Monthly Archives: June 2012

FSBO vs Sale by Agent..(For Sale by Agent)


By Rhea-Simone Auguste

©MoonLight Rental Ltd.

If you are thinking about selling your property, it may be a tempting idea to bypass use of an agency and sell your home solo. In fact, there are many For Sale By Owner {FSBO) properties on the market. However, the reality is if you lack the experience needed to close a real estate sale – your property may end up stuck on the market for months with no real offers. It may seem pricey but having an agent especially during a buyer’s market can make the difference between “For Sale” and “Sold”.

A good agent can help weed out the curious callers

FSBO sellers may have to sift through hundreds of calls – some from curious buyers who cannot afford your asking price, others from your neighbours who may want to know what improvements you’ve made so they can match their property price to yours.  A seasoned agent can easily identify these calls and can sift through the leads to find you more qualified buyers. Instead of a hundred people coming to your house to view without even making an offer, an agent may narrow the traffic so only genuinely interested buyers make it inside your home.

A good agent networks with other good agents

A good agent usually has strong networking skills and inside their network, they would have a list of agents they work alongside in their company and in other real estate companies.  Agents usually have ready clients interested in purchasing property in specific areas. If your area is on a wanted list, your buyer may come from your agent or another agent’s network.

Your agent absorbs the advertising costs

This one is a big factor and a lot of people don’t realize this. The average FSBO sellers in Trinidad and Tobago may have to spend a small fortune on advertising their property using typical print media. While this may be an effective solution for some FSBO sellers, many end up with a big bill and no real buyers. An agent absorbs the cost of all advertising for your property. It is in their interest to make sure your property is marketed attractively not just in print but now online and if necessary, on TV as well.  Advertising is expensive so when you factor in how much your agent will be paid from the sale of the property, bear in mind they may have spent as much as 35% of their commission in ads for your property.

Your agent handles viewings so you don’t have to interface with buyers

Buyers come armed with lots of questions ranging from practical to perplexing. An agent helps streamline the question process to ensure the focus remains on the value of the property being sold. A professional agent will know how to subdue the fears of a prospective buyer, assuring the buyer of the true property strengths and its key selling points. They know not to make the sale too personal or reveal private information about the sellers. Some FSBO sellers reveal too much when interfacing with clients eg. “I got my cousin to do the kitchen cupboards and he didn’t charge me much,” or “We have to sell this place fast because my wife and I are divorcing and she wants the cash now,” (both real examples, by the way).  In doing so, they may unwittingly open themselves to having to negotiate well beneath their original asking price.

Your agent will have the legal forms and paperwork hassle

Getting a property sold requires lots of paperwork. Purchase agreements must be made and banks require a lot of documents from sellers. Instead of having to drop documents to the bank for the buyer and pay legal fees for drafting purchase agreements, a seller using an agent can relax knowing their agent will handle the follow-up with the buyer to ensure a successful close.

To some, the process of selling a property may seem simple.  In reality, it is a challenging task especially when it is a buyer’s market or when the economy is stagnant. Having an agent handle the toughest parts means you get to focus on the most important parts of the process.

Brighten Your Home for Prospective Buyers.

Article Courtesy Moon Light Rental Ltd.

 

If you have decided to sell or rent your home, one of the first things you should do is walk the perimeter of your premises and critique your property. Imagine you are a prospective buyer/renter looking at the place for the first time. Is your property clean, well-maintained and free from defects? Is the yard clear of “junk” and debris and inviting to buyers who may have children and want the yard clutter-free?

Sometimes it may be difficult to see your home as anything but your home. It has been your sanctuary and all of the quirks and eccentricities that you added gave it the personal touches. However, prospective buyers/renters are less interested in personal touches and more interested in getting the best property for their money. They are looking for a perfect solution to their housing problem or an investment in a property that will yield a profit in years to come. The less problems they see with the property upfront – the better.

Most sellers are not interested in spending pre-sale of a house because they think it would cost too much to do so. But there are untold benefits of sprucing up your property before prospective buyers see it and topping the list of benefits is – your property can be sold faster with minor improvements.

