Boise Home Sales: Avoiding Identity Theft

Just about everyone is paranoid about identity theft these days, including Boise home sellers.

I’m routinely asked, by escrow officers, to provide my seller’s loan number and social security number to facilitate ordering the seller’s mortgage loan payoff prior to closing.

My business policy, out of an abundance of caution, is to never possess that information.

Instead, I instruct the escrow officer to contact my seller and obtain the information directly from them.

Why?

Because I never want to be in possession of that information.

It’s personal, confidential, and I have no need to know it.

This practice runs counter to typical escrow processing, but I think it’s the right way to do it.

Is this any way to run a real estate business?

My thousands of delighted past clients appreciate the fact that I do not disclose their confidential personal information.

 

6 Mistakes Boise Home Sellers Make

About half of my real estate activity involves working with Boise home sellers.

Those who do everything right usually achieve a reasonably quick sale and a smooth closing.

Those who don’t do everything right often experience longer marketing times, challenging negotiations, and delayed closings.

Here are 6 common mistakes made by Boise home sellers.

1) Overpricing

Homes rarely sell for more than they’re worth.

That’s especially true in the Boise real estate market.

That means pricing your home to sell using accurate, current data for comparable SOLD properties.

You can’t price your home based upon what you “need”, what your neighbors think you should get, or what your neighbors are asking for their home.

If you want to sell, price your home correctly and get it sold in the first 30 days on the market.

If you don’t care if you sell, don’t waste everyone’s time by “testing the market”.

2) Awkward Price Point

Buyers search the internet for homes in price “ranges”.

If they’re looking for a home up to $300,000, they’ll search for homes in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range.

If you price your home at $307,500, those buyers won’t see your home in their search results.

If you want to sell for $300,000, list it at $299,900 and get it sold.

3) Not Preparing Your Home For Sale

When buyers look at your home, they’re looking for reasons to reject it.

Most buyers idealistically look for the perfect home.

If your home needs painting, cleaning, and repairs, you’re providing the objections buyers need to eliminate your home from consideration.

Most sellers need to prepare their home by de-cluttering, cleaning (carpets, windows, floors, blinds, etc.) touch-up painting, and removing extra furniture.

Difficult as it may be, your home needs to look like you don’t live there if you want to achieve a quick, top-dollar sale.

4)  Your Home Is Difficult To Show

Buyers, and their agents, tend to view homes that are easy to see.

Vacant homes are the easiest to see because they require no coordination with the seller.

It’s common practice, in the Boise real estate market, to install a MLS lockbox on your home so it’s easy to show.

MLS showing instructions stating “Call For Appointment” create a barrier for showings, requiring additional coordination between seller, buyer, and the buyer’s agent.

MLS showing instructions stating “Call Listing Agent” to arrange a showing are the worst because they require unnecessary coordination with the seller and the listing agent.

Countless showings are lost when a seller/listing agent requires buyer’s agents to call the listing agent to arrange a showing.

Busy buyer’s agents simply won’t bother to show homes that are difficult to show.

Just install a lockbox if you want to sell your home.

5) Listing With The Wrong Agent

Finding a good listing agent requires some diligence.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want an agent who promises to “close the deal”.

You want an experienced, successful agent who will tell you the truth about your home, regardless of how painful it may be.

You want a competent, skilled advisor to guide you through the complex home selling process.

Look for an listing agent who knows your neighborhood, has a proven track record of selling homes similar to yours, and ask for proof of past results.

Ask for a detailed marketing plan that’s appropriate for your home.

6) Poor Marketing

Print media ads are so yesterday.

Who do you know who looks for a home in the Idaho Statesman or a real estate magazine?

90% (or more) of all buyers start their home search on the internet.

It’s critically important to list your home with an agent who has a prominent internet presence.

How can you tell?

Simply Google their name and see what comes up.

They should have their own domain; not just a business card web page buried deep in their broker’s website.

Their site shouldn’t force visitors to “register” to look at listings (this is classic “gotcha marketing” that turns off buyers).

Their site should be easy to navigate and have the agent’s contact info prominently displayed.

Yet another clue is no agent’s photo on their website.

If they can’t figure out how to upload their own photo, how will they ever figure out how to properly display your listing?

Do NOT not list your home with an agent who has little or no internet presence.

These are just a few considerations for Boise area home sellers.

If you’d like to know more, please give me a call at (208)938-5533 or e-mail me.

 

7 Mistakes Boise Home Buyers Make

I work with a lot of Boise home buyers and have learned that there are a number of best practices that lead to successful transactions.

I also see many instances of common mistakes that Boise home buyers make while trying to buy a home.

Here are 7 mistakes that Boise home buyers often make.

1) Not Getting Your Financing Pre-Approved

Buying a home isn’t like buying a car.

You can walk onto a car lot, pick out a car, and the dealer will arrange your financing.

When you make an offer on a home, the seller and their agent will want proof that you can obtain financing before they’ll seriously consider your offer.

That means getting pre-approved for your financing before you look at homes.

Getting pre-approved will also allow you to fully understand all of the costs and terms of your financing.

2) Looking At Homes You Can’t Afford

If you are pre-approved to purchase a $250,000 home, there’s no point in looking at $300,000 homes.

The odds of finding a home you love, owned by a desperate seller who will meet your price point, are slim and none.

Don’t waste your time, and your agent’s time, by insisting on looking at homes that you can’t buy.

3) Selecting A Home On The Internet

The internet is a good place to start, but trust me, there’s much more to consider than Photoshopped photos on a website.

