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Do You Hate When Real Estate Agents Ask You This Question?

 

 

Have you ever gone to an open house? Or called a real estate agent about a listing you see? Maybe e-mail an agent about a property he/she has listed?

You just want to check out a house. Maybe you’re just curious. Or, maybe you’re even pretty serious about buying a house. Doesn’t matter. All you’re doing is wondering about a house. That’s it. That’s what you want to talk to the agent about…the house you came to see, or called about.

And it seems like one of the first questions an agent asks you is, “Do you have a house to sell?

It’s a seemingly odd question, right? It doesn’t make sense for them to ask that question…at least not at that moment.

It seems a bit “cart-before-the-horse”, doesn’t it?

It might even come across as kind of pushy and forward, and beside the point.

Whether you have a house to sell or not seems irrelevant at that point. You don’t even know if you like the house, or will buy the house you are looking at. And you aren’t even thinking about selling your house, until and unless you find the house you want and actually have an offer accepted.

So, why do agents bring this up all the time?

You probably figure it’s because they’re hoping you do have a house to sell, so they can list the home you own, sell you this one you are asking about, and get two sales off of you.

Or that they want you to list your home, and get it under contract, so that you have to move…(again, so they can get two sales off of you).

Which makes you feel like they’re just looking to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, off of you. And, all of your fears and perceptions about real estate agents seem justified…

Whether you have a home to sell or not matters.

It might seem kind of early on for the agent to ask you this. But it’s not.

In fact, this question should be asked, answered, and addressed, before you even look at a house to buy.

Agents need to know this.

You need to know this.

And it has nothing to do with an agent wanting to make more money, or any money at all, off of you.

Because, if you own a home, the chances are…you need to sell your house before you can buy another one.

That doesn’t apply to everyone, of course. But most people can’t buy another home, until and unless the house they currently own is sold…

…which doesn’t sound all that appealing to most people. It begs so many questions. Here’s a few of them…

  • Who wants to sell their home without having lined up the one they are buying first?
  • What if you can’t find a house you want to buy once your home is sold?!
  • Won’t that put you in a tough spot to negotiate the best price of a home you want to buy, since you will be under the pressure of time? Will you have to overpay just to make sure you have a house to move to?

Those are just a few of the most common, and valid concerns.

Maybe You Don’t Need To Sell Your Home First…

Almost everyone an agent meets wants to be able to buy a house, without having to sell the house they already own first.

So, agents are always asked if there are alternatives.

Basically, there’s one that solves this problem every single time.

Do you have enough cash to just buy a house outright!? If so, you are in luck!

Go ahead and look for a house, and buy one. Move out of your house and into the new one. Then sell the old one at your leisure. You have options most people do not.

There are some other options, of course. But they aren’t definitely options for everyone.

For instance:

  • A bank might loan you money to buy your next house without selling your other one first. There are certainly circumstance and products that will allow for this. But this depends heavily on you and your financial picture.
  • You might be able to negotiate a “home sale contingency”…meaning, the owner of the house you want to buy agrees to give you time to sell your home, and your purchase is actually contingent upon getting your house sold. (Tough thing to negotiate in a lot of markets, or with many sellers. It isn’t all that appealing to sellers. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute… Would you agree to that as a seller?)

While you might be able to find an alternate route, other than selling your house first, it’s unlikely. And in many cases, it makes you a less than desirable buyer…which limits your options, and ability to negotiate a good deal.

So many people lose out on the house of their dreams, because they search and find it before they are in position to do anything about it. It’s a recipe for wasted time, aggravation, disappointment, and heartache.

So, what should you do?

First, you should assess what your options are as early on as possible.

Speak to a real estate agent and a mortgage lender.

If you discover that you have options beyond having to sell your place first, awesome!

But if not, don’t feel like you are the only person on earth to ever be put in this position. You have a lot of company.

That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, of course.

What will make it easier for you, and set you apart from everyone else in the same position, is understanding how critical it is to sell your home first. And, having a solid plan and approach to time the sale of your home, and the purchase of the next. (Which a great real estate agent can help you come up with.)

8 Scams to watch out for this Holiday Season

Holiday Fraud_FB Social Media_Layout 18 Scams to Watch Out For This Holiday Season

 

The holidays are a happy time for celebrating with family, friends, and co-workers. Unfortunately, this time of year can also be turned sour by a wide variety of clever frauds, unauthorized debit and credit card transactions, and bogus person-to-person scams. By the end of 2015, individuals, retailers, charitable donors, and companies were victimized to the tune of $1.5 billion… and that number is expected to have gone up in 2016.

 

Just as you protect your home with an alarm system, you should set up defenses for your credit and identity. During the holiday season, fraudulent activity spikes, but here’s how to protect yourself from the eight most common scams.

