Price it correctly and it will sell

12 01 2015

I believe the number one thing that causes a house to sell or not to sell is pricing. You can advertise and market the property like crazy, you can stage it and make it smell good; however, if the house is not priced correctly it is going to sit. I tell sellers all the time this is a beauty contest and a price war. And any objection can be fixed by pricing the house accordingly.
Sellers always want the most money from their property, and I understand that. If I had a property for sale, I would want the same. Knowing that buyers want the best deal and are likely to negotiate and for a reduction in price or concessions, sellers often want to price the house to give them some leeway to negotiate. But is this a good idea? I don’t believe so and here is why.
Home buyers are out viewing homes and comparing their features and benefits. They want and expect the home to be clean and generally in good condition unless they are looking for a fixer upper and that is a whole other article. They have a budget for a certain dollar amount and are looking in that price range. So if the seller prices the property $5,000 to $10,000 above value in order to negotiate, the buyer who is looking for a property like the seller’s may never see it. Buyers who do see it may believe that the seller is not willing to negotiate and get the price of the home in line with the market. And finally, the overpriced house may help to sell the neighbor’s house which is priced correctly because now it looks like a deal.
The thing I have learned over time is that you cannot underprice a home. If you price it a little under market then buyers will see the value in the home and it is likely that the seller will receive multiple bids. Often times when this happens the price goes up not down. It becomes like an auction atmosphere and the emotions of the buyers endeared to the property cause them to bid the price of the house back up to market value.
If you would like assistance with buying or selling real estate, please feel free to contact me at 405-213-2992 or http://www.sandiwalker.com





How to Find the Best Realtor for you.

18 11 2016

Let’s just face it, there are lots of real estate agents in your area.  Some just received their license and some have been selling for 25 year.  Some work on a team while others are single agents. You may know a Realtor from work or church.  Perhaps your best friend is a realtor. So how do you choose. 

1.  Get a referral if you don’t personally know a Realtor.  

When you begin your search, you should ask your friends and family who they have used in the past. You will most likely get several names of people that various friends have used.  When getting a referral I suggest you get a referral from a friend who has bought a similar house to one you would want to buy.  If your friend bought a $500,000 house 30 miles away from where you want to buy your first home for $100,000, you may not get the same experience as your friend.  Not because that Realtor isn’t a fabulous realtor but because they are use to selling in a different part of the city at a different price point. They may not know all the programs for first time buyers in your part of the city. However you won’t know unless you ask. 

2. Ask questions

Is Real Estate your full time job or do you also have another job?

Where do you sell (area, city, neighborhoods)?

If you are wanting to buy a foreclosed home, have they sold these types of properties? Are you familiar with HUD properties, VA repos and auction sites?

Do you specialize in certain segments of the market?

How many homes have you sold in the last year?

If you need down payment assistance, what does that agent know about local programs?

Will you personally show me homes or will you have someone else showing me? Are you part of a team?

Do you have time to show me? What are your business hours and days that you show homes?

3. Make sure you feel comfortable with the realtor.  

 This is a large purchase. You should feel like the Realtor has your best interest at heart. You should be able to feel confident in providing confidential information to your agent.

4. Mutual trust and respect for time and knowledge

Both the realtor and the client need to trust each other.  This is a relationship and if you don’t have mutual respect, it will not work.  You should expect your agent to be working with multiple clients. Therefore it is important that you make and keep appoints and that they do the same. They may not be able to drop everything and show you a house with 20 minutes notice but you also shouldn’t have to wait 3 days to see a house either.

If you are interested in exploring how my team and I work with buyer at a high level, please feel free to contact me at 405-213-2992.

 





Home Inspections add value to Home Buying

17 11 2016

Buyer’s buy homes with emotion.  In order to institute a little logic into the equation, they hire a home inspector to advise them on the items that are not in normal working order.  It does not include cosmetic or decorative items.

