Real Estate Sense: When to Stay in an Underwater Home

Before the real estate market crash of 2008, millions of Americans invested with the expectation that their property would escalate in market value and could eventually be sold for a profit. Reality Check. Four years later, while significant progress has been made in turning the seemingly fragile real estate industry around, we still have a long way to go.

If you are currently upside down in your mortgage or other real estate investments, you are not alone. Thousands of metro Atlanta real estate owners are currently under water with their real estate and owe more than their home is actually worth. From a national perspective, more than 25% of home mortgages are going for less than what they were originally paid for. While this is great news for the buyers in this market, it makes for a really difficult situation for sellers. Coming out on top in this market as a seller requires even more strategy and thoughtful decision making than ever before.

Waiting for the market to fully rebound sounds like a great idea in theory, but for some, life circumstances simply will not allow for that. Whether it is an expansion in the family, the need to move for a job or a change in your financial situation, the time to make a sound and solid decision about their current financial and real estate situation must come sooner rather than later.

Paige Slyman has been guiding metro Atlantans with real estate questions and decisions for the better part of 20 years and is regularly sough after to help develop a plan to help his clients with their current real estate situation.

There are two common scenarios in this seemingly common situation for metro Atlantan home owners

You love your home and neighborhood

If your home fits your family’s life, is affordable and you believe will continue to be a great place for you and your family, in general, and depending on circumstances, I would advise home owners that fall into the category to avoid making market-based decisions, regardless if the home is upside down or not. In plain English, we are saying stay put and enjoy the home you love and hope that the market continues to make strides in terms of guide and stability.

Your home is no longer a fit for you and your family

On the other hand, thousands of families across the nation simply cannot stay in their current home, for a multitude of reasons. In these instances, it might make sense to divest and consider options of exiting the home, regardless of the market. Paige Slyman is an expert in guiding real estate owners in these situations and he can advise on current market trends, various financial options and comprehensive exiting strategies that will allow you and your family to leave the current situation financially sound.

Property Management Option

One option for those feeling “stuck” in their current home is property management, which Paige Slyman offers to his clients. Basically this option would allow you to exit your home, all while you still on the property and rent it out. This allows for the renter to help subsidize or even some instances fully cover your mortgage. With rental prices soaring in metro Atlanta this has become a very sought after and often times lucrative option for real estate owners. Contact Paige Slyman today to see if property management is a solution that you should further consider.

In closing, while the market fights to leave its limbo phase and reach a greater level of stability, take an honest look at your current situation and determine if your home is a place that will continue to be a good fit for your family. If this is a home that you and your family can grow in and you feel comfortable with, consider avoiding market based decisions. However, if you need an exit strategy and want to minimize the risk of financial loss, contact Paige Slyman to get started with your customized real estate plan.

Contact Paige Slyman for all of your real estate needs at 770.405.0100 x 222 or email us at slymanfamily@comcast.net.

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Has the Thought of Selling Your Home Scared You to Death?

Selling your home can be a daunting task. Add to that increased market competition and buyer leveraging power and sometimes the thought of selling your home can leave you feeling lost and sometimes even scared. Never fear, Paige Slyman of Slyman Real Estate’s metro Atlanta branch is here to guide you through the maze of cluttered confusion to the bright beacon of light…Also known as “Sold.”

For much of the last 20 years, Paige Slyman has been guiding and advising clients on ways they can stand out among the competition. The below information is a continuation of previous blogs we have written regarding advice that home sellers can implement to increase their chances of selling their homes.

In this blog we want to focus on three key aspects that anyone selling their home during the fall and holiday season should incorporate in their selling strategy.

Stay Away from Decorations

Having a minimalist approach to decoration allows for potential home buyers to envision your house as their new home. Paige Slyman recommends keeping your home un-decorated when your home is on the market. Over decorating is simply too personal and interferes with the buyer’s ability to imagine them living in your home. If you must decorate for the holidays, it is advisable to keep it to a minimum.  This advice goes hand in hand with the notion that it is best to unclutter your home with religious items or other “collection” items that the potential buyer might not relate to on a personal level.

