What Agents Don’t Tell You

The Phoenix real estate market showed to be very strong over the last 12 months. Most home owners are thrilled with their appreciating home values. Many are planning to take their new equity and purchase a bigger home. As you look to list and sell your home, there are number of options that can leave you with more money or less money for that new purchase.

When the market is appreciating, we also see loads of new agents enter the market. Most are eager to build a real estate business, but few understand the business basics. Some are unaware of how to get sellers higher prices for their home and net sellers more money after expenses of selling a home. Here are a few business basics to protect you when you look to sell:

  • Presentation – Most buyers are picking homes to see on weekends from a variety of websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Truilia, Redfin and more. Buyers are also using a variety of devices like iPhones, iPads, Androids, laptops and desktop computers. Buyers pick out 6-8 homes from reviewing 50, 100 or more online. The point is that if your online presentation is not good enough to make the short list, buyers will not be seeing your home on Saturday. So, what is the plan to make the short list for viewing on Saturday?
  • Follow-up Plan – Once a home is listed, the next time most home owners hear from their agent is when an offer is presented. But what happens when an offer does not come for 30 days? What happens when agents are showing the home, but there are no offers? What happens if there are not enough showings? Agents should consult with home owners about a follow-up plan and implement as needed to get the home sold.
  • Negotiating Offers – You receive an offer, but it is $10,000 below anything you can accept. What is your agent’s plan now? Do you remember back when you listed your home and the agent reduced their commission to get your real estate listing? That may be your first sign that your agent does not have strong negotiating skills or confidence in those skills. A great agent should always have a game plan for getting the initial offer price higher.
  • Buyer Qualifications – The purchase offer came in at a great price, but the lender is unable to document the buyer’s down payment. After 30 days, when the home does not close on time, the lender breaks the bad news to the buyer, seller and agents. Agents should be reviewing buyer qualifications with the lender prior to contract acceptance and should have a plan to get updates throughout the escrow period. Without that plan, your home may not be closing on time, if at all.

Do you want to learn more about ways to your home sold for the best price? Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com

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Want a Better Offer? Market the Special Amenities Close to Your Home!

Location

When preparing a home for sale, often you are dealing with a whole lot of logistics and people. Managing painters, landscapers, handymen, stagers and photographers takes up time and agents often overlook marketing location.

On a weekly basis, we get a number of questions about the local area around our listings. Many buyers are new to the area and have lots of questions about location of your home. If buyers are able to get excited about the location of your home then they will make better offers!

Great amenities around your home may include award-winning schools, shopping centers, specialty stores, movie theatres, restaurants, community parks, community pools, and great freeway access. The more you and your agent are able to present to a buyer, the better.

Another factor in a location is proximity to great employers. If your home is near big employment centers or big employers are moving into the area, those employers can be great avenues for marketing your home. Buyers prefer shorter commutes, so there should be a plan to market to any job seekers in your area.

There can also be negatives to your location. There may be issues with the local schools, extra commute times to work or proximity to harmful, noisy roads.  Rather than ignore the negatives, it is important to address and come up with solutions that will work for the buyer. While fixing some location issues is not possible, it is usually possible to find alternate solutions to satisfy buyers and get them excited.

Summing up, one of the most important skills a real estate agent will bring to a seller is the ability to market location. Do you want to learn more? Contact us at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177 today!

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Selling for Top Dollar – Contract Terms to Avoid!

Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

My favorite part of listing and selling any home is negotiating the best possible contract for our client! Preparation is a big part of the negotiation. When showing a home and advertising to multiple buyers, the goal is to have as many buyers as possible interested in our home! Often overlooked, the contract we negotiate with the buyer is a big part of the product. If the terms of the contract are prohibitive, then our sellers see a lower price. However, if the terms of the contract are attractive, our sellers see bigger prices! Here a few terms to avoid if possible:

  • As-Is Sale Transactions – Many sellers would prefer to not do work before listing and selling their home. However, many buyers don’t understand the cost of repairs or even understand how to get the repair complete. Questions that linger in a buyer’s head generally results in lower offers or no offers at all. In most cases, the seller can complete the repair for smaller expense than what a buyer thinks the repair will cost.
  • Tenants In Place – Only in very rare cases does a tenant want the owner to sell the house. Most tenants would prefer to remain in the home and don’t want to move. In addition, the tenant does not receive any proceeds from the sale, so the tenant has NO motivation to clean up and present the home to get a great sales price. Most buyers want to move in at close of escrow, so having a tenant in place is probably a deal killer for any owner occupant buyers.
  • Longer Escrow Period – If you have lots of stuff and may not be able to move out of your home in 30 days, you might want to consider that most buyers want a quick move into a new home. Longer escrow periods will be a deal killer for a large number of buyers. There are a variety of different strategies you can consider that will allow you to move in under 30 days. Bringing those quick move-in buyers back to the table will bring more contracts and a higher price.
  • Changing the Buyer’s Financing Structure – Most buyers have consulted a lender prior to writing a purchase contract and have determined a financial structure that will work for their purchase. Part of the structure may include a request for the seller to pay some or all of the buyer’s loan costs. While most sellers don’t like to pay any extra costs, changing the structure of the contract can be a deal killer. Instead, focus on ways to get the overall net amount of the contract up to an acceptable amount. At the close of escrow most sellers are much more interested in how much money goes into the bank, not the structure of the contract.

Do you want to learn more about how to manage the home-selling process? Contact us at 602-753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing a Home

Young Couple Looking At HouseThere are lots of great houses on the market, and finding your home can be a lot of fun – especially if you avoid trouble as you shop. Here are a few misconception pitfalls to consider:

  • “Don’t worry about the particulars – the financing will take care of itself. Just start looking.” Understanding your financing is a crucial part of the process. Many buyers start out immediately looking for that perfect home and fail to prepare by asking their lender lots of questions. What are the costs of your loan? What will your monthly payments be and what will they include? What is PITI? Fixed rate or variable? Being well-informed and having a good understanding of the financial options in front of you will help you avoid finance problems.
  • “Focus on the home you need – you’ll be there for a long time.” Many buyers only think about the here-and-now and few think about resale when they purchase a new home. After all, you’re just now buying a home – why worry about selling, right? Well… buying a home is usually about making an investment in the real estate as well as selecting a great place to live. At some point in the future, it’s not unlikely that your family will get bigger, a job will relocate you, or some other reason to move will come up. Considering now what future buyers may like in your home can be very important to maximizing your future resale value. The better your resale value, the more money that will go into the bank or may be used for a future home purchase.
  • “We’ll find what we like, negotiate a price, and then we’ll worry about making financing an offer.” Sellers want to know that you are a solid, “bona-fide” good buyer who will be able to close on their home, before they will enter into a contract to sell their home. Sellers generally will go with the first bona-fide buyer who will pay their price, and it is very unlikely a seller will say “no” to an unprepared buyer. Showing that you have your financial “ducks in a row,” is also likely to get you a better deal on your purchase.
  • “I’ve looked the house over; we don’t need a fancy inspection.” Over and over again, I hear buyers tell me that they don’t want to pay $300-$400 for the inspection of a home that’s for sale. While it’s true that most home inspections find relatively minor defects typically less than $1000 to correct, some inspections turn up issues in excess of $2000-$4000. You’re about to invest tens of thousands of in a home – it makes great sense to invest a few hundred to help assure that your investment is a wise one.
  • Find a great real estate agent to help! Working with the right agent will greatly improve your whole buying experience. A real estate agent with the right background can help with every step of the buying process, from analyzing your home needs, to finding the right home, to negotiating and closing the deal. An agent should be working with you to make your home-buying dreams come true.

Find us today at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177 to get started on your home purchase!

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When Seniors Move

Aging parents

More and more clients are coming to us to discuss real estate needs in regards to their parents. As we discuss the logistics and strategy of selling the home, one challenge is generally driving the move: Our aging parent is dealing with a new health or memory issue such as Alzheimer’s that needs to be managed. At the same time, most families are not ready to deal with Mom or Dad’s new set of health issues, as most are still focused on raising their own family.

With all of life’s current challenges and the new health issues for Mom or Dad, we find that the home where Mom and Dad currently live suffers the most. Many times the home will sell for $25,000 to $75,000 less than it should due to neglect and deferred maintenance. When the home sells, this could be money going into the bank to pay for long-term care for Mom and Dad.

Jamie Thompson is designated as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES). The SRES is rigorous education focused on developing an understanding of the needs of the 50+ demographic. The SRES Council is known to have knowledgeable, passionate members that serve consumers in the 50 and older market.

Jamie and his staff have resources to help Mom and Dad during this challenging time. They know professionals that help with medical home health care, providing caregivers, and professionals that help Mom and Dad find independent, assisted living, or memory care communities.

