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Buying a Home? Here are 5 Things to do Before you Start Looking

I have received several calls from people who are planning to buy their first home over the summer.  I tend to get the same questions, so I thought I’d put together a list of things to do before looking for a home.

1.  Get pre-approved.

I can’t stress this enough.  People tend to drag their feet getting pre-approved.  The reason why it is so important isn’t just so you know what amount of money you are approved for.  You also need to know how much you might need to save up for a down-payment.  Cleaning up any credit blemishes is another reason to get pre-approved as soon as possible.

2.  Put together a plan for how you will save up the money for that down-payment.

The amount needed for a down-payment can be quite a chunk of money.  Another thing that needs to be considered is extra money for unexpected expenses.  If you are getting a foreclosed property or if you want to update the home you have chosen, having extra money set aside is a must.

3.  Decide where you would like to live.

There are a million reason’s why a particular city is picked out.  The homes might be more affordable, you love the night life of the area, or maybe the area is close to friends and family.  What ever your reason, it is much easier to find a home you will love when you have an area picked out as being perfect for your personal needs.

4.  Start shopping taxes.

This really goes hand in hand with picking the area you will live in.  It’s amazing how two cities next to each other can have such a wide range in what is taxed on homeowners.  You should be aware of how much you can afford and how the taxes will play into your decision.  Maybe the taxes are low and you will be able to afford more home.  On the other hand, maybe the taxes are incredibly high, but the lure of the location is enough for you to go for the smaller home because you love the neighborhood you are choosing.

5.  Get familiar with what you want in a home and how realistic it might be.

At Real Estate One, we have a free program where we send emails to the customer which show homes for sale.  The homes the customer views take into account the criteria that is important to the customer.  Let’s say the customer names 3 cities as possible choices.  The home should have 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a garage and 1400 sq ft minimum.  The criteria will be set and the customer will get email updates with pictures and information on homes that fit those needs.

It’s a great program in that it gives the potential homeowner a peek at what is available with the criteria they have chosen.  If the choices are sparse, the customer can tweak their criteria and see if they fare better with what is available.

If you are interested in discussing how you can get into a new home or maybe you have a home you need to sell, give me a call.  I would be happy to help you set up a plan to get ready to move and then find the home of your dreams.

Wendy McCance
Real Estate Agent
Real Estate One
26236 Woodward Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067 
Direct: 248-414-1248 ext. 119
wendymccance@realestateone.com
 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in advice, housing, how to

 

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Communication is a Key Trait of a Successful Realtor

There is nothing more frustrating than chasing down a person you are relying on for answers.  This is especially true when you are buying or selling a home.  This is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life.  If you don’t have good communication with your realtor, your situation can become extremely stressful.

I live by the motto that you should always fill in the gaps and have the questions answered before your client can come up with the questions.  Lets take the example of selling a home.  Selling a home can be an emotional and sometimes stressful process.  The family has memories in the home they are selling.  The home needs to be ready at a moments notice to show to potential buyers.  Keeping your home in perfect order while you are still living in the home can be exhausting, especially if you have kids or pets.  The reason a family might be moving might not always be under the best of circumstances which can create more stress..  Basically, when the process of selling the home begins, there are already certain expectations about what a client might expect and what the outcome might be.  The last thing a homeowner needs during a time like this is to worry about chasing after the realtor for information.

I worked with a family that was selling their home not to long ago.  The house was put on the market and by the end of that same day, an offer came in.  It all happened so fast that the family barely had time to process what had just happened.  The offer which was above the asking price was accepted and a date for closing was set.

What people sometimes don’t understand is that the date is an educated guess.  Situations come up which can hold up the process.  In this case, title work was not completed by the date the closing was planned for.  This is actually a very common scenario especially when more than one bank is involved.  The sellers at this point would obviously become a little anxious and possibly nervous that the buyer might back out because of the date being changed.

Contacting the sellers right away to let them know what is holding up the closing needed to be done the moment I found out.  Easing any worry was done by checking in with them on a consistent basis.  I might not have an answer to what the new date would be, but I could tell them that I spoke with the other realtor and their client was very understanding of the situation.  I contacted them when I found out that all the paperwork was in and we were just waiting on the bank to process the information.  I wanted to make sure that I was able to make them feel confident about what was going on.  I needed them to know I hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth (even if there wasn’t much to report).

Having good communication with your clients is really a key to your success.  People are putting a tremendous amount of trust into your ability to take care of them.  It has been incredibly rewarding to talk with a client and have them express relief and appreciation for knowing what to expect next and knowing I would be there to take care of them.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in advice, career, real estate

 

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Poor Credit, Not Much Money, What To Do?

I am navigating the wonderful world of poor credit and not much money saved.  Unfortunately this is a common theme these days.  Trust me, I can relate.  I have been working with a few potential buyers who have life experiences that have created situations where there is a bit of panic trying to find a home.

What do you do when you don’t think you have enough money for a down payment?  What do you do when your credit isn’t the best?  These are questions I needed answers to so that I could help some customers desperate for a home and scared they might not qualify.

