We are often asked, How hard is it to sell a house in a market where houses don’t stay but 1-2 days before having multiple offers? It is hard, trust us! FSBO are tricky and here are 5 reasons why from Realtor.com

For-Sale-by-Owner, or FSBO, transactions are commonly seen in seller’s markets or whenever homeowners want to maximize their profits by not having to pay commission.

However, statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor®’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $245,000. That’s a difference of $60,000!

If you choose to sell your home on your own, you’ll be negotiating and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract, leaving yourself open to potential legal problems and a smaller profit when all is said and done.

Here are some of the top reasons why FSBO home sales can go very wrong.

1. Marketing your home online isn’t as easy as you think

Buyers always start online, and FSBO sellers are unlikely to get the exposure they need on a number of listings websites to reach their audience, says Realtor® Wendy Hooper with Coast Realty Services in Newport Beach, CA. Sticking a sign in your yard or trying to pull off some DIY social media marketing hardly has the same effect.

How an agent can help: Using an agent automatically offers widespread exposure for your listing through the multiple listing service. Your real estate agent will also have the means to promote your house to fellow agents to share with their clients. FSBO sellers would have to shell out big bucks for advertising and still might not reach the most important audience.

2. You could price your home wrong

Those who put their homes on the market as FSBO tend to set a price based on an online assessment tool or the lofty sum that the neighbor down the street claims they were offered—two methods that are liable to put the listing price way off.

“Using a free online valuation tool is like bringing your doctor a printout of your Google search about symptoms and possible cures,” says Jon Sterling, a real estate consultant with Keller Williams Realty in San Francisco. “There’s no substitute for actual market knowledge.”

The danger in overpricing a home is that it will languish on the market, and buyers will wonder why, even if you lower the price later, says Mark Ferguson, a real estate agent with Pro Realty in Greeley, CO.

“The home becomes stigmatized, and buyers are likely to pay a lower price when the home has been on the market an extended period of time,” Ferguson says.

How an agent can help: A real estate agent will provide an accurate home value based on a comprehensive market analysis to help you arrive at the right listing price. The goal is to make sure you’re pricing your home in the sweet spot—not too high so that you are turning off potential buyers, and not too low so you are leaving money on the table.

3. You could underestimate (or overestimate) how much money to spend on curb appeal

“A novice home seller is unlikely to view their home objectively or know how to stage it to appeal to the broadest audience,” says Hooper. That means you might be turning off potential buyers with an amateur paint job, an overgrown yard, or even a broken doorbell.

On the flip side, you might end up investing far more money than is needed. Hooper had sellers who were convinced they had to totally overhaul their 35-year-old kitchen and floors to the tune of about $50,000. Instead, she advised a $10,000 investment for paint, staging, and minor repairs, which still netted $45,000 above their target price.

How an agent can help: Even if you’re not up for a full home makeover, your agent has an eye for detail and can recommend simple, budget-conscious swaps that can translate into real dollars when it comes negotiation time.

“We know how to spend the least amount of money to get the best outcome and home presentation possible,” Hooper says.

4. Showings are a drag

FSBO sellers don’t realize how draining it can be to set up showings. And on top of scheduling actual potential buyers, you also have to deal with both looky-loos (gawkers with no intention of buying the house) and “sharks,” (investors looking to flip your house for a profit).

“Sellers who advertise their FSBO will quickly be inundated with calls from real estate investors who are looking to save the same commission the seller hopes to save,” Sterling says. Unfortunately, typically these offers are very low and could likely lead to no sale.

How an agent can help: Your agent will handle all the scheduling and staff the tours for you, so all you have to do is quickly tidy up and vacate.

In fact, that is another key reason to have an agent: Buyers can get uncomfortable with a seller hanging around during a showing, says Ferguson. Agents also will weed out unsuitable offers and collect feedback that potential buyers might be unwilling to share directly with the seller, which can make subsequent showings even stronger.

5. Preparing your own paperwork can be tricky

Unless you have a background in contracts or law, you might want to leave the paperwork to the pros. The closing process can entail more than 20 pages of complicated paperwork, including the contract and addendums designed to cover all of the situations that could go wrong, says Ferguson.

