Keeping up with Romney?

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If Mitt wants to build a beautiful discrete million dollar hideaway in the mountains of Flagstaff, AZ I know a REALTOR who wants a chance to shine and couple of great custom home builders…  call me ;)

Mit Romney Infographic

Infographic Transcription

How many average American homes can fit in 1 Romney mansion?

Last August, Romney submitted plans to quadruple the size of his $112 million oceanfront home in La Jolla, California. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Romney plans to knockdown a 3,009-square-foot beachfront house and replace it with a 11,062-square-foot structure.

So the question is, How many average American homes can fit in 1 Romney Mansion?

About 6.5!

A fun interactive comparison by Movoto Blog that does the lighter side of Real Estate.

Video

Staging vs. decorating – Understanding the differences

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Think of staging in terms of marketing, much like a retail front store window that draws customers inside. The goal is to spark interest and imagination… to trigger the mind’s eye in the experience of positive emotions. In a home these emotions are thoughts of clean, fresh, welcoming, peaceful and useful. Staging put simply is selling the lifestyle of a home for a broader audience to appreciate.  See more selling your home tips at http://www.GeorginaDalton.com
Decorating is purely taste driven… it could be good taste or bad taste but taste is always in the eye of the beholder. When moving into a new home it can be so fun to decorate and express who you are. For some people our homes are the only outlet to accomplish this outward expression. That makes our personal tastes and décor very personal to us and therefore can be hard to hear that someone my not appreciate your choices for themselves. If one person loves modern contemporary they will simply not appreciate the giant rooster collection in the Kitchen as an asset that is buyable. Verses the person who loves the country style kitchen would be turned off to the cold vacant feel of white walls and stainless appliances devoid of color that a modern contemporary might bring.
I personally love staging and decorating for myself and others. If I were not a realtor I would most definitely be happy in design and décor work. So as a result my clients benefit from my passion and I end up in many cases giving staging advice and services to home sellers. These sellers love it, many tell me they have lived in their home for years and had never thought of do the things I do. This is simply a fun challenge for me and because I know so well, as a constant sounding board to buyers, what they want. Buyer’s know I won’t take negative feedback on a home personal like a homeowner would, therefore I hear it all. People have varying tastes and need to see themselves living in a home not necessarily the current homeowner. If a seller doesn’t or won’t see the differences between staging and decorating their home might not sell quickly or for the higher sales price they would like.  Find great pictures and examples on my Pinterest boards. http://www.pinterest.com/GeorginaRelates/ 
Let’s get started on how to take action.
#1 Is cleanliness and special attention to smell. Living in our homes we may have begun to overlook dust, stains and smells but buyers pick up on it right away. This is less about conscience judgment in reality but I can best explain this as… our own dust, stains and smells are perfectly fine but other peoples are gross. Top objectionable smells are; pets, smokers, body and foods.
#2 Everyone has differing taste in décor and furnishings as we have covered however, most people want a home to be welcoming, peaceful and organized. Let’s discuss the top secret tips on tailoring your property so that buyer’s will describe it in those terms rather than by style of decorating.
• Clutter: Have few but larger accessories in any room is a great place to start. Pack up an store collectables and smaller accessories and your that much closer to packed for your move.
• Color: Rooms should not be devoid of color. Instead keeping a tread aware neutral scheme is the way to go. Soft neutrals such as gray, taupe, tans or warm whites make walls more interesting. With pillows and accessories will add punches of again trend aware color when used sparingly.
• Style: If your home is decorated already with a distinct style whether it be Tuscan, shabby chic, modern or country. Scale it back and neutralize the theme, if you do not your home will appeal to a smaller percentage of buyers.
• Dated is dreary: Strive to stage rooms with a fresh and current feel. Use updated neutrals on the walls and furnishings can be painted, stained or slipcovered. Furnishings that have clean lines with simple design are ideal.
• Room symmetry: A room arranged in a symmetrical fashion and furnishings centered with the architecture reads as peaceful. This is an important aesthetic every buyer is drawn to.
• Kitchens & baths: I cannot over stress the importance of cleanliness here. This is also no the time to show off your personal style. You really want to broaden your buying audience by allowing them to see their own décor and tastes can be reflected here. Kitchen countertops should be clear of appliances except maybe a coffee maker. Bathroom surfaces should be clear of personal products and equipment. Remember… this is not about your function of living in your home, its about getting your home sold fast.
#3 Draw attention: Every room should have a clear and distinctive usefulness as an office, bedroom, dining room, reading nook etc… If your home has a unique architectural feature, draw attention to it with a smart use of the space.
Believe me… I do understand that being objective about your home is very difficult and I would never suggest you do these things to stage your home if they did not work. I am interested in results and if you tell me you want to sell your house than I go to work. It has been a lot of fun working with sellers on staging their home and they love the fresh new ideas and even sometimes home accessories that they can then decorate their next home with.

