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March 15, 2016

Are You There God? It's Me Not Pre-Qualified.

Are you there God? It's me not Pre-qualified.

Hey there...are you one of the hundreds of folks out there completely clueless as to what you need to do in order to buy a house? Are you confused about every little detail, from the lender parts to the private parts...oops I mean the realtor parts? Do you sit at your desk, hop on that cheeky little site called Trillow or whatever it is that sounds like Pillow and get a false idea of what your home might be worth? Ahhh, I bet you do, and it's ok! You are not alone. Surfing through Pluto, I mean Zillow can be very lonely. But wouldn't you rather use a flashlight when entering the darkness? Wouldn't you rather have a tour guide when you travel to another country? Yes, you would? Of course you would and that's because you are smart. Smart people ask for help and they get it. In fact, they ask lots and lots of questions, and they don't worry about what other people think. We here at the Market Real Estate Group like to think of ourselves as tour guides and therapists. It can be a bit scary venturing out into the great wide open of home buying and selling. We like to take that fear and shove it where the sun could not possibly shine. Somewhere like in the wet basements of homes that need special financing. Oh and we are quite ready to explain all those details that often get left out, like why you should not be looking at homes with open springs in their basements in the first place. And just like a Judy Blume book is to a 12-year-old girl, we can help guide you through the messy parts. 

Call us today. We would love to help!

 

Posted in Buying Houses
Feb. 15, 2016

5 NO FAIL WAYS TO LIST AND BE BLISSED

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ARE YOU READY TO LIST?

Some great tips to help you get your palace perfectly primped.

 

Great Tip #1  Price Perfect

First, we cannot express enough how important it is to get an accurate price for your home.  The best way to do this is to contact us to give you a comparative market analysis, free of charge.  Once you have your price, shave about 10-15 percent  off that number and sit back and watch the buyers flock and out bid one another. This is a risky concept for some people and it does require a lot of trust and confidence in your agent and your home.  If you are motivated to sell quickly, this is a brilliant strategy!

Great Tip #2  Don't Overdo It

A kitchen overhaul or bathroom upgrade may not be the best option for you when getting ready to put your house on the market.  Too much cashola sunk into very personal preferences (kitchen and bathrooms tend to be very personal to buyers and they often prefer to put their own flavor on renovations).  Stick to quick fixes such as new paint, new curtains, throws, accent lighting, and plants.  Draw attention to the homes highlights by placing accent pieces and welcoming decor to those areas.  Think of it like blush on your cheekbones.  If a house has good bones, why wouldn't you want to contour those lines, right?

Great Tip #3  First Impressions Cannot be Taken Back

If your home is spotless and lovely inside, but the exterior leaves much to be desired, you might as well forget it.  Your potential buyers just lost interest upon seeing your dirty sneakers and cigarette butts strewn about the porch and yard.  For the love of all that is holy, dress the home like it's going on a first date...FOR EVERY SHOWING.  Be prepared for each showing as if it's the first you have ever had.  Plants in low cost but attractive urns right outside your front door are a great way to welcome buyers.  New "MATCHING" exterior lighting, a fresh coat of porch paint, a porch swing, and a rocker on the porch are very inviting.  Don't overlook the value of a nicely mowed lawn or a few potted flowers.  

Great Tip #4  Outta Space?

Does your closet look like your four-year-old had a play date in there?  Does your kitchen pantry look like a tornado hit it, with crumbs and cellophane wrappings speckled about the floor?  Well, clean that mess up my friend! And while you're at it, remove about half of the contents.  A spacious closet, uncluttered rooms, and wall visibility are essential for potential buyers to see themselves in your space. Clutter is just one more way of saying, "I don't care."  And you know you do, you're just busy.  No excuses.  Clean it and cut it in half!

Great Tip #5  Shed Some Light on the Subject

Ok, we have seen all kinds of trends with dark red walls, black ceilings, and textured paints.  These all still work...for some homes.  Dark is great, but it is typically not the best way to attract buyers unless you have used it well.  And by well, we mean hired a pro or have real interior talent.  Often we see the dark themes looking like the "dark ages" and ain't nobody got time to fix that!  So if you do dare tread the evening look, be sure to shed plenty of quality lighting on the same area during the day.  It's very important for folks coming through your home to be sure that there is enough sunlight filtering in.  We hear this all the time..."It's just too dark."  So invest some time into creating light and allowing light to shine in.  We all need a little more Vitamin D in the winter anyways!

