Monday, April 2, 2012

Costly mistakes by home buyers....
Check out this video to help you not make the costly mistakes that are made by most home buyers.  I am an accredited buyer representative and I am trained to help you avoid these mistakes.  At RE/MAX we are trained and ready to assist you and help you through the process. Give me a call today if you have any questions or need assistance in buying or selling!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Should buyers take the plunge this spring?

March Buying Advice: Pending sales are up, and experts say the economy is stronger. With mortgage rates still pretty attractive, it might be time for some fence-sitters to become homebuyers.  They are saying the prices have gone about as low as they are going to go. So now is the time to jump into the pool of buyers for the homes that are still at great prices.  Pending sales are up and inventory is down.  In our area in Tuscaloosa, Alabama we actually are having difficulty finding homes for buyers that are looking in the $135000-$165000 range.   So , how should this shape your strategy?  As a buyer you need to be prepared for the downpayment that will be required.  This amount  will depend on what type of loan you choose.  It is best to speak with your lender to get a good picture of how you need to proceed.  Also you will need to make a list of your desired amenities in a home.  You need to be realistic and realize you may not be able to get all on your list.  So prioritize your list to must haves and needs and then wants. This will help your buying process tremendously!  Then you need to interview agents so that you can decide on the right person for you .  This may take a few days or a week or so , but it is worth it to make sure you get an agent that is truly going to work for you!  If you are a 1st time home buyer you especially need to choose someone who specializes in 1st time home buyers!  This person has been trained to focus on your needs and help educate you about the process at the same time.  Take your time but be proactive and your buying process will be enjoyable!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Five Common Mistakes for Buyers!

1. Closing old accounts:  15 percent of a consumer's credit score is based on the length of their credit history, closing old accounts that are no longer used can actually hurt your credit score.
2. Paying off old debt:  If the consumer discovers some small balance on an old account , don't make the mistake of simply paying off the balance, assuming this will clean up a credit blemish.  This could cause a decrease in the score.
3. Opening new credit lines:  Buyers should always avoid any new actions that alter their credit picture after they have applied for a mortgage but before the transaction is closed.   They should wait until after closing day.
4. Assuming you know your credit score:  A consumer's so -called soft inquiry can generate a different number than the actual FICO score a mortgage lender sees.
5. Credit line increases/decreases: If a credit card company raises their credit line with a consumer, that consumer's CU ratio just improved.  But keep in mind a creditor also has the power to lower a credit line if they see too much activity over long periods of time or missed payments on another creditor's file.  This can drastically  change your score by as much as 100 points!

This information can be found from the National Association of REALTORS.  Always speak with your lender about these issues to make sure you have what you need to purchase a home.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Home Owners Reality!!

Just as an FYI!  I was discussing with an agent in my office today about home owners who have in the recent past took out a loan or equity loan on their home.  This loan shows up as the amount owed on the home in the court house records.  But this additional amount does not qualify to be used in the sell of your home unless you actually used it to add to the home itself such as floors, additions, remodeling, etc.  This should not be loans used on furniture, credit card debt, etc.  We as REALTORS will do comps according to the market value in your area and what homes are selling for .  When this additional amount is added on by a homeowner then it usually puts the home over the market value for the area in which it is located.  The homeowner needs to realize that other buyers do not want to pay for your personal loans nor do they want to pay too much for your home when they can go down the street and buy a home that is correctly priced.  So think long and hard if you are thinking about putting your home on the market and you are trying to add additional loan money to the price of your home , it will not work.  In this market you need good equity in your home to make money or to break even, otherwise you will bring money to the table ( which should be your personal loans) in order to close.  This may be brutle ,but it is the truth!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Finishing Touches!

The reality today is that sellers do not want to spend big bucks to get their house up-to-par for buyers. The good news is there are plenty of ways they can do it for free or at a very low cost. For a detail report email me at!

#1. Details:
Staging is great but if you do not want to do that then you need to get your home sparkling and clutter-free with just a little elbow grease. Clean is the new amenity most buyers are looking for. It goes a long way!!

Tips: Box it up. Don't wait! Sellers should begin to box up as early as possible, ideally before the home goes on the market.
Show off: Buyers will be impressed if the laundry room is fresh, inviting and organized. All lightbulbs need to be working.
Focus: Pick a focal point for each room. The buyers eyes should automatically be drawn to this area.

#2. Floors:
Hardwoods are on most buyers wish list. If you choose to update your floors to hardwood you may find less expensive hardwoods by going to a wholesaler or directly to a manufacturer. If you decide to use another choice you may try bamboo or vinyl which will imitate the look.

Tips: Call the experts. Dirty, worn carpet may benefit from professional cleaning.
Refinish: Practically any hardwood can be salvaged with refinishing. You may also call a professional tile company to freshen up ceramic tile grout or do-it-yourselfers can check hardware stores for grout paint.
Add a layer: You can do this by using an area rug, even over carpets. It adds a splash of color and brings definition to living areas. If replacing carpet, consider upgrading the carpet pad, which usually only adds approximately 50 cents more per square foot.

#3. Lighting:
New lighting fixtures are a quick way to create ambiance. Just avoid the brass finish of days gone by.  More contemporary choices are brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. Use pendant lighting and under counter lighting to highlight special features.

Tips: Go natural. Open blinds and wipe down windows (remember squeeky clean!)  Use all your natural light to your advantage. Buyers love brightly lit rooms!
Save on energy: Compact fluorescent bulbs remain the go-to choice for energy efficiency. Buyers like seeing the opportunity save energy and money!
Don't forget: Don't forget the basement. Usually this area has problem with lack of adequate lighting. Added lighting will create a sense of airy space which will tie in with the upper levels of your home.

#4. Paint:
 A few gallons of paint can go a long way in making a home more chic--and the cost-effectiveness can not be beat!

Tips: Shine with Sheen. Satin or egg shell bounces light off the walls to make spaces seem larger. Semi-gloss, higher on the sheen level, is a good option for kitchens and bathrooms since it's easy to clean. Use gloss sparingly as it accentuates flaws.
Create: Use different variations fo the same color throughout the home to create harmony. Use the lighter colors in the main living areas and darker shades in the rooms that branch off the main livng area, such as bedrooms.
Paint the baseboards: Antique white or Navajo white are your better options. Be sure to prime your stained wood trim before painting.

***If you are interested I have an additonal "7 Ways to Create a Cohesive Style." Request it by email conniespate!***

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Market questions? I can help!

As we see the market change right in front of our eyes, there are still those of you who are hesitant to jump in there and take advantage of current trends. I would be glad to sit down with you, look at your present situation, and look at your hopes and dreams, and try to bring them to reality. I will be honest with you about your situation, and we will look at all alternatives. This is a great opportunity to own a home! There have been many times in history that were very similar to what we are experiencing in the real estate market at this time.  Unfortunately many look back with regret, at what was a great opportunity to make a move. If you want to know more about what our current market situation has to offer you, just give me a call with no obligation or no pressure! Don't look back at this time with regret! Maybe your time is now or maybe its later, but don't be afraid to call me and ask questions. I will look at your situation realistically and help you evaluate what your next move should be and when you should make it.