OFFICE (406) 250-2409

TOLL FREE (888) 537-5300

HOME OUR AREA OUR LISTINGS MLS LISTINGS

BAY VIEW TEAM FAQ MAP

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

SELLING A HOME


"
How to Guarantee You'll Get Your Home Sold And... For The Highest Possible Price!"

Answer:  Focus In On The Major Key Issues And... Ask The Really Tough Questions When You Interview Your Next Agent!
When You Do, You're Guaranteed To Sell Your Home Faster And For More Money!

So, your listing has expired and you're wondering: "What am I going to do?" You need your home sold!

The most important thing you can do right now is ask, "Where did I go wrong?"

You see, marketing a home takes more than just sticking a sign in your yard and putting your property up on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)... any agent can do that! It takes aggressive, innovative marketing to sell your home in today's marketplace!

What do I mean?

Well, in today's marketplace there are only so many buyers out there who are ready and able to purchase a home. So, if you want to sell your home this time, your new agent has to aggressively identify these potential buyers belore other agents "get their hooks into them" and guide them to a different property.

The fact is, when you enter the market to sell your home, you enter one of the most competitive businesses in existence... anywhere! Competition is fierce and if you're not ready for it... your home just sits on the market. So, the first major key to effectively market your home is to identify potential buyers.

Remember, there are only so many buyers to go around... and your agent has to find those buyers first - before one of the hundreds of other agents out there reaches them and guides them into a different property!

So, how does an agent identify these "hot" prospects before the competition? This is where the "rubber meets the road"! This is what separates the weak agent from the shrewd, business-minded marketing professional you want to hire.

Your Agent Absolutely Must Have An Aggressive Marketing Strategy!


The best agents use every available marketing tool, technology, approach, contact or potential avenue to generate prospective buyers for your property!

One key element is they understand the value of "effective" advertising! They realize that in today's competitive market they have to create ads that generate a response. They can't just splash their name out there and expect people to call. They have to craft their ads to give prospects a compelling reason to call.

Advertising is a crucial factor in the success of marketing anything, including your home! So, how does the agent you're considering separate him or herself from competitors? All their ads look virtually the same. So, what's unique about your new agent that's going to grab prospects and get them to pick up the phone and call?

In today's marketplace, it's tough! Potential buyers have been harassed, high pressured and pushed around so much... it's no wonder that it's hard to get them to call! I'm tired of pushy salespeople too... I can relate!

They use razor-sharp strategy & cutting-edge technology as THE ADVANTAGE!

The best agents overcome this huge obstacle with a razor-sharp marketing strategy, combined with cutting-edge technology, to generate buyer after buyer!

Remember, the major key to generating a buyer for your home is to reach your prospect first.

The first two questions then are:
1. How are they going to make the phone ring with lots of new prospects for your home? And...
2. What's going to give them the edge and get them to the "starting block"

first? Then comes the next question. How sharp are your agent's negotiating skills? What kind of results have they produced for past clients? This is so crucial!

Most people think that selling a home is like being a tour guide. Show the prospect around, ask if they like it and write up the paperwork. Well, if that's all there was to it, your former agent would have closed on your house already!

Your Agent Absolutely Must Have Strong Fundamental Negotiating Skills!

If you want to get your home sold this time, your next agent absolutely must have a deep understanding of "The Art of Negotiating." These skills are vitally important! Without these skills, you could lose big! With these skills, your agent will ensure you get the highest possible price for your home.

So, how do you find out about your prospective agent's negotiating skills? Investigate! Check references. At the very least, call two or three of your agent's most recent clients. In fact, call at least one or two of your agent's current clients. See what kind of effort he or she makes to get the job done!

So, in conclusion, really think these things through! This is such an important decision. Get prepared! Really fire away with questions when interviewing an agent. Make them stand the test of fire... the best agents thrive on it! They can't wait to tell you all about the innovative methods that separate them from the agent that'll poke a sign in the ground and act like that's enough! In today's market, it's most definitely not enough!


"Attention: For Sale By Owners! Why People Are Afraid To Buy From You!"

Many homeowners believe to maximize their home sale they should sell it themselves. At first glance, they feel selling a home is simple. Why should they pay a broker fee for something they could do themselves? In fact, close to 25% of all the homes sold last year were sold For Sale By Owner (FSBO).

