Saturday, February 28, 2015

Anatomy of a Home Purchase


  • For most people, finding the right home begins with a house-hunting strategy combining personal preferences, guidance from others (including an agent) and a mix of neighborhood exploring and online search.
    For some, the search takes a while; others find what they want right away. In either case, your real estate agent can be a huge resource of insight and guidance, working through issues or complications that arise along the way.
    Here’s a general outline of what to expect during a home purchase, from the buyer's perspective.
    Buyers make a purchase offer.
    This is it! You've found the home of your dreams, looked over disclosure documents, reviewed comparable sales data, talked it over with your agent and submitted an offer. The sellers may accept your first offer, but more often will return a counteroffer. In fact, additional negotiations are common, and your agent will help you through this generally stressful stage.
     
    Check out our interactive HUD-1 and GFE (Good Faith Estimate) documents so you'll know what to expect when these appear lap during the transaction.
     
    The sellers accept.
    Once everyone is happy with the terms, the parties have reached what is known as mutual acceptance and enter into a purchase and sale agreement.
    Buyers put up earnest money.
    To solidify your intent to buy, you'll place a deposit, or earnest money, on the property. The amount varies, but is generally at least 1 percent of the purchase price. You'll write the check to the escrow company, not the seller. Note: This money counts toward your down payment later.
    Escrow opens.
    The earnest money deposit goes into an escrow account, where all funds will be held until closing, when they are then distributed to the right people (lender, mortgage broker, title insurer, real estate agents, etc.).
    Buyers apply for a mortgage.
    This step is streamlined if you've already been preapproved for a loan (which is a smart thing to do). If not, you'll begin the loan application process now.
    The lender inspects title history and orders a property appraisal.
    The lender needs key information about the property before granting a loan. This is when potential problems can come to light. For example, the appraisal could show a lower value than the purchase price, or the lender could have trouble finding comparable homes. Also, the title search could turn up liens or other problems.
    A home inspection takes place.
    You'll hire an inspector – generally, your agent will suggest one, or provide several options – to check the home and point out minor and major problems that should be fixed before closing. At this point, you still have the option of backing out of the deal. Through your agent, you'll submit a list of requested work, and the sellers have the option to complete the tasks, do some of them but not others, or reject the request. The sides will negotiate until reaching an agreement.
    Removing contingencies.
    If the house passes inspection, appraisal and title search, and everything is good to go, then all contingencies can be removed, paving the way to a closing.
    Closing time arrives.
    Once contingencies are removed and financing is set, all parties sign a seemingly endless stack of documents, and the transaction closes.
    Packing begins!
    When the final signatures are in place, it’s time to put down the pens, shake hands, exchange smiles and start packing for the move!
    Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
     
    Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.

    See you at the closing!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Choosing and Working with The Right Realtor When Purchasing your Home


Upon beginning your search, you’ll find that many agents specialize in areas beyond general residential properties. You’ll find specialists in luxury homes, distressed properties, international transactions and more. Before you dive in, it’s important to determine whether you're dealing with a specific property type and/or a certain market segment – high-end homes, retirement communities, etc. This will help you from the start.
It’s equally important to find an agent who can get the job done. Although your uncle's friend may dabble in real estate, ask yourself if he's really the person most qualified to help you buy or sell your home. Personal referrals are great, but only if they're based on relevant criteria.
Abilities matter. And production matters. You want someone with experience, education and a proven track record of successful closings. On all counts, RE/MAX is a solid place to start your search. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX, and RE/MAX agents collectively hold more professional designations than agents at any other national real estate brand.
You can search for a RE/MAX agent in your area – drilling down into aspects such as years of experience, production level, specialization, education and more – through the Find an Agent tool here on remax.com.

Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
 
Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.
See you at the closing!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Right Listing Agent


Plain and simple, owning a home can improve your quality of life, provide stability and give you a sense of control you just can't get from renting. You have a place to live when you rent, but buying is something much deeper – and better.
A skilled, qualified real estate agent brings tremendous value to the process. You're relying on this agent on many different levels, so be careful to select someone with the right combination of education, experience, performance and local insight. Look for a proven expert who can cast a wide marketing net and attract as many potential buyers as possible.
Be sure to let your agent know the particulars of your situation. Perhaps you need to sell within a certain time frame, are relocating out of state, or are facing foreclosure. Keeping your agent informed helps set the path for the best way to proceed, ensures that your needs are met, and ultimately contributes to a successful transaction.

Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
 
Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.
See you at the closing!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

National Tortilla Chip Day

National Tortilla Chip Day

When : Always February 24th
Today is a holiday with a crunch. One might even suggest that it is a corny holiday. Well, that's okay because today is National Tortilla Chip Day. Just a few decades ago, Americans seldom ate Corn Chips and Salsa. It's popularity has grown immensely. Today is a tribute to that rising popularity of one of America's favorite munchies.
Did you know? The corn chip recipe was brought to the U.S. from Mexico by texas businessman Elmer Doolin. 
Celebrate National Tortilla Chip Day with a handful of crunchy, tasty corn chips and your favorite salsa or dip.

Origin of National Tortilla Chip Day:
Our research did not find the creator, or the origin of this day. It was very likely created by a food manufacturer looking to promote Tortilla Chips.
This is referred to as a "National" day. However, we did not find any congressional records or presidential proclamations for this day.

Flower of the Day: Larkspur
Recipe of the Day: Taco Dip

Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
 
Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.
See you at the closing!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Importance of a Buyer's Agent

A real estate transaction is a complex process involving stacks of paperwork and a number of outside service providers and contractors.

An experienced buyer's agent can guide you through the process, answering your questions and serving as your advocate. Your agent will help you find the property that fits your needs, submit offers and counteroffers, suggest a good property inspector and other professionals, and provide all sorts of relevant advice.
With a buyer's agent, you'll have someone on your side, looking out for your interests every step of the way.
 
When seeking out a buyer’s agent, look for factors such as productivity, education and experience.

Look for an agent who understands your lifestyle. Make sure the agent knows the neighborhoods you're interested in, and can answer questions you'll have about the location.
 

What are the costs involved in hiring a buyer’s agent?


As a buyer, typically you don’t pay your agent directly. Instead, the agent receives an agreed-upon portion of the listing agent's sales commission (usually about half), which is paid by the seller.
If you're thinking this structure works against you by giving your buyer's agent an incentive to let you pay more than you need to, consider this:
The increase in a buyer's agent commission on, say, a $5,000 to $10,000 jump in price would be only $125 to $250. Good buyer's agents – those who are productive and engaged in the business full time – aren't going to risk their reputations. Your satisfaction – which can generate referrals to your friends and family – is the lifeblood of their careers.
Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
 
Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.
See you at the closing!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

5 Things to Think About When Buying Your First Place

5 Things to Think About When Buying Your First Place
5 Things to Think About When Buying Your First Place
As a renter, you have the luxury of choosing a place that meets your needs at the moment.​ Buying a home is a much bigger commitment, both in terms of finances and the length of time you’ll likely live there. When seeking out your first place – whether a house or condominium or anything in between – it’s important to do your homework.
Here are 5 things to consider as you begin the process of purchasing your first place.
1. The growth possibilities. Shop for a place that meets your current spaces needs, but also consider one that can adjust to a changing household. A five-year plan may not pan out as you expect, so think about possible life changes that could impact your need for bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage.
2. What's under the hood. Your first place may not come with many frills or luxury features – but all the basics should be in good condition. Thoroughly inspect prospective properties. And before any purchase is made, hiring a professional inspector is a must. Your real estate agent can guide you through this key step.
3. Know that no home will be perfect. Your first home may likely not be the perfect place. But make it the right one. Finding the right home is often a matter of prioritizing. Make a list of “must haves,” along with “nice to haves” and “not necessary to haves.” A three-car garage is nice, but would you rather have a larger kitchen or live in a good neighborhood? Only you can measure the importance of the amenities you are looking for.
4. Consider ALL the costs of ownership. When you buy a home​, you take on recurring costs you don’t have to worry about as a renter. Look for a home that meets your budget in terms of full living costs – mortgage, utilities, trash pick-up, sewage fees, homeowner's association dues and other fees. Your lender doesn't take into account these costs when approving your home loan. A good real estate agent can help you calculate estimated monthly costs to determine the most appropriate price range for you.
5. The lifespan of things. In addition to identifying cosmetic and structural flaws before you buy, know what to expect from the home's components. How long until you need to replace the roof, appliances, furnace or carpet? Everything may be in working order now, but all homes need these types of repairs at some point. Researching the expected remaining life on large-ticket items can help you plan for the future.

Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
 
Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.
See you at the closing!

