A Good Realtor® Stays Active During Appraisals
It may be a fundamental element in nearly two-thirds of...
A Good Realtor® Stays Active During Appraisals
It may be a fundamental element in nearly two-thirds of every residential real estate transaction, yet when you think about buying or selling a home, it’s not likely to be your major focus. Important though it may be, for most people, the appraisal process seems like a mere formality. After all, haven’t the seller and buyer already agreed to the deal? What’s left to do, other than dot the I’s and cross the T’s?
Of course, if you are a cash buyer, you can choose to skip the appraisal altogether. If so, congrats - you are ready to buy as soon as you find the right property! But for the rest of us, if a loan is involved, so too is the lender’s appraisal – or appraisals. Yet many real estate agents are not a part of this element.
The entire transaction hinges upon its success because the lender needs assurance that the property has at least the agreed value. If the home doesn’t comp out, the bank will not fund the loan.
When it comes to the appraisal, I will admit to being one Realtor who favors the proactive approach. One way to help assure the right outcome at appraisal time is for your Realtor to meet the appraiser at the property -- armed with a package of comparables that support the agreed-upon price. Most appraisers may have uncovered the same comps already, but that’s not always the case. If my seller has completed upgrades or improvements, I also like to bring proof to help justify a higher price. Making the appraiser’s job easier is an important part of a Realtor’s job.
As a trusted Realtor in Westport & Fairfield, I’ve found that taking an active role during appraisal is an important way to protect my client’s interests. It’s a commitment I make to help insure that each and every closing finishes as planned. If this Spring finds you looking for a Realtor who will be by your side from start to finish -- drop me an email, or give me a call!
®Realtor is a trademark of the National Association of Realtors
Ah, November! Down every street we see the familiar sight of homes in Fairfield and Westport, yards displaying...
Ah, November! Down every street we see the familiar sight of homes in Fairfield and Westport, yards displaying evidence of the fall leaf drop and -- yikes! -- Winter is coming!
Beyond the unavoidable home maintenance issues: leaks in roof, cracks in windows, heating system checks, fall is also the best time to consider other, less obvious improvement projects. Whenever the weather (and busy schedules) allow, whether or not yours is one of the homes in Fairfield or Westport that will soon have a ‘For Sale’ in its front yard, a few less attention-demanding home improvement ideas that could merit your attention:
Fireplace Inspection! A crackling fire is a worthy antidote for winter blahs, but if you have a good, old-fashioned wood-burning fireplace, when is the last time you actually had it inspected? Experts say that chimneys should be examined annually for cracks, blockages, and ventilation issues.
Flooring Renewal! If you have a home that features beautiful hardwood floors, refinishing them may not be high on your To-Do list this fall. Yet whether you are considering selling anytime soon or not, consider the advantages of re-finishing floors sooner rather than later. With the holidays on the way, who doesn’t want a home in sparkling shape for entertaining? The look of floors has an outsized impact on the way a home appears. And if you have been thinking of actually replacing any flooring, according to George Moore, a contractor and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers, "Some types of flooring adhesives need the temperature of the house to be between 75 and 80 degrees. It's for that glue to adhere properly. Cold air can be a little damper and can stop the glue from drying properly, so you could have a bonding problem." With energy prices rising, replacing flooring now may be a more practical solution than in the depth of winter.
Painting! For the same reason, homes that could use a protective exterior painting should be attended to now – at least if temperatures hold within recommended limits. Indoors, once it’s time to crank the heat, other reasons apply. A heated home means closed windows and re-circulating air – far from ideal conditions for anyone trapped indoors with the smells and paint fumes. Moreover, should a significant amount of cold air enter through doorways or windows, it could negatively affect proper drying.
The bottom line? Because many improvement projects are well suited for the fall, it is also true that contractors and vendors are busiest this time of year. So, if you’re thinking about any that take outside help, get on the books now! Whether you’re looking to sell a home in Fairfield or Westport -- or just keeping yours in top shape, this is a great time to get started. I’m here, too, whenever you feel like chatting about real estate!
The photo that tops your real estate listing is more than your property’s calling card. Make no mistake: that one photo will appear lined up with all the other homes it is going up against....
The photo that tops your real estate listing is more than your property’s calling card. Make no mistake: that one photo will appear lined up with all the other homes it is going up against. That shot is close to a make-or-break statement of how serious you are about offering your home for sale. To a great extent, it predetermines whether your asking price looks like a bargain…or wishful thinking!
If you have access to a good and experienced photographer, (check out some of our listings...hint, hint!) it’s a cinch that their photography won’t be blurry or over/ underexposed. However, if it still doesn’t do justice to your property, chances are the entire blame can't be laid at the photographer's feet. In the same way a high fashion model must get a good night’s sleep before the next day’s cover shot, you need to be serious about prepping your property for the day of the shoot. Some things you can do:
Put Rover to Bed.
Will your home's picture have a nice, homey feel if your pooch is parked in front of the house? Maybe. But it’s more probable that some prospective buyers will imagine layers of dog hair built up throughout the house. And if Junior has an allergy, Mom and Dad will be twice as likely to move on. So, put Rover in the garage during the "shoot" and let the photographer concentrate on the job he’s doing. The same goes for pet accessories, too: i.e no cat trees in the living room.
- and that means going way beyond the general tidying up we do for regular visitors. When you are prepping for your real estate listing, remove photos from the fridge and lose the indoor trashcans. Then vacuum, polish, clean the windows. Clear the countertops and -- if you’re running behind schedule -- stash any dirty dishes, sponges and scrubbers in the dishwasher (you can deal with them later). This is strictly about how the surfaces look, so "peek-and shreik" closets are just fine!