Let’s start with not much money saved.  The best advice I’ve gotten was to consider a FHA loan as an option.  In this situation you only need 3% down.  All though this is a common belief, you do not need to be a first time home buyer.  With homes selling at such affordable prices, if you can swing 3%, now is a great time to buy.

So your other concern is credit.  Credit reports are needed when renting or buying a home.  When renting a home, this has been a big sticking point.  Most people who need to rent right now have lousy credit.  It is the primary reason they are not buying a home.  I have clients who have panicked over the credit report.  Here is what you can do in a situation like this.

1.  Offer more than the asking price for the monthly rent.

2.  Write a letter explaining why your credit is in bad shape.

3.  Show a record of timely payments from the place you currently live.

4.  Basically put together a resume’ of why you would be an ideal candidate to rent the home.

Remember that these are individuals renting their own home.  They tend to be more forgiving than the banks.  Many times they understand credit issues because they are having the same problems.  That being said, if one person isn’t interested in renting to you, there will be another person out there who is.

Having this additional information will hopefully make the process of finding a home to rent or buy in not the best of circumstances more bearable.

 
 

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Interview with Real Estate Agent and Designer Linda Raveau

In my continuing series of interviews, I would like to introduce another Real Estate Agent, Linda Raveau.  Linda has an incredible background and a wonderful easy manner about her.  Combined with her knowledge of Real Estate, she intrigued me.  I hope you enjoy getting to know Linda Raveau as much as I did.

Linda has been an artist all her life and in 1997 decided to pursue a creative career as an interior designer by obtaining her Associate’s of Applied Science in that field.  After completing her degree, she worked as a project designer for the EXPO Design Center.

After working with EXPO for several years she decided to leave and establish her own interior design business in 2003 called Rdesigns.  During this transition, she also worked with the College for Creative Studies where she managed the Animation and Digital Media Department.  This allowed her to work closely with the art industry and programs that strengthened her artistic skills.

In 2009, Linda returned to school to obtain her BA in Business and has now expanded her business to include the Real Estate industry.

INTERVIEW

1.  When did you decide to pursue a career in Real Estate?

After I completed my BA, I wanted a fresh approach in marketing my business.  When I came across information on becoming a Real Estate Agent it just clicked — this would be a perfect fit.  My knowledge could help people get their homes prepared for market so they could get the best turnaround time and value.  For those buying a home, I could show them options they may not have considered that would best fit their needs and budget. 

2.  What has been the best experience you have had so far as a Realtor?

I am still a little new to the industry, but the best part thus far has been the support system we have at Real Estate One.  They provide a ton of tools and resources that help you market, learn and manage your business. 

3.  What has been challenging as a Realtor?

When I first entered the Real Estate field, learning the jargon and fully understanding the scope of the business was the biggest challenge.  There is a lot to know and understanding the business is important.  This is why I dedicated many hours to training and education in order to best represent my clients.  I’m all about being thorough and providing the best service.

4.  What communities do you work in as a Real Estate Agent?

I live in Royal Oak and work there and in the surrounding areas, such as Clawson, Berkley, Birmingham and Detroit.  However, I am open to other areas as well.  I don’t like to limit myself.  If I did, I wouldn’t get jobs like the one I got while working at EXPO, which was designing a home in Mackinaw… that was great  fun!

5.  What made you pursue Interior Design?

I have a deep appreciation of the arts.  It started when I was in grade school and continued through high school when I had to get permission to overload my classes to include a 4 year art program. 

My desire was to attend art college after graduation, but in those days not much encouragement was given to pursue art as a career.  Instead, I got a job and began working with my cousin in his wallpaper and paint business.  I installed the wallpaper and when needed, helped with the selections and colors.  I instantly fell in love with the transformations we created for these spaces. 

From that point on, I became entrenched with the world of interiors.  I read just about every magazine or book I could find.  It wasn’t until later in life that I was able to acquire that art degree and interior design just seemed to be the natural fit.

6.  How will you incorporate design into your Real Estate Career?

From my experience, people have a hard time visualizing their space, or have difficulty coming up with solutions for problem areas.

 A current example is with a design client that has a fireplace oddly situated in their family room.  I gave them several ideas that ranged from inexpensive solutions to more involved changes.  Even though they have lived in this space for over 15 years, they never once thought of these solutions.  They were thrilled with their new options. 

This is how I can incorporate my skills for those trying to sell or buy a home… help them see their options.

7.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I enjoy connecting people to their spaces.  Because of my dedication and level of service, I see my business growing to a point where I will have to hire additional people to keep up with the demand.  There are a lot of people and homes out there in need of help.  As an Interior Designer with Rdesigns, and as a Real Estate Agent with Real Estate One, I want to be there to lend them a hand. 

 

Linda Raveau is a Licensed Real Estate Agent at Real Estate One in Royal Oak, MI.  If you are interested in Buying, Selling or Leasing a home, you can contact Linda Raveau at:

Real Estate One
26236 Woodward Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Cell: (248) 506-0310
Office: (248) 548-9100
Email: LindaRaveau@realestateone.com
Website: http://www.realestateone.com/lindaraveau

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in career, job, life, people, personal, thoughts

 

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