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Blog :: 02-2012

Glen Ridge Home For Sale: 5 Things You Never Want to Say to a Buyer

Your agent told you not to be present when your house is being shown - but somehow you end up in the same room with the prospective buyer.  Maybe you went out for coffee to give the buyer some privacy but came back to find that they were still there.  Perhaps you were gonna leave when the buyer got there but it started to rain cats and dogs so you thought  "I'll just stay out of their way in the basement" instead.

Whatever the case - it happens.  Sometimes the buyer and seller meet face to face.  And here's where you can really screw things up by saying the wrong thing. The 5 things you should never say to a buyer:

"This is a great neighborhood for kids" You don't know what the buyers' circumstances are.  Maybe they don't like kids. Perhaps they aren't planning to have kids.  It's possible they would like to have kids but can't.  You run the risk of offending them, making them sad or simply turning them off to the house. You also run the risk of violating federal fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of familial status.

"Let me show you the house"  This seems innocent enough.  You think you might be able to point out a few things that the buyer's agent missed, like the extra long nails you used to construct the deck.   This is all just noise and distraction for the buyer.  Allow the buyers to take in the house in a visual way, imaginging their own belongings in the house.  By talking too much or giving too much detail you will interfere with their ability to fall in love with your house.

"If you buy the house we'll throw in the BMW" You may be thinking it's a great incentive, but actually it can mess up your potentail buyer's chances for getting a mortgage.  A mortgage is a loan that uses real estate as collateral. If the lender believes some thing other than real estate (for instance a BMW) is being wrapped in to the loan they may not approve it.

"This is a very safe area"  First of all, why give the buyer even the slightest notion that he should be concerned about safety (don't point out your deluxe alarm system either).  Second, "safe" is a subjective term. It's difficult  to define this for someone else. The better thing to do is hand the buyer a piece of paper with the local police telephone number and encourage him to call for himself.

"We already bought another house "  You will be showing your hand and encouraging low offers.  This is akin to saying "I'm desperate to sell- I don't want to end up with two mortgages"  As a seller, you need to disclose any physical defect that you may know about in your house, but you don't need to disclose your motivation to sell.

The Glamourous Life of a Montclair Real Estate Agent

A virtual superfund site in the back of my car

When I first became a real estate agent seven years ago I envisioned spending my days flitting from open house to open house, picking up a decorating idea here, a tea sandwich there.  I imagined driving an upscale German car (after all- your car IS your office in real estate), wearing the lastest Marc Jacobs.   Unfortunately, this turned out not to be the case.

On the day of my last closing, an orange HazMat suit would have been a more appropriate outfit.  After hiring a clean-out company to empty the house of a seller who had moved across the country, I was dismayed to find out that they don't remove or handle household chemicals (old couches -yes, weed killer - no) .  With only hours before the closing, guess whose job it is to get rid of the 80 bottles of various unmarked liquid?  And, BTW... you can't just pour this stuff down the drain.  Thank goodness I drive a station wagon.

A Prophet Speaks: When to Buy a Home

As someone who makes a living helping people buy and sell homes in New Jersey, I have a lot of respect for a former Goldman Sachs banker named John R. Talbott. Talbott clearly understands housing markets; he saw the coming collapse long before many industry professionals did. In 2003 he published The Coming Crash in the Housing Market and followed it up three years later with Sell Now! The End of the Housing Bubble. So when I saw his piece "Homes--Buy Now!" in the Huffington Post last month, I was intrigued.

Talbott notes that home prices have tumbled: adjusted for inflation, homes are currently selling for around what they were back in pre-bubble 1997. In addition, mortgage rates are at historic lows. Talbot doesn't necessarily think that these ultra-low rates are good for the American economy when our national debt is equal to our total GDP and more than four times the amount of total tax revenues. He foresees the return of  inflation and high interest rates as the only solution to our huge national debt. If he is correct, as he has been in the past, then this really is the best possible time to buy a home.

New Year's Resolution: Buy a House in NJ While the Rates are Still Low

With the start of  the new year, why not make a new New Year's resolution? Instead of vowing to exercise more or eat healthier (not that these aren't worthy goals), you might want to resolve to become a homeowner. If you've previously been a renter, buying a home may seem overwhelming. This really is the perfect time to buy a home, though: mortgage rates are currently lower than they've ever been.

According to a recent article in RIS Media, a real estate information website I follow, Freddie Mac just released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Great news for home buyers: mortgage rates are down in every category. For instance, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.89 percent last week, down from 4.71 percent at this time last year. Similarly, last week's 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.23 percent, as opposed to last year's 4.08 percent. And the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgage averaged 2.82 percent last week, versus last year's 3.72 percent.

All  these numbers make for pretty dull reading, I know. They add up to exciting possibilities, though. So take the plunge and make 2012 the year of home ownership. As an experienced New Jersey Realtor, I'd be delighted to help make this happen for you. Happy New Year!