To Buy or Sell in 2012?

Even the most conservative forecasts call for growth in home sales in 2012, with some select pockets around the country already busting out where there are competitive offers on new listings. Another good sign, more than one-third of home resales were made to first-time buyers in 2011.

Meanwhile, here are a few helpful tips for 2012, aimed largely at the group that needs the most help — home sellers.

Price it right from the get-go

The old-school strategy of real estate sellers crossing their arms and holding out for a better offer will be brushed off by most homebuyers. Consider that of the homes that took four months or more to sell in the past year, almost half of their owners accepted less than 90 percent of the asking price, according to the National Association of Realtors. For a gauge, have I will produce the latest comparable sales including short sales and
foreclosures as well as a recent summary of sales prices versus original list prices. But be wary that such information doesn’t reflect the homes that failed to sell.

Put your best footage forward

Prep, paint, stage, scrub, improve, and repeat. Efforts can include caulking, plastering, planting flowers, adding potted plants, making the windows spotless, pressure washing that oily driveway, edging the walks, trimming the bushes and trees, and mending the fences. None of these is excessively capital-intensive, but when applied en masse, they say “buy me.”

Be flexible

I’m not saying bend over backward to accommodate real estate buyers. Bend forward and sideways, too. Be ready to negotiate and offer extras such as closing costs, paid property taxes, remodeling work (or a cash credit), appliances, paid homeowner association dues, a few months of mortgage payments or even seller financing. Sellers who’ve been on the sidelines and who advised their agents to ignore offers by lowballers don’t have that luxury now. I will listen intently to prospective homebuyers’ misgivings about the home and report to you, so you will be able to adjust accordingly and immediately.

Trump your techno-fears

As your listing agent I am steeped in mobile platforms. Sellers and  buyers are routinely using Facebook and other social media to sell and seek,  not to mention dozens of online selling sites. I even making  YouTube videos to showcase their homes, making it easier to quickly link to potential buyers via email. There’s also an abundance of smartphone apps  cropping up to review real estate listings and refine searches.

Don’t fall prey

Fraudsters are targeting distressed homeowners with “deals” that can sound perfectly legit. Some offer loan modifications for upfront fees while others offer fee-based “help” in navigating government housing assistance programs, sometimes claiming they’re attorneys.

There are also con-artist “investors” compelling  desperate owners to sign over their homes with quitclaim deeds in return for a  typically empty promise to remain there indefinitely. Others are telling former  owners they can get their homes back for a lump sum. Be forewarned: Never sign blank documents or documents with blank lines.

If you’re unsure of an offer, have an attorney or other trusted  adviser look it over. Keep in mind that a law barring firms — except attorneys  — from charging upfront fees for mortgage relief or mortgage modification took  effect in 2011. It’s called the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule

Finance 101

Realize it’s harder to qualify for loans these days. Credit records are under greater scrutiny, and lenders are often demanding a 20 percent down payment and some pricing flexibility from the sellers, especially if the lender’s appraisal doesn’t reach the asking price.

Consider cash offers, even if they’re not the highest. Reject too-low offers from homebuyers gently and with encouragement, telling them they’re oh-so-close. You don’t want to give away the farm, but you don’t want to give it back to the bank either. These days, meeting halfway usually means meeting buyers on their half.

‘Site unseen’ equals shortsightedness

Are you perplexed by the home valuation you did on your place on the website of a large, seemingly reputable real estate organization? Puzzled how that valuation can be 25 percent or more above or below a firsthand appraisal you’ve had done? Well, value estimates on these sites can vary widely, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars, even by the admission of the companies themselves. There are way too many variables in the valuation game to give too much credence to blind, algorithm-based estimates that are impersonally calculated. Nothing beats a nuanced firsthand professional appraial.

I have information to share with you of what properties have sold & I have extensive knowledge of the fair market values, to help you get a highest value, terms and conditions to proceed as quickly as possible.

Expand your buyer’s due diligence

Aside from the financial details, contracts, disclosures and
protections you typically tend to as you prep to buy a home, add these to the list:

  • Hire you own inspector. Don’t use the seller’s!
  • Get a Survey – To be sure property lines are accrate.  This will avoid future disputes, he will reasearch the oringal deed and will stake ou the property’s lines.

Other suggestions for your checklist

  • Go to the National Sex Offender Public Website at to search for neighborhood predators.
  • Spend some time around the neighborhood and briefly interview neighbors. Determine if there are noisy neighbors, signs of gang activity, nocturnal barking dogs, indigent lingerers,frequent loud parties and/or suspicious nighttime visits. Are there lots of rental homes? Does the school bus go past the block? Is there a restrictive homeowners association?

If you are ready to Buy, Sell or have questions, please contact me.
Alida Pollard, Realtor®
cell: 281-797-8550





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