For example, houses built before 1978 require an addendum regarding lead-based paint and some states need a release confirming the presence of carbon monoxide detectors.

How an agent can help: Your agent will take care of all property disclosures and corresponding documentation to avoid future liability.

“If the seller does not use an agent and doesn’t know every law and required paperwork specific to their community, they open themselves up to lawsuits,” warns Ferguson.

This article was written by Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR.

Wire fraud is becoming more and more prevalent in the world. According to the FBI, fraud is a $30-$50 billion dollar problem with 90% of wire fraud being prevented (the numbers are still staggering):

$951 million attempted

$870 million prevented

$81 million lost

They are trying hard at stopping the majority of the fraud cases but the bad guys always seem to be a step ahead. Here is what you can do to help prevent you from being a victim of fraud.

Home inspections can make or break a home sale. On Realtor.com Lisa Kaplan Gordon writes about how to prepare your home for inspection.

You’ve got a contract on your home for sale—congratulations! But before you pop the cork on the champagne, you’ve got to go through an ordeal that could make or break that sweet deal: a home inspection.

The home inspection is a contingency written into most offers, meaning that if the buyers aren’t happy with the result, they can cancel the sale without losing their earnest money deposit, or reopen negotiations and ask for a price reduction.

So it’s important to prepare yourself and your home for this important step of the process. How? Hey, we’re glad you asked! Let’s start at the beginning.

Will there always be a home inspection?

If your buyers are planning to tear down your home and build their own dream house, you might feel a pang of regret, but at least you won’t need to worry about the quality and condition of your property. These buyers are trying to get the lowest price possible and, if they think a clean contract without an inspection contingency will make them an attractive buyer in a competitive market, they’ll often forgo an inspection contingency.

But most buyers who are planning to live in your home want to know what they’re getting into. They want to know which systems work, and which don’t. They want to know how much money they’ll need to plow into the purchase, and which items you, dear seller, are willing to fix or replace to seal the deal.

The results of home inspections can give buyers peace of mind, or a tool they can use to bargain down the price. In the worst case, people with buyer’s remorse will use results of a home inspection to back out of the deal without penalty.

Sound scary? Don’t fret just yet. That first home inspection will let you know everything that’s wrong with your home. Armed with that information, you can fix problems before the next buyer shows up, adjust the price to reflect necessary repairs, or simply have a ready response when the issue comes up again.

Inspectors will look at everything

A home inspection is no quick once-over. Inspectors have a 1,600-item checklist, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors. Yep, you read that right—1,600. 

“If we can get to it, we’ll inspect it,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Here are just some of the areas of the home your inspector is checking, and what a home inspector is looking for:

  • Grounds: Standing water, faulty grading, sick or dying trees and shrubs, crumbling paths and walls
  • Structure: Foundation integrity, rotting or out-of-plumb window and door frames
  • Roof: Defects in shingles, flashing, and fascia; loose and hanging gutters; defects in chimneys and skylights
  • Exterior: Cracks or rot; dents or bowing in vinyl; blistering or flaking paint; adequate clearing between siding and earth
  • Window, doors, trim: Rotting frames, peeling caulk, damaged glass
  • Interior rooms: Water-stained ceilings, adequate insulation, and sufficient heating vents
  • Kitchen: Proper venting, no leaks under the sink, and cabinet doors and drawers operate properly
  • Bathrooms: Toilets flush properly, showers spray, and tubs are securely fastened
  • Plumbing: Drains flow properly; water has proper temperature and pressure
  • Electrical: Proper electrical panels and working light switches and outlets

How can you prepare?

The home inspection isn’t a test that you need to study for. But there are some things you can do before a home inspection to make the process go more smoothly.

  • Clean and de-clutter your home: Yes, inspectors will look way beyond the superficial clean home. But you want to make sure they have easy access to attics, basements, and electrical panels—and aren’t tripping over your kids’ toys while trying to do their job. Think of it as an early start to your packing.
  • Get your paperwork together: You should create a file with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home. If you’ve had an insurance claim on your house, keep those papers together, too, so you can prove that you took care of the problem.
  • Provide complete access to your home: Make sure you unlock gates and doors to a shed or garage that doesn’t have lockbox access.

