Ok…so, maybe you’re right… it’s harder to get a home loan these days, with the new rules and regulations. But if you’re a stong candidate for a mortgage and have good credit – you are crazy if you don’t take advantage of the LOW mortgage rates that we are seeing right now!
Take a look at this article that just came out about the low mortgage rates and then pick up the phone and call me! We need to talk!
Is it just me, or do any of you wake up at night, thinking (and worrying) about this economy, finances, health matters, etc.? I know we are to live by faith…but sometimes all the news can weigh you down just a little. And in my profession, your livelihood is directly impacted by what’s going on in the economy.
If you have had any of these thoughts, I propose a challenge! A challenge to PAY IT FORWARD…have you heard this phrase? It basically means to get outside yourself and your situation and do something for someone else…I know firsthand it will make you feel so much better and make you thankful for what you DO have.
I’ll tell you about my recent experience of “paying it forward” with my daughter. I had been a little anxious about things in my own life, but then I heard about the Habitat for Humanity build in the Tulsa area. I know you have all heard about Habitat – it’s a great organization. Well, my neighbor was volunteering on Saturdays – after her full-time job…in the heat…5 days a week…after she had been without a job for around 9 months… now I am thinking, “okay, you are already out in the heat 5 days a week (in June); aren’t you tired of working in the heat? Why would you want to volunteer on your glorious day off?”
So, I decided I wanted to volunteer and my daughter wanted to go with me – she’s 19. We followed my neighbor to the build, and – long story short – we got hooked. Now, I know how to use a hammer around the house to hang pictures, but I’m not a carpenter. I thought maybe we could clean up around the site, because we are cleaning fools, but I did NOT expect to strap on a carpenter’s belt and start hanging vinyl siding. And that’s just the beginning. We were trained, and then my daughter Tara and I took out! OMG, if any of you need assistance in siding – we are so there! The recipient of the house was there, along side of us, working as hard as we were in the heat. The other volunteers were lovely, as well as the supervision.
One of the coolest things about it was we, Tara and I (and the other volunteers), were making a difference in someone else’s life – we chose to forget about OUR plans for the day and just help someone else in need…we were “paying it forward.” I can’t tell you how much fun Tara and I had hanging siding and how very tired we were at the end of the day…and mostly how many memories we have of just working HARD together for something bigger than ourselves. Since that first day volunteering, we have been back repeatedly, and learned how to hang a door (really!), use a nail gun and put base board up.
Naturally, I’m a Habitat fan because of how they help people help themselves, but did you know that, for every house that goes up in the states, a house in a developing country goes up as well? You can get online and find out more about this great organization and their activities around the world.
What I really want to encourage you to do is just “pay it forward” – through whatever organization you want, or just by helping your neighbor or someone you don’t even know…and INVOLVE YOUR KIDS, TOO! You have no idea how much it will mean to them and the memories they’ll take from it. It won’t cost you anything, except your time. I don’t want to get up on my soapbox, but we as parents need to do more things TOGETHER with our kids to postitively impact their lives and the lives of others.
And what you’ll find, after you “pay it forward,” is that: #1 – you’ll sleep better because you’ll be exhausted!; #2 – it feels really good to help someone else and it makes you feel better about yourself and your situation; and #3 – it makes you thankful for what you DO have. So, get out there… and pay it forward!
It’s D-Day….you’ve worked hard, stayed up half the night cleaning your kids’ rooms, cleaned out your Master closet and even hid “stuff” under the bed! Your house is being shown and it’s almost time for the buyers to be there….gotta hurry and make it out the garage before they come….you finally get backed out and get that garage door down before….whew….they drive up…..and now the clock starts ticking!!
What? Why does the clock start ticking? You made it out alive! And on time! No, my dear Seller, the clock starts ticking for the Buyer….because in a little less than a minute that Buyer will know whether they want to buy your house….because of, that’s right….FIRST IMPRESSIONS…… when they open the door and walk in! What do they see…what do they smell…..and most importantly, what do they NOT see and NOT smell?
Your Front Door is indeed the threshold into your home….and the Buyer wants to visualize what it would be like for them to be coming in that same door, if they buy it….When I stage houses, I go outside numerous times and open the front door to “see” what buyers are looking at when they come through that front door…it’s so very crucial to look at it that way!
