Winning At The Investment Game

Are you a full-time, hard-working, punch the clock or earn a salary employee of a company? Do you think this money that you earn is enough to build your own equity and secure your future financially? No? Do you wish to generate a new way of earning revenue that doesn’t care if you get up to go to work today? If yes, then you might want to consider investing in real estate. 

Buy a foreclosed, short-sale or entry level home in the area at fair market value, because let’s be real, there is NO SUCH THING as stealing a home any longer! Good deals are meant to be had, it just depends upon how much money or sweat equity that you want to throw into it. This, however, is a topic for a future blog! Getting back to the subject, buy that home and rent it out at the going rental rate as the properties in the surrounding area are renting for and start growing your equity and working towards that early retirement!  

Investment in rental properties is rewarding, but to earn this reward you will have to put up a fight! You must prepare yourself for the home bidding war since the rental market is so strong, many investors bid for it. 

So, today I’ll be sharing with you some great strategies to gear up and increase your chances of winning the home bidding war.

A: Cash is King

According to a report presented by RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com), in the first few months of 2014, ‘all cash’ deals on home sales hit a record 43% showing a 19%  increase in real estate cash deals! It is a no brainer that in today’s real estate market, cash buyers have the upper hand. Therefore, when bidding for a house that you think will earn you great rental rate, make a cash offer. Furthermore, home sellers also prefer cash buyers more because cash offers are more attractive and such deals are closed in a timely manner.

B: Non-Cash Buyers

All of those that want to get into the investment field can’t pay cash. That’s fine! You have to start somewhere! Here’s a tip: ~Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval~

A strong, non-cash mortgage pre-approval is important to have in order to battle it out with potential cash bidders and have equal chances of winning that potential bidding war. Here’s a tip: Work with a mortgage loan officer that is with a broker, and not with one of the “Big Banks”. “Big Banks” are notorious for not closing on time and these Pre-Approval letters sometimes hurt you more than help. I know, I know, I have every loan officer with National chains wanting to make mincemeat out of me, but trust me on this one and save yourself some headaches. Make sure you have a copy of your proof of funds along with a strong mortgage approval. To get a pre-approval, you might have to take a head start to make sure that you have “all of your ducks in a row”. 

Wondering why pre-approval is important? Your mortgage pre-approval is a proof that you can buy. It shows to the seller that the lender has verified your income, your debts, your assets, your credit score and it determines that you have the financial power to afford mortgage payments. In addition, not one seller will even give you the time of day without a pre-approval letter. In fact, on my listings, I verify the validity of each and every one!

C: Don’t Delay

Take Fast Action and Make Your Offer! Don’t wait for the right time to make your offer, for the stars to align, to talk it over with your family first. Once the home goes live (or for sale), hire a professional Realtor to evaluate the property for you and accordingly make your offer. I will tell you that the first time investors feel as if they need to ‘low-ball’ their offer, because they are Investors (dramatic background music plays while you stand with your hands on your hips). Uh-uh. Make sure that when you hire your Realtor; that you get a straight shooter! Invariably, I will do what my clients ultimately want me to do; however, I don’t feel that it is in our best interest to practice making offers! At the end of the day, sit down with your Realtor and make sure that you go over comps, what the house needs, and what kind of offer that you realistically want to make.  Be flexible when making your offer, meaning that you should personalize your offer according to the seller to make it more attractive to him/her. These are some things that your Realtor should do for you in the course of making your offer. Quick actions and flexibility can act as game-changers and help you increase your chances of winning that home bidding war.

Good luck, and should you need assistance, contact me at (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com

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What Stays And What Goes When You Sell Your Home?

When you are selling your home in Flower Mound, you should make a list of all the items that you are going to take with you, or exclude from the real estate transaction. This list should be discussed thoroughly and given to your Realtor, who can then list the exclusion, or exclusions on the MLS data sheet.  

The “Rule Of Thumb” that we go by is that anything that is attached to the house goes with the house when it is sold. But just the word, “attached” is left up to the interpretations of each person and what you consider NOT attached a buyer may consider attached. The courts are mixed on this as well so it is better to take care of all of this before you even put your house up for sale. You don’t want to go down the court road! 

Make sure you read the MLS report that is submitted by your agent to see that everything is properly listed. If there is something in the MLS report that you are taking with you but your agent is advertising you need to remove that from the MLS right away. Your agent should also add your exclusions in the MLS so that there is further evidence in trying to be upfront about what is going and what is staying.  

One court in Washington D.C in 1982 ruled that, ” … when determining whether an article is a fixture, the court may consider three factors: 

  1. Actual annexation according to the nature and use of the article
  2. Its adaptation to the use for which it is annexed and
  3. The intention that it should a permanent accession to the realty.  

