2014 Michigan Housing Market Starting to Thrive

While much of the country is still far from recovery, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) announced today that this year could be the state’s best year for housing since 2008. The state of Michigan is currently celebrating a surge in new housing starts, rising home prices and a decline in foreclosures. All of these crucial information was shared at the 16th annual Building Michigan Communities Conference.

MSHDA Executive Director Scott Woosley expressed at the 3-day long conference that the state of Michigan in 2014 is currently “brighter,” than it has been in the previous 5 years. As much of the state’s housing sectors recover, consumer confidence and demand is reportedly returning to pre-recession levels and the state is spurring even more of an economic recovery.

According to the findings of the Michigan’s 2014 Housing Industry Assessment:

1. New housing starts

It is being forecasted that by the end of 2014, Michigan will see a 20% yearly increase in new single-family housing starts. In 2013, this department saw a 30% surge from 2012. Builders are scheduled to set a record that has not been met since May 2008 – to begin construction on 16,000 homes statewide. Nearly 30,000 new single and multi-family housing starts are being projected by the end of 2016.

2. Home sales

Home sale total prices are projected to show gains this year. This foreshadowing is due to a 10% increase of average sales during the first quarter of this year along with additional increases reported by local Realtor associations statewide. To top it off, last month was the 24th consecutive month with an increase in Michigan’s average sales price.

3. Prices

Average prices are expected to build momentum. It was found that yearly gains from 3 to 15.5% may be met. This prediction stems from a 13% rise in average sales prices in 2013 (highest point since 2006).

4. Recovery

Local state Realtors have also reported an “uptick,” in open houses, establishing that potential buyers are going for mortgage programs that are rated at up to 4.5% interest. All-in-all, buyers appear to be entering the market.
Additionally, the job market is recovery as well. In the first quarter, it was reflected that there is currently a growing demand for sales staff. Reportedly there hasn’t been this much demand since 2009, and is 7% higher than March of last year.

5. Construction

While we mentioned that housing starts are skyrocketing, the market is especially taking off specifically in the Southeast Michigan communities of Plymouth and Canton, across Oakland County, Greater Lansing in mid-Michigan, and in the West Michigan communities of Rockford, Holland and Grand Rapids.

6. Foreclosures

Data from RealtyTrac shows that foreclosure activity in the state is way down to 2,900 filings in March of this year from 4,800 filings from April of last year. MSHDA’s Step Forward Michigan program is especially helping lenders, nonprofits and federal assistance program in this department. This data shows that struggling homeowners are fighting their financial hardships and avoiding foreclosure.

This information that was presented at the Building Michigan Communities Conference (which annually draws more than 1,700 attendees) shows that some areas are indeed recovering. Similar to the mortgage rate downtrend that took place last year, we should not take this as an ultimate sign of economic recovery.

Original Source: http://www.loansafe.org/2014-michigan-housing-thrive

Buyers Guide To Lakefront Property

Buying a house on a lake is a dream for many families. When it comes to buying a lake home it is different from buying any other home. There is a detailed list of do’s and don’ts to consider. You will find a list of considerations below that will make your job finding a lake home simple.

First decide the location of where to begin looking. Take into consideration the distance from your base home as well as the distance from family; what is the maximum amount of time you are willing to dedicate to traveling from one location to the other. For most people lake homes are usually kept within two to three hours from their base home, family and friends. When it comes to going to the lake you will want a retreat to go that family and friends can visit. Any more than three hours and the adventure takes a turn from a weekend getaway to a full blown vacation. It is hard for most people to take full blown vacations several times throughout the summer but weekend getaways can be taken on a regular basis.

Consider the weather in the location you are hoping to purchase a lake home. Are you looking for a strict summer lake house for summer boating fun and such or are you looking for an all-weather, all sport location. Many lake homes can be purchase in locations where the weather is perfect for four season adventures. The important part is to purchase a lake home in a location that suits your desires.

Find a realtor that specializes in lakeside living and recreational home purchases. This is important because only a person with significant experience in lake properties will have accurate information on lake house living. Real estate agents with knowledge of lakefront homes will help be able to provide accurate information to your questions as well as provide a smooth transition on finding a lake front property that is perfect for you.

Another question to decide upon is if you want to live directly on the lake or if a home with lake access is more appropriate. You will be able to get more home for your dollar in a home that has lake access but is not directly on the lake. Homes on the lake are more expensive and often smaller because you are getting the prime real estate and view of the lake. Do you want the luxury of walking out onto the back patio and staring into the lake or are you okay with crossing the road and sitting on the dock?