Here are some quick and inexpensive tips to improve the look of your home for prospective buyers/renters courtesy Moon Light Rental Ltd:

  1. De-clutter your yard! The first thing prospective customers see is your yard. If you have a lawn, have it trimmed before showings and ensure all walkways, drains and concrete areas are free of mould and dirt by power-washing or scrubbing with a solution of bleach and water. A clean yard is an inviting yard.
  2. Front porches/galleries should also be cleaned and made to look inviting to people who enjoy entertaining. If you have a nice patio set or simple chairs and an outside mat – arrange them as though you were expecting company. If the house is being sold/rented unfurnished – consider touch-painting so all surfaces look fresh and new.
  3. Inside the house: Two areas of a house can make/break a potential sale/rental – the kitchen and the bathroom(s). These areas MUST be cleaned thoroughly and the kitchen cupboards should be inspected pre-showing to ensure no insects have made your cupboards their home. The last thing a prospective customer wants is to open a cupboard and have a cockroach jump out and greet them. If your home has had problems with ants, invest in a simple TERRO liquid ant bait solution and place baits a few days before showings. Remember to remove all baits and dead insects before you show your place.
  4. Check your bathrooms and toilets thoroughly before you let prospective customers see your place. Make sure toilets are scrubbed clean and bathroom surfaces look clean to touch. Essentially your prospective customers should feel like the house is in move-in condition immediately. Sometimes sellers lose prospective buyers because of minor cosmetic touches that could easily be remedied.Imagine two men selling oranges. One man picks up fallen oranges and heaps them for sale without washing off the dirt on their peel or arranging them neatly. The other man picks oranges from the tree and carefully cleans them and groups them in tidy heaps. Both are selling their oranges for the same price. Who would you buy from? It’s the same concept when dealing with your house. Remember there may be other homes on the market at the same price as yours so you have to put your best foot forward and make your house stand out from the competition.

Mortgages in Today’s Market

There is no doubt that the economy has changed within the last few years. Has Trinidad & Tobago’s mortgage market grown? The Central Bank’s website seems to point to this. Total Real Estate Mortgages as at October 2000 stood at $3.662 billion TTD compared with July 2011, the figure was $11.386 billion (310% of what it was 11 years ago). So there remains asubstantial amount of mortgage activity in T&T amidst the noted inflation.

Today, it is clear that the environment is very inviting to take a new mortgage or to refinance your existing facility. Some inviting factors are the very low interest rates, tax relief for new homeowners, reduced stamp duty, reduced construction costs (to build a new home), introduction of the Mortgage Market Reference Rate (MMRR) by the Central Bank of T&T (CBTT) and low CBTT repo rate.

  • Interest Rates

The interest rate on new mortgages is at an all time low. The Central Bank has recently launched the policies and guidelines surrounding its Mortgage Market Reference Rate. This yardstick will also see homeowners benefitting from an independently published rate to compare with their mortgage rates. Most mortgages will now be pegged against this benchmark.

  • Tax Relief & Increased Stamp Duty Exemption

There is a reintroduced tax incentive for new homeowners up to $18,000 TTD. This should result in extra funds coming back just for being a home owner. Another good factor in today’s environment is that the government has also increased the stamp duty exemption limits for residential & commercial purchases within the last few years in a bid to support real estate activity. An interesting point to note is that sometimes a person purchasing and building their home may pay less overall stamp duty.

 

  • Mortgages in Today’s Market….Continued

E.g. A residential lot costing $400,000 is exempted from stamp duty. If the person builds an average 3 bedroom home for approximately $600,000 (1,600 square feet at average construction cost of $375 per square foot), the total output is $1,000,000. If the same person decides to sell the new completed home for $1,000,000, the new home purchaser will have to pay only $4,500 stamp duty on the conveyance.

  • Refinancing & Consolidation

Every person should always be monitoring their financial positions. One of the best practices employed in prudent financial management is to borrow at the cheapest cost. Now is a good time to reduce those high interest rates on your mortgage loan. It is also timely to refinance to improve one’s property condition. Construction cost has experienced some degree of decline over the last few years. This coupled with reduced interest rates indicate a good time to do some of those long awaited refurbishment’s, as home improvements normally benefit the homeowner as their equity is increased, and when it comes to buying a home there is no time like the present time.

