensure that homeowners are not over paying for a property because if the borrower stops paying for the mortgage the lender will take action to remove the borrower from the home and sell it to recoup their money, this is why it is important for the home to be worth more than the money loaned. In essence, a home appraisal is a lawyer of protection for the mortgage lender.

The Appraisal Process and How Appraisal Values Are Determined

These are the main factors that influence your home’s appraisal value: current market trends which are reflected in the comparable properties the appraiser selects, the house’s features,, square footage, number rooms/bedrooms & bathrooms, condition, is the property considered up to date, landscaping and exterior condition and parking (garage). The appraiser will do an interior and exterior inspection for the above noted factors and will also make note of any deferred maintenance which will be included in the report for the lender.

The appraiser will complete his report on a standard report form that is required by their appraisal jurisdiction. The information that has to be included in an appraisal report will not vary much from Canada to the United States.

A standard report includes the following: comparable sales, a street map, building sketch, square footage, photos of the front, back and street scene of the home, photographs of each comparable property used; a map showing the location of the comparables in relation to the subject property, plot map, description of intended users of the appraisal report, photo and description of each room in the house.

What Homebuyers Need to Know

When you’re buying a home an appraisal could potentially sink your deal. If you make an offer to purchase a house, towards the end of the home buying process your mortgage lender will require that the home being purchased be appraised. If the home appraises for less than your offer to purchase the lender will not provide the loan, however, this could be good for a buyer as well because you may be able to negotiate to lower purchase price but very often at the point of the home appraisal in the buying process an agreement of purchase and sale is already in place.. If a bad appraisal is standing between you and your home purchase, look into getting a second opinion via a second appraisal. Appraisers are not perfect and it is possible for them to make mistakes.

What Home Sellers Need to Know

As a seller, a low appraisal means that you may have to lower your home’s price to get it sold. Lenders won’t approve loans for more than a home is worth, and holding out for an all-cash buyer who doesn’t require an appraisal as a condition of completing the transaction is unlikely to net you a higher sales price. No one wants to overpay for a home but more importantly a mortgage lender will not over lend on the value of a property, therefor if the appraisal comes in lower than what your buyer is offering this will likely sink your deal unless you lower the price.

What Refinancing Homeowners Need to Know

If you’re refinancing your mortgage and looking to access some of the equity in the home the appraised value is very important. Mortgage lenders will have maximum loan to value ratio that they will go up to so the larger the difference between what you owe on your current mortgage and what the home is appraised at obviously the better. Having a better loan to value ratio will also make obtaining the lowest possible mortgage rates possible. Lenders put a lot of emphasis on this ratio so a high appraisal value is very important

 

Real Estate Marketing

There is no such thing as only one way to market and sell a house. Years ago, real estate agents were heavily dependent upon newspaper advertising, and that’s where most prospective buyers looked for information. In today’s information – driven, digital society, much more data is readily available, and while there is still a place for newspaper advertising, it is not the premier way, most of the time. Let’s review 5 marketing options.

1. Direct verbal: This includes face – to – face, telephone calls, contacting a Realtor’s personal contacts, etc. The advantages include cost, and the ability to effectively communicate, articulate the home’s strengths and possibilities, and motivate individuals, to take a look. The disadvantage is, it’s time – consuming, and somewhat limiting!

2. Direct marketing: Some of these include using postcards, flyers, door hangers, for – sale signs, Open House signs, etc. Mailings have become somewhat costly, especially when you consider the relatively low transaction rate, but is often a good supplement, and a positive way to get the message out.

3. Print media: Print media includes newspapers, magazines, weekly circulars, and direct – to – home marketing pieces. These approaches may be somewhat expensive, and surveys indicate most of today’s buyers pay less and less attention to these, than in the past!

4. Digital (websites): When we ask attendees at Open Houses, how they heard about it, the predominant response is from some website. Many use MLS, Trulia, Zillow, realtor.com, or a larger agency’s own site. When listings are placed on Multiple Listing Service, many other Websites pick up the information, and include it on their sites, as well. There is a cost to this approach, but is probably the most bang – for – the – buck, in terms of marketing real estate, today!

5. Social MediaSocial Media includes things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. The advantage is low or no cost, but there is still quite a bit of uncertainty, as to their effectiveness as a marketing tool, to sell a particular house.

