Good News for Underwater Sellers! And the Rest of Us Too!

Many sellers have anxiously counted down the days to the end of 2012 and the expiration of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act which prevented sellers from having to pay income tax on debt forgiven in a short sale. They watched in horror as the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve and panicked because their sale hadn’t yet recorded and no deal had yet been struck! Was it too late to cancel the contract? I mean it’s better to have a foreclosure than a $20,000 tax bill, right? Can you even file bankruptcy on tax debt?! Let the spiral continue.

Well, never fear because The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (affectionately referred to as the Fiscal Cliff Deal) which passed late last night has upheld the debt forgiveness law as suggested in this Housing Wire article excerpt:

“One of the more watched provisions of the fiscal cliff was the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which was set to expire on Dec. 31.

The fiscal cliff deal extends it for another year, meaning homeowners who experience a debt reduction through mortgage principal forgiveness or a short sale are exempt from being taxed on the forgiven amount.”

Good news for sellers and great news for our economy!

See the full article here. The settlement will also extend a law that expired in the end of 2011 which allowed for the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums. Additionally, capital gains rates are to rise from 15% to 20% for high-income earners. However, capital gains rates on the sale of principal residences will remain unchanged and continues to exclude the first $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples.

March Reality Check

As the Sacramento area’s housing market continues to bounce back from the recession, more and more buyers have decided they can’t wait any longer – now is the time to get back into the market to find their next home.While the real estate market still has its challenges, things are very different today than they were in 2009, 2010 and even early last year. Buyers are generally more optimistic about the future, ready to purchase, much better qualified for a loan and, in many cases, are paying big down payments or even all cash for their next home.

Indeed, the scales of supply and demand are once again moving back in the direction of home sellers after being out of balance for several years. While countless buyers are out there pounding the pavement for a home, the problem now is that there just aren’t enough sellers to meet the demand in many communities.

As the economy continues to improve and with a shortage of attractive properties in good neighborhoods, buyers are once again paying good prices for properties rather than simply looking for distressed homes at bargain basement prices. And in some cases, properties are even getting multiple offers, driving up the sale price above the asking price.

So if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now may be an ideal time to do so while buyers are eager, interest rates are still low and there isn’t as much competition from other sellers as there usually is this time of year. Here are several suggestions on how to get started and the best way to get top dollar for your home in today’s market.

  • Pick the best agent for the job. Selling a home is never easy, but in today’s complex real estate market it’s particularly challenging. So it’s more important than ever to find an experienced professional Realtor to help you get the job done. This is no time for amateurs. Start by interviewing several agents to see who has a proven track record of successfully marketing properties in your area. Ask them about their marketing plan, including print media, social media and online marketing via major real estate websites. Find out how well networked they and their brokerage are to other agents with potential buyers. Do they have offices beyond your city limits and even outside the state? Today’s buyers are just as likely to be relocating from across the country as they are from across town.
  • Go online and be visual. Remember the days of sticking a sign in the front lawn and taking out an ad in the local paper? Those days are long gone. Nearly 90 percent of buyers start their search for a home online, according to the National Association of Realtors. So you must be there in a big way to compete for the attention of buyers. Work with your agent to put up lots of high-resolution photos and as much information as possible. Make sure to show photos of all the major areas of your home and yard to give buyers as much of a sense of being there as possible. If not, buyers may wonder what you’re hiding. And strongly consider using video and virtual tours. Such marketing tools are no longer just for luxury homes.
  • Price your home competitively for today’s market. Just because a house comparable to yours sold for a certain price before the recession doesn’t mean you will be able to get the same price today. A lot has changed since then. And while prices are firming up, it’s still important to realize the new realities of today’s market. Talk with your Realtor to determine the appropriate, competitive listing price for your home based on current market conditions. You may even choose to have an appraisal done in advance of setting the price. Remember that in this market, homes that are priced aggressively attract the most buyers and – in some cases – multiple offers that push your final sale price even higher.
  • De-clutter and de-personalize. De-personalizing and de-cluttering a home before putting it on the market can help make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves living there – a crucial step in the selling process. Take down family portraits, personal collections and knickknacks. Homebuyers are looking for a home they can picture their family living in, not yours. Removing these items will also eliminate clutter and ensure that people are looking at the house itself, not at the photos from your last family vacation.
  • Update, freshen up. Keeping in mind that some buyers take move-in condition to be important, put your home in its best light. Possibilities include replacing outdated kitchen and bathroom fixtures, applying a fresh coat of paint and/or refinishing the kitchen cabinets. Replace worn carpet or fix broken tiles. Many cosmetic touches are surprisingly affordable but may yield much higher sale prices. The less work buyers have to do when they move in, the faster they may be willing to make an offer.
  • Conduct a full home inspection. If a professional home inspector determines that there are negative issues with the home, consider repairing the problems before buyers show up at your door. Potential buyers will cast an extremely critical eye over your home if it needs too many repairs – especially if they are trying to decide between your home and another one without problems. Be sure to have the home inspection report available for prospective buyers along with an itemizing all of the repairs that have been made and the associated cost for each to demonstrate the investment you’ve made in your home.
  • Make your home and yard picture perfect. As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. When a buyer sees your house for the first time, a positive impression can make or break the sale. You can maximize curb appeal by trimming trees, planting flowers and even rolling out a new lawn if needed. A fresh exterior coat of paint might also prove valuable. And consider having a professional “stage” your home to make it even more attractive for buyers by rearranging what you have and/or bringing in other furnishings and accessories.
  • Be patient and flexible. You’ve done all the right things to put your home in the best position to sell. But there will undoubtedly be bumps along the way. A buyer may have difficultly securing financing. The appraisal may come in lower than expected. The escrow period could drag on longer than you thought before the deal closes. It’s not unusual to have occasional issues pop up. After all, buying a home is the single biggest financial transaction most of us will ever make in our lives. Through it all, remember that your Realtor is there by your side. He or she will be there with you every step along the way, managing the tough issues so you don’t have to and helping you achieve all of your home selling goals in today’s market.