When it comes to purchasing a lake front home there is also a list of don’ts to consider as well. One thing many eager lake front home buyers do is set their mind on buying a lakefront home and instantly purchase a boat. This is something that should never be done. You may find the lake home of your dreams and discover the boat you purchased doesn’t fit into that ideal image; then what? Wait until you have purchased the home and then buy the boat. Some lakes only allow certain sixe boats and motors. Don’t waste money on a boat that is too big or to fast; wait until you find the perfect location and purchase a boat to fit.

Don’t seek out lake homes. Allow your realtor, lakefront specialist, to find homes that fit within your desired budget and requirements. If you go out seeking homes you may find yourself falling in love with a home that is well beyond your budget and perhaps listed at well over fair market value. Where does this leave you? A lake specialist will only show you homes that fit within the criteria that you have set forth. You won’t find yourself falling in love with homes that don’t fit with your needs just because you fell in love with it curb side.

Don’t assume the property comes with the home. When you purchase a lakefront home it is important to note that the land surrounding your home is not always yours. Often the property in which lakefront homes resides is owned by the DNR, local city or possibly a lake association. Again, using a realtor that specializes in lakefront reality and recreational homes for sale is most important.

When it comes to finalizing the purchase on your lake home you will find a great sense of satisfaction. With lakefront living comes relaxation, fun and time making memories. Using an expert that specializes in lake property will allow you to go through the buying process stress free and ready to unwind and let go of the stress that comes with everyday life while enjoying your weekend retreat.

Lake and Land Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor out of Pinckney, Michigan serving homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Hamburg, Pinckney and Howell. Information can be found at http://www.lakelandmi.com

Tips To Help You Buy Your Dream Home

Purchasing a home is a huge responsibility as well as financial commitment. With this said there are a few things that are important to consider while you are in the process of purchasing a home.  Consider the following while you are working with a real estate agent locating your dream home.

Don’t Make Any Major Purchase During The Home Buying Process

Buying a home is a large investment.  If your objective is to purchase a home it is crucial that you hold off on other purchase such as a new car until after your mortgage is approved and you have been in your new home for a few months.  Give yourself time to gather as much money as you can for a down payment and emergency plan.  When it comes to your lender they will look at your credit record and score as well as your debt and income before they assess that you are worthy of a mortgage.  This is why it is key that before you set off to buy a home you get your financial house in order and hold off on purchasing anything that is not an absolute necessity when buying a home.

Check For Errors and Make Corrections To Your Credit Report

First things first, when getting ready to buy a home get a detailed copy of your credit card report.  An inaccurate report can hurt your chances at receiving the best possible mortgage rate.  Errors on your credit report are unavoidable however correcting them is essential in moving forward with the purchase of your home.  It is important to the lending process that your credit report and score accurately reflect your financial situation to guarantee you end up with the best mortgage possible for you.

Keep Steady In Your Job Especially When Applying For A Mortgage

Your income verse your debt are the two most critical pieces of information needed when it comes to a decision on your mortgage application.  Buying a home requires a lot of money both in a down payment and a monthly payment as well as funds for needed repairs.  This is why it is so important to show a record of consistent employment with the same employer when applying for a mortgage.  A steady income from a steady source is something that will help you while your mortgage loan is been approved and settled.

Put An Offer In Contingent On The Homes Inspection By A Licensed

The home inspection is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle.  Just because you have fallen in love with the home and an offer has been made as well as accepted doesn’t mean this is home has to be the one.  If the homes inspection uncovers many costly repairs need to be done remember that you can keep looking.  Another option is to go back to the seller with the information from the inspection with a new lower offer or an offer contingent on the repairs being made to the home. Even after the offer has been accepted don’t feel pressure to move through the process if the inspection has uncovered more than you can handle.

Buying a home is like no other experience in this world.  The range of emotions that are felt vary depending on the minute of the day.  The great news is at the end of the day when you have closed on your new home and have the keys in your hand all the hassle and aggravation of the situation disappears.  What is left is your happily ever after.

Lake and Land Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor out of Pinckney, Michigan serving homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Hamburg, Pinckney and Howell. Information can be found at http://www.lakelandmi.com

Needed Preparations Before You Purchase A Home

When it comes time to purchase a home it is vital to be conscience of the task at hand and its importance. Purchasing a home should be done with caution, preparation and with the assistance of a licensed real estate professional.  The purchase of a home, for most people, is the most expensive purchase they will make.  Whether this is the first time you are buying a home or the fifth there are preparations to be made, steps to be followed and caution to be had throughout.

