Monthly Archives: May 2015

5 Quick Tips to Attract Buyers

Posted on May 27, 2015 in Buying a Home

Home location engines like Zillow and Trulia have made finding the perfect house easier than ever before. But it’s also made it much easier for lots of great homes to slide right under the radar.

A lot of homes end up staying on the market for months due to a few small mistakes in their online listing home profile. If you’d rather have your home sold sooner rather than later, check out these five quick tips that you can use to get your home listing more traffic.

When You Are Looking to Attract Potential Home Buyers, Knowing How to Represent Your Home Can Make All the DifferenceMake Sure Your Price Ends In 900

Everyone knows that a home priced at $249,900 realistically comes out to be over $250,000. But there’s some subtle psychological effect that makes prices ending in 900 seem so much cheaper. If you need proof of its effectiveness, just go to a grocery store and see how many product prices end in .99.

Price Appropriately the First Time

For some odd reason, sellers seem to think that they need to price their home really high, and come down over time. But all this does it turn off potential buyers for good, or encourage really aggressive negotiations. Price your home $50,000 above the true price you want as a maximum, and come down gradually during negotiations with your buyers.

Upload a Video Tour

It’s impossible to get a true feel for a home through the twelve or so pictures you get on an online profile. Go to an electronics store and buy a simple camera for under $100. Use it to give your viewers a video tour or if you have a good smartphone, you can use that instead.

For bonus points, take a walk around the neighborhood and show them the other homes. Remember, when you buy a house you’re buying into the area too!

Avoid Words like “Quaint” and “Cute”

Words like “quaint”, “cute”, and “economical” sound great on paper; however, to most potential buyers, these words could be a deal breaker. It’d be just as bad as if you said the house was small in bold letters at the top of your listing.

If you want to use adjectives to describe the home, use words that feed into the positive attributes and ignore the negative attributes altogether.

Make Your Visiting Times Flexible

Sometimes life gets in the way. If a prospective buyer is only able to see your house outside of your established listing time, find a way to make an opening for them. It’s worth having a home viewing at 11pm if they end up buying the property isn’t it?

4 Big Red Flags for Homebuyers

Posted on May 20, 2015 in Buying a Home

Interactions with buyers, sellers, and different real-estate agents can sometimes feel like Russian roulette. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced realtor on your team. Without them, you might not be able to catch some of the more subtle red flags that can pop up. Many of these red flags have nothing to do with the home itself. Here are some of the common ones that you or your realtor should definitely be asking about in addition to things like pricing, the local neighborhood, and the general real estate market.

Have There Been Many Different Owners in a Short Timespan?

Homebuyers Must Always Be Vigilant When Buying a New Home, and Realtors Can Help Make Your Job EasierIf your home-to-be has had 15 different owners in the past 30 years, something is definitely up. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with the home itself. It could be something in the surrounding area like a nearby railroad, frequent airplane traffic, or a not-so-great school district.  Ask your realtor, their realtor, and your seller what the problem could be and how much it’ll affect you.

Are They Offering A Very Low Price?

Never let greed get the better of you. There’s a difference between finding a good deal and being tricked. If a house is $10,000 or so cheaper than the houses nearby, they could be trying to beat the competition. But if it’s $50,000 or more, lower than local houses that have the same stats, you should definitely be skeptical. You don’t want to end up with a house that has a ton of subtle problems.

Have Many Local Houses Been Listed In The Last Few Months?

This question is really important for two reasons.

First, if there are a lot of properties going on sale at around the same time in the same neighborhood, then something is definitely up. A mass exodus of homeowners can mean many different things, most of them bad. Conduct research with your realtor’s help to determine the cause so you can decide if it matters.

Second, if there are lots of similar homes listed locally, you have more options! Go look at the other properties and see if you can get a deal. You might even get the original seller to lower their price due to the competition.

Are There Any Environmental Hazards?

Possible environmental issues shouldn’t keep you from buying a home unless they are frequent and very violent. If there’s some potential flooding in your area, just buy flood insurance in addition to your regular homeowners insurance and change your offer accordingly. However, you might want to avoid places with yearly tornadoes or frequent floods.

Hawaii Mover’s Guide

Posted on May 13, 2015 in Buying a Home

There are dozens of reasons to consider moving to Hawaii. For example, did you know that moving there increases your life expectancy by an average of three years for both genders?

Hawaii Is a Great Place to Relocate If You Have the Means and Proper Time to PrepareIt’s a beautiful place with breathtaking scenery, diverse and amiable people, and gorgeous properties just waiting to be snatched up. But there are a few big roadblocks in the way of your island paradise.

Money

Cash is probably the number one complaint from people looking to relocate to Hawaii. Tourism and agriculture are the largest industries in Hawaii and they are both notorious for paying very low wages. You want to make absolutely sure that your career plans are stabilized before you move so you don’t have to move back.

The cost of living in Hawaii is quite high due to import costs. Gasoline rarely dips below $4 per gallon. Also, be aware that if your favorite department store is out of an item that has to be imported, then you probably won’t see it again for a few days or weeks.

You probably want an average income of about $50,000 per year if you want to live comfortably. It’s possible to find a good home with less money if you have a good realtor on your side, but $50,000 will make the transitioning process much simpler.