Last year our contracts in Oklahoma changed some of the verbiage, by removing a repair cap.  Up until this change, a buyer would list a dollar amount that the seller agreed to repair up to at time of contract. Now there is no dollar amount. The contract leaves the buyer and seller to determine what they will repair or replace after inspection.  This is sometimes called a second negotiation. 

Since the elimination of the repair cap, I have advised my buyers that this is an “as is” contract.  What you see is what you get.  Now don’t be scared. We are still going to do inspections. We are going to see what is not functioning in the property and then we will ask the seller to make those repairs–these repairs might include roof, foundation, heat and air, electric, and plumbing.  I do not believe the intension of the inspection was to have the seller repair maintenance items like chalking, fence latches and alike.  In addition, I do not necessarily think that it is in the best interest of the buyer to ask the seller to repair every nickel and dime item on the inspection report, since the seller is not obligated to make any repairs.

On the other hand, the seller needs to disclose any known defects once they are learned to any and all buyers.  If defects requiring major repair costs are learned such as a foundation concern or a roofing issue, the seller would be wise to remedy this issue.  Buyers will either want large repairs corrected or a considerable adjustment in price to adjust for the defect.

 Inspections are for the knowledge of the buyer as to what they are buying.  There is no pass or fail. If buyer and seller cannot agree on the repairs requested, the contract will bust. The buyer will still have to pay the home inspector.

If you are considering buying or selling a home, my team would love to help you.  Please contact me at 405-213-2992.





The devaluation of oil and Oklahoma Housing market

9 01 2016

A buyer asked me if I thought the price of housing would drop drastically since the price of oil has dropped drastically over  the past year or two. Oklahoma is an oil state and it does affect our economy.

The following is my response.

In the 1980’s, the Oklahoma economy was predominately dictated by what happened in the oil industry. Because of this, when the oil bust came people left Oklahoma in mass groves. The real estate market collapsed because of the exodus. Today, Oklahoma is vastly diversified its economy.  Oklahoma City is home to businesses like Dell, Boeing, paycom, Hobby Lobby, the FAA and Tinker AFB.   While the cost of oil does affect our economy it does not rule it like it did in the 1980’s.

Oklahoma with stood the real estate down turn in 2007 and lost very little in value. Depending on the size and cost of the property as well as the location we saw values remain constant without any appreciation to a few percentage points of devaluation. We never saw the real estate bubble that California did; therefore, we never had the extreme bust either. We did have our share of foreclosures and short sales but that was to be expected.

Today we are seeing moderate increases in value. We did close fewer sales in 2015 than in 2014. In Cleveland county, we sold 4098 homes in 2014 compared to 3996 homes in 2015—less than a 100 fewer homes sold. While the average sales price rose from $175.88K to $180.17K. Fewer homes were offered for sale last year which caused the prices to go up in my opinion. With less inventory we saw prices rise.

What will the next few years bring for Oklahoma?

If oil prices do not rise, I think you will find that people who may have moved will choose to not move–to remain in their current homes until the oil market corrects itself.  If fewer people move, this will cause a continued shortage of inventory thereby holding or increasing property prices.

In my professional opinion I believe we will continue to see growth in our city as employers move to the Midwest seeking lower wages and lower taxes. Regardless of what happens with oil, people are not going to be moving from Oklahoma in mass droves like we saw in the 1980s. More people coming to the state will cause housing to rise especially rents. Rents tend to go up when population fluctuates upward because there is a shortage in housing available. Currently rents are generally more than the cost of a mortgage in a majority of areas.

I also believe the government intends to continue to increase the prime rate (the rate banks are charged) which will cause the interest rates for home loans to go up. The increase in the interest rate can cost a lot more than a slight depreciation in the sales price of a house. If the interest rate increases by only 1%, it will change your principle and interest payment by 10%.

While I do not have a crystal ball, I do not believe that the devaluation of oil is going to cause the prices of homes in Oklahoma to largely fluctuate negatively—due to the fact that we have low unemployment, low cost of living, and new businesses moving into our state.