The very first step in the home purchase process is known as the preparation stage.  Buying a home is not something that can be done on impulse.  The first part of preparing to buy a home is to know what the real estate market is like around you.  Is it a buyer or sellers’ market?  Are homes mainly be sold as is or in tip top shape?  What do the sales projections look like for the area or neighborhoods you are concentrating on?

During the preparatory phase you will also want to look at your finances.  It is important that your credit score is accurate and reflects up to date information on your debt.  You will also want to have a detailed report of income as well as expenses.  Your debt to income ratio along with savings will help mortgage lenders to determine your preapproval amount.  During this stage you should find a mortgage broker or lender that you trust and would like to work with.  This may take some research on your end.  Remember not all lenders are created equally.  Find a mortgage lender that is thorough in providing you detailed options along with the pros and cons of each available mortgage.  Finding the best terms along with a low annual interest rate is imperative in helping you to finance the purchase of your new home.

After you have followed the necessary steps in preparing to buy a home you actually get into the actual buying phase.  This is when patience as well as diligence come into play.  Many people interested in buying a home consider this the fun stage of buying a home.  Your realtor will pull from a list from the IDX records, MLS listings and other sources to find homes that meet your criteria.  It is essential that your criteria be broken into a few sets including things the home must have for you to purchase it and those luxuries that would be nice but that aren’t critical deal breakers.  Once your realtor has found you the perfect home and you decide that this is the one step three can occur.

During phase three of the buying process you will submit your offer, have your offer accepted and close on your new home.  Of course this is simplified a bit.  A lot of work is done behind the scenes between your mortgage lender, the title company and the real estate agency. There is a lot that needs to be processed and solidified before the home is yours however after a few hours signing papers the house will be yours.

Lake and Land Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor out of Pinckney, Michigan serving homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Hamburg, Pinckney and Howell. Information can be found at http://www.lakelandmi.com

5 myths about selling your home

Seems everyone has advice to offer about the real estate market. Unfortunately, not all that unsolicited information is true.

Misinformation can waste your time and cost you money. When it comes time to list your home, you’ll need to do your research so you can separate fact from fiction. Real estate agents participating in Zillow’s 2014 Home-Selling Season Survey identified five top real estate myths; the debunking of them should put you on the fast-track to selling your property:

Myth No. 1: I need to redo my kitchen and bathroom before selling.

Truth: While kitchens and bathrooms can increase the value of a home, you won’t get a large return on investment if you do a major renovation just before selling.

Minor renovations, on the other hand, may help you sell your home for a higher price. New countertops or new appliances may be just the kind of bait you need to reel in a buyer. Check out comparable listings in your neighborhood and see what work you need to do to compete in the market.

Myth No. 2: The outside of my home isn’t as important as the inside.

Truth: Home buyers often make snap judgments, often based simply on a home’s exterior. Therefore, curb appeal is very important.

“A lot of buyers I work with have done some preliminary online searches or they’ve driven by properties before they even enlist my services,” says Bic DeCaro, a real estate agent with Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, Va. “If a property looks bad, if the yard is cluttered or the driveway is all broken up, there’s a chance they won’t ever enter the house – they’ll just keep driving.”

The great news is that it doesn’t cost a bundle to make some big changes to your home’s exterior appearance. Start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges and clearing away any clutter. Then, for less than $50, you could put up new house numbers, paint the front door, plant some flowers or install a new, more stylish porch light.

Myth No. 3: If my house is clean, I don’t need to stage my home.

Truth: Clean and tidy is a good first step, but as more and more home sellers across the country have enlisted the services of professional home stagers, the bar has risen. It’s not enough anymore to toss dirty laundry in the closet and sweep the front steps.

Stagers strive to make homes appeal to a broad range of tastes. They can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. A stager might, for example, recommend removing blinds from a window that has a great view or replacing a double bed with a twin to make a bedroom look bigger. It’s common for stagers to de-clutter and depersonalize homes by putting furniture and family photos into storage. Or, if you’ve already moved out, a stager can move in furniture to give potential buyers a sense of how rooms might be used.

You don’t have to hire a professional stager. But if you don’t, you better be ready to use some of their tactics to get your home ready for sale.

If staging is a trend where you live, an unstaged house will pale when compared to others on the market. And if staging is not yet something buyers in your area are used to seeing, your results will be even more impressive.

