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Monday, April 14, 2014

9 Steps You Must Take Before You Sell Your Home

9 Steps You Must Take Before You Sell Your Home

The home selling process differs from state to state, but there are some important steps that you should take before you put your house on the market--all steps that protect your interests and help you get the most return from your investment. 

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan
I've known sellers who signed a contract to sell their house before they knew if they were qualified to buy another. Either their financial circumstances had changed since their last purchase, and they could no longer qualify for a loan, or they weren't able to sell at a price that allowed them to buy the type of replacement house they wanted. They ended up renting or buying something that was far from ideal.
Before you decide to sell the house, get pre-approved by a lender you trust and research the housing market in the area where you wish to live so that you have a good idea how much it will take to buy a replacement.

2. Check Your Mortgage Payoff
Call your lender to check the payoff for your current home mortgage. You'll need the figure to complete Step 6.

3. Determine How Much the House Is Worth
Determine your home's fair market value. Real estate agents will usually help you determine value as a courtesy, but you might take it a step further and order an appraisal.

4. Estimate Your Costs to Sell
  • Real estate commission if you use an agency to sell.
  • Advertising costs, signs, other fees if you plan to sell by owner.
  • Attorney, closing agent and other professional fees.
  • Excise tax for the sale.
  • Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, home owner association fees, and fuel tank rentals.
  • Any other fees typically paid by the seller in your area (surveys, inspections, etc.).
  • Real estate agents deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs.

5. Determine Your Costs to Acquire a New Home
  • Total your costs to acquire a new home: moving expenses, loan costs, down payment, home inspections, title work and policy, paying for a new hazard insurance policy--all expenses related to buying a home. Your lender should give you a disclosure of estimated costs when you apply for pre-approval.

6. Calculate Your Estimated Proceeds
  1. Deduct your mortgage payoff from your home's fair market value.
  2. Deduct your costs to sell from the remainder to get an estimate of the proceeds you will be paid at closing.
Will your closing proceeds cover your costs to acquire a new home? If not, do you have cash or other funding to make up the difference?

7. Make Necessary Repairs
Make all needed repairs unless you want the house to be regarded as a fixer-upper. I'm not referring to cosmetic updates, but to items in need of repair. Anything that's obviously broken gives potential buyers a reason to submit a lower offer.

8. Get the House Ready to Show
Most houses need at least a little spiffing up before they are shown to potential buyers. Great curb appeal, fresh paint indoors (and sometimes out), organized closets and cabinets, sparkling clean windows and appliances, and a clutter-free atmosphere are essential if you want the house to appeal to buyers.

9. Get Psyched Up to Let People In
If you're listing with a real estate agent, she'll no doubt ask you to leave when the house is shown. Why? Because lurking sellers make buyers nervous--they don't feel comfortable inspecting the house when they feel they are intruding.

Unless there's a real reason for it, don't ask your agent to be present for all showings. That's the kiss of death for showing activity. Other agents want privacy with their buyers and they don't usually have time to work around your agent's schedule.

Julie Wyss, serving all of Silicon Valley
Top Producing Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Bay Estates, Los Gatos
Call Julie Today

