Marketing Your Home’s Location!

Location, Location, LocationThe name of the game in real estate is location. There’s a reason some say, “location, location, location” – because it is so important. When preparing a home for sale, agents typically are dealing with a whole lot of logistics and people. Managing painters, landscapers, handymen, stagers and photographers take up time – and, too often, marketing your home’s location gets overlooked. However, many home buyers are new to the area in which they’re looking and have lots of questions about your home’s location. If they are able to get excited about the location, they will make better offers!

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

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

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

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 Strategy

Real Estate ContractThe day is here! You need to sell your home. The next steps are to find a real estate agent familiar with your neighborhood, put your home on the market, and negotiate a BIG sales price. You might not have seen the latest Arizona purchase contract. Filled with 10 pages of legal jargon and multiple addendums, the lack of understanding of the Arizona purchase contract is an easy way to give away thousands of dollars even though you may sell your home for Big $$$.  Here a few items to watch for that can affect your bottom line:

  • Buyer Loan Costs. Many buyers need help with the purchase cost and like to write offers asking for the seller to pay their loan costs. And if the overall contract sales price is right, paying the buyer loan costs might be well worth while. Generally, the request is made as 3% of sales price.  Initially that amount may not seem high. However, when considering a sales price of $200,000, 3% of sales price works out to be $6000 – not a small sum of money. Instead, consider offering a compromise: have the buyer pay only half of the loan costs or a set amount instead of a percentage of sales price.
  • HOA Transfer Fees. Did you speak with your home owners association (HOA) before listing your home? The amount your HOA will charge to transfer your home to a new buyer is great information to know. We have seen HOAs have charging in the range $500 – $2500 to transfer the property. With HOA transfer fees being a negotiable item, a seller may be able to pass this cost on to a buyer.
  • Home Warranty Costs. As a general rule, buyers of for most Arizona homes expect sellers to pick up the cost of a Home Warranty. The Home Warranty will cover the buyer for one year in case some of the working components in the house break. The home warranty also protects the seller from being pursued by a buyer who feels that an A/C unit, hot water heater, or other expensive item died prematurely. A typical, basic Home Warranty plan will cover most items and can be obtained for under $450. But watch out – some buyers will ask for plans that can cost twice this amount.
  • Appraisal. Did you and your real estate agent have a conversation about what price the property is likely to be valued by an appraiser? Will your home appraise for the sales price on the contract?  Sellers may accept contracts for sales prices that have no chance of being supported by appraisal.  Mr. Seller, beware!  The appraiser may submit an appraisal for thousands less than the contracted sales price. If the seller forgot that the purchase contract is subject to the appraisal, the seller may have packed up the house and secured a new place to live.  When the appraisal comes in below sales price, the seller is generally between the proverbial rock and a hard place. They’re forced to decide: “Do I accept the new sales price and take a financial hit or do I cancel this contract and try to sell the home again?” Keeping in mind that most sellers are moving for significant life reasons such as job transfer, bigger home or changes in lifestyle, the seller generally must accept the financial hit or give up on the timelines and main reasons for moving.

In most cases a little upfront planning will help net more money for sellers when the contract arrives. Do you have more questions? Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com

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Selling for Top Dollar – Getting Tons of Exposure

Get Tons of ExposureThe 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 a 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 also is 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 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 many buyers and buyer’s 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 i-phones, 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. Newsletter, 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 Considerations for a Successful Home SalePricing 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 think about…

  • 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 a 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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Capital Gains Tax on Your Home Sale

Capital Gains Tax on Real EstateMost of our home sellers are making nice profits on the sale of their homes. Unfortunately, some sellers will need to pay the IRS on those profits. Although that is not normally the case, it does not hurt to review this potential problem before putting your home on the market.

The Great Exclusion

If a homeowner lived in his house for 24 months out of the last five years, he is entitled to exclude $250,000 of the profits from the sale – or $500,000 for married homeowners. The 24-month period does not need to be consecutive, as long as you have lived in and owned the home for at least two years.

