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?

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.

Coloring Contest

Sophie and LColoring Contestisa spent last Saturday at Norwood Day, getting to meet lots of our neighbors. We ran a coloring contest inside our booth. Here is the link to the entries  Legal Edge Coloring Contest. The winner will recieve a $25 Visa gift card. We are still waiting for a few more entries to get sent in. Each participant received their very own box of crayons. We were very busy handing out information about buying and selling homes in Norwood, discussing the limited supply of homes on the market and why it is an excellent opportunity for sellers. We were also able to help make some connections for buyers looking for mortgage connections. It was a great day, with fantastic weather.

Visit our facebook page and tell us which one of the pictures is your favorite!


The Art of the Walk Through

magnifyingglassOne of the last crucial steps to take before you go to the closing table to sign your mortgage documents should be the walk through of your new home. This gives you the opportunity to see that everything is in good working order, and get an opportunity to deal with any last minute problems that might arise.

The walk through should be scheduled within 24 hours of your closing. It will take about 30 minutes to compete.

Now, what are you actually doing when you do the walk through?

Check that the appliances and plumbing are working- you can turn on the dishwasher, turn on light switches, run the faucets to see that everything is operational.

You can also ask for owner manuals for appliances and warranties on any items that may exist.

Double check that any repairs that were supposed to been done have actually happened.

Make sure personal belongings have been removed, or items that should be left behind per your contract are still in place.

Make sure mother nature hasn’t done any damage to the property since the purchase and sale has been signed.

If you do identify some problems, let your real estate agent get involved. They can negotiate a repair that hasn’t happened, get items removed that are still in place, or arrange for funds to be held back until the situation is corrected. Don’t panic if something is out of place. There is always a solution, whether it is a postponement of the document signing or a renegotiation of an item. You have legal recourse as protections and most often times, a mutual agreement can be reached.

We have had situations where flooding has occurred due to a storm, or Sellers have refused to remove their belongings. In each case, a short negotiation remedied the repairs. It is also not uncommon to find that Sellers will ask to leave items that may be useful to you, such as gardening tools that they no longer need, at no additional charges.

The walk through can give you that additional sense of confidence that you have made a great decision with your home purchase.

Once the walk through is complete, you are on your way to signing your documents and receiving the keys to your new home.

What’s the biggest surprise you have come across while doing a walk through?

Sign up here for our monthly newsletter

Does An Open House Help Sell Your Home?

Legal Edge For Sale Sign

Welcome to the Open House

In the fast paced world of the internet, where everything regarding a potential home purchase can be viewed on line, why would a Seller want to have an open house? Here are a few great reasons why you should schedule an open house.

First, this is a great opportunity to properly clean up and simplify what’s in your home. Just think that for every single item you give away or pack away during the staging process, it is one step closer to the actual move out date and one item less to pack later on. This cleaning process now gives you the best opportunity to showcase your house to the world.

Both scheduling an open house and the for sale sign on your lawn let friends and neighbors know what’s happening. You want them to come in and take a look. What better form of advertising is there then word of mouth? If your neighbors know of friends that are looking to move into the area, they can give them a great incentive to come take a look.

There are many first time home buyers that will want to take a look. If they see what they like, the Buyers will be encouraged to take a second look and schedule a private showing. Or, in some areas where home inventories are still low, offers may be made right on the spot.

At your open house, it’s a great idea to have a booklet with information about the neighborhood, a plot plan or blue prints for the home, a map showing where the local schools are and any local amenities.

Finally, try creating some excitement. By having a short time frame for your open house (for example, one hour only), it brings in all the potential Buyers at the same time. This creates a sense of buzz about the home since many people are viewing it at once. A home that everyone wants, creates better offers.

When you schedule your open house, make sure you take into consideration holidays, sporting events or any local activities that could keep potential Buyers away.

What Are Words Really Worth?

Great descriptions sell your home!

While 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.

Best Buyer Incentives

How does a Seller make their property more attractive so that it will sell quickly and attract more offers?

Try offering these sure fire incentives…

1. Offer a home warranty policy. Warranties cover repair and replacement costs for appliances and other systems associated with a home and offer a security blanket to cap potential home repairs for the first year a Buyer owns their new home.

2. Offer assistance with closing costs. Homes that offer financial incentives historically sell faster and are generally more appealing when compared to similar homes located  in the same neighborhood.

3. Offer a Remodeling or Repair Credit. If your home is in need of some TLC, adding on a remodeling incentive may just turn the tide for a Buyer that is willing to do the work, but already feeling stretched by the process of purchasing a home. The less a Buyer has to spend to get the home of their dreams, the quicker a Buyer will make the offer.

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.

A Good First Impression Helps Sell Your House

It can’t be overstated—when it comes to buying a house, the first impression is everything. If you’re selling or getting ready to sell in the coming months, one of the easiest and most dramatic ways to enhance that first impression is through paint.

Fresh paint makes your house look clean, bright, and inviting.

Painting your house’s exterior and interior before you put it on the market give the biggest bang for your fix-up buck.

Agents agree that sellers shouldn’t take curb appeal lightly, especially when so many buyers are doing their homework and looking at the exterior of houses before they even contact an agent.

If nothing else, paint at least the door, door frame, and foyer or first room the would-be buyers will see.

  • Use fresh,  neutral colors. If you’re painting the exterior, make sure the color blends in with the neighborhood. Opt for whites, creams or neutrals. The PQI says these colors appeal to the greatest number of people.
  • Whether you paint yourself or hire someone, make sure all the prep work is done—washing all dirt away, and patching and repairing any necessary areas  on the surface before it is painted.
  • Paint railings, window frames, trim, and other accents to freshen up the exterior.
  • Promote any recent painting in your ads, flyers and online descriptions of your house. Homeowners and buyers place a high value on the painted appearance of a  home. Include the date the paint job was completed and the quality of paint that was used.

                                                                                                                                                                                       an exerpt from By Referral Only