Tag Archives: home

If You Liked It, Then You Should Have Put a Bid On It…

If You Liked It, Then You Should Have Put a Bid On It…

 

So, you found the perfect house.

You think.

But you’re just not sure…

So you go out with an agent to look at more houses, but none compare to THE house. So then you’re thinking well, it’s been a while, maybe they’ll drop the price on the house, let’s wait another week.   A week goes by, the price doesn’t drop and you decide to make your move. You go to call the agent to say, “Okay, we’re READY!  Let’s DO THIS!!!”   Your agent calls you back, only to tell you that the house is under contract, but not with you. Its under contract with another buyer.

We’ve all been there. As a buyer, it bites.  As an agent, it really bites!  What’s the comeback for that?

 If you liked it then you should have put a bid on it!

As a buyer, you 2nd, 3rd and 10th guessed yourself out of a house, possibly THE house, your dream home. As an agent, you’ve shown another 10 houses that you KNEW weren’t a good fit for the client, but that’s what we do. We make sure that this is THE house for the client. We can only hope that they make the move quickly enough that the house won’t get sold out from under them.

Unfortunately, sometimes we second guess ourselves to death when we have to make a choice this big. Many times, we shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s human nature. This is one of those situations that we truly don’t have a whole lot of control over. As agents, we need to educate our clients as best we can on a home that they are truly interested in, so that they can make an educated guess when they really feel that this is THE  house. And buyers, you need to work closely with an agent that you truly feel you mesh with that can help you make a well educated decision before you take the plunge.  Take your time, but don’t wait too long!

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The Difference Between Looking At a Home Online vs In Person

The Difference Between Looking At a Home Online vs In Person

SURPRISE!!! That’s what usually goes off in the background when you walk into a house that you saw online, only to see that it’s NOTHING like what it looked like when you saw it on Zillow. Size, noises, smells, there are a TON of things that you WON’T see in the listing online…

It never fails.  You THINK you’ve found the perfect home looking on Zillow.  You’ve convinced yourself that the house is perfect, yard is huge, house is beautiful, huge master, bigger den, full basement.  Then you get there to walk through it.  And, it’s a SHOE BOX.  Not even, small, it’s TINY…

That’s what a wide angle lens camera will do to you.  You see, it’s a special camera that you can use to fit an entire room into a photo.  You can’t do that with most regular cameras.  And, the problem is, it makes the room look three times the size.  So, don’t have your heart set on a house before you go physically see it.

Then, let’s talk about SMELLS.  When an agent takes pictures of a home for sale, 9 times out of ten, they’re removing the dog bowls, cat bowls, litter box, and anything else that says potentially, there may be pet odors in the home.  So, you won’t find that out till you get there.  Same goes for that farm next door to that beauty!  You won’t see any yard pics that will show that farm next door, especially if you can smell any manure of anything else at the property…

nj real estate mama

Lastly, NOISE.  Guys, you have no idea from pictures if the next door neighbor has a dog that barks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Your house may back up to a major highway.  Last year I showed a GORGEOUS home in a nice area, and we didn’t realize until we were IN The home, and heard the noise outside, that there was a lumber yard right across the street adjacent to the home.  We could barely see it around the corner, but we heard it!  And, they received deliveries practically around the clock.

So, before you have your heart set on a house you see online, GO SEE IT.  And, go see it at different times of day.  See your potential neighbors, their kids.  Traffic.  Noise.  You NEED to do this, or you may be in for some unpleasant surprises after it’s too late.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

nj real estate mama

So, You’ve Decided To Sell Your Home…

So, You’ve Decided To Sell Your Home…

Ok, so you’ve decided to sell.  What next?

You’re going to need to become RUTHLESS.  Ruthless with CLEANING.  Ruthless with PURGING.  Ruthless with REPAIRS.  But most importantly…

You’re going to need to get a thicker skin.  Your Realtor may look at, and through your home, and probably going to tell you a ton of things you’re not going to like.  Like, that you need to remove things, and DE-PERSONALIZE.