What Should You Expect from Your Real Estate Agent?

I am committed to providing you with more than just a successful real estate transaction.  I believe my clients are entitled to an experience that is convenient, stress-free (or as close to- as possible!) and remarkably satisfying.  Here’s how I do it:

  • Constant Communication. Communication is a key factor in every real estate transaction.  I make a point to ensure that my clients are well-informed with the progress of their transaction from start to finish.
  • Personal Attention to Every Detail.  Real estate transactions are complex by nature.  It is imperative that your agent have the ability to multitask in an organized manner so that nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Price your home competitively.  I have a deep understanding of this marketplace, and always conduct thorough research before suggesting a listing price.  In pricing your home too high, you may be essentially pricing yourself out of the market.  When buyers search for a new home, their paramount search criteria often revolves around pricing.  Even your home fits all of their other needs to a T, they will never see your listing because of the price.  Of course, the risk of improper pricing is a double-edged sword.  Under pricing your home could lead to your receiving an offer quickly, but it could also mean a missed opportunity, or worse- it could mean the bank rejects your sale in the case of a short sale.
  • Help find the right buyer for your home.  I market every listing actively, meaning I do everything possible to ensure the maximum number of prospective buyers see your listing during their search.  In cases of multiple offers, I assist my clients in deciphering the differences between them.  Most people have a natural inclination to assume that the highest offer automatically gets the property.  However, depending on the seller’s needs, price may not always be their first concern.  If the sellers are anxious to move as soon as possible, they may want to consider an all cash offer that’s slightly lower than an FHA funded offer.
  • Problem solving skills backed by experience and a strong brand name.  There are often bumps in the road to success.  Knowing how to navigate through them is key.  I pride myself on being an expert in my field.  In cases where I feel a second opinion is necessary I need only look to my amazing team.  I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Coldwell Banker Elk Grove Office- one that is highly trusted and respected, with more than 100 years of experience that I can draw upon in supporting you, the client.

If you’re in the area and looking for a real estate agent, please consider contacting me first.  If you already have an agent, make sure that person is servicing your transaction completely and thoroughly.  Please feel free to contact me if there’s anything I can do to assist you.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

Rand on Real Estate: Why Now Has Never Been a Better Time to become a Landlord

RISMEDIA, Tuesday, June 21, 2011— Greg Rand, CEO of hosts “Rand on Real Estate” on 77WABC Radio in New York, where this week’s discussion comes from a caller from Orange County who does not believe that this is a time to buy real estate. Rand addresses a question about the effects of shadow inventory on the market and gives his recommendation to buy now, noting it has never been a better time to become a landlord. Rand also tackles the issue of high taxes making it difficult to turn profits from investments from a caller in New Jersey.

