Be Willing To Walk…

ImageWhen you find that perfect home after days (or months) of searching…it’s time to make an offer!  Time to negotiate the final terms of the deal.  The right Realtor will certainly help you with writing the contract…but it’s important that you are prepared to ultimately land the best deal possible.  Here are some tips to be on top of your game:

Find out as much as you can about the seller. Knowing their motivation for selling can be the key to understanding the seller’s flexibility when negotiating.  Whether there is a job transfer involved with relocation to another state, settling an heir’s estate Imagefinancial difficulties, purchasing a larger home or downsizing…knowledge is power.

Don’t let the seller know how badly you may want their property.  Don’t tip your hand emotionally.  But on the other side of the coin,  I have asked buyers, in multiple offer situations, to write a letter to the seller that is presented with their offer, explaining what they love about the house and a little of their personal story. Many times this has been the deciding factor for a seller in the offer they choose, if the offered price is similar on all the contracts.

After you agree on the sales price, there may be future negotiations if the appraisal comes in low, or issues come up with the home inspection or termite report.  “Be willing to walk”…but on the other hand, “Be willing to compromise”.  You will get much further in the negotiations if there is a feeling of working together towards the same common goal. NO one wins if the deal falls apart at the end. If both sides can “give and  take” a little, everyone will walk away from the closing table feeling good about the deal. ImageBut when you have reached your spending limit and have no further room to negotiate but the seller wants to continue bargaining, simply tell your agent that you are prepared to walk away.  You don’t need to declare “THIS IS MY FINAL OFFER!!”, which might be offensive to the seller. If the seller gives a counter offer higher than your limit, simply go back with the previous offer you presented, explaining that is the very best you can do.  Communicate that you are hopeful they can reconsider. If they can’t, it’s time to tell your agent you are walking away. Once that is shared with the seller, it might be enough for them to accept your “highest and best offer”….or they may be willing to walk away as well.

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11 Reasons A Seller Should List During The Holidays!

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If you are thinking of taking your home off the market for the holidays, or waiting until January to list,  you may want to re-think that decision!  I have written offers on New Year’s Eve for buyers relocating that need to find a house for their new job starting the next week.  I’ve shown property before and after Christmas, when a lot of other sellers have taken their homes off he market,and inventory is scarce.  The good news is buyers are still out there looking and you don’t want to miss out on showings! Here are the top 11 reasons to list in December…

11. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! This will allow you to sell high and buy low.

10. You can sell now for more money and possibly ask for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year.

9. Even though your house will be on the market, you still have the option to restrict showings during the six or seven days around the Holidays.

8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transfers cannot wait until Spring to buy, you need to be on the market during the Holidays to capture the market.

7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.

6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a work week.

5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to pay your price.

4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays.  Image    cowboy boot  mantleImage   exterior white lights

3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home.

2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means a better chance of selling for you!

And the number one reason why your seller should list during the Holidays …

1. People who look for homes during the Holidays are more serious buyers!

If they are out in colder weather, away from family gatherings, you know they are very serious and not just wasting everyone’s time! There are many buyers who lost out in multiple offer situations that are still ready, willing and able to purchase now…they are looking at new listings every day, watching for the perfect house! Make sure your home is included in their search!

Posted in brentwood, brentwood homes for sale, brentwood real estate, buyers, christmas, cold, cost saving, davidson county, decorating, financing, for sale, franklin, franklin homes for sale, franklin real estate, gallatin, gallatin homes for sale, gallatin real estate, green hills, green hills houses for sale, green hills real estate, hendersonville, hendersonville homes for sale, hendersonville real estate, Holiday, homes, homes for, homes for sale, house decor, houses, houses for sale, keller williams, moving, nashville, nashville homes for sale, nashville real estate, real estate, real estate articles, realtor, relocation, rosalie mietzel, rosie mietzel, saving, saving money, sellers, staging, sumner county, tennesee, tn, Uncategorized, williamson county, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Brings A Sense of Warmth in Challenging Times

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Thanksgiving is here.  How we got here so quickly, I’m not sure…but it is a great time of year.  Families are gathering and sharing times that involve rich memories, excellent meals, and renewed relationships.  Some say they are “going home for the holiday”.  But what home means may vary greatly.  Just as my blog is titled “Through A Buyer’s Eyes”, meaning that things may look different to a seller, a buyer, and a real estate agent…Home means different things as well.

