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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

there IS a difference between price and value


Understand first of all that there IS a difference between price and value.

Price is the amount you are asking for the property. Value is buyer perceived, and this perception of value is influenced by many factors such as location, features, condition, comparison to other purchase option, etc.

By attending to details that can have a positive impact on the value, sellers can significantly increase their chance of attracting qualified buyers willing to pay the asking price.


Some tips to achieve a positive impact on value are:
Perceived size impacts value, even more so than actual square footage. Open floor plans make a room feel bigger than larger spaces with smaller rooms. Showing property that is furniture free, or at reduced clutter, helps to make the space feel bigger.
Vacancy increases sale-ability.

Property is easier to show and easier to sell, and quicker to take possession of when it is vacant at the time it is offered for sale. Evidence of problems to take possession of the property -- such as encroachments, or tenants who wont allow buyer tours -- negatively impact value.

Vacancy also helps the buyer walk through the property imagining ownership. Sellers should remove personal trinkets and family pictures as well as being conveniently absent during a buyer tour.


Cosmetics are important.
Fresh paint will always add more value than it costs.
Clean or new carpet/flooring adds more value than it costs.
Landscaping adds more value than it costs. At the very minimum, make the entrance area neat.
If you can, add some colorful flowers and new sod.


Take care of the obvious! The spot on the ceiling from the roof leak takes thousands of dollars from the perceived value and the offer price.


Condition affects value. Do a seller's home inspection to identify and fix the problem BEFORE closing. No point holding up your check a few extra days; plus a failed buyer's inspection could cost you the sale. Buyers will often bargain down your asking price to accomodate for property condition and repairs.
If you can, remodel/update the kitchen and master bathroom. These two areas have a big impact on home buying decisions.
Strategic renovations impact value and your bottom line. Don't spend more money to renovate the place than you can recapture in value on the sales price.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

when to buy a house, timing is everything


It's All About the Market
Market conditions play a huge part in any decision about when to buy. Housing market values have varied widely from region to region in recent years. While the Florida market has seen meteoric rises in home values, Ohio has seen its real estate prices go into negative territory in the last year.
Do not buy high and sell low - if your market is softening or has hit its peak and is heading south, you may want to wait on your purchase.

The magazine Smart Money has created a worksheet to compare the costs of renting vs. buying using market appreciation calculations to determine at what point you come out ahead. Plugging in the price, down payment, your income bracket, interest rate, and current market appreciation rates, the worksheet will break out what you will gain.
For example, say you were to buy a $400,000 house in Boulder, Colorado and you estimate the market will soften from the current 11% appreciation to about 9 percent annually. If you stayed in the house three years, you would recover $88,750 in equity at the end of that period; if you stayed five years, you'd realize $120,360.

Your Financial Future
Aside from life events contributing to your decision, getting your financial house in order before you begin your home search is key. Even with all the programs available for buyers with a low-or-no down payment, if your debts are growing steadily and you don't foresee an increase in your income, you are putting yourself in greater financial risk by taking on a mortgage.
With only a few exceptions, many loans for people who are still repairing their credit or recovering from bankruptcy carry higher rates than those available once your credit is in better shape. So the question comes down to this: Do you buy now, before prices appreciate higher than you can afford, but do so with an expensive loan? Or do you wait and repair your credit, then get a favorable loan, and pay more for your home?
That's the sort of analysis you need to go over with a financial counselor or mortgage broker before you start hitting open houses.

Ways to Cushion the Blow
On the other hand, if you are willing to buy a home that needs a bit of work and, over time, you can afford to get it done, your home could appreciate faster, strengthening your financial position. If you are willing to take on a roommate or renter, you can also soften the expense of a mortgage, which almost always costs more than rent. Buying a home is a risk, and it's worth asking yourself hard questions about what you're willing to do to protect yourself from getting in over your head.
If you answered "no" the life-change questions, and have the down payment or equity from your current home, you still need to look at interest rates and at how buying affects your taxes. You can't time the stock market, but you can time interest rate hikes, as they are a little easier to predict. If they are going up fast, you can jump in before they rise too far; if they are already high, you will have to calculate how refinancing in the future affects your budget.

What to Do First
If you are anxious to get moving, be patient. You have a few things to do first:
Go to open houses - get the lay of the land
Talk to a mortgage broker to get pre-approved
Interview agents (You may want to find an agent at the same time as you look for a mortgage broker - a good agent can recommend reputable brokers and help you make sense of the terms of the loan)
Review credit report and scores with mortgage broker to determine if any repairs are needed
Use the information you find on http://www.arubahouses.com/ to find info on investing in Aruba, and on neighborhoods that interest you. For information contact; miriam@arubahouses.com

Thursday, August 13, 2009

real estate jokes

This house has every new convenience except low payments.

By the time you pay for a home in the suburbs, it isn't.

If you think no one cares you're alive, miss a couple of house payments.

My real estate agent was always smiling. I didn't think anybody could have that many teeth without being a barracuda.

My buyers went through debt consolidation. Now they have only one bill they won’t pay.