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Real Estate

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It’s important to find a responsible and trustworthy moving company so that you can ensure you’re not taken advantage of. Sometimes the “final” quote a company gives you is not final at all, and may include other charges. You need to ask a few different questions to make sure your belongings will be safe and you will not end up paying more than you thought you agreed to. Here are some questions to ask a moving company to ensure you get a good deal:

 

Question 1: Is This the FINAL Quote or Will There Be Other Charges?

 

The final quote is not always the final quote. Oftentimes a moving company will give you the general charge just for “moving” everything but they don’t include all the extra charges. Additional charges may include longer routes, charges for appliances, fuel, fragile objects, etc. Keep in mind that you should also let them know up front about any items you own that may be difficult to move, such as chandeliers or pianos.

 

Question 2: What Is the Insurance Policy?

 

Make sure to ask what type of insurance is automatically included in the quote, and find out if there are any additional policies that are available to you. Typical coverage is around 50-60 cents per pound, but sometimes companies will give you a special deal or a special upgrade if you ask for it. You may also want to look into 3rd party insurance coverage for the move – just to make sure everything is 100% safe and covered.

 

Question 3: Who Is Responsible for Damages?

 

You’ll want to immediately discuss the process for what happens if something is damaged or broken or if something goes missing. Sometimes companies fully cover that type of issue, but if it’s a self-service move, you’re oftentimes responsible for your own packaging.

 

Moving your entire life from one place to another is already a stressful process – whether you’re moving down the street or across the country. So make sure you know the ins and outs of your agreement before you sign any contracts or hire any movers!

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Believe it or not, different housing markets behave differently during the fall. According to the real estate website Zillow, national home values rose 0.4% from July, although this is the 3rd month in a row that home values rose more slowly than the previous month.

 

However, markets in California, Nevada, and Minnesota are still seeing fast home value appreciation growth (at least 2% or higher). This means it’s important to know your market – if you’re buying a home in one of these areas, be prepared to pay a little more, and if you’re not purchasing a home in one of these areas, be aware of the growth in your market.

 

Keep in mind that as the fall season comes to a close and we enter winter, selections may be limited. Many homeowners who weren’t able to sell their homes during the busy spring and summer season have become frustrated and have taken their homes off the market, especially with the holidays coming up. So, be prepared for a smaller selection than you expected.

 

With that in mind, remember that you may now have the option to negotiate a previous dream home. Did you see anything you saw a few months ago but chose not to proceed because of the price? Be sure to check back and see if it’s still on the market – if it is, you probably have some room to negotiate a lower price – at this point, a lot of homeowners just want to sell their home before the holidays.

 

There are clearly positive and negative aspects to buying a home in the fall – you may have a smaller selection, but there also maybe be more room for price negotiations. Either way, it’s always good to get as much home-buying information as you can! Remember to check back next week for another weekly real estate tip!

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When preparing to sell your house, holding an Open House is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. What you need to know is that an Open House doesn’t necessarily directly lead you to your home buyer. In fact, most of the visitors that go to an Open House rarely ever buy the house that they are looking at. An Open House is like advertising in that it’s not always about getting people to buy it – it’s about getting them to notice it, spread the word, and recommend it to others.

 

The main duty of an Open House is to serve as an announcement – it lets all of your neighbors know that the house is on the market, so that they can come it, take a peek, see if they like it, and spread the word. Most people are inherently nosy, so the majority of your neighbors won’t be able to resist the urge to check it out.

 

And believe it or not, you want these people to come check out your house, because they are most likely the ones who will tell their friends, neighbors, and acquaintances about the available house – creating tons of word of mouth advertising for you.

 

It’s important to host an Open House right when your home has been placed on the market. If it’s already been on the market for a while and people have already seen the “for sale” sign, they’ve probably done all the word of mouth advertising they’re ever going to do – which, if they haven’t seen the house, is probably very little.

 

However, if you do want to host more Open Houses but your agent has helped you host yours already, you can always check if another agent would do it for you. Your listing agent may allow someone else to do it, because it’s less work for your listing agent, and other agents would be interested in doing it just for the opportunity to meet and network with future prospective homebuyers.

 

The important things to remember are: host it as soon as you can, make it as big as possible, and have a good impression on people – if they like you and they like your home, they’re much more likely to recommend it to others!

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As we talked about last week, homebuying is easier when you clean up your credit.

 

When meeting with a mortgage lender, they will generally check with three credit bureaus in order to view the history of your past payments. So if you only clean up one of the three bureaus, you’re not really doing much to help yourself. This blog post will be part 1 out of 2 posts on how to clean up your credit, so pay close attention!

