Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winterize Your Home Now To Save On Costly Repairs

Winter will be here before you know it.  Here are some helpful tips to get you ready:

• Inspect your roof and replace any damaged or missing roof shingles.
• Make sure gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and debris.
• Consider a fresh coat of paint or sealer on your deck.
• On a windy day, close your windows and feel for air leaks.
• Seal any leaks with rope caulk.
• Install weather stripping on the sides or bottoms of any leaky doors.
• Insulate exposed plumbing
• Remove leaves or debris from your air conditioner's condensing unit,
....cover for winter.
• If you haven't had your fireplace chimney cleaned in a few years, hire a
....professional chimney sweep.

If you need recommendations for local professionals who can perform this or any other work around your home, we can help! Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300.
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Looking to buy/sell a home?  Visit our website:  www.homefinderasheville.com.


5 Mistakes Buyers Make In A Hot Market

We're hearing lots of great things about our market, not only here in the Asheville area, but overall things are looking up. Below is a great article by Tara-Nicholle Nelson at Trulia that reminds buyers, though, that while you should take advantage of this great market, you should do so cautiously.


While home prices are nowhere near their peak of 6 or 7 years ago, the nationwide data is clear: the housing market this summer has been hotter than at any time since the recession:
  • The Census Bureau just revealed that new home starts rose 6.9% in June to their highest level in four years - up 23.6% from a year earlier.
  • In April, home prices rose for the first time in seven months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.
  • The number of home sales pending rose 9.5 percent year-over-year from June 2011 to June 2012, as reported by the National Association of Realtors.

Given this rapid turn of the market, what’s a buyer to do? Maybe take a new approach to prepping for the hot market house hunt. To that effect, I submit that savvy buyers will find more pitfall-preventing power in learning what not to do. Inspired by the last time we had a market heated up by short times on market, low inventory and multiple offers, here are five hot market mistakes home buyers should avoid making:

1.  Acting out of desperation.  

Deep inhale - aaaaaand exhale. It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the lightning-fast pace at which the great homes come on and off your local market, growing panicked and even desperate - especially when you see ‘just-right’ homes go from 'New' to 'Pending' status before you can even get an appointment to see them!

But know this: desperation has no place in a home buying transaction. Panic does nothing but cause people to make impulsive and otherwise unwise decisions, ranging from talking themselves into a home that isn’t quite what they really want, to paying way more than they can truly afford to spend (see #s 4 and 5, below).
If you’re in the market for a home, and your local market is so hot it’s causing you to feel freaked-out, panicked or overwhelmed, remind yourself that:
  • There are probably hundreds of homes in your neck of the woods that will meet your needs. When one goes off the market, another is on it's way on.
  • There is no ‘perfect’ home.  If you didn’t get that one that seems like ‘the one,’ then, by definition, it’s not ‘the one.’
  • Every home you see or make an offer on, and don’t get, equips you with a better understanding of the market, putting you in a better position to get the home that will eventually be yours. In life generally, I believe every experience is either a stunning success, or a successful education. Look at the homes you miss out on as an opportunity to get a successful education about the market.

Desperate is bad.  Urgent, however, is good. If you know, for example, that single family, 3+ bedroom homes, near downtown under $400,000 move very, very quickly, then act on that knowledge:
  • Ask your agent to notify you as soon as they hear of homes coming on the market that meet your needs - even before they are on the MLS, if possible.
  • Give your agent's contact information to the listing agents at Open Houses similar to what you’re looking for and ask them to drop your agent a note if they get similar listings.
  • As soon as you see a new listing that seems like it might work for you, go see it - don’t wait for the weekend. And if you see a home and really like it, make an offer without further ado.  

2.  Hesitating. 


What’s worse than seeing great properties come and go before you can get out to see them? Seeing them go into contract after you view them, but before you make your own offer. When the market is hot, often buyers who have been sitting on the fence or simply window-shopping for ages will stumble into a great Open House and decide that it’s time to make an offer, only to realize that their loan approval has expired and it will take a day or two to get a new one. At the other end of the spectrum, buyers who have just started house hunting can come across a home they love, but drag their feet in making an offer because (a) they’re used to a slower-paced market, so don't recognize the urgency and (b) they aren’t 100 percent sure something better won’t be coming right along.

On a hot real estate market, hesitation can be costly.  You can end up in a multiple offer situation where you would have been the only offer a few days prior, or can even end up losing out on a property entirely because another, more decisive buyer swoops the place right out from under your nose.

Morals of the story: Make sure you maintain a current loan approval in place at all times - in fact, I say you shouldn’t be out house hunting if you don’t have a current loan approval.  And, for those new to the house hunt, go Open House hunting even when you aren’t completely in love with the listings you’re seeing online. Once you’ve seen a good number of homes, you’ll have more material against which to compare every other home you see, making you less likely to dither before making an offer when you do find a good one.

3.  Ignoring the market entirely.
  I’m not an advocate of making your decisions about whether and when to buy or sell based on what’s happening in the market. Rather, I recommend making your real estate decisions based on what’s happening (and what you forecast and envision will be happening in the next 5-10 years) in your family, your career and your life.  