Myth No. 4: Granite and stainless steel appliances are no longer “in.”

Truth: The majority of home shoppers still want granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Quartz, marble and concrete counters also have wide appeal.

“Most shoppers just want to steer away from anything that looks dated,” says Dru Bloomfield, a real estate agent with the Realty ONE Group in Scottsdale, Ariz. “When you a design a space, you need to decide: ‘Am I doing this for myself or for resale?’ If you’re not planning to move anytime soon, you can decorate any way you like. If it’s likely your house will be going on the market within the next couple years, stick to elements that have mass appeal: neutral paint and tile colors, matching appliances or top-of-the line appliances.

“I recently sold a house where the kitchen had been remodeled 12 years ago and everybody thought it had just been done because the owners had chosen timeless elements: dark maple cabinets, granite counters and stainless appliances.”

Myth No. 5: Home shoppers can look past paint colors they don’t like.

Truth: Moving is a lot of work and, while many home buyers realize they could take on the task of painting walls, they simply don’t want to.

That’s why one of the most important things you can do to update your home is to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint. Neutral colors also help a property stand out in online photographs – which is where most potential buyers will get their first impression of your property.

Hiring a professional to paint the interior of a 2,000-square-foot house likely will cost $3,000 to $6,000, depending upon labor costs in your region. You could buy the paint and do the job yourself for $300 to $500. Either way, if a fresh coat of paint helps your home stand out in a crowded market, it’s probably a worthwhile investment.

Original Source: http://www.today.com/home/5-myths-about-selling-your-home-2D79477155

 

The Final Steps To Buying Your New Home

After you have gotten your financial house in order, met with a realtor and narrowed down your objectives it is time for the fun part of buying a home.  It is time to sort through the list of inventory available that meet your criteria and actually start to scope houses out.  Your realtor will get a list of homes currently on the market for sale with your objectives in mind and the process of finding the perfect home will begin.

Your realtor will begin showing you houses that meet the criteria.  These homes will be homes that have most everything you are looking for, in your price range while staying in the area that you are hoping to purchase in.  When looking at these homes keep a detailed log of each home. Bring a camera along to document the good and bad points in all of the homes you are seeing.  It can become overwhelming to keep track of everything if you don’t document it somehow along the way.  The first day out is especially taxing; there is so much to consider.

If you have exhausted the list of homes that met your criteria but aren’t meeting your expectations it may be time to reevaluate.  This happens more often that one would think in buying a home.  At first you make think it is so important to have a lake front home however when searching lakefront homes you realize what is really important is land.  To find land and a lakefront might take time; time might not be an option for you.  Priorities change when you are actually exploring different homes.

Make sure that you keep open lines of communication with your realtor.  If the real estate that you are being shown is in the not what you had envisioned you need to tell your agent sooner rather than later.  It is a waste of your valuable time to be shown homes that you are totally not interested in.  This also may be the time when you start doing driving by the property before your realtor sets up viewings.

Before you know you have found the home of your dreams!  Now comes the part that most home buyers and sellers for that matter dread; the offer and acceptance process.  Thankfully real estate professionals are there to guide you through this process.  This process goes much smoother if both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent work with their clients on bring reasonable demands and expectations to the table.

After your offer has been accepted you move on to the final steps in the home buying process; inspection, title, appraisal, insurance, escrow and closing.  The final step moves fairly quick as you are preparing to move, setting up utilities and handling all the unexpected events that come with buying a home.  A lot of the final steps are behind the scene and won’t involve a lot of input from you as the buyer.  Your agent and mortgage lender will handle many little details in order to make the transition of ownership easier.  Before you know it you will have the keys to your new home in your hand and will be knee deep in excitement making your new home yours!

Lake and Land Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor out of Pinckney, Michigan serving homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Hamburg, Pinckney and Howell. Information can be found at http://www.lakelandmi.com/buyers-resources.php

The Complicated Middle In Between Thinking About and Actually Buying A House

Once you have the basics covered the next step in purchasing a home is to determine your exact financial situation.  At this point you have gone through your wants and needs in a home.  You have also gotten a basic foundation established of how much you have for a down payment as well as home much you want to spend each month as far as a mortgage payment.  This is the point you need to get down and dirty with your finances.  This is the point in which you retain a realtor that is willing to help you get what you want and a mortgage lender that will address how much you can afford.

