Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House in a Seller’s Market

The real estate market often fluctuates. Sometimes it’s a buyer’s market. Other times, it’s a seller’s market.

During a seller’s market, the demand for homes is high while the inventory is low. Because of this, a lot of sellers find themselves in a bidding war. It is possible to get the home you’ve always wanted, but you need a plan in place to avoid making mistakes.

Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when buying a house in a seller’s market.

Overpaying

In a hot market, most buyers find themselves in a multiple offer situation. It is not uncommon for buyers to lose out on home after home. Because of this, some buyers end up offering more out of desperation.

Desperation has no place in a home buying transaction. Given that buying a home is one of the biggest transactions you’ll have in this lifetime, you don’t want to spend any more money just because you were desperate to land your dream house. There are a lot of properties out there. You are sure to find your dream home at the right time. If you failed to acquire that property, then it’s not “the one”.

Financial fogginess

Buying a house is the big leagues. It’s not enough to ballpark your income or run the numbers in your head. You need to be crystal clear and decide how much you can afford.

Sit down and do the math. Use an online money app or keep an income/expense journal. Your goal is to get a clear picture about how much money you can spend on your home on a monthly basis. This is especially important in a hot market, where you may need to make a decision about whether to increase your offer price on a relatively short notice. If done wrong, it may lead to financial regrets that may last a lifetime.

Hesitating

In a hot market, great homes come on and off the market at a lightning-fast pace.  Hesitation can be costly in a hot real estate market. Some buyers would window shop for ages or sit on the fence because they believe that something better would come right along.  But if you do so, you may end up losing out on a property you truly like. While there are hundreds of lovely homes that would meet your needs and specifications, we highly recommend that you act fast and check out the property if you find something you really like.

 

Land Your Dream Home While Everyone is on Holiday

Spring is considered as the busiest time of the year in real estate. During the summer, however, there seems to be a significant reduction in the number of buyers. School is out and everyone is on vacation mode.

If you are looking to buy a house, you may want to take this opportunity to shop for your new home. Who knows, you might be able to land your dream home.

Identify your budget

Before embarking on your search, know your numbers. This is one of the most important things you should do early on. Unless you have a huge sum of money in the bank, you’ll need financing for your home. It would be a lot easier to find your dream home if you know have a good idea how much you can afford.

Work with a good real estate agent

A house is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, so you want to make sure that you do it right. That said, we highly recommend that you hire a real estate agent in your quest for your dream home. Don’t just settle for any agent, look for someone who is experienced and has enough knowledge about the neighborhood you’re interested in.

A good real estate agent will ask for the features you want in a house, your budget and other requirements. From here, the agent will show you some properties that suit your specifications. In addition, he/she will help you through the negotiation process all the way to the closing day. Work with a good real estate agent. You’ll certainly need one.

Timing is everything

For some sellers, especially those with school-aged children, summer is their last chance to sell their home. They want to make sure that they are settled in their new home before the school year starts. Buyers are also thinking the same. Some are even looking to buy a house early in summer so they can go on vacation before the school year starts.

The best time to buy a house is during the last week of July or the first half of August. During this time, most buyers have already bought a house, so there won’t be a lot of competition. Sellers, on the other hand, are desperate to sell their house. This gives you an upperhand in the negotiation.

 

Tips for Decorating Small Apartments

Living in a small space can be tough. There is limited storage space, and your home can look cluttered easily. Decorating is also a challenge, especially when your decorating options are limited by landlord laws and rental rules.

Here are some tips for decorating small apartments.

Accessorize

Most rental apartments prohibit you from painting the walls. To add a splash of color and personality to your apartment, invest in colourful accessories. Pillow cases, curtains, vases, candles, plants and flowers will immediately transform the look of your home and make the space feel cozy. Don’t be afraid to go bold with a deep, rich hue.

Cover furniture

Investing in new furniture is expensive. If your furniture looks old and dated, but you don’t have the budget to buy new ones, we suggest that you cover them instead. Slipcover chairs are cheap, and are available in different colors and styles. Choose something that would complement with your interiors.

Replace lighting

Lighting is one of the most important elements of the room. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t give it much thought. Consider replacing lighting fixtures with scones, chandelier or pendants. This may seem like a minor detail, but you’ll notice how it affects the look and feel of your home. It’s a quick transformation that’s super high impact.

Add area rugs

Area rugs are a great way to conceal old and unsightly flooring. They also add a pop of color and define areas within a space.

Area rugs are available in a wide variety of colors, styles and designs. Since the walls are bare, consider choosing area rugs in bold colors or patterns. They are considered artworks for the floor, and will make your living space more sophisticated.