However, close to half of the FSBOs said that they would hire a professional next time they sold. Thirty percent said they were unhappy with the results they achieved by choosing FSBO. Why?

Many FSBOs told us the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved were not worth the amount of money they saved in commissions. For others, the financial savings were even more disappointing. By the time they figured the fees paid to consultants, inspectors, appraisers, title lawyers, escrow and loan officers, marketing, advertising, they would have been better off to have paid the broker's fee that would have included many of these charges.

Selling a home requires an intimate understanding of the real estate market. If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop a reputation for being a problem property. If the property is priced too low, you will cost yourself serious money. Some FSBOs discovered that they lost money as a result of poor marketing decisions. In the final outcome, this far outweighed the commission they would have paid. Before you decide to sell FSBO, consider these questions and weigh the consequences of assuming the responsibility versus employing a professional. A little time spent investigating now could pay off tenfold in the end.

30% of For Sale By Owners were unhappy with the results they achieved by assuming the responsibility themselves.

Questions to Consider

Do I have the time, energy, know how, and ability to devote a full forced effort to sell my home?

One of the keys to selling your home effectively and profitably is complete accessibility. Many homes sit on the market much longer than necessary because the owner isn't available to show the property. Realize that a certain amount of time each day is necessary to sell your home.

Am I prepared to deal with an onslaught of buyers who perceive FSBOs as targets for "low balling"?

Another challenge of selling a home is screening unqualified prospects and dealing with "low-ballers." It often goes unnoticed that much time, effort and expertise is required to spot these people quickly. Settling for a "low ball" bid is usually worse than paying broker commissions.

Am I offering financing options to the buyer? Am I prepared to answer questions about financing?

One of the keys to selling, whether it's a home, a car... anything, is to have all the necessary information the prospective buyer needs and to offer them options. Think about the last time you purchased something of value, did you make a decision before you had "all your ducks in a row"? By offering financing options, you give the home buyer the ability to work on their terms. You'll open up the possibility of selling your home quicker and more profitably. A professional real estate agent will have a complete team for you to profit from... lenders... title reps... inspection companies... they'll be completely at your disposal.

Do I fully understand the legal ramifications and All the necessary steps required in selling a home?

Many home sales have been lost due to incomplete paperwork, lack of inspections or not meeting your state's disclosure laws. Are you completely informed of all the steps necessary to sell real estate? If not, you may want to consider consulting with a professional.

Am I capable of handling the legal contracts, agreements and any disputes with buyers before or after the offer is presented?

Ask yourself. "Am I well-versed in legalese? Am I prepared to handle disputes with buyers?" To avoid any disputes, it is wise to put all negotiations and agreements in writing. Many home sales have been lost due to misinterpretation of what was negotiated.

Have I contacted the necessary professionals... title, inspector (home and pest), attorney, and escrow company?

Are you familiar with top inspectors and escrow companies? Don't randomly select inspectors, attorneys, and title reps. Like any profession, there are inadequate individuals who will slow, delay and possibly even cost you the transaction. Be careful!


"How to Sell Your Home at the Highest Possible Price."

To sell your home for the highest possible price, you need to avoid common mistakes! Small mistakes can cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Avoiding these mistakes is easy. Just follow the simple guidelines in this report and you should be able to get the maximum return on your investment.

1. Distress Selling: At times, selling quickly is unavoidable. That's when knowing the right techniques to sell your home, without looking desperate and making yourself a target for low bidders, really pays off. Know all there is to know about your market before listing and work hand-in-hand with the right real estate professional. Ensure you are not settling for the first offer through the door.

The right Agent can save you hundreds even thousands of dollars.

2. Best Home in the Neighborhood: Your home is one of your most personal possessions. Don't be blind to flaws and needed cosmetic improvements. This will cause overvaluing of the home, hurting its chances to be sold. Listing with the right agent gives you a well-informed third eye that will help you price your home at a fair market price.

3. Limited Home Viewing: Buyers want to view a home on their own time schedule. Unfortunately their time schedule does not always coincide with your time schedule. Leave a lockbox or key with your agent so your home can be shown when you are not around. You never know if the one who got away was your next home buyer.

4. Restrain Emotional Decisions: Don't allow a few hundred dollars, which would mean very little to you in the long run, ruin a sale. Take a look at the big picture and react rationally. Use sound business judgment!

