Monthly Archives: June 2018

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Don’t Believe the Hype When Hiring a Realtor to Represent You

Just peruse through the Sunday newspaper, real estate books or scan various Realtor websites and you will see a lot of hype.

  • Largest Producer!
  • If we don’t sell your home we will buy it!
  • Your home sold in 39 days or we will sell it for free!
  • We will advertise your home until it is sold!
  • We guarantee to save you $5,000 on your next home purchase!
  • We will sell your home for 1% 2% or 3%!
  • #1 Real Estate Agent!

Real estate is a cutthroat, competitive industry. Realtors are always trying to find new ways to attract home buyers and sellers. With so many to choose from Realtors are constantly trying to make themselves stand out from the crowd. With this desire to be different we naturally create a lot of hype.

Let’s go through a few of the more common ways Realtors try to grab your attention.

Largest Producer!

People should be impressed by any agent that is the largest producer. Right? What if that Realtor is in a 2 or 3 agent office? It is not as impressive anymore. What if the agent was the largest producer for just one week? They don’t advertise that information. Again, not as quite as impressive. Most people just assume that the agent is the either the largest producer ever or for at least a long period of time like a year.

If we don’t sell your home we will buy it!

Are these Realtors so confident in their ability to sell your home that they will buy it if it does not sell? Not really. If you read through the details you will see that the chances of the Realtor buying your home are slim to none. Most of the agents who advertise this have never bought one of their client’s homes. In order for the agent to purchase your home there are usually numerous requirements such as them buying your home for the appraised value minus various costs like financing and marketing (broker commissions) fees. In the end, it does not make much sense for the home owner to sell to the Realtor.

Your home sold in 30 days or we will sell it for free!

This one is similar to the above hyped program. Typically, there is a list of things the homeowner would have to do to get the Realtor to sell his house without a commission. In reality, it rarely happens. Typically, the Realtor requires that the homeowner price the property at a value given by an appraiser or by the real estate agent. Other requirements may be:

  • the asking price of the home needs to be dropped frequently
  • when the home sells the homeowner would be required to buy his next house through the same real estate agent
  • the home would be required to be in showing condition all of the time
  • the home would also be required to be easily seen on short notice.

If the homeowner does not perform on any these tasks then the Realtor would not be required to sell the home free. There are all kinds of caveats that the agent can have to get them out of selling your home for free. Some of them are very entertaining.

We will advertise your home until it is sold!

Most Realtors will do this one without too many caveats. Most agents know that advertising rarely sells a home. A very small percentage of people buy the home they originally called on. The main purpose of advertising by a Realtor is not to sell your house directly. Advertising generates phone calls and some of those people become clients of the Realtor. Over time this builds up a list of home buyers looking for property. Another reason Realtors like to advertise is to get future listings. People thinking about selling will usually interview agents that advertise heavily. So when an agent tells you how much they plan to advertise your home keep in mind that most of that advertising benefits the Realtor and not your house.

We guarantee to save you $5,000 on your next home purchase!

Most home sellers have a built in cushion in their asking price. Here in Sarasota, Florida on the average a home will sell for about 97% of list price. If I sell a home for $350,000 chances are that the home was listed for $360,000 – $365,000. In this situation it would be pretty easy for the selling agent to say he saved his buyer $10,000 – $15,000. Was the agent such a shrewd negotiator that he got the seller to drop his price? Most likely not. The seller probably just factored a 3-5% cushion into their asking price.

In many instances, especially in hot markets, homes sell at or above their asking price. Most Realtors who advertise these guarantees either give you something small such as a home warranty or a some other type of buyer credit if they do not help you negotiate a lower price.

We will sell your home for 1% 2% or 3%!

This is another hook that Realtors use to attract home sellers. Usually this 1% 2% or 3% is the listing agent’s fee for selling your home but it does not include any co-broke fees.

Depending on the market, sellers will list their home anywhere from 5%-7%. What happens now is that the listing agents goes to the Realtor community via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and offers a co-broke fee (usually 3% or half of the total commission). If the other agent brings the buyer he is paid the co-broke fee. The majority of real estate transaction involve 2 Realtors. Therefore, the 6% total commission is split between the two agents. Often times when an agent advertises 1% 2% or 3% they are only advertising their fee but the commission goes up if you want your house listed on the MLS. Most of the time it is crucial to have your home listed on the MLS.

#1 Real Estate Agent!

#1 at what? Are they the absolute best Realtor in the world? Have they sold the most real estate? Are they always the biggest producer? Did they sell the most homes last week, last month, last year?