 

The first thing you need to do is get a copy of your credit report. This report will show all three of the major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Trans-Union. Mortgage lenders will typically request data from all three bureaus to get a good idea of your credit history. So if they’re going to be looking at it, you’ll want to get a copy of your credit report as well, to know what you’re dealing with. Make it easier for yourself by ordering a Merged Report – they usually only costs around $30 and will be delivered to you in hard-copy through the mail – just Google “Merged Report” and you should be able to find somewhere to order it from.

 

What to do once you contact your creditors:
The main thing you need to do is call any creditors that report a negative item and ask them to remove it. Be very polite, ask in a pleasant voice, and don’t overreact or get upset when they say no. Just repeat the quest again continuously, while remaining polite and respectful. If they continue to deny your request, just ask to speak to the supervisor. Keep a record of your conversation with the time, date, who you spoke to and what they told you. Most of the time, you will be able to get the negative item removed.

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As I mentioned in my blog recently, cleaning up your credit is crucial when it comes to getting an affordable home loan. You want your report to make you seem like a trustworthy and responsible adult who will pay your bills on time, so that lenders are more likely to give you a better rate. Once you’ve gotten a copy of your credit report, and worked with creditors to clean off any negative items, here’s what you have to do next:

 

Get Written Confirmation of Agreements
Once you’ve gotten creditors to agree they will wipe the negative item off your report, ask for a letter by mail (or fax) confirming that they are correcting the negative information. You’ll need this letter to ensure that they do follow up on their promise to correct the negative item, and you also may also need it in case you are applying for a mortgage before the changes take place. Your lender will need this documentation.

 

What to Do if Your Creditor Won’t Remove an Item:
Occasionally, the creditor will refuse to remove the negative credit item. If the item is definitely not yours, call the credit bureau immediately. Only discuss the negative items that are inaccurate – not any of the ones that are accurate. If you confirm any accuracy on any of the items, you can no longer dispute it again in the future by call or mail. For remaining items, dispute them through mail by writing directly to the credit bureaus. Write a letter that includes all necessary information – your name, social security number, address, disputed accounts and account numbers. Be sure to sign the letter as well. All you need to say is that you are disputing the data the way that it appears on your credit report and explain why.

 

Although these things may seem tedious and frustrating, it will make it all worth it if it gets you closer to getting a great home loan. Any questions? Just email me at beverly.corsmeier@cbws.com!

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Three Reasons Not to Have Too High of a Selling Price
Everyone’s first instinct when selling a house is usually to price it fairly high. Occasionally a home seller will luck out and someone will sweep it off the market. But, for nearly 99% of homeowners, pricing a home too highly can actually give them a lot of trouble when it comes to selling their home. There are a few reasons you need to be careful about your selling price, and here are three of them.

 

1: If you start out high and then drop it, your house is no longer a “hot commodity”
Once people see you have dropped the price of your house, they will no longer view it as a home that is high-demand. It becomes “old news” and people will assume it has been on the market for a while and that it’s not selling for a reason. People will only see it as back on the market as opposed to being newly for sale – this always decreases the amount of interested buyers.

 

2: Potential buyers will no longer be competitive about your home
People always want what they can’t have – this even applies to huge life-altering decisions like buying a house. If you lower the price of your home, then potential buyers will assume you are having trouble selling, and they will not be as aggressive about making an offer or even buying your home. They will think they have plenty of time to decide, so your house could end up sitting on the market for even longer than you anticipated, because potential buyers are taking their time deciding.

 

3: You will most likely get lower offers than you request
When potential buyers think there are other people interested in your home, they are more likely to be aggressive in terms of meeting your price or even offering more than you requested, in order to beat out the competition. But if they see that your house was at a high asking price and you’ve lowered it, they’ll know you are struggling to sell it, and they will most likely force you to settle for a lower price than you would have even received at a normal price – because they know they can.

 

It’s understandable that your first instinct when selling a home is to have a high asking price – you’ve probably put a lot of money, effort, and time into your home, and you want to price it at the right value. But as you can see just from these 3 reasons out of many, pricing your house to high can actually lead to an even lower price than if you would price it at a normal number. So make sure to check with your real estate agent and do your research when it comes to pricing your home for sale. Questions? Email me at beverly.corsmeier@cbws.com!

