6 REASONS WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BUY

The housing market is looking healthier. Here are six reasons why now is the time to jump into the market.

1. Uncle Sam is willing to help. First-time buyers (defined as anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years) are entitled to a maximum $8,000 tax credit; interest rates are at record lows; and the Federal Reserve is doing its best to make mortgage loans available.

2. People have to live somewhere. About 800,000 new households are formed each year in this country, ensuring that the housing market will tighten, even if the economy doesn’t soar.

3. Borrowers leverage their investment. If you put $10,000 into the stock market and it earns 10 percent, you’ve earned $1,000. If you put $10,000 down on a home and its values increases 10 percent, you’ve made $10,000.

4. When prices come back up, you’ll have instant equity. In parts of the country where foreclosures have driven down prices, better times will mean the price of the home you buy will rise rapidly.

5. Mortgage costs stay the same. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage, the monthly payment stays the same – while everything else, including rent, goes upward.

6. You own it. There is something comforting in the notion that your home is your own. You can paint it any color you want, let the dog run in the back yard and hang a swing for the kids in the front.

BUYING FORECLOSURES AT THE AUCTION

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Buying foreclosures from the County Courthouse steps is a lucrative and exciting full time business. Some of the wealthiest men in Colorado made their fortunes at these foreclosure sales. You must know 4 key things before you EVER attempt to make a purchase at one of these foreclosures auctions.

1. Take careful notes of the condition of the home the day before or two days before the foreclosures sale date. A lot can happen to an empty foreclosure home over time. It may not be in the same condition when it finally goes up for a foreclosure sale.

2. Make sure to pull a title report on the foreclosure sale property weeks before the auction. You need to know what loans and liens are placed against the property. Many of these liens will be wiped out at the foreclosures sale, but MANY will not. And probably most importantly, the position (rank) of the lender that you are paying off in the auction dictates which loans and liens will be wiped off and which will not. Knowing the position that you are buying into is critical. Conducting a title search beforehand will help you determine that position and the risk involved in buying the property. Many title companies will do a semi title search for you for FREE if you promise them your business in the future.

3. Foreclosure sales are a place of great competition at times. You must know your top number BEFORE you walk into the foreclosure sale. This number should take into account the cost of the repairs (that you double checked yesterday!), the cost of holding the property, and your expected sales price. DO NOT BID OVER YOUR TOP NUMBER! It can be easy to get caught up in a competition with another bidder. Do not get emotional. Walk away when the bidding has gone over your number.

4. Keep information on foreclosure sales that get postponed on the day that they were supposed to go to auction. Bankruptcies, seller negotiations, family issues, and lender leniency can all cause a foreclosure sale to be postponed. Track these homes and the new date that the sale has been postponed to. Other investors may not keep this information and will be caught off guard when the new future sale date arrives. That is one less investor competing against you for that foreclosure sale. Sometimes that is all it takes.

TIPS FOR FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS

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1. What are the benefits? You should buy a home. That’s what your friends & family tells you. So by now, you’ve weighed the benefits & decided that home ownership is the best decision for you.

2. Define your search criteria. Most searches start on the internet. Buyers can see hundreds of virtual listings, pictures, virtual tours, & aerial shots of homes & neighborhoods. Buyers should know what town, school district, number of bedrooms, square footage, etc. will work best for them. Drive around different towns & explore. Walk down the street of the downtown area to get a feel for the town. Do you fit in? Can you see yourself living here?

3. How long should the process take? Right now (Fall, 2008), it’s a buyer’s market. A motivated buyer should be able to find a house in a few weeks. Some buyers can find a house within a few days. It all depends on what you’re used to. If you live in a cardboard box on the sidewalk, most of the houses you see will look good. If you live in a penthouse in the Plaza Hotel, you may have more picky tastes. Find a good real estate agent & have them show you homes based on your search criteria. The narrower your search criteria is, the faster you’ll find you home & the better able you’ll be to analyze the homes to find the best deal.

4. How many homes should I see? Don’t see more than 7 homes in 1 day, or your brain will be on overload. Take notes on the listing sheet about the homes you see. Good or bad? Rank the homes you’ve seen in order, so you’ll always have something on the top of the list that all other houses should be compared to.

5. Compare & contrast. Bring a digital camera & start with a close-up of the house number to identify each group of home photos. Take notes of unusual features, colors, & design elements. Pay attention to the home’s surroundings. What is next door? Down the block? Do you like the location? Is it near a park? Train Station? Is there road noise from a highway? Are there high tension power lines above the house?

6. Always look at some houses twice before making an offer. Look carefully & don’t overlook any closet or attic or basement. Remember the three most important rules of real estate: location, location, location. Try to buy the cheapest house on the block, not the most expensive. Remember your exit strategy; make sure other people will want to buy this house when you are ready to sell. Colonials are the most desirable type of home. Raised ranches are the least desirable. Other important items that affect value: flat driveway, flat usable property, non-double yellow line road, no road noise nearby, close to railroad, etc.

