December 2014

Start the New Year off Right: Invest in a United Real Estate Franchise

  • Invest in the Future

    Invest in the Future

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If you’ve ever thought about starting your own real estate business, look no further. No matter which area of property sales, purchases or rentals you’re looking at, you’ll find real estate franchises from United will offer you the best way into the real estate business, whether you are experienced in this field or not. We continually provide fantastic agent training, unsurpassed technology and a suite of tools that are tailored to your level of expertise.

Three top reasons to invest in a United Real Estate franchise are:

  • We are a recognized and highly regarded business with a long history in real estate and offer you an opportunity run your own business which will succeed now and in the future.
  • Our franchisees receive business tools and support that give them an edge over competitors, ensuring brokers will outperform their rivals time after time.
  • Our leadership team has the professionalism and experience to help grow your business. You’ll find it easy to recruit top agents to your fast-growing real estate business, in whatever area you decide to operate

Contact United Real Estate now to discuss setting up your new franchised real estate business and find out area availability.

Helpful Hints for Holiday Home Sales

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During the winter people are often preoccupied with family, gift buying and avoiding the cold, which can make selling a home during the holidays difficult. Since purchasing a home is often not at the forefront of most people’s minds during the month of December, it is all the more important to market your home appropriately.  Although home buying is often in the decline during the holiday months, keep your spirits bright with these holiday home selling tips!

  1. Hire a photographer to take impressive photos of your home.  Most buyers will start their search for a home on the web, year-round. But this rings even more true during the winter months, as buyers are trying to avoid the cold weather. Give a great first impression of your home with photos that will entice buyers to come visit your home in person.
  2. Decorate for the holidays, but don’t overdo it. Keeping decorations simple will help avoid looking tacky.  Avoid offending potential buyers by displaying general winter decorations, rather than those that pertain to a specific religion. Outdoor wreaths are a nice way to welcome people into your home.
  3. Provide welcoming treats for guests. Help guests feel cozy in your home by providing treats like cookies, coffee or hot chocolate when they enter from the cold. Homebuyers who can picture themselves in a home are more likely to make an offer.
  4. Market to motivated buyers. Those buying a home in the winter typically have a reason to be doing so – job relocation or military placement, those looking to purchase before the tax deadline or college students/staff. Even though traffic may be lighter, the buyers are likely more motivated.
  5. Price your home competitively. With fewer buyers looking to buy home during the winter months, it’s likely that there will be more buyers than sellers. Price your home competitively to help keep your home at the top of customer’s minds.

Need help selling your home? We’ve got agents around the country who can help you with buying or selling your home. Contact us to get started.

United Real Estate Launches New Office Websites

The team at United Real Estate is proud to announce the launch of new office websites.  After many meetings, lots of review and even more strategizing, we’ve launched new office websites to make home buying and selling even easier for each of our offices. The real estate industry has changed tremendously over the past few years, as technology has empowered people with a plethora of new tools and access to information at all hours of the day. These changes have redefined what it means to have a positive real estate transaction – and we’re here to tell you that we’re on a mission to provide you with the best experience we can.

With the launch of our new office websites, we’re hoping we can make the home buying and selling process a little easier for our clients – and for our brokers.  United’s buyer- and seller-centric technology, paired with the most trustworthy and accessible real estate professionals in the business, allow us to serve our clients better than the competition. Our office websites provide significant value to our brokers and demonstrate our commitment to providing the newest, most innovative technology tools to our stakeholders.

In 2015, we’ll also be launching redesigned agent websites, to help our agents better serve their clients and to help clients better find the home of their dreams. Have questions about what we’re doing or suggestions about how we can do it better?  Let us know. We’re here for you.

Clean Up Your Mess

  • Is your home welcoming?

    Is your home welcoming?

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If you’re selling your house, don’t forget this easily missed step. Wedding photos, utility bills, over packed closets and even pet supplies can give potential buyers a little too personal look into what living at your property would be like. Don’t scare off buyers with tchotchkes, clutter and personal affects.

Before you list your house, do these 10 quick things:

  1. Pretend your home is a hotel room – remove the extraneous items you wouldn’t find in a hotel room. Photos, clothing, books/magazines, excessive décor etc.
  2. Look at the space from a buyers eyes – what can you remove to make the space look bigger?
  3. Find the hottest trends. Take a look at style magazines and see what the latest décor trends are, see if you can integrate a few of these techniques into your home.
  4. Consider buying or renting furniture. If you don’t have the appropriate furniture for renting, considering investing in it for a better showing.
  5. Clean up. Make sure the house smells as good or better than it looks. Odd smells or pet dander can be a turn off for many buyers.
  6. Neutralize it. If possible, eliminate polarizing colors, prints and even furniture. The more distinct your style, the less likely it will match with the buyers.
  7. Mow your lawn. Make sure your yard is in the best condition it can be. You don’t want to eliminate buyers before they even enter.
  8. Cars count as clutter too. If you have extra vehicles or unusable garage space, move the vehicles while showing the home.
  9. Invite buyers in. Adding flowers, fresh paint, wreaths or seasonal décor to your home’s entrance will give buyers a pleasant welcoming.
  10. Get rid of garbage. Empty your trashcans, recycle your newspapers and remove anything that could leave a bad taste in buyer’s mouths.

While there are hundreds of things you can do to make showing your house easier or more successful, this list should give you a good start. Remember, create an environment the buyer can picture themselves in.

