Home Buyer! What Are Your Questions?
Recently the National Association of Realtors compiled a list of responses to common questions a typical home buyer might ask their agents. The list is as follows:
- “How much should I spend?” You must look at your entire financial picture, which can be simple when you use a “house affordability calculator.” Skip past the ads listed first; most will ask you for your personal details before giving you a result.
- Can I sell my home and buy one at the same time?” This would include an understanding of possible offer contingencies. Also, some sellers choose to rent while house searching.
- “What will the seller agree to take?” The NAR’s proposal is to take 5% off the list price. However, every circumstance is unique. I believe a better suggestion would be to bear in mind the seller’s information and current market comps. Also, always get your agent’s take.
- “What about a home inspection? Is it necessary?” Yes! As a home buyer, it must be done. When a home appears to be in perfect condition, it can be enticing to just skip the inspection. However, the report produced by your home inspector will be a worthwhile use of your time and money. You may find yourself looking at it long after you have settled into your new home.
- “When is too late to back out?” You will likely lose your deposit money if you change course without a reason. However, a good offer should include provisions to cancel a purchase for reasonable reasons like inspection conclusions and loan terms.
One thing is for certain about the typical home buyer, they will have many questions before they have chosen their perfect home. We are always here to answer any questions you may have! Call today!
Homeowner’s Insurance: How to Save!
You likely may not be considering the proximity of a firehouse when purchasing a home. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, residing near a firehouse has many benefits including, of course, safety. But did you know it could translate into a decrease in your homeowner’s insurance premiums?
True, not all homes are going to be close to a firehouse. However, we all know the crucial role homeowner’s insurance plays in protecting the home and its belongings. Below are three tactics you could implement now to reduce your insurance premiums.
Three Tips For Buying Home Insurance
Although not always the most pleasurable experience, shopping around to see what competing companies offer is one of the most powerful tools you have available. One great example is the knowledge you will gain by scouring the reviews of past and present customers. Visiting the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners can help call to your attention critical distinctions when choosing your homeowner’s insurance company.
We often think we need to insure our homes for the full price we paid. If you purchased your home at $500,000 you should insure it for that amount, correct? Actually, no. If you experience a major loss you probably will not need the entire purchase price to reconstruct the home. Why? Because the purchase price contained the value of the land also. However, you still need to consider present day costs. Make a full inventory so you do not underestimate the value of your belongings.
Even though insurance companies have differing discounts the following considerations may result in a reduction of your bill.
- How long have you been with the company?
- Senior discount
- No claims in recent history
- Sprinkler system or smoke detectors
- No smokers in the home
- Multiple policies with the same company
- Improved credit score
- Security features such as alarm system or cameras
Yes, most of us will not be moving next to a firehouse. But we can save on our homeowner’s insurance in other ways. Give us a call today if you have any questions!
Inspections Tame Coral Springs As-Is Listing Spectacles
In a Coral Springs listing the bold and unapologetic term “as is” asks for the buyer’s immediate attention.
While perhaps unintentional it leaves a marked and vivid impression setting it apart from other listings. Contractors and house flippers imaginations run rampant. However, the majority of buyers move on quickly sensing certain trouble ahead.
Many things come to mind when considering an “as is” listing including possible legal issues. But first and foremost the buyer infers that the seller will not be making any improvements to the property no matter how badly needed. The new owner will be fully responsible for all repairs. Since the buyer will be strapped with the cost of those repairs a reduced asking price is usually offered.
As Is Equals Motivated Seller
It is sometimes what is implicit in the term “as is” that gives prospective buyers pause rather than the reality. The buyer is convinced something extremely costly is amiss with the property. However, the term could simply mean the seller is incredibly motivated.
They may believe that coupling the phrase “as is” with a desirous asking price may move the property sooner.
However, the seller could also be aware of serious repairs, and not have the resources necessary to attack them. The buyers can make assumptions but the seller is required to state what he knows.
Is this a great deal he may be asking or is he in for a rude awakening?
With the “home inspection contingency” much of the uncertainty of the “as is “ listing quickly dissipates. The home inspection eliminates the drama often associated with this sort of listing.
It is a must for even the most confident and positive of buyers. For $300 to $500 a reputable Coral Springs inspector will detect any serious problems that may surface. The buyer is then able to see the full financial picture. Then it is possible to include in the offer (as is or otherwise) an exit if the financial impact proves to be too great.