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In almost every homebuying instance, homebuyers are required to buy homeowners insurance for their real estate purchase. This is because both the owner and mortgage lender need protection in case of damaged property from natural disasters or human-caused destruction. But many homeowners are understandably concerned over how much their insurance will cost, and they want to make sure they don’t get taken advantage of. While there is no set cost because every case is different, here are some factors that can help you figure out whether or not you’re getting a good price.

 

Factor #1: The Size of Your Home
The price of your insurance premium is always impacted by the type and size of your home – this includes the square footage, the age of your home, and the kinds of materials that were used to build the structure (so that it’s easier to assess how likely damage to the home would be). You should also be aware of how recently your home has been renovated and if there have been any recent additions to it – this will impact the insurance company’s assessment of how much it would cost to rebuild your home in the case of a disaster. The larger your home and the more expensive the renovations and materials are, the more expensive your insurance policy will be.

 

Factor #2: Fire Protection
If your home is near a fire station and in close proximity to a fire hydrant, it’s much more likely that your home would be saved if a fire occurred. Because a good location fire-wise means less damage to repair your home, it also means your insurance can be lowered – so make sure you’re aware of where you are in relation to these things – it could save you a decent amount on your premiums.

 

Factor #3: Regional Disaster Characteristics
If you live in a region that is prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other potential natural disasters, your insurance costs will definitely be increased to cover these potential risks. Be sure to keep in mind that earthquake and flood protection are 2 natural disaster categories that are not included in standard policies, so if you live in an area prone to these things, you’ll have to pay higher premiums.

 

Factor #4: Local Crime Statistics
Homeowners insurance policies cover damage and losses to your person property from human-caused damage like theft or vandalism, so if the local crime rates in your area are higher, your premium price could increase. If you’re worried about getting taken advantage of when it comes to getting your homeowners insurance questions answered, just do your research and remember these factors – it will be hard for anyone to take advantage of you when you already know how it all works!

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Often in the real estate world, when you’re buying a property it’s called a “home” and when you’re selling a property it’s called a “house.” This is because real estate agents want to help you emotionally prepare for the journey you have ahead of you.

 

When you are preparing to purchase a property, it is an exciting experience in which you are searching for the new place that you will build a family, a life, memories, and more – you’re searching for a home. But when you’re selling a property, you must prepare to let go of all the memories you’ve had in a place you’ve called home for so long – you have to learn to think of it as a “house” and not your home.

 

It’s important when selling real estate that you remove your emotions from the experience – selling a property is stressful enough already, so it’s important that you do it with a clear and level head.

 

A tip when it comes to selling your real estate is to think of your home as a belonging – as your property, a marketable commodity. If you keep yourself deeply attached to it and can’t keep your emotions out of it, other potential buyers are not going to be able to picture themselves living in your home, meaning you’re never going to sell it. The goal is to start getting other people to see it as their potential home, not as your current home. If you don’t acknowledge this from the beginning, it’s going to take a whole lot longer to sell your property, and it may be practically impossible.

 

So one of the most important things to do when it comes to selling your home is to “de-personalize” it. This requires both mental and physical actions. You must mentally accept the fact that you are selling this property, and you must keep your emotions out of it. But you must also remove anything that’s going to make it look like a house that someone already lives in and that buyers won’t ever have a chance to make their own – get rid of photos, personal artwork, mementos from trips and travels, and anything else that makes it seem like someone already lives there. You want buyers to see the potential of it as a beautiful home, but you don’t want it to feel like the opportunity is now gone.

 

Trust me, by doing these few simple things, the process of selling your home will go by a lot faster! Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for other home selling tips, or email me at beverly.corsmeier@cbws.com!

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When it comes to selling a house, it’s important to know what type of listing you want so that the whole process can go more smoothly for you. While there are several different kinds of listings contracts, very few of them are actually used. The most popular is the Exclusive Right to Sell, but there’s also a few other listing types, such as Open Listing, Exclusive Agency Listing, and One-Time Show. I’ll discuss this home selling information below.

 

Exclusive Right to Sell:
The Exclusive Right to Sell listing means that your agent will work with other real estate agents and have them market your home to their clients. Regardless of who sells the home, whether it’s you selling it yourself to a colleague or friend or your listing agent selling it, your agent will still earn a commission.

 

If you want to have full service from an agent, an Exclusive Right to Sell agreement is probably the only type of listing they’ll agree to work with. The Full Service special means they’ll advertise and market your home, place it in the Multiple Listing Service, sharing the home with other agents and said agents’ clients, hosting open houses, and more.

 

But don’t worry about getting in over your head – your agent and their company will not get paid and make money unless your home is actually sold.

