Wire Fraud Scams and Your Home Buying Process

Buying a home? Let’s talk about Wire Funds scams.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. Most of the time you will use up most of your savings and there are a lot of people who would love to get a handle of those funds.

So, what are the steps you can take to protect your hard earned money?

1. Make sure you are getting a secure encrypted email from Escrow.
2. Even with a secure email I always recommend my clients to call the escrow agent number to double check. I provide them with a direct phone number.
3. If you get any email from escrow or agent telling you there was a change of plans and money should be sent to a different account DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY. Stop and contact your agent on the contact information you have originally received from escrow – Not the info provided on this email.
4. In case of doubt go to the escrow company and verify the information provided is the correct one directly with escrow agent.
5. Always ask your Realtor to use a company which is wire fraud insured.
6. Realtors do not handle client’s funds directly, so if anyone calling themselves a realtor, asks you for any money, step away, call the local DRE and have a chat.

While these steps might not protect you for all possibilities it does reduce the risk immensely. As always work with reliable realtors and escrow companies is just a common sense.

#wirefraud #protectyourdeposit #beaware #homebuyingscams

For any questions or to discuss your home buying or selling needs, call me at 714-698-9655

Noemi Cardoso DRE# 01988945

Seven Gables Real Estate

 

Posted on July 27, 2018 at 8:40 pm
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Buyer's Advice, Real Estate News, Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , , ,

5 pro tips for speeding up spring cleaning

By Debbie Carlson – Chicago Tribune

Think smarter, instead of working harder, when it comes to spring cleaning. We asked professional cleaners how to make it go faster and easier, and still get the work done right.

1. Create a checklist. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the idea of spring cleaning, said Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid.

A spring-cleaning checklist can not only ensure you have all your tools and cleaning products, but make sure you have the right ones for each room, she said. What you need for bathrooms and kitchens is different from what you need for living rooms and bedrooms.

“Do a little bit of an audit of your cleaning materials,” she said, adding that there’s nothing more frustrating than starting to clean and realizing you need to go buy something.

2. Prioritize and declutter. Deep cleaning kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms is always top-of-mind, but don’t forget the less-obvious areas, like the laundry room, the linen closet, the coat closet. “Things of that nature need cleaning up as well, but maybe they’re a lower priority,” she said.

Dan Brosseau, franchise owner at Two Maids & A Mop, said to start by putting things away and recycling what you no longer use. “It’s really hard to clean the home or, for that matter, even enjoy a clean home if there’s just a lot of clutter around,” he said.

3. The right tools. Spring cleaning goes faster and is easier with the right tools. Both Brosseau and Roberts have two favorite products — microfiber cloths and magic erasers. They recommend buying several microfiber cloths, so you’re not cleaning your kitchen with the cloth you used in the bathroom. Dedicate a different-color cloth for each room — red for the kitchen, etc.

“Microfiber is what’s used in hospitals all across the world because it removes 99 percent of bacteria from all surfaces with no cleaning solution whatsoever,” Roberts said. A truly green home can be cleaned with water and microfiber cloths.”

Magic erasers, such as those made by Mr. Clean, ($2.69 for a two-pack, Target) make cleaning easier when they’re used wet, Brousseau said, especially in showers, toilets and high-touch areas, like light switches.

Brousseau also finds pumice stones useful. They can be found in beauty aisles (for example, from Harmon, $2.49, Bed, Bath & Beyond) or hardware stores. The stones work great on rust and hard-water stains. Wet them, and use them as you would an eraser, he said.

Invest in a microfiber duster with an extendable rod, such as the Deluxe Hi-Reach Cleaning Kit ($39.99, Bed, Bath & Beyond), to get into the high corners in a stairway or for other high ceilings, Roberts said.

4. Watch the surface. In your zeal to clean, make sure you’re using the right product for the right surface; otherwise you may cause damage. Steam mops are great for tile floors, but be cautious with them on wood floors. “They can create a lot of water. Most homes today have a lot of wooden floors, and you do not want water (sitting on wood floors). If you put water down, you need a system to wipe it right back up,” Brosseau said.

Earth Friendly Product’s ECOS Floor Cleaner ($4.99, Ecos.com) is one of the products designed for hardwood and laminate floors. It comes in a spray bottle and doesn’t require water.

