Archive for the For Buyers Category

Tallahassee Homes – Marketing Plans That Work

Posted in For Buyers, For Sellers, Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by realtordebbie
Tallahassee Homes - A marketing plan that works for sellers and buyers.

Whetehr you are a seller or a buyer, interview your Realtor. Ask the right questions and make sure you can commmunicate with your Realtor. Call Debbie Kirkland, Realtor and referral agent, for a referral to a professional Realtor in your area. 850-212-0440

Interviewing Realtors?  Can we all agree the ulitmate goal of selling a home is ….to get it SOLD!  Statistics show that the majority of buyers will see a home in the first three weeks, after that, “The thrill is gone,” so to speak. 

So, let’s look at a Realtor’s role in a transaction and what it takes to get a home exposed and to make a wise investment  in today’s market.

Multiple Listing Service

  • In our  MLS system, a listing is posted and remains “NEW” for four days! Wow,.. 4 days to show up on the “hotsheet.”  That’s the area most savvy agents look to when they wake up in the AM and before they head out the door. (but face it, busy agents hit the groud running..so let’s hope they don’t miss your “creampuff!”) The hotsheet posts new listings, price reductions and status changes of listings. It’s important to review this, especially if you are looking for properties that are “buyer specific.” By that I mean, you buyer is very specific (picky). It’s ok… it’s a big purchase, buyers should be specific! You want to make sure that your listing is ready to go with as many photos as allowable and a video is shortly following!
  • After those 4 days are up..then what? Again, it’s there, searchable, so make sure it can be found by use of pictures and video and that the description will entice buyers!

Websites

  • Most Realtors have websites, but content is king, so a website that reaches into the community, showcases area information, neighborhood information and features listings with visual and video appeal is what will reach today’s buyers. 87% of buyers begin their serach on the Internet, and most of those buy homes they have found on the Internet. Websites with photos and videos really bring in the visitors!
  • If you’re searching online or in a magazine and find a home with just one picture.. a fuzzy one at that, what conclusion will you draw? If you need to see details and can’t get to the listing, will your Realtor to preview for you? (sellers,..are you listening?)

Local Exposure

  • Is your Realtor a wallflower?  The real estate industry is about networking. I seriously don’t think I’ve met a successful Realtor yet who is bashful, reclusive or introverted. I’m not saying your Realtor should be the class clown, but certainly you want them to talk about your home, share your listings with those who may just have the perfect buyer for that property!
  • There are many ways for your Realtor to showcase your home to other Realtors. Local Board of Realtor marketing meetings. We have them once a month..what a great time to talk about your new listings! Realtor socials and community events, broker open houses, office and top-producer caravans. Yes, they work! People remember homes they see, and they fit the home to those “specific” buyers we mentioned earlier!
  • Don’t forget Social Media tools and networking. In today’s world, if you want to grow a business, any business, people must be able to find you, to see your product and get information with the click of a mouse. If a Realtor is leveraging social networks, people are getting their message, they are exposing products regularly to today’s buyers.
  • I think most would agree.. Realtors are the most social creatures on earth! Most balance home, work, family, community… and they all seem to compliment each other. Realtors are working most all the time, even when it looks like it’s completely unrelated events! (just ask the customer I met last night in line at the movies!) Pick one who likes to have fun and is involved! Remember, Realtors are people too, respect their time just as you would your family or co-workers!

Media

  • Choosing which media is effective today is a challenge. Measuring the effectiveness versus the cost of advertising is very important. A wise agent carefully times advertising  between print media, radio and tv, web exposure and niche database marketing. It’s a combination of all these mediums that are the most effective.
  • Realtors with specialty niche markets may be the best choice for a specfic type property, or in smaller areas it may be the realtor with the biggest tool box, the agent with the tools to attact every type buyer that would be a great fit for your home.

Communication

  • This probably should have been first on the list! What is your preferred method of contact. If you are one-on-one, then let your Realtor know this. If you are a busy student or business person, perhaps e-mail  is best for your updates. If you are on the go, mobile technology, texting and e-mail from the road may work best for you.
  • No matter what method you choose, regular communication, market updates, showing feedback and product information is critical to your success, both for buyers and sellers. Ask your Realtor for a communication plan!

There are many great Realtors from which to choose today. Take time to interview. If you are a buyer, avoid the luck of the draw by simply calling on signs. Do your homework, buying and selling a home deserves sound, educated and professional information and resources. Find a Realtor who will give you the best service as you enter your next real estate transaction.