Everything looks good on the internet, but often not so much when you actually view the homes you like.

I’ve seen many homes that looked terrific online, then wondered if the home was the same home when I viewed it in person.

And, believe it or not, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com don’t have a clue about the condition, neighborhood, and true market value of that home you just love on their sites.

After you find a home that looks good on the internet, drive by, check out the neighborhood, schools, schools, drive times, and other important considerations.

Then, ask your agent for their input on other details of the property.

4) Working With More Than One Agent

Contrary to popular belief, it’s pointless to work with more than one agent.

Why?

Because we all have the same listing inventory to show you.

Find a competent, full-time, experienced agent and pledge your loyalty to that agent by signing a buyer representation agreement.

Experienced agents won’t give you the time of day if they figure out that you’re playing the field and working with other agents.

5) Making Lowball Offers

Motivated sellers who are offering quality homes are rarely inclined to accept a lowball offer.

In some instances, a lowball offer will result in an outright rejection of your offer vs. getting a counteroffer.

When your offer is rejected, negotiations end unless you write another offer.

Lowball offers are offensive to a seller who has a quality property offered at a fair price.

When you make a lowball offer, you’re setting yourself up for the listing agent to use the existence of your offer to entice other buyers to write competing offers that will likely beat your offer.

If you want the property, make a reasonable offer and work toward a win-win transaction.

The lingering resentment that accompanies a lowball offer usually leads to a challenging escrow if the offer is accepted.

6) Making Contingent Offers

Few sellers, and their listing agents, will consider an offer that’s contingent upon the sale of another property.

A contingent offer transfers control of the sale process from the seller to the buyer.

A contingent offer essentially says” Mr. Seller, I want to tie up your property while I see if I can sell my property”.

That’s not very appealing to a seller with a desirable property who simply wants a firm sale and a smooth closing.

If you must sell before you can buy, it’s best to sell and close first so you can make a firm offer.

7) Requesting A Long Escrow

Escrows are like fruit ~ they don’t improve with time.

Sellers, listing agents, and buyer’s agents all hate long escrows.

Why?

Because things go wrong with long escrows.

  • Interest rates can rise.
  • Buyers change their minds (aka “buyer’s remorse”).
  • Buyers can lose their jobs (I’ve had this happen).
  • Buyers can decide to get a divorce (I’ve had this happen too).
  • Buyers can die during escrow (I’ve also, unfortunately, had this happen too).

Most escrows can be closed in 30-45 days.

Requesting a long escrow can cause a seller and their agent to question the strength of your offer.

If it’s worth doing, it’s best to get it done quickly.

 

Boise Homes: Pending Sales Trends

Pending sales of Boise homes are an indicator of future closed sales.

Here’s a breakdown of 2014 year-to-date pending sales.

  • January: 813
    % Change: (baseline number)
  • February: 897
    % Change: +10.3%
  • March: 993
    % Change: +10.7%
  • April: 1,177
    % Change: +18.5%
  • May: 1,143
    % Change: -2.9%
  • June: 1,114
    % Change: -2.5%
  • July: 971
    % Change:  -12.8%
  • August: 898
    % Change:  -7.5%
  • September: 914
    % Change: +1.8%
  • October: 891
    % Change: -2.5%

Takeaways

  • October’s pending sales were only 2.5% below September’s number, indicating strength in our Fall market.
  • Pending sales are typically higher in our Spring and Summer markets, then decline as we approach our Winter market.
  • Our lower pending sales numbers from May through August confirm that we had a slower market this past Summer.

Data pertains to Ada County single-family homes on lot or acreage.  

Data does not include condo or townhome properties.

 

The Typical Boise Real Estate Transaction

As with most things in life, there’s a proper sequence that works best in a Boise real estate transaction.

Here’s how most successful Boise real estate transactions get to a successful closing.

Pre-Approved Financing

Smart Boise home buyers obtain pre-approved financing before making an offer on their chosen home.

Few sellers will accept an offer without pre-approved financing, and buyers need to understand the details of their financing before looking at homes.

Offer Acceptance

This occurs after all of the arm-wrestling is done and both buyer and seller have reached agreement.

Depending upon the circumstances, there may be one or more counteroffers before buyer and seller reach agreement.

Escrow Is Opened

The act of opening escrow occurs when either the buyer’s agent or the listing agent sends a copy of the accepted offer to the designated escrow officer.

Home Inspection

The home inspection is ordered by the buyer’s agent and is coordinated with the listing agent and the seller.

The buyer selects the home inspector, pays for the inspection, and it’s usually done within a week after the offer is accepted.

Appraisal

It’s customary to wait to order the appraisal until inspections have been completed and all inspection issues have been resolved.

This prevents paying for an unnecessary appraisal in the rare instance where the inspection reveals inspection issues that can’t be resolved between buyer and seller.

Loan Processing

Most lenders will process the buyer’s loan throughout the escrow period and be prepared to draw loan documents immediately before closing.

Buyers should expect requests for documentation from their lender during loan processing.

Hopefully, your lender will not wait until the last minute to process/underwrite your loan.

Closing

Contrary to popular (mistaken) belief, closing doesn’t occur when buyer and seller sign their final documents.

Those of us in real estate go to great lengths to confuse everyone by calling the “signing appointment” a “closing appointment”  :roll:

Closing actually occurs when the deed is recorded at the county recorder’s office, which follows the lender wiring the loan funds into escrow (aka “funding the loan”).

Buyers usually get the keys to the home after the deed has been recorded.