Example: You have a nice chandelier in your dining room that is attached to the ceiling above the dining room table. You certainly can take that chandelier with you so long as you replace it with a substitute. You also, in this case, have to make sure that you reinstall a substitution safely with no loose wires and no damage to the ceiling.  

My suggestion is this: If you have something that you want to exclude from the transaction, it is SO much easier just to remove the item and do the substitution before you put your home up for sale. I see so many arguments over things such as lighting fixtures and, furniture items, and it really is a stressful time when you are selling your house, it really is not worth the hassle, so why not eliminate the argument in the first place?

Artwork is another area of contention and misunderstandings. Of course, nice artwork in your house helps to sell your house so making it known up front in writing that you are keeping your artwork is the easiest way to eliminate misunderstandings. Some sellers will even put little Post-It notes around the artwork that says, “Stays with the house” and “does NOT stay with the house”. Same can be said for Grandma’s hutch or dining room table that has been in the family for generations. I have been the victim of a buyer that latched onto such an item that the entire transaction went south! Both buyer and seller drew a line in the sand that neither would cross, and had the item been excluded up front, maybe the buyer would not have honed in on the table so much.

Be aware as well that you do need to fill, patch and smooth-in any holes your artwork, mirrors or pictures being removed had left behind.  

Built in shelves in closets are considered to be attached to your property. This is yet another area of contention. Please make sure the buyers know when they tour your house that you are taking the closet shelves if that is what you are planning to do. I’ve seen arguments over bedroom shelving, so if you don’t want arguments, remove these items!   

Seems silly as well, but I suggest that if you have a car that is parked in the garage, especially a classic or a restore project, make sure that it is properly labeled in order to alleviate any misunderstanding from ever surfacing in the first place. 

Remember that many times these things don’t even come up until you are in the middle of negotiations when tensions are high. I’ve seen offers go sour very quickly over misunderstandings about what is staying with the house and what is not. 

Making it clear from the get-go about the transfer of personal belongings with the sale of your property will alleviate many, many headaches that you may experience later. Keep in mind as well that just because personal items are listed as exclusions that a buyer for your home won’t ask to keep them.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (214) 609-7123 or email jtrump@kw.com

 

 

 

 

Seller Mistakes That Will Prevent Offers. Even In This Hot Market!

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You simply cannot please all of the people all of the time. 

This adage is particularly true with real estate and putting your house on the market- because homes, locations, and such are so much a matter of personal preference, some people will find something to criticize about even the most perfectly staged, perfectly priced property on the market.

As a listing agent, my job is not to try to make your listing be all things to all people- but you do want it to appeal to enough buyers that you get one great offer (and multiple offers never hurt anybody, either!). That said, you don’t want your listing to be the house that nearly every buyer and agent sees, rolls their eyes at and utters the same few, predictable, deal-killing criticisms.

Fortunately, what is predictable is avoidable. Unfortunately, many of the things that make a listing susceptible to critics are issues on the seller’s side of the preparation for getting it ready to sell. Let’s explore the most common things buyers hate about listings they see.

House Critic Complaint No. 1: Odors

You might think I’m beating a dead horse or even preaching to the choir. But as long as house hunters keep asking me why, in the name of all that is Real Estate related, they keep viewing homes that smell like all sorts of mishmash, I’m going to keep repeating this!

Viewing a home sounds like it’s all about the visual, and mind you, visuals are critical- your listing should be at its Sunday best when it’s being shown, in terms of being spruced, staged and clutter-free. But when a buyer comes to see your listing, they don’t turn off the rest of their senses. There is nothing that can turn a buyer off from a home they’d otherwise like more quickly than a powerfully bad odor, in particular, cigarette, pet odors, and food smells in a house that seems to have been well-cleaned create the concern that those smells might be permanent and that the buyer might not be able to get rid of them without dropping some serious cash on cleaning or even removing wall, window and flooring and painting the entire interior.

If I am listing a home and I know that someone has been habitually smoking in it or that the seller has had a “challenge,” let’s say, with pet accidents, I cannot ignore the problem. Do not think that because you had the carpet shampooed or the drapes cleaned, or because YOU can’t smell anything, that the problem is gone. The human sense of smell very quickly gets used to smells that it lives with or is surrounded with on a regular basis.

It’s one of my toughest jobs as an agent to point out bad smells and odors, no matter how painful the conversation, and to make sure they are eliminated by any means necessary before you place your house on the market. 

Critic Complaint No. 2: Overpricing

 

There’s the one kind of overpricing that makes a buyer say, “Hmmm, seems a bit high, but let’s go see it anyway.” Then there’s the other kind of overpricing that makes the buyer say, “I’ll wait until a price reduction,” or worse, hold their sides because they are laughing too hard!

It is common in our market for agents and sellers alike to say, “Let’s see if we can get it!”, and price a home a little above market value. However, when overpricing is glaring, many buyers and buyers’ agents are less likely to actually come out and see the place, especially if they weed it out online after comparing it’s pricing to all the other homes in the area. Often, homes this severely overpriced simply don’t sell, or at least not until after they’ve had some serious price cuts or have been on the market so long buyers begin to feel confident about making lowball offers.

The goal is the opposite- you want your listing to stand out as a property that is not priced so low as to throw up red flags but does present a good value for the money- that’s what motivates buyers to get out of their chairs and into the property for a viewing, and hopefully gets you, the seller, into a multiple offer situation! 

I don’t set the price of my listings, I can only suggest. It’s obvious that the agent-seller conflict about overpricing is one of those battles that have been fought since Moby Dick was a minnow!

Here’s how to Critic Proof your home’s listing against this issue: Fixate on the comparables. Smart sellers deactivate their emotional attachment and the very human tendency to overvalue their precious homes by poring over the sales prices (not list prices) of similar, nearby homes that have recently sold. The buyer that wants to purchase your home doesn’t see the value in the fact that Jr. took his first steps in the Great Room, and won’t want to pay for it! Walk through this data- don’t forget to note the overpriced listings that are lagging on the market, and also any value-priced listings that have sold for way more than asking.

When I get a seller that simply won’t budge off a dramatically high list price, I have to consider whether this listing even makes sense to take in the first place, or I will use my wonderful office and the combined experience of the agents in my market center in a listing tour. If the agents overwhelmingly comment that they think the home is significantly overpriced, it is my duty to communicate this feedback to the seller. It doesn’t do either party any good to have a listing that is just sitting out there, not selling.

Critic Complaint No. 3: Dirt and/or Messes

Possibly the single largest source of Critic Complaints I’ve ever heard are the dirt, messes, and personal belongings that buyers find so distracting when they walk into a home for a viewing. Obviously, homes that are filthy from floor to ceiling are ripe for the picking for critics. What is underestimated is how often even savvy homebuyers are distracted (and disgusted) by relatively clean homes that just have a few outstanding messes, like piles of dirty dishes in the sink, piles of dog poo in the yard, or even piles of papers, mail, books or clothes lying out in plain view.

Will one or two such items ruin the sale of your home? It’s doubtful, however, a few of them (or more) can certainly distract a buyer enough that they fixate on the home’s messes and, in the process, fail to see what is so great about your property. As I see it, cleaning up faithfully before leaving for work every day and before every showing is free; so it makes no sense to even run the risk of turning off a prospective buyer by letting messes get in the way of their ability to visualize themselves and their families of growing in your, hopefully their, home.

I make sure that I brief the sellers in detail on what buyers expect in every way, but more so in the way of cleanliness. I know what buyers think and what they look for when home shopping. I set up a plan for giving my sellers enough notice prior to showing appointments that they can do a quick, but thorough, house cleaning pass-through before every single viewing.

Critic Complaint No. 4: Lots Of Little Issues

 

All sellers tend to think that their homes are in fantastic condition. After all, they’ve had the furnace maintained regularly, they’ve installed granite and low-E windows, and maybe they even took your advice to have the floors refinished or the walls painted in preparation for putting the place on the market. THAT IS FANTASTIC!! 

All of the noncosmetic work that’s been done to maintain and improve your home will be trumpeted in my marketing materials, and the cosmetic items will speak for themselves. Here’s the thing though; buyers won’t be running the dishwasher or testing the furnace (at least not until inspections). 

What they will do is:

  1. Flick light and fan switches.
  2. Open or close window coverings, closet, room and entry doors.
  3. Open and close drawers, cupboards, gates and fences.
  4. Hold the handrails as they walk up and down the stairs. 

They will hear leaky faucets and point out water spots from long-ago-repaired leaks, and they will see the uneven exterior tiles. Even though these items might be vastly less expensive to fix than the roof or sewer line you’ve had replaced, they are much more visible and noticeable to a buyer. In fact, buyers don’t always even know that the little malfunctions and repairs that need doing are inexpensive, and when they notice a bunch of these sorts of things in a single property, they can jump to the conclusion that the whole place is rickety. 

Since these little fixes are inexpensive to make, have them completed before you list, if at all possible. I always ask my sellers to walk through the property with me and I pinpoint all of the little things that buyers will notice, even the necessary little fixes and offer them a handyperson reference for someone I know who works efficiently and that does a good job. 