Having a skilled expert like myself on your team will alleviate any feelings of uncertainty when buying or selling a home. It also can give you confidence that you are finding a genuine Coral Springs bargain. Whether you are buying or selling, as is or not, I am always here to help.
Preparing To Sell Your Home? – Choose The Right Improvements!
Which Upgrade Will Make You The Most Money When You Sell?
A major question we encounter with homeowners thinking to sell their homes lately revolve around which projects they should undertake prior to putting their home on the market for sale.
There is almost always some level of consternation regarding how much time, money and effort will be required and to what extent the projects should be completed.
There’s always the obvious punch list to take care of the areas where the home shows wear and tear. The questions arise when discussing the more ambitious projects.
Fresh paint and steam cleaned carpets only begin to scratch the surface on the “can do” projects to prepare a home for sale.
Unfortunately it’s the gray areas that present the largest challenge. The costly improvements that may or may not result in a quicker sale, an offer for more money – or both. I call the areas gray because even the best real estate schools don’t train us to use a crystal ball, so we cannot see into the future and advise with that ever so helpful hindsight. So there will be no guaranteed rate of return on investment.
A simple Google search for “home repair cost-recoup” will reap some invaluable data. While perusing the data keep in mind these are national averages, unless you can find local information. Don’t dismiss these numbers all together though, they at least give some level of indication on each named project and they certainly can assist in your decision making process. Below is a chart of repairs and what they return on average borrowed from the National Association of Realtors® from mid-range homes.
When deciding which repairs will make the most sense the first thing to do is decide on a budget. If you don’t have $62,000 available, you likely won’t be doing a major kitchen remodel—even if your kitchen looks like a scene directly out of “The Brady Bunch”.
Before making a decision on repairs or upgrades before you sell contact us at The Miranda Team. We can walk you through the best repairs to make within your budget to ensure you get the highest return on investment. As you can see from the chart above, not all repairs are created equal, and it doesn’t always make sense to do some repairs. While others make total sense. Let us be your Sherpa guide when navigating through the mountains of data for your repairs. We’re ready to make you as much money as possible, and spending as little money possible. You’re success is our goal.
Please feel free to share this article with friends and family.
Sage Advice From a Real Estate Team
The Best Advice When Hiring a Realtor®
Real estate agents may be one of the only professions in a double nature type of profession.
Take for example a family practice medical doctor. He doesn’t practice family medicine by day and switch to being a surgeon by night.
No more than an attorney representing the plaintiff will turn around and become the prosecuting attorney in a later case.
In contrast, a real estate agent can start the day showing houses and negotiating on a buyer’s behalf. Then switch over in the second part of the day review purchase offers for a listing they represent and negotiate on the seller’s behalf. Luckily this isn’t a split personality disorder. In fact, for a Realtor, it’s all in a day’s work.
The new real estate business model is teams. A basic real estate team will consist of a buyer’s agent, a listing (seller’s) agent and an administrative assistant. Real estate teams can get more complex from there, but this is the where a team starts. That being said, there is no difference between the classes a listing agent has to pass as compared to the classes a buyer’s agent has to pass. They’re all the same. One agent could do it all. But why would they want to? Like the African Proverb says: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a team.
Which begs the question, with all of the moving parts in one transaction why would one agent want to do it all? And how can they be effective in managing multiple transactions all in different stages? The answer: It’s very difficult.
When you bring in a real estate team you have real estate “specialists”, not “generalists”. For example us, The Miranda Team. Our listing agent only works with sellers, and our buyer’s agent only works with buyers. This allows each of our agents to focus all of their attention on doing what they’re hired to do. When we get a property under contract with our client we pass the file to our administrator to handle all of the paperwork from contract to closing. We still go to inspections, appraisals etc and handle all of the negotiations, but our admin does all of the office work. Likewise our Inside Sales Agent handles all of the phone calls letting everyone know the property is available for sale and proactively searching for buyers. And each agent’s continuing education is geared specifically towards their specialty.
The subject of real estate double nature came up when we came across an article earlier this week discussing The 3 Things you shouldn’t talk about with a listing agent (for a buyer when out looking at homes with their real estate agent). The 3 things the author listed are: How much you like or dislike a house; what’s your purchase budget; and let your agent do all of the talking – which seems more like “don’t say anything” as opposed to what not to say.
As a team we certainly agree with all three. Keep in mind the same advice goes for sellers also. Your agent is there to use their knowledge and experience to gather the necessary information and prevent you from divulging too much and placing yourself in a weaker position during negotiations – and doing all of this with a smile. These are all situations where experience is key.
Bottom line, when hiring an agent there is no difference between the education requirements of a listing agent or a buyer’s agent. But every agent has different levels of experience. And every agent has strengths and weaknesses. After all, we are all human. Wouldn’t you want an agent that specializes in transactions similar to yours? When purchasing, wouldn’t you prefer an agent that only works and negotiates on behalf of buyers? Or when selling, working with an agent that works and negotiates only on behalf of sellers? A good buyer’s agent will have a different personality than a good listing agent. Working with a team allows each agent to specialize in their profession and allows us to place the right agent with the right job.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Coral Springs or anywhere in Broward County, The Miranda Team has an agent for you. English and Spanish speaking. Buyer’s agent, Seller’s agent and inside sales agent. And our administrator is ready to hold the office together. Take our advie and give us a call so we can talk about how we will make your next real estate experience better with our 6 Star ****** Guarantee. Most agents are OK with 5 stars, we promise 6 stars.
Or if you have a friend, family member or co-worker we can help, please pass our information along.
The World Series is Over, But Your Home Selling Negotiations Are Not
Make Sure to Avoid Fouls in Your Home Selling Negotiations
When it comes to starting negotiations, the home seller is the ultimate decision maker.
A great real estate agent, like every great coach of the past will be there to offer the guidance and counsel needed for a winning game plan.
It’s not always easy to develop the appropriate response to offers on your home.
If this is your first time selling a home, or it’s been more than a decade, it’s time well spent to familiarize yourself with practical pointers in home selling negotiations.
Not only is Realtor.com the best website to search for homes, home sellers around the country can also find valuable resources and insights to help them on the road to their home closing. This month’s World Series finale no doubt inspired one of Realtor.com’s title for a list of home selling negotiating pitfalls. The article I’m referring to was published on the morning of Houston’s Game 7 victory. The premise of the article deals with errors in negotiating a home sale. You can find it here, titled “Hardball Fouls: 6 Home-Selling Negotiation Strategies That Can Backfire.”
Even though the first foul mentioned is “starting a bidding war”, after reading we find that was a slight overstatement. Clearly, a bidding war is more than ideal for home sellers in Coral Springs, or anywhere in our beautiful country. What was mentioned was how a multiple offer circumstance could be botched. One common mistake is setting your offer deadline too far into the future. Buyers pressed for time simply won’t be willing to wait. An additional foul ball mentioned was passing up on a strong offer that may not re-appear if you miss out. Don’t leave money on the table during these multiple offer situations by sticking too hard to your own rules. After all, you only get one shot at making the most amount of money possible in this sale.
They also mentioned in the article about being too tough responding to the home buyer’s request for home repairs. They stopped short of saying “stop being so gosh darn stubborn”! On the same note, don’t be so stubborn about your closing date, how closing costs are paid and arguing over your favorite light fixture you want to take with you. If every other part of the deal is going smooth, don’t mess it up over these seemingly small items.
The next one could misfire in a big way: “threatening to put the property back on the market”. Now first of all, your agent should walk you off the ledge from this potentially deal killing move. Keep in mind, it’s not only the stigma that may be attached to your “back on the market” property. It’s also the fact that all of those other home buyers that were once interested in your house may have already moved on to other homes, never to return to the prospect of buying your house.
These invaluable negotiation techniques underlie all of the Realtor.com’s examples as guiding principles we know to be legitimate deal breaking techniques. When you’re in the final inning and coming down the home stretch, be sure you’re evaluating every aspect of the deal as part of the transaction as a whole. Individually, every detail that may seem important will tend to lose their influence when viewed in relation to the entire transaction. In baseball terms, keep your eye on the ball.
Regardless of how thrilling any World Series Game 7 may be, remember, it’s only a game. However, when it comes to selling your home, whether in Coral Springs, Broward County, or anywhere in The United States, it’s a much more serious endeavor. When selling your home, every decision matters, and every decision may have consequences for years to come. These are details we at The Miranda Team keep in mind when we’re working with our clients and negotiating the best deal for them. From listing prep to closing day, we ensure you have a winning plan when it’s time to sell. Please call us anytime to discuss how we can help you put more money in your bank account with our game winning negation strategies.
The Best Time To Buy Real Estate Is…
Halloween: The “NEW” Start of The Holidays
Tis’ the season to be jolly! It’s that time of the year again.
Well, not quite yet.
But it is the season for pumpkin spice everything!
