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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homes Are Selling Again

Amidst the doom and gloom of housing market reports comes a recent report suggesting the real estate market is showing strong signs of life. In these tumultuous times it's easy for people to think that the economy is headed for recession or even a crash. Despite current market reports that suggest we are beginning to see slow signs of recovery there are still those who would rather build a bunker under their homes to prepare for an apocalypse then invest in real estate.

The last half dozen months have not seen much progress in the way of homes sold. The highest percentage of drop in home sales occurred during that period leading many to believe that the market would eventually begin to recover—and it did. In April homes sales increased slightly, which wasn't enough to ease all tensions in the housing market but enough to show that the market is on the right track to recovery. 

Property value also rose slightly across the nation showing encouraging signs of the real estate market's enduring strength. Though the median home value is comparably low to just four years ago the fact that property value is stabilizing across the country is a sign that things will return to normalcy sooner than later. When property values experience steady rise it will be more practical for people to sell homes and to convince investors to buy homes. 

So, how should one react to recent reports of trends reversing in real estate? Real estate transactions rising are a sign that demand for property is still alive. Prices are almost at a low enough level that many people sitting on the fence on whether or not to invest will soon become active. As sales increase, so will home values and soon real estate investments will become stable enough to return to business as usual.

 
Posted at 10:09:56 AM
 
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Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2020


The Mortgage Secret That Could Save You Thousands

So whats the big secret? Paying your mortgage twice per month.nbsp;

We know what youre thinking: How does paying double save me money? Let us explain. Paying twice per month doesnt mean making the entire monthly payment twice. It means paying half of the total every two weeks.nbsp;

The practice is called bi-weekly mortgage payments, a strategy where mortgage loan customers pay their mortgage loan every two weeks, instead of once a month, said Experian. The idea is to chop down your mortgage payment more quickly, and in the process, lower the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage overall.

So how does paying every two weeks cut down on your total amount and save you big time? When you pay monthly, you make 12 payments per year. Pay every two weeks, and you actually end up making 13 full payments. And that one extra payment is directed toward the loans principal.nbsp;

Since the homeowner is reducing the amount of the loan balance quicker, they are also reducing the amount of interest charged over the life of the loan, said MortgageCalculator.org.

What to ask your lender

Before you start making that extra payment, youll want to make sure its allowed. Some lenders either dont facilitate the process or dont credit the payment more than one time per month. Many lenders decide to hold partial payments in an account until the rest of it is received, said MortgageCalculator.org.

Other companies may allow bi-weekly payments but charge a fee. Ra>

How much can you save?

This scenario illustrates the type of long-term savings that make bi-weekly payments attractive. Say you have anbsp;30-year fixed-rate mortgagenbsp;for 250,000 with a 4 percent interest rate. Your monthly payment would be about 1,194, and the total interest paid over the life of the loan would be 179,673, said Bankrate. In the same scenario, using anbsp;biweekly mortgage calculator, your total interest paid over the life of the loan on a biweekly plan is 150,450.40. That means youd save more than 29,000, and pay off your loan in 25 years instead of 30.

Another alternative

If making a payment every two weeks isnt feasible, consider a lump sum payment once a year. Maybe you get a Christmas bonus, a merit bonus, or a tax refund. Using this windfall and allocating the equivalent of one mortgage payment would make a huge dent in your principal. By paying one extra payment of 1,285.33 each year on a 25-year loan of 250,000 with interest at 3.75...the loan amortization schedule with extra payments shows that you would repay the loan 2 years and 11 months earlier and save 17,381.35 in interest, said Interest.com.


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Open Shelving in the Kitchen—Yay or Nay?

Does it have staying power or will it wither away once people come to terms with its lack of function? Will you love it or regret it if you rip out all your upper cabinets? Those are the questions were posing today as we examine the pros and cons of open shelving.

Rise in popularity

If it seems like open shelving is everywhere, thats because it is. Open shelving is one the most popularand also thenbsp;most controversialkitchen trends of recent years, said Apartment Therapy.nbsp;

Some kitchens, in an effort to look updated and open, have eliminated upper cabinets enti>

Another way to get your feet wet is to simply remove the front of your cabinets instead of taking them down all together. This way, you can get the look without a major change, and you can always put the doors back on when the fad eventually passes.

Light, airy, and open

Thats what a lot of people are looking for when they make the decision to go with open shelving. And it workssometimes too well. Getting rid of all the typical upper cabinets can sometimes make a space look too minimalist. Open shelving can also look a bit unfinished, said Apartment Therapy.

Showcasing the goodsnbsp;

Then again, its a great way to highlight china, nice dishes, or dcor items.nbsp;

Highlighting a mess

Of course, that requires you to have china, nice dishes, or dcor items, and to be able to display them in some kind of orderly fashioninstead of like a typical home where bowls may be mismatched, or at least stacked unevenly.nbsp;

But, if youre seeking a way to get motivated to have a clean and orderly kitchen, this could help. If youre looking for a built-in, training-wheel kitchen setup to help ensure that you stay organized, then open shelving might be a good idea, said HGTV. The trick is: you have to commit to keeping things neat so you can avoid having your kitchen look like a hot-mess yard sale.