A Clutter Free Home is a Sold Home

Keeping your home totally uncluttered is very important.  With competition in the metro Atlanta real estate market becoming fiercer than ever, it is completely necessary to keep your home immaculate.  This goes for both the inside and outside of the home. With the autumn season upon us, anyone selling a home must keep up with the falling leaves and keep them out of your yard. An uncluttered home (both inside and out) is more likely to be sold than a home that is not as well maintained.

Shining Bright equals Quickly Sold

As the fall days slip into winter and the days get shorter, Paige Slyman suggests investing in the brightest exterior light bulbs possible. This allows your home to shine bright and seem available to potential home buyers when the sun sets. On a complete side note, it is recommended that you pull up your real estate sign only on Halloween night as sometimes kids like to steal them or damage them for fun.

In closing, selling a home is much more than simply putting a “for sign” in the front yard. Strategy and anticipating buyer needs and wants are imperative to ensure a successful and quick selling process. Paige Slyman is an expert in counseling clients in ways they can improve their current selling strategy.  Be sure to read previous and future blogs to get other ideas on ways you can improve your chances of selling your home. Paige Slyman is also available for an initial consultation by contacting him at the info below.

 Give us a call at 770.405.0100 x 222 or email us at slymanfamily@comcast.net.

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Selling Your Home: How to compete with foreclosures

News about the enormous amount of foreclosured or short sale homes on the market is everywhere.  In fact, we regularly blog and comment on many issues and opportunities surrounding the foreclosure market in metro Atlanta. For anyone buying a home, the vast amount of foreclosure and short sale homes on the market equals higher leveraging power and drastically reduced home prices. In short, it is definitely a buyer’s market.

However, in this blog we want address individuals currently selling their home that is not in foreclosure or a short sale. In today’s volatile economic climate and uncertain real estate market, this is a sub category in the market that does not get the attention that it deserves. If you are selling a home in today’s real estate market, and your home is not being sold as a foreclosure or short sale, how can you compete with the incredibly low prices that the foreclosure properties bring? The answer is: Make your home pristine.

Making your home as desirable and pristine as possible has always been important, but under the current real estate market conditions, if your home is not in absolutely amazing condition it will simply not compete with the extensive foreclosure and short sale homes in metro Atlanta’s real estate catalogue. In general, foreclosed or short sale homes typically need a lot more work or investments added before the buyer can move in or put the house on a property management program. The key to selling your home in this market and to adequately compete with the saturated foreclosure market is to make your home literally move in ready. From paint to carpet and even landscaping, everything must be perfect. Often times a buyer will be willing to pay more money to have a home that is in great condition and move in ready as opposed to a cheaper home that has not been well maintained and might need extra investment, as is the case with many foreclosures.

Also, it is important to note that if you are looking to invest in improvements in your home to help boost the re-sale value or likelihood that your home will sell in a timely manner, it is advisable that you do research and find out the trends of what buyers are looking for in your particular area or neighborhood. Paige Slyman is an expert advising clients on various tactics and home improvement suggestions that will earn you top dollar and increase the likelihood of a reduced market time based on what buyers are looking for in your specific area.

In closing, while it is definitely a buyer’s market and foreclosured and short sale homes are getting a lot of attention in the media and real estate blogs, buyers are still willing and often times prefer to buy a well maintained home that is not a foreclosure. Consult with Paige Slyman to learn more about how you can better compete with other homes, including foreclosure or short sales on the metro Atlanta market.

Give us a call at 770.405.0100 x 222 or email us at slymanfamily@comcast.net.

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Count Down To Autumn Part 2: 7 critical things to do when selling your home

In last week’s blog we focused on the fact that we are steadfastly drawing near the end of what most real estate professionals consider to be the “real estate buying” season. If you recall, wementioned that the months between April and August have been coined that because historically, the real estate industry sees more transactions during those months than any other time of the year. In part one of our series on things to do as the real estate buying season ends” we focused on tips for buyers that have yet to find their dream home. In part two, we will take a look at what MUST be done to ensure that your home sells in a timely manner. After all, the real estate “buying season” is about to be over and you have still not sold your home, and that means one thing, it’s time to re-evaluate your selling strategy.

Re-evaluation is a key aspect to any real estate selling strategy. This requires taking an open and honest look about what is and is not working with your current approach. Below are tried and true, results driven tactics and advice given from one of Atlanta’s real estate heavy weights, Paige Slyman. The below advice comes from years of experience and industry know how. Take notes because you are about to learn the tricks of the trade that could make the difference between your home sitting on the market or you getting to say the triumphant and glorious word that anyone selling their home longs to hear, “Sold.”

Four Seasons, Four Sets of Photos

When prospective home buyers find your property on real estate listing websites, one of the biggest “red flags” they will see is if your photos do not match the current season that you are in. For example, if a home buyer is looking at your home photos in the summer months, but your photos are of your home with no trees and perhaps even worst … snow in the picture… nothing says “lack of attention to detail” and “wow, this home has still not sold?” than pictures that are not up to date and current. Paige recommends updating and changing your photos for all four seasons. This will also give a fresh new look and approach that could perhaps even interest people that have once overlooked your home. Providing current photos is a key aspect of real estate marketing strategy and should be executed immediately.

Maximize MSL Photos, Maximize MSL SEO

In the quest to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing efforts, many businesses go to great lengths to increase their search engine optimization. If you are unclear of what this is, let us briefly explain. Have you ever done a Google or other search engine Internet search? More than likely, the answer is yes. Well, search engine optimization or SEO for short, is an attempt to put your website or listing at the top of people’s internet search. Research proves that links that are at the top of Internet searches are more likely to be visited than links that are not at the top of a person’s search results.

MLS listings have the ability to have SEO capabilities as well. Did you know that MLS puts listings with the maximum number of photos (25 photos to be exact) at the top of all MLS searches. MLS then puts listings in order according to how many photos are in each listing. For example, if you have 25 photos in your listing you will be at the top of a person’s MLS search results, however, if you have 3 photos you will be closer to the bottom of the search results, and also less likely to be viewed by home buyers.

A picture is worth a 1000 words … or a home that well sell quickly

The most important photo you can have in your marketing materials for selling your home is the picture of the front of the house being sold. With so many homes being placed in the metro Atlanta market, this is crucial in capturing initial interest of prospective home buyers. The internet savvy buyer will only click on “see more photos” if the initial photo is a good one. Sellers are often advised to cut trees down, trim shrubbery, plant flowers, remove cars from the driveway, among other “improvements” to ensure the perfect front of home photo. If you do not catch their attention in the first photo, research shows that often times buyers will pass you by. The lesson to be learned here is to one: Make sure the photo of the front of your home is amazing and two: make sure that the first photos home buyers see is the front of your home. Statistically, you will be more likely to catch their attention.

The market has spoken…Re-evaluate your asking price

As we begin to place another “real estate buying season” in the history books, it may be time for you to evaluate your asking price if you have gone the entire season without selling your home. A very wise and almost philosophic approach to this dilemma is a tried and true real estate saying that Paige Slyman has learned to live by, “The market has spoken.” Basically, this means that current market conditions are telling you that your current price needs to be re-evaluated if your home is not selling at the price you currently have it listed as. Paige Slyman is experienced in advising and guiding clients on what home sellers should be asking for considering current real estate market conditions.

Ensure directions, map book and page number is correct

This piece of advice ties in to the previous advice about keeping your photos current. It is essential that you ensure that your directions, map book and page number in your MLS listing or any other marketing materials you have are correct, accurate and clear. It is imperative that you make it as easy as possible for real estate agents to get the information they need to show your home. If you don’t, it is quite possible they will move on and show homes being sold by someone that took the time to make it simple and straight forward. It is also important for your real estate professional to remove negative comments such as “if the listing again shows the home the buyer’s agent will not get full commission.” This is unnecessary and often times angers real estate professionals and turns off potential buyers.

