Category Archives: Tips & Advice

The Top Ways that Real Estate Agents SAVE You Money

YoungCoupleSaveMoneyMovingThe beauty of hiring an experienced real estate agent is that they make the process of selling your property look easy.  However, the truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of work and knowledge to get a home through the closing process, which is worth remembering when the desire to stick a “For Sale by Owner” sign in your yard rears its ugly head.

Plain and simple, while you may cringe when thinking about the standard 6% commission that your agent will get when your home finally sells, it’s important to think about all of the advantages they bring to the table, especially when you find yourself in a tight spot.

FREE MARKETING – When it comes to selling, marketing is key. Effective sales strategies include marketing materials that will not only cost you some serious out-of-pocket cash, but require professional-looking design skills, which—let’s face it—most of us lack.

Instead, a great agent will not only provide you with an abundance of professional photographs, brochures, mailings, and advertisements, but will make sure your listing is seen by the right contacts.  Often times, finding a buyer is about numbers.  If no one is seeing your home, no one will buy it.

THEY’LL PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD – When it comes to staging, most of us have our furniture and belongings organized for function; however, while comfortable, chances are good that your layout may not be what’s best for the look of the room. If the goal is to show things in best light possible, you’ll need an agent who can objectively assess your space and help you decide what to keep and what to place in storage. Clearly, buyers will be looking for aesthetic appeal, so having someone on hand to redistribute your furniture, make recommendations, and increase your home’s flair is crucial.

THEY KNOW PEOPLE – A solid agent will have a solid team working behind them—which includes everything from honest lenders, plumbers, electricians, inspectors, contractors, brokers, designers, landscapers, etc. Whether selling your home will require a bit of a backyard cleanup or a few coats of fresh paint, your agent should be able to recommend someone who will not only do a great job, but give you a fair price.

When attempting to sell your home on your own, it’s easy to cave and throw money at the problem; however, an agent will save you from spending your hard-earned money when not absolutely necessary.

MORE MONEY AT CLOSING – Whether you always understand it, a great agent will approach the home selling process with a strategy, which means they’re going to work their magic to get you the most money for your home. Whether that means under-pricing to stage a bidding war or showing your property before listing to entice that super-motivated buyer, they know exactly how to play things so that you get more money.

TIME IS MONEY – Plain and simple, agents do things what you cannot. Unless you went to school for real estate or regularly spend your time researching trends in the local market, chances are good that they have a better understanding of what it takes to get a home sold in as little time as possible. The longer your home stays on the market, the more money you lose, so it’s important to have someone in your corner who can do the heavy lifting and move the process along.

In the end, regardless of the season or time of year, if you’re looking to sell your current home, I can help.  My background is extensive and I know how to move homes from market to close.

To learn more about what I can do for you and your family, please feel free to contact me.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor

iStock_000000849291_Large1If you’re looking to buy your first home, chances are good that you may not have had a lot of prior experience in the real estate market.  Aside from the fact that the entire prospect of purchasing a home is daunting to most people, it can be even more confusing if you are not sure of the differences between a standard real estate agent and a REALTOR.  While it’s common to use both terms somewhat interchangeably, there are actually variances between the two titles that separate them from each other.

Yes, both are licensed to sell real estate; however, one is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means they are bound by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.  As a consumer, it’s not surprising that you may be wondering what this means since the idea of a code of ethics is somewhat arbitrary, but it’s important to note that the code which bounds each member of the National Association of REALTORS® is strictly enforced.

In short, The Code contains 17 articles, as well as certain Standards of Practice that bind REALTORS in a way that does not impact individuals who simply hold a real estate license.  While it’s impossible to guarantee that all REALTORS will adhere to the standards at all times, The Code exists as a way to regulate and require ethical behavior.

While it should be noted that this in no way means that non-member real estate agents fail to be ethically-minded, it’s important to realize that most REALTORS take their promises very seriously.

To help aid in your understanding, the 17 REALTOR promises are as follows:

  1. Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
  2. Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
  3. Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
  4. Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
  5. Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
  6. Shall not collect any commissions without the seller’s knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller’s express consent.
  7. Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties’ informed consent.
  8. Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.
  9. Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
  10. Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
  11. Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
  12. Must engage in truth in advertising.
  13. Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.
  14. Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
  15. Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
  16. Shall not solicit another REALTOR’S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
  17. Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.