You could consider getting a pre-inspection to eliminate any surprises; some sellers choose to hire their own inspector to give the house a once-over and point out any problems, so they can fix them before the buyer’s home inspector arrives on the scene.

But be careful with this tactic.

“It’s not a good idea,” says Bill Golden, an Atlanta area real estate agent. “If you have five different inspectors inspect the home, you’ll get five different lists of items they’re concerned about. Just because your inspector didn’t have a problem with something doesn’t mean the buyer’s inspector won’t.”

More important, if your inspector points out a problem, you’re obligated to disclose it to buyers.

“This could be a potential turn-off to buyers,” Golden says.

Do yourself a favor, and leave

Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, give the inspector your cellphone number, grab your car keys, and go to a movie or out to lunch when the home inspector shows up. Your anxiety will only make everyone uncomfortable, which isn’t a productive atmosphere during an inspection.

“Inspectors and buyers are not at all comfortable with the seller being present during an inspection,” Golden says. “They need to be able to freely inspect and discuss any and everything they come across. You may think you are being helpful by being present, but you are not; you are impeding the process.”

And don’t play eager hostess. You don’t need to set out cookies and drinks; or provide ladders and other tools the inspector needs. He’ll bring his own.

Check your ego at your own door

Buying and selling a house is a competition: Sellers want to get the highest price, and buyers want the lowest. It’s not personal—it’s business. Remember that when a home inspector presents list of problems with your home as long as your arm.

“A home inspector’s job is to point out each and every deficiency and safety violation they see,” Golden says. “Arguing with the buyers about an inspector’s findings is not helpful.”

Keep your head in the game, and solve the problem with the buyer.

“It may be agreeing to fix an item, it may mean giving them some money toward a repair, or it may simply be providing documentation,” Golden says.

And that’s where an experienced real estate agent earns his or her commission. Agents know how to interpret inspection reports, which issues are vital to address, and which are red herrings designed to reopen price negotiations.

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning writer who’s covered real estate and home improvement for realtor.com, Yahoo, AOL, and many others

If you have bought or sold a home you are familiar with title insurance and the amount of money it costs. When you are in the middle of buying a house you aren’t thinking about title insurance and it isn’t something many people write about. It is something that when it is time to close everyone always questions how much it costs, what does it cover, and why do I need it. Today we are going to go over the basics of title insurance, so you are prepared at closing.

What is Title Insurance?

Holding a title insurance policy means you and your mortgage lender are protected against any financial loss or title issues due to liens, disputes between prior owners over wills, clerical problems in courthouse documents, or fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures.

A title search will be performed by your title or settlement company to uncover any issues with your title that could give you legal troubles down the line.

The title company then insures your claim to the property’s title. If anything is missed during the search or there are lawsuits questioning your legal ownership of the property after closing, your title insurance policy will cover the costs of resolving the problem.

Lenders title insurance vs Owners title insurance: 

There are two types of title insurance: lender’s and owner’s. Almost every lender will require you to pay for a lender’s title insurance policy. This protects the lender—not you—from incurring any costs if a title dispute pops up after closing.

Owner’s title insurance is usually optional, but it’s highly recommended. Without it, you’ll be left footing the bill for all the costs of resolving a title claim, which could be thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even though it can feel like you’re hemorrhaging cash when you’re closing on a house, a title insurance policy is one of those things that can save you money in the long run.

 

How much does title insurance cost? 

Title insurance premiums can vary from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. Some factors that can affect the cost of your premium include the title search, examination, and expected cost of any title defects. The average cost of title insurance is $1,000 per policy, but that amount varies widely from state to state and depends on the price of your home. A one-time payment is made when or before you close on your house.

“In general, each policy price is based on the purchase amount of the home or the total amount of the loan,” explains Torrey to Realtor.com. “Title insurance is a highly regulated industry, so title insurance policy types and costs will vary from state to state. Each state’s Department of Insurance can provide information on the pricing regulations in their state.”

In some states such as Texas and Florida, title insurance premiums are fixed by the government, so you will pay exactly the same amount no matter what. Other states such as California and New Mexico have unfixed premiums, which means that buyers can shop around. Iowa actually underwrites the insurance itself, resulting in the lowest premiums in the country: $110 for properties costing up to $500,000.

