Viewing by month: June 2010

How to choose the best real estate agent to sell your home

Choosing a real estate agent to sell your property can be a difficult decision and one that many people are not used to.  There are so many agents in the business, each well-versed in presenting the benefits of their services – how do you choose?

To begin with, any agent that you choose to sell your property should be an expert on your local area.  This means that he or she will be attuned to all local trends and market characteristics, and will most probably have a large database of both local residents and outsiders looking to buy in your area that can be marketed to directly. 

When interviewing agents, try to give yourself time with two to three, allowing some scope for choice.  The agents should show enthusiasm about selling your property, and should be able to present you with a clear, step-by-step marketing strategy that shows you exactly how much is allocated to your advertising budget and a justification for why this is needed.  Real estate agents should always be happy to go through any material with you patiently and happily take the time to answer any questions you may have.     

The means and frequency by which an agent will report any progress to you is important and should be discussed during the initial interview.  While phone contact may be the best way for some sellers, agents should have contingencies for when their clients are not readily contactable.  CENTURY 21, for example, has a tool in place called Seller Login, which allows a seller to log on anytime, anywhere and see where the sale of their home is at. 

The negotiation style of your real estate agent is very important to consider and will be on display during your initial interview.  Prospective sellers should pay attention to the way an agent negotiates their commission for selling your home.  Those agents who lower their commission quickly and without much debate should be approached with caution – they may be willing to sacrifice your property’s sale price just as easily. 

When interviewing an agent, they should present you with customer testimonials or references.  These are an important way to ascertain where the agent has sold before and if the client was happy with the service.  Qualities to look for in these testimonials include the agent’s honesty, availability and trustworthiness. 

Finally, I think that first instincts definitely count in the real estate agent selection process.  Whomever you choose, you are going to have to work with them closely, welcome them into your home, and trust them with a highly valued asset.  If you are comfortable with the agent, this could increase your chances of a smooth selling process. 

For more information relating to your area, contact your local CENTURY 21 expert for advice and guidance. 

2 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 28/06/2010 at 9:53 AM | Categories: Selling -

Don’t shop for a new home on price alone

With the constant headlines of recent times regarding topics such as increasing house prices and property undersupply, it isn’t surprising that some prospective buyers are a bit worried about their ability to afford real estate. 

As a result of such concerns, CENTURY 21 is starting to see some cases where people base their entire purchase decision on the price of the property alone.  In these instances, when a buyer finds a property that suits their budget, a decision is made to buy it with little or no consideration as to whether the property suits the needs for which it is required.    

Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I trying to say that price isn’t an important factor in the decision process – it most certainly is.  However, there are also other key factors that buyers need to consider when making up their minds.  Even if the price is right, buying a property that isn’t appropriate may end up being a decision you regret, potentially costing you more in the long run. 
A recommendation that CENTURY 21 agents regularly make to clients is to compile a list of absolutely everything wanted from the purchase.  Consider both what is required of the actual property itself as well its location.  For example, if you have a growing young family and are looking for a home, property size will need to be a consideration, as will a location that is close to public transport and schooling.    

My suggestion would be to start with absolutely everything you need and want and then prioritise the list.  Make note of the elements that are definite requirements, followed by the items you’d be willing to compromise on, or even go without. 

Making such a list may seem like a relatively obvious concept, but you will be amazed by how much it helps your search if you have a clear idea of what it is you’re actually looking for from the start.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t purchase unless you get absolutely everything on your list, but having a comprehensive understanding of your needs/wants can certainly make the buying process a bit easier. 

In any case, the concept of price becomes a lot more rational to deal with when you know exactly what you require from your purchase.  You may find a property that fits your budget, however if it doesn’t cater for your needs, it could end up costing you more money in the end.

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 23/06/2010 at 9:57 AM | Categories:

First things first – to buy or to sell?

A question that CENTURY 21 agents are often asked concerns the timing of the moving process – should you buy or sell first? In my experience, there really isn’t one correct way of moving house; buying first works for some people and selling first is the right choice for others.  I thought I’d use this blog to go through some of the benefits and disadvantages of both as I see it.

