May 30, 2012

Oh No! Not a new roof!

We have had an ominous feeling hanging over our heads for the past few years, literally! You know; the dreaded conclusion that it is time to get a new roof. Every homeowner hates the thought but even more, they hate the expense. Even when you know it is time, you close your eyes and cross your fingers that you can squeeze by just a little longer. That was us.
Well, a few months ago, our neighbor’s roof suddenly transformed into a beautiful form of art and gave us the boost we needed to bite the bullet. We called the name on the little sign in their yard; you know those signs that say, “This roof brought to you by…” and now, our roof is a work of art too.

It is funny, I’ve never been ‘in’ to roofs all that much. My hubby notices them on occasion but lately, I am surprised at how my “roof awareness” has peaked. Since all the homes in my neighborhood are around the same age, I can’t help but feel sorry for so many of my neighbors as I drive by and think, “Oh wow, I wonder if they know how close they are to water damage?”

I know how hard it is to do it. I know what drives homeowners to put it off because it is a big expense and there are always other more important things to do with that money, right? But, if you lose the gamble, you can find yourself with water damage inside your home which is also expensive to restore PLUS, you then have to buy the new roof on top of the water damage repair expense or it will just happen again.

We made the jump and not only replaced the old roof but went the upgrade and found a roofing system that looks great and is very functional as well. I have no doubt we would recover the cost if we had to sell and the added expense also added many years onto the warranty. Instead of the typical 30 year roof that is really more like 15-20, we have a 50 year roof. It is supposed to save on the energy bill, (too soon to see it yet) and is more fire and wind resistant than average.
If you are thinking you need a new roof, here is the information on the one we chose.

http://www.contractorfind.net/roofing?network=g&type=gerard+roofing&gclid=CNjkkr-dqbACFcYBRQoddCdtSQ#welcome

And if you are in Utah, I recommend the company that installed our roof. They were great to work with.

www.warburtonsinc.com

It might be important to remember, a lender will not give a buyer a loan on a home unless the roof has at least 3 years of life left.





May 19, 2011

Reasons to be a Homeowner





April 9, 2011

Short Sales… not worth it?

As agents, we have been given 3 new addendum/disclosures to show our short sale clients. This has prompted my thoughts on this post:

Home value is a relative thing. The definition is, “What a buyer is willing to pay.” That isn’t really true because the lenders have so much to say about that, …for good reason. They don’t want to give someone a load of money on a house that isn’t worth what they lent. If the buyer defaults, they are stuck holding a house they lose money on. They aren’t going to be in business long if they do that too often.

Many people need to sell their homes but the current market is making it impossible to get a good price. That forces them to offer their homes at less than they owe. That is called a “Short Sale”.  Agents advertise a home at a great price, (too often, too good to be true), wait for an offer, then submit it to the lender/mortgage holder for approval. It often takes a long time and a lot of paperwork if the agent knows what he/she is doing to get an approval on a short sale. Choose your agent wisely. Too many short sales fail for no other reason than the agent didn’t know what they were doing.

Too often the advertised price is so ridiculous, a lot of buyers get sucked into the idea of getting something for nothing and get caught in the black hole of short sales blues.

Hopefully, the offer is finally reviewed, in the lender’s due time, and if the agent has done his/her job well enough,, the lender will most likely come back with a more realistic price or offer they ARE willing in accept, and the buyer has the option of accepting it or moving on to the next “too good to be true” listed home for sale.

If the original buyer moves on , which is most likely the case, the agent then can list the home at the price the lender has said they will accept and hope a buyer will be willing to pay that price. If the price has already been approved, it can make the short sale process go a lot smoother at that point.

Up till now, the biggest problem with short sales is the seller loses twice. Not only do they lose their home at less than they owe, but the lender will file a 1099 on the loss. The difference in the price they lent the owner and lower sales price to the new buyer is a loss for them so they claim it as a loss on their taxes. The IRS then comes knocking on the seller’s door and wants them to pay on that “gain”. It is like getting slapped in the face twice. It is sad.

Now, because of these new addendum/disclosures, I have come to understand the lender can come back to the seller and sue them for the difference. They did sign contract, after all. I am not sure how many years (it is significant), they have to come after the seller for breaching the original contract but it is surprising they can still do this after all the seller has to go through to complete a short sale.

So, they lose their home, at a price less than they paid. They are responsible for the taxes on that difference and now, I’ve learned, they are liable to pay that difference back to the lender anyway. 3 slaps in the face so far, and counting. (Not counting the ding in your credit score for year to come)

It seems short sales are not a very good thing for a seller. I highly recommend you look into other options. The consequences seem to catch up to you and are much too harsh.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Susan Jackson and/or CENTURY 21 Bushnell is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a rule that requires real estate agents to provide certain disclosures when representing sellers in a short sale transaction.





March 14, 2011

Short Sale Listings in Utah County

Here is a list of current *Short Sale Listings in North Utah County.  Give me a call if you would like to make an appointment to see any of these homes or *short sale listings in South Utah County.

*Short Sale report 3-14-11

:)

*IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Susan Jackson and/or CENTURY 21 Bushnell is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating.





