How Can I Remember Each Home When I’ve Seen So Many?

The key to success in buying a home is similar to the key to success in anything:  planning and organizing.  The process will take you through the four steps that will help you remember the homes you’ve seen and help you choose the best one for you.

  1. Map it out.

Step one in the planning process is to find a map of the area or town where you’re looking.  Mark  the places that are important in your decision-making process –schools, parks, grocery stores, malls, or if you commute – where the train stations are or the best way to get to get to the interstate.

Then, as you visit each home, place a mark on the map, and see how it fits in with your overall plan of location, location, location.

  1. Keep the listing sheets.

For each home you visit, the real estate consultant should give you a listing sheet.  This contains vital information about each home –the address, list price, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and extras.

  1. Take notes.

As you walk through the house, take notes on the back of the listing sheet about memorable things.  Make sure you note the date and time you visit.  You may want to sketch out the floor plan while you’re there.

You should also take your “wish list” with you and check off the items that are “must haves” and “nice to haves.”  This will help keep you from getting distracted by a great or horrible decorating job.

  1. Take photos.

You’re always welcome to take photos of the exterior, but make sure to ask before taking any inside – not everyone wants to “share” their personal lives with others.  Taking pictures can go a long way to reminding you what a home looks like – and how it fits into the neighborhood.  It also lets you look at it later, after your first impression, when you want to look more at the details.

5.  Go Live

If your best home advisor friends or family can’t make a showing because they are out of town, ask if you can do a live video as you walk through so they can ask questions in real time. Same rules apply about asking if it’s OK to make the video connection.

What’s your favorite way of keeping track of  features you like in a home?

What Are Words Really Worth?

writingWhile an amazing picture of your home will catch a Buyer’s eye, the accompanying description must be equally as powerful. The description you create can actually increase of decrease your profitability margin.

Words can be too vague, over used or have become passé and will be a disservice to the listing if used. The goal is to appeal to something specific that the Buyer can connect with. Stay away from the following:
Fantastic = too good to be true
Charming = small and often not updated
Spacious = vast or by removing some furniture the room looks bigger than it is
Great Neighborhood = everyone views a neighborhood differently, what is important to a young family may not be important to couple that is down sizing

To increase your profitability, use words that reflect Buyer’s needs and wants today. Here are some great examples that Buyers are looking for: state of the art, granite, energy efficient, gourmet, and hardwood.

A great description will not only get Buyers in the door quickly, but it will lead to a quicker seller with higher profits as you have managed to meet today’s expectations.

sourced from By Referral Only

What are some trending words in for sale listings that make you sit up and take notice?

How To Avoid Being Beaten Out By Other Buyers Who May Be Competing For Your Dream Home…


You’ve found your dream home, so you’ll make an acceptable offer and live happily ever after…unless another buyer beats you to the punch!

In a competitive marketplace, this can not only happen, but can potentially have a far greater impact than any negotiating gambit the seller would hurl your way. Yet, more buyers erroneously fear the seller more than they do other competing buyers!

That’s why it’s important to make sure your offer strategy includes a strong stance against other potential buyers and their offers. There are several factors that make buyer competition a threat in today’s real estate market.

It’s a sellers’ market.

First, in a competitive market with relatively few quality properties available, “dream home” category houses will become hot properties – often as soon as the for sale is planted in the yard.

Most buyers want to purchase a home that requires very little fix-up. They comment, “I want to bring in my toothbrush and immediately set up housekeeping.” And to obtain these turnkey benefits, buyers are willing to pay a premium.

That can translate into not only a full-price offer, but one that exceeds the seller’s listed price.Timing is everything.In an active market, timing is everything.

In the good old days, you might have the luxury of viewing a home several times – even dragging your relatives to see it… before you actually made an offer.

“He/she who hesitates is lost” aptly explains buyers who dally to make a buying decision today.
And don’t forget that being pre-approved for a loan has leveled the playing field for a majority of buyers. If they’re all equally qualified financially, the best offer (as interpreted by the seller) gets the property.

So, what can you do to arm yourself to the teeth with added value to capture a seller and counteract offers from other buyers?

