Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 12/5/2017

Looking to put together an offer on a house? Ultimately, you'll want to submit a competitive first offer. By doing so, you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, however, it is important to understand what differentiates a "fair" proposal from a subpar one.

To better understand how to submit a competitive proposal, let's take a look at three best practices that every homebuyer needs to consider before making an offer on a house.

1. Evaluate the Housing Market

If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to examine the real estate market closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if you find there is an abundance of high-quality houses available, you may be entering a buyer's market. In this market, there likely is a shortage of homebuyers, which means a competitive offer at or near a home seller's asking price is sure to grab this individual's attention.

On the other hand, if you notice that homes are selling quickly in a city or town, you may need to prepare for a seller's market. If you pursue houses in a seller's market, you may need to act quickly due to the sheer volume of buyers competing for the same residences.

Clearly, a comprehensive housing market analysis can make a world of difference for homebuyers. With in-depth housing market insights at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to submit a competitive first offer on any residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

What good is a competitive home offer if you cannot afford to buy a residence? If you secure a home loan, you can narrow your home search to properties that you can afford. Then, you'll be able to submit a competitive offer that ensures you won't have to break your budget to purchase your dream residence.

Also, if you're unsure about how your financial situation will impact your ability to buy a house, you should consult with banks and credit unions in your area. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a home loan, establish a homebuying budget and much more.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, it pays to receive expert homebuying support. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you put together a competitive home offer.

A real estate agent can provide housing market data that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, this housing market professional can offer unbiased home offer recommendations to ensure you can get an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

Collaborating with a real estate agent is a great option for homebuyers in all cities and towns. Reach out to local real estate agents today, and you can get the help you need to submit a competitive offer on any residence.





Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 11/14/2017

If you are preparing to buy a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to check out lots of home listings. That way, you can browse dozens of residences at your convenience and boost your chances of finding a terrific house.

Ultimately, there are several factors that homebuyers should consider as they evaluate house listings, and these factors are:

1. A Home's Age and Condition

A home's age and condition are key considerations for all homebuyers, at all times. If you assess a house's age and condition in a home listing, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a residence is right for you.

Oftentimes, a home seller will provide the year that a residence was built in a house listing. A seller also may include details about any home upgrades and when these were performed, such as the installation of a new roof or heating and cooling system.

Study a house's age and condition closely – you'll be glad you did. If you evaluate these factors in a home listing, you can narrow your home search as needed.

2. A Home's Price

You know that you want to acquire a house, but you need to consider how you'll pay for a residence too. Fortunately, a home listing includes a house's price, ensuring you can find out whether a residence falls within your price range.

If a house exceeds your price range, you may still want to check it out as well. Remember, the initial asking price of a house is not set in stone, and you may be able to negotiate with a home seller.

For a buyer who reviews a house listing and is unsure about whether to pursue a residence based on its price, assistance is available. In fact, if you meet with local lenders, you can evaluate many mortgage options, get pre-approved for a mortgage and establish a homebuying budget.

3. A Home's Location

Think about whether you want to live in a city or town as you assess home listings. By doing so, you can perform a fast, efficient home search and increase the likelihood of discovering a house in your ideal city or town.

Furthermore, it usually is a good idea to think about your day-to-day activities prior to looking at home listings. If you want to own a house that's close to your office in the city, you may want to review home listings for residences in or near the city itself. Comparatively, if you prefer small town living, you can examine home listings in small towns across the United States.

If you need assistance during your home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide timely, accurate home listings for residences as soon as these houses become available. As a result, a real estate agent can make it easy for you to pursue many outstanding residences and find one that you can enjoy for years to come.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 5/11/2017

You’ve seen every house on the market and you’ve finally found the spot you can't wait to call home. In fact, you’ve mentally decorated it and planned your new life, down to the barbecues and block parties you’ll have with your awesome new neighbors. Sweet!