A Great Marketing Tool to Sell Your Home


We are excited share with you our latest and greatest marketing tool that no other real estate agency in the area offers.  Be on the cutting edge of technology with our new 3D Showcase™ for Real Estate, bringing listings to life!

Engage buyers. Delight sellers. Our 3D Showcase™ is the most realistic, immersive way to experience a property online.



Traditional virtual tours and fly-through videos lack the perspective and “feel” that home buyers and sellers crave. Our 3D Showcase™ creates an emotional connection with the home.

Click on the link above and see for yourself!  Enjoy a complete 3D tour of one of our Luxury listings.  Contact a REMAX Realty Center (262)567-2455 agent today to become a 3D Showcase™ listing and stand above the crowd.

Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.
See you at the closing!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

9 Real Estate Myths That Need Debunking

9 Real Estate Myths That Need Debunking

We've all been fed—and have sometimes believed—more than a few old wives’ tales: Poinsettias are lethal, tomatoes are vegetables, and a pat of butter will soothe that nasty burn. But what about the popular myths in real estate?
Real estate myths are often passed around among buyers and sellers. Some of them have some truth; others are outright false; and still others depend on a variety of factors that are best discussed in depth. Be prepared to help educate your buyers and sellers, so they make the smartest choices, rather than just accept what they hear.

Myth #1: Always change bold paint colors to neutrals before selling.

Reality check: False
Bold doesn’t automatically mean bad, says Kim Grant, broker with John Greene Realty in Oswego, Ill. Sometimes, a room calls for a grand color in order to play up an architectural feature, divide a room in two visually, or add cheer when there’s little natural light. But even if a room sports a bold shade of paint, home owners don’t always have to grab a brush to change it up before listing. Sellers can tone down a strong color with a neutral counterpart, such as a calming rug or tranquil array of fresh greenery. If the room needs a change, Grant suggests sharing the name of a painter, getting a bid on the cost of repainting, and offering a handful of paint chips that demonstrate alternative color options that are more universally appealing. “It’s up to the salesperson to explain that another color can transform the space without much effort,” Grant says.

Myth #2: Never buy the biggest house on a street.

Reality check: Usually true
The largest house on a block or in a neighborhood often is the most expensive, which may affect its appraisal and make its price much higher than other homes in the same neighborhood on comparative analyses, says Michelle Shurtleff, salesperson with the Miami Real Estate Team in Key Biscayne, Fla. Most buyers today are concerned about value when making an investment in a home, so they’ll appreciate a caveat about limiting their pool of future buyers by pricing themselves out of or above the local market, she says.

Myth #3: Always avoid first-floor condos because of noise and safety concerns.

Reality check: False
A first-floor unit can be a terrific bargain and a wonderful place to live, says salesperson L.J. Ganser of Fenwick Keats Real Estate in New York, who has sold many in Manhattan. He has found they offer numerous advantages, and sometimes they just need a few tweaks to dampen possible sounds and make owners feel safer. Among the advantages: “You don’t have to wait for an elevator [or] climb stairs, and you can enjoy the changes in scenery from the ground level up,” he says. Suggest ways to soundproof the unit with a good-fitting door and sound-dampening acoustical panels on the interior side. Also, suggest window treatments that block noise and views such as “top down, bottom up blinds” that can be raised from the windowsill to a height that prevents pesky pedestrians from ogling the buyer’s home but still allow in light. For safety, suggest wrought iron bars, if the unit doesn’t have them, or an alarm system.

Myth #4: Sellers should expect to earn back everything they invested in remodeling projects at resale time.

Reality check: False, but…
A quick check of the annual “Cost vs. Value” survey will demonstrate to sellers that it’s nearly impossible to get 100 percent of the money they put into a redo back when they sell. A siding replacement of fiber-cement brought the highest return in the most recent survey in the upscale project category, and that percentage was 84.3 percent. Still, Roman Bruno, a salesperson with Coldwell Banker in Los Angeles,has found that remodeled kitchens and bathrooms continue to be huge selling points to prospective buyers. “They make a home more attractive to potential buyers—and help them avoid doing the work,” he says. Paul Rosso, ABR, GRI, a salesperson with RE/MAX Properties Ltd. in Newtown, Penn., agrees that it pays to keep a house updated and in line with similarly priced homes in the community. The two times he cautions against upgrades are when a home owner plans to sell soon after making changes and when the market is flat or heading downward.

Myth #5: To sell quickly in this market, you must have the most popular features buyers are seeking.

