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Three Reasons Why For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in the Triangle Probably Won’t Save Money

FFR- Dec 15 Pic- MarkMoz12The average Triangle homeowner who is considering selling a home without help probably isn’t dreaming of becoming the next top real estate agent. People soon realize that it is very challenging to guide a parade of strangers through their home, giving up entire weekends to host open houses, or conducting heated and stressful negotiations with buyers, agents, or the ever present attorney. People marketing their homes as For Sale by Owner (FSBO) are looking for one thing: to save money for their next home.

The simple fact is that selling a home by owner probably won’t save much money.

Flat Fee Realty explains why with three important reasons:

  • Most sellers don’t know how commissions actually work: Usually, the commission charged by the listing agent (and typically paid by the seller from their proceeds) pays two agents. A portion of it is paid to the buyer’s agent, since most of the time (but not always), buyer’s agents work at no charge to their buyers. The commission split is typical for services rendered. This is a major area where FSBO’s will start to see their potential savings erode. Savings can be cut in half by simply offering a standard 2.5-3% commission to buyer’s agents.
  • Agents don’t work for free: Real estate agents are supposed to put the best interests of their clients first. This means that if an agent finds a home that is a fit for their clients, the amount of commission, or lack thereof, should not be a major ingredient. Unfortunately in practice, it doesn’t always work this way. Simply put, a seller who does not offer a commission to the buyer’s agent may just not get the home shown as often.
  • Look out for falling purchase prices: Lack of a seller-paid commission up front means that the commission becomes part of the ensuing negotiations, creating a potential headache (and maybe extra expense) for the buyer’s agent and their clients. Often, this translates to lower offers and ultimately a lower purchase price, because buyer’s will use the fact that they may now have to pay commission to their agent as a negotiation point to lower the purchase price of the house.

FSBO sounds like a great strategy in theory. Instead of using a real estate agent, sellers think they can save thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, this idea doesn’t go as planned for the vast majority of sellers, especially when potential buyers are represented by knowledgeable experienced agents.

Before deciding to sell by owner, it makes sense to sit down with an agent from Flat Fee Realty and discuss current market data and what to do next.

Want to level the playing field? Whether you’re considering selling on your own or just want to find out what your options are, give the agents at Flat Fee Realty a call today!

All of us wish the Happiest Holiday Season ever for everyone and a Prosperous New Year!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only. 

The Future of Real Estate! 

Flat Fee Realty 

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: MarkMoz12 / Foter / CC BY

Four Important Points Triangle Home Buyers Need to Know

FFR- Dec.1 Pic- JoeldindaIt happens all the time. A buyer is assessing the Triangle NC real estate listings, and comes across the perfect North Carolina home. It’s in a prime location, has an attractive and updated interior, and most importantly, comes at an amazing price. The buyer calls the real estate agent, ready to jump right in with an offer. Then, the enthusiasm stops. The listing description states “as is”. In the area of real estate, these two words can create a lot of confusion.

Here are four important points the Flat Fee Realty team believes buyers should know before purchasing a home sold in “as-is” condition:

  • Selling a home as-is benefits the seller, not the buyer: By listing a home as-is, the seller is telling buyers loud and clear that the house might have some costly repairs. Not only that, but selling “as-is” basically releases sellers from liability for the home’s condition.
  • Inspections are a must: Professional inspections are an essential part of any home purchase, but even more so when the home is listed “as-is”. It is perfectly legal for sellers to claim to have no knowledge of problems, usually indicated as “no representation” on the seller’s disclosure.
  • Know about risk tolerance: Even the best and most thorough inspections can’t guarantee a home will be problem-free, so buyers of “as-is” homes must have a degree of tolerance for the unknown. While purchasing an “as-is” home is risky, it really can often be an excellent decision.
  • Budget for repairs: Buyers of these homes should have either the cash available or the necessary skills to perform all types of repairs, major and minor. If a buyer doesn’t have one or both of these aspects, they may want to reconsider buying this type of home.

The consequences of buying a home listed in “as-is” condition (not to mention the meaning of the phrase itself) are often misunderstood, and the buying decision is sometimes clouded by the possibility of getting a fantastic deal on a new home. Regardless of whether a buyer is purchasing their first home or their fifth one, the experienced and professional agents at Flat Fee Realty can help navigate the risks inherent in every real estate transaction.

Are you looking for an real estate agent who will give you straight-to-the-point, unbiased information on all the homes you are considering? Give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: joeldinda/Foter/CC BY-NC-SA

 


 

4 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Buy Your Dream Home

Flat Fee RealtyThe housing market in North Carolina has stabilized and continues to be on the upswing! That’s great news for Triangle buyers and sellers who have been dreaming of selling their current home and moving up to the home they’ve always wanted. Current market numbers support those plans, and there has never been a better time to trade up.

Flat Fee Realty offers these four reasons why now is a great time to make a move:

  • There is strong demand from buyers: Purchasing a new home contingent on the sale of a current home can be troublesome. Luckily, pent up demand has flooded the market with buyers who are ready, willing, and able to buy. Sellers who wish to divest themselves of one home before purchasing another will have an easier time doing so right now.
  • There is less competition from sellers: Housing supply is still historically low. There are currently not enough homes on the market to satisfy all of the buyers. However, home values have risen, and many homeowners who previously wished to sell but couldn’t (due to negative equity situations) are now financially able to sell. More homes will be coming onto the market in a very short time.
  • Housing prices and mortgage rates are predicted to rise: The bottom of the real estate market has come and gone. Nonetheless, prices and interest rates are still relatively low, but will only remain so for a short time. Now is the time to lock in a low mortgage rate and take advantage of increased buying power. Waiting will end up costing more, in both down payment and mortgage payment.
  • It’s time to make a lifestyle change: There are many reasons to buy or sell a home, and when it comes down to it, most of them aren’t financial. Perhaps more space, a more desirable location, or a shorter commute to work or school are important. Sometimes, life necessitates a change regardless of what the real estate market is doing. Luckily, the numbers favor moving up at this time.

Selling one home while simultaneously buying another can be hectic and complex, and homeowners are often hesitant to put their families through the stress of a move. Flat Fee Realty wants homeowners to know that market conditions are excellent right now in terms of moving up to a dream home.

Are you looking for a great real estate agent to help you navigate the ups and downs? Give us a call today!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Flat Fee Realty

 


 

 

5 Tips for Selling a Home in the Triangle during the Holidays and the Winter Season

FFR - Nov 3 Pic - 100216603It’s no secret that the spring and summer are most popular seasons for real estate sales in the Triangle and Central Carolina area. Beautiful North Carolina weather and long daylight hours mean that homebuyers are out and about in full force. In contrast, most sellers will face a few challenges when placing a home on the market in the late fall or winter season. Flat Fee Realty wants sellers to be successful no matter what time of year they are selling.

Our FFR team suggests these five tips to sell quickly and for the most money, even during the slow seasons:

  • Invite buyers in out of the cold: Be sure to create a warm and inviting experience when showing the home. Make sure all lights are on, that the inside heat is comfortable, and even light the fireplace if possible. Consider using aromas that evoke relaxation, like cinnamon or apple pie.
  • Use the holiday season to an advantage: Appeal to buyer’s emotional side by helping them envision spending the holidays with their family in their new home. Stage the home with all-purpose holiday decorations, like potted poinsettias, twinkling white lights or evergreen garlands.
  • Consider a pre-listing inspection: A seller’s inspection brings any potential issues to light and allows for their resolution early on. The holiday season tends to prolong a closing process already prone to delays. Don’t let last minute maintenance issues postpone the transaction. Slower processes create buyer’s remorse.
  • Avoid liability: Winter weather can create hazardous conditions for buyers and sellers. Keeping steps and walkways snow and ice-free to prevent slips and falls. Protect against maintenance issues (like frozen pipes or falling tree limbs) to ensure the home remains in marketable shape.
  • Price correctly: Although winter buyers may be more motivated, there are definitely fewer of them. To attract the most buyers, start out with a realistic asking price. Remember, homes that undergo several price reductions usually sell for much less than if the home was priced correctly in the first place.

With the right sales strategy (and a great Flat Fee Realty Agent) winter can still be an excellent time to sell a home. Cool weather buyers tend to be more motivated, and there is less competition, since many Triangle sellers often take their homes off the market until the warmer months and spring. Regardless of when you sell, Flat Fee Realty wants all sellers to land the best deal possible, no matter the time of year.

Wondering if November and December are is the right months to sell? Give us a call today!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: ddpavumba, Freedigitalphotos.net

4 Approaches Good Real Estate Agents Use to Create Success

FFR- Oct 20 Pic-10051836The Triangle region of North Carolina is home to thousands of real estate agents. Although the vast majority of real estate agents are very good at what they do, there are certainly some agents who are below average in both honesty and professionalism. When looking for someone who represents the true interests of the buyer or seller, look for those who are truly great agents, good people, and top producers. What is it that separates the average from the great?

Flat Fee Realty offers four attributes to look for when choosing a real estate agent partner:

  • A great agent will tell the truth about price, even if a client doesn’t want to listen: Let’s say a buyer loves a particular house, gets into a bidding war, and wins. Good news, right? This is not necessarily true. Today, homes must be sold twice—to the buyer and to the bank. If the bank doesn’t agree (say, the home doesn’t appraise to the selling price), the deal is off. A great agent will recognize this in the beginning and prepare the client for alternatives.
  • A great agent anticipates instead of reacts: Professionals make a complex process look easy for the client. Pro-activity, anticipating challenges, and removing roadblocks are important factors in a stressful process. Good agents have the foresight that develops with time and experience. And while challenges might the norm for them, they never take their clients concerns too lightly.
  • A great agent will get the seller the most money possible for their home, even if it takes a little longer and requires more marketing: A great agent always puts their client first, even if it means more work and less commission. Setting the right price for a home doesn’t mean pricing it low enough to sell quickly (unless that’s what the seller wants). It means getting the most profit possible for the client, even if it takes more time and effort.
  • A great agent doesn’t just answer the phone when clients call; a great agent is the one doing the calling: Some agents complain about their clients constantly calling them. This, however, can mean that they are not giving the client enough information. Even if nothing is happening, the clients want to know that nothing is happening. Great agents never let silence speak for them.

Any one of the thousands of real estate agents in the Triangle can show homes, negotiate a deal, and close the transaction. However, when money (and sometimes stress) is on the line, go for the great, not the average. Flat Fee Realty strives for the best. It is what everyone needs in real estate as we head to 2015. We are the FUTURE OF REAL ESTATE.

Looking for a great agent to help you buy or sell? Give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

 

Photo: jannoon028, Freedigitalphotos.net


 

 

 

3 Ways Schools Affect Home Prices Here in the Triangle

FFR- Oct 6 Pic-10060061 pic 1 10-14The Triangle area is a hotbed for education here in North Carolina. With top-ranked public and private institutions, teaching hospitals, and world-class research centers, there’s no better place to live if education is a priority in a move or relocation. It’s not just post-secondary schools that get top billing in the Triangle; the local school districts are highly rated as well. Consider that four of the top 10 public high schools in North Carolina are in the Wake County School System, according to US News and World Report rankings.

How much do schools affect home prices? Let’s take a look at these statistics researched by Flat Fee Realty:

  • In a recent survey by Realtor.com, 91% of prospective homebuyers said that school district boundaries were an important part of their home search. 
  • That same survey found that over half of buyers are willing to boost their budgets for top quality schools, paying 6-30% more for a home within the boundaries of their desired school. 
  • Another recent study found that homes in areas with the best schools command about $50.00 more per square foot than homes in average districts.

Based on this information, buyers and sellers are correct in thinking that being in the right district can give their sales price or budgets a bump. But what is the “right” district? While a client’s first instinct might be to simply ask their real estate agent, they might not get the information they’re looking for. Many agents deflect questions about school quality to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the Fair Housing Act (this could be construed as steering). Instead, they point buyers and sellers to independent resources such as these:

  • For public schools, visit the National Center for Education Statistics, or the official site for NC Public Schools. 
  • For public, private, and independent schools, org has a lot of information. It also includes consumer reviews.

When buying or selling a home, everyone knows that location is paramount. And a significant part of this is the local school quality, even for buyers and sellers who do not have children.

Need help assessing the market value of your home? Give us a call! 

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only. 

The Future of Real Estate! 

Flat Fee Realty 

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: ddpavumba, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

The Independent Triangle 5 Step Seller’s Guide To Showing A Home

FFR- Sept 22 Pic- 10066250When a Triangle homeowner chooses to sell a home without the assistance of a real estate agent, they are usually looking to save money on an agent’s commission. However, independent sellers also understand that savings can sometimes be a challenge for the significant time and effort that must be spent to market and sell the home. One of the many necessary tasks is showing the home to interested buyers and their agents.

To make the most of each and every showing, independent sellers in North Carolina should follow these five tips from Flat Fee Realty:

  • Set the stage: When it comes to making an excellent first impression on buyers, nothing beats a well-staged home. Make sure the entire home is clean and in good repair, but don’t stop there. Consider taking an uninvolved person (like a neighbor) through the home to get a different perspective. For more staging advice, read our blog post on the topic here.
  • Give prospective buyers space: Resist the urge to tag along, rattling off a list of the home’s features. A home will sell itself without any persuasion by the owner, and heavy selling is a turnoff to buyers. Stay at a respectable distance and be available for questions, but otherwise let buyers lead the way.
  • Point out “hidden” features: While there’s no need to state the obvious (“this is the kitchen…”), feel free to draw attention to upgrades that aren’t readily visible. For example, maybe the air conditioning system was recently replaced, or the master bath has thermal floors.
  • Ask for feedback: Sellers can learn from every showing. However, buyers can be reluctant to give feedback (especially if it’s negative) directly to a seller. To encourage buyers to linger, consider leaving a stack of preprinted questionnaires or a guestbook in the kitchen next to a bowl of candy or snacks.
  • Reconsider open houses: Open houses can add to a home’s exposure, but there’s little hard data suggesting that they regularly lead to sales. Agents typically hold open houses because clients expect them to, and to bring themselves more business (by offering their services to unrepresented buyers and sellers who attend). So, if you don’t have the time or inclination to host an open house, don’t stress about it.

Selling a home independently requires a seller to wear many hats. Sellers become a sales, marketing, and customer service team. If it sounds overwhelming, well, sometimes selling a home is just that. For homeowners who want to sell by owner, or those looking for a full service partner, Flat Fee Realty can do what it takes to get a home sold. Give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

 

Photo: Renjith Krishnan, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

3 Must-Use Apps for Triangle Home Buyers and Sellers

FFR-100266681-freedigitalphotosAccording to the 2013 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 92% of respondents used the Internet to support the buying and selling process. Over 90% of those individuals also retained the important services of a real estate agent. Real estate agents provide an irreplaceable and invaluable service, but even the best agent simply can’t be with each buyer or seller 24/7.

Flat Fee Realty wants buyers and sellers to be confident in every decision they make.

When researching the North Carolina real estate market, try one of the following three apps guaranteed to enhance your buying or selling experience:

  • Check out any house, anytime, anywhere: Useful for both buyers and sellers, Homesnap (for Apple and Android) lets users take a photo of any home and get basic details about the property. It also estimates a range for which the property will most likely sell, suggests similar listings, and shows recent nearby sales. For potential investors, Homesnap even scores the property on its potential to produce cash flow.
  • Get the latest information on any neighborhood: AroundMe lets users (of both Apple and Android devices) in on many neighborhood features that they wouldn’t typically find in an MLS listing. It searches for amenities of all kinds like parks, hospitals, coffee shops, banks, movie theaters, and more. Buyers can use the app to find out if an unfamiliar neighborhood might meet their needs, while sellers can boost the desirability of their listing by drawing attention to local businesses and amenities.
  • Brush up on your real estate vocabulary: If a seller chooses our Flat Fee Marketing Plan (as opposed to our full-service listing package), they’ll be shouldering some of the listing responsibility themselves. Download the Dictionary of Real Estate Terms to stay in the know and level the playing field with experienced buyers and agents. This particular app is for Apple devices only, but similar versions exist for Android.

The Internet can be a great resource for buyers and sellers to stay connected to their local real estate market. However, the sheer amount of data available can trigger an information overload, adding uncertainty to a process that already has its share of confusion. Have questions about buying or selling? Give Flat Fee Realty a call and let us help you get started.

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Flat Fee Realty Knows Money Matters: 4 Top Financial Tips for Homebuyers in The Triangle

FFR- 401K2913- FoterFor many people here in the Triangle, purchasing a home is one of life’s largest financial transactions. For this reason, it literally pays to consider all of the possible risks and rewards, and to plot a careful and deliberate course of action.

Following these four tips from Flat Fee Realty will help Triangle-area homebuyers keep financial goals in focus:

  • Be ready to put down roots: When investing in a home, a good rule of thumb is to plan to stay for at least four years. With all the transaction costs involved (obvious and otherwise) there’s a decent chance money would be lost if an earlier move was necessary. Even if the home does manage to appreciate in a short time, paying a capital gains taxwill likely be required if less than two years have passed.
  • Consider the resale value: Look for a home that works for a wide of buyers in terms of size, layout, and location (typically the top selling factor). Choose an area with quality schools (even if there’s not kids in the picture) and within a reasonable proximity to main roads, shopping centers, and cultural amenities. Know what is important to buyers in the local real estate market.
  • Lay the groundwork: Obtain a credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Review them carefully because errors are not uncommon. Resolve any issues with the reporting agency, and start a few months in advance of a mortgage application (these agencies tend to move slowly). In the meantime, continue to make on-time payments and keep all debt to credit ratios below 30%.
  • Get professional help: Exclusive buyer’s agents (like those at Flat Fee Realty) represent only the buyer’s best interests during the transaction. Thanks to the Internet, homebuyers have access to an unprecedented (and often overwhelming) amount of data and tools. However, the real estate market is actually hyper-local, and a well-versed Flat Fee Realty agent can most effectively interpret the myriad of information.

While no one can guarantee an absolutely seamless transaction, the dedicated agents at, Flat Fee Realtycan help both new and experienced buyers make financially sound decisions. If you are looking to make a move, give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo credit: 401(K) 2013 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

5 Top “Super Secret” Home Buying Tips in the Triangle

FFR  Pic 1 august 14When it comes to purchasing real estate in the Triangle, there are a few truths even the most inexperienced home buyers in Raleigh-Durham know. Making location a top priority and cleaning up credit reports are on the list, but first-time buyers need to be savvier than ever before.

The following five “under the radar” tips are brought to you by Flat Fee Realty and are guaranteed to give buyers an edge as they look for a new home:

  • Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified: Pre-qualification is useful in terms of figuring out how much home is affordable, but that’s about it, because none of the financial information has actually been verified. Being pre-approved means obtaining a written (albeit conditional) commitment from a lender after a more extensive review process. This carries much more weight during negotiations with a seller, and leaves less to chance during the closing process.
  • Don’t always buy the best you can afford: Conventional wisdom says to buy the best quality items that are affordable. But in the case of real estate, leaving a bit more leeway is smart (consider the effects of a job loss or having a child, for instance). Still have money left over? Use it to build equity or make improvements to enhance your home’s value.
  • Learn to separate needs from wants: Everyone wants a stylish, move-in ready house that meets all 35 items on their wish list. But even with an unlimited budget, that’s probably impossible. Instead, think in terms of what can be changed and what can’t. Updated finishes can always be added—not true for a backyard or a great school system.
  • Don’t obsess over the housing market: Whether it’s the buyers or the sellers that are on top this year, if a buyer is financially able and needs or wants to buy, then it is the right time. Looking for a bargain in the Triangle? Motivated sellers and solid deals exist in any market, and our professionals can help you make the most of those hard earned dollars.
  • Work with Flat Fee Realty: Ok, so this isn’t exactly unheard of, but the most important thing for a homebuyer to do is to work with the best. It is free of charge, and gets buyers a personal shopper, expert negotiator, and legal and financial assistance. Take advantage of this opportunity and call Flat Fee Realty today!

Finding a good real estate partner, when looking for a new home, makes for less stress and less hassle during a time of both opportunity and challenge. We can manage the process and work in your behalf. Buying a house is an exciting time. Have fun and enjoy the experience.

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)