Embrace under the bed storage

If you live in a small space, odds are you don’t have enough space to store your things. One of the best places to store some of your stuff would be under the bed. This will reduce the amount of clutter while making sure that you keep important things inside your home.

 

Signs That a Home Seller is Ready to Negotiate

Every home buyer wants to get the best deal possible. But most of the time, it seems like the seller has the upper hand. They get to choose whether or not to accept your offer. In some cases, they even choose from a pile of competing offers. But some sellers who tend to have a hard time selling their house are willing to negotiate.

Spotting a seller who is ready to negotiate, and using some negotiating strategies, will help you get the best price and terms.

Here are 4 signs that a home seller is ready to negotiate.

The seller offers extras

Some sellers are so eager to sell their house that they are willing to offer other inclusions like closing costs, home warranty, termite clearance or appliances. This is a clear sign that the owner is motivated to sell the property.

A rock-bottom price

Most owners believe that their home is more special as compared to other properties. As such, many of them are tempted to sell their home at a higher price. But if the house is being sold at a rock-bottom price, this could be an indication that the seller is desperate to sell the house. Perhaps the house has been on a market for quite some time. Or maybe, they have already bought a house and needs to sell their home fast.

Nobody is home

Most sellers stage the house before putting the house on the market. But if the house is vacant, that means that the seller has already moved to their new house. Or if the seller’s stuff are already packed in boxes, it means that they are preparing to move. There’s a good chance that the seller could be open for bargaining.

Buzzwords in the listing

Most people pay special attention to photos when browsing through online listings, but you may want to check on the listing description as well.

Certain words in the listing can clue you in on what the seller’s state of mind may be. Watch out for words like “needs to sell”, “priced to sell” or “motivated seller”. These are subtle hints that the seller is open to discussion.

4 Ways to Supercharge Your Home’s Online Listing

Today’s homebuyers start their search online. They would go online and look for their dream home at the comfort of their home. Given the number of sellers who decide to promote their property online, you need to make sure that your listing quality is good, especially if you want to sell your home fast. The better your listing looks, the faster it will be to sell your home.

Here are 4 ways to supercharge your home’s online listing. Use these tips to improve your listing quality and sell your property in the soonest possible time.

Upload good quality photos

In the age of the internet, listings with photos perform better than those without. Potential buyers use your listing photos to gauge whether or not they like your home. These photos will attract potential buyers; thus, making your listing more competitive. The key is to capture a set of attractive photos that will complement your online listing.

When selling your home, you want to make sure it looks its best. As such, we highly recommend that you stage the rooms before taking photos. Tidy up the room and make sure that everything is in order. Focus on the strengths of the property and skip rooms that detract from the overall impression you are trying to give. For best results, make sure you have a good quality camera. Any modern DSLR camera is recommended for this purpose.

Be descriptive

When selling a property, you want potential buyers to envision themselves in your home.  Tell people about all the great features of your home. Tell people about the lovely outdoor space, the newly renovated kitchen or the brick patio for BBQs. Make sure you’re actually providing value in your descriptions.

Sell them the dream neighborhood

The location is one of the most important things to consider when buying a house. Future owners can change certain features they don’t want in your home, but they can’t change the location and the neighborhood it is in.

If your home is located in a good neighborhood, we recommend that you mention it in your listing. Are there restaurants, boutiques, hospitals and schools nearby? Are there outdoor amenities like a community pool, bike paths or hiking trails near your home? Can you walk to public transportation? Let potential buyers know about it. Remember, you’re not just selling a house, you’re also selling a neighborhood.

Include your contact details

You created an online listing to reach potential buyers and to sell your property fast. But your listing will be of no use if buyers can’t get a hold of you.

When creating an online listing, make sure you include your contact details, your email address, as well as your availability. Make it easy for potential buyers to contact you.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

credit scoreCredit score – that 3-digit score indicates your credit-worthiness to potential lenders. Lenders use this when deciding whether or not to lend you money. So if you are planning to buy a house in the near future, it is important to take steps to improve your credit score as early as now.

Getting a higher score requires patience. You can’t see the results in an instant. But by following these tips, you can push your credit score in the right direction.

Check your credit report

Each of us has 3 credit reports – 1 from Equifax, 1 from TransUnion and 1 from Experian. You can get a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 major credit bureaus once a year. Once you get a hold of your credit report, carefully review them and make sure that all the information is accurate.

Mistakes happen. In fact, statistics show that as much as 80% of consumers find an error or inaccuracy on their credit report. In case you find one, dispute them with the credit bureau.

