Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Cleaning For Living And Selling

Spring is a time of transition, especially in how you live in your home. You’ve been buttoned up all winter, but now you can break out of your “winter cocoon”. Open the windows and let this fresh spring air circulate through your house. Clean out the debris gathered around the your home, inside and out. Flower gardens, ditches, nooks and crannies all seem to be gathering places of “stuff” all winter.

Winter has a way of causing dirt to accumulate in a house. Tracking in mud and snow doesn’t show much at the time, but the potential for damage is realistic. Dirt granules in a carpet that chafe on the fibers will dramatically reduce the life expectancy of your carpet. Even if you don’t see discoloration it’s a good idea to clean them for the maintenance factor. Wood cabinets and furniture can also be affected by winter. The closed up house can cause the wood to dry out excessively - treat each item appropriately.

Spring is also a good time to change your furnace air filter. You’ve been recycling the air in your closed environment all winter, and the filters worked overtime all that while. You will soon be deluged by pollen and other environmental “pollutants” that will readily enter your domain because your home will be open more as you begin sleeping with the windows open, and leaving your windows and sliders open.

Windows … yes, you’ll need to do windows! Clean the fog off and enjoy the clarity of Spring. Can’t get the fog off? You might have a broken seal. This will need to be replaced to sell your home so you might as well fix your broken windows now so your home will show better and build confidence in prospective Buyers. Open your window coverings – you are between summer heat and winter cold insulation needs – let the light in. Clean the blinds and drapes.

The days are getting warmer so be sure to get your watering going. Show the green of your lawn – most Bank Owned properties won’t be able to compete with that. Keep up with your weeds – it is essential for a groomed inviting look. Surely, we have a freeze or two still coming so be careful how soon you add your flowerful colors.

Our Advice: If you are considering selling your home, the above should be considered minimum standards for preparing your home for market. Consider this “Staging 101”, the basic essentials. A Buyer will be naturally put off by driving up to a home with weeds all around it, or trying to look at the beautiful views through a foggy veil. The stale winter air should be moved out and the house generally freshened up in the natural spirit of Spring. You can get good separation in your market from Bank Owned and Short Sale properties by cleaning, freshening, and making your home appealing as a home that a Buyer will relate to and want to live in. Not moving? Do it anyway and enjoy the results!

Have you ever washed your car and fixed the brakes so you could sell it … and wondered why you didn’t do it for yourself? This time is just like that time! Do it and enjoy the results … whatever your ownership future or fate. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs…
Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do Not Let Your House Go To Foreclosure Without Taking Every Step To Prevent It.

If you owe more than your property is worth, you have as a Distressed Property. Until recently, working with Distressed Properties was fraught with peril for agents, and owners were often told to “let it go”, ie.- stop making payments and let the lender foreclose. We’ll spare you the horrific Short Sale experiences as well as our speculation as to why the lending industry was so slow to adapt to the need to cooperate with home owners and their agents. Times have changed and Short Sales are now viable and should be given serious consideration.

Unknown to most of us until about 18 months ago, Short Sales are now very common, and it is very important to understand their benefit to the homeowner. Consider some of the following differences between the effects of a Foreclosure versus a Short Sale:

Credit Score: A Foreclosure will lower your credit score 250 to over 300 points for over 3 years. A Short Sale will show late payments, but the score will be lowered as little as 50 points, and the affect can be as brief as 12-18 months.

Credit History:
Foreclosure will remain on credit history for 10 years or more. Short Sale is not reported on a credit history as there is no specific reporting item for “Short Sale”. Foreclosure remains on public record forever as it is recorded.

Employment: Employers often actively check credit of employees in sensitive positions – especially security clearances (Military, Police, Public Communication, Public Utilities, etc). Foreclosure can result in immediate reassignment or termination if employed, or can prevent you from being hired if you are looking for work. A Short Sale is not reported on credit report … is not a challenge to employment.

Deficiency Judgment: In a Foreclosure the bank has the right to a deficiency judgment. Some successful Short Sales provide for the lender to give up the right to a deficiency judgment. If a deficiency judgment is pursued the Short Sale’s higher yield from the sale results in a lower potential judgment amount.

Future Fannie Mae Loan: After Foreclosure you’ll be ineligible for a Fannie Mae backed loan for 5 years. Short Sale - 2 years.

Future Loans:
For 7 years you will be asked on your application if you have had a foreclosure, but there is no similar declaration regarding a Short Sale.

Our Advice: There is now a designation known as Certified Distressed Property Expert that has been earned by local real estate agents to help Sellers and Buyers of Distressed properties. If you have cash flow or moving issues, we suggest you get professional help to assess your situation, determine alternative options, and make an action plan. The world of Short Sales and Foreclosures has changed from the frustrating mass confusion that it was to today’s smoother processes with positive results. Though there is still frustration and emotion, help is available to you that can help you establish and achieve your goals through the confusing maze.

Whether getting the financial elephant off your back, moving to put the family together, or other bona fide reason for selling … if you have a Distressed Property get with a Certified Distressed Property Expert and take control of your future. Foreclosure is the last option…do what you can to avoid it.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs…
Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472,,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We Are Reading Better News! … Is The Real Estate Market Improving?

We’ve been teased by market surges before during the past eighteen months, but there seems to be a different feeling this time. Yes, things are getting better, and in some cases much, much better. We have seen the entry level market, up to $225,000, getting tremendous activity lately. That includes many showings, offers – in some cases multiple offers on the same property, and offers greater than the asking price. More than half of the listed homes in some of those markets, i.e.- the Gardnerville Ranchos, are now in a Pending status. That means the owners have accepted an offer and they are in escrow.

Other price points have not seen the surge, but it could be coming soon for a couple of reasons. The first is the obvious, as the move-up Buyer is finally able to sell they will be actively shopping. The move-up Buyer has been teased watching the prices fall on homes in their desired neighborhood, but unable to act because of the lack of activity on their home. That is changing, and they will soon be shopping.

In the past few days the terms on Jumbo loans were greatly improved. Lenders had clamped down on Jumbo loans when the debacle started because they didn’t want the risk. Rates were two or more points higher than a conventional loan, and qualifying was a nightmare. That slowed the upper end market to a crawl … one of imperceptible motion if truly analyzed. With the new terms just being announced it will take some time to see their effect on the market, but it is likely that it will create new activity after the word gets out about it. Homes that were once appraised at $1.6 million now available for under $800,000 is too much of an attraction to the qualified Buyer. The Market will be there now that reasonable financing is.

Another Market changer is the Lenders new attitude about and their responses to short sale offers of late. This is having a significant impact on the Market as it is slowing the amount of foreclosures. Short sales are better for neighborhoods as the property remains in good condition while the owner continues to reside in it. That means there will be fewer bank-owned properties dragging the values down so far and fast as they have been doing. This is a change from what we’ve experienced over the past 18 months, one we’ve been hoping would occur. The process has been enhanced by special short sale services of some escrow companies that are getting good results from their communication with the lenders, something that agents came to loathe before this attitude change.

Our Advice: It is apparent that the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit incentive is having a positive effect in our real estate Market Place. If you qualify for that and are thinking that it might be a good idea to buy a home now … quit thinking and start doing! The Market is changing and as it gains traction the pricing will also change. You have great interest rates and pricing available to you, but now you have competition in the Market place. Good old capitalism (remember that?) is again in play. The same dynamics will soon occur in the other price ranges for a variety of reasons. If real estate is on your mind be sure to update your expectations … you might be pleasantly surprised.

Don’t hesitate to act now if you are timing the Market … you may just be outfoxing yourself instead of the Market and Sellers! When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs…
Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.,