Choosing the Right Gay Realtor to Sell Your Home

The chances of selling your home are only as good as your listing agent. This can be a tricky business because sometimes the agent that you get along with the best or like the best personally is actually not the best person for the job. You only have a short window of opportunity to get your property sold, so do your best to choose someone efficient, experienced, with a track record of successes and who can handle the ups and downs of what can sometimes be quite a rocky business.

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.comSometimes the best agent does not have it all when it comes to personality but this doesn’t matter. You want someone who has marketing and organizational skills, a methodical process starting with a very organized, through listing presentation including a detailed marketing plane with dates and deadlines for specific tasks (place the sign, staging professional walkthrough, professional photographs, brochures, place the property on the mls, etc., etc.). It’s always great to find a listing agent that is hungry, ambitious and that has the most materialistic bent possible.

Check the listing agent’s history of selling. Does she or he have a great track record when it comes to selling properties? Does it take them forever to sell or do they have a reputation for finding buyers quickly? What percentage of their listings sell, and at what percentage of the listing price?

If you are trying to accomplish a short sale then it is a good idea to find an agent experienced in this. Some agents have a line-up and do not get your listing up until it is your turn. A listing agent that specializes in pre-foreclosure or short sales gets that listing up within a day or the same day and keeps in mind that your financial survival is at stake. They do not take your  cry for help lightly. They express a desire to help you avoid foreclosure.

You should also use a listing agent that is honest with you about the market. There are many agents out there that know how to use charm to get your business – they know how to tell you what you want to hear. They price your home too high and it stays on the MLS for weeks, even months. Choose an agent that is not afraid to discuss the worst-case scenario with you. The best agent will also have strategies for dealing with homes that are not get calls. The longer your home is on the market, the less desirable it becomes (market age), so price your home as close to market value as possible, to maximize your net.

When interviewing realtors from GayRealEstateAgents.com, we recommend asking as many questions as possible and also speaking to the agents past clients  do your homework, and you’ll enjoy a real estate transaction to remember.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

California New Home Builder Holds Lotteries for Homes

O’Brien Homes started holding a monthly housing lottery for its 228-unit development called Fusion in Sunnyvale, Calf., after seeing throngs of prospective buyers camp out at the openings of other new condo complexes in the area.

“We didn’t want that,” said Susie Frimel, a spokeswoman for O’Brien Homes. “We wanted our customers to be pleased with the process.”

Each month, as new sections of the development came under construction, roughly 50 buyers would show up at O’Brien Homes’ sales office hoping to be picked for one of the 10 or so sites available. The participants were already pre-qualified for a mortgage and had their down payment in place. After being assigned a number, they crossed their fingers and waited for each bingo ball to be plucked from the tumbler.

For each unit, the company drew a winner and a backup, just in case the winner backed out.

Lotteries are not a perfect solution, especially for the buyer who walks away empty-handed.

“Some people would come back month after month,” said Frimel. “It got very frustrating for them.”

Adding to that frustration was that home prices rose virtually every time a new group of homes went on sale. The two-, three- and four-bedroom homes started out between $420,000 and $620,000. The last grouping went for $555,000 to $815,000, a 32% increase.

Related: 5 best markets to buy a home

Even with the price hikes, buyers kept returning. O’Brien started issuing returnees an extra bingo ball. If they lost for four straight months, they would get five chances the next time.

The last available home in the complex closed last week. Some customers got shut out. For Frimel, that was one of the hardest things to watch. She had gotten to know many of the regulars well.

In addition to O’Brien Homes, other Bay Area builders are also using lotteries, including Shea Homes at a development in Livermore, Calif. and Shapell Homes in San Ramon, Calif.

But lotteries aren’t just taking place in California. In northern Virginia, Camberley Homes held a lottery to sell two model homes in a new community called One Loudoun last week. More than a dozen people participated.

In Florida, GL Homes held its first lotteries since the housing bust. In mid-April, the company sold off 11 of its model homes in Delray Beach, Fla.