To see more clips on Rand on Real Estate, click here.

Greg Rand is the CEO of OwnAmerica, a company dedicated to teaching real estate professionals and consumers how to build wealth in American housing. “Rand on Real Estate” is a weekly video series where Rand offers his expert insights into how to grow wealth in the current real estate market. OwnAmerica also offers a web-based certification course for real estate agents who want to capture the residential investor market. Learn more about the course, “OwnAmerica Real Estate Investment Certification Program,” (OICP) by visiting for details.
RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail

*Credit RISMedia

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.


1st Annual Rancho Laguna Community Garage Sale a Huge Success!

Hello All! You may have noticed that I’ve been posting a little less frequently over the past couple of weeks. That’s because I’ve been focusing quite a bit of my time organizing a community wide garage sale event that took place on Sunday, and it was *awesome*!! If you had the chance to make it out, I hope you got some great deals and I hope you had as much fun as I did! We’re going to be hosting two more this Summer on June 5th in the 95757 area and on June 12th in the 95624 area. Keep an eye out on my twitter @JessSellsHomes for more information. I promise to keep you all posted on the details. Happy Shopping!!

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

The Right Mortgage for You

If you’re considering buying a home, securing a mortgage loan is a key part of the process.  However, you’re probably wondering: how do I find the best mortgage loan for my financial needs? Generally speaking, there are two types of mortgage loans:

  • A fixed-rate mortgage offers a rate that stays the same over the life of the loan. This type of loan generally has a longer term and may be good if you plan to own your home for a long time.
  • An adjustable-rate mortgage offers an interest rate that adjusts based on market conditions (it goes higher or lower) after a specified time period. This type of loan may be good for people who need an initial lower monthly payment.

man laying down

Consider the following factors to help you gain insight into the kind of home you can afford, and the type of mortgage that will best fit your financial situation:


How long do you plan to own the home?

  • Some loans have longer terms (from 15 to 40 years) that typically work well when you plan to stay in the home for a long time. Other loans have lower interest rates for a shorter term, and may be attractive if you plan to move in five to seven years.
  • CONSIDER: How many years do you plan to stay in the home? Will you move within seven years, or is this the place to “settle down?”

How much can you afford as a down payment?

  • 20% of the cost of the home is standard for the down payment on a conventional loan, but there are loans that allow you to put down as little as 5 or 10%.
  • The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be.
  • CONSIDER: How much can you realistically afford as the down payment?

What is the general price range for other homes in your neighborhood?

  • How many homes are for sale in the area? How are they priced? Do you have a list of comparable properties?
  • Are there other neighborhoods that catch your eye? How are the homes in these other areas priced?
  • CONSIDER: Which area/home features the best combination of location, quality, and cost for you.

Which of the following is more important to you?

  • To have low monthly payments?
  • To pay less over the life of the loan, even if monthly payments are high?
  • Some loans offer lower monthly mortgage payments over a long period of time. Other loans are designed to be paid in a shorter time frame, but have higher monthly payments.
  • CONSIDER: Which situation would work best for you? It helps to be clear about your financial goals and resources.

Your credit history

  • Mortgage lenders will look at your credit history and credit score to determine your track record for paying off debt.
  • CONSIDER: Do you have a good credit score? Review your credit report to find out.

Purchasing Checklist

With so much to think about, working from a checklist can help keep you on track.  Below you’ll find a list to help make you comfortable with the home buying process. After all, this is an exciting time in your life, and I want to help you enjoy it. Read through the checklist, then call a mortgage professional for more information. Of course, purchase transactions can vary, but this “typical” list should help jumpstart your thinking.

  1. Be sure you’re ready to buy a home
  2. Determine how much you can afford
  3. Organize your personal information
  4. Get pre-approved
  5. Find a real estate agent
  6. Search for a home
  7. Research areas and neighborhoods of interest
  8. Visit selected homes
  9. Make an offer on the home you want
  10. Arrange financing
  11. Schedule a home inspection
  12. Prepare for closing


Be sure you’re ready to buy a home

  • Consider all costs involved, including taxes, homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and utilities.
  • Consider the responsibilities of home ownership, from mowing the lawn to maintaining the roof.