Submitted by Terra Caribbean

5 Ways to Sell Your House In a Tough Market

Submitted by Terra Caribbean

To buy or sell in 2012, what with Armageddon coming and all? Absent any ancient Mayan wisdom on real estate strategies, let’s just hope the real cataclysmic event in the real estate market already has passed, even if the rubble from the bubble remains. Meanwhile, here are some tips for 2012, aimed largely at the group that needs the most help — home sellers.

  • Price it right from the start

The old-school strategy of real estate sellers crossing their arms and holding out for a better offer will be brushed off by most home buyers. For a gauge, have your agent produce the latest comparable sales including latest sales and foreclosures as well as a recent summary of sales prices versus original list prices. But be wary that such information doesn’t reflect the homes that failed to sell.

  • Put your best foot forward

Prepare, paint, stage, scrub, improve, repeat. Efforts can include caulking, plastering, planting flowers, adding potted plants, making the windows spotless, pressure washing that oily driveway, edging the walks, trimming the bushes and trees, and mending the fences. None of these is excessively capital-intensive, but when applied en masse, they say “buy me.”

  • Flexibility.

Be flexible I’m not saying bend over backward to accommodate real estate buyers. Bend forward and sideways, too. Be ready to negotiate and offer extras such as closing cost, remodeling work (or a cash credit), appliances, paid condo association/homeowner association dues, a few months of mortgage payment or seller financing. Home sellers who’ve been on the sidelines and who advised their agents to ignore offers by low ballers don’t have that luxury now. Instruct your agent to listen intently to prospective home buyers’ misgivings about the home and adjust accordingly

  • Get a good agent.

Hire a listing agent with lots of experience in modern marketing methods who use Facebook and other social media to sell and seek, not to mention dozens of online selling sites. Some agents even make YouTube videos to showcase your homes, making it easier to quickly link to potential buyers via email.

  • Cash is King

Consider cash offers, even if they’re not the highest. Reject too-low offers from homebuyers gently and with encouragement, telling them they’re oh-so-close. You don’t want to give away the farm, but you don’t want to give it back to the bank either. These days, meeting halfway usually means meeting buyers on their half. Be your own spokesperson. Agents once advised home sellers to retreat from view during showings, lest they disclose something unsavory or otherwise botch the deal. That’s changed. If you can control your ego and emotions and come off as an earnest, flexible seller, you can serve as your best spokesperson. Be ready to answer would-be buyers’ questions about the neighborhood and area schools. Be careful about making verbal promises! In closing, keep in touch with your agent as time passes, ask him/her for regular feedback and about buyers comments, remember your agent is working for you, to get you the best possible price in the quickest time, with the least problems, keeping close to him/her will get you the best results.

… And Good Luck…

The Eternal Question Should I Rent, Or Should I Buy??

The Eternal Question Should I Rent, Or Should I Buy??

MAY 2012

Every professional has asked themselves this. Such a simple question if not answered correctly can make headaches appear and salaries disappear. Thankfully your reliable Real Estate Agents at Terra Caribbean are here to make this decision easier. In the upcoming paragraphs I will discuss the pros and cons of renting and buying, the costs, unseen cost and other factors that must be considered when making this important decision.

Let us look at buying first. Apart from the price there are other costs that people do not realize until they have to pay. The First payment is the down payment which is usually 10 % of the price of the house. Paying this secures your purchase and lets the vendor know that you are serious about buying.

Other costs to consider are the furniture, valuation cost, legal fees, negotiations fees, stamp duties and mortgage fees. It is also important to look into a variety of mortgage packages and to study which package will suit you best.

Besides the costs there are other details one should think about before buying. What is your financial status? If you are a young professional now starting out, then renting may be more appropriate in this time. What are your family plans? Your home must be able to suit the size and needs of your family. How is your social life? Your home needs to be able to accommodate guests comfortably. Last but not least, do you have or plan on having children or keeping pets? Then extra Room must be allocated for them, as they will form an integral part of your family.

