Tips for Buying or Selling a Home

General Information

Buying a Home

Selling a Home

Financial Questions

Whether you’re buying, selling, or both, select us because…

  • We belong to the Multiple Listing Service and have access to every listing through every REALTORĀ® who is an MLS member.
  • We have a professional sales team that closely monitors real estate trends and market activity.
  • We can help you purchase an existing home or select a contractor to build a new home, as well as find optimum financing.
  • We have experienced sales staff to help with the closing of your property.
  • We are prepared to market your property enthusiastically and effectively.
  • We make your satisfaction our #1 priority. We fulfill all of your real estate needs through our highly professional and personalized service.


The Facts Profile What We Offer

  • Full-time professional advice designed to meet your needs.
  • Market analysis of real property.
  • Use of multiple listing service.
  • Professionally designed marketing materials.
  • Aggressive promotion and advertising of properties.
  • Qualification of purchasers with recognized leaders.
  • Strong relationships with leading Lenders, Attorneys, and Inspection Companies, as well as other REALTORĀ®s.
  • Honest, courteous service provided to every buyer and seller.


House Hunting Priorities

On your first showing, you are looking for a home that meets your basic needs:

  • Is it in the right location?
  • Does it have enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Is there parking?
  • Is it safe?
  • Is the price an amount you can afford?

  • If the home meets the basic requirements, then start to look for how many wish list items it includes:

  • Is there an extra bedroom and/or bathroom?
  • Is there a double vanity in the second bathroom?
  • Is there a garden or deck?
  • Is there a separate laundry room?
  • Is there a basement or crawl space?
  • Is the garage attached?
  • Can the kids walk to school?
  • Is there a wood-burning fireplace or gas fireplace?
  • What is the condition of the house, its appliances, roof, foundation, walls, mechanicals, wiring, etc?
  • Start with the general items, then get more specific.

What is the best price obtainable for your property?

What your house will ultimately sell for is based on a number of factors. When aiming for a particular price, it is important to be realistic about the property’s true market value. It is easy to over-estimate the value of your property because of your emotional ties. However, a buyer will be very practical, and will only pay what it is worth.

How much will your house sell for?
Purchasers are not concerned about what the house cost you. They are only interested in what it will cost them.

Buyers determine the best price obtainable for your property:
If a buyer likes your property, he will decide how much he is willing to offer (sometimes with the help of an agent). If your property is listed low enough to make it a good value, a buyer knows whether or not he can affor your house. If he figures your property is overpriced, then he may decide to offer you less. When a buyer makes an offer to purchase which is less than your listing price, he indicates a willingness to buy the house at a certain price. You do not know if that price is an effort to buy the house at a bargain, or merely the top price that buyer can afford. Either way, the house will only sell for what someone is actually willing to pay.

A Real Estate agent can help estimate the price of a house.
Real estate agents use a comparative market analysis to find the market value of the house. This involves identification of similar homes with as many similar characteristics as possible, such as location, size, features (garages, basements, landscaping), age and condition, that have been sold recently. The prices for these comparable homes are then used to estimate how much your home might sell for. The estimate of a sales value for your home will be a guess, and the value will vary with other factors, such as the local economy, number of houses on the market, the movement of people in and out of the area, etc.

Factors Influencing the Sale of Your Home

There are many factors involved in determining how long it may take to sell your home. If you understand these, you’ll be more comfortable with the sales process, and better able to make the best pricing and marketing decisions for your home.

  • Location: This is the single most important factor in determining how quickly, and for what price, your home will sell.
  • Condition: The better your home shows, the easier it will be to sell. Most home buyers do not want to purchase a home which needs repair. If you take steps to improve your home’s appearance (many of which aren’t even that expensive) you will improve the chances for a prompt sale.
  • Terms: If you are in a position to offer potential purchasers “terms” you expand the number of buyers who could purchase your home. If you can afford to help the buyer finance the purchase of your home, please let us know. If you can offer terms, you might obtain a higher price than if you don’t offer terms.
  • Competition and Market Strength: If there are a lot of homes similar to yours available, then you may have to lower your price to distinguish your home from other available homes. If it is a “seller’s market” with homes selling quickly, then you may obtain a higher price than if it is a “buyer’s market” with more homes taking longer to sell.
  • Price: If your home is priced too high when it is first listed, it won’t get the exposure it would were it competitively priced. A careful review of the attached Comparative Market Report will help you in working with us to establish the best listing price for your home.

