Nov 14

Fannie Mae Agrees: Hire a Pro to Sell Your House in Wyckoff

Wyckoff Real Estate

Do you really need an agent to sell your house in today’s market? Here’s what Fannie Mae suggests to sellers on the Know Your Options section of their website:

“Select how you’ll market and list the home  in Wyckoff (e.g., with a real estate agent or for sale by owner). There are pros and cons to each, but unless you are experienced at selling homes, it usually makes financial sense to get professional help—homes sold by agents typically sell at a higher price and spend less time on the market. An agent will also help you determine the best pricing for the house, they’ll market the home, and they’ll be your advocate throughout the process.”

Let’s go over the points they made:

  • Homes sold by agents typically sell at a higher price
  • Homes sold by agents typically spend less time on the market
  • An agent will help you determine the best pricing for the house
  • An agent will market the home
  • An agent will be your advocate throughout the process

If Fannie Mae says using an agent probably makes sense, perhaps you should interview an agent in Wyckoff before putting your house up for sale.


Nov 14

Wyckoff Real Estate & Homes For Sale in Wyckoff, Northern NJ Homes

Wyckoff Real Estate & Homes For Sale in Wyckoff, Northern NJ Homes

Thinking About Buying A Home in Wyckoff NJ (Bergen County)

Wyckoff Real Estat & Homes in Wyckoff New Jersey

Wyckoff Real Estate & Homes in Wyckoff New Jersey

As soon as you are offered a great new job or promotion – even if it’s in a new town — your natural response is, “Absolutely, yes!” After all, you landed the opportunity because you are a go-getter — someone who solves problems!
Finding Luxury Homes in New Jersey, Experience teaches that seamless relocation to Wyckoff (or anywhere) takes some determined preparation. Even after you’ve identified your new house, there are a few significant hurdles to clear before happily settling into a new community.
Here are four common mistakes new buyers in Wyckoff have made in the past…and how you can avoid them:
1)    Not Getting Loan Pre-Approval – Once you pack the cartons and load the truck, locating all those documents the bank requests can become next to impossible.  Get it done before the relocation begins!
2)    Not using the right moving company. Moving companies have a wide variety of costs and guarantees. Some give you a fixed price; others leave the final costs up in the air. Promised dates can also make or break a move (speaking of breaking, equally important is having insurance to cover damaged items).
3)    Not using licensed local professionals. In relocation, it is terrifically important to hire experienced Wyckoff appraisers and Realtors®. Also, an absolute must is a thorough inspection by a licensed member of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
4)    Canceling an existing lease too soon. Not every deal closes on time, and if you have given a current landlord notice to vacate the day your purchase transaction is scheduled to close, a week’s delay can create moving mayhem!
There are many avoidable pitfalls when planning relocation to Wyckoff, but having the right pros by your side will help you avoid them.  If you are relocating to Wyckoff, I’m here to help every step of the way to find that Luxury Home in NJ.



Aug 14

Riding the Ups & Downs of Your Home’s Value Online

The Internet has certainly provided consumers with a wide array of tools used throughout real estate transactions that provide more information and more utility than ever before. One of the tools that has grown in popularity of late is the home value calculators that uses your location and historical data of sales in your area to compare your home against those to determine a value.

This value can change over time as new sales are continuously added to the program’s database, giving you a visual demonstration of the way your value has ebbed and flowed over time. Many consumers have used this tool as a way to uncover what kind of equity they have built up in their home and perhaps to decide whether the time is right to sell a particular piece of real estate.

However, because there are so many outlets offering this type of service, there is the capacity to get five wildly different estimates from five different sites, perhaps confusing a home owner more than before by offering such a diverse set of data. The key in accuracy sometimes lies in what the site is trying to accomplish by providing you its service.

For example, if you go to a home valuation site that does not nail down a specific price but rather provides a range and then prompts you to call a local realtor for a more accurate estimate, the credibility of that site as a home valuation site decreases dramatically. Instead of using the data it has to provide a rough estimate, the site offers a broad range that perhaps prompts more questions than answers.

This is all, it seems, a ploy to get you to call a local realtor that will pay the company for the referral. Obviously, there is a certain amount of bias to remain vague in this situation, making the site less useful for home valuation purposes. Take real estate valuations from sites like these with a substantial grain of salt.

Unfortunately, the bulk of sites used to peg a home value online employ some kind of agent tie-in to prompt contact with a real estate agent. For some sites, that means that you have to input personal data before a full value will be given and in some you have to call the realtor to get the actual value after putting in data for the process online. Either way, these tactics turn off many home buyers that might have an actual need for a home valuation.