An open letter of Gratitude regarding Trust

6 10 2015

Many years ago before I became a licensed real estate agent, my husband and I bought our first home. Over the years, I have thought about the agent who sold us that home. I would like to share the letter of gratitude that I am putting in the mail to her.

Dear Jan,

I don’t know if you will remember my husband and myself. You helped us purchase our first home more than 23 years ago. While I cannot remember how we met, I do remember you taking the time to help us get our credit in line so we could purchase a home. You took us to various homes to view. We finally found a house listed in the paper and asked you to meet us there. It was a VA repo and needed work. We were young and excited to make this house our own. The house was part of a program where they would lend you additional money to repair the house. We closed on the house April 15, 1992. I was pregnant and due in August. We had 2 months to complete the repairs and move into our new home. We worked so hard. I have lots of great memories from that time. We completed the repairs and moved into the house. My husband decided to re-up in the military. We were sure we would be staying in Omaha another 3 years. Unfortunately, by December of that same year, we received transfer papers to Oklahoma City. We were devastated. We didn’t know what to do. We wanted to call you and yet we didn’t. I am not sure why we didn’t call you back. I remember saying we needed someone aggressive to get the house sold quickly. I guess in our immaturity we didn’t equate kindness and trust with aggressiveness; and in all honesty, I think we were too young to know what we really wanted or needed. We were scared.

We interviewed 3 realtors, choosing one that had a nice portfolio with letters from past clients. She listed our house with a 6 month listing agreement. We received an offer but we would have to bring money to the table to sell the house. We didn’t have any additional money to spare. My husband was an airman in the service. We just spent several months rehabbing the property and didn’t think it was fair to have to pay to get out of the house. The realtor was not kind. She tried to strong arm us into selling. We resisted and lost respect for her. I didn’t know how real estate worked, and was under the impression that if we decided to take the house off the market we would owe the commission. There was no way I was going to give that realtor my money. So we allowed showings to happen begrudgingly and told her that we would only sell for list price. In the meantime, my husband had to report for duty in Oklahoma City. I was left in Omaha attempting to sell the house with an infant.

We finally ended up renting the property. We managed the house long distance—not knowing what else to do. We were blessed to have two sets of good tenants. Four years later, I was expecting my second child when the tenants called to inform us that they were moving. I told my husband I was tired of being an out of state landlord. He asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to call Jan, the lady who sold us the house. I felt like you would help us and tell us exactly what we needed to do. And more importantly I trusted you. We called you and asked if you would help us. I also knew I needed to put carpet in the dining room. My husband is color blind and I wasn’t able to travel since I was a little more than a month away from delivering our second child. I didn’t know if you would go with him to the carpet store to help him chose the carpet, but I asked. You said, yes.   After getting the carpet installed on a Wednesday, you put the sign in the front yard and had an offer on the house that Friday. We accepted the offer and closed on the house as the tenants were moving out.

As I look back I realize I never questioned the amount of commission you charged me or the price you told me. I accepted it as fact. Why? Because I trusted you. I believed you had my best interest at heart and still to this day believe that—more than 18 years ago. I think this was the biggest difference between you and the other realtor.  Although I am sure I said Thank you at the time, I don’t think your realize the impact you have had on my life. I have been a realtor for over 10 years now and I always think about trust when I think about how I am treating my clients. I think about what is best for them and how can I look out for them best. I always ask myself, if what I am doing is building trust and if not then what can I do differently to build that trust. The entire reason I chose to do business with you all those years ago is because I trusted you. Thank you for showing me all those years ago that the most important part of business is trust and caring.