Possessions

Hawaii is a pretty long way from the U.S. mainland. This means that all travel to and from the islands are either by plane or by boat. If you’re moving to Hawaii to stay then you need to decide whether the expense of moving all of your things is worth it.

Transporting a normal sized vehicle can run you thousands of dollars. Sometimes it’s to the point where you’re better off buying a new car on the islands.

Housing

Prices vary a great deal depending on which Island you live on and a good realtor will be able to direct you to the best place for your needs.

Generally speaking Oahu is the most metropolitan of the islands. So it’s a good place to look if you’re moving to Hawaii for the first time. It’s also much easier and cheaper to move around once you’re already in Hawaii.

Pets

Hawaii prides itself on being completely free of animal-based diseases like rabies. Due to the unique ecosystem, the local government has some stringent procedures in place to ensure that it keeps that reputation.

If you have carnivorous pet like a cat or dog, they are required to be placed in a 120-day quarantine before your move to the state. This quarantine is entirely paid for by the pet owner (you) and costs $1,080.

4 Reasons Why You Should Move To Austin, the Gay Mecca of Texas

Posted on May 6, 2015 in Buying a Home

While Texas isn’t the most liberal of states, there are a few reasons to consider moving to Austin. Austin is known as the most liberal city in Texas. There’s an abundance of LGBT individuals and a variety of different cultures. Think of it as a New York City with a lower cost of living, sunny weather year-round, and lower property values.

Low Property Prices and Cost of Living

Austin, Texas, is a Great Place to Move If You Want a Fabulous Place to Live With an Expanding LGBT CommunityHome prices in Austin typically range from $300,000 to $500,000. It’s not super cheap, but it’s nowhere near comparable places like New York City or San Francisco, where you need a million dollar mortgage to even be considered.

The cost of living index in Austin is 95, which is very close to the national average of 100. For reference, Manhattan has an index of 216, and San Francisco has one of 164.

Austin is Extremely Liberal

Gay marriage is currently illegal in the state of Texas. However, there are a few benefits given to same sex couples. City workers’ domestic partners are issued health insurance as well, and gay adoption isn’t illegal. Lesbian couples have access to IVF fertilization, and the sex of the second parent has no bearing on the adoption process.

Austin is extremely liberal, and same-sex couples are respected there. There are an abundance of support groups and gay friendly organizations in Austin as well.

Even though a gay couple can’t marry in Texas now, it doesn’t mean that the situation isn’t changing. We may have countrywide gay marriage as early as 2016!

Lots of Things to Do

A quick Google search reveals dozens of LGBT themed dance halls and other events. Southern hospitality makes quite an appearance in Austin, as the people in Austin are much nicer than they are in other cities.

There are also tons of restaurants and festivals for a more family oriented experience. The barbecue deserves special mention, as it puts the entire state on the map. Check out the Alamo Drafthouse – it is a movie theater that also sells alcohol and food.

This extends outside of Austin too, so don’t be afraid to take a daytrip to one of the other cities. Each one has its own special charm.

Fantastic Weather

If you hate snow, then you’ll love Austin. Austin is warm and sunny year round and the weather rarely dips below 45 degrees. Throw away your snow boots and knit gloves!

Why You Should Find An LGBT Friendly Realtor

Posted on May 2, 2015 in Buying a Home

Getting a good realtor is the most important part of the home buying process. A good realtor will literally guide you through each part of the home buying process so you know what to do before, during, and after your home purchase. A good realtor will also be sensitive to any special needs you may have, such as veteran status or age and time constraints.

Finding a LGBT Friendly Realtor Can Make Your Homebuying Experience More Professional and More SuccessfulFinding an LGBT friendly realtor can be difficult depending on where you live, but it comes with a whole host of benefits including the fact that they are more sensitive to your needs and you don’t need to deal with any unprofessionalism.

They Are More Sensitive To Your Needs

Being LGBT adds its own issues to the home buying process. Since marriage isn’t legal in some states, you may need to take a different route than a married heterosexual couple to jointly own a home. Likewise, you may need to take some additional steps to ensure that your spouse owns the home in case you die.

There’s also the issue of area. Certain neighborhoods and areas may be particularly unwelcoming of LGBT individuals. This even happens in very liberal states like Connecticut and California.  An LGBT friendly realtor will have good knowledge of the social climate of each area in their sphere so you won’t have to worry about ending up in a discriminatory situation by accident.

You Won’t Have To Deal With Unprofessionalism

The attitude in our country towards LGBT people is shifting in a positive direction. This can clearly be seen in the legislation in previously hostile states, and in our representation in the media. However, there are obviously still some places where LGBT people aren’t welcome.

This disdain isn’t only limited to hateful groups. It’s insidious and can be found everywhere, even business. There’s a (small) possibility that you may find a realtor that may say some distasteful or even outright rude things about your “lifestyle. You may even find a realtor who won’t give you the time you deserve or may take advantage of you somehow because of it.

To avoid this, make sure you find an LGBT friendly realtor. If you can’t, then make sure you let your realtor know upfront that you’re buying the home as an LGBT couple to get things out in the open.

You wouldn’t randomly select a home, so you shouldn’t randomly select your realtor either. Realtors are very valuable, so you should avoid contacting realtors via mailers and advertisements if you can help it. Find reputable LGBT realtors through established sites like www.GayRealEstate.com ~ representing the LGBT community since 1991!