A few hints:
Buyers don’t want to “smell” odors – animal or otherwise; buyers love animals too but they don’t want to smell them in a house they may buy; because if you smell “animal” in a house, you have to ask yourself, “Is that smell coming from the carpets, and will I ever be able to get that smell out?” If the smell is not animal, then what is it? Ask your most trusted friend to come over and step inside the front door and be honest with you…..then tell them to leave immediately and never come back! Haha….just kidding…..
Don’t leave shoes (stinky) by the front door, or toys, or dirty rugs or towels, or kids toys, or even_____________ (fill-in-the-blank) – go ahead, you know of something you’ve stumbled over walking into someone else’s house!
Really LOOK through the buyer’s eyes….go out your front door, shut it good…then turn around and open it and see what someone else sees when they open your door.
Electrical cords are an eye sore…if at all possible, hide them from view…there’s nothing like walking in the entry way and seeing a mound of electrical cords wadded up…
As a Seller, it’s really important to put your best “props” in the entry way…make it look visually appealing and draw the Buyer’s eye into the rest of your house….and then you’ll sell them on all the amenities your house has to offer!
In closing, a funny story….I was showing clients a VERY NICE house that we had made an appointment for. Seller worked and had doggie, but said doggie was really gentle and wouldn’t bother us…it’s name was Snickerdoodle…..and it roamed the house, not in a crate…..
Well, we walked in and there was Snickerdoodle to greet us – very excited to see us..He followed us into the GREAT ROOM and it was indeed a great room, and then into the kitchen…and precious little Snickerdoodle had made us a treat….and there they were, about six of them, all in a row, in the middle of the kitchen floor! Needless to say, we definitely always remembered that house, which we termed, “Snickerdoodle’s House”…..moral of the story: Please don’t leave your doggie out to welcome in buyers…they could leave more than you planned on!
Part of the reason my clients didn’t want to see the property in question from my previous post, First Impressions Part 1, was the landscaping… and that is my focus now. Have you seen landscaping in a yard that looks more like a disaster – the plants just don’t flow or there are more weeds and grass in the landscaping than bushes, shrubs and flowers? Or, maybe there’s actually not ANY kind of landscaping? Just the house and maybe a couple of “dead somethings” right in front of the door?
Remember, the art of selling an individual home is based so much on buyers’ first impressions. And the house and landscaping are a package together. When they view the property online, they want to know what the house looks like from the street. People really don’t want to buy ugly houses, if they can avoid it! When they view a house, whether online or actually driving up to it in a car, buyers are looking at the total package. Great landscaping can draw buyers into a house. Conversely, ugly landscaping, or lack of landscaping, can drive them right on past your house and on to other houses.
So, get out there and give your front yard (and back yard) a makeover! Stand out in the street and see what buyers are seeing when they drive up. Now that it’s summertime, keep your yard mowed – and while I’m on that, MAKE SURE you have a neatly manicured lawn whenever there is an open house, a showing, or anytime a potential buyer may be coming down the street! Everything’s green now so here’s a hint – put some pops of bright color in your landscaping to do exactly that – POP! The grass and shrubs provide a neutral backdrop to add splashes of color to bring your eye to them so, go ahead and pop it now…
Weeds or grass in your landscaping is unacceptable…remove it. Also, pay close attention to the front entry/front porch area. Put a pop of color there and make sure you don’t have dead plants/flowers, pots with dead flowers, etc. in front or around the front door that buyers will be walking by on their way into the house…If you’re just not a “landscaping” person, give me a call – I love it! Part 3 coming soon!
I had some buyers I was working with ask me to make an appointment to see a particular house they had seen on the Internet. Upon driving to the property and waiting on my buyers, I sat in front of the house, viewing the property from the vantage point of the street. My buyers slowly drove up behind me and saw what I had been looking at. When I got out of the car to greet them, they rolled down the window and said, “Uh, we don’t think we want to view this house. If the owner doesn’t take any better care of their front yard than this, we can only imagine what the inside of the house must look like!” Buyers – 1 Sellers – a big fat 0
Unfortunately, this scenario happens quite often. I’ve come up with some pointers, that while should be obvious, sometimes are just not on a Seller’s radar screen – I like to call them…
MJ’s Maxims for Overcoming those Obvious Obstacles:
1. Mow your Lawn…PLEASE…and weed eat, edge, and etc. around front and back yard; as well as sidewalks, driveways, etc.
2. Keep your yard free from clutter, debris, toys, etc. in front yard, as well as backyard.
3. If you have doggies, keep the poop picked up! Seriously…and any of their toys…
4. Don’t have cars, boats, trailers, or any other large objects sitting in driveway, or yard… I have actually encountered refrigerators, tvs, trash carts (stink!) and some foreign objects!