7. Don’t let your realtor influence your decision. It’s not their choice; they won’t be living in the house. Make sure that your agent points out any defects that you may have overlooked. Get an inspection before buying.

HOT TIPS TO HELP SELL YOUR PROPERTY

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, it’s important to take a close look at it from the viewpoint of a prospective buyer. Objectively evaluating each area & then making your home “show ready” can have a major pay-off in terms of the offers it will attract & how soon those offers come in.

THE BIG PICTURE:

  1. Keep it uncluttered: It will look neater & look larger. You will convey a more spacious feeling.
  2. Keep it clean: You will create the impression that the house is well cared for. Fresh paint makes rooms look clean & new.
  3. Keep it repaired: Fix items before buyers question them. The need for repairs can make or break a sale.
  4. Keep it neutral: Get rid of distracting colors & personal accessories. Neutral colors & simple decor help prospective buyers visualize their own belongings in a room.
  5. Keep it dynamic: Make your home memorable. Fresh flowers & fresh clean smells make your home more inviting.
  6. Keep it light & bright: Open curtains & drapes to let the sun shine in. Turn on lights.
  7. Showtime: Put away any toys, clothes, food, or other “left out” items.

THE SMALL DETAILS:

Outside: Trim, weed, tidy up lawn & garden. Clean up pet areas; re-sod or reseed. Repair screens, windows & doors. Add fresh mulch under shrubs. Add potted or hanging flowers to decks & porches.

In the kitchen: Clean away extra small appliances. Remove stains & items from sink. Straighten up memo areas & remove papers. Clean & deodorize vent or exhaust hood.

In the bathroom: Clean counters of extra toiletries. Store them out of sight. Remove stains or mold from sink, tub, & shower. Patch, caulk & grout as needed. Put out attractive “for showings only” towels.

IN THE LIVING ROOM & FAMILY ROOMS:

Rearrange furniture for a more spacious feel. Remove any extra pieces & store. Spot clean carpets or rugs. Have neutral paint or wallpaper. Accent with fresh flowers. Open the shades & drapes to let in light.

IN THE BEDROOM:

Straighten up closets. Box & store clothing, shoes, etc. as necessary. Arrange toys to look appealing. Add curtains or valences to rooms without them. Remove attention-getting posters.

IN THE BASEMENT OR GARAGE:

Thoroughly clean & deodorize areas where pets sleep or spend time. Straighten tool shop & laundry. Sweep floors. Clean up grease spots & other spills. Get rid of items you won’t be taking with you.

Finding Your Ideal Neighborhood

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If you’re in the market for a home this year, look beyond its’ four walls and directly at your neighbors. Thoroughly check out a prospective neighborhood before plunking down hundreds of thousands of your hard-earned dollars. If you want to get the real dirt on your neighborhood, you’re going to have to do some digging. So dust off your trench coat and dark glasses, and get ready to go on a sleuthing expedition.

1. Contact the community association for the neighborhood you are considering. Often, it publishes newsletters, holds meetings, or sponsors community activities, all of which hold potentially useful bits of information about your neighborhood.

2. Subscribe to the local paper or call and ask for a sample of back issues.

3. Locate the community hang-outs. Is there a neighborhood pool or community center? If so, try and visit so you can get a sense of who lives in the area and whether there is a strong community feel.

4. Look for sidewalks. For some, living in a part of the neighborhood with no sidewalks means many things: not as many walks (and therefore don’t meet and greet the neighbors), young kids have fewer safe places to ride their bikes, and it seems to prevent other folks from walking much, too.

5. Visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and at least once on a weekend rather than a weekday. Are most of the folks working out of the home? Is the neighborhood composed of retirees? Are there loads of school-aged children? Are there many young mothers with babies and toddlers?

6. Study a map of your neighborhood to see the proximity of parks, libraries, the nearest hospital, and other amenities. Likewise, try driving different routes to the home so you can see the good, the bad, and the ugly in the surrounding area.

7. Arrange a visit to the school your children would attend, check out the school’s test scores, and find out how many veteran teachers are on staff.

8. Talk to the neighbors and ask them very specific questions. For example, you may want to ask about their perceptions of crime, location, noise, traffic, and community feeling. Is the neighborhood changing? If so, how?

9. Head down to city hall to check on issues with zoning or find out about any projects in the works. You should be able to find out if there are any major road or construction projects planned for the next few years.

10. Pump your real estate agent for information. How long do homes in this area stay on the market? What’s their resale potential?

11. Check your town or city’s website for real estate tax assessment information. By looking at our local real estate tax office website, I can see the value of the assessment, how much of that total is land versus the structure, how the assessor rated the structure’s condition, and recent home sales in the area.

12. Head to the nearest police station to ask for crime rate information. Be sure to ask about the typical response time for emergencies.