And pretty soon you’ll hear those sleigh bells ringing again.
It also means by November 1st, holiday advertising will commence at full speed, and will be around for the remainder of the year.
Believe it or not, the Thanksgiving start of the holiday season is a thing of the past. In fact, Hallmark has already begun their “Countdown to Christmas”, postal boxes are overflowing with gift catalogs and storefronts are merely weeks away from their transformation into snow-filled winter wonderlands.
Insofar as real estate in Coral Springs is related, there are a handful of advantages to buying, or selling during the holiday season. Believe me, there are clear advantages. But is it the best time to buy?
One trusted real estate company known for their education is FortuneBuilders. In one article they discuss why “the holidays are the best time to buy”. For your convenience, we’ve summarized their content for you.
- Less is more (especially when it comes to inventory). Sure there will likely be less inventory on the market. But more importantly, there will be less buyers. Less buyers equals less competiton which equals more opportunity for you!
- The power of a motivated seller. During the holidays, there may be no bigger form of leverage than the motivation of sellers. If someone is selling a home during the holidays, chances are, they have a compelling reason to do so. This is doubly true if the property has been on the market for awhile. And keep in mind, financial institutions are often motivated to get foreclosure properties “off the books” before the end of the calendar year
- Tax benefits. This particular advantage will obviously depend on your particular financial situation, and what your tax liability looks like for the current calendar year. But closing on the purchase of a property in the waning months of a year can give you major tax advantages heading into the following year.
- Lower interest rates. Historically, interest rates tend to be lower during the holidays. And not due to “Yuletide cheer,” but limited demand (there’s just less financial business being done in late November and December).
- Faster closing. Lenders, brokers, realtors — even inspectors — are often motivated to get a deal done before the end of the year. This can bring welcome focus and speed to a process that can take longer in non-holiday months.
At the moment, home buying during the holidays may seem like distant preoccupations. But beginning in November, these home buying ideas will suddenly to come together. So for those looking to buy in the near future, whether in Coral Springs, Broward County, or anywhere in the United States, the reality is, they’ll be shopping in the holiday market “atmosphere”. As the real estate educators put it, “some of the best deals you can make during the holidays involve real estate, not 72-inch televisions.”
Remember, you don’t have to wait until after Halloween for a complete preview of Coral Spring’s current inventory of soon-to-be holiday deals. Feel free to call The Miranda Team Real Estate Group anytime for a quick conversation on how we can assist you in snagging a great holiday real estate deal. And if now is the best time to buy. Or if you have a friend, family or co-worker that this article could help, please share with them. Happy Festivus!
Not Every Offer For Your House Is Created Equal
Your Sale May Hinge On Your Offer Evaluation Abilities
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Purchase offers begin rolling in. Oh the suspense.
As the buyer eagerly awaits your response. And you eagerly go over the details of the offer with your agent.
Wouldn’t it be great if the offer was 100% what you wanted?
But we live in the real world, and we know an offer with exactly what we want is not likely. Not at first at least.
Not all offers are created equal, and most buyers don’t send initial offers to result in an immediate yes from you.
Most offers will require some level of negotiating.
Below are just a few terms of the purchase contract you may want to consider when deciding your counter offer.
The key is to decipher what’s important to the other party.Hint: it’s not always money (it’s usually money, but not always).
Offer Price. This is almost always the starting point. How much did they offer? Was it enough? It’s nice to see a big number here. But look closer. Is the buyer asking for closing credits? A pre-closing move-in? Or do they see your house for the gem it is and presented their offer accordingly? Whatever the case, you have to look beyond the offer price. There are many other elements to the deal that may break down or increase your risk exponentially should you decide to move forward.
Deposit. Some call it a deposit, others call it good faith earnest money, and still others call it a pledge. No matter what you call it, make sure you call it an important number to consider. Does it add or subtract from your bottom line? The answer is a simple, NO. It does nothing for your bottom line. So why does it matter? Because this number will tell you whether their offer is backed up with more than just hopes and dreams. While there is no customary limit. I’ve seen offers come in where the buyers wanted to put $0 for a deposit. And still others that put up the entire purchase price for a deposit. So how much should you offer? Yet another difficult question to answer in a short blog. In fact, an entire blog post could be written on this alone.
Ask yourself this: How easy or difficult would it be for the buyer to walk away from the amount they’re pledging? Is it likely to cause them to lose sleep if they lost that amount of money, or could they walk away maybe upset, but able to move on? Your answer lies somewhere in between. You want the amount to be enough that it would cause the buyer some level of pain should they lose it, but not too much that it’s unreasonable. Your agent can guide you in this aspect.
