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What Stops Homes From Selling

Have you ever wondered why no one bought your house? I know exactly why no one bought your house… and I’ll explain why in the following story explains a big reason why.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door?” Even though the saying might appear to be correct – at least on the surface – it’s false.

Over 4,400 people have invented what they thought was a better mousetrap. At least that is how many patents have been filed with the U.S. Patent Office.

But, despite all of the new mousetrap inventions, the classic mousetrap (first patented in 1894) is still the best selling design.

I’m sure every single one of those inventors is frustrated.

“Why won’t anyone buy my mousetrap? It’s genius!” They say to themselves. They’re frustrated, no doubt.

I’m sure you can relate to their frustration.

Have you ever thought the following, “Why won’t anyone buy my house? It’s a great house!” Fortunately, there is an answer to this question:

“One Cannot Throw a Great Product

Out On the Street and Expect

People to Gobble It Up.”

This rule applies to inventions, homes, and even movies. Yes, even great movies need to be sold. Here is an example of a great movie that didn’t do well when it was first released.

On Sept. 23, 1994, the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption” was released to the world. Adapted from a short story from legendary author Stephen King, the feature film centered on a pair of imprisoned men.

The film, based in a prison but built on the idea of friendship and of hope and of dreams, was nominated for seven Oscars and won more than a dozen awards.

The film was immediately a critic’s favorite.

Twenty years later, “The Shawshank Redemption” is now considered one of the greatest movies of all time.

In fact, on respected website Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), it is ranked as the best movie in cinema history, ahead of the likes of “The Godfather,” “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and “Schindler’s List.”

Another action movie came out that year

The Flintstones, a live-action remake of the 1960s cartoon, starred John Goodman and Rick Moranis.

It, perhaps needless to say, was not nominated for Best Film at the Oscars. “It falls flatter than a granite slab,” noted a national film critic.

Though the film was praised for its costume and set design, it also won “Razzie Awards” for Worst Female Performance and Worst Screenplay and a nominee for Worst Movie of 1994.

Its IMDb.com user reviews are roughly half that of “The Shawshank Redemption” and is rated by users as one of the worst movie of the 1990s.

The true power of targeted marketing.

The Flintstones, behind a team of salespeople, masterfully marketed the film to its targeted demographics. The film grossed $131 million in the U.S. and $358 million worldwide.

The people at Universal Studios, who promoted “The Shawshank Redemption,” admitted they couldn’t figure out how to sell the movie to the public.

They had a great product,

but they didn’t know how to sell it.

It grossed $28 million in the U.S. box office and $60 million worldwide.  It ranked 51st in box office success in 1994 – two spots behind “In the Army Now” starring Pauly Shore.

Look at those numbers, then look at them again. Still don’t believe good marketing and salesmanship doesn’t matter?

The folks at Universal learned their lesson:

Even the best products need to be “sold.”

Is your home a great product that wasn’t marketed properly?

Selling a home for top dollar fast

is actually pretty simple.

You just have to find the one person who is willing to pay more for your home than anyone else. If they want it more than anyone else, then they will be willing to pay a higher price than anyone else.

Sell your home today with Florida Pros.

Contact a local Simpson & Associates Agent today.

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Closing Your Sale

Conducting a Home Inspection

A home inspection will give you the best picture when it comes to accuracy on your home’s current condition. The inspector of your choosing will do a walk-through of both the interior and the exterior of the home, to check for any ventilation, structural, plumbing, electrical and element issues.

They will also check the condition of the appliances, such as the fridge and the oven, to ensure they are in working order as well.

Generally, a home inspection will take a couple of hours, and at the end the inspector will produce a report to you stating all of the issues that were uncovered during said inspection.

Backing Out of the Deal

Depending on the terms of your contract, there are inspection contingencies in which the buyer is allowed to back out of said deal for whatever reasons after they have gone over the inspection report.

The buyer is allowed to cite “deal breakers” within the report and further produce that to the seller, for the purpose of addressing the importance of why they are backing out of the deal. As the seller, there is a way around this. For example, say the buyer has an issue with a plumbing issue that needs to be fixed, and they would like you to fix it.

You have two options here; either fix the plumbing issue or whatever the case may be, or allow them to back out of the deal and search for another buyer. As the seller, the decision is solely up to you.

If you are serious about the deal as the seller, then do not make an offer that is purely halfhearted, considering the fact that this inspection contingency report is an important protection for the buyer. Therefore, it is not something to be taken lightly, as they are making an incredibly large investment.

Locating an Inspector

If you are working with a real estate agent, they will be able to give you information on inspectors and give you references. Always ensure that the inspector you are looking into choosing for your home’s inspection has references of their own through previous clients, are knowledgeable when it comes to conducting reports on vacant homes, for example, and that they are registered with a home inspector’s group that is reputable.

For example, you may look for an inspector who is registered with the National Association of Home Inspectors, also known as the NAHI, or the American Society of Home Inspectors, also known as the ASHI. In fact, both of these inspector’s groups include a directory for reputable home inspectors located on their website, which is easy to find through a web search.

The Cost of Hiring an Inspector

Typically, an inspector will cost between $300 and $500, but this all depends on the rates of your local area, and the size of your home itself.