To summarize, title insurance is an insurance that you have and hopefully you will never have to use, but if you have to, you are protected. We work with Heritage Title Company and they are amazing.

 

Congratulations, you have decided to buy a home for the first time. Does the thought of buying a home make you nervous? Does it make your palms sweat? Have you started to look at buying a home and got cold feet before you even looked at a single home. Are you tired of paying rent and not getting the tax benefit of owning a home? Well we are here to help with a checklist to get you on your way to closing on your first home.

Step 1: Find a Real Estate Agent

Yes, you can look at homes online or drive around to open houses thinking you can buy a home by yourself without help from a professional. There are a couple reasons why you want to work with a Real Estate Agent one being they are seasoned professionals. They are constantly working with real estate contracts and know what needs to be in the contract to protect you, the buyer. There are many deadlines in a real estate contract and if those deadlines are not met the deal could fall apart, could benefit the seller, could jeopardize your financing, and much more.

A buyers agent does not cost you, the buyer, anything! The sellers pay the sellers agent and buyers agent commissions; why wouldn’t you use someone to represent you, the buyer.

Here at Andersen Realty, we love working with buyers! We have been in Real Estate for a very long time. With that said, you want to find a buyers agent that is a seasoned professional, and you probably want to interview 3 or 4 agents before signing an agreement with someone. If you would like to interview Kristen or Justin please give them a call today to set up an appointment. If you call today, you have completed step 1 and on to step 2!

Step 2: Talk to a Mortgage Lender:

This step could go before finding a real estate agent or at the same time. When you look for a mortgage lender after you find an agent the agent can help you find a lender locally and one who is trustworthy. Therefore, ask your agent for two to three lender recommendations. Talking to multiple lenders will enable you to fully assess your financing options with no obligation to pick until you’ve found one that’s right.

The goal is to get pre-approved for a home loan. To do that, you’ll need to provide the lender with a significant amount of paperwork, including bank statements, pay stubs, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and tax returns. If the lender decides to offer you pre-approval, you’ll receive an estimate of what size loan you would qualify for and approximately what interest rate you’d get.

Pre-approval is typically good for 90 to 120 days; however, “it’s easy to renew it if the borrower’s financial picture doesn’t change,” says Richard Redmond, broker associate at ACM Investor Services, a private lender in Larkspur, CA, and author of “Mortgages: The Insider’s Guide.”

A good mortgage lender will also be able to help you determine which type of loan is right for you.

Step 3: Improve your credit, if needed

When you meet with a mortgage lender, the lender will pull your credit score. Although a perfect credit score is 850, all scores 760 and above are considered to be in the best credit score range—meaning you would qualify for the most competitive interest rates. (For comparison, a good credit score is from 700 to 759, a fair score is from 650 to 699, and a score of 300 to 649 is considered poor.) Your credit score is calculated based on a number of factors, including your debt payment history, debt-to-credit utilization, and length of credit history.

If you find that your credit score is subpar, you may be able to take steps to boost your score. Just keep in mind that you won’t improve a credit score overnight. Indeed, you may need to postpone your house search for a few months in order to mend your credit.

Step 4: Determine where you want to live.

To focus your house hunt, you’ll need to decide where you want to settle down. If you don’t have your heart set on a particular neighborhood, think about what areas are best suited for your commuting needs, school requirements, proximity to family and friends, and overall lifestyle.

“What do you do at night? What do you do on the weekend? Your habits can help you determine where you should live,” says Sanderfoot.

Need help digging up information? At realtor.com/local, you can enter a town, neighborhood, or ZIP code to find out more about the area, like the median home price and quality of public schools.

Step 5: Don’t damage your credit

When you’re in the process of buying a home, you need to walk the straight and narrow with your finances. Why? Because your loan doesn’t get fully approved until it goes through underwriting—which could take place just a few days before closing. To keep your credit score stable, you’ll want to avoid taking on new debt (e.g., getting an auto loan), opening new credit cards, neglecting student loan payments, or falling behind on credit card payments.