Determine how much you can afford

  • Consider all costs involved, including upfront costs such as the down payment and closing costs.
  • Estimate the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Include in your estimates of other costs such as taxes and maintenance, as well as insurance and any applicable association fees.
  • Tip: Use a mortgage calculator (you can find one on my website)

Organize your personal information

  • Check your credit report to make sure that there are no errors.
  • Gather documents such as financial statements and tax forms.
  • Make sure to have the following information readily available: the name, address, and Social Security number of all applicants; contact information for your current landlord or mortgage company; recent pay stubs and employer information; the value of your assets; and the source of your down payment and closing costs.
  • Make sure that you have the Social Security numbers of all borrowers involved.

Get pre-approved

  • A pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford, give you the power to negotiate and even make an offer, and show sellers that you’re a qualified buyer.

Find a real estate agent

  • Consider special, personal needs with which a real estate professional may be able to help you. Real estate agents can specialize in a variety of areas, including, employee relocation, military markets, or vacation homes.
  • I would welcome the opportunity to earn your business, or help find you an agent in your local market.  Feel free to call me at 916-208-4347 if you’d like to learn more about how I can assist you.

Search for a home

  • Search for properties online to get an idea of the homes that are available in your price range.
  • Drive through areas that interest you in order to spot “For Sale” signs and to get a feel for different neighborhoods.

Research areas and neighborhoods of interest

  • Try visiting your preferred neighborhoods at different times of the day and at different days of the week to observe patterns of noise and traffic.
  • Use our Look tool to find statistics on neighborhoods, schools, and other demographic information important in your search for a home. Your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate agent may also have some of the information you need.

Visit selected homes

  • Take your time. Carefully examine both the interior and exterior of each home you consider. You may want to visit more than once if you’re seriously interested.
  • Compare the prices of similar homes in the surrounding area. Your real estate agent will supply you with comparable properties (“comps”).
  • Tip: If the market is competitive, be prepared to act fast. A pre-approval will give you the ability to make an offer on the home you want and shows the seller you’re financially able to buy the home — and that can give you an advantage over other buyers.


Make an offer on the home you want

  • Before deciding on the amount of your offer, consider important factors such as the condition of the home, the competitiveness of the local marketplace, inspections, time restrictions and more.
  • Consult with your real estate agent for professional input on determining the amount of your offer.
  • Include in your offer provisions for a home inspection and an outline of the actions to be taken if problems arise.
  • Tip: Always check with your real estate agent before making an offer — it may be legally binding. Working with a licensed Real Estate agent may be beneficial and make the process smoother.

Arrange financing

  • Call your mortgage consultant with the property address.
  • Your mortgage consultant will explain your options for rates, terms, points and other details about loan programs you may qualify for.
  • Sign the necessary documents for application.

Schedule a home inspection

  • Ask your real estate agent to help you find a reputable, professional home inspector, and to help schedule the inspection.
  • Tip: It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection. It’s an ideal opportunity to ask important questions about the property.

Prepare for closing

  • Make sure your closing date is scheduled prior to any rate lock expirations on your mortgage loan.
  • If you’re also selling a home and need the cash from the sale, make sure that the closing on your current property is scheduled prior to the closing on your new home.
  • Arrange for your real estate agent or an attorney to be present. That will help assure that all closing tasks are completed to your satisfaction.
  • Check with your closing agent to find out the amount of certified funds — a cashier’s check or money order — needed for closing.
  • Make arrangements for all people needed to sign closing documents to be present. This may include your spouse or any other co-signer.
  • Make arrangements at work and with childcare to be absent for 3-4 hours. (Closing normally takes an hour but you should be prepared to spend extra time in case issues arise.)
  • Bring along a photo ID — your driver’s license or passport, for example.
  • If you haven’t done so already, make sure utilities will be turned on once you take possession of your new home.

When closing is completed:

  • Don’t leave without your new keys.
  • Congratulations on your new home!

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

HAFA Short Sale Quick Facts

Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program

If your mortgage payment is unaffordable and you are interested in transitioning to more affordable housing, you may be eligible for a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure through HAFA. one of the benefits of a HAFA short sale is that it requires your lender accept the short sale as full settlement of your debt- meaning you cannot later be held responsible for the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and the amount that your home sells for. You will also receive $3,000 in relocation assistance upon successful closing of your short sale.  Perhaps the most exciting benefit of a HAFA short sale is that you can apply for a pre-approved short sale before even putting your home on the market- making your property much more appealing to buyers and your transaction much simpler to close in a timely manner.

