Five Crucial Home Selling Decisions if You Want to Sell in 2015

Five Crucial Home Selling Decisions if You Want to Sell in 2015

If you’re planning on selling your home in 2015 there are five crucial decisions that can help you maximize your sale price, get your home sold quickly and do it all without the mountain of stress that often comes with the sale of your home.

Decision #1 – Decide to prepare sooner than later. Home sellers who wait until spring to get their home “ready” are already behind the curve. The real estate year is in full swing by February 1st and homes that sell quickly and for top dollar during the “selling season” are the homes where the owner had a plan, got their home ready, staged, and listed early in the year.

Decision #2 – Decide to prepare yourself emotionally. Selling your home can be very emotional. When you receive an offer for less than you think your home is worth, it generates a whole host of negative emotions. You can feel angry, frustrated, and think everyone is trying to steal your home from you.

Well, they’re not. Buyers just want to know they’re getting the best price. We all feel similar when we make a big purchase. So be careful to manage your emotions. And if you get a “low-ball” offer rely on the help of a trusted professional. A good agent can often gently negotiate the price into a range where everyone wins. The key is to keep your emotional swings in check.

Decision #3 – Be realistic and price your home accordingly. One of the big keys to getting your home sold quickly, for the most money, is pricing it correctly. If you price your home too high, thinking you’ll “test the market,” it can be costly. Your home can sit on the market too long and get labeled as a “no-need-to-show” because you’re viewed as being unrealistic.

You see it all the time. Sellers think they are going to “hold out” and get a better price. Well, you need to consider how soon you want to sell? The reality is you can get just about any price you want if you’re willing to wait long enough. If you wait 5-7 years your home will very likely sell for a more than it will today. But if you want to sell in 90-120 days for top dollar, pricing is a crucial issue that you should discuss at length with a trusted real estate professional.

Decision #4 – Reconcile reality quickly. This is somewhat similar to decision #2, but it’s actually more practical and actionable. Emotions can be hard to define and control, like in point #2. But what is fairly easy to judge is your market’s numbers, and the realities of value.

Agents always hear things like, “But my home has this, this and this. Therefore it should be worth a lot more.” In theory that’s somewhat true. However, the reality you have to be prepared to reconcile is, if people won’t pay more for those things, it doesn’t make your home worth more.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to soften you up so you give your home away. The goal is to help you get the highest possible price, in the shortest time, with the fewest hassles. But something that’s very important to deal with is reality, not wishful thinking. Wishful thinking backs tens of thousands of home sellers into very difficult positions every year.

Having a clear objective view of reality, as well as a trusted professional to help guide you through the emotional ups and downs, can help you avoid a massive mountain of emotional stress, while your home just sits on the market.

My encouragement is, prepare yourself for the true realities, while maintaining high standards throughout the process. It’s a balancing act that with the help of a trusted professional can be far easier to navigate.

Decision #5 – Trust your gut. When interviewing agents there are few things more important than a deep level of trust between you and the agent you choose to represent you. And trust comes in two crucial parts. The first is professional competency.

To trust someone with what is likely the single biggest financial transaction of your life, you need to have confidence that the agent you choose has the skillstechnology and ability to fight hard and win what’s in your best interests. That’s why choosing someone just because they’re a “friend of the family” isn’t always the best choice.

The second layer of trust is personal. When you work with someone on something as important as the sale of your home, you need to know you can trust that person personally.

You need to feel a deep sense of confidence that your agent puts your needs in front of their own. It’s not about flash and glitter, or how many homes that agent sold. What’s important is, “Can I trust this person with my financial future?”

That’s where “listen to your gut” comes in. most of us can sense authenticity and integrity. It comes out in many ways and generally when you’re in the presence of it you know in your gut. Sometimes the person might be a little quirky, other times they’re not, but again it’s not about flash and charisma.

The bottom line, choose someone you trust on both a professional and personal level and “go with your gut.”

I hope you found these suggestions helpful. Selling your home is a life altering series of decisions. The better prepared you are to make those decisions effectively, the better the end result.

And as always, if there is anything at all I can do to help you, please feel free to call me at 1-916-804-3500. The conversation is always free and you’re under no obligation of any kind. My entire objective in our conversation is always to help you in any way that I can.

Open house on Sat 3/15/14

Open house Sat 3/15/14

2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

 3347 Zorina Way, Sacramento, CA 95826

Three bedroom two bath home in desirable neighborhood. Separate Living room and Family room. Central heating and air conditioning. Very nice covered patio in backyard. Seller asking only $199,900!

Can’t make the open house call me for your private viewing:

Realty World The Justice Team

Scarlett Justice/00880852



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Thinking of investing in Real Estate instead of the Stock market?

Hyderabad Properties - Real Estate India - Sil...

So, you are thinking of investing in real estate instead of the stock market? Decisions, decisions! How do you make the decision? Well, maybe I can help.

Historically real estate typically appreciates 3 to 5 percent a year. I know real estate a few years ago was appreciating 24% a year but that was not a normal market and could not continue. Buyers were over reaching  just trying to get into the market before they were priced out and taking on loans they figured they could refinance out of in a few years. Well, we all know what happened next. The real estate market declined and declined by about 40 percent sometimes even more. 

 So, here  in todays market we have VERY affordable prices for entry level homes, which make great rental properties. You want to try to find a home that is your typical three bedroom or more two bath home in a nice neighborhood at an affordable price. No swimming pool, because tenants typically don’t know how or won’t take care of a swimming pool.