Keep magic erasers and pumice for tile and hard-surface areas. Don’t use a magic eraser on walls, he said, as it will take the paint off, and pumice can scratch mirrors.

5. Take it easy. Roberts said cleaning shouldn’t be exhausting. Instead, let the tools and the products do most of the work.

“We can tell when our new employees aren’t cleaning properly because they’re overcleaning. They’re getting tired by scrubbing,” she said.

Instead, she says apply cleaning solutions, like multipurpose cleaners, and let them sit for a bit. “Apply the cleaning solution in the shower, and walk away and go clean the sinks. By the time you get back to the shower, the solution is soaked in. You have to do a lot less scrubbing if you let the solution sink into the area that it’s intended to clean,” she said.

Debbie Carlson is a freelance writer.

Posted on March 20, 2018 at 7:20 pm
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Home Improvement, Real Estate News, Seller's Advice | Tagged ,

Look for the Fed to hike interest rates this week and to ignore the elephant in the room

By GREGROBB – SENIOR ECONOMICS REPORTER

Getty Images

Federal Reserve Bank Chairwoman Janet Yellen will hold a news conference Wednesday.

You can expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this week, but look for it to shy away from the bigger question looming for financial markets: How does the shock outcome of the presidential election change the economic landscape?

The Fed is widely expected to announce an increase in the target range for its federal funds rate to between 0.5% and 0.75% when its two-day meeting wraps up Wednesday, analysts agree. It will be the first increase of 2016, a year once expected to produce at least a couple of rate adjustments. The stock SPX, +0.65% and bond markets TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.22% have a quarter-point move baked in the cake.

At the same time, Fed officials are expected to duck questions about how the incoming Trump administration’s plans for fiscal, trade and regulatory policies will impact the economy and the central bank’s policy outlook.

“I would expect them to keep as low a profile as humanly possible,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist for Standish Mellon in Boston. “They don’t want to be seen as influencing policy, either as cheerleader or expressing doubts.”

The Fed has already exhibited a preference for staying out of presidential politics. It included no mention of the election in the minutes of its September or November meetings, Reinhart noted.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen wants to avoid the recent experience of Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney, who came under fire from Brexit supporters for comments he made during, and after, the referendum campaign that ultimately ended with a vote for the U.K. to split with the European Union.

And the Fed doesn’t want to whip up Republicans in the House and Senate who are eager to clip the central bank’s wings, analysts said.

Fed officials are not likely to change their economic forecasts or their projections for interest rates over the next three years, economists said. At the moment, the central bank is penciling in two rate hikes in 2017, followed by three rate hikes each in 2018 and 2019. Markets scan the Fed’s “dot plot” to extract a snapshot of Fed thinking on economic and policy projections.

Any forecasts beyond mid-2017 will be basically ignored by the market, analysts say. By the middle of the year, the Trump administration could have put its initial stamp on the central bank, filling the existing two vacancies on the seven-member Fed board of governors.

At the moment, the market does not expect another rate hike until June.

But there are growing expectations that higher interest rates may be needed, perhaps sooner. Bond yields and the dollar DXY, -0.03% have risen in the wake of the election in part due to expectations of a more active Fed.

Congress is expected to press ahead with tax cuts next year, and rate hikes could be needed to keep this stimulus from becoming inflationary.

“The market reflects optimism about the future for economic growth, but the Fed is going to be overly cautious of latching on to that reality,” said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies in New York.

For Yellen, the end of her tenure at the Fed is only 14 months away. Republican insiders think it is highly unlikely Trump would offer Yellen another term at the helm of the central bank.

Analysts think Yellen won’t leave early and will follow her policy instincts until the end.

“She’s got a pretty stiff spine. She’ll stand up to any tweets or commentary,” said Kevin Logan, chief economist at HSBC Global Research.

With two hikes foreseen next year, the Fed is likely to space them out from June to December, Logan said. “The general plan is to gradually move the rate up as appropriate, given the data they are faced with,” he said.

 

Posted on December 14, 2016 at 1:10 am
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Buyer's Advice, Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , ,

How Much Does Home Staging Cost—and How Much Will You Gain?

By

Home staging—where you decorate your house in an effort to entice buyers to bite—may seem counterintuitive at first blush: Why spend money on a place if you’re moving out? Simple answer: because it can get you more money for your home sale. And evidence shows it’s usually well worth the effort. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged ones, which is nothing to sneeze at. But just how much does home staging really cost? Here’s the scoop, so you can decide if it’s worth the investment for you.