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How to sell your home like a pro.

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Selling a home in the last few years has involved quite a bit of anxiety and anger for many of us.  In 2005 a book “Freakonomics” publicized statistical evidence that when real estate agents sell their own homes they get a higher price by roughly 3% and keep them on the market 10 days longer than when selling a home for a client.  The authors Steven D Levitt and Steven J Dubner make the suggestion that the agent doesn’t care about the client because the effects on commissions are insignificant.  Funny I have seen the opposite accusation that agents scratch and claw for every penny.  I liked the book, however it fails to understand or even offer any details about why the agent might have such success with a property that is their own and simply assumes the worst.

So what can we learn from this information that is important whether you sell your home yourself or hire a pro?  Let’s start with an example given on an A&E television series “Sell This House”.  Potential buyers are videotaped as they tour homes for sale and sellers are shocked to hear what people are saying about their first impressions of the homes cleanliness, décor and smell.  As a real estate agent I am a constant sounding board for buyer’s complaints and understand the importance of addressing deficiencies in any home for sale.  If I am selling my own home I eliminate any know objections before putting my house on the market.

How to address home deficiencies is a separate topic so watch my video blog on Staging vs. Decorating for more details.

Knowing this, a home’s condition is only the 2nd biggest reason a home won’t sell.  The biggest reason is still price.  Home pricing can be difficult to evaluate but as a real estate agent I am analyzing new home and resale values every day.  Also, before I buy a house myself I am evaluating the value to try to ensure a home will bear a positive potential to sell well later.  Sellers mistakenly allow emotions to get the better of them and choose a price based on need, ego, and even greed.  Unfortunately a seller’s need has nothing to do with market conditions which are generally governed by supply & demand.  As for ego or greed, just because the house down the street sold at a particular price doesn’t mean yours will or should, it’s subjective.  And finally let us consider what happens when accepting an offer.  How does an agent decide for themselves? It’s an educated gamble that agent can make to risk more willingly with their own money.  Just like a stockbroker will take higher risks with their own investments than with their clients investments.  If a gamble is too high in real estate the big risk is that the home sits on the market too long and buyers automatically assume the price is too high, sellers are desperate and unreasonable or something is terribly wrong with the house.

Freakonmics hit on a core belief that agents are scum, crooks and liars.  No one can argue that sometimes that can be true, but not most of the time.  Let’s be honest, there are good and bad in every profession, right?  With that said… would you go to court without an attorney?  We all know their reputation.  Would you go into surgery without a surgeon?  Even though there are some disturbing statistics on hospital deaths, right?  A great seller’s agent understands will what buyers are looking for specifically in price and property condition.  An agent obligation is to understand they are hired to sell your home therefore; it is a product with competition in the market that will either be sold or rejected.  Markets are cyclical and the nuance for market changes can be subtle.

If you decided to hire me, you are hiring a nationally designated “Sellers Representative Specialist” and I guarantee to get you the most money in the shortest amount of time.

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Post Foreclosure, Short Sale and Bankruptcy Waiting Periods to buy

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Go to http://www.GeorginaProperties.com for information on the waiting period time lines based on when you should be able to qualify for buying a home after financial distress. Flagstaff, AZ Realtor Georgina Dalton call or text 602-471-8299

Video

Home Affordable Refinancing

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Home Affordable Refinancing Program HARP 2.0 is revamping high loan to value loans (LTV). Starting middle of March 2012 an updated home affordable program is hoped to help many more borrowers that the original HARP refinancing.
Here are some of the make it or break it guidelines for home refinancing.
• Very Important… your mortgage must have been originated prior to June 1st 2009
• No late mortgage payments in the last 6 months, it may be ok if you had 1 late payment in a year of only 30 days
• Your FICO score should be 620 or better and there could be “Lender Overlays” which means they can make up additional rules
• Your mortgage must be a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan
This can be checked if you do not know if your mortgage is backed by Fannie or Freddie but you should check on Fannie Mae first as they hold the majority of the notes and if not then check with Freddie Mac.
http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/

http://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/

• There is NO income verification
• There is in most cases NO APPRAISAL
• It does not matter how underwater you are in your mortgage to refinance under this home affordable program
• Again there are no loan to value requirements so it does not matter what your home is worth
EXAMPLES:
How a lower interest rate could affect your payment –
1st example
200,000 at 6% interest your principle and interest would be $1199 per month
200,000 at 4% interest your principle and interest would be $954.00 per month and a $246.00 savings
2nd example
400,000 at 6% interest your principle and interest would be $2398 per month
400,000 at 4% interest your principle and interest would be $1909.00 per month and a $489.00 savings
PLUS Taxes, Insurance and Mortgage Insurance if it applies

