Price your home in the ballpark to sell

baseball-field-wbr-webApril 1 is opening day for Major League Baseball. It’s also the start of the busy Spring selling season, when many people consider selling their homes.

One of the top concerns of home owners when selling is: “For what price should I list my home?” You don’t want to price it too high and end up in extra innings, nor do you want to price it too low and wonder if you could’ve have scored more for your most expensive asset.

Here are some tips to help you price your home in the ballpark of what a buyer will pay:

Start with the stats.

You can get a ballpark figure from any number of computer-generated models these days. The new one at will show you three base values. But in order to hit a home run, you then need to …

Put a strong designated hitter in your lineup.

A real pro knows the ins and outs of the field and the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. Knock it out of the park with a professional CMA (comparative market analysis) for the most accurate value of your home.

Play in the big league.

Whether you hire a heavy hitter or a rookie, you can count on the major players having a team of other agents and staff on their bench to help them find the sweet spot for your home price. And likely a buyer.

Go with a pro right off the bat.

It doesn’t pay to try selling on your own first. In fact, sellers who came up to the plate with a pro saw 9 percent higher median sales prices than those who tried to For Sale By Owner first before selling with an agent, and 19 percent higher than those who sold FSBO with no agent.*

Have a rain delay plan.

Come up with a game plan with your agent before listing for strategic price adjustments in later innings. This can help bring new attention to your home and prevent you from striking out.

Overall, a professional can help you pinpoint the winning price strategy to get your home Listed. Shown. SOLD.

* National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers

Questions to ask to find the best agent for you

real estate agentWoods Bros Realty has more than 200 licensed Real Estate agents. While that number fills you with confidence in their experience and abilities, it doesn’t quite help you narrow down which one is best for you. Luckily, it helps to know which questions to ask.


What areas does your agent have the most experience in? If you are a first time home buyer, ask your Realtor about their experience with buyers. You’ll likely have more questions than a seasoned home buyer. Your Realtor will be able to walk you through everything from disclosures to how to get approved for financing.


What services does your agent offer? Ask them to present a marketing plan for your home, complete with comparable sales in your area. If you’re a buyer, what is your agent’s availability? If your career keeps you tied up during business hours, are they up for after-hours home shopping?


What’s the best way to stay in touch with your Realtor? Is the easiest way to reach them by text, phone call, or email? Do they have specific office hours when you can drop by for a chat? Keep the lines of communication open by knowing how your agent prefers to be contacted.

The Numbers:

Always ask your agent how they plan to price your house, or how they can help you present the best offer on your dream home. You may have your own numbers in mind when buying or selling, but trust the expertise of your licensed professional; they will have the info and track record to back it up.

As you navigate through names and faces of licensed agents, don’t hesitate to make that first phone call. If the face on a billboard, name on a “Sold” sign, or flyer stuck in your door caught your attention, call and get those questions rolling!

Choosing a full service Realtor is the first step to a successful Real Estate transaction, and by knowing the right questions to ask, you’re on your way to finding the perfect agent. As points out, “Remember, the REALTOR® is your advocate in the transaction, whether you are buying or selling. Once you have signed up with an agent to represent you, he or she is your face, your voice and your defense against all involved in the multi-layered home buying or home selling process.”

With so many licensed professionals to choose from, you’re bound to find the best advocate for you.

For Sale By Owner: It’s Not That Simple

sold-on-woods-brosAccording to Time Magazine, nearly 90% of home sellers choose to use the help of a licensed professional to list their home. In the age of do-it-yourself, with You Tube channels dedicated to every kind of how-to imaginable, it’s remarkable that so many of us are still relying on a Realtor to sell our house.

There are a host of reasons to be tempted to not use a Realtor, the biggest being a matter of frugality. Why pay someone to sell your home when you’re perfectly capable of putting a sign in your yard and posting a few pictures online?

The answer is because it’s just not that simple.

Selling your home is a much more intricate process than selling your grandpa’s old recliner on Craigslist.

For starters, your Realtor is a licensed professional, and that title comes with endless responsibilities that your Realtor takes seriously. They are your marketing guru, a negotiating master, and an endless database of connections to loan officers, inspectors, and other industry professionals.