How much does staging cost?

File this one under “obvious”—but the pricier the home, the more it costs to stage. As a general rule of thumb, most stagers charge $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per room. “Therefore, a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month,” explains real estate professional Crystal Leigh Hemphill. Most professional home stagers also require a three-month minimum contract, “even if you sell the home in 24 hours.” That could bring your final bill to $7,200.

What can cost extra?

Most stagers work with the knickknacks and art that the homeowner already owns. But sometimes they “need to purchase new accessories, fresh towels, flowers, and/or fruit, as these small touches make a big difference,” says Sheila Schostok with Your Home Matters Staging and Redesign. which serves Chicago and southeastern Wisconsin. And those new purchases will add to the overall cost of the project.

The layout of your home could also add a ka-ching to a stager’s price tag. A job that requires heavy lifting in a multistory house usually means hiring additional help to move furniture, says Schostok.

And if you’re listing a completely vacant home because you’ve already moved out, you’re looking at the additional expense of renting every stick of furniture and all decor items.
Conversely, if you inherited a ton of antiques (or have a One King’s Lane addiction), you may need to put excess belongings into storage, tacking that monthly rental onto your overall staging costs.
A final expense, an important one that can help ensure staging success, is the price of painting a room. A fresh coat in a 12-by-12 square foot room will cost a DIYer around $200, or $400 to $700 if left to the pros.

How to save on home staging

You don’t have to stage your entire house from basement laundry room to attic storage. “A great way to save money when staging is by only focusing on the main areas of a home,” says Schostok. These are the rooms you spend the most time in—your kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom. Another wallet-friendly option is to limit yourself to a consultation with a home stager. When Schostok tours a home with the owner, offering suggestions to maximize the potential for each room, “the price is far less, $125 for 90 minutes.”

The biggest savings? Selling your home faster, at a better price, and without months of carrying costs—because your house was properly staged and buyer-ready.
Margaret Heidenry is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Boston Magazine.
If you are looking to sell Noemi Cardoso offers a FREE home stager consultation for advises and an estimate of cost what a whole or partial professional staging would cost. Call me at 714-698-9655 or email me at noemic@sevengables.com.

 

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 7:19 am
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , , ,

6 Essential Steps for Selling a Home With Pets

We love our pets, whether they be dogs, cats, hamsters, capybaras, hedgehogs, or pygmy goats—but that doesn’t mean that they want to see said pets (or any evidence of them) when looking at a home they’re thinking of buying.

“Pets are either an attractive distraction, so cute they distract prospective buyers from looking at the real estate, or completely the opposite—smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting,” says Diane Saatchi, an East Hampton, NY, real estate broker with Saunders & Associates.

Don’t want your precious property to be known as “that dog house”? Well, you need to pet-proof your place when preparing and showing it for sale. Here’s how, in six simple steps.

1. Check your insurance

Although you know your pets would never hurt anyone, they could scratch or bite a potential buyer whom they mistake for an intruder on their territory. You could be held liable for any harm your pet causes, so make sure your homeowners insurance covers you for incidents like these.

However, some insurers will not cover anyone who owns what they deem vicious or aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls; and if they do provide coverage, it could be expensive. If you have such a dog (and even if you don’t), it’s best to keep him out of the house during a showing.

2. Prepare your yard

Buyers will walk around your yard, a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop or turn an ankle where your dog likes to dig.

Perform a poop patrol before each showing. Double-bag the waste before disposing, so your garbage cans don’t smell when buyers walk by. Fill all holes and sprinkle grass seed on top.

Before putting your house on the market, make sure your yard is a green oasis—not a brown-and-yellow dustbowl created when pets pee on grass. You can try to aerate and seed bare spots. But if that doesn’t work fast enough, you can replace ugly patches with new sod. Then, train Travis the Titan Terrier to use an out-of-the-way spot for his business. Or take him for very long walks.

3. Remove the odors

Removing the odors pets leave behind is one of the biggest challenges. It’s easy to clean and tuck away kitty’s litter box. But it’s way harder to erase years of piddle from rugs and hardwood.

If a bacteria-eating pet odor remover doesn’t banish all traces of cat or dog urine, you might have to hire a professional service to clean carpets or rugs. (Perhaps you should consider this whether you are selling your home or not.) Often, however, the odor returns, so if a carpet continues to reek, replace it before buyers trek through.