Listen, it’s not that we don’t like your STUFF.  We may actually LIKE your STUFF, but a buyer can’t see THEIR STUFF in your house if all of YOUR STUFF is still there!  Your potential buyer need to be able to envision their personal belongings  in the house to really realizr that your home may be the one they want to buy…

So you’re gonna have to de-personalize.  De-clutter.  Clean clean CLEAN!  Get your stuff into boxes, out of the house, or at LEAST out of sight.  Boxes, closets, basement, garage, wherever.  Garage sale!  Free to a good home!  Just get rid of it.

nj real estate mama

Next is repairs.  Guys, anything wrong with your home becomes BARGAINING LEVERAGE.  Read: LESS MONEY FOR YOUR HOME.  Don’t let stupid, easy, cheap to fix things like leaky faucets, broken locks on windows, missing door pulls, etc., bring down the price of your home.  Carpet stains?  Carpet smells?  Rent a steam cleaner and DO IT.  Pet smells are unacceptable.  You need to neutralize odors.

Lastly, curb appeal.  Guys, if you can’t get people to NOTICE your home, you won’t get them IN your home.  You need curb appeal.  Keep the grass mowed.  Keep the hedges trimmed.  Make sure all of your windows are clean.  If you can, power wash the exterior of the house.  Last, fresh paint on the window trim, door trim and the door, if it applies.  It’s an instant face lift for the house!  Maybe a seasonal plant or two on the porch.  Azaleas for a splash of color.

So, when you decide to sell, become ruthless!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Number 10: Dream on!

What, exactly, is your ultimate dream home? You need to figure out all of your must-haves. Do you have to have a garage? Do you have to have a basement? Do you have to have a pool? Could you settle for a home with a big yard and build the pool later? You need to have a really good grip on your must haves, because they will have a big bearing on your price.

Number 9: Money money money!

Do you have any clue how much home you really can afford ? Have you spoken with a mortgage lender yet? Do you have any money put away in the bank? Do you have a budget set, so that you know where your money is going out to every month? These are honest questions that you’re going to have to deal with to determine how much house you can afford.

Number 8: Location location location!

Okay, you know what state you’d like to live in, you may even know what city you’d like to live in. But do you know the area? Do you know how safe the area is? Do you have any idea of whether it is convenient shopping, public transportation, work, or whatever else you might need? (Aw, come on, don’t even try to tell me the convenience of fast food and restaurants isn’t even a consideration, lol! It was for me, lol!)

Number 7: See here!

So can you see yourself totally living in this place? You think you found THE ONE, but, when you stand in the home with your family, can you actually see or feel yourself living there?? Do you absolutely hate the basement? Is it something that you can easily change? Again, these are questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge. If this is going to be your forever home, you need to address these thoughts now with your family.

Number 6. Size MATTERS!

Okay, now honestly, do you have enough room to move around? Do you have children? Will you be possibly having more children? You never know, you might need more bedrooms at some point. If the house is short on bedrooms, you’re gonna need more livable space that you can convert into bedrooms. You need to know if this is a home that you can grow into, or just a temporary 5 to 7 year home that you know you will have to sell to buy something bigger. That can be a headache down the road. Wouldn’t it possibly be better to make sure you have a big enough home now?

Number 5. Work work work?

Okay, how much work will the home need to bring it to where you want it to be? Let’say the entire house is carpeted. You want hardwood. Have you priced out what it will cost to replace all of the carpet? How about the kitchen? The bathrooms? Have you looked into how much it will cost to replace those? Make sure you have those numbers in place so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to buy that particular home.

Number 4. Get a Home Inspection!

You’ve gone through the house, it’s absolutely gorgeous, not a hair out of place. That’s what you can see. But what about what you can’t see? Super important that you get a home inspection. The home inspector nose to look for certain things that you would never find on your role, unless you’re well-versed in home buying. Foundation issues, roofing issues leakage issues, electrical issues, this is what your home inspector will look for. It is well worth the money for your peace of mind, and keeping your sanity. that $400 that you pay now can potentially save you thousands on issues that you can’t see that will crop up later

Number 3. Permanent Ink?

Now comes the simple question: Is this home permanent? Are you absolutely sure that you have enough space for your growing family? Does everybody have their own space to retreat to within the house? Can you see yourself living here for the rest of your life? As long as you’re sure, take the plunge!

Number 2. Flexibility!

Don’t be impossible to please! If you set the bar too high, you may be in for a disappointment. You want the acreage, the 2 car garage, the basement, the pool AND the shed? And for HOW much? Just be ready for a little compromise. Without having a new construction home built, you may not find all of that in one nice, neat little package. Can you get a pool next year? Can you buy a house with an unfinished basement, and finish it later? Then everybody’shappy!

