Category: Buying Process (6)

Home buyers are generally picky. Very picky. They should be. The purchase of a home represents one of the largest and most secure means of building wealth and transferring wealth to one’s heirs. Unfortunately home sellers sometimes lose sight of their ultimate goal when selling their home. That means they often forget the details. We all probably know that major flaws in a home will detract from the marketability of the home. Worse yet, it will likely not sell for a price that makes the owner happy. But just as important is how well you as a seller have prepared the home. Details, details, details. Those dusty baseboards will send a negative message to your prospective buyer. That gunk in the corners in the bathrooms will send the same message. Details, details, details. Is your home bright and airy? Open the curtains, let the light in. Take down the dark curtains. A buyer can always figure out a way to make a room darker, but walking into a dark home generally is a turn off for a buyer. Details, details, details. Clean up the scuff and wear marks as best you can. Many buyers want a home that is close to move in ready. Details, details, details. Use scentseys or something similar to freshen the home. Hint, those sprays that are well advertised, really do not do the job for more than 5- 10 minutes. Forget about that, or this will last for days advertising. A scentsey like warmer can be placed discreetly in the home and not be terribly obvious. A scented candle, on the other hand is obvious. Freshly baked cookies and bread also will work, unless you burn them right before a showing. Finally, you might consider playing soft light music in the home. As much as I dislike easy listening music, played softly in home does tend to make the home feel more inviting. When you are ready to sell your home, reach out to me so I can help you maximize your profit on your home.

You just drove through the new subdivision being developed.  Attractive new homes and stunning model homes are available.  You enter the model home and are floored by the style, layout and amenities.   As you walk through the model home you meet the builder’s or developer’s representative.  They are friendly, outgoing and jovial.  They show you several homes under construction, go through the upgrades with you, then ask you if you would like to make a decision right now, or think about it overnight.  Do you notice something was missing.  Reread the third sentence again…………….the person you have met is the builder’s representative.  Notice you have no representation.

The job of the builder’s onsite representative is to get the most money for the builder as possible.  Even offering discounts, the best interest of the builder is always first and foremost.  When you engage your own real estate agent to assist you with the purchase of a new home, you have your own personal representative.  As your representative, also known as the buyer’s agent, my job is to represent you throughout the process.  I may make different suggestions on upgrades, or how to purchase certain upgrades than the builder offers.  I will also known the area and can help you find the best location for you.  Best of all my services are free to you.

Remember, always have a your own real estate agent with you when you are picking out a new home.

I cannot tell you how many times I have walked into a home on the market and remarked how attractive the home was.  Everything was neat and tidy.  The closets were well organized, the baseboards spotless—remember clean your baseboards before we put your home on the market.  But behind that beautiful home was a disclosure form that could make one nervous.

Disclosure forms are part of the real estate process and are required by law.  The first page, or two are standard check boxes of what is in the home.  Fire place, ceiling fans, garage door openers, etc.  Pretty basic stuff.  But later on the form are places where the seller must disclose any issues with the home.  It is very important to be honest and disclose any known issues a home has.  Just because a home has an issue does not mean a purchaser will not go through with the deal.  However, if you do not disclose a known issue, you and your real estate agent could be liable for damages, including actual and punitive damages.

The absolute best thing to do is disclose those issues and also include documentation of repairs already done.  Receipts, invoices, etc will all be helpful.

Purchasing a new home from a developer, or one of the large scale home builders can be an exciting time, but the buyer must always be on guard when negotiating with the company. Many people go to builders without a realtor and run into well designed schemes to get you to spend more money then intended. Taking your realtor with you will afford you a degree of protection that you would not have otherwise, a critical eye watching over every part of the transaction and a voice that will show you where you can save money. Following is a tale from experience. I will not name the builder, but it is one everyone has heard of. My client and I visited the sales center of this company after finding the perfect House for the client. We entered negotiations and immediately found that the home that had been advertised at a $3,000 discount had that discount mysteriously vanish. The company instead offered a discount which my client felt was acceptable. In the meantime looking over the sales sheet, I found the builder had built an additional $5100 dollar profit into the price by over charging for appliances and flooring. The negotiations went several hours and a price was agreed upon. After we left, the client received a call that the office had made a mistake and the price was actually $1,500 higher than was quoted and agreed upon. To say the least this company has received a letter from me stating the facts and questioning the ethics of the company. While we are waiting to hear back from the company, I can only feel we have run into the proverbial “used car“ salesperson. The upside is the client was not cowed into accepting a deal that was not agreed upon. Remember, never, never, never, ever go to a builder, or developer without your own realtor. It can end badly for you and sadly it has ended badly for some who failed to heed the advice.

Fraud in Real Estate

With some much business being conducted online, it is no surprise that unethical people troll the internet for victims. While so many remember the Phrase “I have a bridge I want to sell you”, modern thieves have gotten far more sophisticated. The big scams we are seeing right now involve the wire transfer of funds. In some cases, hackers, have obtained the online credentials of some realtors and possibly some large realty specialty firms. These hackers will send out e mails requesting the wire transfer of funds in relation to the real estate transaction you have in progress. Often enough these requests are often marked with language indicating the funds must be wired immediately, or within a specified amount of time. Before you wire any money anywhere, pick up the phone and call your realtor. Immediately after that call the title company. Your realtor should be doing the same. Verify any requests for funds with your title company. Do not send money!! Do not send money!!! Do not send money!!!! If at all possible when you enter into a real estate transaction work with local title companies with offices you can visit. The local companies are built on personal interaction and they work hard to get you over the paperwork hump to help you get into your new home. So would you like to buy a bridge?

In my recent ramblings, I have had a number of opportunities to visit model homes, staged homes and homes that were decluttered but not staged. First, when you want to sell your home, declutter. You want prospective buyers to see how much and what kind of space is available. Beyond that however you should be aware of what happens to you when you enter a well staged home and a model home. A model home is staged in such a way as to appeal to 80%-90% of visitors to that model. Many builders spend big dollars employing decorators who are not only have great decorating skill, but who also know how to pull on your emotional intelligence to, sometimes, the detriment of your intellectual intelligence. A model home is not just designed to make you go ohh, ah and oh look shiny, but it designed to get you to spend the most money. After all that cool upgrade is only $2,000 and the builder would love to sell that upgrade to you. But keep in mind that $2,000 upgrade will actually cost you about three times that amount over the 20 period of a loan. Worse yet, you are likely to replace that upgrade with five to seven years and spend more money. Remember the model home’s purpose is to get you to buy and over buy. A well staged home, however, shows you the possibilities of what you could do in a home on your own. A well staged home will give you suggestions on what you might use a room for, what kind of furniture may work, or better yet show you how well your furniture will fit in a room and a house. A well staged home will tug on your emotional intellect, but at the same time it will allow your practical intellect to calculate costs and allow you to use your reasoning abilities to come to a decision.