March 3, 2011

Showing Services

There is a new trend that is gaining momentum in the world of real estate. Showing services. These are service centers that take care of scheduling the showings for agent’s listings. I am not sure how long they have been around. I am sure there have been different models of the service  that have been trying for years to take hold, but I have only seen it really start to catch in my neck of the woods in the last year and a half or so.

I do remember hearing the sales pitch of the first one I had ever heard of. It sounded good. You sign up, then let them know when you have listings. As an agent, once signed up with the service, you just put down the service’s phone number as a contact for other agents to call when they have an interested, potential buyer. At least this particular service  took it’s fee at closing but I am sure that by now, there are differing methods of payment.

The pros of this service are:

* Some agents are hard to reach, the service is always there, ready to take the calls and schedule the appointments.
* It frees up an agent’s time to do other, more important tasks.
* It makes you look more professional at listing appointment, therefore, winning you more listings.
* It keeps track of the calls and showings and sends the agent a report.
* It sends feedback requests to the agents that showed the home.
* Scheduling is fast and easy.
* Claim the ease of scheduling means more showings.
* Have updated showing instructions and information.
* Make drive up showings easier.
* Makes listing easier to show resulting in more showings and a faster sale.

In the beginning, I contemplated using one of these services. It sounded good but I couldn’t overcome my resistance to losing that one on one contact. I enjoy taking calls from agents wanting to schedule showings on my listings. It gives me the chance to talk to them and ask a few questions and get information on how serious the buyers may be or if they are just looking, etc. You can learn a lot in those few seconds of conversation. So, I never did sign up.

Now that time has gone by, I am seeing more of these services around and I have had the opportunity to interact with them. Some are definitely better than others. They are not always as fast as they claim. Most of the times I have called, I have been told they will have to get back to me. Some take longer than others and some don’t get back to me before we are finished our showing tour. Some, to my displeasure, are NOT always there, ready to take my call. They have normal business hours which makes it impossible to show a home the following morning.

I often get buyers that call me in the evening and ask to see a home the next morning before they go to work. Is it rude to expect a seller to show with that short a notice? Probably, but I guarantee that if the buyer doesn’t see the home, they are NOT going to make an offer.

Buyers are anxious to find the right home and when they run across one that looks promising, they want to act, now! So, these showing services that have business hours have lost showings several times from me simply because I could not reach them in time.

There have been times I call and my buyer wants me to ask a specific question about the property before we schedule a showing. The answer determines whether it will be still be on the list. The showing service doesn’t know the answer and here is my biggest problem with these services.

Some agents are relying on them too much. They do not even publish their own phone numbers as a contact on the multiple listing services. I think this is a disservice to their sellers and is frustrating to me, other agents I have spoken to, and to buyers. Yes, I am happy to call the service to schedule a showing but it is unrealistic to think the service can answer all the questions my buyers may have. That is the listing agent’s job.

So, if you are interviewing a listing agent and their sales pitch includes the fact that they use a showing service, ask a few questions before accepting right away that the service is a bonus for hiring that agent. There are many very good agents that do use them. Just make sure you find out just how much they rely on the showing service and if they still intend to be reachable to other agents that may have potentially interested buyers.

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Luxury Home Market,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 7:02 pm




September 5, 2010

Pergola

Too many of us have a long list of things we would like to do to improve our homes. Some of those items on the list are repairs that really should get done and others are things that we desire to do for the sole purpose of improving the home or making our lives more enjoyable.

Not knowing how to get started, lack of time, lack of money are all reasons we put off getting these things done. But I think the most common reason is simply procratination. Isn’t it in our nature to just put things off, knowing, or hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. However, it never is. Life continues to pile things onto our schedules, inundate us with menial tasks which cause us stress and make us want nothing more than to vege out on the couch in front of the TV if and when we do finally find a minute.

Of those that have sold a home, how many of you put “the list” off the whole time you have lived in your home, then when the time came to sell, hurried to get them checked off?

I raise my hand… I am guilty too.

We decide to put our homes up for sale then race to finish all those things we could have done sooner and actually have enjoyed them while we lived in that home.

We have a fantastic deck at our house. I often joke about how we bought that deck …and it just happened to come with a house too. However, it faces the West and has, through the years, to our disappointment, been nearly unusable because of the heat in the summer months. We talked about different solutions when we stumbled upon the idea of Pergola. We decided that was the right option for us but never got around to it for the same reasons mentioned above.

This Spring, we decidIMG_2211ed it was time. We did it. We invested in the Pergola and have since wondered why we didn’t do that sooner. We have used our deck more this summer than all the other years combined. While the Pergola may not have added a monetary value to our home in the event we need to sell, I know it will make my home more appealing than the competition. It is like we have added a new room, a fantastic room.

So, my point today is, don’t procrastinate those little things you’ve always wanted to do to your home. Get them done while you can enjoy them. You know they need to get done, you know you will race to get them done if you need to sell so why not invest in yourself while at the same time making your home investment better. Life is too short to put off enjoying the little things.

p.s. I am sitting on my deck, enjoying the view of the valley and the lake as I write this.  Are you jealous?