Debbie Kirkland, Realtor  .  Armor Realty of  Tallahassee .  www.HomeSalesofTallahassee.com

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Knocking down Obstacles in the Loan Application Process. Part 1

Posted in For Buyers, Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by realtordebbie

No Credit My,.... So you think buying a home is easy these days?  For some, it may be, for most people however there are “glitches.” No one like “glitches,” but these days we stumble into more than ever before.  Believe me when I say, no one is perfect. Even the most savvy real estate investor has obstacles that prevent the smooth transactions we grew accustomed to in years past.

Preparing to buy a home involves more than making up  your mind that you want to move. There are certain steps of preparation that you must follow. The first and biggest obstacle that I run into with my customers is CREDIT ISSUES. Either Bad Credit, No credit, or someone else’s credit..on your credit report! Yes, it happens.

There will be some followup to this BLOG, but for now let’s get the credit issues our of the way. Let’s knock out a few credit score questions and answers.

What is a credit Score?

Good grades come from having done positive things, bad grades subtract points from your grade. Most scores range between 300 – 900 points, the higher is the better grade. A credit score is used to qualify you for loans. If you fall below 630 these days, it will will be a challenge to get your qualified. Lenders will delve into your credit scores, using the scores from three major reporting agencies, and sometimes one national agency. If you are monitoring your credit.. check all 3! The nuts and bolts is this:

What affects your Credit Positively?

  • Paying your bills on time and in full.
  • Having one or two credit cards used on occasion and paid each month.
  • The typical rule of thumb is to use 25 percent or less of your available credit. Ideally, carry a balance of no more than $2,500 if your credit limit is $10,000.
  • Steady employment. People who are steadily employed are viewed as being better able to pay their bills on time.
  • If you are self-employed, pay yourself a documented salary!

What damages your Credit Score:

  • Missing of Making Late Payments.
  • Using more than 80 percent of your total amount of available credit
  • Bankruptcy
  • Liens or foreclosures
  • Periods of unemployment
  • Repeated, multiple requests for new lines of credit ( i.e. store credit card applications will KILL your credit! Don’t do it to save 10%!)

The Major Factors that affect your credit score:

  • Your payment history. Are you paying on time? This is one of the biggest factors that lenders look at.
  • Your outstanding debt. Your debt to income levels are critical, your ability to pay back small sums is manageable, large balances are very difficult to manage.
  • How long have you been building credit. The longer your credit history, the higher your credit rating.
  • The number of inquiries on your credit report. The more times you’ve applied for credit cards or loans, the more credit report inquiries will show up on your credit report. When in trouble, in the fine print, your creditors can pull your credit when you are late, when you apply for loan extensions or modifications. This can kill your score because it indicates you are having trouble managing your debts.

What to do when you see a “cheater” on your credit report.

Sometimes there are debts on your credit report that do not belong to you. This happened recently to my 19 year old borrower as he discovered that his father had been using his social security number and had taken out credit cards in his name. They were good pays,.. but they were NOT his, in fact most were taken out when the 19 year old was 9 and 10 years old! Can someone say, “Credit card FRAUD?” Do us all a favor, report credit card fraud, let the credit companies investigate and prosecute those who committed the crime.  If you are one of those stealing from your kids.. thinking you won’t ever get caught… Think  Again!

Credit card fraud is on the rise. Access to social security numbers, telephone numbers, dates of birth are too easy to find, not to mention accessibility to your mailbox which is full of the “sign here” offers that can be stolen in a flash. Use a identity theft service. It’s the cheapest, best insurance you can own, and these days you need it!

CreditReport.com reports that the average credit score of Americans is “in the neighborhood of 680,..” and that, “while consumers have more debt than the year prior, and a quarter of the country has more debt than the national average – apparently we manage debt fairly well, as our average credit score is hanging in there.”

So, while you may look at your credit card debt and shriek,.. look at your score, do a little housecleaning once a year and relax.

Part II….Exercise Your Right To Choose the Right Lender!

Make Mine a Double!

Posted in For Buyers, Market Trends, Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by realtordebbie

It’s great when a plan comes together,..but when it comes together twice in one family, that is even more exciting! Great Financing terms and loan programs are making home ownership affordable and possible!

Case #1. Sweet young couple, hoping to be engaged, but committed to purchase a home together begin their search for their “first home”.  In this case, as with many first time home buyers, both of these young professionals are working and contributing to a household income. They are not making a killing, but are able to afford car payments, nights out, vacations and a few of the simple pleasures in life. Their goal however is to be married soon, and to acquire a home. Enter, Realtor Debbie.

