TIPS FOR FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS

home buyer

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.

BIGGEST REAL ESTATE MISTAKES

1. Buying a House for its Decor: Remember that you are buying the house, not the stuff inside of it, so make sure you see beyond the decorations and look at the bones of the home. Focus on the floor plan and the square footage. You also might want to measure the dimensions and graph out how that’s going to work with your current belongings.

2. Not Providing Easy Access for Showings: Make your house easily accessible to potential buyers. If there’s nowhere to park or it’s difficult to get into, buyers may just skip it and look at someone else’s property instead.

3. Not Researching the Neighborhood: It’s absolutely critical that you research the neighborhood before you buy. Check out the area, amenities and the school system to be sure that your address corresponds with the correct school district. Also attend a community meeting, if possible. You’re not just buying a house, you’re buying a piece of that real estate and the land around it.

4. Losing Money With Auctions: While the starting bidding price for a house on auction might be a good deal, it doesn’t mean the final price will be. Make sure that you are very strict with your budget when you are bidding—do not go over your final price because you got wrapped up in the excitement of a bidding war. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you buy a property at auction, you aren’t able to get any of the warrantees or guarantees, and you are not able to do a home inspection. Find out if the auctioneer is going to put those charges on top of the sale price as well as if there are any liens on the property. You could be responsible for paying the property taxes on that house you just bought, which could make what looks like a good deal into a really bad deal.

5. Trying to Make the “Hard Sell” While Showing: If you are selling your house, you really shouldn’t be around at the open house. You might want to try and sell the place on all the reasons you think the house is great, but that might not translate to the buyer. If you leave, you allow the buyers to really give unbiased objective feedback to the agent, which is only going to help you in the end.

6. Waiting Until Spring to Sell Your House: Spring is the time of heaviest real estate activity, but that does not mean that people don’t buy houses 365 days of the year. That doesn’t mean you can’t emphasize your home’s seasonal amenities. You don’t have to wait until the weather is nice to put your home on the market. That’s a common real estate myth.

7. Treating Real Estate Like the Stock Market: When the real estate market is really hot and is appreciating really fast, people tend to look at it like it’s the stock market. But playing real estate is nothing like the stock market—when you invest in real estate, you really need to take a long-term approach.

8. Failing to Market Your Home in Different Ways: Don’t market your home with just a for-sale sign. Explore other marketing tools as well. Talk to your real estate agent about the marketing that they will do. It’s something that should be set up from the initial signing of a contract with an agent. Some homes have virtual tours and photographs online. If you choose to go that route, don’t forget to include the floor plans. That way, people can see the layout of your home and know that if it it’s right for them.

9. Not Thinking About Resale: When you are decorating and renovating your home, you need to think about what is going to appeal to a broad section of buyers when it comes time to sell it. Buying houses and being in the real estate market is like chess, you always want to look two or three steps ahead in the game.

10. Buying Without Actually Seeing the Property: It’s really easy to buy a house without seeing it because of the Internet and virtual tours, but virtual tours can be deceiving. Plus, it’s really hard to actually get a sense and feel of a home by only looking at it online. You need to actually walk through the place yourself. If that’s just not possible, hire an inspector to go look at the property and provide you with an assessment.

11. Trusting Everything a Real Estate Advertisement Says: Don’t assume every ad is fact. Learn to decipher real estate lingo. For example, cozy means small, and as-is means it’s a fixer-upper. If there are a lot of exclamation points in an ad, it means they are there just to take up room because there is so little to say about the place. Follow the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

12. Picking the Wrong Agent: Treat meetings with agents like a job interview because that’s really how it works—that person is going to be working for you. Talk to your friends who’ve sold houses and had a good experience with their agent, and go to open houses and observe how that agent interacts with other people. It’s also a good idea to meet with the agent in their office. It allows you to see how organized they are, what kind of environment they work in, and whether that’s conducive for them being able to do a good job for you.