Posted in selling
Feb. 10, 2016

Lisa's Mill Town Deli

Lisa's Mill Town Deli

We may have to publish this weekly because we love, love, love going out to eat!  Lisa's Mill Town Deli in Milton is a favorite of ours, second only to Rebecca's family restaurant, Orlando's in Muncy.  (We will be plugging them often...)  Our recent visit found us devouring some crazy hella-good, bacon wrapped scallop soup, the Marilyn Monroe (because it's fully "loaded"), and the Montana paninis.  We were stuffed but the desert selection is unavoidable.  We keep hearing the Sticky Bun Bread Pudding is amazing but we haven't made it that far yet.  We chose the Lemon Marscapone Cake and it was amazing.  Everything is homemade and the service is sweet and timely. The atmosphere is warm and countrified, with a little eclectic flair.  Lisa's  is a must visit for lunch if you find yourself near Milton.

~Lisa's Mill Town Deli

Posted in Guac Talk, Milton
Feb. 2, 2016

Boosting Resale Value

Selling Your Home?

Boost Your Resale Value with These Three Inexpensive Renovations

To get top dollar for your home, renovations may be necessary. However, some renovations can prove costly and they don’t always add value to your home. Here are three inexpensive renovations that are sure to improve the resale value of your home.


First Impressions Matter

 

Your home needs to have curb appeal. If the potential buyer doesn’t see that, it will be difficult to get the price you want. Spend money and time landscaping your yard. Pressure wash your driveway. Paint your front door. Make your porch look welcoming. If you do all of this yourself or with the help of family and friends, the costs will be reasonable.

After a prospective buyer is impressed by your nicely kept lawn, you will want to continue impressing him/her with your interior design. Buyers know what they want when it comes to the number of bedrooms and baths. You have something they want or they wouldn’t be looking at your home. Now, you need to keep their attention.  

Freshening Up the Interior


Each room benefit is it is freshly painted in a neutral color. It is good practice to strip old wallpaper and borders and clean down walls and or repaint.  Some shows talk about depersonalizing your space so that the potential buyer can see himself or herself in the home.  It has been our experience that a little personalizing is very important to creating warmth and attachments.  When a couple can picture "family" here because of your photos, that can be a very positive emotion that is evoked.  Too much is not good; however, and the seller should be careful not to allow personal photos in any of the online photos for display. Safety against child predators is definitely a must.

 Make each room look larger by clearing any clutter. If possible, remove any unnecessary furniture and store it somewhere else. Have any carpets professionally cleaned, and be sure to polish any hardwood flooring. In the bedrooms, de-clutter your closets. Your kitchen and bathrooms should be sparkling. Clean and organize counters and cabinets. Again, most of these suggestions cost little but add great value to your home. If you aren't particularly good at decorating or you lack interest in this area, contact us.  We have excellent ideas and thrifty skills to help get your home "Market Ready."


Upgrades

 

When you think of upgrades, you many automatically assume major costs with little return. However, many upgrades may be within your budget. Consider making some of these affordable upgrades to your home.

Living Areas/Family Rooms – If you’re going for a more elegant touch, add some crown molding. For a more rustic feel, add box beams. Improving the ceilings of main rooms will add value to your home.  There are sparkling techniques to add texture to walls as well as hide cracks and holes.  Ask us for suggestions!

Hardware and Fixtures – Painting and changing the hardware on your cabinet doors can change the look of a room dramatically. Add new fixtures such as lighting and doorknobs for a more updated look.

Selling your home may require you to spend a little money, but you’ll likely get the full value of your home!

Posted in selling
Jan. 27, 2016

Kitchen Trends for Renovation

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Kitchen Design: Three Trends That You Need to Be Aware of Before You Renovate

 

Renovating your kitchen is an excellent way to improve its look, increase the value of your home and appeal to a more diverse range of home buyers if you decide to sell. However, a kitchen remodel can easily cost $10,000 to $20,000 or more, which is why you want to make choices that you can live with. Learning more about some of hottest trends can help you decide what you want and don't want in your kitchen.