 

Real estate agents Job

They work for brokers and play a major role in assisting people buy or sell residential, commercial or industrial property. They keep and maintain an up-to-date account of property listing and other relevant housing information to stay abreast with properties available on the real estate market. They subscribe to several listing services to advertise and market properties up for sale. They also contact property and market properties up for sale. They also contact property owners to obtain information regarding a property.

As part of their responsibilities, estate agents present sales and purchase offers to clients for consideration. They advise them on property rates, legal requirements and general market trend. They also interview clients to determine their property preference or specification. Usually, they prepare a list of properties that best match the needs and requirements of clients. They visit and inspect properties in order to establish precise property value. They also proffer recommendations to clients on properties that best suit their budget and preference.

Most estate agents oversee the preparation of closing statements, purchase agreements, representation contracts and other necessary documents required for estate trade. They conduct negotiations between property sellers and buyers to establish price and other terms of sales. They also liaise with pest control operators, home inspectors etc. to ensure the terms and conditions stated in a purchase agreement are met prior to the closing of sales.

In fulfilling their role, real estate agents oversee the closing of property sales, they ensure payment is complete and appropriate documents signed. They maintain contact with clients to offer them real estate services/products and assist with the resolution of issues. They also provide consultation services to clients to recommend strategies for the speedy sale of property. They often conduct training programs for junior/trainee sales agents to enhance their sales skill. This job position requires at least a high school diploma, state license for practice and an aptitude for sales. Qualities needed for the job include persuasion, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills

If you are a recruiter needing the best real estate agent to hire, you can use the sample job description above in making one for your company, for use in hiring and assigning duties to the successful candidates.

Efficient House Design

The Pantone color of the year is green. Despite green being the year’s color, do you know that there are other ways to atone your house to the idea of becoming green?One method is by making your house more energy-efficient. The rest of the article gives you some tips on how to align your house design towards energy efficiency.

  1. Be wise with your choice – fans over lights!

Making your house cooler is a much more energy-efficient way than making it appear brighter. Achieve this by installing fans in each room rather than putting lights. During summer, you’ll see the great benefits.

There are many fixtures you may want for your house. Browsing through the internet and looking at glossy home magazines will open your eyes to a lot of pricy and classy home fixtures. But do you know that quality does not mean expensive?There are quality choices that will not burn you off much of your hard-earned money. For instance, cheaper bathroom and kitchen fixtures may have the same energy-efficient capacities than more expensive ones

2.Window coverings over more windows

Windows should be strategically placed in areas where the right amount of natural sunlight can enter. By this, you’re actually saving a lot of energy. You won’t be needing to turn of your fluorescents and lamps at an earlier time.3.Install rugs and carpets.

The winter months can really give chilling effects to the skin. By these months, you’re on to wearing your thickest pieces of clothing. You’re also burning more woods in your fireplaces. But do you know that you can have a more efficient way of getting more heat inside your house? The secret lies with the proper choice of rugs and carpets on specific house parts. Aside from getting the house decorated, these home decor help trap warm air to give you a warmer feel.

4.Rethink of your ceiling – do you want it lower or higher?

Higher ceiling creates a more spacious look and feel. Lower ceiling gives you an easier way to heat or cool the house and cut your energy costs.

 

Green House

As well as homeowners, today, have become more – and – more concerned with various factors, often referred to as green real estate. There are many considerations, and variations, as well as degrees of greening individuals are interested in. Some (however a minority) are real environmentalists, and want their home, to exhibit their concern and attention, to this very important issue.

1. Windows and doors: Obviously, energy conservation is a major environmental concern. We often speak about a business’ carbon footprint, but, obviously, certain houses are far more energy – efficient than others. When were your windows replaced and/ or upgraded, and are they efficient? Do they keep out most of the cold, in the winter, and minimize the amount of heat, which enters in the hottest weather? What materials are your windows and doors, made of? Do your doors leak? Begin by having someone do an energy inspection, and see if you are losing much heat, because of inefficiencies.

2. Solar, geo – thermal, etc: Some houses are candidates for solar panels, while others are not! What direction does your roof face? Are there any large trees blocking your roof? How many hours a day, of sun, does your roof, experience? Have you had your home examined, to discover whether you might be a good candidate for geo – thermal? This often requires a combination and evaluation of your property, pitch, location, and layout.