Clean turtle, hamster, and guinea pig cages frequently, to prevent odors. And make fish tanks sparkle; a daily swipe with an eraser sponge will do the trick.

4. Clean up the hair

Not only does a layer of pet hair on floors and sofas make your home look messy, it can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door.

Before each showing, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander. Or, consider buying a vacuuming robot (such as a Roomba) that you can schedule to suck up hair several times a day. They actually work.

If your pet sheds, brush him frequently outside, so the hair doesn’t fly around the house. Bathing can help minimize shedding, too.

5. Hide the evidence

Like kids, pets (or rather, their caretakers) tend to accumulate lots of stuff—leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, food, cute sweaters, and costumes for Christmas and Halloween (ladies and gentlemen: It’s canine Ken Bone!). But no matter how adorable you may think it all is, to buyers, it’s just clutter.

Make sure you stow pet paraphernalia in a cupboard or closet. Put dry food bins in a laundry or mud room. Wash pet beds to remove odors and dirt, and only display them if they’re attractive.

6. Say goodbye to your pets (just for a while!)

If you decide to leave your dogs or cats at home, either crate them or confine them to a special area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows where they are. Keep them busy with interactive toys or long-lasting treats, says Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, based in Livonia, MI.

“Even purchasing a new exciting toy or treat just prior to company coming may keep them more preoccupied,” he says.

But it’s best for everyone if you can find a playdate for your pet before a showing, or to send him to Grandma’s for an extended stay. But remember that pets have emotions, too—especially when it comes to change in their routines.

When you stow their toys, move their water bowl, or put them in a crate when strangers inspect their home, some pets will feel confused and anxious. So before making any major changes in the life of a dog or cat, talk to your veterinarian, who can help you ease your pet’s transition to a temporary new home.

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning writer who’s covered real estate and home improvement for realtor.com, Yahoo, AOL, Popular Mechanics, and HouseLogic. When she’s not writing, Lisa’s fly-fishing on catch-and-release streams.

 

Posted on November 28, 2016 at 7:16 am
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Things to Never, Ever Show When Staging Your Home

taxidermy wall

Selling a home is all about presentation, which is why home staging is such a big deal. A vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit—such details can really draw buyers in. And yet on the flip side, certain items lying around your home can kill any potential for a sale.

While you might think common sense would prevail and prompt people to hide this stuff, we think it’s worth reminding y’all, just in case. Before showing off your home to buyers (or any guests for that matter), make sure to stash these 10 things out of sight.

Drug paraphernalia

Let’s state the obvious, shall we? Even if it’s legal in some states, not everyone approves of marijuana. Get your 3-foot bong off the coffee table and into storage, clean out the ashtrays, and stash the rolling papers. Now is also a good time to remove the “Yes we cannabis!” posters and your stack of “High Times” in the bathroom, too.

Weed isn’t everyone’s thing, so keep evidence of it out of sight.

Mousetraps and roach motels

There’s no better way to say “This place is crawling with critters!” than to display these sure signs of aggressive pest control. Just tuck those items underneath the fridge, and pray the things they’re trying to catch don’t scuttle out when prospective buyers walk through the door.

Evidence of pest control equals this in buyers’ brains.

Cameras by the bed

If you and your partner like to make your own private videos, more power to you. Just remember to move the camera.

Any kind of sex stuff, honestly

Personal massagers, oils, condoms—pack ’em up in a box and stick it deep in your nightstand or closet. Yes, it may sound obvious, but we’ve all stumbled across these items in someone’s home at some point. Awk-waard!

Taxidermy

We understand hunting is a hobby, and we’re not here to judge you (not much anyway). But multiple animal heads on the wall and an upright stuffed badger chillin’ in the parlor can give an otherwise great-looking room a creepy or foreboding vibe.

For buyers, a new home often means the start of a new life, or an infusion of new possibilities. Dead animals, well, they can impose a feeling of dread that can linger throughout the entire showing (and perhaps long after). And those buyers who straight-up hate hunters may make a snap judgment not to deal with you. So even if you stuffed the beloved family pet, just keep it out of sight.

Firearms and other combat weapons

If you’re a gun aficionado, make sure your rifles are tucked away in a safe. For other weapons—like combat knives, throwing stars, swords, great axes, spears—try and clear them from view, or at least put them behind glass. Preferably in a cabinet that locks.