 

Exclusive Agency Listings:
An Exclusive Agency Listing means an agent can list and market your home, which would guarantee them a commission on the house if it sells through any real estate agent or real estate company. However, sellers can also market to potential buyers on their home time.

 

However, this is a fairly unpopular listing agreement because there’s no incentive for your real estate agent to spend time and money marketing your home – if you end up finding a buyer on your own, they will have spent lots of money and time on marketing your home but will not get commission earned back on it.

 

If you end up working with an agent who does agree to this listing, they’re most likely to place it in the Multiple Listing Service and a few other things, but you’ll have to put forth a lot of effort as well if you’d like the home to sell quickly.

 

Open Listings:
An Open Listing is most common with people who are attempting to sell their home by owner, but who are also open to working with real estate agents. While the home may be For Sale by Owner, agents still have the opportunity to bring buyers around to see your home. If the buyer makes an offer on your home, the agent will earn a commission. An Open Listing is not exclusive, so a home seller can give out the listing to any agent who approaches them. With this type of listings, agents will not actively market your home. However, if they have a client and your home fits the client’s criteria, the agent may end up showing their client and potentially helping you sell it.

 

One-Time Show:
A One-Time Show listing is similar to an Open Listing in the sense that it’s most often used by real estate agents who are showing a For Sale By Owner home to one of their clients who is looking to buy. In this case the home seller would sign an agreement that guarantees the real estate agent a commission on the sale as long as that agent’s client purchases the home.

 

Again, in this case, your agent will not spend any money on marketing your home, and it would not be placed in the Multiple Listing System.

 

Hopefully these explanations helped you to better understand the different types of Home Listings and which one will be best for you! Any questions? Email me as beverly.corsmeier@cbws.com! I would love to help you with your home listing questions.

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I recently shared a blog post with the perfect Home Buyer’s Checklist. I wanted to make sure that people selling their homes had the same advantage, so I put together a home seller’s checklist for anyone looking to sell their home in an efficient amount of time at an effective price. So follow these steps and the process of selling your home should be a breeze!

 

Step One: Start Everything Early
The more prepared you are, the better. It’s best to start by going through all of your current possessions – throw out, give away, sell, or put into storage all of the things that you don’t want or that are cluttering up your home. It’s also a good idea to start packing early. Pick out all of the nonessential things that you won’t need before moving day, and box them up. It’ll make your house look more organized and spacious.

 

Step Two: Get Some Help
Be sure to hire an agent both to help sell your house, and in the area that you’re looking to move. If you’re just moving houses in the same area, you can usually use the same agent, if they’re versatile enough Things you should look for in an agent are someone who is: highly trained, has lots of experience, has a good track record, has good reviews from previous clients (and can provide references) and has a good knowledge of your housing market – meaning they can get you the best deal possible.

 

Step Three: Disclose Any Problems Up Front
First you’re going to want to identify any obvious problems or flaws in your home. Sellers are obligated to report any flaws in the structure or property of the house, such as dry rot, a leaky roof, molding, or more. If you fail to mention your flooded basement or the termites you have, you could be sued for fraud. Since most home buyers have the house inspected before purchasing it, you’re saving yourself time, money, and trouble by disclosing any problems up front.

 

Step Four: Get Your House Ready to Showcase – Internally and Externally
A few simple actions can increase your home’s value by thousands and increase potential buyers by the dozens. As far as externally, here are some improvement suggestions:
•Fresh paint job: Simply giving your house a “facelift” will really attract the attention of buyers
•Lawn: Keep the lawn freshly mowed and trimmed, as well as clean and without any clutter or junk.
•Sidewalks: Sweep sidewalks daily. A good powerwashing is also a good idea.
•Shrubbery detail: Make sure to get rid of any dead or dying plantlife, including trees, hedges, and shrubs.
•Flowers: It’s a good idea to fill flowerbeds with seasonal flowers to give your house a bright, welcoming glow.

 

Here are some internal improvements you can try:
•Take care of the floors: polish wood floors and vinyl flooring, and steam-clean your carpets.
•Clean and polish the kitchen: you want everything to look crisp and clean, including the oven, refrigerator, microwave, stovetop, and more.
•Eliminate any odors: Buyers can easily be turned off by weird smells, so watch out for mildew, pet odors, and more. Try a Glade plug-in if you want a fresh scent in the home.
•Get rid of clutter! Nothing makes a house look smaller than too much stuff. The more you clean out, the bigger and cleaner everything will look.
•Take care of easy cosmetic improvements: this includes fresh paint jobs, maybe some decorative pillows on the couches and beds, and other small things that can give your home a more charming look.

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