A follow-up inspection by a specialist, which may be suggested from your inspector, which could help you narrow down the condition of the sewer line running from your home, or even a structural engineer, who can give you a report that is more detailed in regards to bulging or cracks to your home’s foundation, for example.

Additionally, these specialist inspectors may also cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but it’s always a good idea to have all of your bases covered, so you can have more information should you need to have any repairs done, or if you’d like the buyer to see all is well with the home so they can have a peace of mind before officially closing the deal.

What You Should Expect During a Closing

During the process of transferring ownership and your possession of the property to the buyer, you will need to be able to export multiple things. This process is generally pretty easy, as all of the hard parts have already been run through, but there are still things that you should readily expect during the process of closing.

During this process, it’s best to communicate with the buyer or the seller, depending on which you are, on a constant basis, to ensure that requirements are met when it comes to the sale agreement.

Improving or Repairing the Property

If you have told the buyer that you will be taking any action to improve the property or make any repairs, be prepared to take action right away. This can be done before or after the process of closing, it all depends on what you and the buyer have agreed on.

All endeavors that have been agreed upon should be completed by the closing, so you do not have to worry about it, but the only real general exception would be if the buyer and you have created a separate contract for any and all improvements or repairs to be completed by a certain date.

Settlement and Your Settlement Agent or Escrow

During the settlement process, where the seller, buyer, any and all real estate agents, the seller’s lender, and the buyer’s lender, will get together with all parties who have provided documents or services for the process of selling, buying and closing the deal for the home. This process is enabled and made secure through the closing task, where an escrow or a settlement agent will be hired as a disinterested third party.

The escrow or settling agent will take all of the money, documents, and any other items involved with the closing process from each party involved.

From there, the money will be paid out to clear the title, furnish, and pay off any lien holders or old lenders involved. As well, they will pay all of the real estate agents and any other service providers, such as an inspector for the home, who were involved in the overall transaction.

Where the Closing Will Take Place

The closing process will take place within the office of the escrow or the settling agent, who is typically the title’s insurance company, which insures the buyer’s title to their new property. However, should it be requested, certain escrow and title companies will send a mobile escrow for the purpose of handling the closing process in a location which is convenient to all of the parties involved with the transaction.

In some cases, however, the lender of the buyer will host and close while acting as the escrow, or they will bring in an escrow or notary company employee to act as an escrow. The buyer’s attorney, or the seller’s, either or, can offer his or her office, but restrictions involving client trust accounting can make this impossible for either attorney to disburse the funds straight away, which is where an escrow company will handle all of the transferring funds.

Otherwise, the escrow will take on the closing responsibilities, where they will take and disburse all of the funds while explaining each document. They may even draft all or some of the necessary documents, but only if the escrow is an attorney who is licensed. “Witness only” closings are for an attorney or a notary who will go to the closing location, which is selected by the seller and the buyer to provide all of the disbursement services and documents on behalf of the buyer’s lender.

Although, the attorney, and the notary will not explain any of the legal effects of the documents, which includes the closing itself. Such closings will typically occur in the office of a licensed attorney.

The Seller Attending the Closing

The seller, unlike the buyer, who will generally attend the closing for the purpose of signing all original loan documents which are delivered to the lender to the closing, may choose not to attend the closing if they do not wish to.

As the buyer, do not be surprised if the seller does not show, considering he or she is not required to do so. The seller may choose to pre-sign the deed, as well as any other transfer documents that are involved in the closing, which refers to the conventional table closing or escrow closing.

The seller can also give the buyer’s attorney the power to sign any and all incidental documents in regards to the escrow, where all of the sale proceeds could be directly wired to your newly purchased home escrow, or to your bank account. However, this is only allowed should the buyer be purchasing the home on the same day, or quickly after, the overall sale and closing has been completed.

Once the Closing Has Been Completed

Once the closing process has been completed, and the escrow has proceeded to pay off all lien holders, such as your lender, and service providers, pays the overall sales proceeds that are intended to go to you, places the deed and the mortgage, if applicable, for the record of the country recorder of deeds, and gives all other documents for transfers to the buyer, the closing process has been completed.

Once the closing process has been completed, you as the seller must relinquish all possession of the home, and all keys, which include all keys to all doors, garage door openers, and any device or key which controls the home’s appliances and systems. At this time, you will have already been expected to have your belongings removed from the home unless the house was vacant while you were going through the process of selling. The home must be spotless, as well, or the buyer can create a lawsuit against you for breaching the sales contract.

Therefore, doing an additional walk-through of the home yourself, without an inspector, is ideal, so you can be sure that all your loose ends have been tied up. This should be done before the buyer has the final opportunity to go through the home themselves to ensure that the condition of the home has not changed whatsoever since the initial sale agreement was signed.

If they should have any issue with the state of the home, regardless of how small, it’s your responsibility to handle any complaint that they may have. This may include dishing out additional funds to handle whatever the problem is. Therefore, you should be one step ahead of the buyer and take one last walk-through yourself to ensure that there are no surprises, such as a frozen pipe in view that could burst because the house is vacant without the heat being on.