There are other sites out there, Zillow being the most prominent, that offer home valuation services without all of the catches. Zillow, in fact, asks only for an address to determine the approximate value of a property and while there will certainly be disparities in a Zillow value and the actual value of a piece of real estate, its interface is easy to use and requires the input of no personal information, giving it a great deal of utility to simply get a rough estimate of a property’s value.

Of course, the best way to get a home valuation is to contact a professional home appraiser. While online sites use market data to formulate a price, nothing can beat an in-home appraisal that takes into account all of the features and amenities of your home when determining a value.

However, for those that want a simple valuation without the cost of a professional appraiser or the bait-and-switch tactics of many of the agent-driven sites out there, Zillow is a great site to get a quick and dirty estimate that can be used as a rough estimate for discussions on the future of a particular piece of real estate.

This is another original article by Joe Lane, co-owner of The Lane Real Estate Team at http://www.joelane.com/. Are you looking for an experienced Tri City WA Real Estate agency? With 20 years of service based, business experience, Joe and Colleen Lane work hard to serve home buyers and sellers for the Tri Cities of Washington’s Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, and surrounding areas.

Jun 14

Waiting to buy a house in Bergen County NJ ? It’ll cost you

Timing is everything when it comes to a lot of things – baking a soufflé, fertilizing your lawn, and buying a home. Not so sure about that last one? With interest rates going up and housing prices on the rise, you may think that it might not be the best time to purchase a home or even refinance the one you’ve got. But experts disagree.

“It is a big deal to buy a house. But if you do your homework and have the right documentation ready, this could be a great time to buy a home for many reasons,” says Jay Plum, executive vice president of Huntington National Bank, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Read on for the five major reasons why mortgage experts believe that there is no better time than the present to get that dream house you’ve always wanted.

Reason #1: Interest rates won’t stay this low forever

“A reason to look now into buying a home or refinancing is because these rates won’t stay [put] forever. That’s what rates do – they go up,” says Plum.

In fact, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is expected to go up to 5 percent by the fourth quarter of this year and 5.3 percent by the end of 2015, according to a recent forecast by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Why are rates rising? Well, one huge factor is that the feds will start raising rates about six months after they stop buying mortgage bonds, which is projected to happen sometime in 2015, says Plum.

“[Rates] probably won’t start shooting up quickly. But a quarter of a point on an interest rate can mean about $100 more each month on [a homeowner’s] loan. For a lot of families, that can make a big difference,” he says.

Reason #2: Credit score requirements are lowering

Is your credit score lower than you’d like to admit? Well, good news: Credit score requirements for borrowers taking out mortgages are easing.

In March, credit scores on purchase mortgages stood at 755, down from 761 in the previous year, according to data from Ellie Mae, a mortgage-software provider. Credit scores for FHA loans dropped even lower to 684, compared to 696 a year earlier.

What brought on this change? The 2014 market is expected to be a more purchase-focused market, says Vickee Adams, vice president of external communications for Wells Fargo Home Lending.

“Having a broader credit score range will serve to attract more borrowers into the market,” she explains.

But why is there a need to attract more borrowers? Well, the demand for refinancing has dropped considerably. Refinance applications are about 70 percent slower than a year ago and are expected to continue to decline, according to a statement by the MBA in April 2014. As a result, banks are trying to find ways to boost lending to homeowners, including lowering credit score minimums.

Reason #3: Spring and summer are the best times to buy a home

It has been a brutal winter, and people who wanted to sell their house just didn’t want to bother with all the snow and cold weather, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C. The same goes for people wanting to buy a home – they just stayed put, he adds.

“Many people who were forced to delay putting their house up for sale are doing so now. But spring has always been an important time in the real estate business,” Yun says. In fact, warmer seasons like spring and summer have always been a popular time to buy a home.

People think about moving during summer vacation, because their kids will be out of school then, which helps makes things easier, says Yun. Buying a new home in the summer gives families enough time for the closing and moving before school starts again.

No kids? Summer is still a popular time to sell or buy even for people without children. And it’s not just because the weather is nicer.

“People just know that there are more listings coming in the spring and more buyers,” Yun says. “But from a buyer’s perspective, there will be more competition from other buyers.”

Reason #4: Buying is still cheaper than renting

Buying a house is a significant purchase, but in most parts of the country, it’s cheaper than renting. If that seems counterintuitive, let’s look at recent research by Trulia, an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals.

According to Trulia, homeownership compared to renting continues to be the less expensive way to live in all of the 100 largest metro areas researched. The study compared the costs of renting and owning assuming homebuyers get a 4.5 percent mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed term loan with 20 percent down.

So why should people buy a home now? The gap is getting smaller between the two choices because of rising mortgage rates and home prices, says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist and author of the report.

“Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5 percent, buying is 38 percent cheaper than renting nationally, versus being 44 percent cheaper one year ago,” Kolko says in the report. “Some markets might tip in favor of renting this year as prices continue to rise faster than rents, and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due both to the strengthening of the economy and Fed tapering.”

However, the percentage is different in every housing market. In Honolulu, buying is only 5 percent cheaper than renting, while in Detroit, buying is 65 percent cheaper than renting.

Reason #5: Home values are still competitive

Are you looking for a bungalow with a white picket fence, a modern metropolitan penthouse, or a cabin in the woods? Well, it might be time to buy your dream abode before prices go too high.

The good news is that that the prices of homes have gone up but haven’t skyrocketed, so they’re still within reach of many buyers. The median existing home price for all housing types in February 2014 was $189,000, which is up 9.1 percent from last February, according to recent press release by the National Association of Realtors (NRA).

Plus, the housing inventory rose 6.4 percent to 2 million existing homes available for sale, reports the association. So there are more homes to choose from during your search depending on where you live.

“Property values are still very competitive in most markets, but there is a tremendous amount of competition by buyers,” Plum says. “If you are looking at buying a home, be prepared to offer quickly, and get preapproved by a lender which will make things go easier.”

Jun 14

Low NJ Mortgage Rates Help Buyers Afford Dream Home in Bergen County

Lower mortgage rates in Bergen County help home owners buy a bigger home in Wyckoff

Low mortgage rates in NJ

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances fell again last week in Bergen County NJ. Interest rates on 15-year fixed-rate and FHA-backed loans also declined. Average mortgage rates have been dropping recently and have now reached their lowest level in close to a year. Despite favorable rates, however, demand for mortgage applications was down last week. The Market Composite Index, which measures total mortgage application volume, was down 3.1 percent from the week before. The Purchase Index was down 4 percent and the Refinance Index dropped 3 percent. Still, the refinance share of total mortgage activity ticked up to 53 percent, which continues a gradual trend upward after falling below 50 percent last month. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.

Nov 13

Making Offers that Appeal to Home Sellers in Mahwah NJ

Making Offers that Appeal to Home Sellers in Mahwah NJ

Homes For Sale in Mahwah NJ

Both the concrete details and manner in which an offer is made can have a substantial impact on how a seller responds to it. While there is no way to ensure that a seller will accept a given offer, using knowledge of their situation and the advice of a real estate agent in Mahwah can make offers more compelling and negotiations yield better results.

Sentimental sellers

Buying a home in Mahwah from a seller who cares a great deal about a prospective property can be tricky. The person or people living there may have a strong attachment to the home despite their plans to move out, and letting it go can be difficult for them. In these cases, the seller may be swayed not by the price or financial terms, but rather by the home buyers’ attitude toward their new residence.

While home purchases are transactions, typically with large financial implications for those involved, the personal element cannot always be removed. Even for buyers who can approach negotiations objectively, they should keep in mind that there is no guarantee the property’s sellers can do the same.

If the current residents of a home are emotionally attached, then the key to closing the deal may be in how the buyers treat it. The perception that they will care for the property may be the missing element needed. Such intangible factors are difficult to account for when discussing home sale negotiations, because they vary so much from case to case and are difficult to predict. In some cases, a seller’s opinion of their home may cause them to overcharge, which buyers should watch for.

Should you have the opportunity to speak with the seller be sure to focus on a few elements of the home that you really enjoy rather than discussing your plans to change decor, design or landscaping.

Motivating factors

Home sellers may also be driven by other causes, such as past experience. If a seller has had a potential deal called off at the last minute, then certainty can be more valuable than money. Real estate agents in Mahwah NJ are often able to help buyers to read the reactions of the home seller and develop a negotiating strategy appropriate to the situation.

Another possibility is that a home seller could be preoccupied with other concerns. Moving out of an old home often coincides with other major events, such as settling in to a new job. When that is the case, home sellers are often inclined to make a deal more quickly so they can focus their attention. This may play into buyers’ hands and allow them to close a slightly better deal.

Looking for more advice on buying a home? Check out our Mahwah home buyer resources.

Sep 13

A Wyckoff Advance Inspection Can Be Well Worth the Price

The advance home inspection process in Wyckoff plays a pivotal role to both seller and buyer. Correcting problems at an early stage increases a home’s appeal — and its selling price. An advance inspection also sets the stage for a favorable final inspection report for the buyer (and the buyer’s lender), expediting a sale.

Yet according to home inspection experts, approximately half the homes on the resale market today have at least one significant defect! Advance knowledge of imperfections or malfunctioning systems in a property helps buyers commit if the house is a worthwhile buy. And knowing trouble spots in advance helps a seller set an attractive price.