Creepy collections

Rooms stuffed with porcelain dolls, celebrity shrines, human skulls, a vast collection of disturbing cinema—these are things that could put buyers off. Way off! You want them to envision their own lives and family in the house; showcasing a collection of something that could be in a museum of medical oddities will only make people think of “Silence of the Lambs.”

Anything political

With a particularly contentious political season in full swing, you should get rid of any kind of party affiliation or presidential endorsement. The last thing you want to do is bring politics into a home sale, or have that topic come up at closing. Do a political purge, and get rid of any party signage.

You

You’re great, really. But when you’re showing your home, you need to make yourself scarce. Seriously. It’s something real estate agents really hate.

The departed

Not the movie—we’re referring to your loved ones. An urn carrying ashes of the deceased framed by family photos is a touching tribute, but unfortunately not something a lot of buyers want to see. You don’t have to sweep your loved one under the rug, but you may want to temporarily relocate them when home buyers come around.

When thinking of selling contact a professional that cannot advise you the best way to show your house but has connections with staggers at an affordable price to assist you preparing the house to bring you the most money the market allows. Call us at 714-698-9655 we are a full service real estate with stagers, professional photographers, a marketing division and much more.

Posted on October 9, 2016 at 7:09 am
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , , ,

What Is My Home Worth? What Every Owner Should Know

That’s why coming up with a real answer to this question is important if you want to sell your home—and pinpoint the right asking price. If not? It’s kind of fascinating to see how much your investment may have appreciated over the years. But how do you find this magic number? Here are some ways to figure it out.

Get an online home value estimate

One good starting point is to enter your address onrealtor.com®, which will instantly price your home based on data such as its square footage and recent home sales in the area. But while this will help you get a ballpark idea, remember that there’s no substitute for the expertise of a Realtor®, who has access to a vast database of information to help you home in on that number.

Tap a real estate agent’s expertise

Real estate agents specialize in answering the question “how much is my home worth?” for their clients, which they do by running a comparative market analysis. This process involves finding similar properties (“comps”) that sold within the past 90 days.

The most accurate comp is a home that’s nearby, similar to yours in square footage, and has the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. (Ideally, the lot size is also equivalent, but that’s more important in rural areas, where homes are set on multiple acres.) Once your agent finds a few recently sold comps, then she averages the purchase prices and uses that figure as a baseline for how much your home is worth.

Size up the competition

From there, your agent will size up the current competition.

“You should always look at what other properties are listed for in your community,” says Chris Dossman, a real estate agent with Century 21 Scheetz in Indianapolis. For instance, “if your neighbor’s home is listed for $400,000 and you want to list yours at $500,000, you’d better be able to clearly explain the price difference to prospective buyers.” Or else adjust your price accordingly.

Consider how buyers shop

Sellers need to consider how home buyers search for properties online. Let’s assume your home’s fair market value is $503,000.Yet Dossman points out that many people search for homes on the web using $20,000 or $25,000 increments. The upshot? Listing your home for $503,000 could prevent your listing from being seen by buyers who are searching for homes in the $475,000 to $500,000 bracket, so knocking off $3,000 for an asking price of $500,000 might generate more traffic—and maybe even a bidding war to push that price above your expectations.

Also, avoid listing your home at an odd dollar figure (e.g., $999,000 instead of $1 million). While retailers and as-seen-on-TV purveyors of the Miracle Mop effectively price products ending in $0.95 or $0.99, Dossman says the same approach doesn’t apply to real estate: “It’s hard to justify awkward pricing. It’s just confusing to buyers.”

Try to remain objective

“Sellers always think that their home is worth more than it is, because of their personal attachment,” says Dossman. Indeed, it’s hard to boil down years or decades of memories in a home to a number. It’s also hard to accept that your home is worth less than what you paid for it, or that you can’t just tack on the price of the renovations you’ve made. On average, renovations will reap you only a 64% return on investment, although that varies based on the type of upgrades you’ve made.

Why it’s important to price your home right

Price your home too high, and it could wind up sitting on the market. That’s a big problem, because a property that goes unsold for an extended period of time (e.g., more than 30 days) often becomes stigmatized.