All in all, it is about getting the most money for your home that you can get, and in the quickest manner. Having someone who has the credentials, who knows what the buyer is looking for (and at) while they tour your home, pre-approval letter in hand, is tantamount to a quick, pain free sales process. 

Contact me at 214-609-7123, or email: jtrump@kw.com, I’m happy to help.

 

Why Is There SO Much Paperwork???

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I am often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today.

It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form. Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

  1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their homes, and the government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.
  2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business. Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application!

However, there is some good news in the situation. The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably below the 5% mark.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of <5%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

Top Ten Things NOT To Do When Buying A Home!

My business partner and mortgage broker extraordinaire, Shelley Connell with Fairway Mortgage, shared a great list of things NOT to do when buying a home with me last week. She shared a story of a borrower that quit her job just before closing and didn’t think that it would be a big deal because she switched to a higher paying job nearly immediately.

Clearly, it was a problem.  The deal did not close because of this. 

Here are the Top 10 Things NOT To Do When Buying A Home:

 

10.  I will NOT co-sign on any new credit for anybody else. 

 9.  I will NOT initiate any new inquiries into my credit.   

 8.  I will NOT close any of my bank accounts or change banks.   

 7.  I will NOT make any large deposits before checking with my Mortgage Lender.  

 6.  I will NOT establish any new items of credit within 60 days of my closing. 

 5.  I will NOT omit debts or liabilities for my mortgage application.   

 4.  I will NOT spend funds that have been set aside for closing.   

 3.  I will NOT use my existing credit cards excessively or fall behind on my payments.   

 2.  I will NOT purchase any large items on credit such as vehicles, appliances, or furniture.  

 1.  I will NOT change jobs, become self-employed, or quit my job.  

 

These are all great words of advice from an experienced mortgage broker that I know and trust. 

 

If you’re considering buying or refinancing a home in the Flower Mound area, Shelley can be reached at (469) 200-4169, or you can apply online HERE.  Shelley is one of the most knowledgeable lenders that I’ve ever worked with, and she has helped out in some very dicey situations!   

I guess what I’m trying to say is that she’s fantastic!  Give her a call today!  

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Tell me what you want your real estate experience to be, and I will do it YOUR way. 

Buying a home in Flower Mound? Tell me your wants and needs. Let me know how you envision your family living.  Tell me what’s important to YOU, and I’ll find the community and home that fits.   

Selling your home in Flower Mound?  My job is to make you the most money possible in the shortest amount of time. I offer my sellers professional staging, professional photography, and more internet marketing than most.  

I am committed to giving you everything I have to offer.  I am a full time agent and will work around your schedule.  Do nights and weekends work better for you?  NO PROBLEM. I am here to help YOU at YOUR convenience!

 

 

At Home With Anne

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North Texas is experiencing massive growth, gaining somewhere in the area of over 600 net families PER DAY to our great Metroplex!

Families want great potential, great home values and great schools. Not only that, but a great REALTOR that can negotiate the intricacies of this crazy market. Contact me at 214-609-7123

Flower Mound – Upscale Grocers Coming to Town!

The retail climate has changed in Flower Mound and those retailers are saying “Woo-Hoo!” New stores and updates to our favorite stores just keep coming to our great city!

Market Street – The upscale grocer, located at the northeast corner 1171 and 2499, is known for its specialty items, whole-health/gourmet products, pre-prepared foods and everyday grocery items. The mammoth store includes three separate retail/restaurant buildings, of which I especially like to have lunch at the Market Street Deli. The workers are friendly (and remember my name!) and helpful, and the food is great! Don’t feel like eating a prepared plate? Attack the soup and salad bar~ Great, healthy choices. Don’t forget to get your sushi roll sample either!

Whole Foods Market – This Austin-based organic grocery chain is building a 38,000 sq. ft. store in The Shops at Highland Village on the northwest corner of 407 and 2499, in the city limits of Highland Village on the border of Flower Mound. Whole Foods is a fantastic draw and a huge benefit to the area. I am enamored with the selection of grass fed beef and their nuts and seeds! I should be a squirrel, I eat so many seeds!

Kroger Superstore – Catty-corner to the new Market Street, the existing Kroger just received a huge makeover, adding another 20,000 sq ft to the store! It is now a Kroger Superstore with a drive-thru pharmacy, enhanced bakery and deli, upscale wine department, a larger natural foods section and a fresh sushi bar. Great benefit as well is the gas station. Earn points towards fuel discounts as you shop in this amazing “new” store!

Not to leave out the new Tom Thumb that has somewhat recently opened, serving the needs of Bridlewood and Wellington residents as well.

Its exciting that Flower Mound is getting the choice now to opt for healthy shopping! Image