To establish a foundation with your finances you must first start by getting a detailed copy of your credit report. The hope is that the report is above 720 if it isn’t you need to work to correct issues that with errors in reporting as well meeting with a financial advisor that can help you increase the rating.  Some tips that may come from meeting with an advisor could be paying down your credit cards or increasing the amount of money you earn.

Getting your financial house in order involves saving for a larger down payment.  A ten percent down payment is standard however some lenders are more apt to provide a lower interest rate to buyers who have a larger down payment. Consider putting twenty percent down to decrease your mortgage interest rate.  When thinking about a larger down payment take into account that you will have closing costs that creep up, expenses for moving as well as the surprises that aren’t accounted for during the inspection process.

Find a mortgage provider that you like once your credit score is in order and get pre-approved.  This will give you a limit on what you can spend on a home.  This is the upper limit on what you can afford.  Most home buyers should seek to find a home for at least twenty percent less than what they are pre-approved for.  Otherwise you are placing yourself in a tight position when it comes to the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.

You should also discuss with your mortgage provider the process of actually getting a loan as well as the different options in mortgage loans available to you.  Key factors involved in determining what loan type is right for you are the following: the required down payment, the interest rate, the costs and fees involved in closing the loan and secondary requirements from the actual lender.  Secondary requirements can include flood insurance, private road agreements, self employment documentation and such. This secondary information is all necessary documentation outside of the cookie cutter information needed for most mortgages.

Different types of mortgages available from lenders can include conventional, adjustable rate, FHA, VA, assumable, balloon and private mortgage insurance.  These are a variety of mortgages to look into and to understand before moving forward with any one type of mortgage.  The process of buying a home requires a whole lot of work before looking for a home can even begin. A reputable realtor will help you with this entire process even before showing you a single home and a mortgage lender will help explain anything and everything you need to know before supplying you with the right loan for your need.

Lake and Land Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor out of Pinckney, Michigan serving homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Hamburg, Pinckney and Howell.  More information can be found at http://www.lakelandmi.com/buyers-resources.php

Beginning The Process Of Buying A Home

The purchase of a home is both exhilarating and challenging.  Owning a home comes with an assortment of benefits both financially as well as personally.  The benefits financially range from building equity to tax deductable interest.  Personally the benefits can range from the satisfaction that comes from ownership as well as the stability that it gives you. To give yourself the financial and personal benefits of owning a home you need to get started; below are some tips on finding the perfect home for your needs.

First things first you will need to get your finances in order.  You need to know what you currently have, what you will have coming in and what you will have in the future. This will vary from person to person.  Some people will be working with equity that has built up in their homes, others will work from their savings alone and some will work in combination of resources to obtain a reasonable down payment.

Once you have established a down payment you have a starting point to where you should be when looking for a home to purchase.  The rule is twenty percent down however mortgage lenders have recently become more lenient with the requirements of what is needed to get a home loan.

A long with what you can afford you need to consider what you want; what are your intentions. Do you need a home to accommodate a growing family; do you need a home to address your need to have accessibility and to age in place?  Is it possible that you need to live closer to work, shopping or entertainment? Did your income increase or decrease; do you need a smaller mortgage payment or more tax deductible interest?  Prioritize your objectives with the purchase of the new home and start looking at other wants and needs.

Consider the style and size of the home that you desire.  Are you willing to purchase a home that needs time and sweat equity to be perfect but is the right size or do you want a home that is perfectly kept but a bit smaller than you would like. Do you need a large space outside for entertaining? If you are looking for a home to grow old in you may only need to take into account the fact that your biggest goal is a ranch, a home all on one level.  Is there a certain location that is needed, perhaps by a highway or work? When it comes to location also consider the schools, the commute to work and the neighborhood.

This is just the beginning of buying a new home.  It doesn’t matter if it is your first home or your last the process is the same from start to finish.  The beginning of the home purchase process all starts the same. It is important to consider your finances, your personal preferences, your wants and your needs.  Prioritize what is most important to what is least important for you and choose a realtor that is willing to help you get what you want.

Lake and Land Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor out of Pinckney, Michigan serving homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Hamburg, Pinckney and Howell.  More information can be found at http://www.lakelandmi.com/buyers-resources.php

The Countdown to Selling Your Home: Step Three – The Final Step

After much preparation you are finally here; the final steps in actually selling your house.  By this point you have gathered all the paperwork, prepped the home, researched pricing and are ready to add the sign to your yard.  Your realtor will be right by your side each step of the way.  Within the last two weeks before you officially add your home to the market the push from the realtor will be staging.