One of the first thoughts is of going home to be with family – possibly at the home were you grew up and where the best meals were made.  For others, it means celebrating in a new home and inviting family and friends over to visit – a “house warming”.  For some, it may be that home just means being where your loved one is.  It might be in a new town, far away from family…or even in a new part of the world. It might be a member of our military where coming home is safely returning to base from patrol.   And for some, while there may be no home, there is at least a caring community providing food and a day of relief from challenges that make life really difficult at present.  Home can be a tent, a shelter, a small cottage, a houseboat, a log cabin, a tractor-trailer rig, a condo, an apartment, a loft, a bunk on a tour bus, or a mansion – it’s what is inside that truly makes a house a “home”.

With all the talk about financial ups and downs, economic challenges and difficult times facing families, communities and even our country, being home and with family and friends provides a sense of joy, security and support.  Whether home is a shelter, apartment, group or foster home, newly built or one handed down through generations, my sincerest wish is that you will enjoy being home at Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

Please join me in remembering those who will not be home this year, because they are stationed throughout the country and around the world, protecting our freedoms.  Happy Thanksgiving!

(portions of this article were contributed by Price Lechleiter, president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors)

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“But We Bought with Zero Down 20 Years Ago!!”

Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Buyer…you probably did back then…but it isn’t the case anymore for a lot of people.  I have been meeting with more people in recent weeks who truly want to buy a home and get out of the rental market.  Many had previously owned homes, but for various reasons had to sell and became renters.  Now they want to quit throwing money away on rent to a landlord, and spend that same money investing in a home they own. But the lending rules have changed so much as the economy struggles to recover from the horrendous foreclosure market in recent years, that they can’t qualify for loans. Their frustration echoes loudly, “But we bought before with 0 down –  why can’t we now???”   Image

Besides the zero-down payment programs that have always been available to our veterans, years back there were some infamous “80/20″ loan programs where the same lender would make a 20% loan for the down payment to a qualified borrower, and then make an additional 80% loan for the mortgage.  As long as the buyer could qualify for the combined monthly payment on both loans, it saved them PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) which was an additional monthly expense incorporated into their house payment.  So buyers were able to become homeowners without putting in a penny of their own money.  Even closing costs would be paid by a seller, if the purchase offer was structured that way.  The lending underwriters, who had to approve the buyers for these risky loans,  had also loosened up the qualifying guidelines. They had gone from a 33% guideline for house payment vs. gross income in the “old days” to higher than 50% ratios.

Before the housing bubble burst, many lenders offered borrowers 100 percent financing. Some lenders even allowed buyers to finance 105 percent of the home value.  Those zero down and low-down-payment loans were part of the problem that led to the housing crisis, because homeowners who never made a down payment found themselves quickly underwater when home prices dropped and were more likely to face foreclosure because they couldn’t refinance without any home equity.

Conventional lenders quickly dropped risky loan products and the pendulum swung the other way to loans requiring a minimum down payment of 20 percent or, for borrowers with excellent credit, 10 percent.  An article in the Seattle Times can be found here http://seattletimes.com/html/moneymatters/2021646934_pflowdownpaymentsxml.html that talks about it all.

So what options does a buyer have now?  The good news is that there are still some zero-down payment programs out there.  In rural areas, there is a USDA loan that can cover your down payment, that is used in addition to FHA financing – if a buyer can qualify for the two mortgage payments.  Here in Tennessee, there is a THDA loan http://www.thda.org that offers 4% of the purchase price at 0% for a 10 year term that is used with FHA financing.  Image   Most other states have similar programs.