 

Big Data Breeds Data Breaches

 

Big data during the holidays is great for marketers; it’s a bonanza of consumer information to use to lure shoppers to Black Friday deals and the like. However, while companies wrangle in the chaos of holiday orders, scammers search for weaknesses in a company’s cyber-security. According to a top executive at one of the leading credit bureaus, “Data breaches are inevitable and most consumers are vulnerable to identity theft… especially during the holidays.” In fact, 25% more consumers were affected by identity theft during the holidays in 2015 than in 2014!

 

The best way to reduce your risk of data breaches is use cash for all your purchases. According to a survey by TransUnion, however, only 20 percent of shoppers plan to pay with cash. If you’re part of the 80 percent using plastic, use a credit card instead of a debit card. You have more purchase protection using a credit card than a debit card if a data breach occurs or fraud happens.

 

Other protections from data breaches include:

 

  • Using a low-limit credit card for online purchases so you can detect fraudulent activity.
  • Utilizing services like PayPal to lower the risk of your card information being lost at the retailer.

 

Package Theft

 

E-commerce is great for holiday shoppers… but it’s also great for thieves. Last year, Insurancequotes reported that 23 million people had packages stolen at their front door!

 

To prevent this from happening to you, have your packages delivered to your office or delivered to a pick-up area such as a UPS store or Amazon Locker.  You can also set up tracking notifications so that you know when to expect delivery.

 

And while you’re waiting for your packages, be on the lookout for this scam: a note on the front door saying you have a package waiting for pickup. The note asks for a call, often to a pricey number that leaves you on hold for a long period while they collect premium phone rates, or it leads to a person asking for details on your personal information to “verify your identity.” If the note isn’t from a shipper you recognize, or if the Googled number isn’t found, don’t get involved.

 

Online Shopping Scams

 

The big brother of package thievery is the online shopping scam. Phony online stores lure shoppers in through searches and online ads, enticing you with low-priced, high-quality items. These “bargains” cost you not only money, but also hours of time trying to fight the fraudulent transaction. To put salt in the wound, once these websites nab your personal information, they often also infect your computer with malware that compromises your login to your online bank.

 

To avoid the pitfalls of the fake online merchant, only purchase from retail names you know and trust. You could also Google the site and look for reviews. Yelp is a legitimate site for reviews as is the Better Business Bureau. Before you make a purchase online, double-check that “https” appears in the URL, which signifies that the site has passed stringent security compliance standards.

 

Poisonous Holiday E-Cards

 

E-cards are popular during the holidays because they’re a free, fun, and easy way to catch up with friends and family members. But beware because it’s just as easy for scammers to use fake e-cards to steal your personal information. A lot of fake e-cards you may get are from your hacked address book or the hacked address book of someone you know. At first glance, the card may look legitimate, but once you open it, you’ve been phished.

 

The only way to avoid this from happening is paying attention to detail. The number one tell of a fake E-card is any kind of misspelling. The URL will have a subtle misspelled word or your friend’s name is misspelled. Usually the misspelled word will contain a number: T1msmith@comcast.net for instance.

 

Fake Apps

 

ConsumerAffairs is reporting a huge spike in fake apps. Scammers are using fake retail and product apps found in Apple’s App Store to steal unsuspecting consumers’ financial information. Many of these thieves rip off company or brand logos to make the fake app look real. So before you get that convenient retail or product app, make sure it’s legit.

 

Just as with fake e-cards, fake apps will seem normal until you start looking at the details. Before you download that convenient retail or product app, make sure you check for the following:

 

  • A nonsensical description
  • No reviews
  • No history of previous versions

 

 

Gift Card Scammers

 

Scam artists skim or copy the codes on the back of gift cards before they’re bought. After the card has been activated, the scammers drain the card’s funds.

 

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of compromised gift cards, buy gift cards displayed behind store counters, make sure preloaded cards are still loaded, and make sure the protective scratch-off strip is flawless.

 

Malicious Charities

 

During the holiday season we all feel an extra sense of giving. Grifters and thieves play on this sensibility by creating false charities and hitting you up on Twitter, Instagram, and in your e-mail inbox.

 

There are online resources to help you verify the legitimacy of charities. The website Charity Navigator is a non-profit organization that rates over 8,000 U.S-based charities operating throughout the world. Another way to get free reviews and evaluations on national charities is through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

 

Corrupted Wi-Fi

 

You’ll probably hit the mall this holiday for some in-person price checking, and you’ll probably have your smartphone, laptop, and/or your iPad with you. Please be careful because skimmers and scammers love to manipulate Wi-Fi signals in places like malls and coffee shops to gather your financial information. These people create Wi-Fi signals that mimic the signal you use, then hack your info when you connect to it.