“Buyers get suspicious when they see a house that’s been on the market for a while,” says Dossman. “They think that something is wrong with the home.” If that’s the case, the seller may have to make a significant price reduction—sometimes dropping the price below market value—in order to nab a buyer.

Pricing your home below market value in an attempt to stir interest and generate multiple bids can also backfire. Granted, the strategy that could work in a hot seller’s market, but underpricing your home frequently leads buyers to assume that your home is worth only its list price, says Dossman.

Your best bet: List your home close to what it’s really worth—aka its market value. When in doubt, turn to your real estate agent to help you cut through the haze and help you pinpoint the right price.

When thinking of selling our home, contact us to receive a FREE detailed market analysis of your area, and have a closer look of what you local real estate market looks like. For periodic information in your zip code, please email me at noemic@sevengables.com with your zip code and email and I will send it to you  a monthly information on all the real estate activities.

Posted on October 2, 2016 at 8:00 am
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , ,

What Is a Listing Agent? Why a Home Sale Hinges on Agent’s Expertise

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, finding a listing agent should be at the top of your to-do list. But just what is a listing agent? You might have a vague mental image of someone who plants a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn and shows potential buyers around your place, but there’s plenty more to it.

Here’s a primer on what a listing agent does, how the agent makes or breaks your sale, and how to find the right agent for you.

How listing agents help you price your home

How much is your home worth? That’s a hard question to answer. You can get an estimated value by entering your address on realtor.com®, but from there you’ll want to do some fine-tuning—and that’s where a good listing agent can help.

And the stakes are high: Price your home too low, and you could lose out on a lot of money. Price it too high, however, and the picture isn’t pretty either. While it may be tempting to work with an agent who says he can fetch a fortune for your home, overpricing may mean your home languishes on the market for months or even years—making buyers wonder if something’s wrong with your home and lowball you anyway.

“Listing agents have many duties and responsibilities, but at the top of the list is to properly price your home,” says Janine Acquafredda, a Realtor® with House-n-Key Realty.

To do this, a listing agent will analyze the sales prices of comparable homes, or “comps,” in your area to see where yours should fit in, and advise you accordingly.

How listing agents help you sell your home

After you determine an asking price, a listing agent should provide you with a comprehensive marketing plan detailing how she’ll get your property sold. This plan should include the following:

  • Recommendations for home improvements or home staging, if necessary. Yes, these alterations will cost you time and money, but they will improve your chances of a faster sale and higher asking price.
  • Taking photos or hiring a photographer who will be able to highlight your home’s best features.
  • Adding your home to the multiple listing service, where home buyers and their agents can view your property and decide if they’d like to come visit for a closer look.
  • Advertising and holding open houses.
  • Coordinating showings with prospective buyers.

How listings agents negotiate with buyers

Once you get an offer on your home, it’s the listing agent’s job to present it to you and advise if any haggling needs to be done. For instance, if you get an offer way below asking price, your knee-jerk reaction may be to refuse in a huff. But a listing agent might be able to negotiate with the buyers and bring that price up to a decent level—or, if the buyers truly can’t budge much, find other ways to sweeten the deal like a fasterclosing date or waived contingencies. These compromises can actually save you tens of thousands of dollars.

How to choose a listing agent

If you’re looking for a listing agent, you can find ones in your area at realtor.com/realestateagents, where you’ll find such details as their years of experience, number of homes sold, clients’ reviews, and more. Don’t just move forward with the first agent you meet. Choose at least a few and ask them some questions to assess whether they’re right for you.

Here are some questions to ask a prospective listing agent:

  • How many homes have you sold in this area, and how long did it take?
  • In what price range do you sell most of your homes?
  • Do you have advice for me about the condition of my home, and what could be improved to glean a higher sales price?
  • What is your marketing plan?
  • Can you recommend contractors, photographers, moving companies, etc.?
  • Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors®? (Realtors must abide by the group’s code of ethics.)
  • Is this your full-time job? (A part-time agent is not a problem, but you will want to gauge her availability during off-hours.)
  • How often will you touch base with me?
  • Are you planning any vacations, and if so, who will back you up?

How much listing agents get paid

Listing agents don’t receive a dime unless your home gets sold. If it does, the typical agent commission is 6% of the price of your home (which is typically split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent). This price may seem substantial, but consider this: For every hour an agent spends with you, he will spend an average of nine hours behind the scenes working on your behalf. In other words, listings agents work hard to earn that commission and get your home sold.

