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Expert Tips for Navigating the Real Estate Market

My mission at The Queen Team Real Estate is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, I can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Is It Really Worth It to Sell Your Home Without an Agent?


Thinking of selling your home on your own to dodge the cost of a real estate agent? These home sale facts will make you think twice about that.

Selling in the greater Houston area? Get a market analysis report
Purchasing in the greater Houston area? Get full MLS access

If you're thinking of selling your Houston home, there are five reasons you absolutely should not sell without a real estate agent:

  1. There are too many people to negotiate with: If you sell 'For Sale by Owner' (or FSBO), you'll have to negotiate with a myriad of people on your own, including the buyer who wants the best deal possible, their agent, the home inspector (who works for the buyer), and the appraiser, especially if the home's value comes into question.
  2. Exposure to potential buyers: Studies have shown that 89% of homebuyers look for homes online compared to just 20% who look at printed newspaper ads. Most agents already have an Internet marketing strategy in place to sell your home; simply putting your own house on Zillow doesn't mean you know how to market a property online!
  3. 89% of homebuyers look for homes online compared to just 20% who look at printed newspaper ads.
  4. Selling FSBO online has become increasingly more difficult: The amount and intensity of paperwork involved with selling a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations become mandatory. The is why—according to the National Association of Realtors—the number of people selling their home FSBO has dropped from 19% to an 20-year low of just 8%.
  5. You net more money when using an agent: Many sellers believe they'll save the cost of a real estate agent's commission by selling on their own, but fail to realize that people looking at FSBO homes are also people who believe they can save the cost of a commission. The buyer and the seller can't both save the commission. Studies have shown that the median sales price for FSBO homes is $210,000 while the median home sold by an agent sells for $249,000. That doesn't mean the agent can always get $39,000 more for your home, but that the people who sell FSBO are more likely to put themselves in a lower price point.

If you have any questions about selling your home or about the market here in the greater Houston area, don't hesitate to give me a call or send me an email soon. I'd love to help!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to Figure Out How Much House You Can Buy


If you’re looking to buy a home but are unsure of how much house you can afford, here are five steps you can use to figure it out.

Selling in the greater Houston area? Get a market analysis report
Purchasing in the greater Houston area? Get full MLS access

One of the questions I get asked a lot as a Realtor is, “How much house can I buy?” In other words, how can you determine what your housing budget is when purchasing a house? There are five steps you must follow:

1. Figure out your household’s income after taxes. What do you and other income earners who will be contributing to the household bills bring home each month after taxes? Look at your last paycheck stub, ask your HR department, or use an online paycheck calculator to calculate this amount.

2. Make a list of your household’s recurring monthly expenses. This should include bills you pay every month and bills you only pay some months—like car insurance. If you don’t already have a way you’ve been tracking your budget, look at your checkbook, your bank statements, and your credit card statements to help figure out what you’ve been spending. Note which expenses are optional and which are necessary.

3. Make a list of expenses that you will add to when you become a homeowner. Expenses you’ll have that you didn’t have as a renter include water, trash, and home maintenance. You’ll also pay property taxes and hazard insurance. If you’re moving further from your job, your transportation costs may increase as well. If you’re going to make a downpayment of less than 20%, you’ll have to factor in the monthly cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI). Remember, it’s best to estimate high when planning your budget just to be on the safe side.

I can refer you to a local lender who can help you with these steps.

4. Determine how much you will have left after expenses to spend on housing. A lender can help you determine your maximum monthly payment by calculating what they call a debt-to-income ratio. Basically, this is what gets paid into the home versus what gets paid out on a monthly basis. Once you’ve determined your household budget, you should have an idea of what you’re comfortable paying on a monthly basis for a house. Don’t forget to leave room for emergencies, retirement, or whatever else you want to save for. In other words, count savings as a non-negotiable expense.

5. Figure out how much house you can buy. The No. 1 way to truly know what your budget will allow for on a house note is to sit with a mortgage lender and have them look at your credit score and finances. A great lender will be able to help you figure out what your ‘no-more-than’ amount should be, which will determine which price points you should shop in. As a Realtor, I can help guide you to a local lender who will be an expert in these areas.

If you have any other questions about this topic or you have a topic in mind you would like to see me discuss in a future video, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What Happens After You Get Approved for a Home Loan?



Getting approved for a home loan is just step one of the home buying process. Here’s what you’ll need to do next.

Selling in the greater Houston area? Get a market analysis report
Purchasing in the greater Houston area? Get full MLS access


What happens after you get approved for a home loan?

Now comes the fun part—looking for a house! Once you’re pre-approved, you know what your budget is, and you know what you’re looking for, it’s up to us Realtors to help you find a home. It’s your Realtor’s job to not only send you houses, but also research houses you might find on your own.

Looking for a house could involve one trip out where you see five different houses or five trips out where you see 10 different houses. The time frame depends on you and how long it takes you to find the right house.

These are the steps you must take before getting into your new home.

Once you find the right house, it’s time to submit an offer. First, you and your Realtor discuss how to write up the terms of the contract, then you submit the offer to the seller. I like to call this part ‘opening up the lines of communication.’ Basically, you’re letting the seller know what you want and what you would like to do. The seller will either accept the offer, decline the offer, or make a counteroffer explaining what changes they want and what they’re willing to do.

Various things can happen after this point. Once you’ve negotiated the terms and you’ve gone under contract, you’re ‘opening title,’ where you deposit your earnest money. This earnest money represents your commitment to move forward with the sale of the house. You also deposit an option fee. This gives you the unconditional right to terminate your contract for whatever reason. It also gives you the time you need to do your inspections and negotiate any repairs.

Once you’re past the option period, it generally takes 21 to 30 days to close a loan. In total, once you pick a house, submit an offer, and get that offer accepted, you’re looking at 30 to 40 days to close.

Once you’ve done all this, you’re well on your way to getting into your new home. If you have any questions about today’s topic, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m always happy to help!