Wednesday, July 25, 2007



Compliments of: Cindy Strobel, Broker/Owner Resource Realty Services


The first thirty days that your home is offered for sale are the most important to you in terms of realizing a reasonably fast sale at a good market price. There are a number of things you can do to ensure that prospective buyers will be favorably impressed with your home. Here is an easy-to-follow checklist of time proven tips on how to get your home ready for sale.


  • Yard is mowed and edged.
  • All refuse is collected and hauled away.
  • Flower beds are cultivated.
  • Exterior paint in good condition.
  • Exterior walls are in good condition with any damaged wall boards replaced and bricks and mortar replaced as required.
  • Roof is in good condition and repaired.
  • All exterior lighting is in working order.


  • Walls are clean and unmarked.
  • Windows are clean inside and out.
  • All plumbing is in good order; repair leaky faucets and stains.
  • All doors should open and close easily and all hardwood is in place.
  • Remove unneeded materials from attic, basement and garage.
  • Kitchen is sparkling clean, countertops are uncluttered and all dishes are placed in cabinets.
  • Every room is neatly arranged and unneeded materials are removed.
  • All lighting fixtures and lamps have bulbs and are in working order.

Hints on Showing Your Home

  • When possible, arrange for you and your family to be away from home during a showing. Prospects feel less like an intruder if the home is vacated and will take more time to thoroughly inspect your home.
  • If you have a dog, be sure that it is penned up outside.
  • Whether your home is being shown in the daytime or at night, always leave enough lighting on, both inside and out, to brighten every corner of your home.
  • If it is necessary for you to be at home, we suggest that you allow us to direct the prospective buyer through the home. We are thoroughly familiar with the prospect’s needs and can emphasize their needs with your home’s amenities.
  • Do not discuss with any prospect the terms, price, possession or other factors related to the sale of your home. We are in a better position to handle these matters.

If You Vacate Your Home Before it is Sold

  • Make arrangements for property to be maintained, the grass cut and edged.
  • Leave utilities on and set heating or cooling at comfortable level.
  • Make sure your Realtor can contact you are at all times.

It is important to remember that in the central Virginia markets which include, Hanover, Mechanicsville, Richmond, King William, Henrico Counties such as Varina, Glen Allen and the West End of Richmond, that inventories are at an all time high. The nicer, more attractive amenities, and better your home stands out above the others you are competing with, the more chance you will have of getting your home sold quickly and at the highest possible price.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bankrate is Feeling the Heat

Bankrate is Feeling the Heat in Mechanicsville, Henrico & Hanover: Beware of Internet Lending & stay with a Local Lender in the Richmond Metro Area

Just like King Kong clutching the top of the Empire State Building…Bankrate, the "800-pound Gorilla" of online home loan rates is falling under fire. The Bankrate website draws millions of visitors, as it promises to give a listing of companies and their rate and cost offerings for mortgage loans, and even passes that information on to most of America's largest newspapers as fact. It proclaims itself to be a tool for the consumer, just delivering information and advice…but as many reputable mortgage lenders have known all along, it turns out that consumers are finding the reality of Bankrate to be a little different.

A lawsuit is in the works against Bankrate, after hundreds of consumers complained about lenders who failed to deliver the rates and terms they promised on the website. In fact, one lender actually told a Bankrate employee that a consumer would need a "direct pipeline to God" in order to qualify for the rates and terms they advertise on the site. Why would a lender post rates and terms they are unwilling or unable to honor? To lure in consumers who truly want to believe that they are getting an interest rate or cost package that is significantly lower than all the competition. And by the time the consumer finds out they are not getting the package they were promised, they likely have wasted enough valuable time that they feel somewhat stuck to use whatever terms the lender hauls out.

Of course there are real reasons that the terms of a loan package can change mid-stream. When working with a reputable lender, it would generally only be caused by a change from what was submitted on the loan application. Some examples of this include a change in credit, income, employment, debts or assets.