3. Energy – efficient burners/ boilers, and air conditioners: When was the last energy efficiency evaluation, you had performed? How old is your burner/ boiler, and is it efficient? What type of air conditioning do you use, and what it the Energy Efficiency Rating?

4. Roof: Light – colored roofs reflect heat, while darker ones, absorb it. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense, that warmer climates should use lighter ones, and colder ones, darker? What is the material being used? Is it efficient, effective and safe? How old is the roof?

5. Insulation: What is the rating of your insulation, and how well insulated, is the house? Have the walls (especially outside ones) checked, for efficiency? Older houses tend not to have updated insulation, or may contain less than the safest materials. An ounce of prevention, makes lots of sense!

6. Materials: Are you using safe, sustainable materials, in your house? This is generally more relevant, in newer houses, or extensions, but if you are concerned with the environment, you should consider the sustainability, safety and impacts of your home!

There are numerous environmental considerations. Whether you are truly committed to the environment, or merely want to be responsible, and save money (and be safer), it makes sense to think green!

Tips For Home Staging

1. De-clutter

Most of us tend to keep on adding furniture and other items to our home over a period of time. More items in a home give it a cluttered appearance. De-cluttering improves the look of the house. A de-cluttered home gives a spacious appearance as well.

2. Grouping the furniture

Sofas and chairs should be repositioned and other furniture pieces should be placed so that flow of traffic is not hindered. This helps in making the room user-friendly and give it a spacious look.

3. Lighting

A well-lit home is warm and welcoming. So, ensure that your home has good lighting.

4. Make your home appear bigger

In order to do this, some useful tips are, paint adjacent rooms in identical colours; if the dining room and kitchen are small, a seamless look will give it a spacious appearance. The illusion of large space can also be created by having drapes in the same colour as the room. This also gives an elegant and sophisticated look.

5. Neutral colours are more popular

Painting a living room in neutral hues helps in enhancing the appeal of the house.

6. Using dark colour paints effectively

Dark paints in bedrooms/ powder rooms or dining room give it a more cozy and intimate aura.

7. Present your art creatively

Forget the cliché styles of displaying your art. Use your creativity to effectively display your curios and wall hangings. This will also go a long way in increasing the appeal of your home.

8. Add fresh foliage:

Decorating your home with fresh blooms and foliage adds to its appearance. You don’t have to pick the most expensive flowers or plants. Just fresh seasonal plants will do the trick. They add freshness to your home.

9.The bedroom should look serene:

For decorating, the bedroom luxurious linens and soft colours will help. These are known to have a positive effect in the minds of the buyer.

Planning an Open House

 Have you ever had a ton of people show up at your Open House, and been unable to convert a single one of them into a sale or a future client? Are you unsure about why your Open House failed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steps In Preparing Your Home

Your realtor will know what potential buyers in your neighborhood and price range are looking at and what will help you sell your unique home and play up its features. Here is a generic list that will help you get started.

1.) Night Lights

A lot of people aren’t aware that potential home buyers often drive by your house at night. If you don’t have adequate lighting to highlight your home’s features, invest in a new porch light and some ground lighting to highlight your walkway or features in your landscaping.

2.) Curb Appeal

Elevate your curb appeal by cleaning your yard, mowing and edging your lawn, and trimming any shrubs you have. Fix any first impressions that may catch buyer’s eyes such as cracks in concrete, weeds, broken porch posts, ugly doors, and any clutter that may be stored in front of your home. A

3.) Prep Inside

The first step to preparing your home for sale is to remove any unnecessary items from the home so they can imagine their own things in it. Less is more when it comes to furniture and decor. Leave the bare minimum for furniture to depict how large the space is, and then include decor only where you want features highlighted or the eye drawn. An expert tip is to remove all but 1/3 of your closet contents and get matching hangers. Be sure to replace or shampoo all carpets in the home. Apply special attention to staging the bathrooms with a fresh roll of toilet paper (V.I.P folded, over not under, and pointed down in the shape of a triangle), brand new hand soap, new guest towels, and a clean looking shower curtain. Dress beds with attractive, cohesive bed sets.