Related: The home bidding wars are back!

“[O]ur homes are at a price that we are willing to accept and not force customers to potentially get into a bidding war,” said GL Homes division president, Marcie DePlaza. “So for us, the lottery is the fairest way to determine the priority in which customers will be able to purchase our model homes.”

Last weekend, more than 1,000 people showed up for a sale of lots in its Boynton Beach, Fla., community featuring homes ranging from the high $300,000s to the low $600,000s. GL Homes held a lottery in which 75 homebuyers entered to win their first choice of lots.

“We set up a big tent outside the sales office to handle the crowd,” said DePlaza. “We had them write out pink index cards and we put them in a tumbler. The first winner was so excited, she was crying.”

Buyers seem to prefer the lottery system to competitive bidding or trying to be the first in line when a home goes on the market.

Calculator: Was my home a good investment?

“I thought the way [GL Homes] handled it was very professional,” said Neal Rosen, a math teacher who, with his wife Felicia, participated in a the lottery on April 20. “There was no rushing. They had plenty of food. And I got the lot my wife and I agonized over for three weeks.”

To keep up with the surge in demand, builders are trying to build faster and get as much inventory on the market as they can, according to Glenn Kelman, founder of real estate broker Redfin.

After the hard times of the housing meltdown, builders are savoring the return of the buyers.

“We went years without having to resort to lotteries or camping out,” said DePlaza. “We’re thrilled to see them back.”

Read the Original Story
By Les Christie @CNNMoney

So what exactly is a short sale?

In today’s economic crisis and down real estate market this is a term that comes up a lot. But what exactly does it mean? In simple terms, a short sale is a tool that is used by banks and borrowers who have come on difficult times, as an alternative to foreclosure when a borrower cannot repay their loan.

When a homeowner takes out a mortgage loan to purchase their house, they agree to pay a certain sum of money, known as the principal. This principal balance is paid over the course of 15, 20 or 30 years plus interest.

In the event the homeowner is unable to, or stops making their mortgage payment, the bank, or lending institution will start the foreclosure process. The bank will always give the homeowner along the way several opportunities to pay the back-owed payments, and stop the process. In the event the homeowner cannot catch-up their payments, the bank will proceed with the impending foreclosure.

At this point homeowners have a few options to consider.

  1. They can simply wait for the bank to take their home or walk away from it.
  2. They can try to get a loan modification, where the bank will change the condition of their loan and either lowers the principal amount owed, the interest rate they are paying, or the term of the loan and thus lowering their monthly payments to an affordable amount.
  3. They can give the property back to the bank (known as a deed in lieu of foreclosure) or
  4. The final option is that the bank can authorize a “short sale.

A short sale is an agreement by the bank to allow the borrower to sell the property at a discounted price.

The homeowner will hire a real estate agent and put the house on the market just like any other sale, except the home will be priced according to current market value and conditions, which is typically much less then the homeowners owes on their mortgage. Buyers will come and tour the home and make offers.

In the end, the bank will have to approve any “short sale” offer made by a potential buyer before the sale can continue. Once the bank has made that agreement, the property can be sold just as it would normally.

The bank is essentially agreeing to accept the purchase price as a payment in full on the loan that is owed. It frees up the borrower to walk away from the property without a foreclosure on their credit, and it keeps the bank from having to take the property back.

It’s my opinion that a short sale is a better option than a foreclosure, as you’re cooperating with the bank in selling a home they loaned you money on, that you can no longer afford ~ short sale or foreclosure, expect your credit to be damaged.

Additionally, it’s important as part of the short sale agreement, that the bank agrees not to come after you for the “short payoff”… in some cases with foreclosure or short sale, the bank may attempt to collect from you the negative balance and or 1099 you for the “gift”, which you’ll pay taxes on.

Always consult a professional REALTOR® and or tax and legal professionals that are experienced in “short sales” to analyze your best options. 