13. Check the national registry for sex offenders. Once you’ve gathered as much information as you can, review it. Does the neighborhood seem to meet your needs? Did you find any information that’s a deal breaker? Can you picture yourself living here happily? Be as picky as you can afford to be; no returns or exchanges are offered on neighborhoods.

“9 Critical Steps” to take when selling your home!

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Selling your Colorado home takes a lot more than adding it to the MLS listings and putting a sign in the front yard.  There are nine critical areas that must be addressed to ensure that you get the best results when selling your home.  Here are the “9 critical Steps” that I do for my Selling clients to save them time,  potential hassle – and to ensure that their homes sell quickly , and for top value!

 

1.         COMMUNICATION

  • -Education – It is important to remain educated and up-to-date on listing and current market conditions in your area. That is why I suggest you stay connected to our auto- feed and receive all weekly and monthly blogs about market conditions and home sales.
  • -Keeping You Informed – Provide updates on all activity regarding your home: agent showings, open house attendance, and agent tours and sign inquiries.

2.         PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE

  • -Home Preparation – Suggest constructive changes to your home to make it more appealing, and a sale more likely, to interested buyers.
  • -Home Staging – Present you with professional advice on presenting your home to show exceptionally well, and sell for the highest possible value.

3.         PROMOTING YOUR HOME TO REAL ESTATE AGENTS

  • -MLS Exposure – Submit your home listing for exposure to over 15,000 active agents in the Colorado Front Range Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
  • -Agent Tours – Place your home on the weekly schedule for preview by agents specifically interested in property in your area with motivated buyers.
  • -Personal Promotion to Agents – Create a custom publicity E-flyer about your home for personal distribution to each active agent in the community.
  • -Exposure to the Real Estate Board and Point 2 Agents- Promote your home by distributing flyers, brochures, and making personal announcements at real estate board meetings. Currently we have handshake agreements with over 400 Colorado agents to promote your home. Agents are added daily.

4.         PROMOTING YOUR HOME ON THE INTERNET

  • -We will design and build a “Personalized Custom Property Web Site” just for your property. You will be able to email it to your friends and family and we will provide access to the site on the MLS, Zillow and hundreds of other internet sites.
  • -We are “Premier Zillow Agents” making your home a featured home on Zillow.com. Once you list with us your home is a featured home on Zillow for the millions of buyers looking for their perfect home.
  • -Internet Exposure on Google – Generate no less than 500 page viewings per month on our website through Google search engine featuring your property.
  • -Internet Exposure on Yahoo – Generate at least 500 website page views through the search engine Yahoo, using the sponsored search program each month.
  • -Virtual Home Tour – Prepare a professional virtual home tour and selling feature presentation for your home so that buyers can experience the uniqueness of your home 24 hours a day.  We will have quality material with which to market your home.

5.         PROMOTING YOUR HOME IN YOUR LOCAL AREA

  • -Neighborhood Promotion – Send a personalized letter to residents in your neighborhood promoting the features and lifestyle benefits of your home.
  • -Toll-Free Telephone Promotion – Include your property in the PROQUEST 800# Marketing Program so that prospective buyers can listen 24 hours a day about the virtues of your home.
  • -Target Market Promotion – Promote your home in the industry specific Newsletter “Your Home Club” that is mailed twice a month to more than 1000 prospects in your market area.

6.         ADVERTISING YOUR HOME

  • -Print Advertising – To promote your home as part of the Real Estate Book.  This publication has country-wide circulation with millions of readers, and, it is available online.
  • -Local Advertising – Advertise your property in local community newspapers with targeted circulation.
  • -Custom Home Descriptions – Create a custom flyer of features and lifestyle benefits of your home for use by cooperating agents showing your home.

7.         SHOWING YOUR HOME

  • -Centralized Showing Service – Automated showing service allowing for only approved / verified and vetted real estate agents with their clients gain access to your property.
  • -Custom Listing Book – Create a custom “listing book” to be placed in your home for buyers to reference home features, lot, utility, and tax information, neighborhood benefits, schools, shopping, medical, and other buyer benefits.
  • -Easy Access for Showings – Enhance convenience of buyer viewing by placing home on a lock box.
  • -Open House Promotions – Promote your home to the public through Open Houses, at your convenience.
  • -Professional Signs – Maximize showing exposure through professional signage.

8.         MANAGING HOME BUYER “LEADS”

  • -Tracking Interest – Track all home showing agents and public using special sign-in sheets.
  • -Potential Buyer Motivation – Follow-up on all agents who have shown your home to answer questions, and further motivate buyer interest.

9.         MANAGING THE TRANSACTION

  • -Potential Buyer Evaluation – Ensure that any offers from buyers are pre-qualified and capable of closing on the purchase.
  • -Negotiations – Represent you in contract negotiations with buyers to help generate the highest selling price for the home.
  • -Managing the Closing – Coordinate escrow, financing, and closing activities on your behalf to ensure a smooth, hassle-free closing.