While everyone dreams of a quick and smooth transaction, the reality is that a number of factors can become stumbling blocks along the way. Those stumbling blocks are the moment your Realtor turns into a superhero, swooping in and putting the pieces back together to do what you hired them to do: sell your home. If you feel confident in navigating any stumbling blocks yourself, consider the following:

  • The sale is not a sale until everyone agrees on the inspection and subsequent repairs. The inspection period can be a deal breaker.
  • The loan process is a complicated, but necessary beast. Someone will need to make sure the process is on track to avoid any delay.
  • Even deciding on a listing price is complex. Your Realtor has the most up to date info on recent sales of comparable houses, known as “comps.”
  • What about getting an appraisal? What if the appraisal is low? Your agent is trained in dealing with these challenges.

Even for those perfect transactions, a Realtor is still your liaison; doing the work and making the calls that you simply don’t have the time for. They will handle all of the details it takes just to get your home under contract. Realtors aren’t just for complicated transactions, they’re for every transaction. Think of it this way; you wouldn’t cut your own hair or cast your own broken arm; instead you rely on licensed professionals. Time Magazine suggests the following advice: “Before skipping a full-service agent, think hard about the time and effort you want to spend, particularly if the process drags on.”

Find a professional to get your home listed, shown, and SOLD at

TRID Guidelines: Facts for Home Sellers

TRID Facts for Home Sellers

Whether you’re in the middle of a real estate transaction, or your agent just placed a “for sale” sign in your yard, you’ve probably at least heard of the new TRID guidelines. They officially became effective on October 3rd, but what exactly does that mean for you, the seller?

The short answer is simple: time.

The TRID regulations, or TILA / RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule, were designed as a tool for consumer protection. They call for all lenders to comply with new disclosure forms that they provide to home buyers. The forms must include a complete breakdown of fees and must also list who (the buyer, seller, or third party,) is responsible for the fee.

The disclosure forms must be presented first following a buyer’s approval, but more specifically, again at least three days before closing. In other words, a closing can’t occur until the second disclosure is presented and after a 72 hour waiting/review period.

That’s where the time factor comes into play. Concerns have risen that three-day waiting period could hold up multiple real estate transactions, particularly if you are selling your home as well as purchasing one. But there is good news: remember, these new regulations are for consumer protection.

For starters, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a statement clearing up some of the time concerns. There had been some misconception that any change made to loan or disclosure restarted the three-day waiting period. But in fact, only three changes require a new three-day review:

  1. The annual percentage rate (APR) increases
  2. A prepayment penalty will be added
  3. The basic loan product changes

So when answering the question, “Will the new mortgage disclosures delay my closing?” the CFPB states: “The answer is NO for just about everybody.”

And there’s more good news, there’s a great chance that your Realtor, as well as your buyer’s agent, is ready for these regulations. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors “More than 80% of respondents had taken some form of training on TRID,” even better, over 70% of Realtors rating their preparedness for these new guidelines at least average or better. The NAR also concluded that “[Realtors] are working with their industry partners and making changes to contracts to help smooth the transition.”

“It’s never been more important for a seller to work with a knowledgeable Realtor who can help ensure that the buyer writing an offer on their home is fully aware of the new loan requirements and is prepared to work with their lender in a timely manner,” noted Woods Bros agent Marcia Murray.

As complicated as they seem, the TRID guidelines are in place to actually make the home buying process easier, safer, and more straightforward for both buyers and sellers. With the help of an informed Realtor, you can rest easy and enjoy a smooth transaction.

TRID Guidelines: Facts for Home Buyers

TRID Facts for Home Buyers

Beginning October 3rd, a new set of government regulations became effective for all real estate transactions. At first glance, TRID, which stands for TILA / RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule, seems overwhelmingly complicated. Here is a breakdown of a few fast facts that will help you understand how TRID affects you:

Why the change?

It may feel like a drag to jump through the newly designed hoops, but in fact the changes were implemented to protect you. TRID has even earned a slick nickname “Know Before You Owe.” In short, the changes mean that lenders can’t surprise you with their list of fees associated with your loan at closing. Instead, lenders are required to present an official document of fees at least three days prior to closing. This new protection means you won’t be tallying up what you owe with a pen in your hand as the clock ticks away at your closing. Instead, you have 72 hours to digest how your new mortgage–and its related fees–work.