Slow down there, dear buyer. As you know, you still have one giant hurdle to overcome: You've got to make the offer that wins the house. And in a highly competitive housing market, that can be easier said than done. Don’t blow your chances with any of these common home offer mistakes.

1. Dragging your feet

If you love a property, the worst thing you can do is wait to make an offer. Of course, you're allowed to have some feelings of uncertainty—after all, this is likely the biggest financial decision of your life. But the longer you vacillate, the greater the chances you'll set yourself up for failure.

"Time kills deals," says Andrew Sandholm of BOND New York Properties, in New York City. "Dragging your feet means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property all together."

Not only should you be emotionally ready to pounce, but be logistically ready as well. That means pulling together all of your paperwork—bank statements, pre-approval letter, and any documents supporting proof of funds—while you're house hunting.

"Get everything ready so we can act fast when we find a home you love," Sandholm says.

2. Offering your max pre-approved amount

Today’s sellers are often besieged by multiple suitors, and the successful buyer will be one who's prepared for a bidding war. The best way to arm yourself for battle is to make sure you've got a strong financial arsenal. That means getting pre-approved (do this now, if you haven't already) to show a seller you're financially prepared to buy a home—their home.

But when you make an offer, beware of submitting a price that exactly matches the amount you were pre-approved for, says Chuck Silverston, principal at Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty in Brookline, MA.

“Many buyers come in with a pre-approval for the exact offer price, but when you’re competing against other offers, including cash offers, you want to show financial strength,” he says. “An exact pre-approval could make a listing agent nervous because not only does the buyer not have any wiggle room to negotiate, but they might no longer qualify if interest rates rise.”

"In this market I often advise buyers to look at homes under their max loan amount," echoes Denise Supplee, a Realtor® with Long and Foster Real Estate in Doylestown, PA. "When you have to bid against multiple offers, they will need some room to go up, and if they are at their maximum amount, that may not happen."

3. Using an obscure lender

Also consider using a well-known local mortgage lender or bank, suggests Realtor Megan Tolland, with Realty Executives Boston, who often sees online pre-approvals from out-of-state lenders or unknown online entities.

“Agents, and therefore sellers, are generally more comfortable with a local lender they know,” she says.

4. Lowballing

Trust your agent and bid accordingly—even if it means offering a little more than you think you could get away with. If you lowball the seller in the hope that it'll spark a negotiation, it could backfire—especially in a seller's market.

“A lowball offer that isn't backed up with math or comparable sales data is disrespectful and could turn off the seller and possibly mean you will miss out on the property completely,” Sandholm says.

5. Waiving the inspection contingency

“I don't care whether it’s new construction or even your mom’s house you’re buying from her—get it inspected,” says Joshua Jarvis of Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, GA.

An inspection is the only way to uncover potential flaws that could cost major cash to fix. And if you waive the inspection contingency in your offer, you stand to lose your earnest money if you back out.

6. Letting outsiders sway your offer

When you're buying a home, you probably want a second opinion. And probably a third, fourth, and maybe even 10th. We totally get it. But beware of letting these people—who mean well but haven't seen the many, many other homes you've seen—influence your offer.

"The 'adviser' does what they think is best and tries to protect the buyer and usually slams the home," Jarvis says. "Unfortunately, they don't have the education in seeing the other 10 homes or understanding the market."

If you're going to rely on outside advice, Jarvis says, then ask that the person accompany you through as much of the process as possible.

7. Not selling yourself

Wait, isn’t it the seller who, you know, does the selling? It might not sound quite fair, but in a seller’s market, you want to make sure you—the buyer—look as good to the seller as that picture-perfect house looks to you, Silverston says.

And it's not just about looking good on paper. In fact, Silverston says, the offer process begins the moment the buyer steps through the door at the open house or showing.

“In today's highly competitive environment, the listing agent is trying to determine which buyer will be the easiest to deal with,” he says.

That’s why buyers should avoid pointing out defects, asking a lot of nitpicky questions, or even insulting the owner’s taste by discussing changes they want to make.

“Basically buyers who act less than enthusiastic will see themselves at a competitive disadvantage when sellers are comparing multiple offers,” he says.

And, don’t forget to help seal the deal with a love letter—a personal touch could be enough to boost you to the top in the seller’s mind.





Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 4/4/2017

What Is The Disclosure Statement?


Disclosure statements are used in many of life’s situations. This is the place where the buyer is able to learn about the ins and outs of the property that they are about the buy. Examples of items that would be on a seller’s disclosure are:


  • Water in the basement
  • Updates made to the home
  • Known pests
  • Paranormal activity
  • Death on the property
  • Past fires
  • Nearby major construction projects
  • Title 5 sewerage issues 


Disclosures Serves As Protections


The disclosure statement serves as a protection for both the buyer and the seller. From a buyer’s perspective, through this information, they are able to understand a bit more about the property that they are potentially buying. 


On the seller’s side of things, the disclosure statement serves a s legal protection of sorts. The seller is obliged to reveal anything about the property that could potentially affect the value or affect the living conditions.


How Does The Seller Make The Disclosure


Each state and even each city within a state varies in the way a disclosure is conducted.  The statement can be composed of dozens of documents that need to be signed by the seller. Other states have disclosure document forms that consist of a series of yes or no questions about the home. Sellers may also be required o present communications between neighbors, owners, and agents. In some states, the disclosure statement is valid for up to 10 years, allowing buyers to collect damages if something wasn’t properly presented on the statement.  


How Do Sellers Know What To Disclose?


The basic rule of thumb is that if you know something about your property, you should disclose it. If you try to hide something, it could come back to meet you in the form of a lawsuit, even years later. Many states have legal requirements as to what should be revealed on these documents.  


What’s Disclosed To Buyers?


The disclosure doesn’t have to be all bad. This document is also an opportunity for sellers to present any of the improvements that they have made to the home. Make sure that you include all of the upgrades, renovations, and improvements that you have made to the home that you’re selling. This can help to impress buyers as to how well you have taken care of the property.


It’s easy as the buyer to check some of these improvements as you can find out if the work was done with or without permits by checking with the city’s zoning reports. Work that was done without a permit may have not been completed according to code. This could pose some serious health and safety risks to you and your family. 


Problems that you’ll want to disclose as a seller include pest problems, property line disputes, disturbances in the neighborhood, liens on the property, and appliance malfunctions. 


Remember that the disclosure doesn’t substitute the buyer’s right to a professional inspection of the property. It’s important for buyers to know as much about a property as they can in order to be sure they’re making a good investment.





Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 2/16/2017


It’s February and snow is still covering much of the country, but the spring buying season is just around the corner. Wage increases and low inventory in many U.S. markets is making this year particularly advantageous for home sellers.

Check out these tips from Century 21 Real Estate’s Chief Operating Officer Greg Sexton, which will help sellers get their homes ready to win over buyers for the spring market.

1. Repairs. A seller may need to do work to their house before putting it on the market. Agents could suggest that a seller get a home inspection before listing the property, which will help identify problem areas and repairs that need to take place. “Take a look at the home with a critical eye and eliminate any issues a home inspector may discover – make sure all items are up to code, seal any cracks, and fix a leaky roof,” Sexton says.

2. Landscaping. It’s never too early in the season to think about curb appeal. Offer sellers tips for sprucing up landscaping, such as trimming hedges and cleaning up flowerbeds. Add a pop of color with cold-hardy plants.

3. Declutter. One of the easiest ways to prep a home for sale is decluttering. This may include removing family photos, papers, even furniture to help make the interior of a home look more spacious and allow potential buyers to picture themselves living in the home. The walls may also need a new coat of paint to come alive.

4. Finances. Agents should be aware of any financial obstacles that may come into play, Sexton says, whether it’s liens on the house or a second mortgage, which would be paid from the seller’s proceeds upon sale.Prepping a home for the market also includes talking to clients about their goals and setting realistic expectations, he adds.







JoAnn M. Drabble