Filed under: Blogroll,Luxury Home Market,Personal,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 8:12 am




October 1, 2009

New Keybox for Utah County REALTORS®

Insist your agent use this keybox!

Insist your agent use this keybox!

Utah County has changed their Lockbox system recently and even though I’ve written on this subject already, I want to write again to stress the importance of this issue.

Utah County Association of REALTORS® (UCAR) has switched from using Risco to Supra boxes. These boxes are what we agents use to store the key to the home so that other agents can bring their buyers by our listings for showings when the buyers are not home.

This makes it more convenient to get more showings on a home, increasing the likelihood of the home sellling.
(A home will not sell if buyers can’t see it.)

I noticed a trend when we switched our system last time. Many homes that I took buyers to for showings did not have the UCAR approved boxes. Too many agents were choosing to use a cheaper “contractors” box that can be easily purchased at home improvement stores. These boxes can be opened by using a 4 digit number code. Agents that want to show these homes must call and get the code from the agent or sometimes these agents publish the code on the internet so we can get access. Once the code is learned, the home can be entered as often as desired and the listing agent may not know how many times the home has been showed by the same buyer’s agent.

Also, there have been documented cases around the country where the wrong people get access, somehow, to these “contractor” box codes and homes are being robbed and even gutted in some cases. Often, an agent has mulitple listings and uses the same code on all of them. Once one home is violated, several more usually follow.

The new approved Supra boxes store the key securely, can only be accessed by REALTORS® who own a computerized code key, keep a record of who uses the key to gain access to the home, and electronically informs the agent that his/her listing has been entered.

If your agent is not using the approved Supra boxes, you are not getting the necessary information about the number of showings on your home, and your valuables and your home are at risk! You should insist that your agent get a Supra box and use it for your home.  

If you are considering hiring an agent to sell your home, ask him/her if he/she uses the Supra keyboxes.

If they do not, that should be reason enough to consider using a different agent to list your home.





August 18, 2009

Are The Rich Paying Their Fair Share?

The top 1 % of taxpayers paid 40.4 % of the total income taxes collected by the federal government in 2007.  That is still the most recent data we have on this subject.

The share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 % exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 % of taxpayers combined.

That means that 1.4 million taxpayers pay a larger share of the income tax burden than the bottom 134 million taxpayers.

This data means the United States relies more heavily on the top 10 percent of taxpayers than does any nation and our poor people have the lowest tax burden of those in any other nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more…    and    more…





August 4, 2009

Curb Appeal

hidden-curb-appeal-2 

 

 

 

Things are gradually picking up  for homes under about $300,000 but there are still more homes for sale than buyers which means the competition is stiff for sellers.

By listing with me, you ensure your home will get more exposure to more buyers than you could possibly get on your own. Call me to talk about how I can do that.

If you need to sell your home, you need to make sure your home is the best home in it’s price range and make sure you do everything possible to give yourself the advantage over the competition.

Curb appeal is the first impression a buyer will have of your home. I’ve written other posts on this subject and I suggest you look them up to find more tips on what you can do to make your home stand out above the competition. 

This post, I want to address trees.  I have recently seen too many homes for sale that have little or no curb appeal because the home is hidden by too many or overgrown trees.  When you are living there, it may be comforting and peaceful to have the privacy a lot of trees can afford.

I love trees and it saddens me to cut them down, but when you need to sell your home, it is time to make some sacrifices to give yourself every advantage possible.

You need to stand on the curb or across the street from your home and decide if your trees and shrubs are enhancing the look of your home or hiding it. Sometimes, it may not be a matter of cutting down but maybe only trimming some of the branches to enhance the visibility.

When you list with me, I can give you an evaluation of your curb appeal and give you suggestions on what you can do to enhance it and get your home sold when so many others are sitting on the market.

Give me a call today.

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Community,Luxury Home Market,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 10:25 pm




July 10, 2009

Service

 I had a closing this week and when everything was all in place, the Buyer’s agent asked if I could swing by and give the Buyer the keys since he was out of town. I agreed, and when I showed up, the Buyers were there waiting for me.

I was giving them the keys and relaying one last message about the furnace from my Seller when they told me how everyone in this transaction had very nice things to say about me and added, “You must be a top-notch agent!”

I was so surprised that I think I stood for a second with my mouth open…wondering who said what and why. I came to the conclusion, as I mentally went through the last few weeks, that I had not done anything special which only added to my astonishment.

I was very touched as I drove home thinking about how we seem to influence others even when we don’t realize we are. In spite of how touched I felt, I couldn’t pinpoint anything special that would have made me stick out.

I had offered my standard, professional services, as usual. That is it.

I mentioned this experience to a co-worker who commented that, unfortunately, there are enough bad agents out there that when an agent like me comes along, someone that conducts themselves professionally, it stands out.

I think that is a sad commentary for our industry. I am sure that most client-service based industries can probably say the same thing.

I for one, plan to continue to offer the best, most professional service I can.

 

If you are planning to buy or sell in the near future, please give me a call.





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