New disclosures:

If this isn’t your first rodeo, and you’ve gone through the process of home buying before, you may remember the set of forms your lender presented to you; one after the initial loan approval, known as a Good Faith Estimate, and later, usually at closing, your breakdown of fees. Because of the TRID changes, you’ll now get that breakdown of fees sooner, and this new disclosure will look remarkably similar to what you already saw after your loan was approved. The only difference is this Closing Disclosure From will actually break down who is responsible for each fee; be it you, the seller, or a third party.

What’s the downside?

So it all sounds great, but what’s the catch? Because the new disclosures are time sensitive, and government regulated, if not presented properly by your loan officer the closing could be delayed. The good news is that loan officers face penalties and fees if that happens, which is an excellent motivation for your loan to be processed correctly the first time. If you’re unsure of where to turn, ask your real estate agent to recommend a loan officer; they will likely have many banks and loan officers that they trust, and in turn, you can trust too.

Is my Realtor affected? Your real estate agent will have to comply with any delays in closing, so more than ever they will want to work closely with you every step of the way: keeping lines of communications open and guiding you with answers to your questions. It’s also likely your agent has attended a TRID class or otherwise educated themselves, making them a great resource to you throughout the home buying process.

Kevin Burklund of Woods Bros Realty said, “With this huge change in federal regulations, buyers have to be attentive and responsive in order to close on time; it’s more important now than ever to have a Realtor involved to keep the transaction on track.”

The REALTOR’s Role When You Buy FSBO

Sold-FSBOYou’ve been searching for homes with your agent but can’t find the one that’s ‘just right.’ You know the inventory is tight and that the right one will come along soon, but you’re getting impatient!

Then you stumble across a house that looks perfect. But it’s For Sale By Owner. Now what?

Your agent can still help you – and he should! Just because the owner is selling privately doesn’t mean you can’t look at the house or even own it. Tell your agent about the house and share the address and phone number with him. Your agent will call the owner to see if he’s willing to work with buyers who are represented by a Realtor.

If the owner is willing to pay your agent a professional fee, he and the agent will meet prior to your seeing the house to agree on compensation. That’s usually a percentage of the sale price, but it can also be a set amount. With that agreement in place, your agent will show you the house, and if you decide it’s ‘the one,’ he’ll help you prepare an offer for the seller. Your agent will continue to work on your behalf and help you navigate the transaction to a successful closing.

If the owner is not willing to pay your agent a professional fee, you’ve still got a couple of options. You could choose to pay your agent the professional fee yourself – there’s no rule that says it has to be paid by the seller. You could also choose to negotiate directly with the seller and try to put the deal together on your own. By doing that you’re essentially firing your agent (even if you really like him!) and you’ll need to handle inspection deadlines, repair negotiations and follow-up, and any lender requirements without his guidance. If you haven’t bought a home before, or don’t feel comfortable ‘flying solo,’ you’ll want to give that decision some serious thought before proceeding!

(Consider, too, what you’ll do in case your direct negotiations with the seller are not successful. Will you be able to go back to your agent after dumping him? Ultimately that depends on the kind of relationship you have with your Realtor, but it’s something to keep in mind!)

In today’s market of very limited inventory, it’s only natural that we’d see more sellers trying to sell By Owner. As the buyer, know that you’ve got options and that it’s OK to look at FSBO properties. Talk to your agent and have a game plan in place, so when you find the right house, you can move forward confidently!

Picking the right agent is crucial

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Sales Report two weeks ago and in the report they discussed a troubling trend: cancelled contracts are increasing dramatically. NAR defined the issue:

“Contract failures – cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price.”

NAR explained that 18% of all contracts were cancelled in August. This compares to 16% last month and 9% in August of 2011.

The percentage of cancelled contracts has doubled in the past year!!

It is extremely important that both buyers and sellers pick the right real estate professional to assist them with their real estate needs.


Make sure your agent can not only help you find the home of your dreams but also find you professional assistance with all aspects of the transaction (mortgaging, title, etc.)


Realize that your agent must sell the home twice:

  1. to a qualified buyer
  2. to the bank (through the appraiser).

The second sale may be more difficult in this market than the first.

Bottom Line

It is imperative in this housing market that both buyers and sellers use a true real estate professional to guarantee that the deal will actually reach the closing table.

See original article from KCM (Keeping Current Matters) Blog.
Find a Woods Bros Realty professional, who can help you with all aspects of a real estate transaction.