Get Pre-Approval.

First, make sure you’re financially pre-approved by a Lender for the loan you’ll need and be prepared to document this fact to a seller if requested.

Be Honest.

Be honest with the seller about your interest in purchasing the property. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t negotiate a fair purchase; but it also doesn’t mean that you’ll act nonchalant and noncommittal either. Sellers often choose one buyer’s offer over another based on the level of personal interest and commitment the buyer appears to have to the seller’s home.


Lastly, make sure you fully communicate the desired outcome to the real estate consultant you’re working with. The consultant will then evaluate the best tack to take in terms of price, purchase terms, and negotiating tactics to help you realize that goal.

The next time you’re inclined to wonder what evil trick the seller might be up to, better look behind you first…to see if other buyers are trying to pull the rug out from under your dream home!

Seven Money-Saving Secrets You Can Use When You Buy A Home…

1. Choose a low down payment loan.piggybank

There is no law that says you MUST put 20% or even 10% down. There are some loans that require as little as 3% or even zero down. This is attractive for three reasons: It’s hard to save for a large down payment, you could earn more interest on that money than you’re paying in interest on the loan, and it’s nice (and sometimes necessary) to have cash on hand after buying a home.

2. Have someone give you money to pay closing costs.

A relative, church or nonprofit organization can give you money for closing costs. Cash gifts from wedding gifts can also be used.

3. Ask the seller to pay some of your closing costs as part of your offer.

Sellers are usually allowed to contribute to a buyer’s closing costs.

4. Do not pay too much insurance at closing!

Most Lenders require 14 months hazard insurance paid at closing, so be ready. What happens to that extra money? It sits in your escrow account until you sell the house. It’s safe there, but it often earns no interest.

5. Remember, the homes that you’re looking at don’t belong to your agent.

You must be straightforward about your likes and dislikes in order for the agent to do the best job for you. Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don’t make a decision on a house until you feel that you’ve seen enough to pick the best one. Review the Multiple Listing printout with your agent to make sure that you are getting a COMPLETE list.

6. Shop around for your home insurance.

A little shopping might help save you money.

7. You can deduct money paid for discount points from your gross income before computing your tax.

See a CPA for more information.

How to Avoid 5 of the Most Expensive Mistakes Home Buyers Make

 Mistake #1: Not knowing how much they can afford before they make an offer.
The easiest way to avoid this mistake is to get pre-approved for a mortgage by a Lender so you know in advance exactly how much you can afford. Most pre-approvals are free and it will give you a basis to  make a more informed purchasing decision when you find the house you like.

Mistake #2: Not realizing that the wrong mortgage can cost thousands of dollars in needless interest and taxes. Check with your accountant before you make your final decision on which mortgage you’re going to choose. Your CPA can tell you what the long-term effects will be on your income, your taxes, and the equity you build in your home over time. Most people aren’t aware that with a standard 30-year mortgage they’ll be paying two-and-a-half times the amount of the mortgage in payments. With some advance planning and a simple strategy, they can cut the amount of interest they pay dramatically and own their homes sooner.

Mistake #3: Not realizing in advance whom the real estate consultant represents.

Most people think that the agent they’re working with is working for them. But unless they’re working as your buyer representative, they represent the seller.  There are different types of agency relationships you can have with a Realtor, so make sure you’re clear on your options.

Mistake #4: Not discovering hidden defects before they buy a home.

One of the most expensive mistakes is also one of the easiest to avoid, by having a professional pre-purchase home inspection.  Don’t get stuck with a money pit. The cost of a professional home inspection is usually a few hundred dollars, but the peace of mind it can give you and the expense you can avoid are worth thousands of dollars.

Mistake #5: Not knowing how much their credit can affect their ability to buy or refinance a home.

Before you buy a home, many of the clouds on your credit history can be cleared up or even eliminated. Your mortgage professional can help you review and prepare your credit file in advance.

an exerpt from by referral only

What help do you need to get our home buying process started?

A Modern Day Mystery in the Making

Sometimes what seems to be a simple real estate request can unfold into an ongoing mystery.

