...Depends who you ask.
-If you ask the Tax Assessor, they will tell you its worth the value of the land the home is on + the relative value of the dwelling on the land. They will then tax you accordingly.
-If you ask the Banks Appraiser, they will tell you, based on other like kind SOLD properties what the home is worth and therefore what the bank is willing to lend you on that particular property (be it for purchase or refinance).
-If you ask me, "I don't know, I haven't seen your house yet!" But in all honesty, I (the Realtor) will look at the characteristics of the house as it is on paper (beds, baths, square footage) + the condition of the home (clean/dirty, updated/never been touched, etc). Then I will look at other Sold and Active properties on the market surrounding your home and compare and contrast them to your home and create what we call a Comparative Market Analysis.
-Finally the "Zestimate" is "Zillow's estimated market value for an individual home. It is a starting point in determining a home's value and is not an official appraisal. The Zestimate is automatically computed daily based on millions of public and user-submitted data points." That being said, Zillow doesn't live here in our market and can only make a computer generated guess as to what your home might be worth based on like sales posted in the area (by realtors or For Sale By Owners) and tax assessments (which are public record).
All in all these are all worth while tools and any number of them used in combination can help you determine a good starting point of what your home might actually be worth.
Silence is Golden (or as my school teachers use to put it “Golden be silent!)
This will be the last bit of Wednesday Wisdom for now until we meet again next year. I look forward to seeing many of you over the coming weeks as we visit and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Whether we get a chance to visit or not, I will share with you something I find to be an exceptional gift to myself and therefore to my family. That is taking time in between the Christmas chaos and the New Year awakening and going to be silent. In the past I have snuck away to a retreat in Wakefield, VA and spent a couple of days in solitude and silence. In order to quiet my monkey mind and set goals and get focused for the bigger and better I would chase each year. This year I am going to add gratitude and mindful breathing (video here). Over the last several months I have added gratitude to my daily journaling and have found that it has changed my writing significantly. In fact, it has ebbed to the point, I barely fill a page beyond the list of ten things I am grateful for that morning. In the past, those pages would be filled with discontent or longing in some area of life. Don’t get me wrong, I can still go on a rant now and then, but beginning my day with gratitude really changes my perspective on things.
So there it is, my wish for you this season is for you to SHUT UP. Seriously, escape if you can for a couple of days or even an afternoon hiding out down at Back Bay. Find a place to reflect on the year past, dream of the year to come and be grateful.
Silence is Golden and now Golden will be Silent.
Now is the time of the year when we begin to think about our goals for next year and to make resolutions. In the case of your real estate investments or even your personal residence you may be wrestling with buying another or even your first. If you've decided it was time for a change, you may be looking for your dream home, or even scaling down.
Either way, one decision is keep your current property or sell it. While this could be a complete discussion on the pro's and con's of being a landlord, I am hoping to just touch on the question of wether its affordable. We are currently helping a young couple who is upside down in their current home and can't afford to sell it. I suggested they RENT it, as they can exceed their current mortgage payment and continue to pay it down and write off the interest. A WIN! Then they can qualify for a new mortgage for a new home that meets their growing family. A WIN WIN!
In that case, they couldn't sell.
If you don't need or want to be a landlord and need the equity from your current home in order to purchase then SELL you must. (We have already discussed buy first vs. sell first in a previous post)
So, a choice between listing with a broker or the DIY approach. There is an old saying that if you ask a barber if you need a haircut, he is obviously going to say "Yes have a seat!" So the logic goes that if you ask a real estate professional if you should list or sell, well...have a seat.
Yes, it is what we do and how we make a living. That said, DIY is not for everyone, in fact, it is not for most folks. Not having to pay the commission seems like a savings. In some cases its tens of thousands of dollars. In most cases it saves about half of that if everything goes smoothly. The greater risk is that it could wind up costing you even more. How? Well simply, its typically one of the largest transactions you'll ever do and you are going to do it as a beginner with one shot. Very little margin for error, no? In fact, when a DIY is interviewed and asked if they would accept an offer on their home contingent on the buyer selling their home DIY, most admit they would not trust the buyer to do it on their own. Hmmm, wonder why?
Now the surprise...Gabrielle and I are as big of DIY'ers as you'll find. And we care about you and those you care about. I actually think you should try it. Under the right circumstances and only for a brief time. The market in Hampton Roads is tricky and timing and exposure is key. If you know you have a buyer, DO IT! No marketing, or no real negotiating necessary? DO IT! But we are marketing People and have decades of negotiating and contingency experience.
So, be it buying, renting, or selling, CALL US! Let us share with you a GREAT plan. You might be surprised!
I am giving credit to the wisdom literature I read on a regular basis for today’s message. If I don’t say it enough, my words are simply those of what I read and hear from books and people I admire and respect.
Today’s (and every Wednesday’s) wisdom is based in scripture. Give thanks daily (Psalm 106), Give and receive love daily (John 13: 34) and be mindful of others and of your goals (Habakkuk 2:2-3)
I heard Denzel Washington once say “it’s easy to remain humble when you know where you’re blessings come from.” Or another favorite is, the best “get rich quick plan,” is to count your blessings.