 

The Challenges Facing First Time Home Buyers

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In 2013, 38 percent of home buyers were first-time buyers. Because first-time buyers can face unique challenges that other buyers may not, Supreme Lending and United Real Estate have partnered together to assist more people in achieving the dream of home ownership.

The statistics on first-time home buyers.

First-time home buyers tend to be young adults with an average age of 31. Around 56 percent of first-time buyers are married and 30 percent are single. The majority of first-time buyers, 59 percent, don’t have children. They tend to purchase homes around 1,570 square feet, and they have an average income of $64,400.

Specific challenges first-time home buyers face.

Did you know:

  • The average age range for first time home buyers is 25-35, which also happens to be the age group hardest hit by the recession. This means that they may still be building their careers or do not have the employment history that older buyers do.
  • Credit scores can also be a challenge for first-time home buyers because they may not have the long, established credit histories lender look for.
  • Down payments can be a problem for first-time home buyers. Some lenders require first-time buyers to put down 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price of the home, which can be difficult to come up with when the buyer might be just starting in their career.
  • Many buyers in this age group are also dealing with paying back substantial student loans. Having student loans can significantly impact the approval and even size of a home loan.
  • It’s their first time. Many first-time buyers are simply overwhelmed by the home buying process. This can result in them agreeing to a term or percentage without really knowing what it means for them or giving up the process entirely.

What you can do:

  • Make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Buying a home can be an emotional experience, but it is important to try to put emotions aside and focus on finding a house that has what you’re looking for AND you can afford.
  • Take ALL of the expenses into consideration when deciding on your budget. Don’t forget to add in utilities, cost of commuting, insurance and other fees.
  • Read the homeowners association contract before you put in an offer. It could have conditions that make or break your decision.
  • Ask for help! You don’t have to go through the process alone. Make sure that you choose loan officers and real estate agents who are dedicated to making the process as simple as possible.

Sources: https://www.discover.com/home-loans, http://www.realtor.org, http://blakesloanradio.com

 Questions for us?  Email info@supremelending.com or call (877)316-0296

Supreme Lending
NMLS ID #2129
14801 Quorum Drive, Ste 300
Dallas, Texas 75254
www.gregorylaywell.supremelending.com

Disclaimer

How to Keep Your House Safe During the Holidays

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The month of December is definitely a time for celebration. With parties, vacations and lots of fun events, keeping your family and home safe shouldn’t be left off the list. Take a few extra steps this month and you can ensure you make it through the season without any snafus.

Find a Friend (Or Neighbor)

Find someone you trust to drive by your house a few times while you are gone. From taking in packages or newspapers, to clearing snow, it’s always good to have an extra set of eyes looking out for you while you’re gone.

Alert the Police

If you are going to be gone for more than a week, it’s not a bad idea to alert the police of your absence, especially if you live in a small town or suburb. Police officers can do courtesy drive-bys to verify everything is okay and steer away criminals who may be scoping out the area.

Keep the Details off Social Media

No need to announce to the world that you’ll be gone for the whole week, away in Florida. If you are going to share in Florida, limit the details. It might be easy to rant about your delayed return flight but that can also remind people you won’t be home for another day.

Keep the Lights On

While keeping lights on while you are gone isn’t a bad idea, purchasing a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule is even better. Criminals who are keeping an eye on your neighborhood will notice lights flipping on and off and will assume someone is doing the flipping. Another great idea is setting two timers, each with different times, so that the switching seems more sporadic.

Pull the Plug

Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from becoming a potential fire hazard. It’s also a good way to save power since many appliances use power even when their turned off.

Remove Your Spare Key

If you have a spare key hiding on your porch or in your yard – bring it in before you leave. Depending on the traffic in your neighborhood, people may have seen you retrieve the key from the spot on occasion. Even if you do have a sneakier hiding spot, you’re likely not to have been the only person who’s thought of something similar.

Lock it Up

Make sure your doors and windows are locked every time you leave the house, even if it is just for a few minutes.

If the worst happens, make sure you have an up-to-date home inventory of the make, model, serial numbers and other detailed product descriptions of valuable items. This inventory should be kept somewhere safe, preferably electronically.

The Problem with Pricing Your Home too High

  • Can you use gift money for a downpayment?

    Can you use gift money for a downpayment?

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Homes can be expensive and often a lot of work, making it seem like your home is valued at much more than it is. But the truth is, your home is only worth what the market is willing to pay. Pricing your home too high will discourage interested parties from making an offer and cause your property to sit for months, which is never the goal.

Unfortunately, it often doesn’t matter what’s included in our offering – or what your mortgage is. The number of days a property has been on the market is the major determinate of a correctly priced home. If you haven’t received an offer in a 30-day period, the price is too high. The longer a house is on the market, the less valuable it appears to buyers.

Appreciation and depreciation can be difficult to calculate without a firm grasp on your local market. As someone who looks at multiple houses every day or week, a professional real estate agent will know what the market is willing to pay and should be able to guide you with your pricing. There are certain things that homeowners can do to influence buyers’ perceptions of their home’s value and increase the price buyers are willing to pay for it. Ultimately, it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to make a timely sale.

Overpricing your house in the beginning can make the selling process much more difficult. The first days of listing your home should garner the most interest and overpricing will cause you to miss that window. If you’re interested in talking to a local real estate agent about what an appropriate listing price would be, let us know. We’re here to help.