5. Make Cosmetic Improvements: Prospects make up their minds within the first few minutes. First impressions can make all the difference in selling your home. Spending $1,200 on new carpet might add another $4,000 to the price of your home. Get an objective point of view from your real estate professional. They can provide you with a list of items that will maximize the profitability of your home sale.

6. Disclose Property Flaws: Property disclosure laws require sellers to list any flaws required by your state. If you are unaware of flaws or worse, attempt to cover them up, you risk losing the sale and finding yourself in court. Get professional assistance from your agent, who can introduce you to qualified inspectors and ensure the smooth sale of your home.

7. For Sale By Owner: Most homeowners who decide to sell their own home, do so because they believe they can save the commission paid to the real estate agent. Everything has a price, and selling a home carries a high one. The amount of time and effort required to sell a home often surprises the For Sale By Owner. Furthermore, many costly mistakes can be avoided with the right guidance.

8. Refusing to Trust Your Agent: Would you tell a physician that you've decided to run your own tests and come to your own diagnosis? By choosing the right Realtors, you can relax and trust their judgment. The right agent is a valuable team member, who will protect your best interests and make your sale as profitable as possible.

9. Know Your Market: Most homes that do not sell in their first listing period are priced too high. Consequently, most homes that sell quickly are priced too low and cheat the homeowner out of profits. You need to understand your market and evaluate the value of your home based on fact, not gut instinct or conventional wisdom. A professional agent will know and understand your market.

10. Choosing a Realtor Based on Personal Relationships: Home sellers often pick a friend or family member as their agent. Choose an agent with a strong track record and aggressive marketing plan. A top producer knows their market well and can generate many buyers. Selling your home is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make! Base it on good, sound business sense and the rewards will add up.

Before you make one of your most important decisions (whom to list your home with) shouldn't you become as informed as possible? By aligning yourself with a top agent you ensure that all the significant and seemingly insignificant, (but very important), details are handled professionally. Your home sale should not be a grueling ordeal. And the more informed you are, the better chance you have of making a good sound business decision.



"How to Get Every Dollar You Deserve... by Getting the Full Value of Your House!"

The ability to reap additional profits on the sale of your home can be accomplished easily enough, if you make the improvements. Many changes can provide the prospective buyer with enhanced feelings about your home. Feelings of more space, more light, more rooms, more closet space, greater privacy, warmth and security. Basic, simple and inexpensive improvements can provide an improved emotional response in a potential buyer.

An example could be something as small as a crack in the paint on a wall. By simply applying some plaster and touch-up paint, you eliminated what may be an unstated concern that your home was poorly maintained. Though the feeling may be unconscious, it's just as important that the potential buyer feel an overall sense of emotional desire for your home. If you are working with a small budget, these simple techniques will work absolute wonders.

1. The Magic of Mirrors! Mirrors can provide a greater sense of space and elegance when properly placed. Be careful not to overdo it, but when placed properly throughout your home, each area will seem larger to the potential home buyer. Try looking in your attic or basement for any old mirrors, but be sure they have a nice frame or at least give the frame a new coat of paint. You may also want to visit a local flea market or garage sale - you can often find a great deal on an old mirror or two. Putting one- foot square mirrors on a closet door in the master bedroom is always an attractive touch.

2. Adding Additional Closet Space One of the biggest complaints heard from potential buyers is that there just isn't enough closet space! Simply purchasing an inexpensive closet organizer and installing it in any or all of your closets can make all the difference. You can also try putting a rod across one comer of a bedroom, for hanging clothes, further out put another rod higher up. From this rod hang a clothes-hiding screen made from a variety of choices. The screen could be matching material of the bedspread, drapes etc.. The idea here is to be creative so that the "fake closet" looks as though it was a part of the room

3. Make a Bare Wall Beautiful Wallpaper is inexpensive, quick and easy to do! The right wallpaper can brighten the room or hallway and bring it back to life. Be careful to choose something with a neutral design or pattern. Remember, you're trying to move out!

4. Bring Old Floors Back to Life! Nothing turns off a potential buyer quicker than dull, dingy, disgusting-looking floors. Whether you have wax, wooden or tiled floors, do whatever you can to make them shine again! For wax floors, either rent a floor machine and do it yourself, or hire a professional if it's in your budget. Have a professional give you an estimate and explain exactly what they would do to bring your floors back to life. If you have them explain what they would do, it may be just as easy to do it yourself. If you have carpeted floors you should either have the carpet steam-cleaned or, if it's in your budget, install new carpeting. This may sound expensive, but new carpeting can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.