Sincerely

Sandi Walker





A NEW Park in Moore, OK–Central Park

22 09 2015
The new Aquatic center layout

The new Aquatic center layout

The new Recreational center

The new Recreational center

Central Park is coming to Moore, OK. The park sits on the corner of 4th and Broadway near the railroad tracks and runs south along Broadway. The park is 51 acres. It will house a 53,000 sqft recreational center and a 45,000 sqft aquatic center. In addition, there is a large amphitheater, a 2 mile long multipurpose trail, a playground (handicap accessible), and a farmers market. There will be approximately 350 parking spaces.

This is a wonderful addition to the Moore landscape. It will provide the citizens of Moore as well as those from surrounding areas with a wonderful area to enjoy time with their families or by themselves. Moore has not had a pool in their town for several years, since the demolition of the pool at the 5th street Park.   This new aquatics center replaces the old pool with a state of the art water park like pool. There is a lot of excitement regarding the pool that will be open summer of 2016.

The city is providing a lot of services at this new park. There will be fees for the use of the recreational center as well as the aquatics center. The residences of Moore will receive a discounted rate on those fees about 20%.  A Moore water bill will be required as proof of residency. The city will be selling day passes, season passes and annual passes. They will also have a 15 day pass that you can use as you want. So you can use it for 15 days in a row or over the season. They will have discounts for active duty military, families, and seniors. The city is currently selling annual passes. Stewart at the parks department told me today that they are giving a 13 month pass for the price of a 12 month pass if you purchase now, prior to the park opening.

Below are some of the features of the recreational and aquatic center:

The recreational center will contain the following:

2 Full Basketball courts

Workout room with 70 pieces of exercise equipment

2 group exercise rooms

Indoor walking trail

Meeting room with audio and video as well as a kitchen

Activity Room

Child Watch

Concession area

Locker rooms and showers

They are planning on having exercise classes like Yoga, Zumba, TRX, and Kick Boxing.

The aquatics center will contain the following:

2 Large slides

A diving pool with 2 diving boards (1 meter and 3 meter high)

A rock wall

A lap pool

A kid pool (12 inches deep) with 30 spray toys and a slide

Locker Room and Showers

The aquatics center with have swim lessons as well as allow pool parties.

I am personally very excited to see this project come to fruition. I think it will provide the citizens of Moore with a great central meeting area for picnics and other entertainment. This is a very progressive step which will make our community shine. While we have several other great parks in the community, this park is in the heart of Moore and will become the central focal point for the community.

For more information on park passes, pricing, and other information go to www.cityofmoore/central park.com

If you are looking to buy or sell, I would love to help you. I have been a member of the Moore community for over 20 years. I have watched this town grow and change over the years and am excited to see this new addition. Please feel free to contact me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website www.sandiwalker.com





Buying a Home

17 09 2015

buying-a-house

Buying a home is often an emotional decision. The buyer enters the home and loves the smell of cookies, the staging, and the clean, move-in ready home. I have had buyers fall in love with a home because it had a 5 burner gas stove or a window seat in the master bedroom. I have also had buyers not buy a home because the bedroom was painted bright purple with pink poke a dots.

You are spending thousands of dollars on a large long term asset that will hopefully increase in value over time. With that being said, I always advise my clients to stand on the front porch and look out as much as they look in. All the stuff on the inside—paint, flooring, appliances, etc., they can change.   They cannot however force the neighbor to paint their purple house (unless they are part of an HOA) or get rid of the 6 cars that are always parked across the street. It pays to take into consideration things that are more important like drainage, the way the house sits on the land, noise, power lines, traffic, and the condition of the neighborhood—is it improving or degrading.

In addition, a buyer should attempt to learn all they can about the house. Have there been insurance claims on the property, and if so has the work been completed? Has there been any work done on the house that required permits, if so were the permits properly pulled? How old is the roof, heat and air, and hot water tank?

A buyer should always think about resellability. So many times I have had buyers tell me that they are purchasing their final home and they do not intend to move again only to call me back 5 or 6 years later and say they are ready to sell. Things change, people change, circumstances change. You may need to resell the home so look to make sure the house is not so unique or unusual that others will not fall in love with it also.