But the qualifying rules are tighter , that’s for sure.  And with all the additional private mortgage insurance (what? insurance to insure the loan? YES!), property taxes, and fire insurance that are mandatory on top of your basic principal & interest payments, the total monthly payment may be higher than you had hoped for the price range you want.

The first step has to be to sit down and talk with a knowledgeable, experienced lender.  After reviewing your financial obligations, credit report and income, they will be able to tell you what price range you can afford.  Then they will discuss monthly  payments and share with you various loans that will fit your needs.  Sometimes a credit score will help or hinder the loan programs you can use, but they will also discuss this with you.  They will issue you a Pre- Approval Letter that you can then take to your Realtor to begin looking for the perfect house that not only suits your needs but also fits your financial picture as well.  Image

By doing it this way, you will save a lot of time and frustration.  With all the online house-hunting websites available, too many people are “looking first”, and then talking to a lender.  That will  almost always lead to disappointment, as the online lending tools will not paint the entire financial picture.  Just because the loan calculator says a $120,000 home will cost $600/month, they are not including mortgage insurance, property taxes, fire insurance, etc.  That $600 payment can and will quickly jump to $900-$1,000/month when figured accurately.  Image

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“Gulp – What Have We Done???”

OK…it’s a normal reaction…right after you spent days looking at homes, have narrowed it down to 5 houses, then down to “the perfect one”, put in an offer lower than the listed price, negotiated back and forth through your agent with the seller…and at 10pm you get a phone call: “Congratulations, You’ve bought a house!!!”

Rosie Pending Sign

The minute of silence your Realtor hears  on the other end of the phone is probably not what he/she expected…but it is a normal reaction from a buyer, whether it is their first home purchase or one of many.  Affectionately called ” Buyer’s Remorse”, it’s when that reality check happens, and you start thinking about house payments, down payment, insurance, mowing lawns, and everything associated with home ownership.

But please don’t panic – your Realtor is there to help you through every step of the way until you are handed the keys!  If you have been pre-approved by your lender (be honest with them – share all your financial obligations right up-front), and do everything in a timely manner that is requested by your lender, Realtor, and closing agent, you will soon be enjoying that new home and just as excited about it as you were when you decided to submit your offer!

Posted in brentwood, brentwood homes for sale, brentwood real estate, buyers, cost saving, davidson county, financing, for sale, franklin, franklin homes for sale, franklin real estate, gallatin, gallatin homes for sale, gallatin real estate, green hills, green hills houses for sale, green hills real estate, hendersonville, hendersonville homes for sale, hendersonville real estate, homes, homes for, homes for sale, house decor, houses, houses for sale, keller williams, moving, nashville, nashville homes for sale, nashville real estate, real estate, real estate articles, realtor, relocation, rosalie mietzel, rosie mietzel, saving money, sellers, sumner county, tennesee, tn, Uncategorized, williamson county | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it still Summer?

summer water and balloons     It seems just a few weeks ago we were all at our busiest time of the year…real estate agents were working 10-12 hours a day helping all their clients move into their new homes and get settled, so the children could make new friends before the school year starts.  Families were busy scheduling vacations – trips to the beach, theme parks, campgrounds, or maybe just “stay-cations” – as we saw so many people do in recent years to save money.  Summer season was upon  us.

  sunset over river  Now the calendar still says August…but we Realtors are seeing the market start slowing down a bit.  Sellers still need to sell, prices and interest rates are still attractive…where did all the buyers go?  Families are now more focused on buying school clothes, registering the kids, making sure their shots are current – if the school bell hasn’t rung yet in your city, it soon will!

