Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not As Exciting As Having An Evil Twin

But much better behaved. And? A ton more useful.

Tip Of The Day: Today’s post will be written by The Cheap Chick’s Alter EgoErin Schneider, Realtor with Edina Realty, North Suburban Office. She will be sharing all sorts of frugal advice about real estate matters.

Tip For Tomorrow: I’m putting Group Therapy Thursday on hold for a week because I have other things to share with the group. Namely, the fact that you can now Hire The Cheap Chick.
Okay, seriously people. GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER. And come back tomorrow to learn more, like my rates. Yeah, I asked for that one didn’t I?

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: Okay, here goes. I’m handing the reins over to Erin – take it away, oh real estate professional.

YES. Finally. FINALLY! I get my day in the sun! My turn to have a voice! The freedom is dizzying… (Alright, that’s enough. Reel it back in, bucky. You’re here to share real estate tips, so get on with it.) Sheesh. Can’t a girl have any fun? Okay, FINE. Here are my tips for buyers and sellers.

For The Buyers

1. Hire a Realtor, preferably me. You know, I’m really very good. (I TOLD you, TIPS! NOT self-promotion! That’s what your web site is for!) God, chill. I meant this tip seriously. Listen up:
Technically, the buyer doesn’t pay the commission for the buyer’s agent. Why? Because when we work the buy side, the seller’s agent pays our commission – it’s called a cooperative broker split. Edina and I get 45% of the listing agent’s (aka the seller’s agent’s) total commission, in lieu of the buyer paying us. This means you, the buyer, get an agent’s services for free.
Furthermore, you have a professional looking out for your best interest, helping you put together a contract, negotiating on your behalf, and keeping your stuff together when you freak out. Which all buyers do.
One last benefit? If you ride with your buyer’s agent, you save on gas. That’s huge.

2. Get a Home Inspection. They cost about $250, and it is money well spent. Why would you buy a property without having a trained professional go over it first? We call that buying a pig in a poke, and that’s BAD. You’re spending thousands for the house, make sure it’s worth it first.

3. Get a Home Warranty. We have one through Edina Realty for about $450 and the deductible is only $100. It lasts a year, and covers all your mechanicals – like the stove, frig, water heater, FURNACE. I’d rather pay $550 for a new furnace than $3,500. I’m just saying.

4. Before you even call a Realtor – like ME – meet with a Loan Officer. I like this guy
He’s my loan officer, which is why I refer him to everyone I meet. Plus, he’s much cuter than that picture.
Anyway, a good LO like John will tell you how big of a mortgage loan you qualify for, what your monthly payments will be, and how much money you’ll need to bring to closing. BEFORE you even go and find a house – and are subsequently crushed when you learn you can’t afford it.
Meeting with John, having him pull your credit and put together a preliminary estimate and pre-approval letter, is FREE. So why wouldn’t you call him first?

Info for Sellers

1. BE REALISTIC. Seriously, your property is now worth about 20% less than it was in 2004. Sorry, but it’s the same for everyone. This means you need to LISTEN to your Realtor when she (ME) tells you what your home will sell for.
Trust me, we’re not happy either that prices are down. Our commissions are based on sale price, so why would we want that number to be lower? We don’t, but we DO want your house to actually sell. Otherwise, none of us get paid.

2. If you are in the market for a “move up” house, now is the time to act. If you can sell your house, make a profit (albeit a smaller one than 4 years ago), and afford a bigger home, do it NOW.
Here’s why. Let’s say your house was worth $200,000, but now you can only get about $180,000 for it. However, you can afford a house in the $400,000 bracket. Homes in that range were probably worth $450,000 to $500,000 a few years ago, but have come way down in price. So by losing $20,000 on the sale, you’re saving $50,000 to $100,000 on the buy side.
Plus, someday homes with appreciate again. And guess which one – the $200K or the $400K – will appreciate more? Yup, the $400K.

3. Yes, all that clutter will prevent your home from selling. The cheapest thing you can do to help sell your home is remove two-thirds of the stuff from it. I know storage facilities are expensive, so see if you can store your loot at a few friends’ houses. You can return the favor when they sell.
I have yet to have a cluttered, messy home sell, regardless of how low we dropped the price. Furthermore, in a buyer’s market your home has to look the best is possibly can.
So, pack up all the stuff you don’t use every day (hey, you’re moving anyway, right?), keep the remaining stuff clean, dusted and tidy – and for the love of God, keep the dirty dishes out of your sink. No, I will not wash them for you during my Open House. That scene in American Beauty? Yeah, IT’S A MOVIE, NOT REAL LIFE, BUCKY.

If you need to talk to me in detail about your real estate needs, click on my link on the right hand side. And now The Chick is DEMANDING I give her the blog back. See you again soon!

Hmph. Presumptuous, isn’t she? But hey, she has been a Realtor for years, and even teaches real estate classes. So I guess she knows her stuff. Just don’t tell her I said that.


Jami said...

Love the post and good tips here. On our home buying trip to florida, you would NOT believe some of the messes of houses we saw. Amazing. When we left our house in Missouri (ANYONE want to buy a house in St. Louis?? It's high and dry, on a lake! Ok, sorry Erin, I'll end the self promotion...), we literally scrubbed everything. Repainted, cleaned the carpets, dusted, washed baseboards, cleaned the fans, even washed out the garages...

And you know what's even funnier? The house we bought in FL a few years back... their were dirty underwear laying on the counter when we went in for our showing. Ewwww...

And this current FL home? We've had 2 dumpsters worth of trash taken out of it so far.


Anyhow, I'm rambling. Great post, thanks Cheap Chick for letting Erin step in for a bit. :)

mommeeof9 said...

We'll never sell our house-it would be too much of a pain to move. It would be nice to live closer to our work, the 75 miles each way gets olds after a few years. Though we could pretend we were moving and get rid of the clutter... :) At least hubby doesn't want to go to his mom's house in NY, help clean it out, and bring back more stuff.
He did that a few years ago for the FL house before she sold it.

We have 9 kids and a 1500 sq ft house with 3 bedrooms (4 if you count the family room we use as the master bedroom.)