So consider something that I have been trying to practice for sometime and that is repeated each morning in my journal:
Write down 10 things to be grateful for. Be it a good night’s sleep, a cool morning, a busy schedule or a day off. Consider sharing this list with others and challenge them to do the same.
List 10 people you love and who love you back. This list is certainly repetitive, but acts as a reminder and often challenges you to pray for them even more so and you'll find that if you're praying for someone, you can’t help but to hold them in higher regard.
And then take what time is left, be it a minute or 30 minutes to consider your goals. To bring them to the forefront of your mind for the day.
Today I am grateful for a good night’s sleep, a cool morning, A full schedule, my Mom’s new house, family coming together this weekend, working with my daughter, a wife who speaks praise into me and encourages me, more football than news this weekend, a hope and a future, finally getting to workout again after a long 10 days of moving and our customers and clients.
How about you? Write me and tell me what you are grateful for.
To buy first or sell first, that is the question.
It is for today anyway. Why? Because it’s Wisdom Wednesday!!!
In our house, when it is a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Dawn insists it’s the chicken. And who am I to argue. (Insert happy wife comments here)
Regarding your house however, it is easier to apply some logic and as in the chicken/egg discussion there is an argument for both. Much of this will be dictated by the current market conditions and aligning yourself with a knowledgeable Realtor will help immensely.
The benefit of buying first in a hot market means you secure your landing pad for when you do sell your current home. If you have cash this is an easier decision because you can make a non-contingent offer. The risk of buying first could be that if you haven’t sold your current home, you get to make two house payments. If that isn’t a big concern you may still need the down payment money if you’re buying up. In which case, you can consider a bridge loan. Bridge loans allow you to use the equity in your current home for a down payment and defer the payback until you sell it thereby allowing you to purchase the new one. Beware though, as you will need a sizeable income stream to qualify and cover 3 payments including the new house, the old house and the payback.
Of course if you are a fist time buyer, these rules don’t apply. Find a G.R.E.A.T. Realtor, get prequalified and shop on!
If you have a house and you sell first, you are in a much better negotiating position. Similar to buying first as a cash buyer, you don’t have to make an offer contingent.
Possession is, as they say, nine-tenths of the law and you can negotiate a longer settlement period in order to find the home of your choice and your Realtor can help you add contingencies in the event you don’t. The risk is that if you do sell and run out of time, you may have to move twice. Renting until you find your dream home as it were.
What is your biggest fear? Selling first and not having a place to live or finding the new home first and having to make two mortgage payments.
The answer to this question really lies in your financial position, your tolerance for risk and your local market. Either way it is wise to have a plan B. Get with a G.R.E.A.T. Realtor and develop a strategy.
PS. I have time for you and want to be available to you and those you care about. Reach out if you want to grab some time to talk or just grab a cup of coffee
Welcome to this week's Wisdom Wednesday. We have been looking at the pros and cons of putting your home on the market now or waiting until after the new year or even spring. For now I want to us to simply take advantage of the season. By that I mean, whether or not your house needs to go on the market right now doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dress it up in its holiday best. Break out the boughs, put pumpkins on the bails and spice it up with great lighting and fall fragrances. Show the home with a big table set for a family gathering, living rooms with ample seating, front porches that screamout come sing carols on my doorstep. You know what I mean. This is the front of the family Christmas Card, If the season in Virginia beach offers us snow, even better. Yellow and red leaves on the trees, early evening lights in the windows.
If its on the market, GREAT. It not, take a picture. Lots of pictures or perhaps try video we can use for internet advertising. If you are going to sell your home during another season, pictures of how well it looks in this season will be GREAT marketing pieces.
If you’re not sure how to stage it or not handy with a camera, call the GREAT team. Gabrielle is a designer and a stager and pretty handy with a camera as well.
Think Big Picture and with our marketing and pricing plan, we can get you movin!
PS I’ve got time for you and those you care about. If you want me to touch base, just reach out to us anytime
Now or Later? Choose your poison.
There Is no doubt that each market has its peak season. Certainly the “spring market” is a great time to sell or even buy a house here in Hampton Roads. But what about this time of year?
Fall and Winter may be the perfect time and a good fit for many reasons. Such as:
This time of year for many reasons a majority of sellers are hesitant to put their house on the market. For reasons such as holiday plans, wanting to wait ‘till spring, don't want the traffic in the house during the holidays (which makes me question the motivation of the seller).
But why not consider putting your home on the market while you have less competition? It helps to know that the buyers that are out there today during this time are pretty serious. They may have been looking for a while and just haven't been able to find what they've been looking for. This is the time of year that relocation companies and large employers make moves.