I see Realtors throw this one around a lot. Any real estate agent can #1 at something on any given day. There are so many statistics in this industry that it would be pretty hard not to find an agent to be #1 at something. I think agents use this one because it tends to grab people’s attention more.

I think it is normal to see this type of marketing in a highly competitive industry. I feel it is the nature of the business and there is nothing wrong with it. Many successful agents have used or are currently using these marketing ideas. When looking to find an real estate remember not everything is as it seems.

How to Build Your Dream Home

Building your dream home is a process that takes some individuals a lifetime. Hardly anyone knows early in life what exactly constitutes “dream home” in her eyes. Pinning down the details that you want may take years of “starter” homes and building mistakes to learn what truly works for you. It is helpful to keep a list of likes and dislikes about each house that you live in. Consider everything from major aspects like size and layout to minor details like cabinet space and tile coloring. It is hard to remember everything that you have learned from previous living situations when faced with the stress and endless choices involved with building a new home. Keeping detailed records is a good way to stay level headed under pressure.

One good way to get good ideas for your dream home is to do active research. Any time you see a house for sale, stop and take a walk through to add to your likes and dislikes list. Steal ideas- it is allowed! Model homes are another great way to check out floor plans and housing designers. Home shows are one of the best ways to get ideas. These homes are fully decorated, and decorating the house well is almost more important in creating a dream home that the actual layout. Often these homes provide great inspiration for wall coloring, wood color, counter tops and furniture ideas. Be open minded, and home shows may provide a whole new perspective.

The next step is choosing a location for the building of the dream home to take place. The whole atmosphere of the house depends on whether you are located in the woods or a subdivision, on lots of acres or in a city. Work with your atmosphere instead of against it. Once your have ideas for what type of home you want, consider what type of backdrop makes the most sense for your tastes.

Choosing a builder is one of the hardest steps in choosing a dream home. Get recommendations from friends whose homes you admire and visit several projects completed by the builder.

Before any contracting takes place, you and the builder should have extensive conversation to be sure your ideas and his skills will coincide. Take your time with decisions. Make initial choices, but allow two weeks to think about your choice before it is finalized. It is important to visit your work-in-progress dream home frequently in order to be sure you and the builder are on the same page. Sometimes mistakes get made in the funneling of messages from builder to crew heads to crew members. Staying in close contact with the builder and crews helps ensure that your home is erected according to plan.

Budgeting Your Log Home: Where Do You Start?

The Log home industry has matured these last many years, but there is still a lot of confusion about how much a log home costs. Naturally, everyone wants to know the cost of the log package; however, the budgeting only starts here. If you are shopping for a milled log package (as opposed to hand-crafted, which is a totally different category), the difference between one manufacturer’s price and another is minimal when compared to the total cost of the structure. Here are some reasons why:

Other materials. The logs themselves only form a portion of the material costs of the home. Once the log walls are erected, you still have to worry about a floor, a roof, the windows, the doors, the plumbing, the kitchen… the list goes on and on. Some manufacturers quote a “weathered-in shell” which includes the logs, the windows and roof – all the elements that enclose the building (protecting the house against the weather). Other manufacturers only quote the log package, and leave it to the contractor to provide the other materials locally. When pricing a log package, make sure you are comparing “apples to apples”.

From our experience, the price of the Logs only constituted approximately 1/5 of the total price of the finished structure. As for the rest… it’s a high-end custom home, and like any custom home, your cost is limited by your imagination – and your budget. You decide whether to use hardwood floors or carpet, marble counters or formica, a metal roof or asphalt shingles. No log home company will offer these products to you. Unlike a Development contractor who offers you a limited selection, you choose everything yourself, from doorknobs to toilets. Once you start factoring in all these items, you will discover that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between a log home any another home – except for the exterior walls.

Local price differences. We built our log home in New Jersey, which tends to be a lot more expensive overall than much of the rest of the country. The same house in Tennessee would cost considerably less in lumber and other materials. Also consider that labor costs vary wildly as well. A very big part of your budget will cover the labor, because this home will be built entirely by hand. Your contractor may not have to peel or notch the logs, but he will still be placing the logs one at at time, making sure the walls are plumb, drilling holes for the wiring, cutting settling gaps above the windows and doors, possibly fitting the roof frame one board at a time. Your builder is the most critical part of the project, and it’s not necessarily a good idea to go with the cheapest quote. Do you really want him to cut corners to stay within a low quote?

Design features of the house. The most dramatic log homes have roof lines that point in all directions, dormers that grace the front, vaulted ceilings in the great rooms. But remember that every new angle you add to the roof adds exponentially to the cost of the project. If you need to keep costs down, think about a simple roof line with not too many angles.

Also, the old adage remains especially true with log homes: it’s much cheaper to go up than go out. If you want a rambling one-story ranch house, you will have a bigger foundation cost, a bigger roof to consider, and lots more labor. If you build more stories and a smaller foundation, even though you will have to invest in a staircase the savings are considerable.

So what is the bottom line? A basic budgeting cost in the Northeast US would be $140-$150 per square foot for a milled log home; this is about the equivalent of a high-end custom stick-frame house. This does not include the land, the well, the septic, the driveway, etc. It does include the basement, the kitchen, the plumbing, etc. This is the turnkey budget for the house only. You can certainly do less if you give up a lot of amenities, but I wouldn’t advise a starting budget of any less than $130 per sq. ft. You may find yourself running out of money way too soon, and that would be a terrible shame.

Today’s Real Estate Market – Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Since the economic downturn of 2008, the real estate market has been challenging for REALTORS and buyers and sellers. For those who have cash for a home purchase, or can obtain a mortgage, there has never been a better time to buy property. Real Estate is, and will remain for some time, a buyer’s market.

Sellers are still adjusting to this shift, and need to be realistic about what this means when they are preparing their home for the market.

I am going outline both the home buyer and home seller perspectives in this article so that both sides can gain a clearer view of the tenor of the present market.

Home Buyers: What are They Looking for in the Current Real Estate Market?
Since buyers are now a select group with ample choices, they can afford to be picky about the properties they purchase. Today, I find that many of my buyers want to walk into instant equity in the home they purchase. There are opportunities to buy short sales or foreclosed properties where the purchaser can walk into equity — providing the property is in good shape. Most of the time these types of home purchases will need updates and/or repairs.

Home buyers wishing to obtain ‘instant equity’ in a home purchase need to prepare themselves in two ways. First, a down payment of 5-20% will be required depending upon the type of loan they qualify for. Home buyers also need to make certain their credit scores are high enough to obtain lending approval.

Those buyers who prefer to purchase properties that are not bank owned will want to make that purchase based on a current appraised value. A savvy home buyer will look for a property in pristine condition. This type of buyer will most likely expect to move in and not have to perform any work on the property. These types of expectations are especially true for real estate purchases where individuals are downsizing from larger to smaller homes.

Even though some states may not require it, buyers will insist upon home inspections before purchase. I advise my home buyers not to get too caught up on the cosmetics of a property (i.e. rugs need to be replaced, holes in the dry wall, wood rot on the railing). These minor issues with a home are easily fixable. I encourage home buyers to focus on structural integrity of the home instead. This means the plumbing, electric, heating, air conditioning and roofs must be in good condition. These aspects of a home affect the integrity of the property, and require time consuming and costly repairs. Remember that some FHA and VA loans will not approve mortgages unless the home is structurally sound.

Nowadays, home buyers cannot count on owning a home and selling it a year or two later. A home purchaser should plan on owning the property for three years or longer, even if it has to be turned into a rental property. Today’s real estate purchaser has many more demands than a buyer did three or more years ago.

Home Sellers: It’s Time for a Reality Check
On properties for sale where I am the listing agent, I advise my sellers to return to the traditional strengths of a property. If a seller truly wants to sell, he or she must evaluate current pricing, location and condition.

Pricing a Property for Sale
There is no doubt about it: price is the defining criteria of real estate transactions today. Most cities and counties have raised the assessments over the last five years. Presently, these assessments are often equivalent to current appraised values. This is not good news for many property owners, who have lost equity in their home.

In many real estate markets, short sales and foreclosures are sold near the property listed, and appraisers have to use these comparable sales in approximating the value of a home. Sellers should NOT be surprised if an agent asks them to price their property below current assessed values. Fulfilling this pricing request will be necessary if there are multiple foreclosures or distressed properties in their neighborhood or homeowners have sold their properties at lower than market value out of necessity.

When I ask a home seller to lower his or her price, he or she is often inclined to take this personally. It is just like I told the seller his or her children are ugly and the grandchildren will be ugly, too. Home sellers: it is time for a reality check. Do not take the suggestion to lower a selling price personally! I know when a house is priced correctly because there is a peak in interest measured by an increase in inquiries and showings. If a home has been on the market for three months or more, and it has not been shown, it is probably overpriced.

Selling a Home in a Convenient or Popular Location
Do not over improve a home for the neighborhood. Home sellers must remember this cardinal rule of real estate: your home does not need to be the biggest and best, but it is certainly beneficial to be around the biggest and best. If a property is close to a metropolitan area, or in an upscale subdivision, more buyers will want to purchase it. Premiere locations should be reflected in price. If a house is 25 minutes outside of town and it takes a half hour to reach a store, the amount of time a home spends on the market will most likely be longer.