You do not need a realtor to refinance your home. You do not have to use your current mortgage lender. But… you do need to make sure you are refinancing with a participating home affordable HARP lender. I will do some additional videos on that later.
HARP 2.0 is not meant to stop or postpone foreclosure. If you can no longer afford your mortgage payment reach out to me and I can give you the facts so you can make the decision as to what is best for you. I am not an attorney or CPA but I can answer some of the initial questions so you can move forward to the ultimate decision.

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Spring Skiing Flagstaff Arizona

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Flagstaff got record snow levels with 57 inches in 1 week. Spring skiing at Snowbowl Arizona is the place to play and stay. Luxury living, things to do and restaurant recommendations available… simply call Realtor, Georgina Dalton Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty 602-471-8299. Flagstaff to Phoenix Arizona Real Estate.

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2012 deadline for Arizona Short Sales

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If you have been on the brink of losing your home and struggling to keep your head above water, you may have good reason to make the very hard decision to Short Sale your home before the end of 2012? This is undoubtedly a hard and emotional decision, but when you have all the facts in front of you I believe that decision will become much easier. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007 is set to expire on the end of December 2012. This law protects primary home borrowers in many cases from having to pay income tax on the debt forgiven by the bank through a short sale, loan modification, or foreclosure. Debt on second homes, rental property, business property and some 2nd mortgages do not qualify for the tax relief provision.
It is no secret that lawmakers are talking about extending this deadline, but if you wait too long and that does not happen you could be looking at an income tax increase. For example if you sell your home for $50,000 or $150,000 less than you owe on it you would have claim this as income and pay taxes on it. Also important to understand is that the Short Sale process can take 3 to 6 months in some cases. What that means to you is that you should list your home by this summer if you decide a Short Sale is in your best interest. Most banks are being much more responsive than last year toward closing these files because they have seen the millions of dollars they have lost by foreclosing.
Flagstaff currently has 46 and Phoenix has 1574 available listings for Short Sale, and the banks are determined to get this business off their books.
Another way to see the big picture is that 20% of the listings in Flagstaff are Short Sales with or without offers to the bank, and 58% of listings in Phoenix are Short Sales with or without offers to the banks.
I am a “Certified Distressed Property Expert” which professionally is known to successfully close more short sales than other agents. Call me today to see if you qualify before time runs out on this tax forgiveness.

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Flagstaff out pacing Phoenix

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So yes it is very early in the year 2012, and since moving to Flagstaff I keep hearing how traditionally housing in Flagstaff lags what is going on in Phoenix. That consensus is due in some part to Flagstaff being a 2nd home market for Phoenicians.   So, I decided to do some number crunching as I keep seeing some really good indicators for housing recovery (maybe), but an improvement certainly appears to have occurred in the attitudes of buyers.  I only pulled my numbers from Jan 1st thru today, Mar 6th for both 2011 and then 2012 for comparison.   I also wanted to see what sort of divide there was from higher end luxury housing over $700,000 for each year and also for housing ranging from $100,000 to $700,000.

What I found was that, yes Flagstaff is out pacing Phoenix, but keep in mind we only sell roughly 2% +/- of the volume of the Phoenix market.  So our variation year over year is effected with small changes.

Flagstaff  – sold 50% more homes in the same time frame of 2012 over 2011 in the $700,000 plus price.

-         And Sold 2 ½ times more homes in the $100,000 to $700,000 price range.

Phoenix has sold very close to the same volumes so far in 2012 as they did in 2011; however their overall inventory is in a range of 15,500 +/- units, and that number of listings has not been reported in the Phoenix market since around the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2005.

All of this data is pointing to a shift from a buyers’ market to a sellers’ market.  Many of us realtors are getting feedback from buyers that they are surprised their options are getting fewer to choose from so this will create price competition amongst beautiful homes with reasonable listing prices for the first time in 6 years.  I am very excited to see what the rest of the year will bring and I will keep you updated as it unfolds.

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