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Monday, August 12, 2013

The Value of a Back up Offer in Today’s Market

Hi everyone! Thanks for visiting my video real estate blog. Today, I wanted to talk to you about the importance of having a back up offer in our crazy market.

I have Seth, one our lead buyer specialists, here to tell us about a recent experience he had where one property had 11 offers.

The house was on the market for two days. I spoke with the agent and he said to give an offer right away. So, I ran the comps to determine if this house was really worth making the higher offer. We came in at $21,000 over the list price, just to make sure we had a chance at it.

How did you decide to come in at $21,000 over?

I knew that the comps were there and the house had been updated. We actually lost that battle. We lost to someone who went higher and had a full price cash offer.

What I’ve learned is cash offers come out of emotion. I convinced the agent to let us do a backup offer; this doesn’t always work but I knew we had a great offer. It turns out 3 days later, the cash offer backed out.

Out of the other 11 offers, did any others submit a back up offer?

No, they did not. We went from being desperate to get the house to the seller needing us, and it was all by just staying in contact.

So whether you are a buyer or seller, having a back up offer is crucial in this process. There is a huge value in submitting a back up offer!

Thank you for watching.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What can a seller do to get their home ready for market?

Hi everyone! When you put your home on the market the first few steps are very important. You want a real estate agent who can help make your home appealing to buyers.

At the Heyl Group we sit down with you and go over the condition of your home. This doesn’t mean spending money remodeling the home. We actually don’t recommend remodeling. Because the demand for homes is so high, appraisers are keeping values low. Remodeling could end up being wasted money.

One of the most important steps is to declutter the home. We bring in an interior designer and professional stager to go through room-by-room and give suggestions.

We then have a professional photographer come in and take wide angled lens photos that will really make your home stand out!

So gives us a call today so we can get started getting your home on the market!

Monday, July 8, 2013

How is the Austin Real Estate Market?

The Austin market is pretty crazy. Inventory is the lowest it has been in five years! Right now, if there are properties on the market for more than a couple weeks, you know they are priced incorrectly. Properly priced and good conditioned homes are flying off the market with multiple offers.

The interesting thing is, the market can tank overnight, but take years to build back up. We are seeing this when it comes time to appraise a home. While a buyer may be willing to pay a certain amount of money for a home, an appraiser will often give a value less than that because they are basing it off the market 3-6 months ago. This can be very frustrating for real estate agents and home owners. This shows that the market is not strictly demand driven, appraisers play a large part in the market.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Secret to Saving a Large Chunk of Your Monthly Mortgage Payment – Now

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It’s no secret that home values are on the rise. As in many areas across the nation, this has been happening slowly yet steadily for the past couple years. And it doesn’t come as much of surprise to homeowners, particularly given the growing scarcity of inventory of homes on hand in our marketplace.

There May Be Hidden Equity In Your Home
With those increasing values, however, comes another exciting fringe benefit that most homeowners are not aware of. In fact, we stumbled upon it ourselves after recently assisting a client who had their home reappraised. Though they had bought their home fairly recently, the decision to have their home reappraised ended up in their learning they had built 20% equity in their home in such a short time.

More Equity = No Mortgage Insurance
As you may know, with the most commonly used loan products like FHA loans, you no longer are required to pay Private Mortgage Insurance on the mortgage once you build 20% equity in your home. In fact, the amount of monthly PMI recently went up for FHA borrowers, making it an even greater expense than borrowers that have loans originating prior to April 1 this year are used to paying.

A Relatively Inexpensive Appraisal Is All You Need
If your property value has gone up and if the equity in your home is at least 20% of your loan value, you can eliminate your PMI payment altogether saving you a LOT of money for the rest of your loan. And with rapidly rising home values given the inventory outlook right now, your appraisal amount could very likely be much higher than what you paid for the home just a few years ago, last year or even as soon as just six months ago.
Contact us today and we’ll put together some comparable properties for you, assist you in finding a reputable appraiser and help you determine whether this is a viable option for you. Why pay more than you need to?

Friday, April 12, 2013

You've Helped Us Achieve So Much!

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With great pleasure we announce today the honor that we have been given being voted the #1 Real Estate Team among Central Texas real estate brokers in the 2 to 3 license category. This privilege means a lot to us and we have to say – we could not have done it without you
Our esteemed clients and friends, neighbors and associates have helped us to reach this important pinnacle in our career and we’re not even close to being done yet! The Austin Business Journal, when they ranked us as #1 recently, published an article sharing our successes within the community and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be recognized in this way.
Again, we thank you for your continued support and realize that had it not been for your referrals, your trust in us and your belief in our value system – we could not be saying these words of gratitude for this honor today. 
Yet another important distinction is headed our way and we need your help to achieve it. Each year, the National Association of Realtors® hosts a “30 Under 30” program to help highlight the nation’s top real estate professionals under the age of 30. Right now, it’s boiled down to 50 finalists, where judges will select twenty-nine winners and readers will choose the final candidate.
Please click on the link below to vote for us. We’d love to represent Central Texas on a national level and pledge to continue giving you our best!