If you’d like to learn more or are interested in buying or selling a home, I’d love to show you what makes REALTORS so great.  Please feel free to contact me at my direct number below.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.MarieDinsmore.com | 770-712-7789

Are You Prepared to Deal with New Changes in the Mortgage Process?

iStock_000014023045LargeWhen the housing market collapsed in 2007, it was understandably necessary for the federal government to react by making a point to keep a tighter leash upon the financial industry.  Therefore, in response to the mortgage crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2011, which created a new government agency—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

TRID

In an effort to avoid another housing disaster, the CFPB settled upon a set of stricter mortgage rules and regulations that recently went into effect on the 3rd of October.  Known as “TRID,” (which stands for: Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) + Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) + Integrated + Disclosure) the goal was to:

  1. Overhaul and improve the abundance of archaic industry forms, which date back to the late sixties and mid-seventies, and
  2. To slow down the mortgage process in an effort to give the borrower more time to review their forms.

In short, these new rules are expressly geared towards improving the home-buying experience for consumers; however, it’s important to note that the overall mortgage process is going to be a lot longer and more challenging than it was in the past.

THE PROCESS

For starters, once the borrower completes the loan application and gives the sales contract to their lender, the lender must then return a loan estimate to the borrower within three business days; however, before the lender can take any steps to either require loan documentation, order a title search, or mandate an appraisal, the borrower must respond to the lender with “their intent to proceed.”  In other words, to keep things moving in a forward direction, it is imperative that the borrower respond to the lender as quickly as possible after receiving a loan estimate.

With that being said, once the seller has accepted the buyer’s offer and the closing process begins, it’s important to realize that the new regulations also slow down the end of the mortgage proceedings as well.  Basically, the loan cannot close until the lender has:

  1. Sent the borrower the final Closing Disclosure (CD)
  2. Confirmed that the borrower has received the CD
  3. Waited for the three-day waiting period to pass

STEPS FOR BUYERS

Therefore, if you’re a buyer, you may want to consider the following steps, which will help you complete the entire process with as little fuss as possible.

  1. Submit a pre-approval application before making an offer in order to minimize the processing delays that will occur if you don’t already have a loan lined up
  2. Don’t drag your feet. Make a point to give the sales contract to the lender as soon as it’s available
  3. Consider doing things electronically, such as signing the loan disclosures
  4. Provide the lender with your “Intent to Proceed” as soon as your able
  5. Make sure you have all of your loan docs ready for delivery to the lender within the first week of the process
  6. Confirm receipt of the CD immediately after receiving it so you can get the ball rolling on the three-day waiting period

CONCLUSION

In the end, while these new laws make things a bit more complicated—especially if you’re operating under a time crunch—their purpose is to give buyers the necessary time to make sure they’re closing on a deal that truly fits into their life.  No one wants to see another foreclosure crisis, so these types of laws will hopefully go a long way towards making sure buyers are absolutely sure before they sign on the final dotted line.

If you have any questions or you’re a seller and would like to know more about how these new regulations will impact your sale, please feel free to contact me.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

How to Decorate Your For-Sale Home at Halloween

decoracion-de-halloweenOne of the most important aspects of marketing your home involves the removal of clutter.  Plain and simple, buyers want to see a blank canvas of sorts, where they don’t have to look past piles of magazines and clusters of family photos to see your beautiful counters, etc.  Disorganization and chaos can be a deal breaker, so when it comes to working towards a sale during the Halloween “season,” you don’t want to put up an abundance of holiday decorations after you’ve spent time making your home as ordered and neat as possible.

That’s not to say that buyers don’t love the look of rich fall flowers and beautiful orange pumpkins.  Most will appreciate seasonal touches that bring warmth into your home; however, no matter how much you LOVE prepping for and celebrating Halloween, it’s important to temper the compulsion to turn your home into something akin to the Adams’ family manor.

When selecting the right decorations, don’t forget to factor safety into the equation.  Halloween means trick-or-treating children, so make a point to keep your walkway clean and well-lit.  From there, while you may pride yourself in the spooky graveyard that resides in your front lawn each year, you may want to hold off on adding the tombstones until next October—at your new home.