And the Number 1 Tip… Homework homework homework!!!!!

GET EDUCATED. Learn the home buying process. Find a good Realtor. Get your credit scores up to snuff. Get a good mortgage lender. Find all of your conveniences. Drive the neighborhood at different times of day BEFORE you put in an offer.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

Home Loans for Beginners 101

Home Loans for Beginners 101

Today we’re going to cover the most common kinds of home loans that are used today. Depending upon your financial situation, your income, your credit score, the kind of house you’re buying, how much money you need to borrow, how much down payment money you have, the price of the home and the taxes on the home will determine which mortgage would work best for you and your situation.

First, we have FHA financing. These are run by the Federal Housing Administration. There are tons of advantages of getting an FHA loan. First off, there’s a low down payment; you can go in with only a three and a half percent down payment. Then, they’re a little bit more lenient with credit scores. With other financing, you must have a 640 credit score to be able to qualify. With FHA, some companies will finance you with a 620 credit score, some 600, and now there are some that will finance you with as low as a 580 credit score you may need to shop around, but they do exist. I’ve just found one that will do a 560! You can find these. You can get FHA financing not only for home purchase, but also for home renovation, which is another bonus. They usually run 30 year fixed rate, you can also get 15 year.

Then we have conventional mortgages. Those are run by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You need to have good credit, 640 minimum, but you have more financing options available to you. There are terms for 10 to 30 years, and you can get them for home purchase and renovation and home refinancing. Not for the faint of heart, but if you’re feeling lucky, you can also get 5, 7, 10 year adjustable rate. The only disadvantage is that with interest rates so low, your payments can only go up. It’s a scary thought, lol!

Then we have USDA Rural Housing loans. There’s a few different ways that the USDA goes when it comes to mortgages.You can get in with zero money down, because they will roll your down payment into the total mortgageprice. All you need to have is closing costs. Think about it, that’s 3.5% of the purchase price (for your down payment) that you’ll now have left in your bank account to put towards closing costs! Awesome for people looking to buy with no cash out of pocket. They have a specific criteria that you need to meet, you need a good credit score, about 620 to 640. The only disadvantage is that you’re limited to certain areas thay qualify. There’s actually a population maximim number that considers a town to be rural to qualify. You can go to the USDA website and check it out here: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/hsf_sfh.html. These loans are good for single-family homes and condominiums. There are a number of loan financing programs that they have, go through their website and call the office most local to your area. You can check to see if the home you want to buy is in an eligible area, and you can also check to see if YOU meet the criteria, as a buyer, on the website.

Then, last but not least, we have VA loans. Those are run by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. These are awesome for veterans. There are 0 money down payments, you can get super low payments and there is no PMI. You can use these to buy a home or refinance a home mortgage. Some mortgages are assumable. That means that you, the home purchaser, can assume the payments that are left on the owners mortgage, as long as the lender agrees to it. That could save you a TON of money on a house! Of course, these are limited to eligible veterans.

So there you have it. Those are the most popular and common mortgage options that you will more than likely face when you go to buy your home. Check with your mortgage lender for the best possible way to go for your circumstances. So many options, and low interest rates, there’s never been a better time to buy!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration.
Logo of the Federal Housing Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Negotiating on a Home Purchase, TRULY an Art Form…

Negotiating on a Home Purchase, TRULY an Art Form…

Real estate is a tough business.  It’s even tougher to negotiate a deal.  It’s even worse when you’re having your arm twisted by a stubborn  Realtor on the other side of the deal, lol!  You need to make sure you always hold your ground with your agent to negotiate FOR you, and if not, well, you need to get a new Realtor.

Sometimes, there is truly an art to successfully negotiating your home purchase.  Like Kenny Rogers said (insert music HERE) “You gotta know when to hold ’em… know when to fold ’em… know when to walk away, know when to run.  You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table; there’s time enough to count it when the dealin’s done…”

Poker Face

Depending on which side you’re on, don’t be too quick to show your cards!  Show the seller that you’re in love with their house, they’ll hold out for fulpurchase price.  Show the buyer that you’re desperate to sell, you’ll lose your pants.  They’ll lowball you and hold out till you buckle.  Negotiating a deal is all about having a poker face.  A REEEEEEALLLY GOOD ONE.