Also, what a great way to put your house in the best light, by staging it for the holidays with lights and glitter and good smells, cinnamon and fall and open windows. How about finding an agent that's up to the challenge, the best ones always are. The good ones may not be as busy this time of the year because of the “wait till spring” mentality. You may get lost in the shuffle of higher inventory when the best agents are busy. That same thing applies to mortgage lenders and settlement agents. They've got less files on their desk and more time for you. These things could help lead to a quicker and better transaction. Couple that with continued low mortgage rates and you may be crazy like a fox, the wise one, who takes advantage of the environment available only at this time of the year to have the best opportunity. Get the highest value in the least amount of time.
PS We are never too busy for you. Please contact us if you or perhaps someone you know, would like to find out what the value of their home is in TODAY’s market.
The period of time starting in late October and ending on New Year's Eve, so named for the commercial tendency to put up Christmas displays before Halloween.
This is a bittersweet time of year for me. I love the fall weather with it’s cool and dry effect. It maks me want to get outside even more and gives me a charge to finish up on goals or even projects that I may not have completed or set aside during the heat of summer. It’s like a re-do or a second chance. I’m ready to rock. However, it is a much shorter period to work in and as the days get shorter so too does the opportunity to complete things before the end of the year.
With that comes a tendency to put things off until after the year. We met a lady last year from North Dakota who said November is the time of year when they decide that any remaining fall work would then become spring work. Days to short, temps to cold, the social calendar fills up and there is just no time left.
What about selling your home or looking for a new one? Is this a good time or should you wait? In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at this more closely. For today though, think about your goals. These may be health goals like losing that last 8 lbs or house projects like finishing the back deck. Whichever, there is a tendency to get to busy or to start your holiday season a bit too early. Take a few minutes to map out these goals with the current calendar and don’t let it slip away. Thinking about a health goal, why wait for the new-year and fight for a spot on the circuit at the rec center. Get started NOW. Get ahead of the crowd. Knock out the rest of that deck so when those crazy 80 degree days pop up in December or January, you can sit outside and enjoy the sun and know that the project is done. DO IT NOW!
Some of the best advice for getting your house ready to sell was from My Aunt Andrea. Beautiful Andy we called her. She had been a real estate broker before my time and was integral part of my beginnings in the business. She suggested that when we were getting ready to sell our house that we have someone, somebody we trusted, but who was not familiar with our home, come in and tour and critique it. We did. It was eye opening for sure. It also helped prepare us and get us the best possible return on our investment.
Nowadays they use the term “noseblind” to refer to those odors you are no longer aware of but others will be. You know…that wet dog smell you catch when the house has been closed up to long, or the teenagers room which you tend to avoid out of respect and self-preservation…. The crack in the ceiling that “was there when we bought it” or the landscaping that has “matured” to the point of overtaking the dining room window. How about that sneaky dust around the a/c vents that ever so gradually appears when you change the filters every 97 days rather than every 30…?
The point is this: enlist the help of a wise and respected friend who you know will give it to you straight. Ask them to go through the house with you and point out what they see. Don’t defend (this is key), just listen and take notes. Bake them some cookies and thank them. Review the list and set the priorities. What can you afford to do, what can you do on your own? Can you do it yourself or should you hire a pro? Perhaps sit with your Realtor and ask them where the best ROI can be had. In some cases, your Realtor maybe just the person to help you with this to begin with.
Recently, a client had me come do just this. They are anticipating selling in the spring. They had me come through and went room to room. In this case, she was all ears while he wanted to defend the condition. I understood his position but I persisted in constructively critiquing the house. In the end, when he realized that by prioritizing the projects that it would save him likely thousands of dollars up front in addition to increasing the value and marketability of the house, he simmered down and began to smile.
When I was in the navy and especially at a school or onboard the USS JF Kennedy, we were required to keep our workspaces and our appearance “inspection Ready”. It was tough, it meant doing somethings that you didn’t really want to do, when you didn’t want to do them. For me it meant clean shaven everyday. Bed made every day. Boots shined everyday. The engine room on the Kennedy was a show piece and needed to be ready to receive visitors, VIP’s and dignitaries everyday. Clean, no oil or grease, all the equipment running smoothly and so on. Our goal was to be 4.0. That is ship shape and ready for duty. Nothing less was acceptable.
I was reminded of this while staying with my mother this summer and readying her house for sale. What a pain. While it was on the market, we had to remain “at the ready” for any potential buyer. Even if there was no scheduled showing for the day. And when there was a call to have a buyer come through and “inspect”, oh man did we scramble. Scrub, tuck, shine, hide. The house needed to be ready! In the long run we found it easier to get in the habit of cleaning each day, putting things away and making the beds (this is a good idea anyway) .
It was a pain, I admit, to have to remain at the ready while selling Moms house. It gave me a new insight and appreciation for what we ask our clients to do everyday.
when the opportunity comes to have a prequalified buyer come across the threshold to essentially eliminate or select your home, we need to put our best foot forward and be ready to receive a 4.0! Bribe the kids to pick up their room each day, put the pillows the way you see on Pinterest, have all the appliances clean and in working order and keep the place inspection ready for all types of visitors and VIP’s (Very Interested Purchasers)
With the right price and our marketing plan, our goal is to get you moving and into your next home with as much enthusiasm as you started with and get you “squared away”.