Sellers: Take a Critical Look at a Home’s Condition, and Make Improvements
The first impression a buyer receives of a home is a lasting one. Landscaping does not cost a great deal and it is well worth the investment if you are selling a property. Curb appeal encourages buyers to get out of the car and into the house. Plant flowers in the garden. Put a wreath on the door. If a home has old orange shag carpet and green laminate countertops, this will be reflected in the pricing of the home. Put some money into improving the property. If a seller is really serious about closing a home sale, then he or she will want it to stand out above the rest.

Sellers have come to expect reimbursement for upgrades and improvements. In this market, things are different. Remember, the buyer can afford to be picky. Complete upgrades on the property in order to make it more enticing, and to help the home sell quicker. But — do not expect these upgrades to increase the price of a property. The more dated a home is the longer it will sit on this real estate market. A buyer can just as easily purchase a bank owned property that needs improvement, for a lower price. This is a price driven market. Make your property easier to sell by completing improvements before it goes on the market.

Where do Home Buyers and Sellers Meet?
There are excellent houses on the real estate market and some good buys right now. If both parties are willing to negotiate and be reasonable, they will inevitably reach the closing table. A vacant home with mortgage payments, taxes and utility expenses drains monthly incomes and financial reserves. Owners who have had a home on the market for some time need to seriously consider dropping the price $5,000-10,000 to complete a sale, rather then bleeding money every month.

What to Expect When Closing a Sale in Today’s Real Estate Market…
Since down payments are now required, home buyers will usually ask for closing costs to be covered by the seller. If the seller is not in a position to cover all closing costs, I recommend they at least offer some sort of assistance. If the house is sold as is, and the home owner does not plan on doing any improvements – be prepared to negotiate price.

The current real estate market requires more work on the part of the seller, and buyers have become choosier in the properties they do purchase. Remember these suggestions when you put your home up for sale, and your home will be more inclined to sell within the first six months.

From Your Rooftop to Ground Zero: Home Inspections

Home inspections are an important part of the real estate process
whether you are buying your first home, retiring to a second home or
relocating to a new area. Real estate agents must work with a home
inspection company that is both reputable and trustworthy. Attention to
detail and knowing how to report the facts are essential to a thorough
home inspection. In this article I have asked Kevin Salva of US
Inspects? in Virginia to explain some of the basics of home inspection
to help answer the questions many homebuyers and sellers are asking.

No Stone Left Unturned

Home inspection covers many areas of the house. According to Kevin,
a home inspector must “objectively evaluate every angle of the home”.
The first consideration for any home inspection is the age of the house.
New homes fall under stricter laws and regulations. Therefore, the
inspector must pay attention to the safety features and be certain the
home is in compliance with the current safety requirements. Older
homes are only expected to meet the safety standards and regulations
current in the year they were built. However, older homes must be
carefully assessed for potential problems. “The structure of the house
must be analyzed along with the utilities, roof and heating and cooling
systems,” states Kevin. “I do a number of different inspections,”
continues Kevin, “including termite, Radon, septic systems, private
wells, and more.” As a potential homebuyer it is important to know what
the basic home inspection includes, and when you may need specific
services such as termite, lead paint or asbestos inspection. Your real
estate agent can advise you on what types of inspection are necessary.

Knowledge and Planning Lead to a Successful Purchase

Kevin suggests all homebuyers “become familiar with the average life
span of particular household appliances and systems”. For example, a
typical heat pump works for approximately fifteen years. If you buy a
home and the heat pump is fourteen years old this repair expense may
come in the near future. As a homebuyer, knowledge and planning are
the keys to avoiding unexpected costs and a lack of funds to complete
important repairs. Kevin also believes that an experienced and
reputable home inspector will offer the homebuyer a walk through of the
property. This allows the home inspector the opportunity to “begin a
dialogue about home maintenance” says Kevin. This dialogue will be a
valuable asset to the homeowner in the future. Homebuyers should
also talk to their real estate agent about home warranty programs. Many
systems or appliances that are potential future repair costs can be
covered by a home warranty that is renewable each year. A home
warranty is a great strategy for any homebuyer, but especially for those
purchasing older homes.

The Language of Home Inspection

Home inspection reports are not difficult to understand. “The body of the
report talks about the systems of the home,” states Kevin. The home
inspector should know the difference between “a defect” and “a related
item” and be able to identify these items clearly. The home inspector
must speak the language of real estate so the agent can fully
comprehend the report. This allows the real estate agent to advise the
buyer in the best way possible. A “defect” is an issue about the home
that must be addressed immediately. The buyer should expect the real
estate agent to budget the repair of the “defect” into the closing contract.
A “related item” is simply a typical maintenance item that the homebuyer
may need to be prepared to cover now or in the future.