The “2 of 5”exclusion may be used each time you sell or exchange your primary home. Generally, the exclusion may be claimed only once every two years, although exceptions do exist.

Gotchas Exist!

In a recent listing appointment our homeowner decided that the time was right to put a home on the market. Our seller moved out of state and rented the home for several years. Our seller realized that he was now making a profit, but was unaware of the requirement to live in the home for two of the last five years. The homeowner consulted his CPA/tax advisor before moving forward with the sale and decided the profit was big enough to pay the capital gains tax.

On another recent seller conversation, the seller had found a wonderful new home on an acre lot to purchase, but needed to sell his current home. The seller bought his current home only 18 months ago and would be making a nice profit on the sale. After consulting with a CPA, the seller decided to postpone the sale of his current home six months to avoid the capital gains tax.

As a standard part of business, Phoenix AZ Realtors are not experts on the ins and outs of capital gains taxes. For the best advice, consult a CPA or tax advisor.

Do you want to learn more about ways to control your selling costs and get the most money from the sale of your home? Contact us at (480) 776-5214 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Best Renovations for Improving Sales Price

Woman painting the walls.

Have you been out to see the builder model homes lately? If so, you may have noticed that builders have loaded tons of upgrades into the homes. The builders know that the look and feel of the home is super important to the buyer and if they get the buyers excited about the possibilities, then it will lead to more sales. As a homeowner and a potential seller someday down the road, getting buyers excited about your home will lead to a higher sales price! If you make a few upgrades to your home now, you will also get to enjoy the changes before you move. Now, don’t overspend on your improvements, but here are a few that can make a huge difference when you sell:

  • The Kitchen – The kitchen is where improvements go a very long way. New cabinets, counter tops, and appliances will add a lot of value. Don’t feel like you need to turn you kitchen into a gourmet kitchen! There are a lot of ways you can update your kitchen to the current trends on a budget. Keep in mind that giving your kitchen a cohesive contemporary look is the best way to add value to your home.
  • Landscaping – If your yard is feeling more like a jungle or desert than a place where kids would like to play, then it might be time to make a few changes! Whether you like desert landscaping or something a little greener, color and cleanliness is the key. Buyers are always looking for a yard that is well-kept, but that will also be fun to hang out in after work. Putting in a handful of plants will go a long way to dressing up your front or back yard. If a buyer can picture outdoor living and nightly barbeques, then you are on the right track.
  • Flooring – Updating your flooring is a great way to get a completely new feel throughout your home. New carpet, new tile floors, or hardwood floors can make a home feel newer and will appeal to younger buyers.
  • Paint – Without a doubt, a new coat of paint on the walls goes a long way to refreshing a home. Stay away from colors that are too bold and stick with colors that are more neutral. Earth tones and two-tone paint styles are the trend lately and appeal to younger buyers.
  • Bathrooms – In bigger homes, the master bathroom is a great area to look at spending more of your upgrade budget. However, in smaller homes, it can be hard to get your upgrade dollars back in bathroom remodels. As you look at remodeling your bathrooms, light and water fixtures are a great way to spruce up the area without overspending.

Do you have questions about remodeling? Contact us www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 480-776-5214 to get started.

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Is My Home Priced For This Market?

House For Sale PriceHas 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 getting 3-4 showings a week from qualified buyers working with real estate agents.
  • 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 accomplish a goal than conjecture about the 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 480-776-5214.

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Ways to Net More from Your House Sale

Penny Saved, Penny EarnedMy grandfather once taught me “A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned.”  Nowhere is that more true than in the sale of a home — probably due to the number of pennies involved in the transaction. With sales price being such an important factor for a seller, few stop to think about ways to minimize the costs of selling their Phoenix Arizona Homes.  Monitoring and controlling the costs during the escrow process is key to saving thousands of dollars and to receiving larger net proceeds from the transaction. Here are some costs to keep your eye on…

One of the largest costs is commissions paid to the real estate agents. Commissions vary from 5%-7% of sales price depending on the type of real estate transaction. While lower costs may seem like a winner, many times you get what you pay for in an agent. With so much riding on the selling price, a real estate agent should bring great service, a solid marketing plan and sharp negotiating skills to the table. If your agent is bringing less to the table, you will see a lower sales price.