If you do decide on buying the benefits are numerous. There is a personal satisfaction and pride of ownership. The security that you feel when you own a home is one of the most comforting feelings you can give yourself. When you move into a neighborhood you become part of a community, this gives you and your family the opportunity to build relationships with your neighbors and form life long friendships. You can also use your home as collateral and stand a better chance of borrowing money down the road.

Renting is a bit less complicated than Buying. It is simple and attractive for people who are just looking for something temporary. The cost usually includes the first month’s rent and security deposit. Renters enjoy the befits of flexible living with the option of relocating easily.They also have less overheads and less responsibility while still having a place to call their own. However they do have to obey the terms of the rental agreement, and most tenants may be subject to increases in rent every couple of years.

For new couples renting may be a first step, a trial run before they decide on buying a home together. Singles might prefer to rent a property because they don’t need all the space that a home will offer. One of the best benefits of renting is that most physical problems you may encounter your landlord will usually fix or pay to fix.

I hope the information provided will aid you in making your decision. You should remember that if you are living somewhere that does not meet all your needs nothing is holding you back from moving to another better location. If you are interested in making the transition from renter to home owner or owner to renter Please contact any Real Estate Agent at Terra Caribbean. Our agents are ready and waiting to assist you in anyway we can.

Best of luck,

David McCartney

Submitted by Terra Caribbean

STOP RENTING! Make the move to home ownership.

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

© Moon Light Rental Ltd.

Inflation and the high price of properties in popular areas have led to a mass dependence on rent. Many young people think they cannot afford a place of their own so they opt to pay rent for years. The average 2 bedroom apartment along the East/West corridor costs approximately $3000 per month. That quickly turns into $36,000 a year and in five years, you would have spent close to $180,000 on SOMEONE ELSE’S PROPERTY.

So, here’s the big question – how do you break the cycle of rent dependence and move to home ownership? It’s simple if you take things in small steps.

  1. Your down payment. To own a property, you must have the down payment and that means having at least 10% of the cost of the property you are interested in having. If you currently have a savings account and you are gainfully employed, I would recommend visiting your bank of choice to do a pre-qualification for mortgage. Your bankers would let you know how much you qualify for right now based on your savings and income.
  2. Start looking or let Moon Light Rental Ltd. do the looking for you. Looking at information in the classifed’s section of a newspaper is a great way to find properties but finding the time to do viewings repeatedly can be tedious. What we do is, we take your information and we scour the market – networking with other agents and collecting photographs to give you online viewings and our personal, honest opinion on properties. Trust me, if we see a house with termites in the roof or is in a flood-prone area – We will tell you because that’s just the Moon Light way of doing business. We love it when the right buyer finds the perfect space to call home.
  3. Consider building instead of buying pre-built. Here’s the thing, you can get land at a reasonable price and build in parts. Start with what your immediate needs are – a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room and then add bedrooms as you go along. This allows you to be flexible and you have more say in what your final product should look like. Plus – the added benefit to building your home is the value of your property will likely increase when you’ve finished building. Don’t be intimidated by building – embrace it and have fun picking your tiles, your fixtures and your paints. It’s a wonderful personal project to get involved in.

Home ownership is closer than you think. For more guidance tips and information, call Moon Light Rental Ltd now 221-8550 and let us take you from renter to owner this year.

Selling your home? Tips to get more from your sale!

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

(c) Moon Light Rental Ltd.

 

If you have decided to sell or rent your home, one of the first things you should do is walk the perimeter of your premises and critique your property. Imagine you are a prospective buyer/renter looking at the place for the first time. Is your property clean, well-maintained and free from defects? Is the yard clear of “junk” and debris and inviting to buyers who may have children and want the yard clutter-free?

Sometimes it may be difficult to see your home as anything but your home. It has been your sanctuary and all of the quirks and eccentricities that you added gave it the personal touches. However, prospective buyers/renters are less interested in personal touches and more interested in getting the best property for their money. They are looking for a perfect solution to their housing problem or an investment in a property that will yield a profit in years to come. The less problems they see with the property upfront – the better.

Most sellers are not interested in spending pre-sale of a house because they think it would cost too much to do so. But there are untold benefits of sprucing up your property before prospective buyers see it and topping the list of benefits is – your property can be soldfaster with minor improvements.

Here are some quick and inexpensive tips to improve the look of your home for prospective buyers/renters courtesy Moon Light Rental Ltd:

  1. De-clutter your yard! The first thing prospective customers see is your yard. If you have a lawn, have it trimmed before showings and ensure all walkways, drains and concrete areas are free of mould and dirt by power-washing or scrubbing with a solution of bleach and water. A clean yard is an inviting yard.
  2. Front porches/galleries should also be cleaned and made to look inviting to people who enjoy entertaining. If you have a nice patio set or simple chairs and an outside mat – arrange them as though you were expecting company. If the house is being sold/rented unfurnished – consider touch-painting so all surfaces look fresh and new.
  3. Inside the house: Two areas of a house can make/break a potential sale/rental – the kitchen and the bathroom(s). These areas MUST be cleaned thoroughly and the kitchen cupboards should be inspected pre-showing to ensure no insects have made your cupboards their home. The last thing a prospective customer wants is to open a cupboard and have a cockroach jump out and greet them. If your home has had problems with ants, invest in a simple TERRO liquid ant bait solution and place baits a few days before showings. Remember to remove all baits and dead insects before you show your place.
  4. Check your bathrooms and toilets thoroughly before you let prospective customers see your place. Make sure toilets are scrubbed clean and bathroom surfaces look clean to touch. Essentially your prospective customers should feel like the house is in move-in condition immediately.

You would be surprised to know the value of your property could go up by simply painting, power-washing and preparing it prior to a valuation or a sale.

Thinking about selling/renting your property? Give us a call at 221-8550 or 773-5468. Looking for a place to buy/rent, give us a call and let’s see if we could match you to your dream home.

Real Spaces is Expanding, writers / bloggers welcomed!

If you or someone you know is interested in contributing to our blog, send us a message! We’d love to hear from you. Real Spaces is fast becoming a Real Estate Marketing Brand in Trinidad and Tobago that speaks to the needs of both the Real Estate Market as well as the home owners that are renovating, refurbishing and reinventing their Real Spaces!

Got an article? Or just interested in trying out your skills………we’re waiting to hear from you…..:)

Got Junk? Real Spaces launches our free classifieds for persons selling or seeking stuff!

If your moving into or out of, most likely you will be on either side of the argument, but most times a person just moving out of an apartment, office or other location, is bound to have stuff that another person just moving into one will need. Enter the Real Spaces Classifieds. This is a free feature for all our visitors to reach out to persons that are pretty much going through the same drama you are, moving! So, its a great place to hawk your items that kept you company since you signed the lease, a year or two, or more ago!

You know what im talking about, If your moving from an apartment with a lawn that warranted your getting a plug in little trimmer for the 6 x 9 plot you so adored when it was yours to manicure, what are you going to do with it if your heading to a third floor apartment?

Sell, rent, or just give the stuff away, we don’t really need to know…….just know this! we will be screening images and ads posted, so keep your adult books and other items of your secret stash……secret! No one is gonna wanna buy  it any way.

Categories like kids and baby, appliances, gardening and plants, gaming and musical supplies are all there and if you need us to add a section or two, please feel free to drop us a line and we’ll be happy to add it. 🙂

http://www.realspacestt.com/classifieds/

Tucker Real Estate Joins the Real Spaces family!

Seasoned Real Estate Professionals Tucker Real Estate, has joined the line up of agents that will be featuring properties on our website and of course, our television series Real Spaces. The agency signed up today and already has listings to have added to our pages as well as property to film for our upcoming season on CNC3.

Speaking with Ms. Tucker today revealed that the agency has a list of properties that they will be adding soon and will also be featuring all videos on their website and facebook page along with the exposure that Real Spaces will offer.

We say “Welcome” to Tucker Real Estate, and look forward to lots of properties from this team in the coming months.