Last month a client came into our office searching for a property in Canton to establish a business on Route 138. All the   visible and listed properties were approached, but none were the right size or the right price range. So I did a little homework to see who owned any other locations that either had not been built up or had no active business located there. First, several of us made inquiries local land owners that might have some potential property deals up their sleeve, but no dice.

The next approach was with the town assessor’s department to see who owned what. In Canton the properties are not listed numerically in order by address on an easy access website. This meant a trip to the assessing department where I was graciously helped to look up each section of the map of Canton listing parcels on Rt. 138  to determine what properties were potentially available. Now came a little letter writing to the owners to see if anyone was interested in selling. While it was a shot in the dark, one owner did get back to me, and there is a potential for some build out. However, the property that my client really was interested in seemed to have some back taxes owed on it, and the letter came back addressee unknown.

I visited the adjacent businesses to get some background on what appeared to be an abandoned property and got the low down that the owner had passed away years ago. I also heard there might be a chemical spill on the property. I got in touch with the tax collector, and taxes are owed all the way back into the 1980’s plus there had been some testing done on the property for an oil or gas spill. The town was in the process to begin a tax taking on the property, but wasn’t sure who owned it. The town did give me the last known owner, which was the address that had come back to me. They are also in the process of doing a title search to see who currently owns it, but seem stalled as to who is the owner.

Meanwhile, I tried to see if a will was probated with the local probate court, but have not had success. Our office did locate someone with the same name who used to live in Canton but now lives out of state [and is the wrong age], and I have written him a letter to see if he can help. I have had no response as of yet. I also found information on the chemical testing through the state which referenced another name as a possible owner-although this has led to another dead end. . At this point, I am still hot on the trail for the owner.

So you can see, here at Legal Edge, we really do use all types of resources to get our clients what they are looking for. You should also never be afraid to ask about a property that might seem unavailable, because someone just might be willing to sell.

What would you do next to track the owner down?


Hiding Places Buyers Never Look

What do you do when your Realtor calls and wants to show your home in say, half an hour?  Jump for joy first, since someone wants to look at YOUR home, right?  Then, panic.  As you hang up the phone, you notice that your teenagers have been at it again…your house is CLEAN, it’s just not TIDY.  Now, what do you do?

Since we all know that the first impression is important, especially if you want to sell your home in the next decade, we have a few tips that will help you quickly hide away “stuff.”  But first, you have to know where the buyers are going to look, and ensure that these places are constantly tidy.

Places that buyers will look include the oven, any closets, kitchen drawers, laundry room, and the kitchen pantry.  Think about it; these places give them an indication, essentially, of how much storage space there is.  If they’re overflowing, the buyers will think there just isn’t enough room to store their own things, since obviously you don’t have the space.  If you need a reminder of the basics of preparing your house for sale, refer back to our book, How To Sell Your House For Top Dollar – Fast.

Don’t defeat your efforts by stashing clutter in these places at the last minute, no matter how tempting it may be!

Enough of that!  What you want to know is, at the last minute, where CAN you hide things?

Under the bed.  It’s spacious, easy to get to, and no one in their right mind would get down on their hands and knees to look there during their first visit.  In addition, kids are probably used to stashing things there anyway, and can help you.

In the washer and dryer.  Who hasn’t seen the commercial where a little kid has stashed a pet in there?  We don’t recommend putting your pets in there, but clothes and shoes and “stuff” can easily fit.  Although buyers like to look in the laundry to see the size and neatness, they won’t be looking to see if you actually have things in there.  Our caution is to let everyone in the family know that it’s a hiding place, and to never start the machines without checking the contents first.

In the refrigerator.  This is risky; you know your kids are going to be in and out of the fridge – and how embarrassing would it be to have a shoe fall out?  On the other hand, if you’ve just walked in from the grocery, you can certainly stash the entire grocery bag in there, until you’re ready to unpack it and put things away neatly.

Behind the couch.  That is, if the couch is against the wall.  We all know that things get trapped there anyway, so it could be a quick opportunity to drop a toy or wayward socks for a quick fix.

