July 27, 2018

Hiring a Realtor? Ask These 5 Questions


If you are hiring a real estate professional to help you sell your home, make sure they have good answers to these five questions

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When it comes time to sell a home, you have to make sure that you have the best chance at success. How does one do that? By hiring the best professional representation possible.

 

Working with a professional Realtor affords you all sorts of benefits when it comes to maximizing the outcome of your home sale. In order to make sure that the Realtor you pick is the best suited for the job, you need to ask these five screening questions:

 

1. “How many homes have you sold in the last 12 to 24 months?” This number will be a good indicator of whether they work part-time or full-time, as well as if they are somewhat productive or highly productive. A good follow-up to this question is, “What percentage of the sales are listing sales versus buyer sales?”


2. “What is your list-to-sale price ratio?” If your home is on the market for $700,000, what percent of that original price will this Realtor sell it for? This helps you know how strong your Realtor is. Those with percentages below 90 will not be as strong, and may not get you top dollar (no matter how much they claim they will). Those in the high 90s to 100% are the rockstars that will serve you well.

 

 

      True professionals are going to show you their specific plan that goes far beyond what you’re used to seeing.

 

 

3. “What is your specific marketing plan to sell my home?” Does the Realtor even have one? 95% of all Realtors fall back on the automatic tools issued from their real estate board or their office. These are the ones you already know about—MLS, For Sale signs, open houses, Zillow, etc. True professionals are going to show you their specific plan that goes far beyond what you are used to seeing.

 

4. “What is your average days on market?” Ask them to compare their personal average with that of the market. This helps you identify how long it should take them to sell your home; that way, you can plan and prepare your move accordingly.

 

5. Can I contact your past clients or view any testimonials?” Realtors can tell you how great they are until they are blue in the face, but to hear the actual experience from a past client will give you genuine feedback. Personal testimonials will give you a good idea of what you can expect from this Realtor.

 

If you going to be interviewing Realtors to help you manage one of the largest investments you have ever made, make sure that they can answer these five questions.

 

To hear my answers to these questions or any other questions you have, please feel free to reach out to me. I would be happy to share the information with you.

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 10, 2018

The Benefits and Tips to Having Good Credit


There are five major benefits of having good credit and five surefire ways to improve your credit score.

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Our preferred lender Lauren Williams is here today to help talk about five major benefits of having good credit and five great tips to improve your credit score.

 

First, here the five major benefits of having good credit:

 

1. It will lower the interest rates on the loans and the credit cards you get. If you’re applying for a mortgage, good credit will help with a wider range of mortgage offers. You can save 1% or 2% on the interest rates, which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

 

2. It will leverage your credit card rates and increase your buying power. The better your credit, the more bargaining power you have with your credit card company. They don’t want to lose your business, so they’ll lower your financing rate if you have good credit.

 

3. It will qualify you for lines of credit. If you’re looking to do a line of credit, having good credit will help you qualify with your bank.

 

4. It will help with rental approval. If you’re renting a home or an apartment, a good credit score will increase your chance of securing your ideal location.

 

5. It will lower your auto insurance rate.

 

Bonus benefit: It will open up better employment opportunities. Many employers nowadays check the credit of their applicants, so having good credit can make you look more responsible than those with a lower credit score.

 

 

      A high credit score will save you money in the long run.

 

 

Now that you know the benefits of having a good credit score, here are five ways you can increase yours:

 

1. Always pay your bills on time. This simple act done each month will build your credit and create great financial habits that will pay off in the long run.

 

2. Keep your balances low. Credit issuers often report your balance to credit agencies on a certain date, typically the last date of your billing cycle, so consider paying all or part of your bill before the closing date so the issuer will report a lower or zero balance. If you need, ask if you can make multiple payments per month.

 

3. Maintain a credit utilization rate of less than 30%. If your credit limit is $1,000, keep that balance under $300. If you want to get really aggressive, try and keep it around 10%.

 

4. Tackle your debt. Start with the highest interest rate card or loan, and once that debt is gone, pay down the next account with the lower rate.

 

5. Avoid using credit cards for large purchases. The compound interest can add up quickly, and it starts going against you if you’re trying to pay off that balance in a timely manner.

 

If you already have good credit, these tips will ensure that it remains high. Remember—financial institutions and employers put their trust in your credit score. It demonstrates to them that you’re both financially responsible and likely responsible in other areas of your life. In the long run, having a good credit score will save you money.

 

If you’d like to know more about how to increase your credit score, give Lauren a call at (714) 625-0130.

 

If you have any other real estate questions for me or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime. I’d be happy to help you.