If you are ready to start the home buying process today, give Kristen or Justin Andersen a call today at 720-314-6863 or 720-314-6861

On May 1, 2017, property tax valuations were mailed to all homeowners. The taxes are assessed every two years per Colorado Law, and with the sales price increase in homes around the Denver/Metro area, you are sure to see higher taxes. We have some FAQ’s from the Arapahoe County Website about the property tax valuation and if you want to file a dispute it has to be done in the month of May (see question 6) in the county your home is located.

1.How is the value determined on my property?

Values are most often determined by comparing your property with properties that are similar in location, design, size, age and amenities. The value placed on your property for the year 2017 was based on sales between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016, utilizing the Sales Comparison Approach. A copy of this method for your residential property is available from our office and will be included in your Notice of Value. Compsheet Layout and Time Adjusted Sales Prices

2.How often is property revalued?

Colorado law requires all assessors to reappraise all real property including land and improvements, every two years during the odd-numbered years.

3.What is the difference between actual value and assessed value?

The assessor determines the actual (market) value for all real and personal property. Then a percentage (assessment rate) is multiplied by the actual value to determine with the assessed value. In Colorado the residential assessment rate is currently 7.96%. For all other properties including commercial, personal property, vacant land and agricultural land, the assessment rate is 29%.

4.How are property taxes calculated?

The actual value is multiplied by the assessment rate which is then multiplied by the mill levy. The residential rate in Colorado currently is 7.96%. The assessment rate for all other property, including vacant land, is 29%. Example: $150,000 (actual value) x 7.96% (residential assessment rate) x .081265 (mill levy) = $ 970.30 (annual tax dollars). Please note this is only an example. Your value and mill levy maybe different.

5.Why don’t all properties increase or decrease by the same percentage?

Each property is revalued to a June 30, 2016 value regardless of the percentage change. Some people think the previous (2016) values are simply multiplied by an inflation factor, but in a reappraisal year, new data from relevant time frame is used, along with the latest mass appraisal techniques.

6.If I do not agree with the actual value, what steps should I take?

You may come into the office during May to speak to an appraiser about your value. Or, you may file an appeal online, or mail an appeal to our office. This appeal must be postmarked by the first business day each June. It is important that if you choose to appeal the Assessor’s value, you should provide pertinent information supporting your estimated value. If you appoint an agent to act on your behalf, that person needs your written authorization.

If you would like to read all of the FAQ’s from the,

Arapahoe County Website click here.

Jefferson County Property Info: Click Here 

Douglas County Property Info: Click Here

Denver County Property Info: Click Here

If you would like for us to answer any questions or concerns, please give us a call at 720-314-6861.

 

One of the most stressful things you are going to do in your life is move. You are busy trying to find a place to live, checking out the neighborhood, and the last thing on your mind is hiring movers or a moving company.

Hiring movers can be a daunting task because you are entrusting these people to move your life from one place to another. We have all seen the 20/20 episode about the movers that hold your stuff ransom until you pay them more money. Trust me, it happens more than you think. Here are some tips from Realtor.com to help you hire the right movers and make this process a little less stressful.

1. Waiting too long

So you wait until the weekend before your move to make those calls to moving companies—after all, who cares? Well, if you procrastinate on your search, you won’t leave any time to do adequate research and get estimates. That means you might not get the best rate (spoiler: Moving’s expensive!), and worse—you could get scammed.

“There are times when last-minute booking can’t be avoided, but frequently it’s just a task that’s put off too long,” says Steve Weitekamp, president of the California Moving & Storage Association. “Delaying selecting a mover can reduce your options—and unfortunately, unlicensed and unethical operators rely on this aspect of human nature to take advantage of consumers.”

Take the time to get three in-home written estimates, Weitekamp recommends—and, time permitting, visit the moving company in advance of making your final decision.

2. Being a total cheapskate

No, you don’t want to pay more than you have to for a move. But beware of being too budget-conscious.

“The largest mistake you can make is going with the cheapest estimate,” says Dave Garrett, owner and managing partner of You Move Me. “The cheapest bid typically means that the company uses casual, inexperienced laborers who don’t care a whole lot about your things.”

Conversely, Garrett says, higher-end estimates almost always assure trained, professional, and experienced crews who will show up, smiles on their faces, and move your stuff safely and efficiently.

In other words: “If there is a hiccup, they will figure it out,” he says. “They’re not leaving your stuff on the front lawn.”