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast.

The Dangers of Pricing Your Home to High

One of the most important factors that determine the speed, at which the home buying and selling process happens, is the price of the property. If the price is too high, then the property will be in the unsold state for a long period of time, especially in this economy.

Hence pricing the house correctly is the most important piece of the home selling process.

While looking for a real estate agent to market and sell your home, one has to be careful in selecting a real estate agent who quotes an exorbitant sales price for the property. Just to impress the seller and secure the listing, some agents will quote an unrealistically high price. But in reality the market price may be 70% of the price quoted by the real estate agent… they plan to beat you up later.

By quoting a higher sales price for the home, it will remain unsold and eventually the seller will abandon the agent and then move on to another agent ~ every day there are more “expired listings” than “sold listings”. Once your home listing has expired, (not sold with the current agent during their listing period) the property has “market age” and your golden opportunity to sell may have passed. In addition, if the “selling season” has passed, the seller has now got to get very aggressive with the price to get “new activity” and to get agents that have shown the property previously interested again.

Past data reveals that the sellers who don’t offer their property at a realistic price the first time, often end up selling the house at much lower rates.

It’s very important for the seller to look for an experienced real estate agent who knows the locality and property prices in the neighborhood. An agent, who doesn’t have the knowledge regarding the prevailing real estate prices, will not be able to advice the seller correctly.

I always recommend interviewing three agents unless you have great confidence in the agent you’re about to hire.

To find experienced agents to interview, look at the online business listings that list the real estate agents in the region… Do a Google search for “Denver Realtors” or “Dallas Real Estate Agents”, etc..These listings will generally provide information regarding the quality of services provided by them in terms of the rating provided by past customers of the online business directory.

By taking references from several sources, sellers can arrive at a list of top three agents in the locality and then start the discussions with all of them. If these agents are on top of their game, the selling price (recommended listing price) quoted by them will be very similar.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-Coast.

Should I get my real estate license before buying a home?

There is no doubt that getting a real estate license will take a large portion of time, devotion, energy and, of course, money… all of which will be done to ultimately “Earn you a commission” (that may be a question). My other question to you would be, “If you put this much time, devotion, energy and investment into furthering your own career, what would the payoff be?”

It seems focusing on your career, and working with an expert in the real estate business pays off in two separate ways;

  1. When working with a professional buyer or sellers agent that is experienced in real estate, your chances of costly mistakes are minimal and your chances for an expert negotiation on your purchase or sale are enhanced.
  2. Putting this type of commitment into your own profession should earn you an annual raise equal to a commission, which you will collect every year for the rest of your working life.

I’d also like to point out that the real estate industry has experienced such complication over the past few years, that it’s hard to imagine anyone would be interested in such a fiasco.

You should seriously consider the amount of time, dedication, energy and money it will take to obtain your Real Estate license. The decision is yours whether you think it’s worth it or not, but, as far as I’m concerned, I would not be willing to go through that entire process in order to buy or sell one house. It is normally a better idea to leave it up to someone who is highly qualified, experienced and does this every day.

It certainly may be worth your time, however, if you’re retired, unemployed, underemployed, and were planning to purchase a home strictly for the sake of fixing it up and re-selling for a profit ~ Or even better if you plan to buy multiples houses.

Real estate license requirements vary depending on which state you reside in. In addition to licensing and testing there are requirements for insurance, continuing annual education, and don’t forget as a new agent you’ll be required to hang you licensed under an employing broker, which of course will want a piece of every commission you earn.

Every state has its own specific requirements and restrictions for individuals who are seeking a Real Estate License: There is a broad variety of regulations among all the United States.

The best suggestion I can offer is that you take a blank piece of paper and make a basic pros and cons list… for each item that is listed (as a pro/con) assign a number between 1 and 3 which will represent the importance of that particular pro/con. Once you have completed your list, add up the importance value numbers for each column. This should be a simple process for discovering the better solution for your specific situation.