Traditional Is Back

Trends come and go, but the classics remain constant. One of the hottest renovation trends is a more traditional look. Homeowners today are no longer attached to trendy colors and modern designs; they want homes that have a more traditional look and will retain that traditional look for years to come.

Experts predict a return to darker wood colors for cabinets, tables, counters and even floors. There are also some reports that homeowners will use oil rubbed bronze and darker pulls and handles on cabinets and drawers as opposed to flashy and contemporary chrome accents. Other trends include rustic farmhouse tables, double porcelain sinks, and natural stone counters.

Going Green

It's hard to go anywhere today without seeing or hearing about green decorating trends, and those trends carry over into kitchens. Homeowners want products made from recycled materials and the chance to "go green" at home. Adding a recycling center is just one of the hottest trends for the kitchen.

Designers also found that some homeowners want counters and floors made from recycled or sustainable materials. Bamboo is a sustainable construction material that works well in flooring applications. Homeowners can also find counters made from old tires, soda bottles, and other recycled goods.

Homeowners Want More Space

Ask anyone what they need in their homes, and the odds are good that many will say they need more space. Recessed lighting is one trendy accent that adds more space and reduces the number of fixtures and cords hanging down from the ceiling. Other ways to add more space include adding an island with storage to the center of the room and cutting down on the number of cabinets lining the walls.
There are a number of trendy ways that you can renovate and change your kitchen. Going green, adding more space and bringing in traditional elements are just a few of those ways. Talk with a real estate agent about other changes you can make that will add value to your kitchen.

 

Posted in selling
Jan. 14, 2016

Selling to Goldilocks in a Buyer's Market


Having a listing that won't sell is one of the most frustrating situations for a realtor.  For most of us, we already know what homes are going to be tough to sell, and if we are worth our salt in our profession, we are honest with our clients and tell them up front. Sometimes, the market trend pricing changes, too, and we cannot always predict that. Our frustration is nothing compared to the seller's head-pounding discontent each time he or she hears, "Sorry, no interest."  That being said, it takes two to make a thing go right, right?  Well, in this case, it takes about six things to go right so that we get to put that pretty little "SOLD" sign on your placard.  If your house has been sitting a while, you may want to consider these few things:  

  • The House is Overpriced 

The number one reason a house won't sell is price.  Not everyone likes to hear it, but it's the truth.  Let's face it, you've thought it, heard it, seen it, etc.  "Let's put it a little higher to create 'wiggle room'."  That typically only works in a seller's market, and quite frankly, most folks today are pretty savvy.  They know what things cost, they know who lived there before you did, and heck, many of them know which dentist the previous owners used because their Aunt Susie who lived down the street uses the same dentist.  We are living in an age of big technology and a little patience.  If you really want to                                                          sell your home, price it fairly.

  • It’s a Buyer’s Market 

 Supply exceeds demand. Simply stated this means there are a lot of homes on the market to choose from.  It can be due to the increased production of new homes coupled with rising interest rates; therefore, buyers have the ball in their court...Or should we say, Goldilocks is in charge and it better be just right, or she moves on to the next bowl of porridge in a condo down south.

 

  • The Seller is Not Flexible

     

Ahhh, this is tough.  It's not easy to sell your home; memories, conditions, timing, we know how hard it can be.  As realtors, we deal with this stuff daily, but you as a seller often have rarely experienced this kind of crazy.  Sometimes you just want to be left alone, timing doesn't suit, or the weather is bad and you don't want somebody traipsing through your house.  We get it.  But if you are constantly being obstinate, finding every reason not to be available to show the home, then there is a problem.  Or you maybe just don't want to accept that you priced the home too high.  If the market sales are showing you that you are in buyer's market, consider sitting down with your agent and discussing your options.  After all, we are trying to sell houses, not just list them, and a home sitting on the market too long gives buyer's creepy thoughts.  Keep it fresh and real.  