In the trunk of your car.  Your garage or carport needs to be tidy.  If it isn’t garbage day, yet you have bags lying around, drop them in.  Skateboards and roller blades are a hazard anyway, so drop them in, too.  Nobody has a right to check in your vehicle – take advantage of that fact!

Let me leave you with this quick story.  My best friend, being a naturally organized person, has clothes closets organized by color and like items, linen closets with towels and sheets stacked by size and color, and jars in her kitchen pantry with labels facing the front like a grocery store shelf.

This may seem extreme, but when she showed the house for sale, one buyer actually told her that he’d buy her home for the state of her closets alone!  He believed that if she paid that much attention to a closet, that she must have taken that kind of care with the rest of her home.

an exerpt from by referral only 



4 Ways to Beat the Stress of Buying a Home

1.  Begin with the end in mind. Have an ultimate scenario of where you’re trying to be.  What will life be like when you get there?  How will it be better than where you are now?  Dwell on that picture and write it out, fill up at least a page about how it feels in the new place.  This is imperative. Having the goal in front of you at all times energizes you to achieve it, in spite of setbacks and frustrations.  Emotions will run high and you need an anchor.  You must focus on that future goal when anxiety threatens to get the better of you.

2.   Be flexible. In your monetary calculations, overestimate by a thousand dollars.  In this market, anything can happen between contract acceptance and closing.  It could be the inspections reveal areas of concern that the seller is unwilling to fix or the repair costs are higher than the amount limited in the contract. Or the interest rate changes which affects the necessary down payment and closing costs you’ll need to come up with.  As your real estate team, we’ll strive to tie up loose ends as quickly as possible, but remember there is no perfect world.  Most buyers feel a bit overwhelmed when taking on a new mortgage and the responsibilities of a new home. We’ve seen many buyers get angry when it seems like the cost just keeps going up.  Anger is caused when reality doesn’t match up with the expectations you had in your mind.  If you anticipate this happening in advance, you won’t get angry.  In fact, it’ll probably go better than you expected.

3.  Trust in the process. There’s just so much to do, it’s easy to panic.  You wonder if it will ever work out.  In fact, when we bought our house, we couldn’t eat for a day, we felt so sick to our stomachs!  You think you’re taking a big chance, but the truth is you’re giving yourself a big chance. Even though you can’t see every step of the way, as you move towards your goals, the way opens up.  We know that you haven’t moved in a long time and it’s a major upheaval in your life.  But we’ve been there many times before, and we’ll be looking out for you.  Trust that we know the way to get you there.

4.  Get knowledge. One thing you’ll probably feel during this transition time is being out of control.  It feels like everyone else has taken over your life.  The seller, your Lender, the appraiser, the inspectors, all have the power to say yes or no to your moving plans. We’ll try our best to let you know ahead of time what your expenses will be, and what the unknowns are.  We’ll tie down the loose ends as soon as possible.  We’ll try to get your loan approved within a reasonable time frame.  We’ll educate you as best we can and let you in “behind the scenes” so you won’t ever feel stupid or out of control.

an exerpt from by referral only 

Should I Stay or Go? info for Sellers

When agents are showing your home to a prospective buyer, sellers often wonder should they stay or should they go? Some reasons sellers want to stay are because they think agents and buyers won’t be able to find everything, that they must be there to point out important features. Truthfully, most just want to be present to see buyer reaction firsthand.

Perhaps You Should Go…

Sellers should be aware that at the very least buyers feel uncomfortable when they are present, and that it can actually kill a sale. Buyers often won’t even open closet or cabinet doors when the seller is home, and when they cannot view a house comfortably, they’ll hurry up and move on to the next one.

Sellers want to talk, and not just about the house. You never know when a buyer will be turned off by the mood of the seller, or by a statement the seller makes. Buyers are there to look at the house, not chit chat about hobbies or the weather or worse–politics and other controversial topics.

If you (the seller) must be home during a showing, perhaps just go outside, take the dog for a walk or stay put in one location, do not wander around with the agent and buyers.