When looking to sell your home, make sure to get references from past sellers to see how your agent truly performs. For any of your real estates needs call us at 714-698-9655

Posted on September 25, 2016 at 8:00 am
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , ,

4 Myths That Could Wreak Havoc on Your Move

moving-day

Peter Dazeley/iStock

If you’ve ever moved, you probably know that everyone seems to have an opinion on the best way to go about it.

Well, don’t let your already tenuous grip on sanity fall prey to their well-meaning moving advice. Because moving is stressful enough without crazy talk and terrible pointers. So here are the four common moving myths that will almost certainly derail you, if you let them. Beware!

1. Free moving boxes are best

Free is good, right?

Not necessarily, when it comes to moving boxes.

While you may be tempted to head to your friendly neighborhood liquor store to plead for castoff cartons, resist the urge. You should never skimp on boxes, even if that means you have to pony up a few bucks for them, says storage and organization expert Emma Gordon of Clutter.com, an on-demand storage service.

“Boxes should have top and bottom flaps so they can be taped shut, handle cutouts on the sides for easier carrying, and be more or less square,” Gordon says.

And they shouldn’t be wider than your shoulders. Any more than that and Gordon says you’ll have to carry boxes by holding your arms out and away from your body, which will wear you out faster.

The ideal moving box should be made of thick cardboard and be easy to stack on a dolly. It should also have a designated area for writing what’s inside the box, and have the weight limit printed on the outside so you know what it can carry without ripping.

There’s an unsuspecting advantage to buying boxes: Their uniform size makes it easy to gauge how many you’ll be able to pack in the truck based on the dimensions of the truck and a little math. Also, they’re way less likely to fall apart at the worst possible moments.

But if you do decide to go the free route, be careful about what you bring home from the grocer. Packing your possessions in free produce boxes could mean you’re joined by unwanted insects in your new home.

2. All markers are created equal

Instead of grabbing any old marker you have lying around, Gordon suggests color coding the writing on boxes so that everyone knows what goes where in your new home.

“Permanent markers are best since they work on a wide variety of packing material,” Gordon says. “Choose a marker with a thicker tip, so it’s easier to read.”

Along with jotting down the contents of the boxes, make sure to put an arrow facing up so everyone knows how the box should be loaded and carried, says Dustin Black, founder and CEO of Dallas-based Black Tie Moving.

“If you have delicate or fragile items in the box, make a note on at least two sides of the box,” he adds.

3. There are some things you can’t pack until moving day

It’s tempting to wait until the last minute to pack up personal items and bedding if you’re using them on your final night in your old digs. But that can create chaos and increase the odds of something getting left behind or misplaced.

Instead, have everything packed up and ready to go on moving day, Black says. Not only will that help reduce the chance for problems, but it’s also good for your wallet, too.

“Lack of preparation is the No. 1 reason why consumers experience higher-than-expected moving costs,” Black says.

That’s because you could wind up paying professional movers to stand around while you pack up those last few incidentals.

“Pack personal items like medicines, pet food, toiletries, school items for kids, a few days of clothes, as though you’re going on a two- to three-day vacation,” Black suggests. “That way it’s easier to find the essentials you’ll need to muddle through a move during the first day or two in a new home.”

4. You should always move on Friday

Perhaps you think Friday is the best day to move because it gives you the whole weekend to unpack.

But here’s the reality: Everybody else is thinking that, too. And that extra demand means higher costs. Movers charge more on weekends and at the beginning and the end of the month because that’s typically when they’re the busiest.

“You can see rates 20% to 30% higher during those times,” Black says.

Most moving companies also charge more in the spring and summer than they do during the fall and winter, Black says.

And it isn’t just your wallet that’ll be affected: If you move during a peak time, it can mean crews are stretched thin and you might have to settle for movers with less experience, Black says.

No matter when you choose to move, you should make sure to book movers three to four weeks in advance to lock in the day and time you want.

“Getting to the heart of move-related myths like these can make a drastic difference on moving day,” Gordon says. “It can be the line between stress and bliss.”

By Gina Roberts-Grey has been covering real estate news since 2000. She also enjoys writing about celebrities and their homes, pop culture, antiques, bichon frises, insurance, and NASCAR.

Posted on August 28, 2016 at 7:02 am
Noemi Cardoso | Category: Buyer's Advice, Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,