As a real estate professional, Jamie’s goal is always to help Mom and Dad protect one of their most valuable asset – their home.

Do you want to learn more? Contact Jamie and his team at (602) 753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com

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Signs My Home is Over Priced

Rusty For Sale Sign

Has your home been on the market so long that the For Sale sign out front has begun to rust? At some point you probably began to ask yourself if your home may be overpriced for the market. Here are a few thoughts to consider in making that determination before your For Sale sign completely rusts away:

  • Comparables – Is your home priced right according to comparable properties? Comparable homes that have sold recently can give you a great idea of how well your home may appraise. Active, pending listings give a great indication of where the market is and what your competition is as you try to get that next buyer. Pricing considerably higher than the Active, Pending or Sold properties probably will impede a quick sale and extend your time on market.
  • Showings – How many showings are you getting each week? Has it been a few weeks since you last saw a buyer’s agent in your home? If so, you are probably overpriced. A good sign that you are priced right is that you are hearing feedback from your agent about showings in your home.  If it has been a few weeks since the last feedback, it may be time for a change.
  • Market Changes and Activity – What is the market doing? Are interest rates higher or lower? What’s new on the local MLS? Are there a lot of bank owned properties or short sale properties in your area? Does your area attract lots of first-time buyers or move-up buyers? All great questions to ask when deciding on how high or low to price your home.
  • Do you really want the truth?  Many times sellers and real estate agents just are not ready to be honest about the situation. It’s usually far more useful to understand the realistic factors necessary to get your home sold than to talk about what price you hope or wish your home will sell.  Assuming that’s your position, don’t be afraid to ask your real estate agent for the honest truth:  What list price does my home need to be at in order to sell in the next 30 days? Just be prepared for the answer!

Rather not figure this out on your own? Our Phoenix AZ Realtors would love to help. Contact us at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177.

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Experience Matters – Questions to Ask Before Selling

Questions to ask when selling your home

Our clients have presented us with many unique situations when selling their Arizona Homes. Whether moving out-of-state to take a new job, hoping to buy a bigger home with a pool, needing to be in a new school district, or looking to downsize to a home that is more manageable, our clients all had something very important in common. Each had future plans – plans that depended heavily on how the logistics of the sale were handled and the financial results of the sale.

Marketing and Selling Homes is Serious Business.

A well planned and executed sale of a home allows the homeowner to move forward with their next phase of life. However, mistakes may cost thousands of dollars and hours of stress when escrows are canceled. Nothing may be more important in the transaction than the knowledge and experience of the agent giving you advice. So, here are a few good questions for you to ask your agent:

  • What do you know about the area? At times, knowledge of the area can be the key to selling a home. Buyers that are new to the area need to know information about schools, movie theaters, shopping and more. An agent who lives in the area can help buyers identify how they will enjoy the area – and many times, the home will sell quicker.
  • How do you market my home? Believe it or not, some agents think that ordering a “for sale” sign and putting your home in the multiple listing service (MLS) is how to sell a home. This is only the beginning! Great agents should be able to deliver to you a written marketing plan tailored for the Phoenix Real Estate market along with success stories from using that plan.
  • How much are the costs of selling my home? In order to plan for the future all homeowners with Phoenix Homes for Sale need to know the amount of money they will have after the sale of the home. Great agents should be able to estimate the cost of real estate commissions, title fees, loan costs, repair costs, and property taxes.
  • When will the buyer’s loan be approved? Without loan approval, the sale of the home cannot close escrow. In tracking a lender’s process, a great agent should know how to use the LSU (Loan Status Update) form, what “PTD” conditions are, and what is the time needed for a lender to get loan documents to title after full loan approval. Being able to track the lender’s progress is essential for a seller to know whether they will close on time or not.
  • What is breach of contract and how do you handle this? In the Arizona purchase contract, the seller is unable to exit the contract while the buyer retains over five exits from the contract. However, if the buyer is in breach of contract, then the seller may exit the contract. Breach of Contract occurs when the buyer takes actions that are contrary to the written contract. This is a serious situation that experienced agents should have a plan to handle.

Do you want to learn more about how to make your home-selling process go smoothly? Contact us at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177.