Now, notice that when I quoted the song above, I could have stopped after the word “run,” but i didn’t?   Well, for all the negotiation you’re worth, sometimes the deal dies anyway.  One poor woman at my office, one of the coolest people there, is on her third re-negotiation on the same property!  Still hasn’t closed yet!  On a short sale negotiation, even if the buyer and the seller negotiate a deal, now you gotta negotiate with the BANK.  You know the saying, it ain’t over ’til the…. ???  No truer words when it comes to a short sale…

That being said, if negotiation ISN’T one of your strong points, I strongly suggest that you find an agent that’s a trained professional at it.  You need somebody to be in your corner.  Good comparables for the deal are a must have for truly accurate argument of asking price.  And lastly, BE PREPARED.  Sometimes, it’s good, sometimes it can be bad, and it can potentially get ugly.  But you want that house, so be prepared,be patient and trust your agent.

THIS is one of my FAVORITE spoofs of the art of persuasion, I mean negotiation, lol!  Enjoy!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

Does Your Home Meet the Super 6 Criteria?

Does Your Home Meet the Super 6 Criteria?

Okay, so you want to sell your home, awesome! Whether or not you realize it, there are many factors that will determine how much your house will sell for, if it sells at all. Your home needs to fit in with the Super 6. Okay, so what the hell is the Super 6? Let’s break it down…

 

1. Location
Like it or not, your home’s location will have a huge bearing on how much it will sell for. There are a ton of things that go into this. How close is it to public transportation? How close is it to local shopping? How safe is the area? Is there pride of ownership in the surrounding blocks? Is there any blight?

 

2. Condition of the Home
Ok, come on guys, this is a common sense factor. What kind of shape is the home in? Is it well kept? Does it show pride of ownership? Are your kitchen and bathroom old or dated? Do you have wallpaper on the walls? How about your rugs? Does the carpeting have permanent stains? What about odors in your home? Do you have pets? Is there an odor alerting your visitors when they walk through the door that you own pets? What about your roof? Are there any spots on the ceilings showing that there are roof leaks or issues? What you need to keep in mind here he said anything that is visibly wrong with your home becomes bargaining leverage on the purchase price. You will need to make sure that your home needs little to no repair to keep negotiations to a minimum.

 

3. Price
Ok, this one’s a no-brainer. If you don’t price your house properly, it won’t sell. It just wont. People will not pay $10,000 more to buy your home when they can have a house in better shape and cheaper for far less. You need to sit down with your Realtor and come to a price based on comparables. You must compare the homes apples to apples. Your agent will bring you copies of active listings of homes for sale with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage, etc.. They will also show you listings of homes that have sold within the last 6 months, so that you will have the most accurate idea of where you should be priced to get your home sold quickly and for top dollar.

 

4. Market Conditions
Obviously, the real estate market has been all over the place for the last couple of years. Some towns get hit harder than others depending on the circumstances. For instance, we are very close to Atlantic City, New Jersey. As you know, many casinos have closed. Thousands are out of work. Many cannot find jobs and are collecting

English: Atlantic City, New Jersey by night
English: Atlantic City, New Jersey by night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

unemployment. Will some of those people lose their homes? Maybe, maybe not. But what that does mean is that there will be more short sales. That can have a direct bearing on what you can ask as a selling price for your home.

 

5. Financing.
The same way the housing market is affected by certain conditions, so is home mortgage financing. If you remember, back in the day during the real estate boom, interest rates were at 13%. Now, you can get mortgage financing for a home at an average of 4%!

 

6. Agent Savvy
You can have all of the first five criteria, but if your agent sucks lemons, none of it matters. Your agent needs to be savvy enough to negotiate a deal for you to get sold as quickly and for as high a price as possible. You need to be sure, BEFORE you hire an agent, to find out what they are going to do for you to get your home sold. What kind of marketing do they utilize? Are they internet savvy? Will your listing be syndicated to multiple websites? How about videos? Will they make videos of your home and create a website just for your home for sale listing? I do. Until what time can showings be scheduled for my home on any given day? I use a service through my company that schedules showings with a live human being by phone until 11pm on weekdays and 7pm on weekends. I can pull up outside a vacant house with a for sale sign on it at 9pm, pick up my cell phone, get a lockbox code and be showing that house 3 minutes later. Can your agent do that? Hopefully, they can and will.

 

So there you have it. That’s the Super 6. Make sure you have them all covered. Oh, and, IF your prospective agent sucks lemons, call me BEFORE you list with them. I can get your home sold! :0)

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”