The Process of Closing Your Home

Once all of the work with your real estate agent has been finished to find a suitable and potential buyer, go through the negotiations process, and conduct a sale agreement, the closing process of selling your home is, in fact, the easiest part. This part may take some extra time, depending on the availability of all of the parties involved, but rest assured, this process takes less stress and hair-pulling than the rest of the process.

Contact Real Estate Agent & Attorney, Arthur Simpson today!

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Avoid Mistakes Pricing Your Home

How do you avoid selling your house for less than it is worth? How do you avoid losing money in your sale? The first thing that you need to do is find out what other people have done wrong.

Find out where others made a mistake

and lost money as a result.

Then avoid making that same mistake yourself.

I’m going to go through a few mistakes and show you what they are. I’ll show you what the home seller did wrong that caused their home to sell for less than their neighbor’s home.

Underpricing is the easiest way

to lose money on your home sale.

The number one reason people lose money on their home sale is underpricing. They think their home is worth X. They don’t research the value. That is why it is so critical you have a true understanding of the value of your home in today’s market.

They put their home on the market, sell it for less than it’s worth, and never realize their mistake.

A perfect example is the sellers who sold 3 acres

– that was worth about $300,000 – for $80,000.

  • They lived about 30 miles away and didn’t realize the development potential the property had.
  • They hired an agent who wasn’t familiar with the area.
  • Their agent didn’t realize the development potential.

Their buyer had experience with developments. He researched the zoning and discovered the 3 acres was zoned for high-density condos.

The sellers didn’t know the property was zoned for high density condos. They didn’t know the county was planning on putting in a new road right past their property.

Stories like this are the reason banks will

not accept an unsolicited offer when a bank

owned home is NOT on the market.

They know if someone comes along and makes an unsolicited offer, most of the time those offers are going to be below fair market value.

In one case, a bank lost about $25,000 on a mistake similar to this. They were selling a property worth $90,000. For some reason, possibly oversight, they put the property on the market for $67,000.

Two people were very interested in buying that piece of property. It was in a very good location. There wasn’t anything similar available nearby. Both buyers were very anxious to make an offer before someone else could snatch it up.

Bottom Line:

Both buyers really wanted that property!

Either one of them would have been willing to pay the fair market value of $90,000 for the property. Money was no problem; both buyers had the ability to pay in cash.

Unfortunately, the bank refused to take any offers on the property. They would not budge until it was listed on the open market.

There was a catch:

The bank made two big mistakes.

  1. The bank underpriced the property by $23,000.
  1. The bank hired an agent who did a lousy job of marketing the property. He didn’t see a big profit, and got sloppy.
  • He didn’t put it into the MLS correctly. As a result, it didn’t show up in search results for other agents who had a buyer looking for that type of property.
  • Secondly, he didn’t have the correct address. As a result, the listing did not show up on any of the real estate websites that use a map display.
  • Finally, he neglected to put a sign on the property. (The person who ended up buying it lived just down the road and drove past the property every day.)

Had the bank not made mistakes, the two initially interested buyers would have made an offer, and likely started a bidding war.

There is a good chance the two buyers would have driven the price up to the $90,000 Fair Market Value.

Maybe even higher.

After the bank refused to work with the buyers, they waited for the listing to appear. When it did not show up in searches, they gave up. Ultimately, both buyers moved on to find another piece of land.

Meanwhile, the property sat on the market, unnoticed. Because of the agent’s errors, nobody who was interested was seeing it.

It was pure luck the man who ultimately bought

the property even discovered it was for sale.

This man knew the bank was trying to foreclose on the property. He did some research on the foreclosure with the courthouse. He found out the bank had successfully foreclosed on it.

Knowing it had to be listed somewhere; he went online and searched through all of the properties for sale until he found the listing. To his surprise, it was priced well below the market.

Most bank owned homes are priced below market for a reason. Banks will discount the homes they sell because the house has not been lived in for 6 months – and the bank doesn’t know if there are any problems with it. Sadly, this was not the typical bank owned home.

The bank missed a full-price sale

and lost $28,000!

This was a piece of raw pasture. There were no unseen problems with it. The buyer had lived down the road from it for years and was intimately familiar with it.

The buyer submitted an offer for $62,000 and the bank accepted it. He saved $28,000 because the bank’s agent was sloppy. – and they substantially underpriced it.

Why does this story matter to you?

Moral of the story: Anyone can lose money in the real estate market.

Any seller unfamiliar with the market risks selling their home for less than it is worth. In most cases, you would never even realize it.

See how important it is to know the true value of your home? The bank was following a strict policy. But, the same thing can, and does, happen to private sellers. Knowing the true value of your home protects you from settling for less money than you deserve.

Contact Real Estate Agent & Attorney, Arthur Simpson today!

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The 3 Step Formula I Use To Sell Homes Other Agents Can’t Sell

These techniques will sell homes that other agents have failed to sell. You may not realize it, but small details make a big difference!

Here is a small sample of homes other agents weren’t able to sell. After applying these techniques, they all sold successfully:

  • Home was listed for over 11 months with two other agents. Neither of them could sell it. Listed and sold in 45 days using the strategies outlined here.
  • Home was up for sale for 6 months with another agent. Not much happened. A few showings had resulted in no offers. Listed and sold 3 months later.
  • Home was for sale for over 18 months with two other agents. Neither of them could sell it. Listed and sold 65 days later. The owners were thrilled!
  • There are countless more stories, just like these. (These are just a few examples that come to mind.)