The relationship between a real estate agent and a home inspector is
built on trust. The real estate agent knows the market and typically what
items the sellers and the buyers are financially responsible for at
closing. The agent understands trends in specific regions when looking
at the home inspection report. They analyze the buyer’s concerns and
close the best deal they can for their clients. A home inspector must
know the real estate business and pay attention to the details. Kevin
says, “…A home inspector must provide impeccable service and do
everything necessary to educate the real estate agent and the buyer
about the home.” To learn more about real estate topics such as
renovations, homeowner’s insurance or mortgages please visit my
website at http://www.voncannonrealestate.com. For more information on US
Inspect? contact Kevin Salva at 888-US-INSPECT or visit
http://www.usinspect.com.

The Modular Home Advantage

The modular homes available today are so much more advanced than the manufactured homes of the past. Today, these homes are comparable to the traditional stick built homes that most of us live in. Builders use high-quality materials and state-of-the-art building technologies to create customizable, cost-efficient homes.

One characteristic that sets modular homes apart from traditional homes is that they are built in an off-site controlled environment. Building off-site rather than at the home site offers some unique benefits to consumers. It will decrease the timeframe for completion of your home because materials and finished modules are protected from weather-related damage and vandalism. Valuable workdays will not be lost due to rain or cold temperatures. Since all materials are secure from the public, there will be no need for costly reworks due to vandalism or theft from the work site. A quicker timeframe for building means a faster move-in date for you and your family.

Building homes in a factory setting allows for more efficient and consistent manufacturing processes. Each worker in the factory is trained to perform a specific task and as a result, has expertise in that area of building. Traditional homebuilders tend to ask their workers to complete a variety of jobs on the worksite rather than specializing in one area.

Quality control standards for modular are extremely high. Internal and third party inspectors are on hand to ensure that your custom home will meet and exceed all federal, state, and local codes. Constant inspection and supervision means that your home will receive the highest level of workmanship available.

Another benefit of modular homes is the flexibility available when designing a home. There are limitless customizations that consumers can choose to make their home fit all of their needs. A variety of floor plans, exterior treatments, cabinetry, appliances, accessories, flooring, and much more are available to homebuyers. Consumers can even choose to place their home on a basement. There are styles available for all budgets and lifestyles.

Modular home manufacturers have better control of material costs than on-site, traditional homebuilders. Because they can buy supplies in bulk and store them for longer periods of time, modular homebuilders are able to provide materials at a lower cost to consumers.

One of the reasons that many consumers choose to purchase a modular home is because they are environmentally friendly. Some producers are taking steps to build green, energy efficient homes. Many modular homes meet ENERGY STAR requirements for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The construction process allows builders to fill in the gaps around pipes, widows, doors, and electrical outlets with insulation to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Because these homes must withstand being shipped and lifted onto a foundation, they must be built to last. Walls, floors, and ceilings are double bonded to ensure that the home will be sturdy enough to withstand harsh traveling conditions.

The modular homes on the market today are well-built, attractive homes that are reasonably priced. The benefits that modular homes offer over traditional homes have increased their popularity in recent years. Visit a seller today to discover the modular home advantage.

You Have 15 Seconds to Sell Your Home! 11 Steps You Can Take to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

Selling your home? Here are some suggestions to help you sell yours for more than your next door neighbor’s, and faster! Most buyers will know within 15 SECONDS after crossing the threshold if they want your home. But first, you need to attract them inside!

11 steps to take to sell your home for top dollar

1. Start at the street. The buyer’s first glimpse of your home must entice them inside. Design Psychology goes further than mere curb appeal. Here are some easy additions you can make to help your home outshine the competition:

Add a couple of BIG plants, either in hanging baskets or pots, to the porch, which will lead buyers’ eyes to the entrance.

The first color our eyes process is yellow, so place yellow flowers near the front door.

Plant white flowering annuals, since they look clean and show up better at night.

2. Get rid of brown or dead leaves and bare spots in the yard. Add mulch to cover bare dirt near the house. Bright flowers hold the eye and “fill” empty areas, but you don’t need to add plants to every space. Just make sure that everything looks neat.

3. Paint your front door a happy color. Yellow-gold (amber), red (blue-based), sage, apple, or forest green, depending on the other colors of your home, will attract the eye and create happy feelings. Buyers won’t notice the Color Psychology you’re employing, but they’ll love the result.