The first step was qualifying,.. the second was finding a home with land.. a little piece of the American dream! Looking for land is easy, as we are surrounded by plantations, unrecorded rural subdivisions and estate properties. A small subdivision just outside the city limits fit their needs. Paved roads, half to one acre lots, only 25 home-sites and a new construction home, Sycamore Ridge was the answer! The best news.. this home qualifies for the US Rural Housing Home Loan… 100% financing with NO Mortgage insurance! With a builder willing to pay closing costs, the couple ended up bringing $28.07 to closing! What would be their down payment became money for a fence and some needed furnishings! Even more good news.. now construction like this is hard to find in Tallahassee..ergo..their value just escalated! 

Affordable NEW Homes with 100% Financing

Affordable NEW Homes with 100% Financing

Within days of closing,.. I was given the best post-closing gift ever.. a referral. The homeowner has a brother, with a wife and twin toddlers.. and they want to move up as well.  Same process..same loan product.. and a successful closing on a home with immediate equity!

Today I had dinner with these kids.. all 4 and the twins..their treat! It seems they both received their first time home-buyer credit money.. and took me to dinner! What a complete and utter surprise! This makes it all worthwhile!

To find out if you qualify for a rural housing 100% financing loan e-mail me at Debbie Kirkland. To read more about the First time home buyer credit for 2009 Click Here.

p.s. If you are wondering about Realtors getting customers in over their heads with 100% loan products..don’t forget:  REALTORS are bound by a code of ethics…I take that seriously. Counseling home buyers and working with customers for AFFORDABLE homes and SMART purchases is  both my business and my obligation. My buyers are well prepared and represented!

Do you LOVE your Realtor?

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Buyers, For Realtors, For Sellers, Market Trends, Real Estate Advice, Uncategorized on April 4, 2009 by realtordebbie

According to someone on Twitter.. today is “I Love You Day” or something! I have no idea.. but my mailbox is full of LOVE today. Who cares.. I feel loved for sure!

sf-heartEverybody loves their Realtor! Why?  I have a  pretty good idea! 

This morning I got up at 7 am to have breakfast with my two last customers.. my first time home buyers, who took me out to breakfast with a part of their $8000 first time home-buyer credit money!  (Wow.. now that’s a treat!) But, while eating, an idea came to me.. so what better to do than write about it while sitting at open house.

Your Realtor.. are they smart, funny, intelligent,.. do you connect or is there silence (hello… anyone home???)  People forget we are people too. Most agents have NOT been in the business their entire lives.. although there are few locally raised in it.. and that’s all I hear… booorrring. Good people.. just no connection. Anyway… It is my belief that the BEST in the business have a great deal more knowledge than all that pertains to the very important real estate knowledge. They have,.. well.. life experience. They connect to people, they laugh, they have fun.. they shop at the same grocery as you.. and yes.. some have even cleaned your teeth before! (did I say I was a dental hygienist in my previous life?) 

When I started in the business.. some.. well.. 8 years ago now, the first thing I did was interview all the local “Big Boys and Girls in Real Estate” business, ( a great book!!).  How’d they do it.. Why do they still do it, and What can they tell me about how to make it happen?  those were me three questions.  Well, they’re still doing it.. and I am there with them.

Three things they, now we, have in common.

1. They love life… if real estate ended tomorrow.. these people will be having fun.. somewhere. I’m amazed.. artists, former PR people, Moms, geeks, teachers, probasketball player,.. you name it.. people in real estate are used to change and variety. They thrive on it! 

2. They work about 90 – 100 hours a week.  Hmm..how many of you think Realtors drive around and play golf all day? Think again.. my customers get my finest email compositions at 2AM.

3. They are social, connected, passionate and involved.  Whether at Board meetings (where they market your property), Chamber events, Commission meetings (where they help protect your property rights), showing properties (Where they bring qualified buyers to your property) or at a school function, they are working.. 24/7.. the wheels turn, the connections are made to set up the perfect match between buyer and seller.

So, I set up camp using those three cornerstones. It wasn’t hard! Those who know me, know I love to talk, love to explore people and places. I’ve always had a good real estate website for marketing, I belive in technolgy and that the internet and  the digital world (My Hello World)will be as much a part of out lives as a grocery store! It is a necessity! So I began with Facebook, then some blogging.. some broadcasting and video e-mails, all good for work. But the social highlight,  My good friends on Twitter.. the Twitterqueens…. now there’s a group. Keeping each other motivated, entertained, laughing and in tune to what’s new wtih technology,.. music and well.. just about anything. Connections. Social. @FloridaSunSales… all about the people and 72 characters. Conversations and mutual admiration, challenges and fun with @HeyAmaretto, @MayaREGuru, @LeslieLambert, @DeeGeeBee, @kvBuckley @KimWood @elainehanson ,.. uhh don’t worry, if I forgot someone I am SURE they will remind me! #Twitterqueens Rule.