13. Not Hiring an Agent: There’s a lot more to selling a house than just putting a sign on the front lawn. If you don’t have an agent, you will not get on the multiple-listing service (MLS). That means that other agents are not going to know that your property is for sale. Another thing to consider is if you are willing to show the house each time someone wants to come by and look at it? If you do plan to sell your house on your own, always have a lawyer present at a closing. It’s really important to have someone on your side who understands all the complexities.

14. Buying the Most Expensive Home on the Block: The most expensive house will only depreciate in value over time, rather than appreciate, which is what you want. Also, those houses are often not the first house to sell because they are usually overbuilt to the neighborhood. It’s absolutely critical that you research the neighborhood before you buy to find out what the price point should be.

15. Not Setting a Realistic Budget: Just because the bank pre-qualifies you for a loan amount of $400,000 doesn’t mean you can afford to make that payment every month. Before hitting the streets for a house hunt, you should sit down and make a monthly budget of what you spend every month. Come up with a number that you are comfortable spending on your mortgage payment, aside from those other expenditures. An easy way to do this is to take a third of your gross income and have that figure be the number you spend on the house. It is also a good idea to have six to nine months of mortgage payments in the bank, plus a little extra if you have any repairs that you might need to do.

16. Visiting the House Only Once: It’s important to visit a house more than once because the neighborhood itself may be very different, depending on the day of the week and the time of day. It’s also a good idea to go home and think about it, even sleep on it, before you go back again.

17. Not Being Pro-Active at Closing: The best thing to do when going into a closing is to get all the paperwork ahead of time. All that information should come from a mortgage broker or banker. They have what they call a HUD (Housing and Urban Development) One form that lists out all the charges, and you can legally get it in your hands 24 hours before closing. Schedule the closing for in the morning, so you have a fresh mind and plenty of time to go over everything and ask questions. The final walk-through is another imperative part of the process. You may want to have a home inspector accompany you.

18. Doing Major Renovations/Remodeling Before Selling: Minor upgrades usually have a higher return on your money than tackling major renovations before placing a home on the market. The main reason? Huge construction projects always cost more than you think they will, and they also take longer than you expect. The best place to spend money is outside. Research shows that increasing the curb appeal often returns the most value on your money. It’s what gets buyers inside the house, after all. Don’t feel like you have to tackle major renovations before placing your home on the market. Just touch-ups here and there—especially outside the home—typically do the trick.

19. Skipping the Loan Pre-Approval Step: When you are pre-approved, the bank is saying, “We will give you a mortgage of up to this amount, so now all you have to do is find your home.” Some sellers only allow Realtors to show their house if someone has a pre-approved letter. That indicates that the shopper really is serious about buying a home.

20. Falling in Love With the First Property You See: Many homebuyers, particularly first time homebuyers, fall into the trap of falling in love with the very first house that they see. You need to at least look at three more houses in the area to get an idea of what the comparables are in that price range. You want your realtor now to show you homes comparable to what you saw. At the end of the day, re-evaluate.

21. Buying a Home Without a Professional Inspection: There are a lot of things a home inspection can reveal about a property that are not visible to the naked eye. Be sure to hire someone that comes with a good referral basis, that’s been in the business a while and knows what to look for. Look up the American Society of Home Inspectors and get a list of qualified home inspectors in your area. Once you find an inspector, insist that they compile a written report, complete with photos. Photographs are important because there are areas a home inspector will go that you might not look at. Be sure to hire a home inspector to thoroughly check out a house you are interested in purchasing.

22. Overlooking the Extra and Hidden Costs: Buying a home is not just about the money that you spend up front; it’s about all the rest of the money you have to spend beyond that. Find out what the property taxes are, what your water bill might be and what a standard electric bill is in that home, especially if you have electric heat vs. gas heat. You also need to factor in furnishings you may need to purchase before you can move in.

23. Buying What You Want, Not What You Need: Look at the space that you are already living in. It will help you to realize what you have been missing and what you need in your next home. Make a list those of needs and then ask your agent to start shopping these needs. On average, Americans live in a house for about nine years. Remember, you can always trade up a few times before you find the ultimate home.