Inexpensive improvements can add thousands of dollars to the selling price of your home and make for a quicker sale!

5. Bring in Some Plants Having plants in the house is not only healthy for you but you create a wan-n feeling with them. Ficus trees have become very popular and they can be purchased inexpensively. Attractive pots such as ceramic, brass or even designer plastic will add a designer flair to your home. Hanging plants such as Boston ferns are inexpensive, easy to care for and would go great in your new home wherever you move.

6. Adding a Room Without Calling in the Contractor! This simple but seldom-used technique can give a buyer the feeling there are more actual rooms in your house. Floor-to-ceiling room dividers are inexpensive and simple to install. When a buyer walks through your home, they will generally count the rooms in a subconscious manner. Each room will present an emotional response as they walk through your home. By dividing and designing each side of your room, you create a "separate room" feeling in the potential buyer. It may sound crazy, but it works!

7. Clean Up the Bathroom We've probably all heard that phrase a hundred times growing up as children! Well guess what? It's still valid. Give your bathroom a face-lift if needed. Fresh paint, some decorative moldings, tile grout, new designer faucets are attractive eye catchers.

8. What is That Smell? People don't like to admit it but, everyone's home has a certain smell to it. We just never notice because we live with it day in, day out. Strategically placing fresh scent devices throughout the home will be pleasant to the nose of any potential buyer. As a matter of fact, an old Realtor trick is to pop some cinnamon rolls in an oven 5 minutes before a showing. I bet you thought all Realtors just had a sweet tooth!


BUYING A HOME

"How To Buy Your First Home...The Easy Way!
Avoid The 10 Common Potentially Devastating Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make."

Buying a home can be a "hair-raising" experience. It can be a roller coaster of emotions... finding the right place... securing the loan... moving in. And if you're like most of us, your home will be your largest investment. The emotions over such a large and personal purchase can often cloud good business judgment.

Many home buyers do very little research before "diving in" and investing their hard-earned money. Before doing that, doesn't it make sense to be as informed as possible? That's what this report is all about. It's designed to help you avoid 10 common, critical mistakes many home buyers make. If you follow these 10 suggestions, with the help of the right real estate professional, you'll make a good sound business decision that you'll be happy and proud of for years to come.

1. Inspect, Inspect and Inspect- Go over the inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional organization. For condo purchases, go over the by-laws, and association fees. Don't take anything for granted... inspect everything!

2. Imagine the Property Vacant- Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don't be swayed by beautiful furniture ... it leaves with the owner.

Be Columbo - check out all expenses. Taxes, utilities owner dues… everything!

3. Income Plus Lifestyle Equals Mortgage Payment- Sit down with a competent real estate professional and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations like: children, add-ons, amenities or fix-ups. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don't mortgage your entire future.

4. View Several Homes- See at least 3-5 properties. Don't move on the first property you see but... don't move too slowly either. With your agent's help, you'll be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of your market. And when you find the right property, all the leg work will be worth it.

5. Utilize Your Team- By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional, you'll have an entire team working for you. Top real estate professionals have lenders, title reps, inspection teams - an entire group of trained professionals to make the whole buying experience simple and easy for you.

6. Be Columbo- Check out all your costs and expenses before you sign: utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and homeowner dues, if applicable. Make sure all utilities are on (gas, electricity, and water), so you can inspect everything in working order. Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious.

7. Do a Final Walk-Through- Visit the property after all the furnishings have been moved out to be sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely positive the property was left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract. Many times, things are unintentionally overlooked that could have been spotted in a final walk-through.

8. Plan For Flexibility- Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, don't let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction.

Before you sign do a final walk- through and be sure the property was left per contract.

9. If It's Not In Writing, It Doesn't Exist- All promises and discussions are to be in writing. Don't make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your real estate professional keep an ongoing log (in writing) of all discussions, and get the seller's written approval for all agreements.

10. Loyalty Breeds Loyalty- Be open, honest and up-front with your team. Hard feelings and disloyalty will cause headaches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right team in the beginning and your first home purchase will be a simple, easy and profitable experience you'll have fond memories for years to come.