When investing in rental property, you need to have a 20 percent down payment, unless you purchase a HomePath property or a HUD property then you only need a 10 percent down payment. You can determine if a property “pencils out” as they say, by making some simple calculations.

Take your annual anticipated cash flow from the rental property, deduct your mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, an eight percent management fee if you are going to have a property manager and a five percent vacancy factor if the property is vacant for a month or for repairs and this figure is called your “cash on cash” return or net spendable income. To figure cash on cash as a percentile, divide your annual cashflow by the down payment amount. If this percentage is greater than your return in the stock market then investment property may be right for you. 

You may think well, “I can manage the property myself and save the 8% the management company would charge me.” Don’t do it, especially if this is your first rental property. I would highly recommend spending the 8 percent management fee to have a management company handle the property for you. Their services are invaluable. They run credit checks on the tenant, collect the rents and then forward them to you. They take care of any maintenance issues. Who wants to get the call in the middle of the night that there is a backed up toilet? Let the management company handle it for you, it’s a small price to pay.

Hopefully, you will take that next step after homeownership and invest in real estate. It is a great long term investment for your retirement and it really can make you wealthy.  

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Low cost upgrades can cut energy bills

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By Greta Guest

RISMEDIA, October 15, 2010–(MCT)–Jodie Mekled is looking forward to cheap utility bills this winter.

The retail worker from Sterling Heights, Mich., could pay as little as $40 a month for natural gas thanks to energy-efficient home improvements made through Habitat for Humanity.

The nonprofit group recently completed a rehab on a foreclosed home in Sterling Heights that Mekled will close on and move into this month with her two sons. She was living with her parents when she found out about the city’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program and applied.

The 900-square-foot home has achieved LEED certification, which measures how well a house performs in eight areas including water efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

It’s the first LEED-certified home the Macomb County, Mich., Habitat for Humanity has built.

The home features bamboo flooring on the first floor, spray cellulose to insulate the walls, recycled paper countertops, bamboo cabinets in the kitchen, a solar tube in the kitchen ceiling that reflects light from the sun and moon into the home and low-flow plumbing.

“I love the bathroom. I love my kitchen,” said Mekled, 41, who helped retrofit the home through hundreds of volunteer hours. The bathroom features recycled glass tile and porcelain tiles.

Brandon McCullough, field operations manager for Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, said less-expensive energy upgrades are becoming more common. Such improvements include added insulation, rain barrels and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

McCullough said the three-bedroom, one-bath home was in bad shape. It had to be stripped down to the studs.

“It’s cool because you take a blighted house in the neighborhood and make it into something cool,” McCullough said.

Features such as the solar tube installed in the kitchen ceiling help reduce the electric bill without costing much. The tube retails for $160. A tankless hot water heater cost about $565 for the unit and $500 to $1,000 to install. It reduces energy use by not having to constantly heat a tank of water.

The rain barrels collect about 300 gallons of water from the roof that is then used to water the landscaping. The 55-gallon drums were purchased online and then fitted with spigots from Lowe’s, McCullough said.

While new homebuilding has slowed, some builders continue to have success in green building, said Rich Kogelschatz, owner of Heartland Builders in Rockford, Mich. He has been building energy-efficient homes since 2002 and builds six to nine a year.

“I can tell you that my customers want it and are coming to me for it,” he said.

Using an energy-efficient feature like an insulated foundation costs about $1,000 to $1,500, he said. Adding an energy recovery ventilator is about $1,500. It brings fresh air into a house, which is important when it is sealed tightly.

He said energy-efficient windows and appliances are almost standard today for most builders. But features such as a geothermal system are more expensive, ranging from $6,000 to $10,000 and are in just half of the homes Kogelschatz builds.

Geothermal heat pumps collect natural heat from the earth through a series of pipes called a loop. Fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the house.

The system pays for itself within five years based on average utility bills.

“Our customers ask for it, so it isn’t a tough sale,” Kogelschatz said.

Federal tax credits for buying an energy-efficient product or renewable energy system for your home are available. Here are some examples of what’s covered by the various credits. For more information, go to

The tax credit gives you 30% of the cost up to $1,500 for:

  • biomass stoves
  • heating, ventilating, air-conditioning
  • insulation
  • roofs (metal and asphalt)
  • water heaters (non solar)
  • windows and doors

The credit expires Dec. 31 and applies only to existing homes and principal residences.

A tax credit of 30% with no upper limit is for:

  • geothermal heat pumps
  • small wind turbines
  • solar energy systems

The credit expires Dec. 31, 2016, and applies to new and existing homes. Principal residences and second homes qualify, but not rental properties.

(c) 2010, Detroit Free Press.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


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HAFA Relief

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Some of the pain of short sales may start to wain. The potential salve comes from the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program. It is designed to help homowners who couldn’ keep their home under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)

If the program works as planned, listing, selling and closing will get streamlined and documents will get streamlined for all parties, making short sales less excruciating than they are now for all parties. This new program runs until 12/31/2012.

HAFA eligibility is as follows:

  • Property must be borrower’s principal residence
  • It must be a first lien mortgage originated prior to 1/1/2009
  • The mortgage is delinquent or delinquency is reasonabley foreseable
  • The unpaid principal balance is no more thatn $729,750 for single family residences. Higher limits for duplexes or multi family properties.
  • Borrower’s total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31 percent of their gross income
  • After notification of potential HAFA eligibility, borrower have 14 days to request HAFA consideration.
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