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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.

 

 

 

It’s The Holiday Season

What’s the top reason to sell your home during the holidays?

 

Every year about this time we see a lot of sellers take their homes off the market.  They don’t want to move during the winter.  They don’t want anyone to look during the Christmas holidays.  The kids will be on vacation from school.  You get the idea, and so do I.  But let me share this nugget with you:  “there are still motivated buyers out there during the winter months that need to select and buy a home.”   And if yours is still on the market, then yours may be what they select!

We can work around the freezing weather conditions.  No one wants to move during an ice storm.  We get that.  Everyone is normally very workable during this season.  We have sellers planning to list their homes soon (still).  I’m anxious to meet that buyer who has a very narrow window of time to select and close on his/her next home!

We’ve had some record busy fall and winters these past several years in the Moberly, MO real estate market.  Interest rates are still low, loan programs are available with no-low-some-20% down programs.  (Made you smile, didn’t I?)  This means that there are programs with no down payment, low down payment, some down payment, and of course, if you can put down 20% or more, that is optimal.

Feel free to share this with your friends who may be thinking of selling.  We’d love to hear from you!

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!

Spring Has Sprung! We are having an Open House Weekend!

Spring has sprung, and the agents at Advantage Real Estate are rolling out the red carpet this Saturday and Sunday, March 19th and 20th with 20 open houses!   You can see all the details at www.AskAdvantage.com for each specific property!

 

Starting  on Saturday from 10 am to 12 noon:

 

1331 Watson - MLS 16-69

 

1331 Watson, $67,500  MLS 16-69

 

615 Weintz - MLS 15-438

 

615 Weintz, $114,500  MLS 15-438

 

505 McKinley - MLS 16-95

 

505 McKinley, $59,000  MLS 16-95

 

419 Corinth - MLS 16-43

 

419 Corinth, $145,000  MLS 16-43

 

304 S 6th - MLS 16-3

 

304 S. 6th St. $59,900  16-3

 

335 Morningside - MLS 15-363

 

335 Morningside Dr.  $169,900  MLS 15-363

 

36 Urbandale - MLS 15-329

 

36 Urbandale, $195,000  MLS 15-329

 

Starting on Saturday from 1 to 3 pm:

400 S Main Huntsville - MLS 16-85

 

400 S. Main, Huntsville $82,900 MLS 16-85

 

201 Greenhills - MLS 16-88

 

201 Greenhills Dr., $92,000 16-88

 

823 S Williams - MLS 15-11

 

823 S. Williams, $99,900  MLS 15-11

 

414 Union - MLS 16-7

 

414 Union, $76,500  MLS 16-7

 

Sunday Open Houses 1 to 3 pm

 737 W Rollins - MLS 15-239

737 W. Rollins, $76,900  MLS 15-239

 

519 Fort - MLS 15-443

 

519 Fort, $129,900  MLS 15-443

 

804 Fox Run - MLS 15-321

 

805 Fox Run, $225,000 16-60

 

805 Fox Run - MLS 16-60

 

804 Fox Run, $339,900  15-321

 

518 E Burkhart - MLS 15-358

 

518 E. Burkhart, $73,000  MLS 15-358

 

8527 Highway BB Huntsville - MLS 15-472

 

8527 Hwy BB, Huntsville, $125,500  MLS 14-472

 

1113 Bradford Circle - MLS 16-82

 

1113 Bradford Circle, $189,900  MLS 16-82

 

1052 Private Rd 1006 Clifton Hill - MLS 16-22

1052 Private Road 1006, Clifton Hill (just off Hwy 24 west of Clifton Hill North turn off.  You can see house from the highway)

$255,000  MLS 16-22

 

Sunday 3:30 to 5:30 pm:

423 S Clark - MLS 16-73

 

423 S. Clark, $45,000  MLS 16-73

Remember Your First Time?

Everyone remembers their firsts– first kiss, first car, first job, first house.  Here’s another one: my first listing.  I remember it well.  Actually it was my first listing with Advantage Real Estate.  You see, I had been licensed with another major franchise prior to that, but that’s another story.  My first listing was a rundown 3 bedroom house in a not-so-expensive part of town. (In this photo, it’s been fixed up a bunch since 20 years ago…)   Word got back to me that “we had found our niche.”   We eventually found the right buyer for it; the wife’s aunt lived right down the street.  Funny thing how “family” brings people back to our town!

236 Bedford.jpg

 

The folks who sold that house bought another one, a much nicer “move-up” house.  And there begins our saga with Advantage Real Estate.  During the first year our office was in business, I kid you not:  someone either called or came by the office in person EVERY DAY Monday through Saturday for a year to say that they were glad we were here!  They told us that this town needed some competition because the ones in business weren’t providing the service they expected.  My step father, who started our office in Moberly had three real estate offices at one time in Houston, TX (before the oil recession), brought a concept with him that we still use today.  It’s a service satisfaction guarantee.  We want folks to know we are serious about good communication.  Serious enough to put it in writing…

 

Back to the “first” story though.  As time went on, we sold the listings we had, many of the sellers moved up to larger homes.  We have grown to represent many, many homes in varying price ranges.  They are ALL important to us.   We always try to value any home we work with as that person’s castle.  It’s the most important thing that family owns.  And we don’t want to forget it.  It’s what our company is based on.  Tell the truth no matter what.  Be nice.  Stay in touch.  Give feedback.

 

Our footprint in this market is continually growing!  In 2015 we represented 275 sides of sale (which means either a seller or a buyer).

2015 Sales one yard at a time.jpg

If you know someone who needs advice on how to sell their home quickly and at the best possible price…please give us a call!  660-263-3393

or find us on the web at www.AskAdvantage.com.

 

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!

Love It or List It?

Love it or List It?

Do you ever find yourself going back and forth about whether or not to sell your home?  As you think it through , here’s some factors to consider, including the current state of the real estate market as well as your lifestyle and financial situation…

 

Ever since the housing crash in 2007-2009, we’ve now had years of housing recovery.  So much recovery that we are experiencing a shortage of inventory for homes in today’s real estate market.  Fortunately for you, it’s a seller’s market right now.

5 signs it’s time to sell your home

 

  1. You’re running out of living space.

Maybe your kids are outgrowing their rooms (literally) or you’re thinking about adding to your family.  Or are you frustrated because you don’t have enough room for guests to sleep?  These are some signs that it’s about that time.

 

  1. You’re not emotionally attached to your home anymore.

In order to sell, you need to be able to view your house as a “product” and ask your Realtor what must you do to make the house show in its best light?

 

  1. You can afford it.

This is important – review all the costs related to selling and moving to the next home.

 

  1. Your equity is looking good about now.

Ever since the housing market crashed, homeowners have been skeptical about putting their home on the market to sell.  Thankfully, real estate has come back full force, and increasing numbers of homeowners are getting positive equity back.  Now is the perfect time to see where your equity stands.

 

  1. You are ready to make your decision.

Making the decision to sell your home can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone.  By partnering with a trustworthy real estate professional, you can get expert advice that will make the selling process smooth.

 

SO, THE CHOICE IS YOURS. 

ARE YOU READY TO LIST YOUR HOME? 

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!  660-263-3393

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!

Tips to Market Your Home

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.

Marketing Homes to Sell Quickly in the Moberly Area

Pricing is crucial at all times but is even more important when there is a lot of competition. The following is information on marketing homes to sell quickly in the Moberly, MO area.

Understand Market Trends

Each local market varies. When you hear about information on the news, those usually relate to national averages. The region we are in – in the Midwest – may not fit that generalization. A Moberly real estate agent can provide a market analysis which considers sales of comparable real estate in your area and produce an expected price range for a home. This range will vary continually, so do not rely on old figures from sales beyond the past year.  Typically, the appraisers are required to have relevant sales within the past 4 months to 12 months.

Remain Realistic

When viewing the market figures, be aware that there is a range of values when pricing a property. Your real estate agent should provide comparable sales that have sold in the past 12 months that are as similar to your property:  style, year built, square footage and lot size are a few of the factors involved.  The value of a home depends sometimes on other factors, like recent renovations, competition on the market, and a seller’s need to sell quickly or not.   As a seller, it is understandable to be proud of your property and the time and effort invested. Unfortunately, not all potential buyers will give equal value to particular renovations. Expect that you may not get back the total amount spent on repairs. Sometimes some repairs like a new roof or furnace come under the category of “home maintenance” to a prospective buyer.  Furthermore, market values may be impacted by foreclosures in the region, which are typically sold at lower prices and are still considered comparable listings. “Market value” is actually the amount that a home buyer is willing to pay for a listing during a particular time. It may not necessarily be close to your requirements or resemble the price at which you purchased the property.  A willing seller makes the deal happen.

Some Final Words for Homeowners

Listen to the advice of your real estate professional!  It may be that you have a need to sell quickly, and the best approach is to price your house to within 4-6% of a fair market valuation to attract a buyer quickly.  Right now our local market has a shortage of homes for sale, so now is a good time to list your home!  We have buyers in our pipeline ready to act when the right property comes on the market.  Many of those home sellers who have kept their home on the market during the winter months have benefitted from the pool of qualified buyers that are ready to act!  Just remember that time and money are related, and overpricing can be more damaging than you expect. For more information on marketing homes to sell quickly in the Moberly area, contact your favorite Realtor at Advantage Real Estate!