As a seasoned agent, I tend to point out things that a buyer may over look. The buyer may decide that they love the house on the main street because they love to sit and watch the traffic in the morning. Or they may not care that the property requires flood insurance because the house backs up to the pond and has an amazing view. My job is to educate my buyers as best as possible about what they are buying and then they can make the best decision for themselves.

If you are needing information regarding real estate, please call me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website at http://www.sandiwalker.com

Buying a home is often an emotional decision. The buyer enters the home and loves the smell of cookies, the staging, and the clean, move-in ready home. I have had buyers fall in love with a home because it had a 5 burner gas stove or a window seat in the master bedroom. I have also had buyers not buy a home because the bedroom was painted bright purple with pink poke a dots.

You are spending thousands of dollars on a large long term asset that will hopefully increase in value over time. With that being said, I always advise my clients to stand on the front porch and look out as much as they look in. All the stuff on the inside—paint, flooring, appliances, etc., they can change.   They cannot however force the neighbor to paint their purple house (unless they are part of an HOA) or get rid of the 6 cars that are always parked across the street. It pays to take into consideration things that are more important like drainage, the way the house sits on the land, noise, power lines, traffic, and the condition of the neighborhood—is it improving or degrading.

In addition, a buyer should attempt to learn all they can about the house. Have there been insurance claims on the property, and if so has the work been completed? Has there been any work done on the house that required permits, if so were the permits properly pulled? How old is the roof, heat and air, and hot water tank?

A buyer should always think about resellability. So many times I have had buyers tell me that they are purchasing their final home and they do not intend to move again only to call me back 5 or 6 years later and say they are ready to sell. Things change, people change, circumstances change. You may need to resell the home so look to make sure the house is not so unique or unusual that others will not fall in love with it also.

As a seasoned agent, I tend to point out things that a buyer may over look. The buyer may decide that they love the house on the main street because they love to sit and watch the traffic in the morning. Or they may not care that the property requires flood insurance because the house backs up to the pond and has an amazing view. My job is to educate my buyers as best as possible about what they are buying and then they can make the best decision for themselves.

If you are needing information regarding real estate, please call me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website at http://www.sandiwalker.com





Deferred Student debt and home loans

15 09 2015

New changes with FHA loans       student debt

A person’s debt to income ratio is the amount of debt a person (in monthly payments) has in relation to their monthly income. A lender will determine how much a person may borrow based on their debt to income ratios. Typically lenders like to see no more than a 45% debt to income ratio although they may be able to approve a loan with slightly higher ratios based on credit scores and loan product.

Buyers who have student loan debt have been able to purchase a home and not count anything towards their debt to income ratios if the student loan is deferred. As of September 14, 2015, this rule has changed for buyers using a FHA loan. They will now need to count a payment for the deferred loan amount.

Since there is no payment made on a deferred student loan, FHA has come up with their own formula for a payment. That is to take 2% of the total amount due on the loan and make that the monthly loan payment amount. This means that a borrower with a student loan debt of $20,000 would be assessed $400 a month in debt. A person with $100,000 in student loan debt would be assessed $2000 a month in debt. This amount would be added to their other debts in equating their debt to income ratios.

As you see this could cause a borrower who would have qualified under the old rules may no longer qualify under the new guidelines.

So what is a person to do? If the borrower were to stop the deferment and request a monthly payment amount, then the actual payment amount could be used instead of the 2% rule.   The student loan authority does have payment plans based on current income. Under IBR (Income Based Repayment), your monthly payment amount will be less than the amount you would be required to pay under a 10-year standard repayment plan, and may be less than other repayment plans. Although lower monthly payments may be of great benefit to a borrower, these lower payments may result in a longer repayment period and additional interest. http://bit.ly/1F0PGzD

If you have questions regarding real estate, I would love to help you. Please call me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website at http://www.sandiwalker.com








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