Additionally, there is certainly an extraordinary amount of resources throughout the internet and also specialists who you can refer to for advice, so this would be a good idea as well.

Being a real estate agent is a great career ~ if you’d like to make a career of it, move forward with this knowledge… otherwise, continue doing what you do best.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-Coast.

If I Sell My Home & Repurchase with the same Agent, Can I Save Money?

Hiring a real estate professional is a great decision if you want an expert on your side; negotiating on your behalf, looking out for your best interests, and guiding you from contract to closing.  The commission a real estate agent charges isn’t set in stone, and may be different from agent to agent, though there may be ways to help you save money.

The Double Deal

It’s quite common for a real estate agent to offer an incentive if you utilize their services for both the sale of your home and the purchase of your new one.  If you’re moving within the same market, or a comparable market that your agent specializes in, you might want to investigate any incentives for keeping your agent around.

Often times the agent’s workload is decreased due to the client being the same.  The contract details can be drawn up quickly, and an agent can knock out two birds with one stone in various meetings along your milestone timeline.  Because of this, it’s perfectly justifiable to ask for help in the commission department.

It’s not Free

While offering an incentive to use a real estate agent back-to-back is commonplace, offers to work pro-bono aren’t.  If you expect a real estate agent to work for free on either end, your negotiations for a lower commission may hit a brick wall.  Quite a bit of preparation, personal face-to-face meetings, negotiations, time, money and administrative work go into both listing a home for sale and purchasing a new one, so it’s  justifiable for a real estate agent to get paid for their work.

At the end of the day, remember that a real estate professional is a person who has dedicated him-or-herself to understanding the real estate market, and is an experienced student of the game.  Their fiduciary duty is to represent your best interest at all times, and they can potentially save you thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands in the long run.

Make the Right Hire

Hiring a quality real estate professional will get a person on your side that will do whatever it takes to make your transaction as smooth and stress-free as possible.  Find someone to team up with that will dedicate themselves to you, and if any incentive is offered to use them again—then all the better!

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay Real Estate Agents, Lesbian Realtors and Gay Friendly Real Estate Professionals Coast-to-Coast.

Preparing your Home for Sale

Before selling a house, one has to thoroughly prepare their house for selling. By taking certain steps, the home owners can ensure great activity in terms of showings on their home and their home will get sold for the highest amount of money, with the least amount of problems, within a short span of time.

The first step that one has to take is to mentally disassociate from the house where they have lived for many years. By mentally conditioning themselves with the fact that the house is going to be sold, home owners can look at the property with the eyes of a potential buyer, not being attached to the sentimental value the home has brought.

The next thing the home owners should do is to take away much of their personal memorabilia such as photos and souvenirs, these should be largely removed from the walls and bookcases of their home. When a prospective buyer comes to see the property these personal belongings, photos, memorabilia, etc. are a mental distraction and buyers find it more difficult to “imagine” themselves as the new home owners, their interest levels will go down and eventually they go in search of another property.

You’ve heard “cleanliness is next to godliness”? Maybe it’s time for a professional cleaning and deodorizing of the home. As home owners, were generally more worried about finding our next home, packing or trying to figure out the perfect neighborhood for the relocation. It’s a great time get some professional help with de-clutter, cleaning, carpet cleaning, window washing and painting… a great source for quick reasonable help is www.CraigsList.com, but always check for references and insurance.

Prospective buyers are interested in seeing behind every door, every nook and cranny including the attic, so spruce things up, make sure the lighting works. You’ll have to ensure that everything is stored properly in a neat manner.

Then one of the most important things to consider while preparing your house for sale is to set right any problems related to “deferred maintenance”. Some of the areas include maintenance to the eves, soffits and gutters, repairing or replacing cracked tiles cleaning up the grout, repairing leaky faucets and doors that don’t close properly… a fresh set of eyes by the realtor you hire from GayRealEstate.com will provide a list of “must do’s”.

With respect to the paint, home owners have to ensure that requiring walls are repainted with a fresh soothing color and not the color which their family might have liked in 1982.

And of course curb appeal is THE #1 First Impression the potential buyers will have… make sure it’s the best looking lawn and landscaping on the block, even if it’s never looked that way before.

 

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ The Nation’s Largest Free Directory of Gay Real Estate Agents, Lesbian Realtors and Gay Friendly Real Estate Agents offering Free Buyers Representation, Free Sellers Competitive Market Analysis and Free Relocation Kits in Any City, USA.

How Long Will It Take to Sell My Home?

You’re probably looking to accomplish two main things with the sale of your home:

  1. Get the most amount of money
  2. Complete the process in the least amount of time

In our experience, achieving both is a careful balancing act.  You can sell your home in a heartbeat with a price low enough and, contrary to this, it will last an eternity on the market if it’s overpriced.

You can estimate how long your home will be on the market by taking into consideration your needs and evaluating how other homes in your area are performing.

Baseline Days on the Market

We’ll begin by determining the average amount of time it takes for a home with similar features and amenities to sell in your neighborhood.  This will establish a baseline that we can use to gauge how both under and overpricing your home affects it’s days-on-market.

Once we’ve established a baseline, we can then consider your timing and financial needs in regards to pricing.  We’ll refer to this statistic as “baseline” later in this article.

Price

You have three choices when it comes to pricing your home: below, at, and above market.  Each comes with its pros and cons, and choosing one will be based on your financial needs and time frame.

Below Market

When you are below market price, you can expect your home to sell faster than your baseline.  The reasons are fairly obvious– you’ve intentionally listed your home at a below-market price with the intention of attracting the most number of buyers in the least amount of time.  Buyers will include both those who plan to live in the home themselves and investors.

The hidden gem with this pricing method is that you can proactively solicit multiple offers and possibly drive up the price of your home.  This simply cannot be done if you are not attracting multiple buyers, and this pricing method almost ensures this to happen.

The biggest concern with pricing under market is that you’re leaving money on the table.  While this is also our concern, we’ll coach you on how much under market you should price to ensure you’re getting more offers, while minimizing the risk of losing money.

At Market

Pricing your home at it’s market price, or the price we determine your home is actually worth based on it’s features, amenities, and condition, ensures that it will be sold in your baseline timeframe.  A seller who isn’t in a desperate need to sell quickly could consider this option.  While you may not get as many buyers as the under-priced method, you will still receive the average amount of interest as other homes for sale in your market.

Buyers with this pricing method will usually include those who plan to live in the home themselves.

Overpriced

Each pricing method has it’s benefits, and the overpriced method is reserved for those homes that could be considered “benchmark” or in a better condition with more features than other homes in their market. 

Overpriced homes should expect to stay on the market the longest, as they’re targeting a very specific niche buyer who values the reasons justifying the increase in list price.

Conclusion

As you can see, the amount of time your home spends on the market is in direct relation to how it’s priced in relation to the baseline. 

Contact one of the gayrealestate.com professionals today to discuss your needs and the real estate market to determine which pricing method is best for you.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com offering Free Instant Access to Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast.

Should we Remodel our Home or Sell “As Is”?

This question is a common headache for many homeowners visiting Gay Real Estate when considering placing their home on the market.  On one hand, a remodel could create a diamond in the rough, and possibly even encourage a faster sale.  On another, selling as-is in a competitive market could save months of listing time if priced right.

 

When You Should Remodel

Analyzing your competition can be a great way to gain insight into what buyers are looking for in your market.  It’s easy to assume a feature or amenity should immediately increase the value of your home.  In some cases it will, but many times a remodel will only bring your home to the market readiness of other similar homes in your neighborhood.

You should consider remodeling a room in your home if any of the following applies:

1) When analyzing sold history and currently active homes on the market, you find that this particular remodel is commonly found.

2) The room is in dire need of attention and a simple clean up won’t suffice to get it market-ready.

3) When analyzing sold history, a predominant higher price is offered for homes with this particular remodel.

You’re likely to never recoup the entire cost of a remodel, but getting your home up to par may be necessary to get your home sold in a reasonable amount of time.

 

When You Should Sell As-Is

If your home can be considered a “benchmark” home, or a home that is already loaded with amenities not commonly found in your market, you should consider selling as-is.  While a pricey remodel will certainly make your home shine during an open house, it usually costs more than it’s worth.  

You should consider selling your home as-is if your home meets any of the following criteria:

1) The average price per square foot in your market is deteriorating (down market).

2) Your home can be considered a “benchmark” home, or a home that has more features and amenities than the competition.

3) Your home is already on par with other active properties in the area.

 

The Rule of Thumb

First, ensure that your home meets the standard set by the competition currently for sale in your market.  If your home is not up to par, you should consider remodeling. 

If your home shares the same features and amenities as its competition, then you should consider selling as-is to avoid leaving any money on the table.  A remodel is always a nice selling feature, but many times it does not make financial sense and is simply a waste of time.

Take the time to get with your real estate agent to analyze your competition, and base your decision on what buyers are demanding in your particular real estate market.

Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealestate.com ~ Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-Coast.

How Long Will It Take to Sell My Home?

You’re probably looking to accomplish two main things with the sale of your home:

  1. Get the most amount of money
  2. Complete the process in the least amount of time

In our experience, achieving both is a careful balancing act.  You can sell your home in a heartbeat with a price low enough and, contrary to this, it will last an eternity on the market if it’s overpriced.

You can estimate how long your home will be on the market by taking into consideration your needs and evaluating how other homes in your area are performing.

Baseline Days on Market

We’ll begin by determining the average amount of time it takes for a home with similar features and amenities to sell in your neighborhood.  This will establish a baseline that we can use to gauge how both under and overpricing your home affects it’s days-on-market.

Once we’ve established a baseline, we can then consider your timing and financial needs in regards to pricing.  We’ll refer to this statistic as “baseline” later in this article.

Price

You have three choices when it comes to pricing your home: below, at, and above market.  Each comes with its pros and cons, and choosing one will be based on your financial needs and time frame.

Below Market

When you are below market price, you can expect your home to sell faster than your baseline.  The reasons are fairly obvious– you’ve intentionally listed your home at a below-market price with the intention of attracting the most number of buyers in the least amount of time.  Buyers will include both those who plan to live in the home themselves and investors.

The hidden gem with this pricing method is that you can proactively solicit multiple offers and possibly drive up the price of your home.  This simply cannot be done if you are not attracting multiple buyers, and this pricing method almost ensures this to happen.

The biggest concern with pricing under market is that you’re leaving money on the table.  While this is also our concern, we’ll coach you on how much under market you should price to ensure you’re getting more offers, while minimizing the risk of losing money.

At Market

Pricing your home at it’s market price, or the price we determine your home is actually worth based on it’s features, amenities, and condition, ensures that it will be sold in your baseline timeframe.  A seller who isn’t in a desperate need to sell quickly could consider this option.  While you may not get as many buyers as the under-priced method, you will still receive the average amount of interest as other homes for sale in your market.

Buyers with this pricing method will usually include those who plan to live in the home themselves.

Overpriced

Each pricing method has it’s benefits, and the overpriced method is reserved for those homes that could be considered “benchmark” or in a better condition with more features than other homes in their market. 

Overpriced homes should expect to stay on the market the longest, as they’re targeting a very specific niche buyer who values the reasons justifying the increase in list price.

Conclusion

As you can see, the amount of time your home spends on the market is in direct relation to how it’s priced in relation to the baseline. 

Contact one of the gayrealestate.com professionals today to discuss your needs and the real estate market to determine which pricing method is best for you.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com offering Free Instant Access to Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast.