Tag Archives: real estate

2521 Loganberry Circle – Seabrook, Tx

EXCITING GEODESIC DOME HOME! ULTRA-MODERN WITH HIGH END FINISHES, SOARING CEILINGS! 4 BEDROOMS & STUDY IN MAIN HOUSE WITH GARAGE APARTMENT EFFICIENCY ALSO! ANOTHER APPX 3000 SQ.FT. BUILDING HOUSES A 1750 SQ.FT. 2 BR, 2.5 BATH LUXURY APARTMENT WITH FULL GORGEOUS KITCHEN & LIVING AREA!   A 3RD DOME IS A HUGE ENCLOSED PATIO! STUNNING! SITUATED ON 1.3 FENCED ACRES, THIS EXCITING HOME IS NOT ONLY STUNNING BUT UNIQUE! YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS PLACE!

see this house on YouTube!

Staging your home to Sell in Summer!

Any home stager will tell you that “staging is staging” and the principals remain the same throughout the year—keep things clean, clutter free and colorful. But that doesn’t each season comes without its own brand of staging magic.

For summer, there are a number of things you can do both inside and outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Barb Schwarz, creator of Homes Staging® and CEO of Stagedhomes.com, suggests adding splashes of color to your porch with potted flowers. She favors larger pots placed on each side of the front door bearing tulips or daisies with greenery in the middle.

Bringing spring colors into a home is just as easy, especially with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.

“Change accessories and the whole house changes,” Schwarz said. Swap-out decorative pillows on a sofa for a fresh, new look. “This year nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”

Designers recommend using other knickknacks that speak of spring, such as pears, eggs, sea shells, nature, leaf patterns in fabrics, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast.

Schwarz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office. She recently changed a den from a daisy pattern in blue to cream plain panels that went from ceiling to the floor “and the whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.

Of course, all rooms in the house are important and there are ways to liven up each one as the spring season blooms. You want the buyer to buy the whole house, not just one or two rooms staged, so it’s important to create a cohesive design.

Yet don’t forget your “great outdoors.” Clean up your yards, remove fallen leaves and dead plants, and trim bushes and hedges.

Indeed, spring brings more buyers so take advantage of all that the season has to offer.

We can refer you to our own staging and remodeling folks if you prefer not to do it yourself!  Should your home need more than just staging, a bit of cleanup could mean replacing your carpet or changing out the old tired tile in the baths.

We are Sell This Place Now.com and  BuyThisPlaceNow.com!   We can help you if you are buying or selling!

Call us at 713.818.0829

 

 

Home Staging Should Include the Male Perspective

Professional home stagers consult with homeowners on ways to sell their homes quickly and for the most money possible, but often lost in the design process is the fact that men are involved in buying decisions as well.

When having your home staged, it’s important to remember to appeal to both sexes and do some things that will pique a man’s interest just as much as a woman’s.

Professional stagers take into account buyer demographics, buying psychology, and utilize design elements in planning out the rooms and space and the use of lighting and its effect on the space. Don’t be afraid to let them know if the home is leaning too far on the woman’s side.

Women tend to look for cozier settings or rooms that facilitate intimate conversations, while males gravitate toward rooms with gadgets, televisions and electronics.

Open spaces and higher ceilings are also a draw for men as psychologically they have a larger sense of personal space. Professional stagers with men in mind try to create rooms where a man can feel as if he can walk through the house easily without stepping around all sorts of furniture.

When it comes to men, the garage and yard tend to be high up on the priority list, so it’s important to get these areas as perfect as possible.

Garages that have painted walls, clean floors and enough storage for various male-oriented hobbies will impress. Shelf space is almost always looked at as a good thing here and a place to hang tools or a workbench would make a fine addition to attract male buyers. And remember, an empty garage looks much bigger than one with a car parked in it.

With the yard, showcasing a well-maintained lawn will help sell the male. Thick, healthy grass, minimal bushes to trim and easy to clean garden beds will meet the landscaping criterion the male buyer looks for.

Appealing to both sexes when staging and selling a home requires an emotional investment that will pay off in the end for all parties, just don’t forget that men need a connection, too.

At SellThisPlaceNow, we can guide you in getting your home professionally staged. Call us today at 713.818.0829

Norman Frenk can be reached at 713.818.0829.

Why YOUR home did not sell….

 

home1I have been selling Real Estate for 25+ years and I have taken over and sold more than my fair share of “expired” listings – those homes other Realtors had that could not or would not be sold during their original listing term – and for all these years I had the duty to find out why the home did not sell and turn the marketing around to overcome the thoughts that this may now be a stale listing.

How I did this is somewhat proprietary, but I can tell you that it takes a lot of marketing. And therein (marketing and how to apply it to your home) lies the difference between the services of a great marketing Realtor and that of the average Realtor.

If your home was marketed by another Realtor / firm and is not selling or did not sell you may ask: How much marketing was done to ensure the sale of the home?  MLS? Flyers? Real Estate Book? Open House?

Frankly, very few homeowners know how much (or how little) their Realtors really do in actual marketingDo you think you received more marketing or more excuses?

Over my 23+ years, I have developed a list of why homeowners became dissatisfied with their Realtors. Simply e-mail me from this site and I’ll send you the list..

There is much more marketing that we do that gets your home out there to 97+ websites and in front of thousands or hundreds of thousands of potential buyers and their Realtors.  One of the best is personal contact.  Having sold for 23+ years, I have developed quite a list of buyers, sellers and other prospects.  Whereas I use the trendy “social media” (10,000 twitter followers, for example – www.twitter.com/normanfrenk, www.twitter.com/sellthisplace) ), I still rely on the good old fashioned face-to-face and telephone marketing to qualify leads personally.

There are 3 reasons that YOUR home did not sell:

1) Price

2) Location

3) Marketing / Staging

Within these 3 categories are sub-categories.  Such as:  if you own a home that floods occasionally and flood insurance rates are high you have a combination of 1 and 2 above but as such, there is only one factor that is in your control: Price.  The value of a home that floods or is in a flood zone that is not optimal is less than one that does not have this noted problem.

GIven, however, that your home is in a subdivision, for example, and does not back to a busy road or have other problems and that the location of the neighborhood is desirable we are left with items 1 and 3 to contend with.  Poor marketing, staging, upkeep will certainly affect price. The staging and upkeep of the property are the Listing Agents’ responsibilities as it is incumbent upon them to ensure that the sellers are aware of what needs to be done to get the home sold.

Keep in mind:  “Price cures all Objections”.   This simply means that any home will sell at some price.  A home – no matter what condition will sell at the right price – whether it backs to a busy highway or has flooded or has not been updated.

75%+ agents do NOT give homeowners the guidance with regards to how the property should look in comparison to the competition and 50% of those that do have little knowledge about design and how to make a home stand out in the crowd.  That would leave approximately 12.5% of the agents that not only give the homeowners advice as to how to ensure their home stands out, but also give the correct advice.*

Was your agent one of the only 12.5%?

Norman Frenk, M.B.A., I.R.E.S.  of the Frenk Team at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – Gary Greene Realtors has not only successfully re-marketed homes but personally has shown homeowners how to stage homes – in many cases with reasonable effort – to ensure a sale. Additionally, while working for many years with interior designers, stagers, painters and other trades people from within the remodeling industry, has recently applied to become certified himself by the American Society of Interior Designers (A.S.I.D.).

It takes more than a yard sign, lockbox, flyers and an open house to sell a home.  It takes more than a weaker agent willing to give up their commission because that is all the know-how they have.  It takes knowledge of the market, knowledge of design and ability to fight for your home and negotiate.

You don’t have to wait to call us to re-market your home – call us in the first place!

see other posts on this blog site to find out about Staging Mistakes, Why Discount Brokerage may NOT save you money at all, How to Sell a House & so much more!

 

* data compiled over last 23 years in the industry from homeowners whose home did not sell with their previous listing Realtor. Data from 1992-2016.

 

 

Will my Home Sale close on Schedule?

That’s the million dollar question these days.   Everyone needs to schedule their move.  Sellers have to have the movers and buyers have to have their funds to close.

What happens when the bank can’t get the papers done or there are still conditions to be met?  Closing is delayed.  And how many closings are delayed?  Actually, in the real world, about 50% to 60% of the loans close on time.  Others may be a day late, a week late or even several weeks late.

Who is responsible for charges incurred if a buyer does not close on the home on time?   Well, we’d like to say the buyer because 9 out of 10 times it is the buyer’s mtg company that delays the closing due to various reasons (buyer did not get paperwork to them in time, underwriting came up with new requirements, appraisal wasn’t ordered because buyer and seller were still negotiating repairs, etc.), but that is not always the case and here’s why:

IF a closing goes past the agreed upon date, neither party is obliged to close.  It is wise to get an amendment to the contract immediately upon knowledge that a closing will not take place as scheduled.  IF it is a seller’s market – the seller could demand that the buyer pay for holding costs of the home until the closing date.  IF it is a buyer’s market, the seller would probably not be negotiating from a position of strength in asking the buyer to pay.   In either case, without a signed amendment, the seller is perfectly within his right to sell the home to another party and buyer is perfectly within his right not to close (unless he had something to do with the closing delay such as failure to get documents to the mtg company in a timely fashion, etc.)

 

 

Short Sale Guidelines are Making a Difference

 The theory behind short sales seems simple enough: If a homeowner owes more money on a house than the house can sell for, and the homeowner is struggling to pay the mortgage, the lender will allow the house to be sold for less than is owed. For obvious reasons, lenders are not big fans of short sales and often make it a complicated process. In April 2010, The Home Affordable Alternatives Program (HAFA) released new guidelines designed to streamline the short-sale process and allow more delinquent homeowners to sell their homes and move on with their lives. In its first year, participating servicers initiated 12,266 HAFA agreements and completed 5,447 transactions. According to the National Association of Realtors, the share of distressed homes—bank-owned properties and pre-foreclosure short sales— in April 2011 dropped to 37% of total sales volume, down from 40% in March and an average of 39% over the first quarter. HAFA complements the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a loan modification program designed to reduce delinquent and at-risk borrowers’ monthly mortgage payments by providing alternatives for borrowers who don’t qualify for or don’t complete a trial modification. “[HAFA short-sale guidelines] are designed to help people who are unable to keep their home under the HAMP loan modification program,” said Jeff Lischer, managing director for regulatory policy for The National Association of Realtors. “Let’s say you can’t keep your property under HAMP, the next step is a short sale, which is better than a foreclosure.” It’s estimated that lenders lose about 40% of a property’s value on a foreclosure, whereas the figure is reduced to about 19% on a short sale. Moreover, the short sale is a graceful exit from the ownership, which is better for people’s credit scores. New rules also add incentives for the short-sale process. One incentive helps sellers relocate by providing them with $3,000 for moving expenses. A second incentive is for mortgage servicers, who receive $1,500 from the federal government for each completed short sale. Under new guidelines, homeowners can secure a short sale approval in advance from the bank representing a minimum net amount the bank will accept. Lenders participating in the HAFA program maintain the following requirements for homeowners considering short sale: The loan must be less than $729,750, made before Jan. 1, 2009, and the home must be the owner’s primary residence. Also, the homeowner must be delinquent and unable to pay the mortgage, and the homeowner’s mortgage payment must be more than 31% of his or her before-tax income.

Call Norman Frenk at 713.818.0829 today to get more information on short selling your home.

Using “Feng Shui” for Balance & Broader Appeal

The ancient philosophy of feng shui, which translates as “the wind and the water,” is the Chinese art of correct placement. In real estate, those who prescribe to feng shui believe that home sales can be better achieved by arranging furniture and décor to establish harmony and energy. “In feng shui we evaluate a house and its property for sufficient qi (pronounced chee), the living energy of all beings, but also for the land and even a house,” says Werner Brandmaier, a consultant at the Institute of Feng Shui & Geopathology in Portland, Maine. “When there’s not enough qi, it means the whole land energy is low or depressed and that influences potential buyers.” Feng shui promotes well-being by rearranging how qi (energy) flows through a home. Brandmaier recommends before placing your house on the market to find out more about its qi. Is there tension in the house and is the property cluttered? Do people feel exhausted in the house? Are the plants doing well? A careful assessment can make a big difference. Feng shui begins with the homeseller, who must be at peace with the decision to place the home on the market. Likewise, feng shui is important for many prospective buyers, who seek a home with harmony and balance. In feng shui, energy enters the house through the front door so it’s important that the entryway stands out with contrasting paint. Add decorative plants and a wind chime, but make sure this space is free from clutter. “The perfect entry is one that is clear of obstruction,” says Robin Andrews, a feng shui expert in Los Angeles. “This includes trimming back all hedges and making sure that the path to your door is clear, open and well defined.” Bedrooms are considered sanctuaries for privacy and peace. Andrews suggests placing objects in pairs throughout the master bedroom as it’s thought to increase marital harmony and balance. “You also want to place the bed in the position that has the most commanding view of the doorway, which is considered the gateway of the qi,” Andrews says. “We are in a vulnerable state while sleeping and it is important that this area affords our being safe and supported.” In the kitchen, where energy is imparted in food, the chef’s station should always face the door for a clear view of those who enter. Throughout the home, remove photos and other personal items so potential buyers can see the property as a clean, fresh start. And since earthy, pleasant aromas enhance feng shui, add cinnamon or pine scents to the home before potential homebuyers’ arrival. One last thought: It’s also believed that “For Sale” signs are more effective when placed on the right side of the front door, since that is considered the yang, or energetic, side of the house. Feng shui is all about drawing harmony and good health into your life and surroundings. With these simple steps you can bring your home into better balance and broader appeal.

Sell This Place Now!!!

Promote Your Page Too

!!!! Make Your Offer Stand Out !!!!!

            Real estate consumers are realizing that there has rarely been a better time to buy a home. In fact, historically low mortgage rates coupled with lower home prices have even sparked bidding competition in markets around the country.

A good home in a solid location may attract ample attention only hours after being listed. Home buyers can make their offers stand out from the rest through one or more of the following strategies:

            Price. Obviously, price tends to be the primary consideration for sellers. When you’re competing for a home, to get an edge, think about adding a clause stating that you will beat the highest offer by “x” dollars up to “x” amount. Cash offers can be more attractive to sellers as well. Although sellers will receive their money at closing whether buyers pay with cash or take out a loan, cash offers don’t require lender approval.

Financing. It’s not enough to be pre-qualified. Pre-qualification only tells how much you can afford. Pre-approval goes a step further. Your lender will thoroughly evaluate your application—including verifying employment information and financial disposition—then clear you for a loan of a determined amount. Having your loan pre-approved gives you a sizeable advantage by putting you on equal footing with cash buyers.

Good Faith Deposit. Buyers offering a larger-than-customary amount of “earnest money,” a deposit that accompanies an offer, may get a seller’s attention. By committing more money up front, buyers demonstrate greater sincerity and motivation to close the transaction. Your real estate professional can guide you as to the appropriate sum for your specific transaction.

            Contingencies. Consider minimizing contingencies, those clauses that allow buyers to back out of a contract if certain conditions are not met. For example, it’s common for buyers to make the purchase contingent upon their securing satisfactory financing. Obviously, offers with the fewest conditions tend to be more attractive to sellers.

From a contingency standpoint, first-time buyers are often better prospects for a seller’s home than move-up buyers. That’s because first-time buyers’ offers are not contingent upon the sale of a present home. Even if a move-up buyer has an offer in hand, that buyer’s offer may be contingent on another contingency, and so on down the line. If one transaction derails, they all might.

            Relationship. Help the seller get to know and identify with you by looking for ways to connect. Find common interests, such as a shared appreciation of gardening. You can then persuade the seller that her prize roses will be well tended. Share brief family stories. The more the seller gets to know and like you, the better chance your offer will stand out in a competitive environment. 

            Considerations for Short-sale and Foreclosure Transactions – Bank-owned properties represent a significant portion of today’s housing inventory. Competition can be most keen for these homes as their prices can run 10% to 20% below current market value.

            Banks conduct extensive research to set these prices and generally base them on current market value less the cost of required repairs. Make your offer based on your own check of comparable sales and other due diligence. Banks won’t get offended by a low offer, yet a realistic offer will more likely keep you in the running.

            Remember, patience is essential when buying bank-owned property as the process can take up to six months and longer.   

 

Home Not Selling? It’s Not Personal, It’s Probably Price

 

 

 Home sellers face a new reality as they look to move up, down, in or out of their American dream in today’s market. Consumers, particularly those who purchased their homes within the last five years, often find their options limited by a lack of equity. Those who can sell are sometimes numbed by deflated home prices and find it difficult to justify yesterday’s valuations with today’s reality.

            Many home sellers have dug in on price hoping to lose no additional ground. Others seem to have taken this market personally, letting emotions override analysis when setting price. Buyer sentiment has shifted as well, centered on maximum value with abundant amenities – resulting in stalemates and homes languishing on the market.  Both sides should be realistic as comparable sales and local-market dynamics still determine fair-market value.

            And there are compelling reasons to be realistic and make a move now. Sellers, assuming their objective is to buy another home, can capitalize on some of the lowest mortgage interest rates on record and an inventory of homes at attractive prices. So while they will sell for less, they will also buy for less and with significantly cheaper borrowing costs.

  Of course, professional sales representation is essential this transitioning market or any other. The Prudential Real Estate Network, recently recognized for “Highest Overall Satisfaction for Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms” in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Home Buyer/Seller StudySM, is composed of true, local-market experts, like Norman Frenk, whose experience, analysis and consultation generates results in all market conditions.

As the local experts, we help set fair-market prices using factual reference points, such as an appraisal, comparables sales and personal knowledge to help estimate market value. Today, a house priced at or slightly below market value will attract the interest of real estate professionals and buyers, while overpricing chases them away. Even if the sellers adjust their prices later, it’s difficult to recapture buyer interest.

Sales professionals develop comprehensive marketing strategies to sell a home. They generally use open houses, yard signs, Internet exposure, MLS, newspaper ads, brochures and other means to market properties.

Beyond that, I counsel sellers on other conditions that may keep sellers’ homes on the market, including:

  • Condition and appearance. Sellers shouldn’t rely on buyers to use their imagination; they need to capture it. Remember that buyers may see seven or eight homes in a single day. The most memorable home will be the one that seemed the brightest, the most spacious, and the most cheerful. This invariably means rearranging and eliminating furniture, removing excess knickknacks and so on, to create an open, uncluttered look. Outside, do a visual check of the front of the house from across the street. Does it have curb appeal? It should look inviting, with a trimmed lawn and a freshly painted front door. A real estate professional can offer some guidance in this area.
  • Terms/conditions. Even if the home is accurately priced, and the buyer is delighted with what he or she sees, if the buyer can’t live with the terms of the sale, he or she may walk away. Keep an open mind on terms and conditions and evaluate how they may affect a potential sale.
  • Incentives. Offering incentives can be just the impetus a potential buyer needs a buyer needs to choose your property over others. Consider offering a carpet or paint allowance. If the buyer knows up front there is allowance for the worn carpet or paint, then may overlook those cosmetic flaws. You could pay for a professional home inspection or a home warranty, or pay closing costs.

Indeed, real estate opportunities abound for sellers and buyers who can come to terms with today’s market conditions. A qualified real estate professional will help you navigate the market, protect your interests and keep you moving toward your housing dreams.

             Norman Frenk can be reached at (713) 818-0829. Prudential Gary Greene Realtors is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Short Sales

Many people have asked me, “What are short sales” and “how can that help me sell my home”?  

Simply put, a short sale is selling your home for less than you owe including sales expenses and not having to bring any money to closing. 

Sounds simple, right?   Not so fast.   Your mortgage company has to approve the process which could take months.  In fact, I had one sale that was signed in April 2010 and finally closed in Dec. 2010!    The good thing is that the seller was able to sell his home, the buyers were able to purchase it for less than the seller originally purchased it 2 years earlier and the Realtors got paid for putting the transaction together.  A long and tedious process, yes – but also beneficial to all parties.

If you are in a hurry to buy and move into a home, a short sale may not be for you.  If you are a seller, however, and do not have the cash to cover the difference owed, this may work for you.

Keep in mind that the seller’s mortgage company will require documentation from BOTH the seller AND the buyer to ensure that the seller truly cannot afford the home and has no funds to pay the difference and that the buyer is not related to the seller.

Generally, in order for a short sale to be considered, a seller would have to have reason to request the short sale from the mortgage company and usually that seller would be behind on the payments, have no available cash and not earn enough to continue making the payments.  When all this is considered and approved, the bank may very well agree to reduce the amount of the principal owed on the loan enough to cover all expenses, taxes due, closing costs, etc. and allow the homeowner to walk away with owing $ zero yet receiving $ zero on the sale.

I have performed numerous short sales and can help you sell your home via short sale or buy a short sale home. I have put many buyers and sellers together on this type of transaction.  Call me today at 713.818.0829 to let me work for you.