 

To protect yourself from Wi-Fi manipulators, just don’t make online purchases with your credit or debit card when you’re in a public space.

 

Who Should You Turn To?

 

If you catch the trouble soon enough, credit or identity fraud can be an inconvenience. If you don’t, however, one instance can have long-term impacts. If, for example, someone bought an appliance using your name while you were trying to refinance your mortgage, then you might not get approved for the loan!

 

If you’re curious to know if you’ve been affected, or if you know your credit is in disrepair and need help fixing it, please let us know so we can refer you to our recommended professionals.

 

 

 

How Important are Reviews to You?

I was wondering what thought a potential buyer or seller puts into the process when deciding which real estate agent  to work with…..

Do you call the agent who has the listing?

Or just the one that happens to answer the phone at the real estate office?

Or do you look at the REVIEWS posted online such as on Zillow.com, Trulia. com, or Realtor.com?

How do REVIEWS play into your decision making??

 

I know when I’m online looking for an appliance, or even a piece of clothing, I look for the reviews and see what others have thought of the product.  When you are shopping for an appliance do YOU read the reviews before looking or buying?

Making a real estate sale or purchase is such a huge event in a person’s life, wouldn’t you want the best?

I challenge you to check out reviews from the agents at Advantage Real Estate in Moberly, MO.   Many of our team has reviews posted on Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com!

Lots of people like the charm of an older home, do you?

Lots of people like the charm of an older home, do you? 

Nicely updated, clean and move-in ready!

Affordably priced, this 4 BR 2 BA home offers large bedrooms with good sized closets

and two updated bathrooms

There’s plenty of storage in basement!

Sunlight entering the rooms brings positive vibes!

On street parking and wooded ravine behind the house.

$2000 appliance allowance can be negotiated w/acceptable offer.

Call your favorite agent at Advantage Real Estate; we’d love to help you make this yours! 660-263-3393

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Move up to Meadowbrook!

Are you looking for more room?  Want everything on one level plus a basement for storage or storms?  Check out this newly listed home in Meadowbrook at 1900 Eastbrook Circle in Moberly, MO

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It has over 2100 square feet on the main level, including an awesome 4 seasons addition in back.

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This room overlooks the large yard which backs up to undisturbed meadow land (no neighbors in back)!

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In fact, it’s one of the largest yards in the subdivision, and it’s manicured to perfection.  You’ll love the hardwood flooring in much of the main level, the updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances,

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the master bedroom is very spacious, and includes two large closets, one of them a walk-in.

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There’s storage everywhere you look.  The basement is huge too, and there’s room for whatever you want:  storage, workshop area, craft area, plus a tornado room!

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There’s nothing like this on the market.  It’s a see-to-believe home!  Plus an attached 2 car garage and detached oversized 1 car garage, storage shed and gazebo.

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Call Advantage Real Estate to schedule a time to see it in person.  660-263-3393.  Until then, here’s a link to the virtual tour and interactive floor plan.

Enjoy!

http://tour.spherotours.com/526795

Oh, one more thing…this is the house with the Christmas village display in the garage.  (It’s negotiable!)

Best Ways to Spend Your Tax Return

It’s always nice to get a big chunk of money back on your tax return.  How should you spend that money though?

Instead of hitting the mall, here’s some ideas to consider…

 

  1. Update your home’s fixtures.

Updating fixtures goes a long way to giving a modern “look” to a house.  Making the light fixtures and the ceiling fans all match is  what they do in new construction.  How about replacing door handles, hinges, faucets, and bathroom light fixtures to match modern home design trends?

 

  1. Trim and Mouldings

Installing crown moulding, baseboards, or wainscoting is a sure fire way to create a more refined look.

 

  1. Make Kitchen Repairs

Focus on making repairs like a new kitchen faucet, eliminating burn marks on the countertops, maybe repainting your cabinets and installing new hardware with a modern finish.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot.

 

  1. Spruce Up the Exterior

Keep in mind that the curb appeal is the first impression for many buyers online and in person.  Invest in some fertilizer to green up your lawn, even some chemical to get rid of the dandelions!  Trim the shrubs, paint the front door, clean the windows till they shine, set out some seasonal flowers in a flower pot.  These all go a long way to impress!

 

  1. Upgrade the Bathroom

Rather than taking on an expensive renovation, make sure your bathroom is tip-top clean.  Clean the tub and shower (make sure there’s no grungy mildew or soap scum), regrout the tile if needed, and install new fixtures.  Invest in some new towels if it’s been awhile.

 

Whether or not you’re getting ready to sell, these tweaks are cost-effective, and will result in a new look.  They may be small, but will make a huge impact!