3 basic things a good agent can do to succeed where other agents have failed:

#1. Improve the marketing. Take better pictures and write better descriptions. Perform an in depth “marketing analysis”. This helps identify marketing opportunities other agents have missed.

#2. Solve any problems holding back the sale. Yes, sometimes a problem is holding the sale back. Here is an example:

Contrary to what most people think, price is notalways the reason that a home doesn’t sell.

One sale was held back 12 months by a pending municipal lien. A little creative thinking and consultation with some experts on the subject solved the problem. That home sold a week after the problem was resolved, without dropping the price.

Bottom Line: Good agents are problem solvers. Solve the problems and the home sells. Unfortunately, not all agents are good problem solvers.

#3. Improve the showing condition of the home. A “staged” home will sell for 10-15% more. A home in good showing condition (but not staged) can still sell for 1-10% more than an average listing.

Have you ever wondered why foreclosures are a “bargain?” Well, there is your answer. Some foreclosures are complete dumps. Others are dirty, stinky, and do not show well at all. The foreclosure that is in perfect condition is a rarity. (They rarely sell for a discount.)

So, why do so many people think that the only reason a home doesn’t sell is because it is “overpriced?”

It’s just the accepted wisdom in the marketplace.

This may seem absurd. After all… everyone wants a magic formula to solve all their problems. But, sometimes simple things can solve seemingly impossible problems.

In fact, few people knew and taught “the basics” better than football coach Vince Lombardi. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest football coaches of all time.

He started coaching the Green Bay Packers when they were consistently losing one game after another. He turned the team around and won 5 NFL Championships.

Those unfamiliar with Lombardi’s coaching tactics might assume that he was successful because he had complex strategies and completely unheard-of methods.

Actually, the opposite is true.

Vince Lombardi believed for the Green Bay Packers to become a great team, they would have to go back to the basics of the sport and re-learn even the simplest aspects of the game.

In his first pre-season speech, he shocked every one of his new players. He stood in front of them, held up something up in his hand, and announced, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

He then proceeded to revisit all of the basic rules of football, what the different lines on the field were for, etc.

Some might have thought he was going a little overboard. His results proved them wrong.

Lombardi led the Packers to five NFL Championships as well as two Super Bowl wins. His “back to basics” approach paid off, and the team got to enjoy its rewards.

The same philosophy should be used to sell your home.

You can bombard social media, list your home on every website imaginable, beg your friends to put up flyers on the notice board at work, and so on.

If you don’t start with the basics everything else is just a waste of time.

Time is very valuable, so most people who are looking to buy a house will not waste even a second on a listing that hasn’t mastered the basics.

If they have to ask questions like, “Why are all the photos so dark?” or “Is it a house or a condo? I can’t tell!” they’ll just move on to the next listing. The first impression has to be perfect.

Even a great home cannot sell itself without the proper marketing.

A great agent is needed to make sure that your home is being showcased in the best way possible.

Just like Vince Lombardi knew that going back to basics would help his team, a qualified real estate agent will know the basics of marketing are crucial to selling your home.

Every home has a base, and without that base, the whole structure could fall flat. A selling strategy for your home works the same way. Hurrying to post an ad for your home on your Facebook wall will do little good if it’s a rushed job that shows more of the neighbor’s garage than your beautiful front porch and garden. 

Contact Real Estate Agent & Attorney, Arthur Simpson today

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First Time Buyer Searching For A Home

For most people, the prospect of going to view homes they like is thrilling. It’s tempting to think that that is the first step to buying a home, but it’s not.  

Assuming you have your down-payment, mortgage pre-approval and other financial issues handled, the first thing you need to do before viewing any home is to determine what you’re looking for.

What is your criteria?

Do you need a set number of bedrooms and bathrooms?

Do you want a yard?

Do you want property only in particular neighborhoods?

How much are you willing or able to spend?

Answering these questions will save you a lot of time and effort running around to view homes that do not suit you.

Once you’ve decided on your criteria, call your Agent. Let him or her know what you’re looking for and what your price range is.

He or she will get to work on your behalf, shortlisting the properties that meet your criteria so you can start your viewing from there. Then comes the fun part, finding that perfect home you’ve been dreaming of!

Schedule an Adequate Time

When going to view homes, make sure you’ve got plenty of time on your hands.

Always schedule enough time to do a proper inspection. It’s possible you’ll be living there for years to come, so five minutes strolling around isn’t going to cut it.

Schedule about two hours to view your potential house. Research suggests that when buyers spend a longer time viewing a home, they are more likely to pay below the asking price.

Be Thorough

Be thorough when checking out the home. Open drawers, cabinets and cupboards, look behind furniture, lift up rugs if necessary. While this may seem rude, it is not.

You are about to make a substantial investment and you need to know exactly what you’re getting.

Sellers are not obliged to inform you of or show you every single defect in the home so you need to find them yourself. An artfully positioned chair could be hiding something, so feel free to look where you need to.