Staging your home for sale is a whole lot easier than it sounds.  Especially because your real estate agent has done this process so many times before and can truly give you sound advice on what buyers want to see when they enter a space.  Staging is a three step process.  You first start by eliminating clutter, then cleaning and finally staging your space.

Eliminating clutter is a difficult step in the process as you still need to live in the space as you sell your home.  Many times the clutter found within the home is the stuff that also makes the home livable.  When we are talking about reducing clutter we are talking about the minor stuff like school bags but mainly the stuff within the space that screams to other that this house is yours.  Buyers want to enter your home and feel themselves in the space.  If the only thing that they see is you and your family everywhere they turn this will turn them off.

When it comes to removing clutter the best option is to have your realtor or another outside party come in and help.  They are impartial and can come in and quickly eye pieces that should be packed and put in to storage.  For instance, if you are a collector of crabs within a kitchen space, when identifying you your friends probably think about crabs.  When a buyer comes in those things that identify you to the space need to be removed and more neutral things put into place.  The goal is to allow the buyer to visualize themselves in the space.  The more of you left in the space the harder this is to accomplish.

Next comes cleaning.  If this is not something that you are within your expertise hire a cleaning company to come in and hit your house hard.  You will want all the windows, door walls, molding, cupboards, appliances and so forth cleaner than they would be if the buyer was looking at a brand new home. The house should appear like it is ready to move your stuff out and theirs in.  Clean is important!

The staging process is next.  Take out any furniture that takes away from showcasing how roomy the space is.  Eliminate any pieces that bring to much focus on to them.  Large furniture draws away from the space.  If needed put your furniture in storage and rent more space friendly pieces.  Your realtor will help you layout the furniture in a way that enhances the space and makes it buyer friendly.

The final step to selling your home is list it on the market, wait for buyers to roll in, negotiate a reasonable offer and close.  Using a local realtor often leads to a quicker sale as they are experts in highlighting your home, neighborhood and community.  Realtors will market your home in a variety of ways to attract the type of buyers interested in exactly what your home offers.  If you are selling a home on water, you market to lake front buyers.  The same can be said for homes on golf courses and farms.  Your real estate team will market your home to the right buyer; your job is to ensure they can visualize themselves in your home without putting in too much sweat equity.

The Countdown to Selling Your Home: Step Two

The countdown is on.  You have made it through the processes involved in phase one.  You have taken time to set up a realistic budget, analyzed the cost of selling verse equity and have obtained all the key documentation needed for the sale; now what?  After you have done all cosmetic and functional repairs and downplayed the issues that you can’t fix it is time to move on to the next step.

With one month to go before you officially list your house on the market you will find yourself busy in research.  With your realtor, the month’s goal will be to obtain a reasonable asking price for your home.  There is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration when determining exactly what you need to ask for your home.  The first is the local housing market.  You must establish the pricing at which similar homes in the area have actually been selling for.

This is where the process becomes a bit tricky.  It seems simple, take what you bought your home for add the cost of the improvements you have made and calculate the appreciation value found in similar homes for sale in the area and wham there you have it; the magic number, the asking price. Here is the problem, plain and simple market conditions are often uneven.

In recent years we have seen an amazing amount of change in the housing market.  With homes selling for a significant amount less than what they are valued at due to the increasing in foreclosures and short sales.  This can drive the market down in your area a solid thirty percent.  With this in mind you will want to assess the fair market value for your home.  There are several things to take into consideration when determining the fair market value over an asking price.

The first thing you need to do is look at the actual sale price of properties sold in the area.  This can be done through local property records that are open to the public.  This will be an accurate account for the amount of money that is passing from one party to the next in the sale of comparable homes in the area.

The next step is to get the top of the line estimates of home values of homes that have sold in the area.  You can do this by looking on sites such as Zilllow or Trulia. These sites will give the outer most prices at which the houses in the area would go for.  This is the top of the line price for homes in your area.

From here it is important to get an actual appraisal for the home.  An appraiser will take into consideration things like a new water heater, new roofing and upgrades that have been done within the home.  This is nice to do as well because they can also point you into the direction of small upgrades that really pack a lot into the actual price you will be asking for your house. An actual appraisal will also help you in negotiations as you will have proof and validation for the buyer on why the home is being placed at that price point.

All of this research can be put into perspective an asking price on your home.  You will have a better understanding of offers that are coming in and be able to counter offer with physical hard evidence.  This puts you in a great position as a seller.