The H.P. Jennings Mansion – Moberly, MO

Hey there, I’m enjoying the sun trying to come out from behind the clouds and thought I’d take a few minutes to show you some shots of a magnificent 1893 mansion restored with quality and character!

This is the entry foyer, complete with fireplace and the inside of the front turret. 

There are a total of 6 fireplaces in the house.  All in original condition with excellent care through the years!

Lovely grand staircase leading to the second story.  This comfortable and solid 3-story yellow brick Victorian has 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and a 2 door detached garage plus a gazebo.

Spacious front “music” room with beamed ceilings and oak flooring.

Large dining room with fireplace. 

Modern kitchen with plenty of storage and counter space.

3 bedrooms on the second floor.  This master bedroom has awesome wood floors and beamed ceilings.

It is reported by the Missouri Historical Society in Columbia that the renowned Missouri architect, Ludwig Abt designed the second floor bathrooms.  There are two that are side-by-side, both with square tubs

There’s over 5300 sq ft in this wonderful home.  Call Advantage Real Estate at 660-263-3393.  We’d love to take you on a personal tour!

http://tour.spherotours.com/public/vtour/display/423530

 

For One of Your Biggest Financial Investments – We Are Here to Help

We are rounding the corner with SPRING to soon be here, I am optimistic!  This year Advantage Real Estate will celebrate 20 years in the business in the Moberly, MO area.  What brings the most joy to my heart is helping each of our families get through one of the biggest financial investments of their lives.  Many times when people contact me for the first time, they say, “I’m not sure what to do.” Let me assure you this is perfectly normal because most people simply don’t sell or buy enough homes in a lifetime to know what they need to do, much less be considered an expert.

Sellers need help figuring out what needs to be repaired or updated and many times they don’t know who to call for a handyman, painter, plumber, electrician, deck repair, etc. They are curious about what their home is worth. They don’t know how it works with timing the sale of their current home and then finding the next home. With over 1000 homes sold in my career, we’ll will be with you every step of the way. From getting home repairs done, to providing advice on home staging as well as professional photography, and then advertising the home to the general public and to the real estate community. After that we move to contract signing, home inspections, appraisals, final underwriting, hiring movers. The list goes on and on, but my professional team will be there to answer all of your questions and to insure your success.

Buyers need help understanding how to get pre-approved for a loan. They want to know the elements of the home buying process and what order those need to come in. They know they can search for homes online, but question whether there are other homes available that they’re not seeing (the answer is YES). They want to know how the home inspections and appraisal works and they want a seamless, and dare I say, enjoyable home buying experience. At the close of a sale, I never get tired of hearing our clients say, “That was the smoothest real estate transaction we’ve ever had.”

I invite you to call Advantage Real Estate and see for yourself if we are the real estate group to help you and your family. We will never ask you to sign any contracts up front. We simply want the opportunity to sit down in a relaxed environment and answer your questions, then share some options that might be available for your specific situation. If, after that first consultation, you choose not to move forward, then you owe us nothing and we can part as friends. If you do choose to work with us, then we can discuss the next steps at that time. We’ve found this to be an extremely professional approach and one that our clients seem to appreciate.

Looking forward to hearing from you when the time is right!

Something Old, Something New – How to Decide on New or Existing Construction

Thinking about a new home but not sure whether you want new or existing construction? The best place to start on these kinds of big decisions is a pros and cons list:

New Construction

  • You get a brand-new home with brand-new everything. Your a/c unit is fresh and unused. No one’s food has ever been inside the fridge.
  • In a new home, you can pick certain features and decide on aspects of the home, from details as small as the finishes, to as major as the floor plan or even overall home design, depending on what you buy.
  • Your home has never, ever, been lived in by anyone else. It’s ALL you, baby.
  • You can make it totally your own.
  • There’s no bad “juju” from former owners, no one else has been there to funk up the place with their cooties.
  • New construction homes are often turn-key, move-in ready, with no major renovation work to do, maybe just some finishing touches.

Existing (Old) Construction

  • Older homes are generally more affordable than new homes, which people will pay a premium for new construction.
  • Existing homes are often located on larger lots as newer homes tend to be larger homes on smaller plots of land.
  • Older homes have cool, unique features or specialty craftsmanship from bygone eras that are considered vintage and sought after.
  • You can be a part of a charming, established neighborhood with history and character.
  • The landscaping is already done, with previous owners adding special features over the years. Mature trees and foliage are already in place and you don’t have to do a thing, other than maintain your existing yard.
  • You can buy for a lower price, renovate, and make it your own. If you’ve ever watched HGTV, you’ve definitely seen shows where people have a choice between buying a new home or an older one. The older home almost always can be purchased for significantly less, and even with a renovation budget included, it will be a better buy in the long run.

Either way, we’d love to help you make that decision!  Contact Advantage Real Estate and let us know what we can do!