 

  • LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about this.  If your home is in a poor location, you may need to settle on a price that is less than you know it's worth.  Flood zone properties are the first properties that come to mind here.  The best we can do is give all the attention to the strong points of the home and never be dishonest about how much water the house gets or has ever had.  There are many people who don't mind the flood zone and will be happy to peruse quality, well-cared-for homes in this area.

 

  • Home Needs TLC

If your home is in need of obvious repair, the buyer is going to see that.  In a buyer's market with plenty of competition, you need to up the ante and polish the problem areas.  This may entail changing the neon green paint in the kids' bedroom, removing the shag carpeting and revealing the wooden floors (by the way, statistically, buyers love seeing the bare wooden floors, EVEN if unfinished.  The first question my peeps ask if they see carpet, "I wonder if there's a wood floor under there?") Go ahead, have a carpet ripping party!  Patch holes, clean carpets, fix spouting, tidy the yard, mend fences, you get the drill.  Declutter as much as possible.  The buyer needs to be able to see themselves in the home and that's not always possible if every square inch of the property is filled with your "stuff."

 

  • The Home Smells

This is by far the hardest thing to tell a seller, but it needs to be said.  If all the feedback tells me that your home smells like cat urine or dogs, then it's my job to tell you.  There are some reasonable ways to approach this, but ultimately, if you are a pet lover like many of us, the smell is going to be there unless you do some drastic changes.  Ripping up the carpet and using throw rugs is a very big change that helps.  Burning scented wax in burners, baking cookies before a showing, sprinkling essential oils in doorways, and lighting candles are easy ways to cover animal smells.  Washing curtains or throw blankets will help as well.  Cigarette smoke is pretty much going to kill the deal for non-smoking people.  You need to know that going in.  Are you willing to repaint and not smoke in the home during the time on the market? If yes, then you just increased your potential buyers in the pool.  It's really about how motivated you are to sell.

 

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Rebecca Noviello~ The Market Real Estate Group
Posted in selling
Jan. 12, 2016

Really? Did She Just Write That?

A few years back I was juggling five youngsters, ages 13, 12, 10, nine, and seven, and a part-time real estate job.  I loved having the freedom of a time schedule I could arrange around my lifestyle (though in real estate, if you want to be a success, you do tend to bend to the needs of your clients).  It’s a cut-throat industry, and you better be available when up for a listing interview.

I received a lovely email from a woman who had seen my advertisement in a local paper.  She was impressed with  my ad, so she wanted to let me know that she and her husband were interviewing three real estate agents.  I was the first on her list, and could I meet her the following morning at 8:00 sharp.

Originally I had asked her if we could make it 8:30 as I like to help my husband get my kids off to school.  She surprisingly seemed annoyed by this, after all, she was a woman…I was thinking “sisterhood, “back a sister up” kind of mentality.  But alas, I managed to work it out that I could get some extra help so getting there would be fine.

Upon meeting her, she had her little girl in hand at the front door getting ready to walk her to school.  She would only be a minute and “would I mind watching her infant son while she was gone?”  It may seem odd, but that really did not shock  me even though she had never met me before.  I guess I assumed she was thinking I was a mom, so I would understand.  I did.  No problem.  I waited there for 10 minutes.  While she was gone, her dog had several accidents on the floor.  I cleaned them up for her without even thinking.  And when she came home, I let her know that her puppy may be sick as I had cleaned up some loose stool.  She laughed a bit and thanked me.  She proceeded to show me the lovely Victorian home that they had spent a few years updating.  I held her baby for her as she took her dog out…not batting an eye.  I am a mom of five after-all and I can multi-task like nobody’s business.

Because she was late in getting back from the school, our time ran short.  Then next realtor was at the door waiting for her chance to dazzle the sellers.  Oh, did I say seller(s) plural?  Umm, yeah.. that’s why I needed to be there at 8:00 sharp so that her husband could help interview me.  He was not there.  He got there around 9:00 just in time to meet Secret Agent #2.  Just my luck, but, I figured I had this in the bag.  I showed her my skills, I felt we had a great rapport, I was willing to give her ideas for staging, etc. etc.  NO WORRIES….