24. Setting Too High of a Sale Price: As a seller it’s really important to do your research, and in order to come up with your sale price, look up what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for. Figure out what the going price is and try to put yours right in the middle of that, unless you have something extra special to offer. It is always better to price a home sharply than to start too high and have to reduce. Once you reduce, it always looks like something is wrong with the home.

25. Failing to Showcase Your Home and Make Small Cosmetic Changes: When you are selling your house, you have to really look at it objectively and think about it from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house and maybe hire a professional stager to come and arrange your furniture. Staging is about decorating your house for the buyers’ taste, not yours. A great place to start is with the front of the home and the main entryway. Home staging is designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market.

 

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.

What’s going on in Denver?

Hello Everyone!

Today’s Blog is dedicated to letting you know what’s going on in your local community, real estate, and healthy snack ideas.  Enjoy!

LOCAL EVENTS

September 27th-October 6th   

For fun, good food, live music, and of course beer check out Oktoberfest Denver.  For more information check out the event website:   http://thedenveroktoberfest.com/#!

HEALTHY LIVING

Annie’s Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon chips from allrecipes.com  has been my favorite recipe lately.  This light healthy snack is delicious and easy to make.   This is the perfect snack for a barbeque, party, or meeting.  Here is a list of Ingredients you will need:

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 apples- peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 ounces of raspberries
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
  • 10 (10inch) flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Directions

  1. In      a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries,      strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and      chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat      oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Coat      one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut      into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.      Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with      cooking spray.
  4. Bake      in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla      wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit      mixture.
  1. I have been in the real estate business for 15 years and found my passion is serving the senior community, making your transition into the next phase of your life as happy and simple as it can be.

REAL ESTATE

King Real Estate Group, LLC offers their clients professional, knowledgeable, real estate services.   For more information visit our website at:  http://www.kingrealestate.net/ .

5 Tips to Expedite the Sell of your Home

5 Tips to Expedite the Sell of your Home

  1. Setting the price of your home– To insure you get top dollar for your property take a look at recent home sales in your neighborhood, this will keep you from pricing to high or low.  It is also a good idea to have your house appraised prior to placing it on the market.
  2. Deciding on an agent– It is important to establish what you are looking for in an agent when selling your home.  It is best to be with someone who tailors a plan dedicated to your family’s unique situation and needs.  Meet with a couple agents and pick the one who best meets your requirements.
  3. Curb Appeal- It is said that “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. This defiantly applies to the sale of your home. Making sure the exterior of your house is appealable to possible buyers is very important and can be a deal breaker.Tips:
    • -Plant a flowerbed
    • -Make sure lawn is well kept and mowed
    • -Paint your front door
  4.  No longer your home– When an interested home buyer is viewing your house they want to be able to picture it as their own.  This means de-personalizing your house by removing family photos, keepsakes, and unnecessary knick knacks.
  5. Know when to upgrade- Don’t waste your time and money on costly home repairs and upgrades.  Determine what upgrades will expedite the sale of your home.   The kitchen is one of the most important selling components of any home and can be a major deal breaker if it is not up to expectations.

DENVER SEES A RISE IN THE HOUSING MARKET

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The Denver real estate market is heading into fall very strong.  A reported 2,500 homes came to the market this past summer.  The market is moving towards equilibrium of homes being bought and sold boosting local economy.  But with a boost in the market we are also seeing a rise in housing prices.  According to the Metrolist the average price of a Denver Metro home was $310,000.

The Denver Post reported in August that there was a 43% decrease in foreclosures from July, causing sales from discounted property to diminish.

If you are interested in selling your current house or need help finding your dream home contact King Real Estate Group. King Real Estate Group offers their clients professional, knowledgeable, and innovative real estate services.   For more information about real estate trends visit our website at:  KingRealEstateGroup  .