In the interim, please don’t hesitate to call us, email or walk in to see us anytime you need anything with buying, selling or investing in real estate.  Also, if you or anyone you know is interested in joining our high-energy team in either real estate sales, administration or otherwise – contact us today. We’d love to have a conversation over coffee to go over some of our goals and see how you can fit in to our team to join us in our endeavors.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to Evaluate an Offer on Your Home

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For most homeowners selling their home the thought of negotiating an incoming offer is a matter of settling in on a price that both sides can agree upon.  But did you know that there is another key aspect of negotiations aside from price that could have even greater impact on the sale?  The terms of your contract hold equal weight and importance as price in the sale of your home and are critical to a successful sale.

Here are five essential things to consider when navigating through the negotiation process after an offer comes in on your home.

After the housing market crashed in 2007 lenders, buyers and sellers have proceeded very cautiously. Lenders are staunchly following stringent requirements, buyers and sellers are savvier than ever before and what seemed like formalities in the process before are now becoming necessities.  Preapprovals are one of the things that did not always need to be done in advance of buyers finding a home. But as you receive your offer on your property, be sure that your buyer has a preapproval from a reputable lender.  The letter should indicate what the buyer can afford and how much the lender is willing to loan them, assuming they meet all requirements at the time of application.

Down Payment
One of the requirements lenders have today is to have an appraisal done on the home to equate its value with the selling price.  Unless the buyer has a significant down payment available, a less than ideal appraisal can stand to affect the sale altogether, even causing the deal to break down. Check to see how much your buyer is able to put down on the house and add up the down payment with the loan amount to see if they equal your asking price.

Existing Home
Does the buyer have an existing home they need to sell?  This can be a problem for you as a seller if they want to include a contingency in the contract that absolves them from the commitment of buying your home if their home does not sell.  This can wreak havoc on the sale of your property, as it would require you to leave the terms of your sale up to the success of another sale.  It would be best to avoid offers that include existing home contingencies.

Closing Date
When does the buyer want to close on the home?  If the requested closing date extends beyond 90 to 120 days then it might be time to reconsider the offer.  Lenders have timing guidelines that dictate a 45-day policy, within which buyers must apply for a loan before closing. Anything longer than that would get in the way of the lenders’ policy leaving the seller hanging in limbo during those off weeks.  When a buyer cannot meet the contractual obligation to get a commitment within 45 days, it might be a good idea to forego the offer altogether rather than to risk the sale.

Cash Transaction
Some buyers offer cash rather than opt for financing and though it is an attractive offer at first, you need to make sure that the buyer has the cash.  Asking your Realtor to verify the availability of those funds will become a necessary additional step before you can move on in the offer.  In some cases, buyers opt for alternative financing and when the time comes to verify the funds they are unable to do so.  The risk is too great so unless you can be sure the cash is there, it is a better idea to move on to the next offer.
Navigating through offers is a tricky process – especially in today’s market. It is no longer just a matter of coming to agreement on a sale price, rather both parties must agree to all aspects of the terms.  For customized guidance on your real estate endeavors, contact us today!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Protesting the Amount of Taxes on Your Property

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This is the time of year when homeowners across America are receiving notices from their County Tax Assessor’s office informing them of their home’s value on which they will be taxed.  Sounds simple enough – until and unless you find that the value they are using seems too high.  Of course, higher assessed value translates to more out of pocket property taxes so the last thing you want to be doing is paying more when you do not need to.

How To Determine Whether You Are Overpaying Property Taxes
There are two ways to find out whether your property taxes are higher than they should be. First, you can go the traditional route, which is to investigate sale prices of homes in the area that are similar to yours.  The sales you are looking for should be completed in the 2011 calendar year (since property values are assessed based on the previous year’s sales).

You can also contact your Realtor to get an idea of whether you should pursue a property tax appeal.  If there are unusual circumstances to the property (for instance if it was sold recently) then you may be asked for your email address to get a reply later.

The Tax Appeal Process
Depending on which county you reside in, the process will vary slightly but for the most part it is a matter of presenting supporting documentation to a board of review, demonstrating your values have gone down.  With the supporting data you can then request that your taxable value be reassessed prior to the next property tax payment due date.

Some counties provide only one window of opportunity for homeowners to appeal their property tax values while others offer two times during the year.  To confirm the policy in your area visit your county treasurer’s office or website for more information.  Similarly, the process of appealing your taxes will also vary from county to county.  There are companies and also attorneys that can assist you through the process but an important part of the process is to gather data supporting your claim for lower tax values.

Comparing Area Values
While you can investigate the sale prices of recently sold properties in your area a challenge might arise when it comes to finding near identical properties to yours or at least very similar ones.  In terms of amenities, square footage, style and structure – homes used to compare values must be like kind in order to be usable data. The best way to manage this aspect of your tax appeal process is to engage your Realtor and utilize their resources in finding good comparables.  No one knows the area and its homes better than your Realtor.  They will compile a list of several properties that have sold for less than your home’s current assessed value and through that documentation be able to prove the need to reduce your taxes.

Other Ways to Save on Property Taxes
Aside from lowering your tax dues on the home you may also be eligible for certain exemptions depending on your situation. Contact your local county tax assessor’s office to learn of the exemptions offered in your state. Some examples include exemptions for military personnel and veterans, owners of farm property or daycare facilities and non-profit student housing. 

To find out if savings amounting to hundreds of dollars seems possible for you, find out now and beat the deadline!