The Difference An Hour Makes…

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You Can Still Find a Home at a Fair Price

If you’ve found yourself paralyzed by this active market, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey of 3,500 buyers, a whopping 58% of potential homebuyers are sitting on the sidelines because they’re afraid the market is too hot. Here’s a breakdown of their top concerns:

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  1. Affordability: Prices are rising or too high (27%)
  2. There’s too much competition from other buyers (17%)
  3. There aren’t enough homes to choose from (14%)

 

While it’s true we’ve seen a dramatic increase in market activity over the past few years, it’s important to remember that what you want isn’t necessarily what everyone else wants. Where you want to live and the type of home you want to live in isn’t necessarily subject to the “macro trends” in any given market situation.

Your dream home is as unique as you are, and the only way to understand what’s out there is to take the time to share the details of what you’re looking for with a professional who is tuned into the market. What’s more, an agent can help debunk market myths and keep an eye out for properties which fit your specific criteria.

Home-Buying-ChecklistNow is a good time to make a list of criteria for your next home. Begin with your “must haves” and move on to your “nice to haves.” Consider square footage, neighborhood, amenities, and your budget as you put together this list. Reflecting on this information will help you have a productive discussion with a buyer’s agent and also contribute to your understanding of “what’s out there” in your immediate market.

Often our fears turn out to be unfounded. If you’ve been letting your perception of the market stymie you from pursuing your dream, now is a good time to start a discussion with someone who can help you see the whole picture.

Questions? We’re happy to help you answer them! Get in touch today: Barbara & Gregg, THE NICHOLAS TEAM  realestate@thenicholasteam.com   973-509-2222 ext. 1126

 

[Survey source: https://www.redfin.com/research/reports/real-time-market-sentiment]

Crucial Questions for Seller’s Agents

Odds are the day will come when you need to speak to a real estate agent to help you sell your home. When that day comes, you want to be absolutely sure you have the knowledge you need to choose someone who has the background and skills to represent your interests.

First, you’ll want to work with an agent who represents sellers as the majority of their business. You’ll find that many agents have experience on both the buying and selling side of the situation, but it’s optimal to work with an agent who has dedicated the majority of their time working with sellers.

While rapport is important, it is far from the most important factor. Yes, it is ideal to work with someone you like and someone who will communicate well with you, but there is a much more effective way to sort the amateurs and the pros: The numbers.

But which numbers? Here are some direct questions which will help you compare agent experience and performance:

  1. How many continuous years have you been in real estate?
  1. How many homes did you sell last year working as the seller’s agent?
  1. Of the homes you’ve sold in the past year, what was the average number of days the home was on the market from initial listing date until the final, accepted offer?
  1. Looking at your past 12 months of closed sales, what percentage has the final selling price been compared to the initial listing price?
  1. How much will you charge me to sell my home? What sort of marketing efforts does this cover?
  1. Do you have an assistant to help you sell homes? Are you part of a team?
  1. Are you considered by your company’s owner to be one of the top producers in your office?

These questions may seem somewhat blunt, but full-time agents with a career built on selling homes shouldn’t have a problem answering you to the best of their ability. In fact, I’d be happy to answer them if you’re serious about listing. Contact me today: The Nicholas Team, Barbara P. Hughes and Gregg Nicholas  RE/MAX Village Square REALTORS  realestate@thenicholasteam.com 

Ever have a “move in” garage sale?

It’s common sense to have a garage sale before your big move. There’s no reason to pay movers to load boxes of items you can do without. Plus, who needs the clutter in their new home?

But have you ever considered a garage sale after you’ve moved into your new house?

It’s actually a great idea for a number of reasons:

Why did I save this stuff? When you unpack items in you new home, you’re likely to come across a lot of stuff you find you can live without. What seemed essential in the old place just loses its luster in your new space.

But I thought this love seat would fit in here! Despite our best plans, old furniture can turn out to be a poor fit in new spaces. You don’t necessarily have to live with the mistake. Prep it for sale.

Who are these people, anyway? A garage sale will bring out the neighbors. Despite the bargain seeking and good-natured haggling, garage sales are great low-pressure social situations. People are free to browse without the pressure of making conversation. Small talk arises more naturally. People can come and go without obligation.

Who just bought this place, anyway? It’s an opportunity to be a good neighbor. Put out some snacks and drinks. Be easy about your prices and even throw in a few things for free if someone’s buying. Use the event as an ice breaker rather than a profit maker. A lot of first impressions can be made here… why not make good ones?

If you’ve still got stuff to bring to the curb, put the post-move garage sale on your to-do list for the move.

Did you know de-cluttering is also one of the key steps to prepare a home for sale? We have lots of tips if you’re considering listing soon. Please get in touch!  The Nicholas Team, Barbara P. Hughes & Gregg Nicholas  RE/MAX Village Square REALTORS  realestate@thenicholasteam.com

 

VA Loans By The Numbers….

This really may be the best deal in all of the U.S….

and let’s face it- our Veterans deserve nothing but the BEST!

(Click on the infographic for more thoughts and Facts on the VA program).

 

VA-Loans

 

Oh, By The Way, We are Never Too Busy To Give Some Help or Guidance!

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Oh By The Way, we have a great referral base of contractors, painters, dining and more to help make your house home…

Here’s how to know if you’re ready to sell your home.

I love to sell homes. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of the process. I get great satisfaction from making my living helping people move on to the next phase of their life, whether it’s upsizing, downsizing, or simply relocating to a new neighborhood.

But there is one sort of home seller I can’t really help: The seller who’s not really ready to sell.

If you’re thinkingsell about selling your home, don’t enter into the process lightly. It’s a big deal. There’s some stress and there’s a great opportunity for joy. There’s a big investment at stake. This, along with a lot of other reasons large and small, is why you want to be 100% sure you’re ready to sell your home. If you think you’re ready to sell, but it turns out you’re not, you waste a lot of time and energy (and sometimes money).

So how do you know if you’re really ready to sell your home?

1. You’re fine with the process. You must have no problem with the idea of a stranger poking around your house, talking about renovating it, or treating it like a used car. If you’ve lived in your house a long time, it’s natural to have emotional attachments. So if the process of selling the house makes you feel protective or defensive, you may not be ready.

2. You are flexible on the right price. Motivated sellers understand selling a home involves negotiation and competitive market pricing. If you have a number “you must get” in order to sell, then you might want to think again. Also, if all of the agents who price your home come back too low for your standards, take a breather and ask yourself if it’s go time or not.

3. You know where you’re going next. Prepared sellers have plans, even if those plans aren’t 100% firm. They’re anticipating the move and they are probably even shopping for houses, if only casually at the moment. moving day If you can’t clearly answer the question, “Where would you like to live after you sell?” then you’re not quite there yet.

If you’re iffy on any of these, take a step back and consider how you feel. While some markets favor sellers more than others, a home can sell in any market for the right price. Don’t jump into something before you’re ready.

However, when you’re ready, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call when the time is right: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square Realtors   realestate@thenicholasteam.com    973-509-2222

 

Adding an Independent Living Area to Your Home

suite2Years ago, it wasn’t so uncommon to have multiple generations living in the same home. Sometimes these were aging parents moving back in with their kids, and other times they were college students getting their finances in order after graduation. Many homeowners utilized extra space in their home to create independent apartments or separate living spaces. Though they go by many common names (in-law unit, granny flat, garden cottage, basement apartment), these types of spaces are known as ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units.

If you have extra space such as an above-garage loft, or extra land where you could build a freestanding structure, you might be interested in adding an ADU to your home. Even if you don’t have a family member in need of the space, they can be great for hosting out-of-town visitors or earning extra income from short or long-term rental agreements.

While communities have different rules regarding ADUs and their permitted uses, there’s a high likelihood that you can find a pathway to adding one to your property if the idea appeals to you. According to AccessoryDwellings.org:

Flexibility in housing makes sense for environmental, lifestyle, and financial reasons. Though many people buy houses and live in them for decades, their actual needs change over time. But the way that houses are currently built doesn’t reflect those changes, especially the way households may spend decades with just 1 or 2 members. Many American houses are too big for 1- or 2-person households, which is too bad, because size is probably the biggest single factor in the environmental impact of a house.

If you have a reasonably sized house, and an even more reasonably sized ADU, you’ve likely got a pretty green combination with some social benefits as well. You could have your best friend, your mother, or your grown kid, live with you. This kind of flexibility and informal support could really help as the nation’s population ages. Most people want to stay in their homes as they age, but finances and design can be problematic. An ADU could help aging people meet their needs without moving.”

(Source: https://accessorydwellings.org/what-adus-are-and-why-people-build-them/)

If you’re interested in exploring ADUs, be sure to check out AccessoryDwellings.org for an extensive library of resources on the topic.

If you’re looking for a home with an existing ADU, or want to find one with land or enough space to create an ADU, I’d be happy to help you find one ASAP. Just reach out to on of us today:  Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square  realestate@thenicholasteam.com  973-509-2222

Finding Resiliency in the Home Buying and Selling Process

Real estate deals are emotional roller coasters, often marred by unexpected setbacks. The dream house deal doesn’t come together. A closing fall through at the last minute. It happens. Sometimes the setback is so overwhelming we feel momentarily disoriented, unsure which direction to take next. We want to carry on, but we can’t quite muster the will to make the next right move.

If you’ve felt this way lately, perhaps the following process will help you:

1. Grieve the loss. If you’re feeling disappointment, loss, shock, or sadness, don’t gloss over it. Give yourself time and space to feel it. There’s nothing healthy in pretending the way you feel is wrong, shameful, or otherwise weak. Don’t expect to “get over it.” Rather, understand it is a loss you may carry forward with time.

2. Assess.buyer pitfalls What happened? What lead to this? What can you learn from the chain of events which lead to the setback? Did you miss deadlines with paperwork?  Sis the property not appraise? You might not have clear answers, but you will likely find something useful in reflection.

3. Recalibrate. Setbacks often redefine your reality, and change the conditions on the ground. The changes are often sudden and unpleasant, but it’s best to gain some clarity on the new situation. A setback isn’t the end unless you permit it to be the end. How does this new world require new strategies?

4. Look for opportunity and act. A setback does not negate your hopes or values. b3864988fca840cb873f224bf466b9d5 It may delay or redirect your path, but to let it annihilate your goals would be something far worse than a mere setback.  There are still opportunities, and if you want to recover, you will need to direct your productive energy to recognizing and acting on those opportunities.

As the late singer, poet, and novelist Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Even at his darkest, he had a bias for the unerring trajectory of hope. Look for the light through the crack in everything, even if it was your pending dream of home ownership or your next move. Believe the dream can shine through again.

I can help you through every step of the real estate buying or listing process, and I have plenty of experience to help you avoid common setbacks. Looking to buy or sell soon? Let’s have a chat: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square   realestate@thenicholasteam   973-509-2222

Buying, renting and selling real estate throughout NJ with Barbara & Gregg

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