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Selling for Top Dollar – Getting Tons of Exposure

The day is here! You need to sell your home. The next steps are to find a real estate agent familiar with the Phoenix MLS, put your home on the market, and negotiate a contract. The #1 rule in selling your home is to get your home Tons of Exposure. The more exposure you get for your home, the more potential buyers, and the faster the sale and a higher sales price for your home.  Seems simple, right? Well here are a few things to consider when going to market:

Focus Local and Worldwide. Recently, our team got call from another state about one of our listings. The buyer – who happened to have cash for a purchase – found one of our listings on the internet. Unable to find a local Phoenix Real Estate agent, the buyer called us directly to purchase the home. The buyer said, “Your home is beautiful!” While our seller took credit for the beautiful home, we took great pride in showcasing the home with our elite marketing plan.

Focus on the Internet. The internet has huge potential to market our listings, but can also be very risky. While allowing agents to showcase a home’s best features, the internet can also make a home look very bad. Dark pictures, pictures of small rooms, pictures of the commode, and even the lack of any pictures will dissuade buyers from looking at your home. The presentation of a home over the internet should entice a buyer’s interest to see more of the home by scheduling a showing.

Focus on the Phoenix MLS. The Phoenix MLS allows home owners and agents to add lots and lots of features. Important upgrades like granite counters, RV gates, energy efficient upgrades, cul-de-sac lots, vaulted ceilings, etc. are very important to buyers. And may buyers and buyers’ agents will search for these important upgrades on the internet and the MLS database. Every time a buyer searches for features, and finds your home, the buyer is likely to want to see inside your home.

Don’t Forget Traditional Advertising. With iPhones, tablets, and many other tech devices, it may be easy to forget the traditional advertising. However, traditional advertising is still very successful for attracting buyers. Newsletters, Just Listed notices, and color flyers are still huge for getting the attention of buyers. While younger buyers under the age of 30 will start their search for a home on the internet, many older buyers will start their search with the newspaper or from items received in the mail. On a daily basis, many Phoenix Homes for Sale can be found in the local paper.

A great marketing plan includes aspects of all these items and any other ways of getting buyers to see your home. Remember, the name of the game is exposure, exposure, exposure. Do you have more questions? Do you want to learn more about this or other ways to get the most money from the sale of your Phoenix Arizona Homes? We can help! Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or info@ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Pricing Considerations for a Successful Home Sale

Pricing a home correctly is defined as pricing a home in a price range of comparable other homes sold in the last 3 to 6 months. A home priced more than 5% under the lowest sale may be considered under priced. A home priced more than 5% above the highest sale would be considered overpriced.

In considering a list price, you might want to consider:

  • Appraisal: What is the highest potential appraisal value of my home? One of the main reasons to price a home correctly is to avoid appraisal issues. Even when a seller sells a home above the market value, if the lender’s appraiser will not support the sales price value, the home will only close at a price the appraiser will support.
  • Comparative Market Analysis: Most real estate agents are able to perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) when a current appraisal is not available. A comparative market analysis should give an accurate idea of how your home stacks up against comparable sales within a mile radius of your home. All comparable sales used should be no older than 6 months to give a correct approximation of the current market.
  • Pending Home Sales: Pending Listings or homes that are currently under contract waiting to close escrow may indicate where the market is headed. If pending properties are selling for less than previous closings, then the market is declining. If pending properties are higher than previous sales then the market is appreciating.
  • Active Home Sales: How many homes are active in the MLS in your area? This is important, because this is a list of your competition who are seeking to steal your buyer! The winner gets to move, and the loser gets to wait for the next buyer.
  • Location, Conditions, and Terms: Keep in mind that if your home has issues in any of these areas, buyers will want to discount the price to deal with the issue. If you are able to fix the issue up front, your home is much more likely to return market value and to sell quicker!

Do you want to learn more about this or other ways to get the most money from your sell? Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Show Us That American Spirit

The Thompson Group would like to thank all our U.S. Veterans & Armed Forces for their service, sacrifices and for protecting us on a daily basis. Our hearts beat Red, White & Blue thanks to them.

Were you aware that only 2 founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776? The majority of the signers penned their signatures on August 2, 1776.

The 4th of July doesn’t celebrate the signing of the Declaration, it celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

There are 5 branches to the U.S. Armed Forces. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy and there are over 1.4 million active personnel.

The Army is the oldest branch of the military and was established in 1775. The Army is also the largest branch of our military.

We would like to show our patriotism by giving away a 30 inch flag to the first 100 folks to call our office at 602-753-0177. Winners must be able to pick up the flag at our office located in Tempe Arizona.

“It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.”  ~ George Washington

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