Whether you are buying or selling, here are a few tips to help you have a trouble-free final inspection this fall:

Minimum scope for a home inspection in Wyckoff should include roof, plumbing, foundation, electrical wiring and central heating and/or air-conditioning. Except under special circumstances (those would include REO or estate sales), sellers are uniformly required to provide disclosure information about the property. Present these disclosures to your inspector, so he can double-check known issues first, and go over them with you during the inspection.

A pest control inspector is sometimes considered optional, but is really highly recommended. This inspector makes a specialized report for any areas infested with pests that could damage the home. Even if the home looks terrific and was recently serviced, underlying pest issues can be some of the most expensive to correct. They can derail a loan in no time.

Mold, asbestos, radon and other potentially harmful substances are not always included in a home inspection: they require a specialized license. If you are concerned about these elements, or live in a neighborhood where they are known to be a problem – consider adding additional inspections.

Knowledge is power when it comes to home inspections in town: the more you know in advance, the stronger your negotiating position will be. If you are preparing to buy or sell in the Wyckoff area this fall, give a call! I’m here to protect and advise my clients every step of the way.

Jul 13

Your Social Media Can Boost Wyckoff Property Search Visibility

Selling your home in WyckoffBy now, social media are an integral part of many peoples’ daily routine. If you are selling your home in Wyckoff this summer, you can decide to add your own social media clout to add further momentum to the professional campaign. Your agent already has a great website to attract anyone conducting a Wyckoff property search. Now many sellers are using their own social media network to link to it.

No one wants to be spammed by a friend’s marketing on Facebook, but a few posts about your home-selling adventures can be interesting. When your home is first listed, announce it and post a link to your agent’s website. Be sure not to sound too sales-y (that’s your agent’s job). Instead, share items that relate to your life: “It’s really happening! Listing our home for sale in Wyckoff this weekend. Now I finally get to show off my new kitchen with its 6-burner Viking range!” Share photos, too.

The rules for Twitter marketing are similar. It’s social, so avoid outright sales tactics. Try asking engaging questions, like, “Do you think buyers in Wyckoff will want to check out our #solarpanels?” Don’t forget to #hashtag key words, and always link to the listing’s website so interested buyers click directly to it for their property search.

Photos sell — so if you have a Pinterest account, use it! Ask your agent for copies of your listing’s top-quality photographs, then post, post, post! Choose the top three features local buyers might be looking for in their property search and create a Pinterest board for each. If you have a chef’s dream kitchen, create a board featuring gorgeous kitchens. If you have a waterfront property, make a board filled with beautiful waterfront properties (especially yours!) The boards will draw prospects whose property search keys on those features.

I welcome help from any homeowner who thinks their own social network will add to my full-time campaign. If you’re looking to sell your home in Wyckoff this summer, contact me today to discuss how my marketing plan can go to work for you!

Jul 13

One-Liners To Make Selling Your Home in Wyckoff Happen

If you’re thinking of selling your home in Wyckoff this summer, you’re likely to have already considered different approaches to making it stand out from other properties. Will you repaint in the entryway? Stage the living spaces? Should you upgrade the appliances — or leave them as is to keep the asking price as low as possible?

Those are all pivotal decisions, and I would be delighted to offer advice on how each is likely to affect the sales effort. But there is also a less prominent element you may not have considered: the impact the text of your advertising will have on your marketing and – potentially – the overall results. The regimented way listings are presented tend to impart them with a similarity that may not be warranted. Overcoming that effect can make your message draw attention…and prospects.

According to real estate conversion content specialist Karen Hutton, next to the main photograph, the headline is everything. Hutton’s territory is Queensland, Australia, which goes to show how universal marketing truths are. Says Hutton of the headline tactic, “It must arouse curiosity, use meaningful specifics…and be intriguing.”

Some of my favorites noted on her marketing website?

  • Keep Your Cool: Coffee Just Around The Corner

I’m not sure what this means — it’s why I’d have to read the ad!

  • Designer Retreat In The Heart Of Town

A perfect marriage of two sales points in just seven words

  • Go Slow: A Home For Relaxing and Entertaining

A lifestyle pitch that sounds entirely credible

  • An Urban Getaway To Complement Nature

Instant appeal to city-dwellers who wish they could live in the country

  • Good Bones: Ready For Your Inner Designer

Clever way to avoid the negative sound of ‘fixer-upper’

If you’re thinking of selling your home in Wyckoff this summer, I’ve got many more sources of inspiration for creating standout marketing designed to get your home S-O-L-D. Contact me today to schedule a strategy-building session. There’s no obligation, and the ideas we discuss can make all the difference to how you approach the many options that are immediately available in today’s market!