Of course, if you already hate the home from the get go, by all means do only a minimal inspection or don’t bother with the inspection at all. But if it’s something you like, open every door and look in closets.

Rest assured that the sellers have had sufficient notice of a potential buyer and would have straightened up those spaces knowing you will be poking around.

What comes with the Property?

Confirm what comes with home. For example, whether the stands or fixtures are for the exclusive use of that home or the owners will remove them. Make sure to get confirmation in writing if you do decide that you would like to buy the property. 

Don’t be Fooled by Staging

Sellers have been known to use clever tricks to make a home more appealing. They can strategically light a room to draw attention from a problem or apply fresh coats of paint to cover a mold issue.

While you are viewing the house, try to look beyond the immediate aesthetics of the interior décor. Focus your attention on what you will get when the furniture and interior décor are gone.

Keep Emotion Away

When viewing a home initially, try not to get attached immediately. Keep emotions aside and only consider it as a building you need to inspect.

If you get attached from the get go, you might make an emotional decision and overlook major problems.

View Multiple Times

If you like a particular home, view it multiple times. You’re more likely to identify potential problems if you view it several times at different times of the day.

This way you will know what traffic is like in the area and the noise levels that occur at different times.

Consider the Overall Context

When viewing don’t just consider a property on its own, view it in the context of its location.

What is the area like?

Is the property adjacent to a train track or noisy intersection?

Is there a pub or bar close by that gets noisy at night?

How close are you to the things you might need, such as schools, public transit, a grocery store, or hospital?

All of these are legitimate questions to consider when viewing properties, as they can add or subtract from the overall enjoyment of your home.

Let your Agent do their Job

Don’t just go viewing on your own.

Apart from the fact that this is not safe, it also makes you vulnerable. A seller’s agent might think you’re unrepresented and try to take advantage of you.

Let your Agent do their job. If you happen to come across a property that interests you but your Agent hasn’t told you about it, chances are it does not match your criteria.

If you like the look of it however, call your Agent with the address and phone number on the board. That way, they can arrange a proper viewing for you without the owner being present.

The Condition of the Property

When viewing a home there are some very important things to look out for, the primary one being the condition of the property.

Is the Home Structurally Sound?

Walk around checking the walls and ceilings for big cracks. Hairline cracks are to be expected in some places. Make sure you check the exterior for cracks. Cracks could be a sign that the property is not structurally sound. Points at which extensions join are good places to look, as cracks often occur there. 

Also look for loose or broken tiles on the roof or broken guttering, evidence of damage to the drywall and weaknesses on the floors.

Any signs of a problem anywhere on the structure of the property should be questioned about what caused it.

How long has it been like that?

Will it be fixed?

Furniture or accessories like rugs could be hiding wall cracks or problems with the floor, so again, don’t forget to look behind furniture or move them around if necessary.

You might love the house, but if you see major cracks or any of the walls look like they are bowing, you should have a structural engineer come in and take a look.

Watch out for Mold

Mold is a major problem that could cost you a lot to fix. Don’t just try to look for it, use your nose as well. Mold frequently gives off a musty smell, even when there are no visible signs.

Plaster that’s flaking, watermarks on walls or ceilings, even a fresh coat of paint in a particular section of a room could all be an indication of mold.

Don’t forget to examine the ceiling and around the skirting boards properly for evidence of leaks or water damage.

Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrics

Other aspects to consider when looking at the general condition of the property are the heating and air conditioning systems.

Have an expert assess that they are the appropriate models and capacity, and that they are working properly.

Check the fuse box, it shouldn’t be old or outdated, must be easily accessible, and in good working condition. Ensure wiring was done properly. You don’t want to spend a fortune rewiring the home to bring it up to a standard.

Consider if there are enough power outlets and if they are in good condition.

Basements and Attics

Also check the attic for water problems, look for water damage or leaks that may have affected the insulation, walls and ceiling of the attic. And while you’re at it, make sure that the insulation is adequate for where the property is located.

In the basement, look for evidence of moisture problems in the home. Is there water leaking onto the floor or water around the foundation? There should be no cracks in the basement walls and any wood such as those in exposed beams should be in good condition with no rot.

Pipes and Taps

Check that the plumbing is up to date. Run taps to ensure they work properly and the water pressure is strong enough. Exposed pipes in unheated areas should be insulated, as frozen pipes will eventually cause water damage.

It is particularly important from a health perspective to ascertain that the pipes are not lead. If they are, you will need to replace them. Also, find out where the hot water tank is located. If it is on the roof you may need to replace it, as it is probably an old tank.

Exterior

Check for evidence of water around the foundation which may indicate drainage issues.

The ground should slope away from the foundation. If there is a porch, it should have a foundation and not simply sit on soil. Check that driveways or any walkways leading up to the house do not have cracks and are not crumbling.

Check that the siding of the home is in good repair. Take a look at the landscaping on the property as well. It shouldn’t be unkempt and unsightly, as that can indicate a lack of care.

The sprinkler system should be in proper working condition. If there is a deck, ensure there’s no decay or damage from termite or beetles. 

Property History

Don’t just settle for the information contained in the customer copy of listings. Ask your agent for more detailed info.