Ensure showing instructions are not appointment only.

It is very important to make sure that your home is not being shown with appointment only. This may be a bit of an inconvenience for you, but in the long run, it will work out to your benefit. Real estat professionals show their clients several perspective homes and if your “appointment” times do not match the schedules of both the real estate professional and their clients, more than likely your home will not get shown.

Use specific verbiage, not general jargon and fluff descriptive words

Most home buyers are savvy, and using words such as “great home” or “wonderfully decorated” is often ignored and viewed as biased fluff. When describing your home, get to the point and give key aspects you know home buyers will find as buying points.

In closing, often times selling your homes requires you to step back and put yourself in the position of both the real estate professionals showing your home and the potential buyers you are looking to entice to choose your home as opposed to the thousands of other homes on the market in the metro Atlanta area.

In a market where competition is fierce, it is imperative that you develop marketing and selling strategy that will set your home apart from the cluttered market and put you on the fast track to selling your home. If your home has been on the market for an extended period of time, contact Paige Slyman to begin the process of implementing higher level tactics to ensure that your home will sell. Numbers don’t lie and Paige has the proven track record to back up the success of his proven selling techniques.

Give us a call at 770.405.0100 x 222 or email us at slymanfamily@comcast.net

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A look at the differences: Why you should hire a real estate broker

In general, most people are under the impression that all real estate professionals have the same level of educational requirements and adhere to the same ethical guidelines; however, this is simply not the case.

In fact, there are three types of real estate professionals: real estate agent, REALTOR® and real estate BROKER. If one were to compare the three types to our education system; the real estate agent is the equivalent of obtaining a bachelors degree, a REALTOR® is the equivalent obtaining a master’s degree and becoming a real estate BROKER is the educational equivalent of earning a doctorate degree in the real estate world. In addition to supplementary education requirements for both REALTORS® and BROKERS, these professionals take an oath to uphold strict ethical guidelines that someone with the title of real estate agent is not required to take.

Statistically, only 18% of all real estate professional have earned the right to have the title of “BROKER.” In addition due to his sales volume he has achieved top 12%. Paige Slyman of Slyman Real Estate is proud to say that he has joined the ranks among the “real estate elite.” The information below is meant to inform you of the differences between the three types of real estate professionals and help you make a more educated decision on choosing the real estate professional that is right for you.

In most states, real estate professionals can only become a real estate BROKER after an extensive period of time serving as a real estate agent or REALTOR® before the real estate profession qualifies to take the additional training required to become a real estate BROKER.

The difference between Real Estate Brokers and Real Estate Agents

Real Estate BROKERS have additional rights and responsibilities to serve the public that real estate agents do not have.  These rights include but are not limited to having the ability to managing other real estate professionals and the right to own and operate their own real estate firm. Of course, as stated earlier in this blog, there are tremendous educational, experience and ethical obligations that also separate a real estate agent from a real estate BROKER.

The difference between Real Estate BROKERS and REALTORS®

Not all REALTORS® can be a real estate BROKER. The reason is because to become a real estate BROKER, one must obtain additional educational requirements and a REALTOR® does not qualify to sit for these educational components to get their brokerage license until they have a certain amount of experience either as a real estate agent or a REALTOR®. At the most basic level, to be a REALTOR® means that the professional is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and have taken the association’s oath to uphold its strict and highly enforced code of ethics and standards of care.  Most real estate BROKERS are members of the National Association of REALTORS®, but the fact is, some are not.

What is the code of ethics taken by REALTOR®?

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is strictly enforced and contains 17 Articles of Standards of Practice that is designed to hold the industry and its professionals to a high level of integrity, ethics and educational requirements.

