Real Estate

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Tips for Buying & Selling

Selling in Today's Market

By Lynette Helms, CEO of Real Estate Associates

Falling prices, extensive inventory, longer market time and more restrictive financing are hallmarks of the current market. How do you make your home stand out from the rest and sell in the shortest time frame for the most money possible?

  1. Price your home aggressively. This goes against everyone's natural instinct to "test the market". Unfortunately, "testing the market" in a declining market will ultimately result in a lower sales price. A property attracts the most attention, excitement and interest when it is first listed, and if it's above market value you will lose many potential buyers.

    1. Look at homes in your neighborhood that have sold within the past two or three months. You need to price below the lowest sale price.

    2. Look at homes in your neighborhood that are currently on the market. They are your competition. Buyers who come to see your home will have seen these properties. Your home must offer the best value and stand apart. Your price should be below those listings.

    3. Look at square footage, and cost per square foot.

    4. Look at location, location, location. Factor in positives such as views, privacy, ease of commute, along with negatives such as a busy road or a steep driveway.

    5. Look at upgrades. Hardwood, granite, tile, upscale appliances, decorative moldings all add to the desirability of a property.

    6. Consider a professional appraisal. Appraisal standards have tightened, and Cape Cod (along with Boston and the South Shore) has been designated as a declining market.

  2. Make your home sparkle outside and in.

    1. Curb appeal is essential. The first impression of your buyer should be: neat, clean and cared for. This covers the yard, the driveway, the walkways and even the street out front. Your doorway is a focal point.

    2. Inside should feel light, bright, soothing and odor-free. Banish clutter. Consider staging.

  3. Engage a professional home inspector. Know the issues that are likely to arise from a buyer's home inspection and address them immediately.

  4. Offer to contribute to buyers' closing costs.

  5. Try not to move out while the "For Sale" sign is still up.

Real Estate Associates

Advice for Home Buyers & Sellers

By Jack Driscoll of Kinlin Grover GMAC Home Services

Is it any wonder why there is so much confusion on the part of some buyers and even sellers in this present market place? Depending on who you listen to or what you read, the real estate market is either in the tank or it's a great time to buy a house. So what gives? Being the eternal optimist and one who believes in the power of a positive attitude, let me share some thoughts and observations with you.

In the last two years the Real Estate market has seen an adjustment. Property values had risen too fast and so high, that the gains could not be sustained. It has happened before and when conditions are right for it to happen again - it will. The reality is that here on Cape Cod, we have seen smaller declines and less dramatic swings than in other parts of the country. Many would say that the worst is in fact behind us and things are beginning to improve. Inventory is slightly down from previous months and price erosion has slowed as well.

Mortgage rates are still at very attractive levels. It is true that the mortgage meltdown has hurt a lot of people but for qualified buyers, the rates are still a good deal. Nothing sustainable can come from 100% financing, instant equity loans available at closing all wrapped up in an adjustable rate. Does the cliché "too good to be true" come to mind?

I guess it all boils down to this. For the serious buyer looking to downsize or upgrade, there are plenty of choices. There are also opportunities for the investor and first time buyer. With all the property available the importance of getting good advice from a Realtor when it comes to pricing has never been more important.

A few helpful hints that have been said before but bear repeating for sellers:

When pricing a property listen to professional advice and be realistic. Use recent sales in the same area for your comps. It's not what you need or what you want or what someone got across the street a few years ago. It's about what a willing, able and qualified buyer is willing to pay that will set the actual price of your house.

Always, always respond to all offers regardless of how low they may be or how offended you might be at the offer. Some buyers just want to see where the negotiations are to take place. Let them know by allowing your agent to go back with something.

Listen to advice regarding "staging" and preparing your home to be seen. First impressions are still most important.

For buyers the following is good advice:

Buyers should be pre-qualified and close to being pre-approved by a lending

institute or bank. They make a more credible buyer and demonstrate a serious intent to purchase.

Work with a licensed Realtor with whom you have formed a bond of trust and mutual respect. They will save you money in the long run.

Consult with an attorney before you sign any contracts or agreements. You should expect to collect a number of disclaimers and other documents in the transaction period, in addition to the standard contracts or agreements.

So what are you waiting for? Get your self pre-qualified. Check out a few web sites or real estate ads and call your licensed Realtor. It's a great time to find the home of your dreams. Go for it!

And if you need any help, call me at Kinlin Grover GMAC Home Services in the Falmouth office at 508-548-6611. I'd love to help you "Live the Way You Dream".