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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.)

5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Homeowner Should Make for 2017

5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Homeowner Should Make for 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 is coming to a close, and with the new year just around the corner, people across the world are gearing up to set their intentions for the upcoming year in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. And while you’re bound to make at least one standard resolution (like “finally get in shape” or “eat more vegetables”), as a homeowner, there are some home-specific resolutions you’ll want to think about to get the most out of your property and the experience of owning a home this upcoming year.

Here are 5 New Year’s Resolutions every homeowner should make for 2017:

1. Bump Up Your Mortgage Payments

If you have any sort of expendable income in 2017, you might want to think about putting it towards your mortgage. Making extra payments on your mortgage can have a huge impact on the total you end up paying out over the course of the loan. It can also shorten the amount of time you’ll be saddled with payments and can have you owning your house free and clear sooner than you expected.

The more you can contribute, the better. But even if you can only make a few extra payments per year – do it. Those extra dollars will add up and end up saving you serious dollars in interest over the course of your mortgage.

Create a 2017 budget and look for any areas where you can shave a few dollars, like your daily trip to the coffeehouse or an expensive gym membership. Then, re-purpose that cash and put it towards paying down your mortgage faster.

2. Explore Refinancing

2016 saw near record low interest rates on mortgages, and while they’ve slowly crept up towards the end of the year (current rates are around 4%), they’re still HALF of the average interest rates over the past 40 years (which averaged at 8.45%).

If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage recently, now is the time to do it. With a new president taking office, the economy may shift, and interest rates may rise.

Talk to your loan officer about refinancing and getting a lower interest rate. And if you’re in a variable rate mortgage, shift over to a fixed rate mortgage and lock in the low interest rates while you can.

3. Review and Renew Your Homeowners Insurance

A lot of homeowners roll over their insurance year to year, but if you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while, you might be missing out on some money-saving opportunities.

Shop around and get quotes to see what rates are competitive in the current market and if you’re paying more, see if your current company will match the lowest quote. If you have a stand-alone policy, think about bundling your auto and homeowners insurance with one company. Insurance companies will often offer discounts for customers who hold multiple policies. If you’ve made any major improvements to your home that could impact the insurability of your house (like clearing trees, installing a high tech security system or adding storm reinforcements), let your agent know. Improvements can often lower your premiums.

4. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter

While spring is traditionally the time for organizing (in the form of “spring cleaning”), there’s no better time for a fresh start – and a more organized home – than the New Year.

Cleaning out closets, getting rid of things you no longer want or need and taking a more minimalist approach to life can have huge benefits. Not only will your home look better, but you’ll also FEEL better as a result. Messy, cluttered homes can cause increased stress and anxiety, making it much harder to relax and enjoy your space. Clutter has also been shown to decrease creativity, productivity and focus, so if you want to have a happy and productive 2017, it’s time for the stuff to go.

Plan a day to go through all of your closets, cabinets and storage space. If you’re not actively using something, get rid of it. The benefits you’ll reap from decluttering will far outweigh the value of the things you get rid of.

5. Get Up To Speed On Safety

The new year is the perfect time to review the current state of your property and take any precautions necessary to ensure that you’re safe in the upcoming year.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace them if necessary. Check your house for radon, a common, carcinogenic gas that can increase your chance of lung cancer (you can pick up a radon testing kit at a local hardware store for less than $10).  Meet with your family to review emergency evacuation plans in case of a fire, flood or other emergencies.

With these 5 resolutions, you’ll get the most out of your property – and of owning your home – in 2017 and beyond.

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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Fixer Upper??

Fixer upper:  Diamond in the rough or a money pit?

So you’re thinking of a fixer upper?  Lots of people do.  You want to be able to put your own spin on the decorating, choose your own flooring and decor just like they do on HGTV.  The question is, how do you tell if it is truly a diamond in the rough or a soul-sucking money pit?

 

Not so long ago, many of the fixer uppers on the market were distressed properties such as foreclosures.  Often you’d find that they were stripped of anything valuable:  often times the furnace, a/c unit, copper wiring, let alone the appliances and light fixtures were missing or stolen.   Fortunately, the market has improved now and this is a less common sight.

 

How about the home’s basic features?  Does it have that really cool architectural or design feel?  Maybe gorgeous hardwood floors and an awesome fireplace or mantel?  Some features never really go out of style.

woodwork staircase

One of the most important features to consider is the overall structural soundness of the property.  Are the walls bowing in or out in the basement?  Are there waterproofing issues that need to be resolved?  Once I sold a house to someone who renovated the entire house before realizing that he should have leveled the floors before installing the sheetrock.  You could put a pair of roller skates on at one end of the house and with a little start be at the back of the house.  The contractor lost his shirt on this one.  (Hindsight)

 

What about location?  Location is king when it comes to a renovated house.  Will the renovation make it the nicest house on the block?  Or will others still be nicer than this one?

Of course, dealing with ANY renovation can be stressful.  There’s always more than first meets the eye.  Been there.  Done that.  Always need a contingency plan.  Many have told me the only way to make money on a renovation is to be the one to do the contracting work.  That’s usually the person who makes money on the deal.

Money Pit

Some people like the challenge of the task before them.  Others prefer to buy a home already done.  It’s individual preference, I’d say.  We at Advantage Real Estate are here to help you decide, just let us know what direction you prefer!

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!

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

 

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!