Monday, March 31, 2014

Seven Seller Slip-Ups That Send Buyers Packing


Sure it’s a sellers’ market, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fool proof market.
Sellers who approach the market like a cocky kid who thinks he or she knows it all will soon learn the real estate world isn’t his or her oyster.
If you want to sell your home quickly for the maximum sales price, consider these pearls of wisdom to avoid common seller mistakes.
Mistake No. 1: Pricing your property too high – Every seller wants to get the most money for his or her product. Listing with an excessively high price is a mistake.
A high listing price will simply alienate some buyers before they even see your property. Other buyers could expect more than your home really has to offer.
Over-priced properties tend to take an unusually long time and sell for a lower price than a similar home that’s priced right.
Mistake No. 2: Mistaking refinance appraisals for market value – In a refinance, lenders often estimate the value of your property at a higher level than the home is worth to encourage refinancing.
It’s a good idea to ask your real estate agent for the latest comparable market analysis, based on similar, recently sold properties in the same community.
Mistake No. 3: Forgetting to “showcase” your home – No matter how many times sellers hear this advice, no matter how simple it is to achieve, there’s widespread neglect when it comes to getting a property ready for sale.
A poorly maintained home with neglected decor and an unorganized appearance will turn away buyers and slash thousands of dollars off the selling price.
Mistake No. 4: Trying to “hard sell” while showing – Buying a house is an emotional and difficult decision.
Give prospective buyers time and space to examine your property. A home tour or open house event is not the time for pressuring prospective buyers.
Point out subtle issues, but be friendly, be hospitable, be available and be receptive to questions, but only if the potential buyer asks.
Mistake No. 5: Trying to sell to lookers – A prospective buyer who shows interest because of a “for sale” sign likely isn’t really interested in your property.
These buyers are more likely six to nine months from really taking the plunge. They are more interested in learning what’s available, rather than looking for a home to buy.
Your real estate agent can distinguish between the looky-loos and real buyersby determining a prospective buyer’s savings, credit rating, and purchasing power.
If your real estate agent can’t make this distinction, and you have to investigate on your own, consider finding a new real estate agent.
Mistake No. 6: Not knowing your rights and responsibilities – It’s crucial you are aware of all the details in your real estate contract.
Real estate contracts are legally binding documents and can be complex and confusing, but failing to sweat the details could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs and inspections.
Mistake No. 7: Signing a contract with no escape – You have a right to a contract that allows you to fire your real estate agent – and hire another – if the original agent fails to do the job as promised.
Beware of real estate companies that simply replace an agent with another one, without consulting you. Be in control of your sale before you sign a real estate contract. 
Click here for link to original article on Deadline News.

Top Producing Agent at Keller Williams Bay Estates, Los Gatos

Monday, March 17, 2014

I've Moved to Keller Williams Bay Area Estates

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

                                   408.687.2026 |

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quick Tips for a Fast Sale


BY JULIE WYSS · Originally published at DEADLINENEWS.COM © JANUARY 8, 2013 

When it’s time to sell your home, it’s the little things that count.

Here’s a hot list of cool moves that make your home more saleble, at a higher price.

Capitalize on first impressions
• Sweep the street in front of your house and clear all steps and walkways of debris, including pet droppings.
• Make sure the siding on your house is clean. Wash all the windows until they sparkle.
• Consider a fresh coat of paint. At least paint the trim, front door and shutters.
• Check all lighting to make sure they work. Install new bulbs, if needed.

Pump up curb appeal
• Water and mow the lawn. Rake the leaves.
• Trim trees. Plant colorful flowers.
• Stow bicycles, toys, gardening equipment and other items typically left outside or in the yard.
• Garage the car or park on the street to leave ample parking for prospective buyers.
• Organize. Remove all clutter, including items such as small appliances, gadgets, toys and memorabilia.
• Hide or temporarily disconnect tangles of obtrusive extension cords, computer network wiring, cables and like wiring or cabling.
• Organize cabinets to demonstrate ample storage space.
• Recycle or store away newspapers, magazines and other publications.
• Board pets, send them to the neighbors or keep them out of sight. Remove pet odors, put away the litter box, store pet toys.
• Bake cookies, burn scented candles or fire up the fireplace to make the house smell pleasant and feel cozy.
• Stash valuables, including medications, in a safe, secure place.

Offer informative disclosures, via fact sheets, brochures
• Have any inspection on hand.
• Provide a list of all home improvements, new appliances, fixtures, etc.
• Prepare take away brochures and flyers about the property, the neighborhood, area schools and local services, attractions and destinations.

Be a good neighbor
• Make sure your agent has communicated with the neighbors to inform them of any open house dates.
• Invite the neighbors for a private showing one hour prior to the public open house.

Planning to put your home on the market soon? Contact Team Wyss and let us help you set the proper selling stage to get the best offer in the shortest time.

Now Top Producing Agent at Keller Williams Bay Estates Los Gatos

    Julie Wyss  |  408.687.2026  |

Monday, February 24, 2014

Home Inspection 101

You’ve found the home of your dreams and your agent prepares the purchase offer with the standard contingency – “upon Inspection.”
You gave the house the once over, but did you look in the attic space? The crawl space? Did you check to see if the appliances work properly? Did you check to see if the sprinkler system works.
Chances are the answer is “no” to all those questions.
This is a job for a home inspector.
Home inspector is the expert
home inspection is an independent, unbiased review and report on a home’s primary systems, components and conditions. The inspector’s job is to discover and document visible problems that may have been overlooked by a real estate agent, the buyer or the seller.
An inspector does not appraise the property, make buying recommendations, recommend approaches to building code compliance, guarantee the structural viability of the property or find hidden defects.
What will the inspector inspect?
A complete inspection includes a visual examination of the building from top to bottom. Only items that are visible and accessible by normal means are are examined and included in the final report.
The inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the structure, roof, foundation, drainage, plumbing, heating system, central air-conditioning system, visible insulation, walls, windows, and doors.
The information is detailed in a written inspection report.
What about inspection report problems ?
If the inspector finds problems, that does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy it, only that you will know in advance what type of repairs or upgrades to anticipate.
The inspection report is a tool to help you make an informed decision about buying the property – or not.
The choice is yours.
A seller may be willing to repair significant problems the inspector discovers or even upgrade or improve aspects of the property to more contemporary conditions in order to make the home more saleable.
The buyer can negotiate for a lower price or other concessions, if there are problems that need correcting and the seller doesn’t want to take time or make the effort to get the work done.
If your budget is tight, or if you do not wish to become involved in repair work, you can choose not to buy the property.
If you do negotiate repairs, always set deadlines and put everything in writing with the appropriate terms, signatures and dates.
Finding a home inspector
Talk to your real estate agent, friends, family or others you trust who recently purchased a home and used an inspector they are willing to recommend.
Also check with professional associations including the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) and the (ASHI) American Society of Home Inspectors.
Sellers can choose to hire their own inspector to learn the condition of the home, but the buyer can choose his or her own inspector.
Interview several candidates. Verify their license, when applicable, and ask about their experience, education, and any professional certifications.
Be sure the inspector you hire can meet all contractual deadlines included in your sales contract.
The contract typically specifies a certain period within which the inspection must be complete, as well as a period for you to review and approve the inspection.

Click here for a virtual home inspection.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.  |   |  408.687.2026

Monday, February 17, 2014

Is it a buyer’s market, seller’s market or neutral?

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Silicon Valley, you are likely trying to take the pulse of the housing market to determine if this is the right time to make a move.

Even the most savvy investor can find the timing aspect of buying or selling daunting and timing can be a stressful ordeal after watching so many friends and family members stuck with mortgages that are larger than their homes are worth.

Here’s a quick formula to help you zero on the right time to buy, sell or stay put.

The calculations can be used in any sized market, by ZIP Code, by city or by county.
Calculating market conditions

Buyer’s Market – There is more than a six-month supply of homes for sale. The market is loose. This puts the buyer in a better negotiating position, making it a great time to buy.

Seller’s Market – There is less than a three-month supply of homes for sale. The market is tight. This puts the seller in a better negotiating position, making it a great time to sell.

Neutral Market – There is a three- to six-month supply of homes for sale. This puts the buyer and seller on a relatively equal negotiating footing. The seller has an edge as supplies move nearer to three-month supply. The buyer calls more of the shots when supplies tip toward the six-month supply level.
In your area, calculate the supply of homes for sale by dividing the number of homes for sale by the number of homes sold in a given month.

Additional factors also can tip the scales one way or the other, including economic distress or growth, levels of appreciation, falling or rising prices and an imbalance between buyers and sellers.

Sellers rule

• It’s a solid seller’s market. Absolutely. All-cash buyers have snatched up a large chunk of lower priced properties. Distressed properties are down. And many equity-poor homeowners are waiting, 
hoping that prices will come up more so they can squeeze another $50,000 or so out before they list.

• It’s not a buyer’s market. Record low interest rates along isn’t enough to give them an edge in terms of a stronger negotiating edge. Inventories are also near record lows so buyers face stiff competition from multiple offers as they struggle to find the right property.

• Affordability is being offset by low inventories and that’s keeping the market out of neutral territory.

Still a good time to buy

As is often the case, Silicon Valley’s market experienced a swift transition from the buyer’s market of last year to the current seller’s market. That’s because home buyers and sellers typically move in unison – on or off the market – as soon as they see the market moving in and against their favor. That makes the neutral market the most fleeting of the three.

In a seller’s market as tough as this one, even well-trained professionals are left scratching their heads trying to get an offer accepted.

Prices are rising, record-low interest rates are sending buyers to market. It’s a great time to sell compared to a year ago.

With prices still affordable, it’s also an amazing time for existing homeowners to buy up and move to a bigger and better home.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.  |  |  408.687.2026

Monday, February 10, 2014

Is it time to move up in Silicon Valley?

 Those who have money to buy have been sitting tight for the past half decade.
Suddenly, everyone wants to buy real estate – first-time home buyers, investors, move-up, even move-down buyers.
What happened?
In the past four months inventories have fallen hard and prices have increased by $20,000 to as much as $100,000 on select properties. The bottom may have come and gone. It feels like recovery.
Silicon Valley bidding wars have erupted on everything from the worst distressed properties that attract all cash buyers because lenders won’t finance their sale, to $2 million homes in Cupertino, Los Gatos, Palo Alto and affluent areas with a tech worker-based populace.
Many local markets have become much more seller friendly.
Asked one buyer from Germany, “Why did the market move so quickly?”
Interest rates are at record lows. Prices have stopped falling. The Euro Zone troubles are prompting investors from abroad to buy U.S. There is no one specific answer.
I’m exposed to all of the global and local information available to real estate professionals and the best answer I have heard is “The herd has moved.”

Herd moving uphill

One of the fastest growing trends is move-up buys.

Home owners have been “sucking it up” and staying put, even through they have great jobs, tenure and steady pay increases. Now with this market surge, they are getting off the fence, selling mid-range homes, valued at $600,000 to $800,000 and buying up in the higher price range of $1 million to $1.5 million.

They are moving into long sought-after neighborhoods including, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Altos and Palo Alto.
They are married couples in their late 40′s and realize that life is too short to wait much longer and they really can afford their dream home.
I recently sold a Cambrian, San Jose neighborhood home that had appraised at about $700,000 a year ago. Concerned about over-pricing that could have killed a deal last year, we conservatively priced it at $760,000. It sold for more than $800,000.
The sellers, in turn, acted fast and found a great home in Las Gatos for less than $1.5 million – an entry level property for this affluent city.
Move-up financing
What kind of financing is attractive and available? It depends on the buyer. Do they hold shares of one of the hot fledgling tech companies and anticipate bonuses? Or are they on a fixed income?
One strategy is to get a conforming loan of $625,500 at a low, fixed interest rate under 4 percent and a second loan (Yes, they are back.) for $500,000 with an interest rate of 4.25 percent. For the down payment you’ll have to have to use the equity in the old home you just sold.
There are also amazing jumbo loans for a full $1 million available for low interest rates and 5- 7- and 10-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages are back.
This is a fantastic time to move up.
Life is short.

Read this article on Deadline News by clicking here

408.687.2026   |   |