Thinking back on when you first sold or bought your home, how did you decide on who you would trust to take you through this experience? Was it from a family/friend referral, the internet, open house, or a complete stranger you met randomly somewhere? Hopefully, the decision made was the right one and if you did your homework, then we are happy that it all worked out in the end. If not, then hopefully this blog can aid you in some way.
Below are some tips/characteristics when searching for someone to sell your home because hiring a good listing agent is crucial to your entire experience as a home seller:
Experienced and educated with a proven track record
Hire someone that will communicate effectively with you and will give good advice
Has extensive knowledge of your neighborhood
A good negotiator to sell your home for the best possible price and as quickly as possible
Someone with a strategic marketing plan (ask to see what that consists of: how many websites will have your property’s info, how many open houses to be held)
Someone you can TRUST
You can check us off for all of the above and if chosen to be your Listing Agent, we at the Iseley & Walsh Group, are very involved with preparing your home for sale and marketing the property. Most importantly, we value your home just as much as you do and will always provide a comprehensive market analysis.
We want to give you the best experience from beginning to end. Not only are we here to do business, but we are here to build a long lasting relationship.
I work with a lot of first time home buyers. They are probably some of my best clients. For the most part, they are willing to learn the tricks of the trade. They ask all the right questions and cover their boundaries. In a lot of ways, they are trusting and accept advice easily. However, whether you are a first time home buyer or purchasing your 3rd, 4th or 5th home one rule of real estate always stands firm.
Location, Location, Location!
Location is one of the first things I discuss with my first time home buyers. As an agent, it is always at the forefront of my mind when touring properties.
When determining a home, and more importantly its value, the location of the property will determine the long term value and stability of that property. This can be said for a large geographic region such as Orange County all the way down to the specific location in a particular neighborhood. Orange County has higher home values than San Antonio, Texas for a reason. The value is in the land, location and proximity to certain desires such as, the beach. The beach may be the obvious determining factor in driving home values in Orange County, but there are many other factors to consider that drive the cost of your home.
When buying a home in Orange County, consider these items:
-Proximity to freeways
-Ease of getting to the beach
-Lot size and location
-Proximity to shopping, restaurants and grocery stores
Cities such as Costa Mesa, Aliso Viejo and Irvine have all seen significant gains in home values over the last year. One of the common denominators with these cities is the relative ease to freeways or toll roads allowing for shorter commutes to beach cities and work. There is a high demand for spending less time in your car and more time in the sun. All of these cities offer great shopping and dining, as well. As you move further out to Foothill Ranch, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita or San Juan Capistrano (all great cities in their own right) you will see slight drops in home values due to their geographic location. They are often associated with a little longer commute and fewer “Town Centers” where you can get all your shopping done. However, when picking a neighborhood regardless of city one thing stays consistent in determining price. Land! For example, think about a neighborhood in Aliso Viejo. The average home price for that neighborhood may be $600,000. If you have a corner lot in that neighborhood, your home may sell for $50,000-$75,000 more just because of the lot. If you can find a deal with a corner lot, snatch it up quickly. It will retain its value year after year. Many people don’t realize that the value of their home is in the land. If you currently own a home, take a look at your next tax statement. Say, your home is in the same neighborhood as the example above. You get your tax bill and your property was assessed for $600,000. Take a closer look at your bill. I would be willing to bet my own home that your tax bill reads “Land Value $425,000” and “Structure Value $175,000”. The fact is, building a home doesn’t cost a great deal comparatively speaking. The value is in the land and location!
You don’t have to look very far to find information on solar panels. There are all types of products and low financing options that guarantee to save you money. The average home owner may see solar panels as a way to avoid the ever increasing price of energy. I am not here to tell you solar panels are or are not a good investment. As a Realtor, I am here to give you my professional, unbiased opinion on solar panels in the housing market and how they effect sellers.
How do solar panels work? Solar panels are typically sold on a long-term lease of 20 years with a monthly payment. In turn, the solar company will use the energy captured by the panels to eliminate your monthly energy bill from your existing energy company. If you sign up for a monthly lease of $150 and your typical energy bill is $200 a month, then you save $50/month or $600/year. Multiply that over the term of the lease and you just saved $12,000. Sounds great, right? Not so fast… Remember, you signed a 20 year lease. You are bound to the payments of the long-term contract and based on the example above that would be $36,000. What happens if you decide to move? What happens if technology advances and there are cheaper alternatives?