With every home sale, home owners are required to pay the Owner’s Title Policy and to share in the escrow fee paid to the local title/escrow company. While the fees are not negotiable, the title/escrow company used to process the transaction is negotiable. All title/escrow companies publish their fees in rate books which are readily available to review and compare.

Do you live in a Home Owners Association (HOA)? If so, then your HOA may charge a transfer fee, disclosure fee, or capital improvement fee. Few homeowners understand what their HOA will charge them for the transaction but charges may run from $500-$2000. A quick phone call to the HOA should clarify what fees are charged. While these fees are non-negotiable with the HOA, there is the possibility of negotiating/sharing the cost of these fees with the buyer for your home.

In any real estate transaction, a Home Warranty is considered a must purchase for the new buyer. The cost ranges from $325-$600 and is a negotiated item payable by the buyer or the seller. Many times home sellers pick up the cost of a Home Warranty for the first year to protect the new buyer from unforeseen repairs.

Are you in an area where 1st time home buyers are known to be moving? If so, you may want to prepare yourself for requests to contribute to the buyer’s closing costs. These contributions are generally up to 3% of purchase price and could be more. The contribution covers appraisal fees, A.L.T.A. title policy, impound accounts, origination fees and other loan costs. While the contribution to buyer loan costs can be very important to getting a home sold, stronger buyers rarely need such assistance.

Do you want to learn more about ways to control your selling costs and get the most money from the sell of your home? Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Smooth Transition

A few years ago my team and I were introduced to a truly painful situation – a senior client who had suffered a major health issue and had to be cared for at a local skilled nursing facility. In addition to his health issues, he needed to sell his home quickly to pay for his medical expenses. Due to the logistics and quick nature of the sell, it was truly impossible to sell his home for the best value.

This past month, my team and I had the opportunity to work with another senior client as he sold his home and moved to a local retirement community. Planning for the sale took 6-12 months prior to the home being advertised for sale. These transactions tend to require more up-front work and a well thought-out plan since the client is moving from a house into a place of residence with a floor plan about the size of an apartment.

I believe the hard work paid off. Our client had a smooth escrow and did get the best value for his home.

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Phoenix Market Update – 2014 Mid-Year Review

Overall, the Phoenix Market is showing a balanced market. While there are plenty of buyers in the market, sellers are not as able to push for higher sales prices in most neighborhoods. Here are a few quick facts:

  • Overall Home Supply – At the end of April, the total number of Phoenix Homes for Sale for the entire MLS was 29,769. Year over year, this is an increase in housing inventory of 9505 units or an increase of 46.9%. The number of sold listings for the entire month of April 2014 was 7,677. Based on the April sales, the inventory of active listings represents a 3.9 month supply.
  • Local ZIP code of 85224 – The Chandler ZIP code of 85224 shows at the end of April there were a total number of 116 active real estate listings, with the total number of sold listings coming in at 67. In other words:  there is about a 1.7 month supply for this popular Chandler ZIP code.
  • City of Chandler –For the entire city of Chandler, the active inventory of homes totals 963. The number of sold homes for the month of April came in at 430 meaning that Chandler maintains a 2.2 month supply of homes.
  • Phoenix Home Sales –Year-to-date, the Phoenix MLS recorded sales of 24,712 homes – or an average of 6,178 homes per month. That puts the Phoenix market on pace to sell over 70,000 homes for 2014.

Do you need to make a move in the near future? Or are you looking to maximize your selling price? Here at the Thompson Group, our goal is to show you the BEST options for your situation. Give us a call at 480-776-5214 or find us at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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