If the Price is Too High, Beware

Naturally, home sellers tend to go with the agent that says they can get the most for their home, more money means ‘better agent’ right? Not really. Pricing a home takes cooperation the between the seller and agent; it is not a competition between aid-10022271gents. You should always beware the agent who says, “How much did the other guy tell you? …I can get you more!”

Remember, all agents are not honest and fair and some use a tactic that inflates the home’s recommended list price to get you to list with them. This method is called “Buying a Listing” and it’s almost guaranteed that your home won’t sell for that price.  If fact, your home will probably just sit idle on the market until your listing expires. So why do real estate agents “Buy a Listing” if they don’t plan on actually selling it?

  • To build an inventory of homes. New agents and recently relocated agents are looking to get as many listings as they can in order to get started. (I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust a new agent; in fact the majority of new agents are being supervised or mentored by a trusted seasoned agent)  However, if their suggested listing price for your home is much higher than expected, maybe they need to spend more time looking at the local market.
  • To make it look like they are selling homes in your price range.   Some agents will “buy” expensive listings to pick up other sellers in that price range or slightly below it.  “I’m currently selling a house for $600K, selling your $500K should be a piece of cake”.
  • To keep competing companies from selling it. Taking a listing for 3-6 months keeps it out of other broker’s inventories and prevents other agents from selling it during the peak selling season. That agent will probably try to later talk you into re-listing and dropping the price to something ‘more reasonable’.
  • To add to their prestige. The claim “I’ve listed over 1000 homes this year” makes an agent seem like they are very successful.  Maybe this agent lists a ton of homes, but doesn’t actually sell many homes at all.
  • Free advertising for them. Their sign with their name on it goes on a sign in your yard for 3-6 months. All your neighbors see your yard sign and the multiple other signs they have around town.  Perhaps your neighbors will think of how much “business” that agent was doing when it comes time to list their home.
  • Pressure from homeowner who has inflated sense on home worth.  Many times honest agents get talked into listing a home for more than it’s worth due to the seller’s perseverance for the higher price. The agent knows that the home will be doomed to sit and price drop, but rather than upset, or even worse, loose the client they concede to listing the home at an unreasonable price.

You have to remember that real estate agents talk to each other; other agents may not be fond of your agent’s practices.  If you hire an agent who is unscrupulous and frequently “buys listings”, seller agents may intentionally or unintentionally avoid the homes he or she lists because they are always overpriced. Don’t let your listing be “bought” by a shady agent. Make sure that when hiring an agent, don’t just go with the one that gives you the highest list price. Ask how and why they came up with their figures.  Make sure that you and your agent cooperate to come up with the best marketing strategy for your home.

Simple Tricks to Make Moving Easier

Whether you have moved once or a dozen times, packing for a move never seems to get any easier. Evade surprises, headaches and moving day blunders by getting organized in advance. Here are some smart hints that we hope you’ll find helpful as you prepare for your moving day.

Before You Start Packing Boxes

  • -Make concrete agreements with buyers regarding possession of your new home and moving date.  Meeting the sellers on the front walk with the house still full of boxes on your move-in day is not a happy situation.
  • -Start weeding out your current possessions.  Toss, donate, or have a yard sale for things you don’t want to move.  This goes a long way toward uncluttering your life too! Start selling items on eBay, Etsy or Craigslist at least 6 weeks in advance. If you’re donating to charity organization, arrange pick up at least two weeks before moving.
  • -Make a list of any important items you will need/want to buy for your new house.  Floor runners, blinds and shower curtains for example. Having these things with you on the day you move in prevents unnecessary surprises and that exhausted post-move trip to the hardware store.
  • -Determine a “staging area” where any items that are ready to be moved are placed. This saves a lot of aggravation associated with having boxes scattered throughout your present living quarters and gives you a place to look should you need an item that is already packed.

Let the Packing Begin

  • -Start packing early. Anything that you are sure you will not be using before moving day should get boxed. Pictures, collections, souvenirs and any other decorations should be the first to be boxed.
  • -Mark every box with its contents if possible. It seems like a no brainer but it is very important because if you should need something pre-move, you will not have to undo your hard work trying to find an item.
  • -Mark every box with what room they’ll be going into.  This tactic allows you to unpack by room and makes the task seem more manageable.
  • -Pack items you will need as soon as you arrive in your new home in a clear plastic bin.  Things like trash bags, utensils, chargers and toilet paper will all be readily available in an easily distinguishable box.
  • -Use an overnight bag for essentials you will need right up to the last minute. Things like toiletries, a change of clothes and your laptop or IPad. Chances are you’re going to be too tired to unpack that night; you’ll want your essentials within easy access.
  • -Pack your breakables and other delicate items in t-shirts and other clothes to save costs on bubble wrap. You’re killing two birds with one stone.
  • -Use Press’n Seal wrap to keep any small item display (like earrings) intact during the move.
  • -Leave your closet items on the hanger and simply slide a trash bag over a bunch. Tie up the ends and voila! You’re ready to go.
  • -Keep snack baggies handy for holding small items like mounting screws, curtain brackets and electronic cords.  Tape the baggies to the back of the item they correspond to.
  • -Make use of alternative containers such as laundry bins, baskets, suitcases and chests to pack heavy items that regular boxes can’t hold like books and dishes.

