Americans Rank Real Estate Best Investment for 6 Years Running! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Americans Rank Real Estate Best Investment for 6 Years Running! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

Some Highlights:

  • Real estate has outranked stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds as the best long-term investment among Americans for the last 6 years.
  • Stock owners are more positive about real estate than stocks as an investment.
  • Of the 4 listed, real estate is the only investment you can also live in!

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Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need!

Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need!

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the “man cave” of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • “Must-Haves” – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • “Should-Haves” – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • “Absolute-Wish List” – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It also lets your agent know what features are most important to you before they start showing you houses in your desired area.


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Sellers: Don’t even think about listing till you answer these 10 questions

Sellers: Don’t even think about listing till you answer these 10 questions

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

1. What level of attention and expertise do you need from a listing agent?

Some sellers want a consultant who provides real estate expertise and backs off while sellers make final decisions and hire vendors to get the property in what they consider to be listing condition.

Other sellers have mentally moved on and want the listing agent to do everything but write the checks.

2. What market-specific information do you have or have a plan to acquire?

To keep a home from sitting on the market, timing the sale to coincide with months of greatest buyer activity is smart. Prime selling season can vary from city to city, region to region and state to state.

Only an experienced, local real estate agent can guide you on the best market timing for your property. Spring might be optimum to put properties on the market in general, but some markets — like ours in the Bay Area — are also lively from Labor Day through Halloween.

While that market cools with the weather, ski resort sales heat up when the snow falls.

3. Do you know who your likely buyer will be?

An agent who sells a lot of properties similar to yours is apt to have a better feel for which properties appeal to specific groups of buyers, which means they get snapped up fast while others linger on the market.

What property condition and features do your probable buyers demand before they make an offer?

If you don’t know what appeals to whom and aren’t ready to interview agents, plan to spend your weekends visiting open houses similar to yours in what you think will be your broad price range. Then, pay attention to who attends the open house, as well as what the house looks like.

4. Do you understand that today’s buyers expect homes to look like properties they’ve seen on HGTV?

What that means in real life is staging a home to sell is no longer optional in most markets. Do not think that watching HGTV qualifies you to stage your own home in a way that hits the right buttons with buyers.

Also, do not think that because you’re an “artist” or you studied interior design in college that you understand how good stagers merchandise a house.

You just don’t. You need professional help with this every bit as much as you need a plumber to replace the kitchen sink. This is not a DIY opportunity!

5. Are you aware that in the wake of the housing crisis of a decade ago, mortgage lending standards have changed dramatically?

Is financing readily available for your property? If not, sellers — or their agents — need to get financing options nailed down and addressed — to the extent possible — any issues that might affect whether buyers can find a lender to offer a mortgage on specific properties.

6. Do you know how to price your property?

For starters, get off the computer. Real estate website “estimates” are calculated mathematically. Algorithms simply cannot take into consideration which properties are in a sought-after neighborhood and which, although they might be mere blocks away, are not.

  1. So, while you’re spending weekends visiting properties that resemble yours, pay attention to prices on homes in different neighborhoods.
  2. Factor in property condition versus buyer expectations. Buyers bid on properties based on appearance and how the space will work for them. They will pitch fits if anything much is wrong with the structure or mechanical systems. But sound systems don’t sell houses. Cosmetics do.
  3. Plan to list at a reduced price if your property or neighborhood is affected by significant negative factors that are outside your control. That would include things like your neighbor’s new hobby raising peacocks, the lawsuit filed against your homeowners association (which means banks have stopped lending there) or your home’s location in an area undergoing a five-year utility undergrounding program, which shuts down streets Monday-Friday. Uncontrollable variables are crazy-making. But, by definition, they are not controllable. So, deal.
  4. Mortgage interest rates affect pricing, too. When interest rates go up, the number of buyers at entry levels dwindles. And that affects home prices from the bottom of the market up.

7. Do you know what a realistic sales timeline is in your market for properties similar to yours?

Depending on its current condition, count on spending two weeks to two months to get your property in shape before it goes on market.

If you haven’t done anything to keep the property updated, be aware that buyers expect to pay much less for properties they must immediately go to work on. And some buyers won’t touch them at all.

So, if you’re thinking of selling, getting home and/or pest inspections upfront can save you a lot of anguish and prep time.

Staging and professional photography adds another week to the timeline, sometimes more if the weather isn’t cooperative, as many markets experienced this winter and well into spring.

The first week to 10 days after a property goes on the market is dominated by listing agency office tours, broker caravans and public open houses. So you’ll spend more time out of your house than in it.

Once that frenzy has passed, unless you’ve moved out, you’ll be living in a staged home and vacating it for showings — along with other family members and pets. This period is, hopefully, short. Even then, it will feel like an eternity.

Once the property is in contract, you will generally have another 30-45 days to get packed up and move out.

The good news is, during that time, you won’t have to endure many additional showings. Of course, inspectors will be examining every crevice of your home for the first couple of weeks. But, they’re not much swayed by staging, although a home that’s a total wreck doesn’t usually earn high marks.

8. What’s next?

Now is not the time to go all “leap and the net will appear.” You need to know where that net is going to be.

At least, out our way, the housing shortage is real, especially for those vacating homes who plan to rent. So, it’s prudent to know what your next move is.

9. Do you know what you don’t know?

No. You don’t. Good agents in your area, however, do know what you do not. So, if you’re even thinking about selling, start looking for the best agent for you immediately. Agents like long lead-times and are happy to talk to you early in the selling process.

10. Have you ever heard the expression ‘you get what you pay for’?

You should probably keep that in mind when the siren song of the cut-rate broker falls on your eager ear. If you don’t know what you don’t know, I’m here to tell you the biggest thing you don’t know is how much a cut-rate broker can actually cost you. But maybe you need to find out for yourself.


Allow me to help you understand the answers to these questions.

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Having a Professional on Your Side Makes All the Difference!

Having a Professional on Your Side Makes All the Difference!

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

In today’s fast-paced world where answers are a Google search away, there are some who may wonder what the benefits of hiring a real estate professional to help them in their home search are. The truth is, the addition of more information causes more confusion.

Shows like Property BrothersFixer Upper, and dozens more on HGTV have given many a false sense of what it’s like to buy and sell a home.

Now more than ever, you need an expert on your side who is going to guide you toward your dreams and not let anything get in the way of achieving them. Buying and/or selling a home is definitely not something you want to DIY (Do It Yourself)!

Here are just some of the reasons you need a real estate professional in your corner:

There’s more to real estate than finding a house you like online!

There are over 230 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to ensure you achieve your dream?

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

What is the home you’re buying or selling worth in today’s market?

There is so much information on the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

Today’s real estate market is highly competitive. Having a professional who’s been there before to guide you through the process is a simple step that will give you a huge advantage!


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