Pay your bills on time

Paying your bills on time is the key to boosting your credit score and staying on top of your debt. Late payments, even for just a few days, can negatively affect your scores. Make on time payments each month.

Create calendar reminders for your credit card bills or set up automatic payments on instalment loans to prevent late payments.

Reduce the amount of debt you owe

Paying off debt will not only help improve your credit score, it will also lower the amount of interest you pay. You may not be able to get rid of the late payment mark on your credit report, but paying off delinquent accounts can actually improve your credit score.

Be patient

You need to understand that improving your credit score is like losing weight – it takes time. There is no quick fix for bad credit scores. Consistency and patience is the key to improving your credit score.

 

Things You Should Look Out For When on a House Hunting

If you’re thinking about buying a house, feel free to take a more leisurely approach while on a house hunting and avoid going into a fast-paced bidding war. As you begin your search for the perfect house, keep in mind that there are a few things you need to check in order to ensure that the house you are eyeing on won’t cost you big bucks in the long run. While the number of rooms, the kitchen condition and the size of the yard may affect your decision, there are a few things you have to consider before making an offer. Here are some of them.

Location

1

Location is one of the most important things you have to consider when buying a house. If you love the
neighborhood and is surrounded by warm and friendly neighbors, then you’ll learn to live with the house’s imperfections. Mind you, you are free to change almost everything about the house, except for the location. So, while on a house hunting, consider buying a house with a great neighborhood, near your workplace, accessible to public transportation, school and shopping malls.

Kitchen
If you are passionate about feeding your family with healthy and nutritious meals, then you may want to be selective about the kitchen when searching for a new home. Carefully check the floor, counters, cabinets and appliances as these elements are very costly to replace.

Bathroom

Bathroom3

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are also expensive to remodel. When on a house hunting, carefully inspect the bathroom and make sure that there is no evidence of leaks, blockage or any plumbing issues.

Size and floor plan 
Every home buyer is in search of their dream home. However, you also have to keep in mind that your dream home and what you actually need may not be the same. If you live alone, then you don’t need a house with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths. Sure, a large home may provide you with extra space to accommodate your guests and for a home office as well. However, this will also translate to higher expenses for furnishings, utility bills and higher taxes.

Negotiating the Best Deal

In this shifting market, buyers have the advantage. Unlike before, multiple offers
are no longer thrown as the For Sale sign comes up. Today, the competition has
dwindled in most areas. Buyers have taken the sidelines as investors start to
disappear.
Listed below are a few things that home buyers should know in order to negotiate
the best deal. Read on and get the house you have always wanted.

neg

Human nature
This is the biggest problem for buyers and sellers to overcome. As prices begin to
drop, buyers and sellers react differently. Despite the stagnation, most sellers
believe that their house is special and are unwilling to lower down their asking
price. Buyers, on the other hand, would make a ridiculously low offer.
As a smart buyer, you should determine how much you can afford and the size of
the home you need. The next step is to search for a house that would coincide with
these specifications and negotiate fairly.

Making an offer
Before making an offer, it is best to consider the recent comparable sales. Look
around and determine how much the last house was sold. Make sure that your offer
is within that range.
Despite the shifting market, sellers would feel insulted by receiving an offer that is
too low. Mind you, they have an idea how much the last one was sold. If you want
them to consider your offer, give them a fair price.

Wait for a month
After about 45 to 60 days, sellers might get tired of keeping their house spotless.
House hunters come and go on a daily basis and the seller may start to get anxious
on how long the process may take. You, as a buyer can take advantage of this. Try
to negotiate with the seller. They might be willing to consider your offer if the price
is right.

Look at the big picture
As a home buyer, your goal is to get the house you want and live here for a few
years. In this changing market, you should consider living there for at least 5 years.
Don’t get caught up in a $2,500 price difference.

Benefits of Buying a Small House

While house hunting, you may have walked through a few mansions. Since the
real-estate market is a bit unsteady, these opulent houses are being sold at rock
bottom prices. Despite the low selling price of these houses, would you consider
buying one?
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the days of the Mc
Mansions are slowly fading away. If you are to look closely, most of the houses
which are sold in the market today are smaller homes.
Living in a small house comes with a long list of benefits. Here are some of them.

A small home is less expensive
You don’t have to spend a fortune on home improvement projects like repainting,
replacing cabinets and upgrading countertops. With a larger house, you’ll have to
buy so much more that you sometimes have to sacrifice the quality in order to cut
down on spending.
Living in a small house, on the other hand, you are free to splurge on quality
upgrades since there are lesser materials to buy.