That said, when it comes time to execute your decision to buy, it’s foolhardy not to take market dynamics into account.  I’ve seen many a buyer over the years decide to stick their heads in the sand and their ears in their fingers, tuning out all of the market ‘noise’ as though it doesn't apply to them.  Unfortunately, in a hot market, this usually results in them getting beat out for 5 or 10 different houses, then having the emotional kneejerk reaction of throwing every single dollar they have at the next house they fall in love with - whether it’s the right house or not, and whether they can truly afford it or not.

You don’t want to fall under the panic-inducing spell of the market, but neither do you want to ignore it. Rather, ask your local agent to help you pay attention to neighborhood-specific information, like:
  • which types of properties move quickly,
  • how many days they generally stay on the market,
  • whether multiple offers are a reality you need to face, and
  • how much over-asking homes like the one you want are selling for.

Then, use this information to make strategic decisions about your home buying process, covering everything from which properties and areas you’ll focus on, how quickly you’ll need to get out to see listings and - most importantly - what price range you should focus your search on.  If you know homes are selling for over-asking, engineer your search price range to be low enough that you can be successful, rather than exclusively looking at properties priced at the top of the range you can afford.

4.  Financial fogginess.   


Don’t run the numbers in your head.  Don’t ballpark your income, the big bills and such on a notepad, stick your finger in the wind, and decide you can afford X number of thousands of dollars a month for a home. Home buying is the big leagues, financially speaking, so you need to be sparkling, crystal clear on precisely what you can afford. This universal truth of home buying is especially critical in a hot market, where you may be faced with the need to make decisions about whether to increase your price range or your offer price on relatively short notice.

Either keep an income/expense journal, use an online money app like Mint or Manilla or sit down and do a deep dive into your last few months’ checking and other account statements to get a complete picture of what you can afford and to get conscious about what sacrifices might want or need to make.  It is not overkill to bring your tax advisor or financial planner into this conversation, so they can help you understand how your tax situation as a home owner may change, freeing up some extra monthly budget room for your mortgage, property taxes, insurance and HOA Dues or Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), if applicable. Also, make sure you include line items for your savings, retirement investing, gifts, school tuition, travel and recreation - the sorts of things that lenders will not account for when they tell you what their guidelines say you can afford.

5.  Overpaying.

There are several ways to overpay for a home.  You could pay more than the place is worth, which is difficult to do if you are buying the place with a mortgage loan which requires an appraisal. You could pay more than you need to in order to get the property, which sometimes happens to buyers in multiple offer situations, and buyers who have experienced the trauma of losing out on home after home, and who just decide to make a high offer to get closure and secure a place they like. Whether any price meets this second definition of ‘overpaying’ is difficult to ascertain, as it would require us to know what would have happened in the hypothetical world in which they didn’t offer such a high price and so, might not actually have been the successful buyer.

The antidote to both these forms of overpaying is simple: pulling the comparables before you decide what to offer.  It only takes a minute, your agent will help you, and it’s just not prudent, in 2012, to decide on an offer price without a fresh pull of the sales data on the similar, nearby homes that have recently sold.  If your agent includes active and pending sales in their pull of the comparable data set, you may also find out useful information like whether several other competitive properties have just hit the market, or that all of the competition is now pending - things that might also inform your motivation levels or price strategy.

And there is a third, more insidious form of overpaying that haunts hot market buyers as well: paying more than you can truly afford for a home. It’s fine, even expected, that if you thought you were buying into a depressed market and instead end up buying in a hot one, you might have experienced some upward ‘creep’ in what you’re willing to spend for a home. But that doesn’t excuse letting that creep go beyond what you can truly afford, overextending yourself.  

This form of overspending is also more difficult to do now than it was before the housing market recession began, as lender guidelines a much tighter now than then. But it’s still possible - especially as lenders don’t account for what you should be putting aside for savings, for retirement, for your children’s education and other essential monthly budget items that impact what you can truly afford to pay for a home.  

The only cure for this form of overspending is for you to both know (see #4, above) and to set in stone what your actual, top-line maximum home purchase price is - even if you are the only one who knows this number, in your own head. Your mortgage professional can help you work backwards from the amount of cash you have to invest in the transaction and the maximum amount you can devote to your housing costs on a monthly basis, to arrive at your maximum home purchase price.

Long story short - if you’ve been pondering the prospect of buying a home for long, you might feel like you’ve been sitting in the economy section of an emotional roller coaster. Prices fell so fast you might have doubted whether buying makes sense at all. Now, with barely a plateau, they’re on the upswing - and every other buyer in town seems to be dropping offers on the choice homes before you can even get out to see them.  Use these tools to avoid repeating the mistakes of the last generation of homeowners.
 
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If you're not already working with an agent and need someone on your side to help you with your next home purchase, give The Puffer Team a call at 828-771-2300.  Be sure to visit our website as well, www.homefinderasheville.com.  If you need a lender to help you get the ball rolling, visit www.applywithglenn.com.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

De-Cluttering Your Asheville Area Home

Here are some great tips to help you get rid of clutter to make room for yourself or to prepare for a move:

(source)

Start Small, Think Big

Pick one space like a counter top or a messy drawer to tackle first and set aside just ten minutes to work. When you choose an area with strict parameters, you won’t feel quite so overwhelmed by the clutter and you’ll accomplish a lot more in the long run.

Let it Go

Are you keeping anything because you might need it someday? Chances are, some of these items may never be used enough to warrant taking up space. As you clean up around your home, start a “might use” pile for anything you don’t often use and dedicate time to deciding if you really need each one—then toss or donate what you don’t want.

Invest in Organization

There are lots of great products that make storage a snap. For a messy closet, consider a vertical shelf unit. A fabric model will hang from your closet rod, is inexpensive and can exponentially increase your storage space. Too many shoes? Try an under-the-bed bag with dividers for each pair or an over-the-door unit for easy access and visibility, plus you’ll never need to dig for that second shoe again.

Put Your Items to Good Use

Once you’ve cleared out your clutter, don’t just toss it—donate it! If old items like clothes, unused appliances or office supplies are in good condition, take them to your local donation drop-off or consignment shop. Many of these stores will be happy to take your donations or compensate you for your goods. Best of all, donating items not only helps local organizations, it could help you earn tax deductions next year!
When you set aside a little time and a few dollars to the cause, you can start clearing out your home for a fresher look and a cleaner feel!


American Home Shield is providing the information for general guidance only. Due to the general nature of the property maintenance and improvement advice in this material, neither American Home Shield Corporation, nor its licensed subsidiaries assumes any responsibility for any loss or damage which may be suffered by the use of this information

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Ready to put your de-cluttered home on the market?  Call The Puffer Team at 828-771-2300, or visit our website:  www.homefinderasheville.com.

Friday, September 21, 2012

7 Steps To Selling Your Asheville Area Home: Step 7

Step 7: Moving

Even the smallest home contains a lot of furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, pictures and other items. For a short move, it may be worthwhile to transport small goods by yourself, but larger items will likely require a professional mover.
Our moving center provides calculators as well as information on moving options, storage, truck rentals and related topics. This information, plus assistance and advice from your REALTOR®, can ease the moving process.

How do you plan a move?

The time to plan your move begins once you've decided to sell your home. Some of the activities required to sell the home can actually help with the moving process. For example, cleaning out closets, basements and attics means there will be less to do once the home is under contract.
Your planning will be guided by a number of things:
  • Are you moving a long distance? If yes, you'll likely require an interstate mover and the use of a large van.
  • Moving internationally. Contact the embassy in Washington, D.C., for information. Be aware that items which may be entirely common in the United States can be prohibited in foreign countries. Ask about customs protocols, duties and taxes. 
  • Moving locally? If yes, will you move yourself? You'll need to consider packing boxes, peanuts, blankets or padding and a van rental.
  • Planning is key. Stock up on boxes, packing materials, tape and markers. Always mark boxes so that movers will know where goods should be placed.
Who should you use?
 The decision of who to use can begin with a visit to REALTOR.com's® moving center and discussions with the REALTOR® who is marketing your home.
There are a number of factors to consider. Money is one issue: You'll want to spend as little as possible, but choosing only on the basis of cost can be a mistake. Movers must have the right equipment, training and experience to do a good job. A mover, no matter how large or small, should be able to provide recent references for homesellers with a similar volume of goods to transport.
Get mover estimates in writing. Be aware that it's possible to get discounts through membership organizations and, sometimes, on the basis of your profession: Clergy, for example, sometimes qualify for a discount.
Always confirm mover credentials. Movers should be licensed and bonded as required in your state, and employees should have workman's comp insurance.
Get a checklist.

Moving is a big job and checklists can make it more organized and easier. Here are some of the major items to consider:
  • Money. If you're moving more than a few miles then you should have enough cash or credit to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
  • Medicine. Keep medicines and related prescriptions in a place where they will be available during the move.
  • Number boxes so that all items can be counted on arrival. Make a list of boxes by number and indicate their contents.
  • If moving with children, make sure that each has a favorite toy or toys, blankets, games, music and other goods.
  • Moving historic, breakable or valued items? Such goods routinely require special handling and packaging.
  • Have address books readily available in case you need help.
  • If you have a laptop computer with a modem, make it accessible during your trip to pick up business and personal e-mail.
Copyright © by Move, Inc.  Source
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Would you like to talk to an area expert about getting your home sold?  Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300, or register to speak to someone online at www.homefinderasheville.com.

7 Steps To Selling Your Asheville Area Home: Step 6

Step 6: Closing


It might seem as though once a sale agreement has been signed that the selling process is complete. Not only is it not over yet, but some of the most complex aspects of a real estate transaction now begin.
 
A sale agreement sets not only a purchase price for the home, but also a series of terms and conditions. For instance:
  • Contracts routinely depend on the ability of a buyer to obtain financing, which is why most sellers prefer buyers with pre-approval letters from lenders.
  • A growing percentage of transactions involve a home inspection, or a physical review of the home by a trained and independent observer.
  • Lenders will establish numerous conditions before granting a loan. They will want a title exam, title insurance to protect against title errors, termite inspections, surveys and an appraisal to assure that the home has sufficient value to secure the loan
The REALTOR® typically arranges required inspections and helps the owner prepare for closing.
When should you close?

With automation now available, closings can occur within a week in some areas -- at least in theory. In practice, it takes time to arrange financing, conduct inspections, obtain appraisals, locate replacement housing, contact movers, pack and actually move.
 
While instant closings are not practical, neither are closings too far in the future. The problem with closings much past 60 days is that loan rates are difficult to lock in. If mortgage rates go up, it's possible that the buyer will no longer be able to afford the home and thus the deal may fall through.
The result of these considerations is that most homes close 30 to 45 days after a sale agreement has been signed.
 
What happens?

Closing -- or "settlement" or "escrow" as it is known in some areas -- is essentially a meeting where the closing agent (the party who conducts settlement) takes in money from the buyers, pays out money to the owner and makes sure that the purchaser's title is properly recorded in local records along with any mortgage liens.
 
The closing agent reviews the sale agreement to determine what payments and credits the owner should receive and what amounts are due from the buyer. The closing agent also assures that certain transaction costs are paid (taxes and title searches).
 
Closing is also the time when "adjustments" will be made. For instance, suppose you've pre-paid taxes four months in advance. In this case, the closing agent will compensate you for the prepayment at closing by having the buyer pay you additional money.
 
It could also work in reverse. If you are behind on property taxes, the closing agent will reduce the money due to you at settlement by the amount of the unpaid taxes.
How do you prepare to sell?

It's important to look at the sale agreement and review your obligations. For instance, if you have agreed to paint a room or replace the dishwasher, such work must be completed before closing. Your REALTOR® can discuss your agreement and the steps which must be taken to complete the transaction.
 
The closing agent will handle both the settlement papers and related documents.
 
Copyright © by Move, Inc.  Source
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Would you like to talk to an area expert about getting your home sold?  Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300, or register to speak to someone online at www.homefinderasheville.com.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

7 Steps To Selling Your Asheville Area Home: Step 5

Step 5: Sell it!

There is no question that selling a home is an important event. A home sale represents transition, movement and change. Big money is involved. Households move from the known and comfortable to the unknown and a period of adjustment. There may be job changes, new schools, distance from old friends and the possibility of new ones.
No less important, a home sale by itself can be complex. There will be people looking at your house, documents to sign and issues to be negotiated.
Because a home sale involves an array of both personal and business concerns, it's important to get it done right. You need to carefully prepare your home, understand the market and see what alternatives are realistically available. The old motto "be prepared" is a good guide in such circumstances.

What's an acceptable offer?

The goal of every seller is to have a line of buyers outside the front door, each clutching higher and higher offers. And while this has been known to happen, in most markets there is some balance between the number of buyers and sellers. A number of factors determine whether a buyer's offer is acceptable. They include:
  • Is the offer at or near the asking price? Is the offer above the asking price?
  • Has the buyer accepted the asking price or something close? Has the buyer then buried thousands of dollars in discounts and seller costs within tiny clauses and contract additions?
  • What is the alternative to the buyer's offer? If a home has not attracted an offer in months, then sellers need to determine if a better deal is possible -- recognizing that each month costs are being incurred for mortgage payments, taxes and insurance.
  • Does the owner have enough time to wait for other offers?
  • What if no other offers are received?
  • What if several offers are received? Do you choose the high offer from the purchaser with questionable finances who may not be able to close, or a somewhat lesser offer from a buyer with pre-approved financing?
In each case, owners -- with assistance from REALTORS® -- will need to carefully review offers, consider marketplace options and then determine whether an offer is acceptable.

What is a counter-offer? 

When a home is made available for sale the owner is essentially making an offer to buyers: For a given number of dollars and other terms you can acquire this home. Buyers, in turn, can respond with several options:
  • Not interested. 
  • Yes, we'll buy on the owner's terms. 
  • We're interested and here's our counter-offer.
A counter-offer is nothing more than a new offer. And just as the buyer had three options in response to the owner's original price and terms, the seller can now choose one of three reactions: accept the offer, decline the offer or make a fresh counter-offer.
Offers and counter-offers reflect the back-and-forth activity of the marketplace. It's an efficient and practical process -- but also one that may contain tricky clauses and hidden costs. The REALTOR® who lists your home can explain the local bargaining process in detail and assist in the actual negotiations.

How do you negotiate?

It's sometimes argued that negotiation must produce one "winner" and one "loser." Others suggest that a "win/win" situation is possible where each side gets something of value.  Real estate bargaining typically involves compromises by both sides. It's not war; it's not winner-take-all; and it's not the time to take personally any comments made by purchasers.  Instead, negotiating should be seen as a natural business process; buyers should be treated with respect; and owners should never lose sight of either their best interests or their baseline transaction requirements. These are the standards unique to each owner, which must be met before the home can be sold.
Copyright © by Move, Inc.  Source
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Would you like to talk to an area expert about getting your home sold?  Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300, or register to speak to someone online at www.homefinderasheville.com.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

7 Steps To Selling Your Asheville Area Home: Step 4

Market it

If you bought a car, you could purchase a given model with selected features from any dealer. Since the car comes from one assembly plant, it's going to be the same whether purchased from dealer Smith or dealer Jones.
Homes are different. Each is unique, the marketplace is always in flux, interest rates constantly change and new buyers search for homes each day. With such fluidity, it requires REALTORS® to craft marketing plans specifically for individual homes and market conditions.
Selling can entail a variety of marketing strategies. Once listed, it's likely that the home will be quickly entered into the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and placed on various sites.  Open houses, broker access to the home via the use of a lock box and networking with both local and out-of-town brokers are also common.
Much of a broker's work will be quiet and unseen -- yet important. The quiet telephone calls, the work with contacts, the follow-ups with open-house visitors, conversations with ad respondents, the web postings and other outreach efforts are all part of the process required to sell homes.
Experienced REALTORS® base their marketing efforts on previous transactions and ongoing research. For instance, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), most people begin their home-buying process on the Internet. NAR numbers also show that most households move within 10 miles of their current location while 20 percent move at least 50 miles.
How to market your home. 
If you look at a typical transaction you can see that there are five general areas where REALTORS® can assist in the home-selling process.
  • Preparation: Before being placed on the market, homes must be in "show" condition. REALTORS® can explain what repairs and upgrades are required for individual homes which are most likely to produce the best results.
  • Pricing: Brokers do more than price homes for sale, they also construct sale terms designed to speed the selling process. It may be, for example, that a home priced at $150,000 with a 2 percent seller credit to the buyer at closing will be far more attractive to purchasers than a home priced at $147,000. Why? That 2 percent credit is worth $3,000 to the purchaser at closing -- the time when buyers are most likely strapped for cash.
  • Marketing: REALTORS® will execute strategies and programs to get the home sold. Typically this includes placement on the local MLS and Realtor.com as well as related marketing, advertising and networking.
  • Negotiation: REALTORS® assist owners in the bargaining process, offering advice and counsel as offers are received and by working closely with legal counsel, tax specialists and inspectors as required.
  • Closing: Once a contract for the purchase of a home has been accepted, a series of inspections and checks are typically required to satisfy buyers and lenders. REALTORS® can help owners complete the transaction process by assisting with the many requirements found in a typical sale agreement.
How do you show your home online?

The Internet is an important factor in real estate marketing and will likely become more important in the future.
The Internet has two important roles in the real estate selling process. First, it is a "place" to view real estate. Individual REALTORS® also maintain thousands of localized sites while professional groups and, likewise, industry organizations, have an online presence, such as www.homefinderasheville.com.
Online real estate information includes not only home listings, but numerous additional features and benefits.
Equally important, the Internet offers new communication media. E-mail and instant messaging give REALTORS® and consumers more opportunities to keep in touch. As the Internet evolves, more technologies and techniques will be introduced to make transactions easier and more efficient.
Copyright © by Move, Inc.  Source
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Would you like to talk to an area expert about getting your home sold?  Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300, or register to speak to someone online at www.homefinderasheville.com.

Monday, September 17, 2012

7 Steps To Selling Your Asheville Area Home: Step 3

Step 3: Set the Price

Every reasonable owner wants the best possible price and terms for his or her home. Several factors, including market conditions and interest rates, will determine how much you can get for your home. The idea is to get the maximum price and the best terms during the window of time when your home is being marketed.  In other words, home selling is part science, part marketing, part negotiation and part art. Unlike math where 2 + 2 always equals 4, in real estate there is no certain conclusion. All transactions are different, and because of this, you should do as much as possible to prepare your home for sale and engage the REALTOR® you feel is best able to sell your home.
What is your home worth?

All homes have a price, and sometimes more than one. There's the price owners would like to get, the value buyers would like to offer and a point of agreement which can result in a sale.
In considering home values, several factors are important:
  • The value of your home relates to local sale prices. The same home, located elsewhere, would likely have a different value.
  • Sale prices are a product of supply and demand. If you live in a community with an expanding job base, a growing population and a limited housing supply, it's likely that prices will rise. Alternatively, it's important to be realistic. If the local community is losing jobs and people are moving out, then you'll likely have a buyer's market.
  • Owner needs can impact sale values. If owner Smith "must" sell quickly, he will have less leverage in the marketplace. Buyers may think that Smith is willing to trade a quick closing for a lower price -- and they may be right. If Smith has no incentive to sell quickly, he may have more marketplace strength. 
  • Sale prices are not based on what owners "need." When an owner says, "I must sell for $300,000 because I need $100,000 in cash to buy my next home," buyers will quickly ask if $300,000 is a reasonable price for the property. If similar homes in the same community are selling for $250,000, the seller will not be successful.
  • Sale prices are NOT the whole deal. Which would you rather have: A sale price of $200,000, or a sale price of $205,000 but where you agree to make a "seller contribution" of $5,000 to offset the buyer's closing costs, pay a $2,000 allowance for roof repairs, fund two mortgage points, re-paint the entire house and leave the washer and dryer?
How much is too much?

Because all transactions are unique there is flexibility in the marketplace. The amount of flexibility depends on local conditions.  For example, suppose you're selling a townhouse. Suppose also that there have been five recent sales of the model you own and that sale values have ranged between $200,000 and $210,000. You now have an idea of how your home might be priced. In a strong market perhaps you can ask for $210,000 or a little more. If the market has slowed, $210,000 may be a reasonable asking price, but perhaps more than the final sale price.
Here's another scenario. Imagine that you live in a community of Victorian-style homes, most of which were built in the 1920s. All the homes are different in terms of size, condition, modernization, style and features. In such a neighborhood, an average sale price is just a statistic without much practical meaning. On a single block one home may sell for $400,000 while another is priced at more than $1 million. The average price may be outrageously high for one home and staggeringly low for another.
Who can help? 

Experienced REALTORS® are active in the local marketplace and can provide assistance with pricing, marketing, negotiation and closing.
Because experienced REALTORS® have handled many transactions, they're familiar with the terms and conditions that went into individual sales, not just published sale prices which may not reflect various premiums, discounts and adjustments.
Copyright © by Move, Inc.  Source
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Would you like to talk to an area expert about getting your home sold?  Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300, or register to speak to someone online at www.homefinderasheville.com.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

7 Steps To Selling Your Asheville Area Home: Step 2

Get a REALTOR®

Before placing a home on the market you should also identify REALTORS® in your community who can assist with the sale. Because Realtor.com is the largest real estate site online, it's a perfect place to look when seeking realty services. Realtor.com lists realty professionals nationwide, and you can find those active in your community through extensive directories and property listings.

Why use a REALTOR®?

There are more than 2 million people nationwide who have licenses to sell real estate, of which about over 1 million members belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Only NAR members are entitled to use the term "REALTOR®."  NAR members must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. By joining NAR, individuals have access to a wide range of classes, seminars and certification opportunities. Local REALTOR® groups are active in community matters, and individual members are routinely involved in PTAs and other neighborhood organizations.  In essence, local REALTORS® are community experts. They track real estate trends, share neighborhood concerns and participate in local matters. They're good neighbors who are in the business of helping others buy and sell homes.

How do you choose a REALTOR®?

Whether you're a first-time seller or someone who has sold many homes, there are several ways to find a local REALTOR®:
Get recommendations from past sellers. 
  • Look for REALTOR® signs in your community.
  • Check the classifieds in local newspapers and "shopper" publications.
  • Look at the listings in local real estate magazines.
In some cases, sellers elect to meet only with one REALTOR® while other owners elect to meet with several. Whatever your preference, there will be a number of questions you will want to ask, including:
  • What services do you offer?
  • What type of representation do you provide? (There are various forms of representation in different states. Some brokers represent buyers, some represent sellers, some facilitate transactions as a neutral party, and in some cases different salespeople in a single firm may represent different parties within a transaction.)
  • What experience do you have in my immediate area?
  • How long are homes in this neighborhood typically on the market? (Be aware that because all homes are unique, some will sell faster than others. Several factors can impact the amount of time a home remains on the market, including changing interest rates and local economic trends.)
  • How would you price my home? Ask about recent home sales and comparable properties currently on the market. If you speak with several REALTORS® and their price estimates differ, that's OK, but be sure to ask how their price opinions were determined and why they think your home would sell for a given value.
  • How will you market my home? At listing presentations, brokers will provide a detailed summary of how they market homes, what marketing strategies have worked in the past and which marketing efforts may be effective for your home.
  • Under Contract In 6 Days
    What is your fee? Brokerage fees are established in the marketplace and not set by law or regulation. Typically, brokers who list homes are compensated on a performance basis - that is, the broker is not paid unless the home sells under the terms and conditions that are acceptable to you.
  • What happens if another REALTOR® locates a purchaser? That is, who will that broker represent, and how will he or she be paid?
  • What disclosures should you receive? State rules require brokers to provide extensive agency disclosure information, usually at the first sit-down meeting with an owner or buyer.
  • How long do you want to list your home? A "listing" agreement is a contract that shows the broker's obligations and outlines the terms under which your home is being made available for sale. The length of the agreement is a negotiable matter.
What should you expect when working with a REALTOR®?
Once your home is listed with a REALTOR®, he or she will immediately begin to market your home according to the most appropriate conventions for your community.  Your REALTOR® should keep you informed as the marketing process unfolds and as expressions of interest are received. In time, the marketing plan may be modified to reflect buyer reactions and changes in the marketplace.  In real estate there are written offers and oral offers. Oral offers ("Would they take $225,000 for the home?") are not acceptable because they generally cannot be enforced ("Gee, did I say $225,000? I was sure I said $215,000"). Written offers created by the REALTOR® with assistance from qualified attorneys address numerous issues, are consistent with local requirements and provide the foundation for an actionable offer. 

Copyright © by Move, Inc.  Source
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Would you like to talk to an area expert about getting your home sold?  Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300, or register to speak to someone online at www.homefinderasheville.com.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

7 Steps To Selling Your Asheville Area Home: Step 1

Plan and Prepare to Sell Your House


Millions of existing homes are sold each year, and while each transaction is different every owner wants the same thing -- the best possible deal with the least amount of hassle and aggravation.  Unfortunately, home selling has become a more complex business than it used to be. New seller disclosure statements, longer and more mysterious form agreements, and a range of environmental concerns have all emerged in the past decade.  More importantly, the home-selling process has changed. Buyer brokerage -- where REALTORS® represent homebuyers -- is now common nationwide, and good buyer-brokers want the best for their clients.  The result is that while hundreds of thousands of existing homes may be sold each week, the process is not as easy for sellers as it was five or 10 years ago. Surviving in today's real estate world requires experience and training in such fields as real estate marketing, financing, negotiation and closing -- the very expertise available from local REALTORS®.

Are you ready?
Under Contract In 5 Days

The home-selling process typically starts several months before a property is made available for sale. It's necessary to look at a home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out.  Ask yourself: If you were buying this home what would you want to see? The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers -- and as much demand -- as possible.  While part of the "getting ready" phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, this is also a good time to ask why you really want to sell.  Selling a home is an important matter and there should be a good reason to sell -- perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it's important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the REALTOR® who lists your home.  

When should you sell? 

The marketplace tends to be more active in the summer because parents want to enroll children in classes at the beginning of the school year (usually August). The summer is also typically when most homes are likely to be available.  Generally speaking, markets tend to have some balance between buyers and sellers year-round. In a given community, for example, there may be fewer buyers in late December, but there are also likely to be fewer homes available for purchase. So, home prices tend to rise or fall because of general demand patterns rather than the time of the year.  Owners are encouraged to sell when the property is ready for sale, there is a need or desire to sell, and the services of a local REALTOR® have been retained.


How do you improve your home's value?

The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means you want a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved. For example, if most homes in your neighborhood have three bedrooms, two baths and 2,500 sq. ft. of finished space, a property with five bedrooms, more baths and far more space would likely be priced much higher and likely be more difficult to sell.  Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale. Furthermore, improvements should reflect community preferences.
Cosmetic improvements - paint, wallpaper and landscaping - help a home "show" better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs - to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition - are required to get a top price.
Ideally, you want to be sure that your property is competitive with other homes available in the community. REALTORS®, who see numerous homes, can provide suggestions that are consistent with your marketplace.
Copyright © by Move, Inc.  Source
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Would you like to talk to an area expert about getting your home sold?  Call The Puffer Team today, 828-771-2300, or register to speak to someone online at www.homefinderasheville.com.

Friday, September 14, 2012

14 Things To Consider Before Buying A Home

Don't let your emotions cloud your judgment
Wait! That house may seem like everything you’ve ever wanted, but before you make an offer, take some time to consider a few things beyond the size, style and price.

When buying a home, it’s easy to let emotions get in the way of reality, or get sudden amnesia about factors that may make a difference.
"Sometimes we want something so badly, we’re not willing to ask all the questions we should,” says Leslie Levine, author of "Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home?"

For instance, she says, you may see a basketball hoop over the garage and assume the neighborhood is great for kids. But a closer inspection may show that it’s rusted and hasn’t seen a ball in a decade, and that other yards in the neighborhood have no jungle gyms or tire swings out back.
1. Visit at various times of day

The windows that let in so much light during the day may be a peeping Tom’s dream at night. That seemingly quiet residential street may be a noisy, highway-feeder street during morning or evening rush hour; or it may be near impossible to get from your quiet street across traffic and onto the feeder street in the morning. The adjacent school may seem like a nice perk if you’re buying in the summer, but during the school year, daily playground noise and extra traffic may be more than you bargained for.
2. Look through recent newspaper archives
“Make sure you’re getting information on what you can’t see,” Levine suggests. Perhaps the municipal water well that feeds your neighborhood has high levels of contaminants or a proposed high-voltage power line may soon be coming through your back yard. You can also check with the city or county to see if there are any proposed projects.
4 Gollum Drive; Fairview, NC  28730
3. Talk to neighbors
How many people in the neighborhood own their homes? Sometimes it’s hard to tell at first if you’re choosing a neighborhood that’s primarily rental houses.
4. Ask if the neighborhood has an association
“Is there a newsletter for it? How often does the neighborhood get together? Do they have a block party every year?” Levine asks. “Even if you don’t plan to attend, the fact that they’re having a gathering says they care about their community, that they want to get to know each other, that they’re willing to socialize that way. People who behave that way are building a community. They’re going to look out for your kids; they’re going to look out for your house. It’s a nice, safe way to celebrate something.”
5. Quiz the sellers What problems are they aware of that the house had in the past – even if they’ve been fixed? An ice dam five years ago may have caused water damage that has since been repaired. But it’s good to know that the house may be prone to ice dams so you can take preventive measures rather than find out the hard way. Discovering the basement flooding was solved by building up the landscaping in a particular area will prevent you from leveling the ground there in later years.
6. Get a home inspection
Virtually all houses have defects, according to National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents. Some will be obvious and most will be curable. But knowing what needs fixing can help you negotiate a lower price – or at least prepare you for costs you’re soon to incur. Strongly consider getting inspections, too, for lead paint, radon and wood-eating pests.
7. Get detailed records on past improvements This isn’t always possible. But if you’re told the house’s exterior was painted two years ago – and then see a receipt noting the whole project cost just $1,000 – then you’ll be forewarned that cheaper materials were used and that you may be looking at repainting sooner than you thought.
8. Don’t just assume remodeling will be a snap If you voice your ideas to the sellers, you may be able to glean valuable insights. For instance, perhaps that shower is in an odd location because, when remodeling 10 years ago, the previous owners discovered a costly structural impediment to putting a shower where it would seem more appropriate.
9. Consider the view “So many neighborhoods now have teardowns. So look at the two houses on either side of you. If this neighborhood has had some teardowns, one of those houses might be a candidate. And they may build some behemoth structure that affects your light or the way your house looks or your view,” Levine says.
10. Ask for utility bills You may adore the Cape Cod architectural style or the high ceilings and walls of glass in a modern home – but those winter heating and summer cooling bills may push your monthly payments beyond affordable. Ditto for the water bills you’ll pay to maintain a pristine landscape.
11. Pay close attention to taxes
Don’t just ask what the seller’s most recent tax bill was; ask what several recent tax bills have been. In some areas, houses are re-appraised – and taxed at higher rates – frequently. That great deal and good investment may not seem quite so grand if the property taxes skyrocket year after year. Again, look at newspaper archives or talk to your Realtor about the way taxes are used in this area. In some cities, schools are substantially funded through property taxes – which means you can count on yours increasing regularly.
12. Check with city hall
NAEBA recommends looking into the property’s and neighborhood’s zoning, as well as any potential easements, liens or other restrictions relating to your property. The seller should disclose these facts, but it’s better to be safe. If you’re using a buyer’s agent, he or she should be able to help you with this.
13. Reconsider the bells and whistles
Are you sure you can live with a one-car garage, or a detached garage, or on-street parking? The pool may be a nice bonus, but can you afford the upkeep?
14. Explore the surrounding area If you’re not just making a cross-town move, you may not know that only three blocks away, this pretty neighborhood backs up to a dumpy commercial area or a less-than-savory part of town. If the home is near an airport, fire station, police station, hospital or railroad track, expect to hear trains, planes or ambulances throughout the day and night. Make sure you’re not too close to an agricultural area that may generate odors or kick up dust or other airborne problems.
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Are you ready to get the process started?  Give The Puffer Team a call today, 828-771-2300, or visit our website, www.homefinderasheville.com.  

So You're Buying Your First Asheville Area Home?

When it comes to buying your first home, it doesn't become a dream home just because of it's room dimensions; it's about how you feel when you want through the front door and how you can envision your future there.  Buying a home is more than real estate, it's about your life and dreams.

So where does it all begin?  It's all about YOU!  Our team of Buyer Specialists are here and ready to help you fully understand the process and the steps that you will need to take.

The Home Buying Process

Select A Real Estate Agent
Obtain Financial Preapproval
-- knowing exactly how much you can comfortable spend on a home reduces the potential frustration of looking at homes beyond your means.
(we will be happy to refer  you to a lender if you do not already have someone in mind)
Analyze Your Needs In A Buyer Consultation
Select Properties
View Properties
Write An Offer to Purchase
Negotiate Terms
Accept The Contract

Remove Contingencies
Conduct Inspections & Resolve Any Issues
(we will be happy to refer you to an inspector if you do not already have someone in mind)
Obtain Mortgage Financing
(credit check, underwriting, appraisal, survey, title insurance)
Attorney Performs Title Search, Removes Encumbrances & Obtains Title Insurance 
-- as it gets closer to closing, you will also want to arrange for utilities and set up your home owner's insurance

Obtain Funds For Closing
Close On The Property
Take Possession Of Home!



While the process may seem overwhelming, having a Buyer Specialist to assist you from the very start will strongly benefit you.  Our agents offer free/no obligation consultations, so call The Puffer Team today at 828-771-2300 or visit our website, www.homefinderasheville.com.



Thursday, September 13, 2012

The South Asheville/Arden Appeal

There once was a time where the Biltmore Estate and the fancy McDonald's were the main draw for tourists to the South Asheville/Arden area.  Over the years things have changed;  Biltmore Village has grown by leaps and bounds with business/shopping centers being added, eateries emerging, and existing projects evolving.  The Biltmore House added Antler Hill Village and continues to open up more rooms at the house, the village itself has restaurants such as The Corner Kitchen, Rezas, and Ruth's Chris.  As you head further south, just up the road towards Arden you'll also find the ever popular 12 Bones Smokehouse & Biltmore Park Town Square.  There is no longer a need to go to downtown Asheville to get the flavor of the mountains, especially with the opening of south locations of Thirsty Monk, Asheville Pizza, and Tupelo Honey.  There are tons of great places to eat, drink and be merry in the area, these are just a few of the notable ones.

If you ever decide you want to make a move, we have lots of great homes for you to consider, give The Puffer Team a call, 828-771-2300, or visit us online, www.homefinderasheville.com.

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Click here for a complete list of homes available in the South Asheville/Arden Area!


Asheville Area New Construction Homes Under $250K

It's the middle of the week already, where does the time go?

Are you or someone you know looking to buy a new construction home in the Asheville area?  We've compiled a list of available homes just for you, check it out here!

Are you looking for an agent to help you with your search for a new/existing home?  Contact one of our Buyer Specialists today by calling our office at 828-771-2300 or visiting our website:  www.homefinderasheville.com.

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Be sure to also check out this new construction home we have listed in the Fairview area:


(click the address for additional info)