5. Make sure your front door/entry/porch area is swept and clean from any debris, toys, objects, and animals – and make sure it looks well-kept…
6. Trim back bushes, landscaping, trees, etc. if needed.
7. Make any necessary repairs to house exterior, such as wood rot, missing shutters, etc.
8. Paint any trim, walls, front door, repairs or etc. needed outside.
9. Make sure pathway/sidewalk to front door looks as good as it can – so buyer doesn’t have to step over objects or animals.
10. Clean your windows! Inside and out…
Lastly, remember that LESS IS MORE. Let your buyers visualize the house, not all the clutter.
Drive around the block and come down your street slowly and see what first impressions your buyer is going to be having as they come down your street. Let me know…
You’ve decided to put your house up on the market, but you just really don’t want to do it over the summer, what with the kids out of school and everything. You really want to sell your house – it’s just a hassle over the summer. The heat’s making you a little crazy and you’re not too psyched about getting your house ready to be shown…..
Go find a mirror,anywhere, and look into it, give yourself a very light slap across your face, and say “I can do this!” If you want to sell, summer is a GREAT time to do it! I was going to be listing a house last summer and I was pushing to get it on the market but the paperwork was taking forever (a relocation); by the time we got it on the market, it was August. Well, buyers want to know where they’re going to be and have their kids in the new school system in August. Summer is the time they’re buying and moving and setting up house. It took about twice as long to sell that house as it should have!
So, if you’re ready to list your house today, hey -give me a call. I can make it go hassle-free for you. Let me do the work so you don’t have to!
Ok…so you think you want to sell your house and you know you have an appraisal somewhere in your files…you had it when you closed on your house a couple of years ago (from the lender). You’re planning to move out of town, and this appraisal should tell you – at the very least – where to start the pricing process. I mean, 2 years ago, it was worth that amount and you’ve added lots of upgrades and it looks SO much better than it did when you bought it!
Unfortunately, this economy has not done anything positive for appraisals and home values. Having an appraisal older than 6 months doesn’t help you out a whole lot. We all know that home values have decreased in general, but we want to hold on to the pipe dream that ours hasn’t! I have an appraisal for my house that’s a year and a half old, from a refinance, and I only wish it were accurate in today’s marketplace.
So, as a real estate professional, I have to be the one who tells you that, “I’m sorry, but your home value today isn’t what it was on the appraisal.” It’s not an easy task, but necessary. I would be doing an injustice to my profession and to you! The best remedy for this situation? Let me do a Comprehensive Market Analysis to compare neighborhood statistics and then, if needed, another up-to-date appraisal. Remember that your house has to appraise for the price we get an offer on (when the buyer’s lenders take over) – so let’s save some time and stress now and in the future by KNOWING it’s worth what we are selling it for…
Now that you FINALLY have a contract on your dream home and you’re waiting to get from
contract to closing, you can breathe a little easier while your lender is busy with all
the “stuff” they have to do. Whew, what a relief…now, you can get a few things for the new house and maybe go shopping for furniture and appliances…or maybe even look for that car
you’ve been wanting to get…
STOP RIGHT THERE!! As that lender has pre-qualified you and you passed his initial
inspections, it’s not over yet! Before your closing can occur, the lender has to look
at your credit score AGAIN right before closing to double-check and triple-check your
numbers, as well as any employment information, to verify you still qualify!
If you have bought a car, taken out another credit card, purchased appliances or furniture
for your new house – or done ANYTHING to change your credit score – you can be in
considerable trouble! Many buyers don’t realize this very important information….When a lender pulls your credit score five days before closing and your credit score has dropped because of these new credit cards or purchases on your cc, your closing could be in jeopardy!
Save yourself the heartache of losing your dream home… Remember that QUALIFYING
is a PROCESS that doesn’t end until you have the keys in your hand after closing!