4.) Make All Small and Inexpensive Repairs

Buyers will look at all functioning items of the home and tally even the smallest repairs. Be sure to repair all leaking faucets, defective or squeaky doors, light bulbs and fans, freshly caulk bathtubs and showers if necessary, replace filters, inspect and clean the hot water heater, and make appliances as presentable as possible.

5.) Appeal To Their Senses During Open Houses

Having all the lights on, blinds open, a candle lit and fresh cookies (preferably freshly baked for the scent) will appeal to buyer’s senses and make them feel at home already. Remove all pet belongings, including bowls and food. Empty trash cans & close toilet lids.

Shadow Inventory Real Estate

In Real Estate this refers to foreclosures (REO or bank owned properties) or those close to the process.

Banks and mortgage loan servicing companies typically hold onto properties that haven’t seen a mortgage payment for 90 days and in some cases even 2-3 years.

Why do they hold on so long?

Banks hold on since it allows them to release their inventory over time to keep their books in check and also to provide that easy liquidation to stimulate the real estate economy when necessary. Banks will now be getting more money for those newly released properties, then say 2 years ago, due to the steady increase in home prices and low inventory levels. If they chose to release all at once, it would flood the market with “distressed properties” and bring down property values.

How much “Shadow Inventory” is still out there?

Foreclosures have been steadily declining since 2013 with the highest shadow inventory then at 2.2MM. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is still about 4 years still on the books and it is possible that we could soon see more!

Forget about calling the loss mitigation department or asking the cashier at your Big Bank. They won’t be able to help you. Instead, savvy real estate investors can approach the REO departments of smaller regional banks, credit unions and portfolio lenders to find out what could be “lurking” in the shadows. This presents an opportunity to beat out the competition and purchase at greater discounts.

But my favorite way to locate “Shadow Inventory” is what I call “Driving forDollars”. Simply drive through areas that have high foreclosure activity and look for the white sticker posted on the front window or door of the house. This typically contains the information of the bank or asset manager of the property and their phone number. Give them a call and see where they are in the foreclosure process and if they’re ready to make a deal!

The NEW kind of Shadow Inventory

There is a new kind of shadow inventory on the market these days and I’m not talking about the REO kind. Many successful agents have their own shadow inventory. If you’ve been in the business for an extended period and built up a clientele, these clients typically contact you well in advance of the property going on the market. You advise them of the steps needed to get the house ready to show which typically means doing repairs such as paint, carpet, landscaping, staging, etc.

The Real Estate Resurgence of Glassell Park

We hear about it on television and in the news. Rarely does a news story get published where the term “Gentrification” is used to describe areas such as Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington and Highland Park, regions where home values have spiked. Is it something homebuyers and home sellers need to know?

By definition, “to gentrify” is to improve a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. The middle class, or Bourgeoisie, is attempting to emulate upper-class standards. In the U.K., the gentry refer to people of high social position, specifically the class of people next below the nobility. Therefor the gentrification of an area is a process whereby those of lower socio-economic status are forced out of a region in order to make it more attractive to the people of higher socio-economic standing.

That is precisely what is occurring in the once run down neighborhood of Highland Park. This ongoing restorative transformation has helped to eradicate crime and strengthen the local economy. Juice bars and yogurt shops have sprung up in place of derelict Laundromats and liquor stores. Local businesses are now thriving, where the windows were once boarded up and car carcasses rusted.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Glassell Park, where police not long ago bulldozed suspected gang homes in a dramatic crackdown on crime. Soon after, investors began investing in fixing up Glassell Park’s hillside view homes and property values began to rise with new shops and restaurants appearing in direct proportion.

At one time, Eco Park stood as the poster child for gentrification in Los Angeles. This forgotten slum went through a complete metamorphosis in the 90’s, turning it into one of the most sought after areas east of downtown. With Echo Park as a model, the restoration movement has continued its march east, rehabilitating other areas, such as Highland Park and Glassell Park, with great potential.One telltale sign of the up and coming neighborhood is what is known as the Starbucks phenomenon. If this “7-eleven” of coffee houses has chosen to plant its green lady logo on the block, you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘Hipsters are coming’or more likely, the Hipsters have already arrived. This of course means that property values are climbing. In the historic region of Highland Park, York Boulevard is now bookended by Starbucks. Having a Starbucks on the corner is clear evidence that a moneyed community is on the rise. The values of homes for sale in Highland Park are absolutely exploding.