How long has the property been on the market?

Was it previously listed, withdrawn and relisted for a lower price?

These kinds of questions can help you decide how much to offer.

You also need other detailed information on the property, most of which will be available from the public records.

Public records will show you the name of the owner, original age of the home, mortgage history, parcel number, previous sales of the property, property deeds and any judgments or liens filed against the seller. Information about how much the property taxes are and whether they are paid or in arrears will also be available in the records.

You will also be able to see if there were permits obtained to make improvements on the home. These permits could complicate the sale of the property.

Do not skip this search, because it reveals important information about the property you are interested in and could save you money.

You can get all of this information through your agent if you’re using one, since most agents subscribe to services that give them access to such data.

If you are not using an agent, then you can obtain this information through a local title company or you can order them online for a small fee.

Making the Choice

Once you’ve done all of your homework, you need to decide whether or not to buy the house.

 It is important that you step back and evaluate all the information available to you from viewing the house, inspecting its condition and obtaining public records.

Bear some things in mind:

  • You may need to compromise on some of your priorities. No home is completely perfect.

 

  • However good it may be, there will be one or two things you wish you could change. If only it was facing that lovely park you saw on the way there, or if only the house you prefer was in that other neighborhood, or if only this cost a little bit less.

 

  • At the end of the day, you will need to decide on which factors are most important to you. If you prefer the neighborhood over the house, you may decide to look for a different type of property within the same community. A condo for instance, instead of a town house.

 

  • If finances are the issue, you may want to discuss with your bank if they would be willing to increase your mortgage. This is only if you can afford it.

 

There is no point in getting into financial trouble just to get a particular property, when more affordable ones could do just as well.

 

  • Lower your expectations on the condition of the home.

 

If your inspection revealed a few small problems, you could still buy the property and do the repairs yourself.

 

  • Use the problems as a bargaining chip to get a reduced price from the seller.

 

If you go this route, please get a quote from a professional for the cost of repairs.

 

  • Don’t estimate based on your own judgment and don’t let the seller decide how much he thinks it will cost.

 

Also, do not let the seller get the quote, as he will likely get a quote that is favorable to him.

 

  • If you allow the seller to decide the repair cost, you may find that the expense is much higher than was quoted.

 

  • Be prepared to walk away.

 

Again, this goes to our earlier point about not getting emotionally attached until you have bought and moved in. If at the end of the day you find out the compromise required is more than one you’re prepared to make, walk away.

 

Working with your Agent, you will soon find something else that you love.

Please feel free to contact a Simpson & Associates Agent today!

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Inspections, Inspectors, and Common Mistakes

There are different types of house inspections available to perform.

General or residential inspections will observe and give an evaluation of the house elements and systems.

The list below may be enhanced, or some of the points may be excluded. Nevertheless, it will give you an idea of what should be examined.

  • Exterior (quality of water drainage, and condition of the outside elements: yard, trees, pathways, fences, decks, stairs, cosmetic issues, etc.)
  • Structural elements (visible foundation and framing condition, structure’s upright position, etc.)
  • Roof (installation quality, visible damages, shingles and gutters condition, etc.)
  • Plumbing system (looking for any leaks, checking the water pressure, faucets, showers, material and aging of pipes, etc.)
  • Electrical system (checking fuses, any visible wiring, its type and condition, safety issues, etc.)
  • HVAC – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (inspection of chimneys, vents, house insulation, ducting, etc., checking if all the systems work properly)
  • Laundry room (ventilation and dryer systems, search for possible leaks and potential fire hazards)
  • Bathrooms (proper ventilation, leaks, water heater condition and other possible issues)
  • Kitchen appliances (proper working devices and their correct installation)
  • Fire safety (checking the smoke detectors, fireplaces, and stoves)

Pest inspection will determine the presence of the wood boring insects, different kinds of insects, molds, and fungi.

You need to know how much damage a termite population can cause, in addition to mold in wet basements and the health hazards that it produces, so it is necessary that you do the inspection.

If you live in specific risk areas, it would be wise to order an additional service, for example, earthquake, tornado, or flood inspection.

The specialist will help you to estimate the resistance of the property during the natural disasters, if they have a high probability of occurring in your region.

Your inspector will most likely recommend that you ask for a second opinion and another inspection if he has any doubts or additional concerns.

Do not procrastinate and wait for the last moment to follow his advice. There have been a lot of situations whereby the closing meeting have to be postponed because of failure to deal with the discovered issues properly and in time.

When the problem appears during the closure, it might be hard to resolve them during that time, especially if both the buyer and the seller have strong opinions about them.

Choosing the right inspector is the key to a thorough and honest report.

You may look for him or her online (most real estate websites have a list of professionals with their ratings and reviews), or ask your friends and family for a recommendation.

The inspector makes the conclusion regarding the scale of the problem if some items need service or replacement and if some issues are not yet full-blown but there is a good chance that they may, which means that they should be watched.

A good expert is hard to find, but it won’t be necessary for you to control each step. You just need to make sure that he looks at all the surroundings during rain or snow, and examines the attic.

It is quite common to have interviews with several inspectors to find out, in person, how many houses he had looked at. You will have the chance to determine if you are comfortable with his approaches and manner of speech.