Helpful Hints

  • -Always label on the side of the box as well as the top; when the boxes are stacked you will be able to identify it.
  • -Along with food and ‘beverages’, offer your friends that help you move first pick of anything you may be donating or selling as an extra perk.
  • -If you have many fragile valuables, you may want to consider the peace of mind that comes from insured professional movers, rather than your “free” friends.  Book them well in advance and make sure to read any fine print.
  • -If moving across town? Consider hiring a pet sitter and/or baby sitter for the day. You’ll be glad you don’t have to worry about them amidst all the chaos.
  • -Ask if you can come before move in day to pre-clean the bathroom and kitchen.  If you have carpet in your new home, consider placing carpet protectors in the high traffic areas for the big day.

 

C&R’s Favorite Parks

Western Marylanders are fortunate to have an abundance of natural beauty in our own back yards. Soaring peaks, cooling lakes and wandering woods are just some of the many places we can go to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Below are some of our favorite places in our area to get away and be surrounded by Mother Nature. We have provided a link on each place so you can find these great spots too!

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Check Out our Favorite Parks in Western Maryland:

Rocky Gap State Park

Western Maryland Rail Trail

Swallow Falls

New Germany State Park

Deep Creek Lake

 Dan’s Mountain

Big Run State Park

Casselman River Bridge State Park

Savage River State Forest

Green Ridge State Forest

Greenbrier State Park

Constitution Park

Frostburg Community Park

Great Allegany Passage

Consequences of Overpricing Your Home

Selling your home and thinking of asking a higher that what your agent suggested? This way after negotiations and counter offers you get the original asking price? Beware these pitfalls or overpricing your home.

  • Less people will see your home. Buyers often shop in price brackets and rounded numbers.  If the majority of people are shopping for 100K-200k homes, they may never get the opportunity to see your home listed at 200,999. Those shopping in the next price bracket will be looking for the most home they can get in their range, eliminating yours as a viable option.
  • Apathy. Imagine a home having a “sell by” date of a few weeks. Every day a home is on the market it loses a little value in buyer’s eye. After so many weeks on the market it can become stale creating a loss of interest from agents and buyers.
  • Actually helps competing houses. Because they look more appealing in comparison.  Why would a buyer purchase your home at a higher price when comparable homes are more enticing with the lower price?
  • Marketing Momentum is Lost.  Once the buzz of “new listing” has worn off, no amount of marketing can sell an overpriced home.
  • Paperwork Complications. If your home actually gets an offer that’s above market value, it may not appraise at that value, causing the buyer to be unable to secure a loan for the asking amount and causing the deal to fall apart.
  • Fiduciary Duties. Good agents can tell if overpriced, and in looking out for their client’s best interest, will probably navigate their clients clear of an overpriced listing.
  • Time: Time is the enemy in real estate. Too much time spent on the market gives the buyer the upper hand in the deal. Many homes that have sat and sat, receive low ball offers if any at all.
  • Costs you more money. The longer your home stays on market the more mortgage payments, home owners insurance, HOA fees and maintenance costs you have to pay. These fees will cut (if not gauge) into your profits.
  • Net Less. Desperation to sell can lead to price drops which will ultimately lead to a lower price than the actual value of the home in the long run.

Remember that pricing your home for sale is ultimately up to you, but most of the time your agent knows best.  Most buyers are nonchalant and patient- they are not willing to go through hassle of haggling the price down to something more affordable. They will wait till your price drops or move on in their search.

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21 Mistakes Western Maryland First Time Home Buyers Make.

  • Not checking and working on obtaining a higher credit score months/years prior to buying.
  • Shopping for a home before shopping for a loan.
  • Not knowing what your market is doing or having unrealistic expectations via online home valuation sites (i.e. Trulia or Zillow).
  • Not knowing all the costs associated with buying a home. (Appraisal fee, credit report fee, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance fees, notary fees, loan application fees, escrow fees, inspection fee, moving costs, increased cost of living…)
  • Spending the maximum amount you have been approved for on housing.
  • Going to the ‘listing’ agent for advice/information on a home.
  • Underestimating the importance of location.
  • Using all of your savings for down payment.
  • Not being clear on Needs vs. Wants with your real estate professional.
  • Choosing the wrong mortgage products for your needs.
  • Not considering resale value.
  • Being too picky or lacking vision for the house’s potential.
  • Assuming you will be able to “renovate on a budget” like on HGTV.
  • Not reading the HOA documents.
  • Making big purchases/changes before closing.
  • Waiving the home inspection.
  • Falling in love with a house /getting too attached before any paperwork has been submitted.
  • Not moving quickly enough on writing an offer and losing the home to another buyer.
  • Trusting verbal agreements.
  • Expect the home to always appreciate in value.
  • Not choosing a Carter & Roque Real Estate professional to represent you

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