"Secrets Lenders Don't Want You to Know!
Read This 11-Point Report Before You Sign Anything!"
 

The right or wrong decision when signing your home mortgage can mean thousands of dollars difference in interest paid. There are very important considerations to evaluate before you commit to a 15 or 30 year note. For many of us, our mortgage payment is the most important financial decision we’ll ever make. Doesn't it make sense to know as much as possible about the financing of our home? Take the time to thoroughly investigate all of your options!

Unbelievably many of us sign the first mortgage placed in front of us. Typically the excitement of the new home purchase reduces the mortgage to not much more than an afterthought. What you read here could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Your real estate professional has established relationships with the top lenders in your area. By aligning yourself with a professional agent you ensure all the financial steps are taken care of properly and economically.

Negotiate a flexible loan. Some lenders will let you go from a variable to a fixed loan if rates start to go up.

1. Utilize a Lender With Established Ties to an Agent- Lenders are much more flexible with the real estate agents who have done business with them previously. Their relationship establishes them as a team member. The lender and agent work effectively together. That's why a good agent can make substantial difference in setting up the most economical financing. And the right financing can, literally, save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan!

2. Don't Attempt Paperwork Alone- All the paperwork required to complete the purchase of a home can be quite intimidating and frustrating for a home buyer. Make sure you have your lender help you with all the paperwork. Get help from your team, your lender and agent. Their expertise will help alleviate the stress and it will prove to be invaluable before you sign your mortgage.

3. Look at AU Your Options- Make sure you see at least 3 loan programs for your mortgage. Lenders have at least 5-7 programs and should work with you and your agent on deciding what is best for your circumstances. Evaluate all your options. After all, it's your money you're spending - not theirs!

4. Demand Service- There is little difference between a bank, savings and loan, or a mortgage broker when it comes to the competitiveness of their loan rates. The difference is in the service they provide. It is their job to serve you! You want to get the loan approved and move into your new home as quickly as possible, but don't overlook the fact that you are the one spending the money and they are the ones who should cater to your needs. Don't let the process become so intimidating that you lose that understanding.

5. Stay in Complete Touch- You should receive a written report from your lender concerning every step. This will ensure that no details are overlooked and there will be no surprises.

6. Negotiate a Flexible Loan- Don't just accept the terms they lay down in front of you. Lenders are in the business of loaning money and they want your business. Make sure you examine every option available to you. If you negotiate a variable rate loan, many lenders have the ability to move you into a fixed loan if rates start going up. Make sure that you understand whether or not that is an option in the package you are looking at.

7. Don't Give Up on the First No- Initial decisions are not always final decisions. Going to a higher authority can sometimes get you the loan, but do so with the assistance and compliance of your lender and agent. Many times, special circumstances, when explained properly to the person in charge, will win you the loan.

8. Don't Wait for the Bottom of the Market- The odds of your hitting the bottom of your market are about like the odds of you hitting your state lotto! You will almost never hit the bottom of a market. And trying to time it exactly right is often costly. It usually causes a person or family to miss out on the opportunity to purchase a very nice property. You're better off simply negotiating the best rate and terms you can at the time you find a property. If interest rates go down, you can refinance. This is a much better approach because you won't miss out on the property you've spent so much time locating.

9. Be Honest With Your Lender- Your lender wants to help you with your loan. The only time they get paid is when you get approved. The more information (good or bad) you provide your lender, the easier it will be for them to get an approval. It helps them present the loan in the best light. This in turn helps the loan get the highest approval rating.

10. Become Completely Educated- Pick your lender's brain. Lenders will teach you all about your various options, even if you haven't found the right property yet. They will be very patient with you while you are looking, especially if you have aligned yourself with the right agent. They understand all the up-front work will pay off in future business. Your agent will then continue to refer people to the courteous and service-minded lender on down the line.

11. Get Pre-qualified- Lenders will provide you with a certificate of pre-qualification. By getting pre-qualified, you know exactly what financial parameters to stay within. Your agent and lender will consult with you and help you get qualified for the loan that best fits your needs. Many times, they are able to get you a larger loan than you may have thought possible.

Getting approved for a loan is often times much easier than you might think. I sincerely hope this brief report has been a help to you. If you would like a free, no-obligation consultation, call my office.

Be completely honest with your lender. Remember they get paid only if you get approved, and complete honesty helps them present the loan in the best light.