Selling your home before buying another is often considered a safer way of doing things; once you sell, you know exactly how much money you have available to spend on your new property, and it will be in your bank account ready to go.  In many cases, you’re so wrapped up in preparing your property for sale that there just isn’t enough time to also be house hunting anyway.   

Synchronizing the sale of your own home and the purchase of another can sometimes be tricky.  If you haven’t found a suitable property to purchase by the end of your settlement period, you will be forced to rent until something you like comes onto the market. 

Now renting can be expensive and it only eats into the money that you will use eventually to buy something with.   Rental agreements have to be signed which will lock you into monthly payments, sometimes for an extended period.   We sometimes see people so exhausted by a failed property search, then a rental search followed by a move, that it takes some time before they start the house hunting process again.   

Now with many residential property forecasters predicting further robust growth in home prices this year the idea of buying before selling has some merit to it.  If you can buy at a lower price and then sell when values have increased slightly, you could very well gain financially. While this can happen, always remember that prices and markets fall as well. 

Unless you’re in a position to be able to afford both homes at once, you will likely need to sell the original property in order to fund the new one.  Not surprisingly, this can create a fair bit of stress.  Some people can handle this stress while others may find it extremely unpleasant. 

It has been in the news lately that there is a bit of a shortage of properties in the rental market.  If you are in a position to afford your two properties comfortably, then it may not be a bad time to consider holding on to your original property after you move and renting it out.  There are certain tax implications to consider here, however you may find that this is a suitable solution for your situation. 

Ultimately, common sense is usually a good guide.  If you live in a property that looks like it may be hard to sell, then buying before it has been purchased may perhaps not be the best idea.  Alternatively, if you live in the type of house that is in high demand and you find something that you love before it sells, then buying could be the right option for you. 

In any case, whatever decision you make should be based entirely on your own personal circumstances.  It may help to talk to a real estate agent you trust and get his or her opinion.  


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 22/06/2010 at 12:00 AM | Categories: Selling - Buying -

How to Make Your Mortgage Application Attractive to Banks

The ability to finance the purchase of a home or investment property with a mortgage is usually taken as a given.  However in recent times banks have started to become stricter with their lending and are increasingly denying higher risk mortgage applications. 

When considering loan approvals, what we’re seeing from banks is a tightening of credit acceptance standards.  This involves an increased focus on stable employment backgrounds, as well as closer scrutiny around evidence of the disciplined savings and clear credit histories of applicants.

Lenders are also reducing the level of satisfactory loan-to-value ratios, meaning that buyers must now have a larger amount of their own money available to put towards the purchase.   

Put simply, the higher the risk you represent to a bank, the less likely the chances of your home loan application being approved, which means missing out on your property.  With this in mind, if you take the time to make yourself as attractive as possible to a bank, it will definitely pay off. 

So what steps can you take to increase the chances that your home loan is successfully approved?    

To begin with, I’d say that having a larger deposit saved goes a very long way in the eyes of a lender.  Not only does this reduce the amount a bank must lend to you, thus reducing the risk it must take and the interest you pay, a deposit is also evidence of a clear commitment to saving, which is highly regarded. 

Paying attention to reducing the balance of your credit card and other debts to zero will also place you in good stead with the banks. Having a solid credit rating and few debts makes you an attractive proposition.

When you first start thinking about applying for a loan, be as selective as possible in choosing a lender.   Try to identify one that is the best fit with your requirements and make sure you take the time to carefully put together your application, rather than rushing it and leaving out important information.  Any failed loan applications will show up in your credit history, making your application less and less attractive to any subsequent banks you approach; ideally you want your first try to be successful.       

Obtaining home loan approval doesn’t need to be hard - take the time to complete the process thoroughly and strategically, showing banks that you will be a trustworthy customer.


1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 01/06/2010 at 10:23 AM | Categories: