Monday, September 14, 2009

NORTHWEST AUSTIN HOMES: The Key to successfully selling your home

NORTHWEST AUSTIN HOMES: The Key to successfully selling your home
In today's housing market, the first impression a home makes on a buyer is very important. There are a lot of homes available leaving buyers with the chance to be pickier than ever. When I work with home buyers in NW Austin, I get to see all of the different ways that homes are showcased.
I set up my buyers with email notifications so they are aware of all properties that are available within their criteria. When they see homes that they like, we go to see them in person.

Obviously the first contact, and the most important, is on the Internet so an essential step when selling your home is making sure that your home looks great on the computer. How can you do it?

  • Hire a REALTOR that will put your home on as many websites as possible? How many? You should be able to google your home address and have the first 3-4 pages come up with for sale info.
  • Professional photos and virtual tours make a huge difference. Showcase all of the positive features of your home.
  • Make sure that your listing in the MLS is FULL of information (it is all indexed by other websites and allows your home to come up when people search by feature)
  • Make sure the info in the MLS is true. A GREAT home that is advertised as having a two car garage will leave a bad taste in the buyers mouth if there is not a 2 car garage (even if everything else is perfect.)

OK so now we have buyers interested in our home. Is that it? No, the Internet can only get buyers interested in seeing your home. Then the point is to keep them interested. How?

-Try to put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer. Look at your home with a fresh perspective. What needs attention?

  • Curb Appeal: Landscaping, Walkways, Flowers
  • Inside: Paint, Floors, Staging, Lighting, Scent (neutral is best)
  • Overall: Cleanliness, Get rid of Clutter, Put away personal items.

The first impression is sometimes the only impression. Buyers that I work with tend to associate the home with the most memorable feature. Some are obviously better than others. If I were selling my house I would rather have it known as "the one with the big backyard" or "the one with the nice floors" instead of being known as "The funky paint" house or "the cat pee house". Homes with a positive first impression have a chance of being seen again and possibly being sold. Homes with a bad first impression stay on the market. Which sounds better to you?

If you are thinking of selling your home, contact me today for a no-obligation consultation which allows us to talk about all of the factors that go into successfully selling your home.

Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams specializing in helping home sellers make a great first impression in NW Austin, TX

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

$8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit: When will it end?

$8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit: When will it end?

In 2009, we have seen many incentives to buy a home.

-Record Low Interest Rates
-In some areas, lower prices than we have seen in 5 years!
-Increased inventory so you have more to choose from
-Not least of all, the $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers.

Due to all of these happening at once, there has been a much larger group of first time home buyers than ever before. I know that I have been working with a lot of first time home buyers.

By now you probably have a good grasp on what the $8000 Tax Credit is all about. If you meet the criteria, you have probably even thought about how you would like to buy a home and take advantage of it. You can actually get a rebate for up to 10% of the purchase price on some homes. So Why not? FREE MONEY!

Well, now is the time to act. The credit only applies to homes that close and fund before December 1, 2009.

Will the $8000 tax credit be extended?
-There are rumors that the government is considering a similar plan once this plan expires. I tend to be a bit more on the skeptical side and I think that the only way to be sure to receive it is to work within the guidelines we have set in place right now. They will most likely not make any announcements about a future credit until this credit has expired. Act now! The weeks days and hours are ticking down on this deadline as you read this.

Well, OK, How can I buy a home before the deadline to be sure to get the $8000 tax credit?
There are a few things that you must do if you are trying to find the right home in a short amount of time. Here is exactly what must be done in this situation,

  • First, Enlist the help of a Professional.
  • Second, use technology to your advantage
  • Third, make sure you are working within a realistic time frame.
1. Enlist the help of a professional.
By professional, I mean a REALTOR. More specifically, A full time, really working for their CLIENT, hard negotiating, penny pinching (your pennies), motivated, working overtime, answer getting, YOU pleasing REALTOR. This is not the time to work with someone that is not entirely devoted to helping you make smart decisions and SAVE MONEY. I refuse to let my clients make bad (uninformed) decisions.

2. Use Technology to your advantage.
The best way to stay informed about what homes are available that meet your criteria is to have them emailed to your inbox DAILY. It is as easy as checking your email. When you see homes you like, respond to the email with times that work to see it and figure out if it is your (1st) Dream Home. I set up searches for my clients based on their criteria and constantly adjust the parameters to make sure they are looking at any available homes that will work for them. Contact me today to set this up. Think you aren't ready? Want more privacy? You control the search when you use The BEST Way to search for homes in the Austin MLS.

3. Make sure you are working within a realistic time frame.
Lets work our way backward. You need to buy a home before December 1, 2009, right? That means you will most likely need to close before the Thanksgiving Holiday which means shooting for November 25, 2009 at the absolute latest for a closing date. Most financing will take 30-45 days from contract acceptance so you are able to close. That means that to take advantage of this, it is in your best interest to have a home under contract by mid-October at the latest.
I wouldn't wait until the last minute if I were you. Lenders and Title companies are going to be FLOODED during this time and the home ends up costing $8000 more if you can't close until Dec. 1st or after. There is basically a little more than a month to find the right home and negotiate. For some that may be plenty of time. But for those looking at Northwest Austin Homes, start looking now. These homes sell quickly and in some areas there is very little inventory.

Contact me today if you have any questions about how the tax credit works, how to get started and to start a systematic plan to find the right home in a limited amount of time.

For more on the end of the tax credit, check out another article by a fellow REALTOR who is the King of Central East Austin Real Estate: Mueller and More

Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams who is dedicated to helping First Time Home Buyers make the BEST decision of their life.