A lot of buyers neglect to visit the house during the inspection and look only at the report that the company provides. This is one of the most obvious mistakes during the home inspection process.

Seeing letters and numbers is not the same as seeing the real situation. It is one of your first opportunities to fully take a tour around the house and see its actual appearance.

The second most common mistake is to go to the inspection and be too afraid to ask questions about what you see. Inspectors do their job, and some things that are common knowledge to them might be new to you.

Do not be intimidated about asking for an explanation if you do not understand what is going on. You are the one who is paying for his work, and you have the right to do it.

Another mistake that buyers make is to leave without checking the utilities. They may be off, but you should ask for them to be turned back on in order to make sure that there are no leaks, and that everything is connected correctly.

All the house inspection conditions apply to new homes as well as old ones.

Believe it or not, newly built houses can also have issues. Buying a house may be the biggest purchase in your life, and it is not the time to gamble with such a big amount of money being at stake.

Contact Real Estate Agent & Attorney, Arthur Simpson

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Common Negotiating Mistakes

Let’s start with some negotiating mistakes to avoid. After all, what you don’t do is going to be more important than what you do! One slip of the tongue can result in a negotiating mistake (and hurt your pocketbook too!)

Common Negotiating Mistake #1:

Not learning the other party’s motivation.

Price isn’t the only reason people buy. They may really like a certain feature your home has. They might be willing to pay more because of that feature.

Sometimes they might absolutely love that feature. They have been hunting for a while and finally found a home meeting their needs completely. That means they are willing to pay more for your home.

If you meet the buyers, you should ask them why they are buying a home. They might tell you they are being transferred and have to find a home by a certain date.

If you know that, you will be able to negotiate a higher sales price. If the buyers have an agent, ask the agent for information. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Why do the buyers like this home?
  • Where are they moving from?
  • How does this home compare to other homes?

You shouldn’t be as blunt as that. However, you can often find the answers to these questions in a roundabout way.

For example, you could say, “You will love our town because of the X (insert a unique feature of your town.) Do they have an X where you live now?”

That will start the conversation about where they are moving from. You can learn a lot from what they say. It will be helpful during the negotiations. You would be amazed at what some people will tell you.

Common Negotiating Mistake #2:

Meeting in the middle.

(This is the most common mistake novice home sellers make.) It’s the easiest way to sell your home for $10,000 less than you should. I don’t want to come across as cocky, but meeting in the middle is really lame.

It’s the most common thing everyone does and the problem is everyone thinks they have to do it. That’s a big mistake. There is no rule book that says you have to “meet in the middle.”

Here is a quick story that illustrates this. A home was on the market. The buyers made an offer $20,000 less than the listing.

The agent told the seller to reject the offer and told the other agent they should come back with a better offer. (The house had only been on the market for 2 days.)

The buyer came back and “Met in the middle. The agent knew they were serious buyers and really wanted the house.

The seller thought the buyer was being a good person by “meeting in the middle.” He was willing to accept the middle offer.

The agent told him to give a little, but not “meet in the middle.” He recommended that he counter at $2,500 under the asking price and see what happened.

The buyers came back with the middle price and after some more negotiations the buyer and seller agreed on new offer. So, what can you take from this?

Don’t meet in the middle. Instead, give 10-20% and let the other guy give 50%. You’ll gain a little more in each round of negotiations.

Common Negotiating Mistake #3:

Talking too much.

This is the worst sin of negotiating. Don’t tell the buyers or their agent your life’s story.

What do you think would pop into a buyer’s head if they heard this out of a seller’s mouth? “We must sell the home because it is in foreclosure, and if we don’t sell it by June 23rd, then the bank will foreclose on it.”

Immediately they will think, “I wonder what they owe on the house. Because if it doesn’t sell, they will have a foreclosure. The sellers probably just want to get what they owe on the home so they can avoid foreclosure.”

This is an extreme example, but it shows you how a simple slip of the tongue could cause a seller to lose a large amount of their hard earned equity.

A seller facing foreclosure in that situation might be desperate enough to “get out” with none of their equity just to avoid foreclosure.

But, what if the buyer was willing to pay the market value for the home? That seller just lost all of their equity! When a buyer asks why you are selling, answer them without giving away any extra information.

You could say, “Oh, we would like to move to Omaha.” (Or whatever place you are moving to.) You don’t need to say much more than that. And don’t tell them you have a job transfer!

Common Negotiating Mistake #4:

Making the first move.

Many buyers will ask what your bottom line is. They know they can usually negotiate a home seller down to an even lower price.

Don’t fall for it. You’ve already made the first move by setting a price for your home. Tell the buyers you need to think it over and get back to them.

Then, ask them what they like about your home. If they tell you, you can determine their motivation to buy your home. After that, ask them what they are thinking of offering on your home.

The reason this rule is so important is in some negotiations, you may offer more at the beginning than the other party is willing to accept.

Here is an example of this. A person I know was trying to buy something. He had a price in mind he was willing to pay. He thought the best price he could get was $1,500, but he was willing to pay up to $2,000.

He asked the seller what he wanted for the item. The seller responded he didn’t know what he wanted. He offered the seller $1,500 and the seller accepted it.