In a short sale, the servicer allows you to list and sell the mortgaged property with the understanding that the net proceeds from the sale may be less than the total amount due on the first mortgage. With a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, you voluntarily transfer ownership of your property to the servicer— provided the title is free and clear of mortgages, liens, and encumbrances. Generally, if you make a good faith effort to sell your property but are not successful, a servicer may consider a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.


You may be eligible to apply if you meet all of the following:

  • You live in the home or have lived there in the last 12 months.
  • You have a documented financial hardship.
  • You have not purchased a new house within the last 12 months.
  • Your first mortgage is less than $729,750.
  • You obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
  • You must not have been convicted within the last 10 years of felony larceny, theft, fraud or forgery, money laundering or tax evasion, in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.

It’s important to note that while the government has created this program, it cannot mandate that third party financial institutions or investors be forced to accept a short sale under its guidelines.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are participating lenders- meaning they will accept a HAFA short sale.  It is in your best interest for your Realtor to assist you in researching your investors to ensure that your loan’s investors are willing to participate in the HAFA Program before going through the application process.

If you have any questions about whether or not you may be able to benefit from HAFA, feel free to call me and arrange a meeting for us to go over your unique financial situation.  From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

Avoiding the Seven Most Expensive Errors When Selling Your Home

Whatever the reason for your sale, placing your home on the market always involves a modicum of strain and stress.  After all, your home isn’t just a building.  And it’s not simply a financial investment.  No matter how long you’ve lived in the home, for six months or 30 years, your home is a place of memories.  It’s been the place where everyone you love are always welcome.

Almost inevitably though, the day will arrive when you must move on; and the house can’t move on with you.  When the time comes to sell you home, it can feel emotionally overwhelming at first, but it’s important to reflect, and appreciate the past, while preparing to create a bright and happy future.

No matter what your motivations are for selling your home, I can help you accomplish this goal without the dreaded frustrations and disturbances in your life.  After all, in the end, the target is always the same: to sell your home for the most amount of money and in the least amount of time.  This post will hopefully answer some questions you may have about the home selling process.

Don’t make the the errors made by so many other sellsers..  Take advantage of this report, and learn other people’s mistakes and save time, money, and frustration.

As you prepare to sell your property, there are a great many things to consider to be sure that you’re prepared and organized.  Before getting started, take a look at these seven common, expensive errors and make sure that YOU don’t make these same mistakes.

Knowing the potentially costly problems that can ariase while selling your home is the best way to prevent them BEFORE they happen!

Error #1:

Failure to Prepare Your Home’s Appearance for the Buying Eye

When buyers look at a property, they are looking for a home, NOT a house. Impressions and emotions are vital to a buyer’s decision-making process. They are seeking a certain feeling, a place in which they’d be comfortable living. So if you want to sell your home, give the buyer that feeling that they are “home.” Let’s examine the emotional factors influencing the choices made by the buyer. Emotions are one of, if not the most important factor for swaying a buyer’s opinion for or against a property. It is the emotional response that decides whether the logic should start to function. Remember, buyers will be looking at many homes, often professionally decorated homes. So it’s critical to make your home compete, to make the best impression possible.


A Home for Living and a Home for Selling Are Completely Different Environments

To sell your home, it must look very different from the way it looks when you are living there. Think about it; when you watch your favorite sitcom, the family’s house doesn’t look like yours, but you automatically believe that it functions that way. It has been specifically designed to make your eye see it as a regular, everyday, livable home. What makes your job a bit more challenging than the sitcom set designers is that you have three other senses to appeal to. Don’t worry though; it’s easier than you think! Here are a few tried and true tips for showcasing your home for sale:

  • The first impression is the decision maker for a buyer. The first impression is the one that will last, and it cannot be made twice. Make sure you know what a buyer is looking for. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes before the buyer ever takes a step inside. Get into your car go for a quick drive and then return to your home as if you were coming to see it for the first time. Take a good look at the house and the property. How does it look? Is the landscaping neat? Are there stains in the driveway? Does it look cluttered? Remember, the buyer is seeking the appearance of a well-maintained property. Give it to them!
  • Look at the outside of your home. How is the paint, the trim, even the color – is it chipping, fading, out of style for two decades? Does the roof look healthy? What is the first thing you notice as you approach your home?
  • Tour your own home. Concentrate on the impression of your senses: smell, touch, sight, and hearing. Walk through each and every room while focusing on these senses. Be sure to keep an eye and nose ready for flooring and carpet stains and odors.
  • De-Clutter. If it’s not essential, put it away. Pack up any extra furniture, appliances, dishes and knick-knacks. Your home should appear neat, fresh, orderly and be easy for the buyer to imagine moving their belongings into. The buyer will expect the garage to be full of storage, but it will only pass the test if it is also clean and neat.
  • Give your home a thorough and deep cleaning. You may even want to consider hiring a professional cleaning service.  For the difference it makes in rooms, especially the kitchen, the bathrooms and the bedrooms, you’ll be assured a faster sale and a better selling price for your home.
  • Pets can often be the anti-sale. Make sure that they cannot be seen or smelled by the buyer. Take the pet out of the house when the buyer is there, and take extra care to remove the pet’s odor. Remember, you’re accustomed to it, but it is very present to the buyer who is nitpicking for their future home.
  • A bright and well-lit room is a must for buyers. Before the buyer gets there, open all blinds and curtains and turn on all lights. Note: at night, do the same thing, but keep the blinds and curtains closed in front for privacy while keeping them open to the pretty parts of the yard, thus making your living space look larger.
  • Turn off all appliances and noise-makers such as the television, the radio, ice-makers in your fridge (if you have one) and anything that will distract the buyer’s attention from your home.


Error #2:

Selling Your Home for the Wrong Price

Of course, every seller wants to make as much money as possible when they sell their home, and it is natural to lean towards a high price, with the intention of reducing the price in the future if you don’t attain that dream price. However, listing your house for a price that is much too high will usually result in selling your home for far less than if you had attempted to sell at the market price to begin with. The reason for this is simple: Price is usually a paramount factor for buyers when searching for a new home.  If your property is listed out of the price range for buyers who are most likely to purchase your listing, it’s unlikely they will ever step foot in your home, because they couldn’t afford to purchase it at the listed price.  This is commonly referred to as “pricing yourself out of the market.” To make matters worse, Real Estate Agents have a natural tendency to want to show their clients the newest homes on the market in hopes of snatching up a gem before anyone else has the chance to act.  This means that even when you reduce your listing price after 30 days of being on the market with no offers, Agents may automatically look past your property because it has “gone stale” so to speak.  You’ll have to consider a deep discount on price to regenerate buzz around your property.  You’re now selling your home for much less than you could have if you had priced it correctly from the beginning. Keeping your house on the market for that long has also cost you money. You’d pay more interest on your mortgage, more property taxes, insurance, and all the other carrying costs associated with owning a house that is waiting to sell. Not to mention the added stress of having your home on the market. What’s that worth?

Fact: As the Seller, You are Solely Responsible For The Price and the Time it Takes to Sell Your Home

Overpricing will undoubtedly increase the length of time it takes to sell your home. Consequently, overpricing also leads to the increase in your carrying costs of the unsold home. That’s why I’ve created a program for you, to provide a complete, no obligation evaluation of your home. I provide you with a real-world home value analysis. This analysis is based entirely on verifiable facts and figures that will be explained to you at every step. I will also carefully inspect your home to identify any areas where investing a small amount of money will produce a definite advantage in the sales price. No tricks; no false hopes, no puffed up schemes. I will share with you the facts about today’s market so you can determine what your home will sell for. I will show you precisely how to “dress up” or “stage” your home in order to appeal to the vast market. My exclusive marketing plan will assist you with:

  • Asking the right price to maximize profitability.
  • Define and compare market value between homes.
  • Marketing your home to its maximum exposure.
  • Protecting yourself from crime when selling your home.
  • Handling buyers during a showing, to gain the advantage for the highest price.
  • Negotiating the best sale and terms on your behalf.

Understanding these issues will allow you to assign the best price to your home for the fastest and most profitable sale. It will also give you the knowledge you need for buying homes in the future, as you will know the perspective of the buyer, the seller and the market.

Error #3:

Placing a Limit on the Exposure of Your Home

Everyone knows that the most evident of marketing devices in real estate – classified ads and open houses – have their advantages, but they are limited in their rewards. To be successful when marketing your home requires a great deal more. You may be surprised to know that less than 1 percent of homes are sold as a result of an open house. Real Estate Agents use open houses as a tool for attracting buying prospects, not to actually sell the house. Equally as surprising, is that less than 3 percent of people have purchased their home because they saw it in an ad. It is precisely for that reason that the most competent Agents will use a wide range of marketing techniques, which emphasize the unique marketing solutions for your home and your area. I have an unparalleled marketing plan for selling your home. If you like, I’ll share with you the elements of my strategy, at your request and convenience.

