Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter or Spring to Buy or Sell A House?

Many buyers and sellers wait until spring to enter the market, especially families with schoolchildren, who want to make their deals so they can move in time for the next school year.

Still, there are people who, for a variety of reasons, are in the market in winter. And while the market is smaller, real estate agents say that foul-weather buyers and sellers tend to be serious about making a deal.

Certainly, there are plenty of obstacles—especially in a winter like this one. A house that would have a ton of curb appeal when everything’s in bloom is less attractive under gray skies and a blanket of snow. Buyers may struggle to find street parking and navigate icy sidewalks. Sellers find it tougher to keep the place clean as snow and road salt are tracked into the house.

Some agents say the smaller market works to the advantage of sellers. “If they wait for the spring market, there’s more competition” for buyers, said Ricki Sellner of Coldwell Banker in Upper Saddle River, who is Fonseca’s agent.

Other agents insist that the winter is a buyer’s market. “They can usually get a better price, because there are not as many buyers in the market. If a house is on the market in the winter, the seller is usually extremely motivated,” said Nicolette Lisella of Terrie O’Connor Realtors in Allendale, N.J.

“If a house has been on the market, and it is still available in the winter, the sellers are sometimes much more flexible, and prices more affordable,” agreed Dennis Decina of Werner Realty in West Milford, N.J.

Buyers who venture out in winter may be able to get faster action on their mortgages because the lenders aren’t dealing with as many applications, said Antoinette Gangi of RE/MAX in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Another advantage for buyers: They will be able to get a sense of how drafty the house is, and how well the heat works. But on the minus side, home inspections can be more difficult if snow covers decks and the home’s foundation, said Sharon Marinaccio of LeConte Realty in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. And buyers won’t be able to have the air conditioning tested or the pool inspected. For that reason, agents recommend that buyers ask the seller to put aside money in escrow, or supply a home warranty, in case repairs are needed later.

All in all, winter markets have super motivated buyers and sellers, but spring markets have more inventory. Regardless, get into the market now and find your dream home.

Peg Maloney

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Successful Short Sale Steps

Solving Your Mortgage Crisis Just Got Easier
5 Steps for a Successful Short Sale

Lenders and the federal government, prompted by the sheer volume of loan modification and short sale requests, have overhauled their systems and programs, making the foreclosure avoidance process much easier than in the past.

If you are considering short selling your home to avoid the financial and emotional fallout of foreclosure, you should be aware of the five steps you should take to increase your chances of a successful transaction.
First, do you qualify?

You must:

  1. 1. Have a verifiable hardship, like unemployment, medical bills, or relocation.
  2. Must have a monthly income shortfall.
  3. 2. Be insolvent (you have no cash or assets that can be sold to pay down the mortgage), or headed towards insolvency.
3. If you meet these qualifications, follow these five steps to a successful short sale:

  1. 1. Contact me so we can identify your servicer, fill out a short sale packet for the lender, and assemble all the required information needed to list your home for sale.
  2. 2. Gather financial information (i.e., bank statements, pay stubs) from at least the last three months.
  3. 3. Keep your house in showcase condition for showings, and make as many repairs as necessary and that you can afford.
  4. 4. Expect the lender, junior lien holders, and private insurance companies to request more paperwork, and try to gather requested information quickly to ensure transaction efficiency.
  5. 5. Set realistic expectations and work with me, the lender, and the buyer to the satisfaction and benefit of all parties involved.
For more information about how the short sale process works, or about any other foreclosure alternatives you may qualify for, call me today. I can help you alleviate the burden that the threat of foreclosure brings, and we can develop a strategy to help you breathe a little easier.