2011 dawns with challenges and opportunities

As 2011 begins, real estate analysts look forward with varying predictions. Many say the challenges of the economic downturn will persist through 2011 and even beyond, but probably most would not argue that there will be opportunities as well for those who need to be, or are able to be in the marketplace.

Those with good credit are certainly in a great position to take advantage to the opportunities that are there. Those with less than good credit can take advantage of the opportunity to find help and advice in building a better credit rating. Sellers also will find opportunities, especially if they among those who have taken the time to keep their home well maintained, or take action now to enhance the marketability of their property.

One thing is certain, now more than ever, both buyers and sellers will find that the services of a Realtor can make the difference in a challenging market. Contact your experienced Woods Bros Realty agent today to discuss any questions you may have related to buying or selling a home in 2011.

The changing face of real estate

For those of you who are old enough, you might remember the days when Realtors would drive around with big books that had all of the houses listed for sale. They would shuffle through the paperwork and come up with that “perfect” house. The Realtor had the “golden key” that could get you in the door. You couldn’t even think about looking for a home without a Realtor.

How times have changed! Just about everyone today has a computer and knows how to look for a home on the Internet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, it’s pretty easy for the general public to get any and all information about a house. So where does that leave the real estate agent of today?

Obviously you need a licensed agent to get you into a house and to get what little information is not already in cyber space. But there are so many more reasons you should consider having a Realtor help you in your home search.

Buying a home is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make. Why attempt to do this on your own? This is our business … it’s what we do every day. Rely on an experienced agent to help guide you. Realtors are unbiased and can look at a home without the emotions of a home buyer to cloud the purchase. Realtors can guide a buyer through comparing a home with others in the area, writing the offer, negotiating repairs, handling issues, setting up title and escrow and making arrangements for the transfer. If the house you want is not listed for sale, Realtors can network to perhaps find your perfect house before it does come on the market.

Sure it’s fun to look on the Internet. But my advice is let a Realtor help you. It will definitely pay off in the long run!

What to expect when trying to sell your home on your own WITHOUT the help of a Realtor

Finally the day has come when you and your wife have decided that the family has outgrown your current home. You have had three trips to the doctor in the past year due to tripping over the kids’ toys. When you open the closets you need to wear a helmet to protect your noggin. And the holidays are not pleasant when you try to squeeze 30 people into a 10’ x 10’ space called a dining room.

You should hire a professional, but you watch the Home and Garden Channel reruns at 1:00 am when one of the kids has the flu, and you think you can do it on your own.

So you run to the hardware store on your lunch break and spend $75 on one of those flimsy signs that will sustain a 2 mph wind and one of those nice flyer tubes. When you get home you install them in the front yard and run to the computer to list your house on one of those FREE local internet sites. You make your own flyers on a program that was free with your computer, but your printer is out of ink. So you run to the office supply store and spend $100.00 on two printer cartridges. You go home and install them, but find that you really needed a printer. So you run back out and spend $300 on a new printer. Now you make the nice flyers (estimating the utilities, taxes and size of rooms) and run outside to fill the tube, only to find out that the wind has taken your sign and tube to somewhere in Iowa. Another $75 trip to the hardware store.

You are going to have your first open house. You call the local newspaper and give them the information you want in the ad. Total: $300 for one ad, one day. Ouch!!!

You shove all the stuff back in the closets and duct tape the doors shut. You throw the kids’ toys into the garage behind the mini-van. You light a few candles and wait for the arrival of the new owners. But the only buyers who come are the neighbors–wanting to be nosey and see the inside of your house–and a few very scary looking individuals who saw your ad on the Internet site. When the open house is over, you run around the house blowing out the candles and turning off the lights only to find out that your Rolex watch, flat screen television and your kids’ piggy banks have been stolen. You call the police and they say they are on the way, but it will be a little while as they are busy with more important things. You are hungry and there is nothing in the house to eat. So you decide to run thru the drive-in burger joint down the road to grab a bite. It will only take you a minute or two! You jump in the mini-van and back her up, running over three expensive kids’ bikes, your wife’s golf clubs and your favorite fishing pole. The cost of repair or replacement: PRICELESS.

You stagger back into the kitchen to try to find something in that refrigerator that doesn’t contain mold and as you reach to open the door … there in plain sight … is the refrigerator magnet that Cindy Weiss with Woods Bros Realty sent to you during the holidays. And there is her telephone number too!!! You call her and she brings you the papers to list your house and maybe even dinner.

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