Remember, fall flowers, not zombies.  Hand-made wreathes, not cob webs.  Orange ribbons, not fake blood.  If you follow these rules, then you also won’t be stuck in a position where you have to scramble to take everything down on November 1st.  Fall flowers and pumpkins are suitable for Thanksgiving as well.

If, however, you find that you simply MUST put up scary decorations or go-all-out with the witches and ghosts, their time on display needs to be minimal at best—think October 30th-November 1st or 2nd.  Your goal this year is to attract buyers, so keep that in mind if you find yourself feeling a bit restrained.

There’s always next year!  If you have any questions or would like some information about listing your home during the autumn season, I would love to help.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Strategies for Tackling Buyer’s Remorse

CLbqPpjXAAASWnqFor some, any major—or even small—purchase will elicit feelings of anxiety, regret, and even doom; however, even though you may be someone who is generally inclined to a bit of hand-wringing, when purchasing a home, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

YOU CANNOT CONTROL EVERYTHING

For starters, let’s just address the obvious.  Yes, purchasing a home is a huge commitment, both in terms of finances and time.  Still, while a large part of that process may feel overwhelming and beyond your control, remember try to remember that it is often our need to feel like we must control everything that gets us into trouble.

Instead of fixating on everything that frightens you about owning your new home—or a home in general—remind yourself of all the reasons you made the decision to purchase in the first place.  Whether you were tired of landlords or simply loved the possibility of having a big backyard, chances are good that you put in a lot of time, effort, and money to get to where you are.

As with most things in life, if you spend more time focusing on the good instead of ruminating over the bad, you’re likely to be a much happier person.  Overcoming buyer’s remorse is no different.  Fixate on the possibilities, the potential, and the parts that simply feel like home.

STOP AND THINK

All-too-often, we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed without taking the time to assess what we’re truly feeling.  Where are those thoughts of buyer’s remorse coming from?  Are you afraid that you won’t be able to afford the mortgage?  Is there a lot of work that still needs to be done?  Do you feel like it may be smaller than you expected?

Instead of standing still and continuing to stress, make a list of your worries and start by addressing what you can, one thing at a time.  Take a Saturday to paint the guest room.  Replace the lighting in the kitchen.  By slowly crossing items off your list, you’re likely to feel that sense of dread lift, ever so slightly.

SHOW IT OFF

Hey!  You just bought a home!  That’s great!  …and let’s be honest, it really is great!  Not everyone is in a position to do that—no matter how much they’d like to be—so why not celebrate?

Throw a housewarming party, barbeque, or dinner and gather your loved ones for a celebration.  Chances are better than good that everyone will be more than excited for you, so let a little bit of those good vibes remind you of how fantastic your new place is.

TAKE SOME TIME TO CREATE YOUR SPOT

Part of learning to love something requires finding a bright spot in what may otherwise be somewhat dim.  When you take the time to appreciate one area of your home, chances are good that those warm feelings will spread.

Set aside a few spare moments to just sit in your new space—every day—and appreciate the things you love about your little corner of comfort.  Whether it’s soft light at sunrise or open French doors, let this part of your house feel like home and hopefully, the rest will follow.

If you’d like to find your dream home and want some assistance with the buying process, I’d love to offer my services.  Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Community Resources

WELCOME

2017 Welcome Services

The Dinsmore Team has created this handy guide for both Buyers and Sellers. The guide lists trusted service providers that we use personally and professionally. The providers listed service the Forsyth and North Fulton County areas.

2014 Complete Guide to Moving

This 20-Page Guide will be your comprehensive source for selling your home and planning your move. It includes tips for getting ready to sell, planning your move, packing and transitioning into your new home.

2014 Home Owners Tip Guide

This 20-Page Guide will help you develop an annual maintenance schedule for your home's systems and appliances to help you avoid bigger problems by taking care of them while they are small. It's also a great resource for trouble shooting malfunctions on your own, saving you time and money.


utilities

Looking for a fast way to connect all of your utility services online? Try Connect Utilities.

Please let us know if there are other resources you'd like to see.

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com

770-712-7789