Then the email comes…”Thank you for stopping by yesterday.  I appreciate your time…blah, blah, blah.”  You know the rest.  I got it.  I didn’t win her over. It happens all the time, and YOU CANNOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.  So I politely emailed her back and asked her what I could have done differently to earn her listing.  What she wrote back next knocked the wind out of me.  Literally, I lost air for a few seconds.  She went on to insult me, insulting all womankind in a way I just could not believe.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way, you were really nice, and I appreciated that you came in the morning.  But my husband wasn’t there to interview you.  He never met you, but he met the other two agents.  I did tell him I thought you seemed like you did good work (ugh), but there were a couple of things that bothered us.  Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you said you are a mom.  That is tough.  I don’t really think it’s easy to work and have kids, but you said you have FIVE kids.  Well, we just don’t think you can really service us well enough.  I know that doesn’t sound fair, but we need to be realistic.  We hope you understand.”

So I politely emailed her back what I felt her letter was really saying to women today.

“I hope that you understand that in asking to interview me at your desired time, I first met your needs that did not line up with my maternal timeline.  Secondly, as you were not prepared for our interview, I graciously watched your infant child so that you could send off your daughter on “our scheduled work” time.  Thirdly, as you were away, I ambitiously cleaned up (because as a mom of five kids, we do those dirty, yucky deeds that need to be done) your dog’s poop and made sure you were able to tend to him as I held your baby during “our scheduled work time.”  I did not bat an eye.  I think I proved   quite skillfully how well I can tackle any “shit” that comes my way.”

That was the last time I ever mentioned the quantity of children I have.

Jan. 12, 2016

5 Tips for Navigating the Home Buying Process Like A Boss

  You and yours (or maybe it's just you, you little Viking) have decided to set out on the dreaded home buying process. It certainly does NOT need to be painful! Keep these few things in mind, and you will undoubtedly save yourself a little less aggravation or a trip to the hospital:

1. FIND AN EXCELLENT REALTOR (like us)
The reward of finding a competent, energetic, but most of all, KNOWLEDGEABLE team of professionals will start you off in the right direction. They really are your first step, even before looking at rates, banks, lenders, etc. After you have chosen your team, they will get the base information needed and find you a lender that fits your needs. We at The Market Real Estate Group have built strong relationships with local and national lenders that provide excellent service. Before you step foot into a single potential new home, you will want to get a Preapproval. If you already have a lending institution you feel comfortable with, excellent!

2. Prequalifications vs Preapprovals
Did you know that a preapproval and a prequalification have major differences that could potentially affect a home purchase? With a prequalification, your client’s assessment is based solely off of a verbal conversation. There’s no credit pull, which can lead to a less accurate assessment of how much home they can afford. On the other hand, once your client gets a documented preapproval, they’ll know exactly what they can afford, since a credit check is part of the process. They can shop for a home with a realistic budget in mind. Your client shouldn’t have to guess what they can afford with a prequalification – they should know with a pre-approval?~ [Quicken Loans]?

3. READ THIS. PERIOD.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2012/03/09/the-perfect-loan-file-2/2/

This article by Mark Greene hits the nail right on the head. When your lender asks for what you deem "way too much", do it. Do it because she says so!

4. DO NOT MAKE ANY MAJOR PURCHASES FROM THE TIME YOU MAKE LOAN APPLICATION UNTIL YOU SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE!
It happens all too often that an excited you will purchase furniture to go with your new dream home or maybe even purchase that truck your hubby always wanted. For the love of God, NO!!! This could be just enough to throw your debt to income ration out the window. HOLD OFF.

5. EXPECT THAT BAD THINGS CAN HAPPEN
I know, I know...this sounds exactly the opposite of what I'm attempting to do here. You thought I was trying to instill calm, right? Well leave it to us to do the worrying for you, but in all honesty, even with everything equal, a clean loan file, and stellar credit, things can go wrong. You need to know up front that there is no bullet-proof vest just because you signed a contract. In real estate, you are dealing with humans and humans are creatures of emotion. Delays, hiccups, and fires can occur in those 30+ days to closing. Strap yourself in, be cautious, and be aware.
Hopefully by the end of this journey, you will end up with the home of your dreams, a few gray hairs, and some new friends.

 

Posted in Buying Houses