Weitekamp agrees: “Disreputable movers often lure customers with lowball prices and then hit them with unreasonable charges or, in extreme cases, even hold their belongings for ransom.” Yikes.

3. Not asking the right questions beforehand

“A professional mover will be happy to answer any questions you may have, so if they seem uncertain or won’t give you straight answers, that’s probably a mover to avoid,” says Michael Keaton, senior director of communications for the American Moving & Storage Association. “Ask them about the moving process so you understand what they will be doing and when they will be doing it, from start to finish.”

Weitekamp recommends asking the following questions before selecting a moving company:

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Are you a certified professional mover who meets the standards of the American Moving & Storage Association?
  • Are you a member of your state’s moving association?
  • What price are you willing to put in writing as a “not to exceed” threshold price?
  • What are the dates you can commit to for pickup and delivery for my move?
  • Can you give me some references of people you have recently moved?
  • How are your crews selected?
  • What actions do you take to ensure that the people who come into my home are skilled, professional, and safe?

4. Falling for fakes

The internet is awesome. right? Whether you’re looking for comprehensive info on the best mortgage rates, or you simply must know immediately why your dog’s paws smell like corn chips, the web is there for you.

And it’s there for you to find your next mover, too. But we shouldn’t have to tell you that online info can lead you astray. Double check your info by getting moving company referrals from an industry trade association or use a site that verifies and vets moving companies.

Another word of caution: Beware of blindly trusting that the company you’re hiring is who it says it is: “Some disreputable movers try to lure customers in by using names that are similar to reputable companies,” Weitekamp says. “Check the reputable company’s website to make sure the local agent is affiliated with the brand name it is claiming.”

Max Lowy, president of New Jersey–based Lowy’s Moving Service, also warns consumers to carefully consider low estimates from a company that hasn’t been in business long—even if its Yelp profile seems solid.

“Responsible moving companies will provide in-home estimates and explain why the pricing is the way it is,” Lowy says.

According to the American Moving & Storage Association, the lack of a physical, local address is a telltale sign of a fake mover. Here are other red flags:

  • No federal motor carrier number, which shows the mover is registered with the federal government for a state-to-state move
  • Movers who refuses to visit your home to provide a written estimate for an interstate move
  • Companies that use unmarked, generic trucks
  • Movers who seem uncertain or unresponsive, especially when asked about their claims process if something gets damaged or lost

5. Agreeing to pay a deposit or pay in cash

If you’re moving across town, this one’s a huge red flag.

“Typically you should not be required to pay a deposit to have your items moved,” Weitekamp says. “Most companies request payment at the time of delivery.”

If you’re moving out of state, your moving company could request a deposit. But make sure it’s reasonable.

“A reasonable down payment should be in the hundreds of dollars toward your state-to-state move, rarely exceeding 20%,” Keaton says.

Similarly, avoid movers that demand cash instead of allowing payment by credit card.

6. Not doing proper legwork when you move out of state

If you’re moving out of state, make sure to check this government database to find out if the mover you selected is actually licensed for interstate moves by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Request a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a brochure created by the Federal Highway Administration that outlines consumers’ rights. Federal law requires movers to provide this to consumers before moving their belongings over state lines.

The takeaway? Get several estimates, do your research, and remember that so often in life, you get what you pay for.

Based in San Diego, Holly Amaya is a writer, lawyer, and communications strategist. She writes about real estate, legal, lifestyle, motherhood, and career issues.

Have you ever thought, oh I could have done this when I sold, I should have done this, I wished we would have done this?  The good thing sellers that have had regrets have shared with hopes that future home sellers don’t do the same thing. Jennifer O’Neill with Realtor.com has helped us compile a list of 5 regrets.

Regret No. 1: Not fully preparing the place

Serious about selling your home? Spiff it up, stat! Recent seller Kim Maggio admits that she didn’t focus on making cosmetic changes before putting her Haverhill, MA, house on the market and wishes that she had. “I didn’t spend enough time prepping our house for sale—purging, staging, or doing small repair projects,” she says. “And I regret not planning ahead or getting real about what had to be done, because it ended up dragging out the home-selling process—in terms of finding a buyer and negotiating repairs—costing me precious time and money.”