In closing, when choosing a real estate professional it is crucial that you choose someone that is knowledgeable, experienced and committed to upholding ethical standards that protect you as a home buyer or seller. Paige Slyman has earned the title of real estate BROKER and has proudly taken the ethical oath given by the National Association of REALTORS®.  He has over 15 years experience honorably serving theAtlanta real estate community with that title. If you hire someone that does not have the title of REALTOR® or real estate BROKER they are NOT bound by the same ethics and guidelines and you are literally putting the biggest investment of your entire life… You’re home… in the hands of someone that has not taken an oath to ensure that you are treated fairly and ethically or with the most education and experience in the real estate market.

Give us a call at 770.405.0100 x 222 or email us at slymanfamily@comcast.net.

 

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Facing Foreclosure? A short sell is your best option

In today’s volatile economy and seemingly unstable real estate market, thousands of homeowners are faced with the stark realization that they can no longer afford to keep their mortgage payments current. It is important for home owners that are faced with losing their home to become educated on options outside of foreclosure and bankruptcy. If you qualify, a short sell is the best option for an individual facing foreclosure. 

What is a short sale?

A short sell is when a lender agrees to accept less than the total amount that the home owner owes. For example, if you bought a home for 250,000 dollars and can no longer afford the mortgage payments, the lender may allow you to sell the home for 150,000 dollars and forgive you the 100,000 difference.

 

Credit Consequences: Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

The credit consequences of a short sale and foreclosure vary a great deal. In general, a short sale will show up on your credit report as a “settlement”, “settlement for less than owed” or a “pre-foreclosure in redemption.” None of these marks is a good thing to have on your credit report; however, it’s possible to have these marks removed from your credit report within a few years. A short sale can drop your credit score between 80-100 points. There is also the possibility that through negotiation with the lender you can avoid having the short sale reported to a credit agency. On the other hand, a foreclosure on your credit report can take 7-10 years to remove and can cost your credit rating (FICO) between 200-300 points which is an devastating to your credit score. If you are faced with losing your home, it is imperative that you pursue a short sale aggressively and avoid foreclosure.

Why is a short sell a great option if you are facing foreclosure?

A short sale is the best option for someone facing imminent foreclosure for many reasons, including:

  • While a short sale will damage your credit score, it does not wreck havoc on your credit score like a foreclosure will.
  • A short sale’s impact on your credit score will only stay on your record for a few years, as opposed to 7 to 10 years with a foreclosure.
  • One of the biggest benefits to a “short sell” is that the seller can continue to live in the property while not making payments until the property sells.
  • If you short sale your home, you can qualify to purchase another home within a few years. This is not the case if you go into foreclosure.

 

Hiring a REALTOR® that is knowledgeable and experienced in short sales is crucial

 

Paige Slyman has extensive experience in guiding sellers in the short sale process. He is an industry leader in terms of knowledge in real estate legal and accounting trends regarding short sales. His real estate know how allows him to guide his clients through the short sale process and ensure that sale goes smoothly. Clients can be assured that all while working with Paige, they are protected as much as they can be under current real estate laws and accounting regulations.

 

Mortgage debt relief act 2011 and 2007

Creditors are required to file a  Form 1099-C whenever it forgives or cancels a loan balance greater than $600, under federal law. This could possibly create a tax liability for a person doing a short sale because the canceled debt is considered “income” for tax purposes.

 

However, sellers completing a short sale will be pleased to know that “The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007” provides tax relief for some mortgage loans forgiven in 2007 through 2012. The act allows home owners going through a short sale to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. The amount of debt forgiven must be reported on Form 982 and this form must be attached to the seller’s tax return.

In closing, if you are faced with losing your home, it is crucial that you research all of your options and contact an experienced and knowledgeable REALTOR®. Paige Slyman is an expert in assisting clients with minimizing the financial impact of losing a home and giving his clients the tools to rebuild their lives.   

Give us a call at 770.405.0100 x 222 or email us at slymanfamily@comcast.net.

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