Its dusty in here

Regardless of what your dishes look like, theyre likely to get dusty without the benefit of being behind closed doors. While we love looking at neatly arranged dishware on an open shelf, the reality can be a bit frustrating. Namely, due to all the dust and grease that end up on the carefully-arranged plates, bowls, mugsnbsp;and glassware, said House Beautiful. In fact, the site is so adamant about its stance on open shelving that the trend made it list of 9 Trendy Home Features That Are Secretly a Pain.


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Strategic Trigger Questions

My attention was drawn to three cleverly-insightful questions a designer used to qualify a prospective client and deliver a stunning, on-point life>

The Heart and Sole interview with celebrity red-sole-shoe designer Christian Louboutin shared a behind-the-scenes perspective on the renovation of his Paris rooftop apartment with its Eiffel Tower views. Louboutin gave credit for the amazing space to much-in-demand Jacques Grange who Louboutin described as at the pinnacle of French decorating.

That decorating skill appears to be matched by Granges communication prowess.

Jacques [Grange] said, Im going to ask you three questions, the shoemaker to the stars told [the ED writer]. If you answer them truthfully, Ill do your apartment.

First, Louboutin continues, Grange asks me: Are you messy? Second: Do you like to host? And third: Do you want an extra bedroom?

The article goes on to reveal how Louboutins short answers influenced the clever interior design. Based on Louboutins responses, the loft apartment was deliberately designed to make overnight guests uncomfortable enough not to stay for long.

That designed-in reaction may or may not make sense to you. Whats important is that this is exactly what Louboutin wantedhe just didnt realize it himself.

Do the qualifying and interview questionswhat I call strategic trigger questionsyou ask prospective buyers provide the degree of insight necessary for you to hit the life>

This knowledge gap is common with first-time and first-time-in-a-long-time buyers who may have little recent real estate buying experience to call on and little knowledge of interior design.

You are not a do you want fries with that order taker, peppering prospects with just-the-facts, closed questions. Your intent is not to me>

Time is money for you and your prospects, so showing the right enticing properties will generate offers more effectively than showing every listing thats in their price range.

Which questions do you ask prospective buyers to reveal the type of decision-maker youll be working with?

For example:

Are you good at compromising or do you definitely know what you want?nbsp;
A conversation starter like this will help you evaluate how clearly prospects know what they want and how well they know their own buying habits.

How do you feel most comfortable when making a significant decision?
The resulting discussion will reveal which information or decision-making techniques buyers may >

What do you feel you need to understand about prospects before you show them a house or even online listings?

Your key function is helping prospective buyers transform their thinking about a property that is someone elses house into an emotional connection with their future home, even if the decor does not match their taste. The challenge lies in nurturing this bond without pressure or trickery and without buyers spending time lounging around the house or trying it out in a sleepover.

How do you assist prospects in moving >

What questions do you ask to help prospects move through this visualization when they spent only a short time walking or video-traveling through a house or condominium unit. How do you help them put the process in perspective?
Real estate professionals must help already-stressed buyers quickly generate enough genuine emotional attachment to welcome creation of an offer to purchase and signing on the dotted line. Which questions help transform the desire to buy a house into the commitment to buy a home, kindling love in the process?
During the offer process, which questions do you use to help buyers strengthen their perspective during the shift from thinking about a strangers house to this is my next home? How do your questions help reduce stress-levels during offer preparation and signing?
You cant take buyer descriptors like I like character for granted. Make no assumptions. What do you ask about to clarify their preferences and how they want to feel about their new living spaces?
Are you more sure about what you dont like or want than what you do?

You know which features and levels of update most properties in a buyers price range and location will exhibit. How do you use strategic trigger questions to assess their potential reactions and prepare them for what lies ahead?

If you dont understand the value of answers to the questions above, youre wasting your time and probably that of prospects, too.

Depending on the market and price range you work in and how affordable that real estate is for the prospects you target, youll have honed a set of key strategic trigger questions that enables you to cut to the heart of the project on hand and help buyers feel comfortable and confident with their >

Real estate professionals have earned a reputation for selling real estate. The problem is that some prospects are nervous that professionals are so good at what they do that theyll sell a buyer a property the buyer wont like, cant afford, or that will cause them nothing but disappointmentjust to earn commission.

How can you dispel this lingering stereotype and build credibility?

The empathy and integrity you display as you ask conversation-triggering, open-ended questions and actively listen to buyers answers will build credibility and earn loyalty.

Demonstrate that the importance of their life> Explain why this is an important perspective for identifying the best property match for them.
Your questioning should revolve around the real estate benefits, not features, that prospects will value in the selected neighborhoods and the range of properties found there.

Louboutins designer wanted to understand how the celebrity shoemaker intended to live in the space with his possessions, including 50 pairs of shoes. His answers I can host. I dont want a guest room.to the designers initial questions, led the designer to create an open loft space for entertaining, a master bedroom that could hide mess, and a second bedroom without a door and no ensuite.

Louboutin reportedly warned a potential guest that she could visit but that she might be uncomfortable. When she asked why, he answered Well, thats the idea.


Resources:

1. Whats Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark amp; Stick By PJ Wade - publication 2021
2. The whole ED story:nbsp; Heart and Sole Elle Decor May 2020, page 102-5
3. More at PJs Decisions amp; Communities: Earning Client Trust: The 3 Rs of Respect
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