A seller has control over all the factors above except for location, competition and market strength. I will work with you to influence those factors under your control to maximize your chances of selling your home for the best price, in the shortest period of time.

Home Improvements that add the most to a Home’s Value

  • Painting
  • New Carpeting
  • Wallpaper
  • Decorating
  • New Garage
  • Room Addition
  • Bathroom Remodeling
  • Kitchen Remodeling
  • Landscaping
  • New Floors

Getting the most Bang for your Home Improvement Buck

In terms of enhancing resale value, certain home improvements and remodeling projects are more worthwhile than others. And some expensive improvements actually have the potential to detract from the home’s value.

Common projects that can return more than you paid for them include painting the outside of your home and modestly upgrading the existing landscape.

A couple of improvements that should give you some return on your investment are updating the kitchen, adding and remodeling bathrooms because these are two areas that tend to date the home in the eyes of prospective buyers. Projects that make your home more energy efficient are also attractive and may result in some positive returns.

Other common undertakings of ambitious homeowners may make their homes more attractive overall, but probably not yield much of a dollar-for-dollar return. You should not expect buyers to be unduly impressed with a tool shed or a hot tub that your family may greatly enjoy. Adding centralized heating or repaving the driveway may simply be taken for granted and not rewarded with a higher sales price.

Some improvements actually run the risk of turning off prospective buyers. Chances are your choice in new carpeting or aluminum siding will not appeal to everyone. Swimming pool and tennis courts are two expensive projects that may well hinder your ability to sell when you want at the price you want, with the exception of neighborhoods where these amenities are the norm.

One of the cardinal rules of remodeling is: don’t over-improve. In other words, it is unwise to fix up your home to the point where it becomes worth $200,000 in a neighborhood of $150,000 dollar homes because chances are you won’t get your price when it comes time to sell. Among other reasons, buyers looking for $200,000 probably will not be shopping in your locale.

If you are considering a home improvement or remodeling project and have any questions as to how it might affect your home’s resale value, please give us a call.

Work in progress: Financing home improvements

One of the joys of owning your own home is the ability to make it fit your family’s changing needs and desires. Indeed, most American dream homes are truly works in progress.

Home improvements run the gamut from building a modest tool shed to replacing an entire roof or remodeling the kitchen. Needless to say, few of these projects come cheap, even if you are ambitions enough to do the work yourself.

Once you’ve determined your needs and decide the time is right for such an undertaking, there are some golden rules worthy of consideration. A couple of experts in the real estate field advise: Every bit of attention should be directed to finding a home improvement loan as you paid to finding the best home mortgage.

Here’s some more expert advice on financing home improvement projects:

  • Don’t borrow unless you have to.
  • Get estimates from reputable contractors before seeking a loan.
  • If you must borrow, shop around for the best terms, hunting for the lowest interest rate available.

Possible funding sources include: relatives; borrowing against passbook savings accounts, whole life insurance policies or mortgage securities; credit unions; contractor financing; utility companies (for energy-saving projects); unsecured home improvement loans from banks or savings and loans; government loans; mortgage refinancing; second mortgage; and home equity loans.

Remember to investigate all your options carefully before borrowing any money for a home improvement project because interest rates can very from 3 percent to as much as 20 percent!

Dollars and Sense: Should you prepay your mortgage?

If your find yourself in the financial position to do so, making larger-than-required payments on your mortgage may be a good idea.

Most mortgage loans allow prepayment of any amount applied directly to the principal balance. While this advanced payment method does not reduce the monthly burden, it does shorten the loan term, which means significant interest savings.

If you are interested in prepaying your mortgage, you should check with the mortgage company about any special instructions for sending extra principal payments. Typically, coupon books provided by the lender have provisions for such payments.

Conventional loans sometimes carry a 20 or 25 year term option. When such an option is available, choosing one the these makes sense.

If you plan to occupy your home for five years or more, then the reduced term makes sense because you are essentially contributing to your own retirement by working toward a debt free home and you are also building equity with each payment.

If, on the other hand, there is a good chance that you will sell your home in less than five years, you may be better off to stick with the 30 year term or even an adjustable rate mortgage. This is especially the case with government insured loans, which may be more attractive to a potential buyer assuming the mortgage because of the lower monthly payment and equity they offer.

When considering prepayment options, you should also consider the return on your investment. If you can make more money than what you save in interest by investing it elsewhere, you might be wise to do so. If not, prepayment makes sound financial sense.