Posted in Buying a Home
June 1, 2018

Why You Should Avoid Discounted Commission Offers


Did you receive a discount commission offer in the mail? Today I am explaining why you should avoid them.

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You may not have heard them called this in the past, but you know what a discounted commission offer is. They are the too-good-to-be-true offers homeowners receive in the mail.

 

These offers promise to save you money, and you’ve probably received countless of these offers in the mailbox.

 

They are the modern-day snake oil. These offers promise quick remedies, huge savings, and big money payouts to you, but these claims are far from the truth. When I meet with homeowners to discuss listing their property on the market, this is often very difficult to explain to them. It’s hard to get people to understand that these offers are trouble. If you’re among the group who don’t see what’s so bad with discount offers, allow me to share an example of their detriment at work.

 

Today I am at 751 Sturbridge Drive. This property had been previously listed with another Realtor who had sent the then homeowners an offer to sell their property at a discounted rate. The Realtor promised this would earn them more money. Thinking this sounded like a good idea, the homeowners decided to accept the agent’s offer.

 

 

  If you are a homeowner and are looking to sell your home, who you work with matters.

 

 

After months will little activity, the Realtor convinced the seller to lower the price by $25,000. But the home still didn’t sell.

 

Eventually, the seller canceled their agreement with this Realtor, as their home had been sitting unsuccessful on the market for 121 days. This is when I reached out. My team came into the picture and showed the seller a different way to list. Our unique strategy resulted in the home selling in only 12 days for 100% of an asking price that was $35,000 more than what the home was previously listed for.

 

There were no gimmicks. I offered the truth, a plan of action, and world-class service and resolve. The bottom line is that if you are a homeowner and are looking to sell your home, who you work with matters.

 

So if you receive one of these discounted offers, remember that accepting it means investing in the person behind it. No matter how good the offer looks, make sure the professional behind it is able to show you their proven results. They must be able to demonstrate how these discounts have positively impacted clients they’ve worked with. In my experience, they will not have any such evidence to show you.

 

Doing your research is the key to a successful listing experience. Hire a professional who offers to get you full asking price, if not more, and has the proof of past success to back up their claims.

 

If you have any further questions about this or would like to speak to me about selling your home, please feel free to reach out to me by phone or email. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 27, 2018

A 3-Step Guide to Conducting a Successful Contingency Sale


To have a successful contingency sale, you must know what your home is worth, devise a plan with your lender to purchase your secondary property, and then search for a new home.

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If you’re thinking about conducting a contingency sale, what’s the right way to do it?

 

Before we discuss the ideal strategy for this type of transaction, let's first take a look at what a contingency sale is. A contingency sale is when you need to sell your home in order to buy a new home. A decade ago, we weren’t doing any contingency sales. Back then, we were in more of an institutional market and people didn’t have an opportunity to sell their home and find a replacement home because banks wouldn’t allow it. Prior to that, contingency sales were also tough to do because the market was moving so fast.

 

Before those two time periods, contingency sales were more common. That’s why if you’re thinking about doing a contingency sale, who you work with matters more than ever. There are Realtors out there who don’t have any experience dealing with contingency sales or are just flat-out scared to walk you through the process.

 

 

  The right Realtor can make all the difference when doing a contingency sale.

 

 

We, on the other hand, do them on a daily basis, and there are three important steps to a contingency sale:

 

1. Know what your home is worth. You have to know what your home is worth, what it will sell for, how long the sale will take, and what you’ll net from the proceeds after you’ve paid off all the items that come with the cost of the sale. If you have a good Realtor, they’ll be able to forecast that for you upfront, so you can take that information and move onto the second part of the process.

 

2. Devise a plan with your lender to purchase your secondary property. Here, you’ll figure out what you qualify for, what your debt-to-income ratio is, what your monthly payment will be, etc. After that, you’ll have a number to work with in relation to how long it would take your home to sell and what you’ll earn from its proceeds.

 

3. Search for your new home. You shouldn’t list your home first and then go through this process—you’ll really be cutting the legs out from underneath yourself if you do. You also shouldn’t make any offers on any properties if you still need to sell your home. Sellers likely won’t take your offer seriously because there’s no certainty behind it.

 

The right Realtor can help you with these moving parts. For example, we once had a client who tried doing a contingency sale before meeting us. Of course, they fell in love with their dream home first, made an offer on it, and only then wanted to sell their original home. They ended up losing out on their dream home to another buyer who already had their original home in escrow. After that, they were stuck. They didn’t know what to do because their Realtor didn’t navigate the process the right way and steer them toward a successful transaction. Essentially, they had to go backward.