Ditch the Wheels.
People expect that the real estate listings show homes that are lived in -- but it is not a selling point. Including lifestyle statements (your choice of make and model of auto is one of those) parked in the driveway puts “I wonder what kind of people live there?” into prospects’ minds, rather than your goal, “This house looks interesting!”
Other considerations come into play when you are readying for a real estate listing shoot. The bottom line is that the property needs to be as polished and uncluttered as possible. It winds up being about time: displaying your home in any other condition will only serve to slow down the sale. When you become one of my clients, I’m able to offer my years of experience when it comes to ensuring that your home shows off at its absolute best. We track buyer's views of the websites we put together by means of Google analytics (showing us where, geographically, the "hits" are coming from) and can see them obsessing over any particular property as they see it in tip-top shape in the photographs we have used.
After your property sells quickly, Rover will forgive me!
September is a transition time for almost everybody. Here in Westport, the kids have shifted into school gear, adults have moved out of vacation mode, and businesses are already sprucing up for the (believe...
September is a transition time for almost everybody. Here in Westport, the kids have shifted into school gear, adults have moved out of vacation mode, and businesses are already sprucing up for the (believe it or not) Holiday Season.
In real estate, we are looking with more than casual interest at what’s going on nationally. Especially those measures that tend to affect home sales in Westport . The largest professional association in the country is our own National Association of Realtors®. At the beginning of September, they broke another piece of welcome news. This one looks like the difference between ‘indicators’ of a strengthening home sales market -- and signs that it’s already fact.
The NAR release was about TOM. No, as you may have guessed, TOM isn’t some real estate broker’s name -- it’s the Time On Market measure. For Westport and Fairfield homeowners who are selling (or planning to sell) their properties, it’s a vital measurement of one of the two most important characteristics of how things are going – a tip to what they may expect when they list. Along with median price trends, it tells the story of whether the market is hot, cool, or somewhere in between.
For some years now, TOM has been an uncooperative sort of fellow, at least when it came to home sales here in Westport and Fairfield. Following the financial crisis came skyrocketing foreclosures…then the fallout from that -- painfully long TOMs marking the lengthening time it took to move homes through the market. TOM had stretched out to a painfully long median of 98 days – close to the longest ever.
The good news: TOM is just about back to normal. From the cyclical peak hit in 2009, by mid-summer, he was back “in the range of historic norms for a balanced market.” Traditional sellers were reporting the median TOM had returned to the balanced range of six to seven weeks. NOW, TOM is finally behaving himself.
And what about that other half of the picture that helps guide home sales expectations?
I think it’s too soon to tell for sure, but the head economist at NAR knows what history tells us to expect when this kind of balanced market returns. According to him (Lawrence Yun), “Our current forecast is for the median existing home price to rise 4.5% to 5% this year.” Plus another 5% in 2013!
So the transition that September means for everyone else seems to be underway in the real estate world: and it’s a transition back to home sales normalcy. In light of what we were looking at a just couple of years ago, I think it’s fair to say we are delighted that ‘normal’ is the ‘new normal!’
Superstar Real Estate Agents: Worth Hunting For
We all know that in every field there is a vast difference between hiring an ‘okay’ employee versus a standout talent -- a real rock-star...
Superstar Real Estate Agents: Worth Hunting For
We all know that in every field there is a vast difference between hiring an ‘okay’ employee versus a standout talent -- a real rock-star go-getter. It’s the same with your Realtor. If you’re planning to buy or sell here in Westport or Fairfield any time soon, you’ll certainly want more of a superstar on your side…yet how do you find the “right” real estate agent? You want to sign up someone who has both the game plan and the skills to sell your home (or find you your new one). But with every Realtor advertising their positive points, how will you find one who will turn in a performance to match?
The most agreed-upon way to find a Realtor who fits the bill is to ask for a personal recommendation from family or good friends. That’s the route most often cited, and it’s nearly foolproof. I say ‘nearly’ because -- let’s face it -- we’re not always on the same page with every family member (not you, of course, Mom!). In practice, the agent who worked for your nearest and dearest may not always be the best fit for you.
Another way to identify the best real estate agents in Westport and Fairfield with whom you might work well is by visiting local open houses. If he or she makes a good impression, be sure to take the agent's name and contact details. When you get home, do an Internet check. Do they have a well done and current website and blog? The type of listings you seek? Fleshed-out testimonials? Great real estate agents should be able to understand your needs very quickly and it’s valuable for you to work with someone whose profile fits your needs.
After you’ve narrowed the field, as with any vendor, even though this step takes a little more time and effort than you might wish, it’s still the best practice to interview two or three potential candidates before making your choice. And no matter what method you settle on to find a great Realtor in Westport or Fairfield, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask detailed questions. The two of you will be having many in-depth conversations from now on, -- so taking a few extra minutes should certainly be no imposition at this juncture. (If it is, he or she is most definitely the wrong one!)
Ask about specific recent transactions, and keep the conversation going by delving into details. Ask additional training he or she has undergone, what memberships or advance positions he or she has held. By asking in-depth questions, not only will you gain more market understanding, but you’ll get a sense of how that candidate will perform for you.
When it comes to buying or selling a house, knowledge is power. Melissa and I would love to share our wealth of knowledge about Westport and/or Fairfield with you, and would be delighted to chat either by phone or in person. Call anytime!