Friday, March 23, 2012

Finding The Right Agent

Choosing an agent can be confusing, especially when there are so many to choose from. Among questions about an agent's experience, local market knowledge credentials, cost and marketing plan, here are 13 questions to ask an agent before deciding he or she is the right one for you.

  • Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent? Full-time work typically means more attention for you.
  • How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood? An agent who specializes in the area in which you are selling your home is preferable. This agent will be the most familiar with recent sales activity and will be able to recommend a good market price for your home.
  • How many other sellers are you representing now? The busiest agents often are the most efficient.
  • Will you handle all aspects of my transaction or will you delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant? A knowledgeable assistant can be invaluable, but make sure you connect with your agent regularly.
  • How much can I expect to pay? Commissions are negotiable depending on what kind of listing arrangement you have with your agent.
  • At what price do you think my home can sell given the current market? This will allow the agent to display his knowledge of your market.
  • Can you give me a comparative market analysis (CMA) of recent sales in the area and homes currently on the market? This should contain listing and sales prices for recently sold homes as well as listing prices and the listing dates of homes currently for sale. It also should include detailed property descriptions (such as square footage and numbers of bedrooms and baths).
  • What does your marketing package contain in addition to a comparative market analysis? Listing presentations should also include a suggested asking price, information on the local housing market, advertising plans, a discussion of various listing agreements, and an analysis of sale proceeds at various price points and commission levels.
  • Can I list the house with you for 60 to 90 days? Most consumer experts agree that a three-month listing period, or less, is best. You can always renew the listing agreement at that time.
  • Is your license in good standing? You should check an agent's certification yourself with your state's Department of Real Estate. Many states provide this information online.
  • How many years of education and experience do you have? Experience and continuing education typically make for better agents.
  • Are you also a broker and/or a Realtor®? Brokers have more stringent licensing requirements and responsibilities. Realtors are voluntary members of the National Association of Realtors, a trade group.
  • Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references? Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and give you a greater comfort level.
Of course we would love to be your agents at the lake. Call the Spouses Selling Houses team and let us go to work for you. Until next time! Ebbie :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Do I Need Flood Insurance?

Flooding occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas as well as in high-risk areas. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, snowmelt, and broken water mains can all result in flood.

Properties on a hillside can be damaged by mudflow, a covered peril under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Structures located in high-risk flood areas have a significant chance (26 percent) of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage. In a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by a flood than by fire.

For these reasons, flood insurance may bu required by law for buildings in high-risk flood areas as a condition of receiving a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.

For all of your Real Estate questions please call the Spouses Selling Houses team. Until next time. Ebbie :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Springtime is Staging Time

There may not be snow on the ground here at the lake, but if you're trying to sell a home this spring, it's not too early to start getting the house ready. One of the surest ways to speed a home sale is through artful home staging.

Home staging is more important than ever these days, when houses are not exactly flying off the shelves. "It's a tough market. The quicker your house sells, the better off you are," says Karen Eubank, Dallas chapter president of the Real Estate Staging Association. "You can't change the location of your house. You can change the price--though you probably don't want to--or you can change the condition. It's totally under your control to change the condition, so why not do it? It's very inexpensive, and the return on investment is phenomenal."

According to a HomeGain survey, simple staging techniques, such as cleaning and decluttering, can return up to 10 times the investment. Even more expensive jobs, like repainting rooms, can more than pay for themselves in increased sale price and reduced time on the market. One of the leading home staging companies found that houses that have been staged spend about a month on the market, versus more than four months for homes that haven't been staged.

For more tips on how to sell your home, contact the Spouses Selling Houses team. Until next time! Ebbie :)