At Andersen Realty, we take the time to help you prepare your home. We have a stager come over before the photographer to help you make the pictures look amazing. She helps with everything, not just moving furniture around to make the room look larger. She helps with what you need to pack away, change, move, and declutter.

Regret No. 2: Making the property too perfect

On the other hand don’t go overboard, either. When Jen Mason and her husband sold their Denver condo in order to buy their neighbor’s bigger apartment across the courtyard, she put extra energy into leaving the property in pristine condition. “But why did we care about patching every nail hole, making the place look flawless, and leaving behind our beloved custom window coverings?” she gripes. “Our buyer was an older single woman who really just wanted to live in our neighborhood. All of our efforts had all been a waste.”

Regret No. 3: Staying in contact after the sale

Always do your best to keep things “just business,” Mason advises sellers. She didn’t, and is still kicking herself for it. “Since we only moved across the street, we availed ourselves to the buyer for questions,” the Denver homeowner explains. “And she called us for at least a year on a regular basis whenever she couldn’t figure out how something worked: the house alarm, air filter, fire alarm, window screens, and on and on. It was as though my husband became her personal handyman!” Despite their best efforts to remain friendly in the tight-knit community, she admits, “we eventually tired of her calls and stalled on our response time until she finally stopped reaching out.”

Regret No. 4: Trying to sell without an agent

“We tried to sell our home without using an agent and soon realized that in our market, and it didn’t quite work out,” says Boston-area homeowner Rebecca Addison. The approach “wasn’t really accepted by the buyer’s Realtors®, who often questioned our price point, which made things difficult.”So she ditched the for-sale-by-owner approach and wound up enlisting a Realtor after all. “I wish we had just done it right away, because instead it set us back at least a month if not more,” she says. “And in that time people moved on and the market changed. I think we might have missed out on a better sale.”

Regret No. 5: Caving to a buyer’s whims

Addison also learned the hard way that it doesn’t pay to bend over backward, sideways, and into intriguing pretzel shapes for a demanding buyer.“Our buyer was really difficult and wanted us to give on so many items,” she says. “We also agreed to give the buyer money toward updating the roof so we were very frustrated on the day of closing when he wanted even more.”Addison stood firm, and after a few hitches the sale continued thanks to an agreement between the Realtors to appease the buyer by reducing their commission.“I found myself resentful that the buyer got away with that and got the house,” she says. “Especially when I can see for myself that he hasn’t completed any roof work in the past five years.”

Regret No. 6: Skipping the staging

“I really regret not paying the money to stage my apartment right off the bat,” confesses Chicago homeowner Rachel Bertsche. Hoping to save on expenses since she’d already bought and moved into a different home with her family, Bertsche skipped that step until it was too late.

If you are ready to sell and are looking to not make any regrets, give us a call today.

Can you get a better deal in the winter months? Maybe? Maybe Not? When should you list and when should you buy? Is there more competition in the summer or winter?

According to the NY Times writer, Ann Carnns, and Attom Data Solutions, of about 50 million home sales from 2000 through 2016 found that February was the most affordable month to buy. The median selling price during the second month of the year was about $104 per square foot, a discount of 6 percent over the rest of the year, on average.

The next most affordable months were January, March and April, with discounts of just under 6 percent, 4 percent and 2 percent over the annualized median price of $110 per square foot. Data shows that buyers pay a premium when shopping during the summer months of June, July and August.

“Weather definitely plays a role,” Mr. Blomquist, Senior Vice President of Attom Data Solutions said. “Buyers don’t want to brave the cold, rain and snow, so there’s low demand.”

The pattern also holds true, however, even in areas which don’t typically see snow and ice, like Florida. That is likely because the early months of the calendar coincide with the middle of the school year, and families aren’t gearing up to shop yet. “February is an in-between time,” he said.

Also, people may have spent down their savings over the holidays, and that can crimp their ability to scrape together a down payment.

For those willing and able to shop, however, there are benefits. Sellers who list their homes during the slower months are typically eager to sell, said William E. Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors.

“It’s a buyer’s market during the colder winter months,” Mr. Brown said. “When sellers list in the winter, they know it’s slower, so they’re more motivated and more willing to negotiate.”