PNB-end-of-summer

Buyer’s interest levels change during the year – we see peaks and valleys with clients who “don’t have to move right now”.  If it’s not a relocation or other situation that demands the move happen “now”, many buyers are starting to switch gears and re-focus on other aspects of their lives.

What can a seller do, that still needs to sell their house to accomplish their goals? Don’t give up!!  But you do need to make sure your house stands out among the competition in every way.  Make sure everything sparkles, carpets and floors are clean, and toys and personal items are stowed away – first impressions are most important!  A buyer can decide in the first 30 seconds whether he wants to spend more time in the house to take it all in, or go through as quickly as possible to get on to the next one, because they’ve already eliminated it in their mind.

With less buyers out there right now, don’t miss any opportunities to make that sale.  Be priced right and look perfect!

Posted in brentwood, brentwood homes for sale, brentwood real estate, buyers, davidson county, decorating, financing, for sale, franklin, franklin homes for sale, franklin real estate, gallatin homes for sale, gallatin real estate, green hills, green hills houses for sale, green hills real estate, hendersonville, hendersonville homes for sale, hendersonville real estate, homes, homes for, homes for sale, house decor, houses, houses for sale, keller williams, moving, nashville, nashville homes for sale, nashville real estate, real estate, real estate articles, realtor, relocation, rosalie mietzel, rosie mietzel, sellers, staging, sumner county, tennesee, tn, Uncategorized, williamson county | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it a House or a Home?

There are always 2 ways of looking at real estate properties.  First, it is a Seller’s “Home” – where they live, share family time, build memories.  Second, to a Buyer, it is a “House on the list” – a building that they will be looking at with a Realtor.  The key is how to make the connection so your “Home” becomes more than just a “House” that the buyer may eliminate.

The Buyers are probably going to look at 3-5 properties with their agent.  They are looking for minimum requirements such as bedrooms/bathrooms, garage spaces, square footage, age, school districts, commuting distance,etc.  Many times they are looking for a reason to ELIMINATE a property from their list – and one negative can cause the big red “X” on their list. 

What can a Seller do to help make their home one that the Buyer will put on the short list of possibilities? Make it inviting!! First impressions are huge.  Whether it’s a Welcome sign on the front door, a fresh coat of paint, or perhaps new colorful annual plants along the front walkway.  Bright light, a fresh interior smell, clean and neat – that is what makes a positive first impression for the Buyer rather than a negative, elimination factor.  

What can a Buyer do to help convert a “House” to their future “Home”?  First off – be open-minded!!  For the right price, a lot of minor issues can easily be resolved. I remember a house that had purple carpet, pink walls, pink ceiling fans, and mauve  kitchen counters. Yes, it was an 80’s remodel that was at least 15 years outdated, with enough furniture to fill 3 houses!

The buyer eliminated it on the first look…but after 3 more house-hunting trips and not finding anything they liked better, they took a 2nd look at the house.  They realized that pink walls can be transformed with a coat of paint. Carpet can easily be replaced with hardwood, laminate, tile, or new carpet. The homeowners had “uncluttered” and stored away a lot of their personal belonging and extra furniture, so the rooms appeared more spacious.

You can live in a House that doesn’t feel like a Home. To be a Home, it needs to feel like a place where you belong, feel comfortable. A Home needs to reflect your personality. In the Oklahoma tornado tragedies this month, families are rallying to fix their Homes…while abandoning Houses. A House has value, but you value your Home. AG001752

Posted in brentwood homes for sale, brentwood real estate, buyers, davidson county, for sale, franklin homes for sale, franklin real estate, gallatin homes for sale, gallatin real estate, green hills houses for sale, green hills real estate, hendersonville homes for sale, hendersonville real estate, homes, homes for, homes for sale, house decor, houses, houses for sale, keller williams, moving, nashville, nashville homes for sale, nashville real estate, real estate, real estate articles, realtor, relocation, rosalie mietzel, rosie mietzel, sellers, staging, tennesee, tn, Uncategorized, williamson county | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment