Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Search for Homes on Your Phone

Remember the days when you flipped open a cell phone and all you did was talk. Now apps have taken over your phone screen. Exciting advances are taking place! If you are like many, multiple App icons cover your phone screen. Apps that can take your pulse, tell you where to eat, provide you with fun and games, enable you to search encylopedias, and even tells you the weather. Just about anything you can think of seems to have found a place on your phone screen.

One of the newest categories of apps includes those that will help you find homes for sale or rent, showing a map of the properties and all the details. As phone apps pour onto the market, apps for the home buyer and seller have emerged. Many of the big home search engines and bigger brokerages have designed apps to help people find properties for sale.

Keller Williams Realty has come up with a free app that is easy to download and use on any smart phone. It will locate homes for sale of rent nearby. Curious what homes are running on your street? With your QR Reader app, scan the QR code above or click on the KW Realty Mobile website or on your KW Realty website; then follow the simple directions. You simply download the free KW Realty app from your Google Play or App Store on your smart phone and start checking out home prices in your area.

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The 5 Senses of Selling Successfully

When buyers walk into a home for sale, they are using all five senses to decide if they like the home or not. Here are tips on how to help your home stand out.

  • Sight. Front yards should be green and well trimmed. If no flowers are blooming, add a pot of colorful flowers near the front door. Of course Decluttering is the biggest potential do-it-yourself return on the resale, up to $2000 or more on the sales price. Well lit rooms staged with minimal furniture and neutral wall colors, can be livened up with colorful accessories such as pillows, candles, and artwork. Display fresh flowers throughout the house, Add color pops with bowls of lemons, red apples, pomegranates in the kitchen and dining room.

  • Sound. Play soft easy listening type music, jazz or classical your choice, throughout the house.

  • Taste. A plate of freshly baked cookies or chocolates, along with coffee or tea can entice the buyers to sit down awhile to enjoy the home more.

  • Smell. Natural aromas of freshly baked cookies, flowers, lemons will enhance the experience of the walking through the home. Other ideas include baking applies with brown sugar at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or warming apple cider with cinnamon sticks. Litter boxes must be cleaned daily and before showings.

  • Feel. Soft towels, fine linens, textured accent pillows, smooth clean counter tops, all add a touch of luxury to the experience.

Unknowingly to many buyers, they use all of their senses while viewing homes. So by adding a few of these simple tips, you will present a winning home.

By Virginia Hall, CRS, ABR, CNE, SFR, GRI, ePro
Keller Williams Realty

Monday, November 26, 2012

Home Sellers Don't Get Burned--Choose the Right Buyers

"What do you mean they can't get the loan?"  the seller asked.  "We've been waiting for 17 days and we are just finding out?"

Even though the buyer had worked all his life except for one year, because of a case of discrimination and a lawsuit, the lender turned down the buyer's loan.  Even though it happened two years ago, the underwriter said that this would increase the interest rate on his loan making his monthly payments unaffordable.    Everyone was very disappointed.

There are some situations that sellers and agents just can't anticipate.  However, in most cases there are several ways the seller's agent can protect the seller from entering into escrow with an unqualified buyer, losing valuable marketing time and making other buyers wonder why has the home sat on the market so long and what is wrong it. 

  • Motivation.  Know the buyer's motivation.  One that is relocating for a job, is stronger than a buyer buying a second home.  The family out growing their condominium is stronger than the one who is renting and thinks it is a good time to own.
  • Proof of Funds.  Before an offer is accepted, the buyers should be required to submit a recent bank statement showing that they do indeed have the money for the deposits and closing costs.  
  • Loan Prequalification or Preapproval?  The seller's agent should contact the buyer's loan officer to verify that they have actually reviewed the application, bank records, and paystubs.
  • Appraisal Contingency.  The buyer's loan also depends on the property appraising at the price offered.  If it appraises higher than the accepted offer, there is no problem.  However, in this market, appraisers are still appraising conservatively based on comparable sales in the area.   On occasion, appraisers may come from out of the area and not know every comparable sale.  So it is very important that the agents provide the appraiser with the best solid comparable home sales to support the price. 
  • Higher Offer Trap.  At this time, many sellers are receiving multiple offers.  Some buyers will offer above the fair market value in order to get their offer accepted, knowing they will renegotiate the price if the appraisal comes in lower.  If the seller does not want to renegotiate the price, they still have to share the appraisal with the next buyer.  So make sure that you have strong comparable home sales and the strongest, most motivated buyer with a fair price or money to renegotiate with.        
So the moral of the story is look a little further than the price and terms on the purchase agreement.  Make sure the buyer can indeed fullfill their offer so no one gets burned.  

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty
DRE #01409760

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mortage Rates Analysis For The Week of 10-19-2012-

The 30 year rate fell from 3.39 to 3.37 this week. Last weeks rates where moving in the opposite direction.

The 15 year dropped from 2.70 to 2.66. The 5 and 1 year arms rose from 2.73 to 2.75 (5 year arm) and 2.59 to 2.60 (1 year arm). Below are rates from the weeks from Sep 27, 2012 to Oct 18, 2012

Oct 18, 2012
30-fixed 3.37 15-fixed 2.66 5 ARM 2.75 1 ARM 2.60

Oct 11, 2012
30-fixed 3.39 15-fixed 2.70 5 ARM 2.73 1 ARM 2.59

Oct 04, 2012
30-fixed 3.36 15-fixed 2.69 5 ARM 2.72 1 ARM 2.57

Sep 27, 2012
30-fixed 2.71 15-fixed 2.71 5 ARM 2.60 1 ARM 2.60

Sep 27, 2012
30-fixed 3.40 15-fixed 3.40 5 ARM 2.73 1 ARM 2.73

Apr 19, 2012
30-fixed 3.90 15-fixed 3.13 5 ARM 2.78 1 ARM 2.81

So now that we have looked at rates lets look at actual mortgage payments. We took current rates and translated them into a mortgage payment for a 200k mortgage. We also did the same thing with rates from October, 04 2012 and rates from April, 19 2012

Oct 18
30-year $883.63
15-year $1348.69
5-year ARM $816.48
1-year ARM $800.67

Oct 04
30-year $882.53
15-year $1351.54
5-year ARM $813.3
1-year ARM $797.53

Apr 19
30-year $943.33
15-year $1393.7
5-year ARM $819.66
1-year ARM $822.85

So compared to two weeks ago the payment for a 200k mortgage has rose by -0.12 percent or $-1.1 a month. And compared to 6 months ago the payment for a 200k mortgage has dropped by 6.32 percent or $59.7 a month

Article by Tom Miller

Saturday, August 18, 2012

ObamaCare's New Home Seller Tax

"So when I sell my home, do I have to pay a new tax?" This is the question on every home sellers' mind since news of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 broke. 

According to the California Association of Realtors, beginning January 1, 2013, a new tax sometimes referred to as the "Medicare Tax" will take effect.  Part of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, includes this new 3.8% tax on sellers that have an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 (for a single person), $250,000 (for couples filing jointly), and $125,000 (couples filing separately). 

Because this is a complicated tax law and will impact investor's differently, for the purpose of this blog, I will only be addressing home owners selling their principal residence with gains greater than the normal sellers' tax exemptions ($500,000 for married couples and $250,000 for individuals).   To help you understand, I am including an example from The 3.8% Tax Real Estate Scenarios & Examples Brochure, written by the California Association of Realtors (CAR): 

John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. They have $325,000 Adjusted Gross Income (before adding taxable gain)."

The tax applies as follows:
     AGI Before Taxable Gain $325,000

     Gain on Sale of Residence $525,000

     Taxable Gain (Added to AGI) $25,000 ($525,000 – $500,000)

     New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)

     Excess of AGI over $250,000 $100,000 ($350,000 – $250,000)

     Lesser Amount (Taxable) $25,000 (Taxable gain)

     Tax Due $950 ($25,000 x 0.038)

NOTE:  If John and Mary had a gain of less than $500,000 on the sale of their residence, none of that gain would be subject to the 3.8% tax. Whether they paid the 3.8% tax would depend on the other components of their $325,000 AGI.

With this new tax, I recommend sellers talk to their accountants to verify their liabilities, because each home seller has different circumstances that may impact their tax rates when selling their home.  

Written by Virginia Hall
                ABR, CRS, e-Pro, GRI, SFR
                Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
                DRE Lic 01409760
                Direct (619)258-8585



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Home Seller's Tip--Unwelcomed Summer House Guests

Right on time as usual, I hustled into my listing to prepare for my Open House.  The home was spotless.  Background music played softly and the air conditioning cooled the house, blocking out the summer heat.   After setting down my briefcase next to a chair, I set the plate of freshly baked cookies on the kitchen counter, just before a couple walked in.. 

I introduced myself to the man and woman, before showing them around.  As we walked past the kitchen I offered a cookie.  They thanked me, but had just eaten.  They spent the next 15 minutes looking around the house and chatting about buying a home in the future.   While they said they had just started looking, I had made a connection and would followup.

Now I prepared to settle in for the next two hours, I opened my laptop on the kitchen table and glanced in the direction of the kitchen when I noticed a straight black line of ants crawling across the ceiling, down the corner of the wall and across the counter straight to the cookies.  To my horror, the ants swarmed over the chocolate chips cookies.  Any moment I expected them to lift the plate of cookies and run off with them.  I jumped up in a panic trying to decide what to do.  I thought of a Yogi Bear cartoon where the ants carried away the picnic basket. I quickly slid the ant covered cookies into the trash and tied the plastic bag tightly.  I didn't want any get-a-ways.  Then I headed after the rest with several wet paper towels.   The last thing I wanted in a closed up home was ode de ant spray. But I had to stop the flow of ants.  So I grabbed a can of ant spray from under the sink and sprayed lightly at where it looked like the ants were coming from. 

Thank goodness no one walked in those 15 minutes.  I let the sellers know, that they needed to either spray themselves or hire a pest control company to rid the house of ants.  

While it is not uncommon to see bugs during the summer with the heat, it is important that homes for sale be kept bug free.    Also during the summer trash, cat boxes, and the laundry should be emptied each day to avoid odors.  You want your home to smell as good as it looks.

Written by Virginia Hall
                  ABR, CRS, E-Pro, GRI, SFR 
                  Direct: (619)258-8585

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Selecting the Best Home Buyer's Representative

In a recent blog,The Slippery Slope of Dual Agency, someone asked about how to select a Home Buyer's Representative? Once you decide to buy, it is important that you pick someone that is honest, trustworthy, and has your best interest at heart to help you. Meeting the representative and discussing the process is one way to select the best person for you.  Here are some criterias and questions to keep in mind when selecting the one:

Experience and Credentials. How long has the representative been in business? Is the agent a Realtor®? What professional organizations do they belong to? What other credentials or designations (ie. Accredited Buyer's Representative) do they hold?

Knowledge.What areas and neighborhoods do they work in? What types of property sales do they specialize in (residential, commercial, land)?

References. Ask about contacting previous clients for referrals. You may want to Google the Realtor®.

Representation. Ask the Representative to explain the definition of each agency and what is meant by fiduciary duties. Do they do dual agency?

Services Provided. Ask what type of services they offer? Do they use a written buyer representation agreements, detailing the obligations of the buyer and the Representative? It is important to have a clear understanding of what you expect out of them and what they expect out of you. Do they listen? Will they refer related service-providers such as lenders and home inspectors? Will they respond to your phone calls and emails within a certain time frame or at certain blocks of time in the day? Will you be dealing with the Representative or their assistant/Transaction Coordinator after the initial contract is accepted?

Finding Properties.  How will they assist you in finding homes? Some buyers like to look at all of the inventory, while others prefer the agent screens the homes narrowing down those they actually look at.
Do they have access to the full Multiple Listing Services? Will they set you up Internet homes searches?     When are they available to show you homes?

Negotiations. Will they educate you on the strategies of what to negotiate on, as well what contingencies will need to be released and when?

Compensation.  Most buyer's representative are compensated by the seller as part of the multiple listing agreement. However, it is always good to discuss other upfront costs you will expected to pay (ie. good faith deposit, home inspections, appraisals).  
While the Representative may not have perfect answers to every question, meeting them and discussing the process helps you in selecting a Home Buyer's Representative that you will have confidence in and trust to guide you through the process with your best interest at heart. 

Written by Virginia Hall
ABR®, CRS®, e-Pro, GRI®, SFR
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585