That is a plus, since the supply of homes for sale over all remains fairly tight, especially for entry-level buyers, according to the association’s most recent statistics.

While 2016 was the best year in a decade for home sales, sales slowed in December because of rising interest rates and a lack of affordable properties in many markets, according to the association.

Given the low inventory of homes in many markets, shoppers must take advantage of every opportunity they can — so it may be worth shopping in February. “There’s fewer listings, but there’s also less competition,” Mr. Brown said.

And getting a jump on things by starting early may give shoppers a leg up, especially in competitive markets. Mr. Brown, a real estate agent in Alamo, Calif., said it was not unusual to see 50 to 60 people come through an open house in the spring and summer months in many parts of California.

Because there is less inventory in the winter, there also may be fewer homes available that meet your criteria, Mr. Blomquist said — and you may regret settling for a house that doesn’t meet your needs, even if it’s a bargain.

There are benefits for both buyers and sellers in the winter months. We personally love winter listings and would love to talk to you about listing your home this month. Are you ready to list? Are you ready to buy?  Are you thinking about it? Give us a call today to set up a time to talk about your home or go look at some homes.

I know you always hear this at the beginning of every year, but with the shrinking inventory, rising interest rates and prices, you need to jump in the home ownership pool now! Buy! Buy! Buy! (Insert New Kids On The Block song in your head as you read the last 3 words)

“It’s tough to buy a home today in most places in the country because there are so few homes for sale,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com. “But if you wait to buy, then you’re gambling that the market will be better for you to purchase in the future.” And that’s not a smart gamble, realtor.com says. If you’ve been toying with the idea of buying, or you anticipate a life change that might force you to move—such as a new baby or a job transfer—you should be “buying as urgently and as soon as possible,” Smoke says.

Here are 3 reasons why:

1. Rates are rising

In 1981, when mortgage rates hit 18% and seemed to rise every day, single-digit rates seemed like an impossible dream.

Last August, however, rates on 30-year mortgages bottomed out at 3.55%. Now that the Federal Reserve finally decided to raise its key interest rate, mortgage rates have been climbing slowly. Today, the average rate is just above 4%; by 2019 or 2020, rates could easily climb to 6%.

Before you freak out, take heart: Rising rates aren’t necessarily a deal breaker for buyers. The National Association of Realtors® calculated that a rise from 4.2% to 5% would increase the average mortgage by $90—not nothing, but not a catastrophe, either. And if you take the long view, those higher rates are still historically low.

“For buyers there still is opportunity,” says Danielle Hale, managing director of housing research for the NAR. “For those who are still able to get into the market, these low rates continue to be helpful.”

Another upside: When rates go up, competition and prices often go down.

“I’d tell buyers not to panic, because higher mortgage rates eventually cause sellers to be more flexible on pricing,” DeNapoli says.

2. Inventory is shrinking

In November 2016, there were only 1.85 million homes for sale.  That’s a nearly 10% drop from the year before. And it continues a trend of steady decline since just before the housing crash, when inventory peaked.

Real estate experts predict that inventory will continue to shrink, at least for the foreseeable future. That means that in most areas of the country, buyers have more homes to choose from today than they will next year.

Or even next month. If you get moving now (during the winter, which is largely considered to be real estate’s off-season), you’ll have less competition for those homes than you will in the peak spring and summer months.

Bottom line: Every day you wait to start looking for a new home, you face stiffer competition for fewer homes.“If you think it’s bad right now, wait until April to August,” Smoke says.

3. Home prices are still rising

The bad news for buyers is that home prices now stand higher than before the 2007 crash, increasing 5% from 2015 to 2016. And housing experts expect an additional 2% to 3% jump in 2017, DeNapoli says.

“Prices continue to go up; we have yet to see that ceiling,” says Trevor Levin, a real estate agent with Nourmand & Associates in Los Angeles. “I think they have room to grow.”

How high prices will rise and how long they’ll remain high is anyone’s guess. Rising mortgage rates and the new Trump administration have introduced “uncertainty” into the real estate market, Levin says. “And uncertainty is never ideal,” he says.

So pick up your phone and call us at 720-314-6863 to go look at houses today!