So… find you a REALTOR.. a good one.. these are lifelong connections.. I want to see your babies grow up, (Thanks Lynn and Bob – my 4 .5 year customers.. we’ll make it happen soon…*fingers crossed*), and we really do care about you! 

So,…lighten up, enjoy the adventure,… and,… if you are coming to FLA… I’m your real estate girl. Email me… @FloridaSunSales.

hellobadge-fss

Make The Committment, It Will Change Your Life

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Buyers, Real Estate Advice on March 29, 2009 by realtordebbie

Welcome Home!

Welcome Home!

Making a commitment to purchase real estate is a life changing experience. Whether this is a home for your family, a piece of land that you are holding for your dream home at a later date, or an investment property, owning real estate changes the way you look at your life, the way you handle your financial future.

 

 

 

For a first time home-buyer, making a commitment to purchase a home is often the first step to financial stability.  Many first time home-buyers leave showing appointments with the greatest frustration yet when they find “the one” they leave with the biggest smiles and sense of urgency, nervousness and excitement.  My job is to help these buyers remain calm and focused while educating them about the business part of a transaction. This will be one of the largest financial commitments people will make, and the first home-buying experience is the most important. It is the one that will shape their outlook on future home purchases. There are 9 Steps to Home Ownership, click here for a printable version of these steps.

 

There are three requirements I ask of my first time home-buyers.

 

  1. First, make a formal loan application. Let’s look at every aspect of your ability to purchase. Qualifying for a loan need not be difficult but will reveal any red flags that must be handled first such as credit issues, purchase price and payment comfort zones. We are not going to shop for what we cannot afford. Get loan counseling before you commit to such a major investment.
  2. Secondly, think 5 years from now.  I want you to see yourself in your home for at least 5 years. First time home-buyers should not be thinking of “flipping.” They should be thinking about recovering enough money to cover their initial down-payment and closing cost investment and not losing money should they have to sell in less than 5 years. This was the norm when I bought my first home, and we should get back to advising buyer’s of this especially given the horrors of the past two years of inflationary values and subsequent seemingly depreciated values, (really only applicable to people turning properties in less than 3 years)
  3. Lastly, know when to separate emotion from good business sense.  Most people initially choose their home based on an emotional attachment to something they see or feel about a home. First impressions are critical. I always like my folks to come back to a home a second time if possible. Most realtors would disagree, but I always tell my people, I have to sleep at night. I want you in that home with a fresh set of eyes, bring a friend, bring family, bring a notebook to make note of all that you see. Make notes of all that you like and would like to change. Those are the things that we need to weigh, to negotiate with, and that will bring you to a practical and business mindset.  I do not want my buyers coming to me a month after closing, to tell me that they hate their new home.

 

As a real estate professional, my first timers are the most impressionable. I love it when they call me afterwards, telling me how much fun they are having.. or invite me over to see what they have changed or are planning. Big smiles, always a heart warmer!

 

Purchasers of lots or land are other customers who I love to work with.

Dream a Home-Dream!

Dream a Home-Dream!

They come with a vision. They come with dreams and with home plans sometimes already in place. Land purchasers like to walk lots, to visit neighborhoods, and while it is important that I hear their dreams, I will make sure they are realistic about the costs of custom home construction if they are planning to build anytime soon.

 

 

Investors are fun, not as emotional, but depend on me to provide them with cash-flow analysis, opinions of value, analysis of renters including profiles, vacancy rates and ability to rent.  This is all about business and finding a property for either a short or long term investment. Knowing how to analyze investment property is crucial. I love working with both the veteran investor and the investor who is just beginning to put together an investment portfolio. An  investor never forgets their first investment property, and rarely do they forget who sold it to them!

 

I love working with all of these customers, and the variety that my job brings.  I ask for your referrals, whether they are in my area or across the nation. Finding a REALTOR, licensed, educated and who is ethical is important to me. My referral agents are picked by hand, interviewed by me ahead of time.. and matched to customers. If you hear someone talking about buying real estate or selling their home.. pass my name and this article to them! 

Debbie Works for her Customers

Debbie Works for her Customers

 

It’s a great time to buy…to invest. Rates have never been lower, and banks are lending. Individual investors can now acquire loans for up to 6 properties! Call a professional, Contact Debbie