What happens if I want to sell my home and I have a long-term lease on the solar panels? If you do want to sell your home, the potential buyer will have to take over the solar panel lease in order to purchase it. OR the new owners could purchase the home without taking over the lease, leaving you responsible for the payments even after you moved out. At first glance, the monthly savings look great and the innovative technology is a must, but make sure you are familiar with the long term ramifications.
What could the future hold? Pretend it is the year 2024. You own a home and purchased solar panels 10 years ago. You are halfway through your lease. In that time, technology has advanced and we can capture the same amount of energy on one panel as you can with the 20 rusty panels currently on your roof. In addition, the cost in the solar panel market is a monthly payment of $40 a month. Now you want to sell your home. When you list your home, interested buyers are notified that the home is attached to a 20 year solar lease with 10 more years remaining. Why would the buyer take over a lease at $150 a month when they can get it at $40 a month? Why have 20 solar panels on their home when they could have one? Why spend more for old technology? These are all valid questions that will cause problems in your future sell.
Let’s say you don’t plan on selling in the next 20 years. My initial response would be: 20 years is a long time. Your plan today may not be your plan tomorrow. My second response would be: keep in mind you are leasing solar panels. Once your 20 years is up, you still won’t own them. But you have the option of forking up about $5,000 to buy them at their market value. Another extra expense…and to add insult to injury, any repairs that need to be done to the solar panels during your lease will be at your own expense. The hidden costs are everywhere.
Know the facts before you decide to lease or buy. Ask yourself one question. Is saving $50 a month worth the long term issues? You may save on the front end, but if you ever decide to move, it will likely cost you. In my professional opinion, if you want to go the solar panel route, purchase them or avoid them all together. Otherwise, your solar panel leasing agreement could be a disaster when it comes time to sell.
Feel free to contact me directly for some personal experiences with solar panels in the housing market.
Insurance is one of those “love ‘em and hate ‘em” expenses in life. It is absolutely necessary to protect your financial future. Remember, the purpose of insurance is not to make you rich in the event of loss. It is to transfer the risk of major loss from you to the insurance company, in exchange for policy premiums.
So which types of insurance do you need? Which are a waste of money?
Medical Insurance – this is now mandated by our government. And for good reason. Health expenses are the number one cause of foreclosures and bankruptcies in our country. You don’t want to be thinking about financial consequences while you battle cancer. You must protect your health.
Home Insurance – your home is often your greatest asset; it must be covered against major loss. Liability insurance is a key ingredient with home insurance, be sure to cover your assets against accidents. Click here to learn more.
Auto Insurance – a certain level is required by law. You’ll also want to be sure you have liability coverage (consider “umbrella” coverage with your agent)
Life Insurance – how would your family fare financially if you died tonight? If you don’t know the answer to that question, life insurance is your answer. Click here to learn more.
Disability Insurance – your ability to earn an income is often your greatest asset. Disability insurance protects your income in the event your employer doesn’t have worker’s comp or a policy in place to cover you. Self-employed people need to pay special attention to this. This is often the most forgotten insurance.
Pet Insurance – recent progress with medicine makes it more likely a pet’s health can be restored with advanced procedures. Pet insurance can help you avoid having to make the very difficult decision of whether to pay for that $5,000 surgery. Click here for more info on different kinds of pet insurance, and what you should consider.
Identity Theft Insurance – most people waste money on credit monitoring, but have no plan for how they will recover their identity in the event it is stolen. It has been estimated that 600 hours is the average amount of time spent on recovering from an ID theft occurrence. Most people don’t have that time to waste. Click here for more info on credit monitoring vs. ID theft Insurance.
Long-Term Care – this is a tough one. It’s not for everyone and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is expensive, but necessary to receive good care and protect assets. Talk to a trusted agent.
Mortgage Life Insurance – the only reason to have this is if your health prevents you from acquiring regular life insurance. Otherwise, you will badly overpay for this scheme.
Private Mortgage Insurance – there are many home loan options these days to help you avoid private mortgage insurance. Click here to learn more.
Insurance on Small Electronics – as mentioned in the opening paragraph of this article, insurance should be acquired to protect major loss. The loss of small electronics like headphones, iPods, etc. would not financially cripple you. This is where a reserve fund is handy. Keep a maintenance savings account to handle these small incidents. Don’t go broke insuring them!
This article was not intended to give you an all-inclusive tutorial on insurance, but rather to make you aware of the types you should consider and research further. We hope this helps!
What are your thoughts on insurance? What types of coverage do you have? Any that we didn’t include above?
Experienced, dedicated Real Estate Agents cultivating lifelong relationships by delivering tailored strategies – now and for your future.