He later learned that the seller was desperate. The seller had a price in mind of $800 to $1,000.

If the seller had mentioned an opening price first, he would have saved $500! Instead he lost $500.

Common Negotiating Mistake #5:

Letting your ego get involved.

What is your final goal? You want to sell your property quickly for top dollar, right? Keep that goal in mind during the entire negotiation.

I have seen people kill a potential top dollar sale simply because they didn’t like the buyer. Or, the buyer started negotiations with a low ball offer and the seller got offended.

“I refuse to negotiate with someone who insulted me with that lowball offer”, they said. And a good buyer moved on to buy another house.

Most lowball offers can be negotiated to a higher price.

Some buyers have a big ego and think they are great negotiators (when they actually aren’t.) Their definition of a great negotiator?

Someone with a big ego that tells people off and walks around like they own the world. They think being abrasive and rude will get them a better deal. They’ll throw around “take it or leave it” offers.

I can tell you from personal experience most buyers are willing to pay more than their “take it or leave it” offer.

You just have to keep the negotiations going, even though you might be a little unhappy or angry with what they are doing.

I have seen home sellers tell off a buyer that said something rude. That buyer could have bought their house. The buyer might actually be a very nice person. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t get distracted by petty things. You want to sell your house for top dollar.

Let anything a buyer says that is rude, or otherwise offensive, roll off like water off a duck’s back. It means more money for you in the end. That is the best feeling of all, far better than telling them off!

Common Negotiating Mistake #6:

Failing to take time on the counter offer.

Many times you will be pressured to reply right away to an offer. Buyers are impatient and if they really like your house, they will want an answer to their offer right away. But, do you know what else that means?

They are probably willing to pay more for your property.

Take the time to talk to your Realtor. You need to take a little time and consider the situation.

Have you been able to find out any information on the buyers? Use that to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. A little space and an objective third party will lead to more effective decision making.

Sell your home today with Simpson & Associates.

Contact a local Simpson & Associates Agent today.

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What Stops Perfect Homes From Selling

Have you ever wondered why no one bought your house? I know exactly why no one bought your house… and I’ll explain why in the following story explains a big reason why.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door?” Even though the saying might appear to be correct – at least on the surface – it’s false.

Over 4,400 people have invented what they thought was a better mousetrap. At least that is how many patents have been filed with the U.S. Patent Office.

But, despite all of the new mousetrap inventions, the classic mousetrap (first patented in 1894) is still the best selling design.

I’m sure every single one of those inventors is frustrated.

“Why won’t anyone buy my mousetrap? It’s genius!” They say to themselves. They’re frustrated, no doubt.

I’m sure you can relate to their frustration.

Have you ever thought the following, “Why won’t anyone buy my house? It’s a great house!” Fortunately, there is an answer to this question:

“One Cannot Throw a Great Product

Out On the Street and Expect

People to Gobble It Up.”

This rule applies to inventions, homes, and even movies. Yes, even great movies need to be sold. Here is an example of a great movie that didn’t do well when it was first released.

On Sept. 23, 1994, the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption” was released to the world. Adapted from a short story from legendary author Stephen King, the feature film centered on a pair of imprisoned men.

The film, based in a prison but built on the idea of friendship and of hope and of dreams, was nominated for seven Oscars and won more than a dozen awards.

The film was immediately a critic’s favorite.

Twenty years later, “The Shawshank Redemption” is now considered one of the greatest movies of all time.

In fact, on respected website Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), it is ranked as the best movie in cinema history, ahead of the likes of “The Godfather,” “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and “Schindler’s List.”

Another action movie came out that year

The Flintstones, a live-action remake of the 1960s cartoon, starred John Goodman and Rick Moranis.

It, perhaps needless to say, was not nominated for Best Film at the Oscars. “It falls flatter than a granite slab,” noted a national film critic.

Though the film was praised for its costume and set design, it also won “Razzie Awards” for Worst Female Performance and Worst Screenplay and a nominee for Worst Movie of 1994.

Its IMDb.com user reviews are roughly half that of “The Shawshank Redemption” and is rated by users as one of the worst movie of the 1990s.

The true power of targeted marketing.

The Flintstones, behind a team of salespeople, masterfully marketed the film to its targeted demographics. The film grossed $131 million in the U.S. and $358 million worldwide.

The people at Universal Studios, who promoted “The Shawshank Redemption,” admitted they couldn’t figure out how to sell the movie to the public.

They had a great product,

but they didn’t know how to sell it.

It grossed $28 million in the U.S. box office and $60 million worldwide.  It ranked 51st in box office success in 1994 – two spots behind “In the Army Now” starring Pauly Shore.

Look at those numbers, then look at them again. Still don’t believe good marketing and salesmanship doesn’t matter?

The folks at Universal learned their lesson:

Even the best products need to be “sold.”

Is your home a great product that wasn’t marketed properly?

Selling a home for top dollar fast

is actually pretty simple.

You just have to find the one person who is willing to pay more for your home than anyone else. If they want it more than anyone else, then they will be willing to pay a higher price than anyone else.

Sell your home today with Simpson & Associates Real Estate.

Contact a local Simpson & Associates Agent today.