Pat, are there other considerations for sellers? What about finding an agent for them?
Within any city, even some of the most hard-hit by the bust, home sellers in the most desirable neighborhoods still have the advantage.
Sounds like Bill's home might be in one of those great locations!
Good question, Mark. When looking for a seller's agent, aim to interview three agents.
Any tips before you sign a listing contract?
Each agent should provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) that shows you comparable homes currently on the market or that have closed.
They should also tell you how they will market your home (the more outlets, the better) and whether they will have professionally taken photographs to show you home on their Web site and elsewhere.
Yes, good luck, Bill. Selling a home of 40 years is a pretty emotional event. I hope you find nice buyers to live in it next. And that you enjoy your new home!
Your agent can recommend a stager, too.
Thanks, Mark and Pat. Looks like we have about ten minutes left in today's chat, and several questions left in the queue. Let's get started with our next one from ML.
Before you sign a listing agreement, you need to know how long the contract is for. In some down markets, agents will want more, not less, time in which to sell your home.
FHA has the advantage of requiring only a 3.5% down payment, which is why it has become the mortgage program of choice for many first-time home buyers with limited down payment money.
The downside is that FHA is really picky about the condition of the homes. They don't want their borrowers having to spend a lot of money on repairs and improvements after they move in.
Also, FHA requires an up-front mortgage insurance premium that is typically rolled into your loan amount. Ask a loan officer to compare the monthly mortgage payment and total interest paid over the life of the loan between an FHA loan and another loan program.
Thanks, Pat. Some great advice there. Our next question comes from Linda.
The minimum down payment for most other loans is 5%, isn't it?
Linda, This is one of those cases where what to offer is less science and more art. You will really have to rely on your agent's advice on this one, based on their experience.
Linda, you might also want to think about whether you want to buy a property that is custom, unique or atypical for your area. That could prove an impediment when you get ready to sell the property later. Just a thought...
You might try another agent?
Has the agent given you a range of price that you might offer?
Yes, your agent should be giving you some guidelines.
Yes, I agree with Mark. I think I might try another agent. Is the agent you're working with employed by the same brokerage agency as the seller's agent?
Linda, that might be your problem. Your agent and the seller's agent benefit if they're both in on the sale. I'd go to another agent. Your agent may not have your best interest at heart.
Alright, looks like we have time for one more question. Something several of our readers might be wondering about.
K, maybe we could also post the link to "What it takes to buy a home," from our June 2012 issue.
How soon it comes to an end really depends on how underwater you are.
Absolutely, I'll post that link in a second.
The underwater mortgage is a big issue. About 25% of homeowners are in your boat (no pun intended).
In a moment, I will post some Web sites that might be helpful to you. You may be able to refinance into a more sustainable mortgage or get a loan modification that would help you out.
Check out these Web sites:
Oops. Check these out: www.hopenow.com, or call 1-888-995-HOPE, that is, 1-888-995-4673. And www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. They describe help that may be available to you.
The US government has been struggling to get programs off the ground, working with lenders, for several years.
To help underwater homeowners.
You might be eligible for a HAMP loan modification or a HARP refinance. Also, if you don't want to stay in your house, you might arrange for a short sale with your lender.
If you can afford your monthly mortgage payment and you love your home, you may want to just stick it out and hope for better times.
Alright, unfortunately we are out of time for today's chat. Thanks so much to all of those who joined us, and a special thanks to our hosts!
Mark and Pat, you guys were fun to "listen" to and offered our readers some great advice! And Janet, you always ask some great questions.
Thanks to all our readers who posted questions.
Thanks, K. Good to hear from everyone. Pat
And, enjoy the rest of your day!