Reality check: False, but…
It’s true that items such as master bedroom walk-in closets and first-floor master suites are all the rage now. But most homes in Los Angeles don’t have these features because they were built before these residential trends became widespread, says Bruno. “There is always a market for these homes, and someone with a vision may buy it just to update it,” he says. “Right now, we have little inventory and a lot of buyers — including absentee owners and investors — so we don’t see the need for redos as a problem.” Rosso agrees, but warns that the selling price usually reflects the absence of the feature: “Every home will sell, but at the right price. Price is the great equalizer.”

Myth #6: If buyers don’t like an exterior, they’ll never go inside.

Reality check: Often true
Without some curb appeal, most think, “Why waste the time,” says Grant. She suggests buyer’s agents prepare clients for the exterior ahead of time by asking buyers in advance what styles of houses they like and dislike, and even showing them images before checking out a place in person. If a house works otherwise—its layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and maybe a backyard—she says listing agents can find ways to remove or downplay features that may not appeal. Exterior changes may be as simple as adding landscaping that dresses up part of the offending façade, painting shutters and a door to focus attention, or upgrading a walkway with a nicer material.  

Myth #7: Homes with swimming pools are always tougher to sell.

Reality check: False
While they bring with them high maintenance and utility costs, a lot of buyers look specifically for homes with pools, especially in warmer climates. Usually it’s just the seasoned investors and older home owners who shy away from homes with pools, says Bruno. To appeal to buyers not looking for a pool, he suggests sturdy canopies that can slide over the top to make a safe, walkable patio. But he never advises clients to remove a pool. “You don’t cater to a market that doesn’t want something. Instead, you use it as a tool to attract those who do,” he says.

Myth: #8: Green features automatically mean a higher listing price.

Reality check: Not always
Bruno says many buyers find added value in smart, environmentally friendly homes. “LEED certification has become a huge marketing feature, and it’s not just something for home owners living on either coast,” he says. Still, Rosso says many buyers shy away from these houses if they’re priced much higher than comparable non-green homes. “In my area, I haven’t seen buyers willing to pay a green premium. I view them as added value that can help with marketing a home,” he says.

Myth #9: Always remove holiday decorations before listing a home.

Reality check: False
If the decorations are tasteful, they’re fine, says Ganser.  If it's Christmas, go green and minimal with a tree, some fresh boughs on the mantle, and a pretty wreath on the door. “There will be some Grinches who come and object to Christmas décor on principle. Perhaps Jacob Marley will pay them a visit that evening and convince them to lighten up,” he says. “But most people like the holidays, and if sellers can warm their spirits with a light, welcoming touch, I say do it. But don’t make potential buyers wonder what's going on with a corner that’s blocked by a 9-foot-high tree.” Follow the same rules for other holidays, he advises. At Halloween, fill a dish with candy corn; for Easter, bring on the jelly beans.

So what’s always true?

Real estate professionals should always advise buyers and sellers to avoid accepting widely held truisms as fact. Help clients put these and other myths in the context of overall economic trends, local and neighborhood factors, and the special features that distinguish individual properties on the market.
FEBRUARY 2015 | BY BARBARA BALLINGER
Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.
 
Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.
See you at the closing!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Watertown WI Market in a Minute

Watertown WI Market in a Minute

This is for the Watertown Real Estate market activity, for the week ending 02/19/2015 and is for the entire MLS content for this period.

















3 homes sold; 1 were listed and sold by the same company, and 2 was sold by co-brokes.
3 new listings.
4 pending listings.
0 withdrawn listings.
0 canceled listings.
3 expired listings.
2 back on market listings.
2 extended listings.
277 current active listings.

Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.


Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696, Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.



See you at the closing!

Oconomowoc Market in Minute

Oconomowoc Market in a Minute

This is for the Oconomowoc Real Estate market activity, for the week ending 02/19/2015 and is for the entire MLS content for this period.














The Oconomowoc Real Estate  Market:


6 homes sold; 1 were listed and sold by the same company, and 5 was sold by co-brokes.
12 new listings.
5 pending listings.
 1 withdrawn listings.
 0 canceled listings.
1  expired listings.
 0 back on market listings.
3 extended listings.
302 current active listings.

Looking to buy or sell?  Let me know how I can help.


Contact your local RE/MAX  Realty Center Agent Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. I can  guide you  toward your next home.



See you at the closing!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

11 Frugal Ideas for Staging a Home for Sale