 

That’s when they met me at an open house. They loved our marketing, so we laid out a gameplan and walked them through the process I just described above. We listed their home, got it into escrow, found their next dream home, and closed both deals within 45 days.

 

If you have any more questions about how to conduct a contingency sale or you’re thinking about doing one, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can talk about your real estate goals. I’d love to help you.

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 12, 2018

How to Consolidate Your Loan


Loan consolidation is a solution a lot of our clients are turning to. Here’s what you should know about it.

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Today we’re joined by Lauren Williams, our favorite lender, to talk about consolidating your loan so you can save money and not have to worry about these rates as they continue to go up.

 

Loan consolidation is something that a lot of our clients are looking into right now. If you’re in your current home, we want to help you position yourself so that you are in a prime position of not having to pay through the roof with your mortgage payments or being forced to sell because you can’t consolidate.

 

Right now, interest rates are going up. The Federal Reserve recently announced that they will be increasing the prime rate again, meaning that a lot of the home equity lines of credit you may have are increasing. Now is the time to get in touch with Lauren to see whether or not you can save more money.

 

 

Interest rates are going up soon.

 

 

One of Lauren’s clients had three different home equity lines of credit, but she’s saving them $5,000 by consolidating. It’s definitely worth it to explore your options.

 

To learn more or to find out whether consolidation works for you, give Lauren a call at 714-625-0130. If you have any other real estate-related questions or needs we can assist with, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Real Estate News
April 2, 2018

4 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Spring


There are four reasons why now is the perfect time to sell as we enter the spring market.

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Springtime is in full force, and there are four reasons to put your home on the market right now.

 

First, buyer demand will remain strong. Buyers are out in full force right now looking for their dream home. In certain price points, buyer demand continues to outpace the actual supply of homes for sale, which means buyers are often competing with one another for the few listings that are available.

 

Second, there’s less competition right now. Housing inventory is still under the six-month supply level that’s needed for a normal market. This means that in the majority of the country, there aren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the marketplace. Here in Orange County and other LA county markets, home sellers have little-to-no competition in certain price points.

 

 

The bottom line is that now is still a great time to get involved in the real estate market.

 

 

Third, there will likely never be a better time to move up. Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.3% over the next year, according to various economists and real estate websites. If you plan on moving into a higher-priced home, it will cost you more in terms of your down payment and your mortgage payment if you wait.

 

Last but not least, it’s time to move on with your life. Look at the reasons you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it’s really worth waiting any longer. Perhaps it’s time for you and your family to move on and start living the life you deserve.

 

The bottom line is there’s never been a better time to sell. We have low inventory, lots of buyers, and homes are appreciating. What more could you ask for?

 

If you have any questions about why you should sell this spring or you do plan on listing your home and you want to talk strategy, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’d love to help you.

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 19, 2018

2 Important Things to Know About Our Real Estate Market


How do rising interest rates and low inventory levels impact you as a homebuyer or seller? I’ll explain today.

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It’s March, and the big story in real estate right now is about inventory and mortgage rates.

 

We have a very low supply of inventory. It’s actually down 7% from the same time last year. That means there are fewer choices for buyers and less competition for the home sellers out there. Those who act quickly and list their home right now would benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers before the flood of competition hits the market in the next few months as we enter spring and summer.

 

We are also beginning to see the rates for 30-year fixed mortgages increase. About six months ago, rates were in the high 3% range. Now, rates are bouncing around in the 4.75% to 5% range.

 

 

The bottom line is that now is still a great time to get involved in the real estate market.

 

 

When interest rates go up, that has an impact on how much a buyer can borrow to purchase a home. For example, with a 3.75% interest rate, a buyer could qualify for a $600,000 mortgage. If rates increase to 5%, that same buyer would only be able to qualify for a $550,000 mortgage.

 

The bottom line is that with low inventory and historic low interest rates, now is still a great time to get involved in the real estate market.

 

If you have any other questions about our current market, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be able to help you!

Posted in Market Update
Feb. 27, 2018

3 Tips for Maximizing Your Home’s Showings


To maximize your home's showings, you need to appeal to a buyer's sense of smell, sight, and hearing.

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When showing your home while it’s on the market, it’s important to engage the buyers’ three senses: sight, sound, and smell.

 

As far as sight goes, this means decluttering and depersonalizing your home. Take down any excessive family photos or collectibles and anything else that might take the buyer’s focus off of your home. You want the buyer to be able to visualize themselves and their family in your home. If your home is vacant during its showings, I highly recommend virtually staging it. Some people have trouble visualizing the inside of a home, so virtual staging will help them a lot.

 

When it comes to smell, it’s critical that the moment a buyer walks through your home, their scent experience is positive. Lighting some scented candles, baking some cookies, or utilizing some air diffusers can be the perfect touch.

 

 

First impressions are everything.

 

 

In fact, I recently sold a home that had been sitting on the market with a different Realtor without any success because the owners didn’t realize their two Labradors had given the home a distinct pet odor that was turning buyers off. Once we got rid of the dog smell, it was like a completely different property. We sold it in record time for a record price, and the sellers were absolutely thrilled.

 

For sound, I recommend playing some soft music in the background. If you have windchimes or a fountain, that can help too. As we already know, first impressions are everything.

 

If you have any questions about how to prepare your home to sell it for the highest price possible in the quickest amount of time, don’t hesitate to give me a call or shoot me a text. I’d love to help you.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 21, 2017

Does Your Current Home Fit Your Needs?

Does your current home fit your needs? If you’ve been waiting to move up into a more luxurious property, now is the perfect time to do so.

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Today, Lauren Williams from JMJ Financial joins me to discuss a great opportunity in our current market.

 

Does your current house fit your needs? Does it seem like everyone else is moving up into more luxurious homes? What would it take for you to live your real estate dream life?

 

If you want to keep up with the Joneses, now is the time to make your move.

 

Local and national market conditions have created a great opportunity for those who are looking to move up into a premium or upscale home.

 

The National Association of Realtors reports that inventory levels are just a tad over four months. Locally, Orange and LA County have about three months of inventory.

 

Less than six months of inventory is considered a seller’s market. The market needs six to seven months of inventory in order to be a balanced or neutral market. However, the national market is in a seller’s market, as inventory has declined year over year for 25 consecutive months.

 

Homes for sale in lower-priced markets have seen double-digit drops in inventory. Inventory has declined by 60% for start-up homes and 13% for trade-off homes over the last 12 months. However, inventory in the premium market only dropped by 4%.

In other words, you have the option to sell your lower priced home in a seller’s market that only has 30 to 45 days of inventory. Then, you will enter a buyer’s market if you’re looking at high-end homes, which are on the market for about 120 to 160 days.

On the lending side, interest rates are at an all-time low. According to Lauren, jumbo rates are actually lower than the high-balance rates, so you can buy a higher-end home with a lower rate and a lower payment. Everyone wins!

The bottom line is if you’re thinking of listing your home and moving up into a higher-end market, now is the time to sit down with a real estate professional and evaluate your ability to do so. After all, homeowners across the country are upgrading their homes—why can’t you?

If you have any questions for Lauren, you can reach her at 714-625-0130. As always, if you have any questions about real estate, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would be happy to help you!

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 6, 2017

Why Are More Boomerang Buyers About to Enter the Market?

The number of homebuyers in the real estate market is about to increase as boomerang buyers prepare to re-enter the market. 

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What are boomerang buyers and why are more of them entering the real estate market?

 

As a professional Realtor, I study home prices daily, as well as research studies that could impact our market so that our clients are two steps ahead of the marketplace.

 

A recent study by TransUnion, “The Bubble, the Burst, and Now—What Happened to the Consumer?” revealed that 1.5 million homeowners who were negatively impacted by the housing crises could re-enter the housing market between 2016 and 2019.

 

 

 

 

The interesting thing is that a good portion of buyers who have purchased a home over the last 12 months previously lost their mortgage through a short sale or have recovered from bankruptcy.

 

In fact, HousingWire recently analyzed data from the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts and found that six million Americans will have their bankruptcies removed from their credit reports in the next five years. According to HousingWire, this could “send a flood of more homebuyers into the housing market.”

 

If you look at the video, there’s a chart that shows the total number of bankruptcies filed in the United States over the last two years. Over 3.3 million people have already waited the seven years necessary to remove their bankruptcies from their credit reports.

 

 

 

 

So, how exactly will this send a number of boomerang buyers into the housing market?

 

Think of the time lapse alone. As the article mentioned, in 2010 the number of Chapter 7 bankruptcies increased to nearly 1.14 million. Seven years later, those bankruptcies will fade from credit histories, enabling prospective buyers to become homeowners again once their credit scores improve.

 

Both reports show that there is an opportunity for the homeownership rate to increase drastically over the next few years as all of these boomerang buyers return to the market.

 

If your family was negatively impacted by the housing bust, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You may be able to buy your dream home sooner than you think.

 

If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, now is the time. Housing inventory is low, interest rates are low, and buyer demand is high.

 

If you have any other questions about boomerang buyers or you’re curious about entering the housing market, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

 

 

Posted in Real Estate News