Inspection and Appraisal Contingency. Most offers will be contingent on a satisfactory inspection. By satisfactory we don’t mean flawless, every house will have some level of issues. Some will be contingent on the appraisal (This one catches a lot of buyers off guard). Let’s focus on the inspection, there are ways to get ahead of this one. We recommend our sellers invest in a pre-listing inspection (yes we said investment). This way they’ll know everything the prospective buyer will know before the buyer knows. We take a proactive approach rather than reactive. Last minute discoveries can really slow down (or kill) a deal that was previously moving full speed ahead. If you have an inspection of your own you can properly disclose and verify disclosures to the buyers in advance.
Buyer Financing. In real estate we know that cash is king. But when you don’t get that mighty cash deal, what kind of financing does the buyer have? Is it FHA, conventional, VA? It could be anything. Just because they have a pre-qualification doesn’t mean they’re pre-approved. How much are they putting down? Do they have sufficient assets to close? What if they need more money to close? If your offer is accompanies with a finance letter make sure your agent calls the lender to get these and other important questions answered before proceeding with a beautiful deal that blows up because the buyer was never pre-approved in the first place.
Everything else. An offer to purchase can have any number of contingencies and addenda and the only way to realistically weigh them out is to decide what will the be the total impact? You have to look at the entire deal, soup to nuts. In a real estate transaction, time is of the essence. If the buyer wants a fast closing, can you pack up, find a new home and move out in time? Maybe. Or what about an extended closing? Are you sure the buyer will still qualify for the mortgage five months down the road?
Then there’s purchases contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home. Ask, how far along is their sale? Do they have an offer? Are their contingencies cleared? Every offer will pose some level of uncertainty. Part of your agent’s job is to go over every detail of the offer with you and weigh the risk with you so you can make an informed counter offer.
Your ultimate success will be in the ability to evaluate an offer or multiple offers and formulate a strategy on the best path forward. And if the path is not totally clear you have your real estate expert to be your Sherpa guide and get you to your destination.
To discuss this or any aspect of sales strategy please give us at The Miranda Team a call. We’re happy to meet for a no-obligation, no-pressure consultation. Whether at our Coral Springs office or in your home.
Game Theory In Coral Springs Real Estate Negotiation
Real Estate Negotiation Tactics
The term Game theory sounds like it might have something to do with how to win a Friday evening game night.
However, it is actually a very serious, highly studied logical field that mathematicians delve into.
Interestingly enough, when you study successful negotiation tactics—Coral Springs real estate negotiations included—you can start by looking at “game theory”.
But, there’s a problem. The deeper you dive into the subject, the more it tends to become more and more confusing and abstract. So unless you look forward to curling up at night with your favorite mathbook, you probably won’t get too far into game theory before your eyes start to glazing over.
Back to reality, Coral Springs real estate negotiations are not academic exercises. As such we cannot recommend studying “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” or any of the other highly studied game theory books. If you have been able to stay tuned for only a few of the most fundamental basics, it seems that in order to design a winning game plan in negotiation, there has to be one prerequisite (in game theory, it’s called an assumption).
That necessary assumption for developing a winning negotiation strategy is that all the parties must at least be reasonable. They have to at least be trying to make decisions (game moves) with the intention of benefiting themselves. In Coral Springs real estate negotiations, that usually includes giving or receiving the least or most amount of money within the most favorable time-frame for yourself.
So the lesson to take away from game theory’s approach to real estate negotiations in the real world:
First, remain reasonable yourself. In the course of negotiations, if your considerate proposal is rejected, don’t get angry—even if it is infuriating. Stay calm and cool, and acknowledge that you’ve received and will the response. Then develop the best counter attack that is in your own best interest. We can assist with that part.
Second, encourage rationality from the other side, or at least as much as possible. Even if they lose their cool for no reason, assume there IS a reason. Even if it doesn’t appear rational or even directly related to the terms being negotiated. It may even be due to mistaken communication. In the heat of the moment, it is very easy to forget that emotions may get in the way of self-interest. Red hot emotions can be calmed when met with relaxed reasoning.
One of the greatest advantages of working with The Miranda Team is the total experience we bring to every Coral Springs real estate negotiation we are a part of. There are lots of steps that come before that “endgame” moment. Call us when you’re ready to talk about getting started!