Error #4:

Working Under the Impression that Your Appraisal Is Equal to the Market Value of Your Home

What an appraisal provides you with is a statement of value for a reason entirely separate from the actual selling value of your home. The purpose of an appraisal is usually for financial institutions that desire mortgage and loan information. Therefore in an appraisal prepared for a money lender, there may be issues other than simple market value that will come into play. They have different goals in their appraisal. On the other hand, a buyer will look at factors such as foreclosures, distressed sales, bankruptcies, divorces and fluctuations in the area. The perceived value by the buyer will therefore be somewhat different than that of a financial institution. To assist you, I can provide you with all for the information you require to make a reliable, realistic valuation of market value for your home. To do this, I will gather information about your specific area for: recently sold homes (market history), pending homes or homes under contract (market activity), homes for sale (competition) and expired listings (market rejects). I will answer any questions you may pose about your own house and its value, using true market facts.

Error #5:

Being Unaware of Your Rights And Obligations

The laws and regulations of real estate can be complex if you are uninformed or you do not understand your rights and responsibilities. A contract for the sale of your property is just that, a contract. It is therefore legally binding and not to be taken lightly. If you are unaware of what you are signing, or if you do not understand the contents of the contract, you can run into some very serious problems with the sale of your property, and resolution of such problems can be very costly. Before you sign anything, know what repairs and closing costs you will be bound to within the terms of the contract. You must know if your contract allows you to sell the home in its current state, or if there are issues such as deed restrictions or local zoning restrictions that will alter the rules of sale for your property. Also, be sure to have a proficient review of your title, to be sure there are no “Clouds on Title” inhibiting you from a sale. If left up to you to remedy these issues, you may spend up to thousands on unanticipated legal bills, fines, contractors, and other costs. A competent Real Estate Agent can help you identify and avoid these issues before they become “problems.”

Error #6:

The Signing of a Listing Agreement Without a Way Out!

Real estate agents almost universally have good intentions for assisting you in selling your home. But the life circumstances of a real estate agent can greatly affect those intentions. Personal problems, a career change, money issues or a decision to retire are all possible occurrences that could mean that the agent isn’t looking out for your best interests. Maybe you’re not getting the exposure you expected. Or perhaps you haven’t heard from your agent in a while and cannot seem to contact them. What then? You will, of course, want to fire your agent, should this occur. And you should be able to…but the contract you have signed binds you to the broker, not the agent him/herself. Therefore, if you are unhappy with one agent, the broker may assign another one. Someone you have not personally selected, nor someone you desire. But because of your contract, you remain trapped with that agent and that broker until the contract expires. Quite an expensive and frustrating error! Protect yourself! Here’s how:

  • Be extremely choosy and careful when selecting a Real Estate Agent
  • Be prepared for the worst, and make sure that your listing agreement allows you to cancel if it is your wish.

That is precisely why I offer a 100 percent guarantee of my services. My priorities are your priorities. I want your home to sell for as much as possible, as fast as possible. And, if at any time, you should be unhappy with my services, don’t hesitate to let me know. If I cannot remedy the issue to your satisfaction, you are well within your rights to fire me! No questions. No hassles. No headaches. Ever!


Error #7:

Choosing the Wrong Real Estate Agent

All Agents are not created equal, so it’s essential to find the one who can best suit your needs. A Real Estate Agent with vast experience and extraordinary professionalism usually costs the same as one with little or even no experience, or one who has compromising standards. Find out about these issues before getting started; before signing anything. Competence and experience will certainly mean the difference between a higher negotiated sales price and the loss of money, selling in a small amount of time or a long, dragged out process. It is the difference between a pleasurable experience and a nightmare. Don’t let just anyone take responsibility for the sale of your home. It is, after all, the most important financial transactions you will make in your lifetime. That is why I take the sale of your home so seriously. It is why I have created the customized home marketing program strategy to best execute the sale of your home.

Why Am I Your Best Choice?

Please consider the following information about me and why I would be an excellent choice for helping you sell your home as quickly and as profitably as possible.