A small house saves time
A large home is more difficult to clean. Plus, maintaining the yard requires a lot of
effort. Unless you are willing to hire a gardener and a cleaning crew to do the job in
your behalf.
With a small house, you’ll be spending lesser time on maintenance and cleaning.
Plus, you can use your extra time to play with your kids, read or cook healthy meals
for your family.

A small house allows you to live simply
With a small house, you are given a limited space to store all your personal
belongings. This may not sound appealing to most prospective buyers.
Living in a smaller house forces you to choose which of your belongings to keep, sell
or giveaway; thus, allowing you to live a simpler life. You don’t need too much stuff
in order to live a happy life.

A small house is easier to sell

Living in Colorado

 

 

 

A small house is easier to sell than a mansion with 6 bedrooms. Most home buyers
realize how inexpensive, comfortable and cozy it is to live in a small house. Plus,
living in a small house makes it easier for you to be close with your family.

How to Negotiate the Best Real Estate Deal

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller you want to succeed in the realty marketplace. That’s natural and reasonable, but what are the steps you need to triumph?

Negotiation is a complex matter and all transactions are unique. Both sides—buyer and seller—want to feel that the outcome favors them, or at least represents a fair balance of interests. In the usual case there is a bit of bluff, some give-and-take, and neither party gets everything they want.
So how do you develop a strong bargaining position, one which will help you get the most from a transaction? Experience shows there are five basic keys which will determine who wins at the negotiating table.
1. What does the market say?
At various times we’re in a “buyers” market, a “sellers” market, or a market where housing supply and demand are roughly equal. If possible, you want to be in the market at a time when it favors your position as a buyer or seller.
Because all properties are unique—it is possible to buck general trends and have more leverage than the marketplace would seem to allow. For instance, if you have a property in a desirable neighborhood with few sales, you may be able to get a better deal than elsewhere. Or, if you’re a buyer who can quickly close, that might be an important negotiating chip when dealing with an owner who just got a new job 500 miles away.
2. Who has leverage?
If you’re on the front page of the local paper because your business went bust—and the buyer knows it—you have little clout in the bargaining process. Alternatively, if you’re among six buyers clamoring for that one special property, forget about dictating an agreement—the owner can sit back and pick the offer which represents the highest price and best terms.
3. What are the details?
A lot of attention in real estate is paid to transaction prices. This surely makes sense, but the key to a good deal may be more complex.
Consider two identical properties that each sell on the same day for $275,000. The houses are the same, the sale prices are the same, but are the deals the same? Maybe not. For instance, one owner may have agreed to paint the property, replace the roof, purchase a new kitchen refrigerator, and pay the first $3,000 of the buyer’s closing costs. The second owner made no concessions.
In this example, the first house was actually sold at discount—the $275,000 purchase price less the value of the roof repairs, closing credit, and other items. If you’re a buyer, this is the deal you want. If you’re a seller, you would prefer to be the second owner and give up nothing.
4. What about financing?
Real estate transactions involve a trade—houses for money. We know the house is there, but what about financing? There are several factors that impact the money issue:
  • Has the buyer been pre-qualified or pre-approved by a lender? Meeting with a lender before looking at homes does not usually guarantee that financing is absolutely, unquestionably available—a loan application can be declined because of appraisal problems, title issues, survey findings, and other reasons.
    But, buyers who are “pre-qualified” or “pre-approved” (these terms do not have a standard meaning around the country) at least have some idea of their ability to finance a home and know that they are likely to qualify for certain loan programs.
    The result is that pre-qualified buyers represent less risk to owners than a purchaser who has never met with a lender. If the seller accepts an offer from a buyer with unknown financial strength, it’s possible that the transaction could fail because the buyer can’t get a loan. Meanwhile, the owner may have lost the opportunity to sell to a qualified buyer.
  • The lower the interest rate, the larger the pool of potential buyers. More buyers equal more potential demand, good news for sellers.
    Alternatively, high rates or even rising rates may drive buyers from the marketplace—and that’s not good for anyone.
  • It used to be that downpayments were a major financing hurdle—but not anymore. For those with good credit, loans with 5 percent down or less are now widely available. In fact, 100 percent financing, mortgages with nothing down, are now being made by conventional lenders. Reduced downpayment requirements are good for both buyers and sellers.
5. Who has expertise?
Imagine you’re in a fight. The other guy has black belts in 12 martial arts—and you don’t. Who’s going to win?
Brokers have long represented sellers, and now buyer brokerage is entirely common. In a transaction where one side has representation and the other does not, who has the advantage at the bargaining table?

Source: http://www.realtor.com/home-finance/real-estate/sellers/negotiations-in-real-estate-deals.aspx