4. Once buyers step inside the front door, they usually make their minds up within 15 SECONDS, so first impressions are vitally important. Focus your attention on the first wall buyers will see, and then hang a mirror on that wall large enough to reflect the buyer’s image. It will psychologically reinforce the buyer’s presence in the home when they see themselves in the mirror, causing them to imagine living in your home.

5. Go beyond just clearing clutter, and remove furnishings that don’t add to the setting. Also clear bathroom and kitchen countertops. Under-furnished homes let the buyer’s imagination fill rooms with their own belongings. Once they visualize their favorite chair in a particular spot, you have a sale.

6. Pack away your personal photographs, trophies, diplomas, and small accessories and stack them neatly in the garage or a separate storage space. That will also protect you from having strangers view your personal life.

7. If your home looks too bare, replace your personal treasures with house plants or cuttings from the garden. Be creative.

Use tree branches and fresh flowers to bring nature indoors.

Fill vases and glass jars with fresh cuttings and set them in baskets.

Add green house plants in winter, spring, and fall.

During hot selling seasons, use green, silver and gray foliage to help keep your home visually cool.

8. Lighting affects emotions and is a crucial design element for happiness, so turn on the lights when showing your home. Day-like light bulbs enhance happiness. Amber and pink light bulbs warm, while blue light cools.

9. Air the house out. You get used to odors, but buyers shouldn’t smell anything other than natural pleasing scents like wood burning in the fireplace or fresh lemon in the summer. Cut up a grapefruit and run sections through the garbage disposal. It’s both refreshing and clean smelling.

10. Buyers like temperatures around 70 degrees in the winter and 67 degrees in the summer, so turn up the thermostat in the winter and turn it down in the summer.

11. Park your car out of the way and encourage buyers to park in a space where their car won’t block the view.

Remember, you’ve only got 15 seconds to sell your home, but by using Design Psychology techniques, you can convert lookers into buyers and get top dollar for your home.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Top 7 Advantages of New Construction Over Resale Homes

Once you start house hunting there is no doubt one of your first stops will be at a new homes website or community to see what they have to offer in the area you would like to live in. In fact, new homes have stepped up to win the hearts and minds of homebuyers for the better part of the past decade where we’ve seen an unprecedented explosion in new home construction and buying. What was once considered a luxury reserved for the rich and famous, new construction has opened the door to all price ranges and styles including luxury high-rise condominiums, townhouses, active adult communities and single-family homes.

There are a tremendous number of benefits to owning a new home including the ability to customize the home to your liking, meeting all the new neighbors as they move in and substantial savings in utility costs with new homes now being built to a higher, more energy efficient and green standard.

It’s your house. No, REALLY your house. – When you buy a resale home you are purchasing a home that someone else crafted to suit his or her lifestyle. Sometimes it’s just perfect and exactly what you are looking for but more often than not there are a few “Why did they do that?” issues with a home that you will have to renovate or remove when you move in to fit your lifestyle. When you build a new home you will be able to choose exactly what you want and where you want it so you can move in and not have to touch a thing.

Everyone else is new too! – Resale communities are great because you can see the neighborhood, how people care for their homes and everything is already established but those same benefits can prove to be cons when you are the only new neighbor on the block. Moving into a new home grants you the privilege of meeting the neighbors when they are also looking to meet new people and settle into the community. There won’t be any pre-established social circles to work your way into and you will be discovering new things about your neighborhood at the same time everyone else does.

Newer homes are more attractive when you resell… – Life happens. You might have to relocate or you make a lifestyle change a couple short years after you move in. The good news is that newer homes are more attractive to prospective homebuyers because it’s their opportunity to buy a newer home without the price premium associated with new construction. Better yet, you’ve already purchased all the appliances and upgrades for the home and many parts of the home are still under warranty making the home a great inclusive value. This will compare favorably to older resale homes that may require renovation or updating to make it livable for the modern homebuyer.

Location, Location, Location! YOU choose! – When you shop for resale homes the homes you find are obviously fixed to their current location. How many times have you seen a great resale that would be absolutely perfect if it were a little closer to the community clubhouse or offered a larger back yard for the kids to play? New homebuilders typically offer a range of model homes to choose from and you can usually place that model on a lot of your choice. Now you can have the home of your dreams in the cul-de-sac you’ve always dreamed of!

In the current market new homes may be a better deal than resale homes. – That’s right, the market shift has turned the tables. Now buyers have the market in the palm of their hands and can get some really outstanding deals on homes but you have to know where to look. Resale home owners may be willing to deal but in the past thirty days I have been able to successfully negotiate $69,117 off the asking price of a new home for a client and then shortly after located a home for another client and negotiated $91,000 off the asking price and we are still in negotiations to get even more from the builder. By the way, these home prices included upgrades! I have never met homeowners who were willing to accept a substantial reduction on the price of their home to the tune of more than $60,000. As a matter of fact, many homeowners have overpriced their homes on the market because they owe more than the home is worth and they cannot afford to go lower in price.

Buying Tip: To score a new home deal you can’t walk in and offer builders $400,000 under what they are asking for the home. Fantastic deals can be found however if you find the right buyer’s agent who specializes in new homes because their experience, relationships with builders and negotiating ability will help you save thousands of dollars.

That brown carpet and tiny kitchen? Soooooo 1970s! – Kitchen big enough for one? Small closets, shower only bathrooms and carpet everywhere? Not for today’s homebuyer! The modern lifestyle is drastically different from what it was even ten years ago and resale homes often lack the oomph and space to satisfy. Today’s homebuyer wants a bright, open kitchen with breakfast bar and high-end appliances. We now do most of our living in the kitchen! Soaking tubs in the master suite and walk-in closets are now considered standard staples of the modern home. New homes often feature these amenities as a part of their standard offering and are even starting to prepare homes for the future including the addition of whole house networking and walk-out basements that can be finished as future living space.

New homes save money with efficiency and green building techniques. – Many new homes are taking advantage of the Energy Star standard which sets forth a number of requirements that products like windows and doors must adhere to in order to achieve an Energy Star rating. In addition to Energy Star many builders are now offering green building and living options like the installation of solar panels on the roof of a home to harness the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity. If you install enough solar panels you may just have the electric company paying you for the electricity you are producing! These features are often very costly to retrofit a resale home with if it wasn’t initially built to these standards.

The next time you start searching for homes be sure to consider all of your options including new construction. When buying new construction you should take into account the fact that most new homes take approximately four to six months to build. You will also devote more of your personal time to building the home as you will need to choose home upgrades and work with your agent through the inspection and financing processes.

Happy hunting!

Home Selection Checklist – A Good Aid When Choosing a Home

This home selection checklist is a tool to help you select a home that is right for you and your family. Before you select a home and get a mortgage, you need to know if you will be happy with the home you select for the coming years. Home selection is a major step in your life and using a checklist to select smartly will help you think of all the things you need to realize about a home before you buy. Take a checklist with you to each home you might select and write down all the important home selection points on the checklist. Use the checklist for each potential home selection and you will have a “fact book” to review and analyze before your final home selection.

These important factors in home selection are designed to help you create a checklist of your own.
You can then research homes for sale and checklist how each home compares to other homes you’ve selected to view. By the time you are ready to get a mortgage you will know, from the selection checklist, exactly the pros and cons of each home.

  1. How old is the structure? Older homes require more maintenance. Mortgages on older homes can be more difficult to obtain. Mortgage insurance and the homeowner’s protection required by the mortgage company you select can be more costly on the home. Note on the selection checklist any items which need repair if you select that home.
  2. How many stories is the home? If you or a family member is aging, or you expect to live in your home selection for years, stairs can be a major problem. If you are young and won’t live in this home selection for years, this shouldn’t be a problem. Place this on your selection checklist if it is a concern for you and your family. Note on your home checklist any selection items which might make family visits difficult. It would be a major inconvenience to say the least if your family can’t visit because of stairs or hills.
  3. What material is the home construction? Concrete slab and block construction homes pose a lower fire threat and this will reflect in your home insurance and maybe even mortgage rates. Place the building type you prefer on your home selection checklist.
  4. Kitchen area: How large a kitchen will suit your lifestyle? Is the refrigerator ancient or newly new? Is the stove in good condition? Do you prefer to cook with a gas or an electric stove? Do you want a garbage disposal? Determine exactly what is important in a kitchen, and place those selections on your checklist. Then rate each property you might select as to how many of the checklist features are included. Of course, some selection checklist features are easy enough to add; other selection checklist features can’t be changed.
  5. Living areas: Is a formal living area and a den an important selection on your personal selection checklist? List on the home selection checklist each need. Are there windows for plants, if you are a plant-lover? Is the carpet in the potential home selection in good condition? Think about these items before signing a mortgage! Note any probable expenses on your home checklist for later review. Use these in budgeting for your mortgage
  6. Laundry facilities: Does your home selection have laundry hookups that will not require you to run up and down stairs to bring laundry from bedrooms to the washer? Are the hook-ups in good condition? Note on the selection checklist. Place on your selection checklist any items you would select to replace upon moving into the home. Write on the checklist the anticipated cost of replacing the items you select as unacceptable. Remember to budget so you can pay the mortgage plus refurbish the home selection after purchase.
  7. Bedrooms: Is your family formed or do you plan on more children? Are there enough bedrooms to allow guests? Is the master bedroom in the home selection large enough? Obtaining a mortgage on too small a home can be a major error. Place on your selection checklist exactly the size home you need to select.
  8. Closets: Will there be enough closet space for your family’s clothing? Place on your checklist how many closets you require.
  9. Bathrooms: Will there be enough facilities in your home selection to allow everyone space for their personal items and plenty of time to use facilities. Large families require several bathrooms; be sure to put this on your home selection checklist! A selection that needs bathrooms added plus mortgage payments can be expensive. Consider this in your mortgage budget.
  10. Roofing: Take a look at the materials and condition. If the roof looks as if it will need repair soon, consider this major cost in your mortgage pricing. Roofing is very expensive. Research the cost of replacing a roof before you make an offer. Note these costs on the home checklist. Will your budget cover mortgage and roofing expense?
  11. Water heater: Look at the water heater and determine condition. Look for places that may have leaked and any damage resulting. Also, is the water heater gas or electric in the home selection? More notes for your home checklist.
  12. Air conditioning / heating: Do these units in the home selection appear to be old or new? Are they energy efficient? If you sign a mortgage on a home only to learn the entire heating or HVAC requires replacement, you could cause yourself financial stress. Checklist the estimated age of each appliance and piece of equipment in the potential home selection. Include checklist notes of expenses for replacing older items. Place in your home mortgage selection notes that you may want a home inspection or warranty if equipment looks older; your checklist selection can save you from making a major mortgage error!
  13. Utility Cost: Don’t be afraid to ask the home owners to see electric, gas and water bills. If your home selection is well insulated and energy efficient, they will be happy to show you. Energy costs are important points on your home selection checklist.
  14. Neighborhood: Do you want to be in a gated community? Is a play area for children nearby the home? What about schools? Is the neighborhood surrounding the home selection clean and attractive? Ride around the neighborhood; see other homes to learn about the area before making your home selection to mortgage. Secure neighborhoods help not only ease of mortgage approval, but on insurance as well. Checklist this item on your home selection list.
  15. Yard: If you have children or pets, you may desire a large yard. If you are a gardener, a nice yard is important. Again, checklist everything that truly matters in your ideal home selection.
  16. Parking: Is there space for your vehicles and guests? Is there a garage? Carport? Is the driveway in good condition? Include on your home selection checklist what matters to you. Again, if these require repair, put these notes on the checklist so you can budget accordingly.
  17. Future expansion: If you wish to expand the home at some future time then is there space on the property without crowding? Consider the future before you mortgage a home that you may have to sell later as your family needs grow.
  18. Zoning and Restrictions: If you have a home business, is it permitted in the potential neighborhood? Selection of a home which prevents the activities you value would be a bad mistake. Some communities have restrictions regarding working on your car or motorcycle, parking a boat and other issues you need to know before making your final home selection. Keep this point on your selection checklist if you work on your car or have a boat beside the home.
  19. Work: Is the home of your selection near your workplace? If not, is it easy to access the expressway for an easy commute from home? Will you come to hate the idea of going to work from this location? Note on the selection checklist for your home the miles you will drive per day and the cost.
  20. Shopping: Groceries, and convenience stores, gas stations and the like should be in close proximity of your home selection. Note on your selection checklist how far from home to the nearest shopping centers. Checklist where you would go from your home to shop.
  21. Sidewalks: This checklist point for home selection is important for families with children. If there are no sidewalks, then children won’t be able to easily walk to visit friends, ride bikes, or do other activities children love to do. Also, checklist if you like to take strolls or walk for exercise yourself.
  22. Amusements, churches, activities: If you have activities you like to do, consider the drive time from the home selection. Will your children’s movie visits on Saturday become a long drive? Are at least a few doctors nearby the potential home? Amusements your family enjoys should be reasonably easy to reach.
  23. Neighborhood Lighting: If you like to go out at night, or your children will be playing outside, is the area well-lighted? Not only are these selection criteria important for your children, but burglars just hate a well-light home and neighborhood! Checklist some safety issues you need before considering a mortgage.
  24. Traffic: If you have children, your new neighborhood should be low traffic. Also, traffic equals noise. Consider this important fact as well. A home on an expressway has frustrated many.

This home selection checklist points are meant to help you think to checklist important home selection options before obtaining a mortgage for a home. Make yourself a custom home selection checklist that includes the things that matter to YOU and YOUR FAMILY, and then take this along when home shopping. With a checklist
in hand, you can make the selection that will make you happy for years and years!