  • I am an expert in your market area.
  • As a Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Mason McDuffie, I am part of an organization with a rock-solid reputation that has been serving our community for more than 125 years.
  • All Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate listings are available online through major national and local real estate portals, exposing your home to hundreds of thousands of potential buyers.
  • I know what people are looking for when they look at houses in your neighborhood. I know how to speak to your buyer’s desires.
  • I have a highly successful marketing plan and will develop a customized strategy designed to procure a favorable sale for your home.
  • I will create a comprehensive evaluation of your home and work with you to develop an effective pricing strategy.
  • Advise you how to prepare you property for real estate professional previews and buyer showings.
  • Communicate with you consistently throughout the transaction. I will serve you with honesty and integrity throughout your real estate transaction. If you need to reach me, I’m there for you.
  • Negotiate through the buyer’s agent, and handle possible counter offers, to reach a final agreement that is favorable to you.
  • Work to protect your interests through the completion of the transaction.
  • Best of all, my work is guaranteed. I will do everything I can to make you happy, and if you’re not pleased, you’re welcome to dismiss me.

All Real Estate Agents Are NOT The Same

I would like to provide you with a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis. It’s absolutely FREE, with no obligation whatsoever:

  • I personally conduct a thorough evaluation of your home, providing you with real-world facts, presented in an easy to understand format.
  • I will tour your home to identify issues that could negatively affect your selling price. I’ll then create for you a checklist of strategies designed for the unique situation of your home, in order to sell it for the most money possible.
  • I share with you my premium exposure marketing plan.
  • My plan supplies you with tricks of the trade to promote your home properly, to best handle buyers, to avoid crime, and much, much more.

Waiting Could result in a Difference of Thousands of Dollars!

Don’t wait! Contact me and I will be happy to answer any of your questions, send you any information, and sell your home quickly and easily!

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

You Have 7 Options

As a Short Sale “Specialist,” my specialty is helping struggling home owners avoid foreclosure.  If you’re upside down on your home and you need to make a move you essentially have 7 options to choose from.  More often than not people find that a short sale is ultimately their best solution, however, it’s important that you educate yourself on all of your available options before choosing which one is best for you.  If you have questions about how all of this might apply to you, please feel free to give me a call and set up a consultation.  I’m more than happy to discuss your unique situation in person.

Your 7 Options to Choose From Are:

  1. Pay down your mortgage, and sell the property.  This is an option if you have money to spare.  We can sell your home and you pay the difference between what your house sells for and what you owe your lender(s).  The positive to this is you can keep your credit intact.  The negative is that you need disposable dollars to do this with.
  2. Short Sale your property.  A short sale is where we will sell your home for less than what you owe.  We need to negotiate with your lender(s) to accept less than what you owe.  It will make a difference if your loan is a purchase money (non-recourse) or non-purchase money (recourse).  Note: There can be tax ramifications depending on if you have a recourse or non-recourse loan. I can explain the difference if you give me a call.  The positive is that you can pay off your loan(s) without any money out of your pocket.  It’s important to realize that in most cases, the home owner is zero dollars out of pocket when they short sell their home.  Most if not all fees will be covered by some combination of the buyer and the bank.  The negative depends on how many payments you missed.  It can reduce your credit score 50-150 points.*
  3. Walk Away and allow your property to be foreclosed.  This is a situation where you just walk away from your house.  You can still have negative tax consequences and it can affect your credit by approximately 250 points.  In most cases, a short sale is a better option.*
  4. Bankruptcy.  Sometimes you will be advised to file bankruptcy.  In a lot of cases, people will suggest this because they do not know about other options as mentioned above.  This should be a last resort.  It can affect your credit by approximately 400 points and your credit for for the long-term.*
  5. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.  This is a situation where you basically hand the keys over to your lender.  In most cases, the last thing your lender wants is the property back, and if they do, it is normally prior to foreclosure.  At this point, your credit is probably already negatively affected by multiple missed payments.  If you were current with your payments, why would your lender take the property back?
  6. Loan Modification with your Lender.  This is a situation where you want to stay in your property, but can’t afford your current payment(s).  The lender might renegotiate interest rates or reduce your payment and add it on to the back end of your loan.
  7. Rent.  You can rent your property out until the market turns upwards.  In most cases, there will be a negative between the rent you’re able to collect and your loan payment(s).  Most of the experts feel this market will take 2-4 years to turn-around, though I feel those figures may be overly optimistic.  You should be prepared to rent out your property long term and create a budget worksheet to see if you can realistically afford to be compensating for the difference in your mortgage in addition to the cost of rent for your own home stead.

*Reductions to credit scores are estimates only.  Individual situations will produce varying results.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.