So are there any reputable lenders on Bankrate? Yes, of course. And some of those lenders were the ones who prompted the lawsuit in the first place. As they were posting real interest rates and terms they could actually honor, they could see that consumers would instead be contacting the less-reputable lenders who were posting completely unrealistic rate and cost offers. And the consumer might not find out the difference until it was too late. Mortgage lenders get their money from essentially the same places - so anytime there is a very large difference between quotes on identical programs, it pays to ask some questions.

Bottom line - the internet at large can be a great place to gain basic trends and information about a home loan, but the Bankrate lawsuit illustrates the need to work with a Trusted Advisor. A home loan is generally the largest financial transaction of your entire life - working with a real professional who can advise you on correct strategies and programs for your needs is a must. And like your mom or dad always used to say - you get what you pay for, and solid advice from a real professional may cost more than a bargain basement operation.

Most importantly, remember that the absolute lowest rate and terms on the WRONG financial strategy or loan program for your life will prove to be far more costly than a competitive rate package on the RIGHT strategy, which correctly fits your financial goals and needs.


Compliments of Lloria Ross

First Horizon Home Loans


Friday, July 6, 2007

Mistakes to Avoid When Listing Your Home For Sale

These days it seems like every time you turn around you hear about how bad the real estate market is. Here in the Richmond, Virginia and surrounding areas including Mechanicsville, Hanover, King William, Henrico County, Glen Allen, Varina, etc.the market isn’t quite as bad as the nationwide estimates. . The average time that a home sits on the market before it sells is up over 2 months., compared to over 6 months nationwide. Property values are not increasing at the same appreciation rate as in 2002-2006 and foreclosures are up. If you are serious about selling your home you need to price it right.

There are quite a few mistakes that people can make when pricing their home. If you really need to get your home sold, be sure not to make any of these mistakes:

1. Starting too high. We can’t tell you how many times we have heard this on a listing appointment for a home around $175,000, “Well, let’s just start out at $210,000 and see what happens.” A seller wrongly thinks that it won’t hurt anything to start sky-high with their price and then drop it later if (when) no one bites. Todays buyers are very savvy. With just a click of a mouse they can find out how long a home has been on the market. They see a home that has been on the market too long as the perfect target, a desperate seller. By the time they actually drop their price out of fantasy land and into reality, they have actually dropped the value of their own home and will usually end up taking less than current market value.

2. Letting an agent “buy” your listing. When you interview agents to list your home, you are usually given a marketing proposal and CMA, which is basically the agents opinion of the price your home should sell for. Some agents will come in and tell you your home is worth a whole lot more than it is. They figure that the truth hurts and if Agent A says your home is worth $175,000 and Agent B says your home is worth $200,000, you are more likely to list with Agent B. Agent A was giving you an honest opinion of what your home will sell for and Agent B was giving you an inflated number to get you to sign a contract with him. In the business, we call this “buying a listing”. Once you sign with Agent B you are stuck with him for 6 months or possibly longer. If you are thinking along these lines, and you have talked with agents who have very different opinions on the value of your home, sign only a 30 day listing. This will allow you to “test” the market with Agent B but can come back to reality with Agent A while not wasting too much valuable time.

3. Pay attention to the comps!! Numbers don’t lie. When the agent you are interviewing gives you his price, it should be supported by a list of similar homes that have sold in your area recently. Also, you should ask to see information on the homes that are currently listed but not sold. If nothing in your area has sold in the last year for over $200,000 don’t list for $250,000!! It sounds ridiculous, but it happens everyday.

4. Take emotions out of the equation. A big thing that would-be sellers forget is that they are selling their house not their home. You still get to keep all of your memories and personal belonging that mean so much to you. You have to remember that selling your home is a business transaction. Your fond memories of the home have no monetary value to a potential buyer. Of course selling the home where your kids took their first steps is probably going to be depressing. You have to just remember that when you get to your new place, your memories come with you and you will learn to call the new house your home and make new memories.

5. Properly Prepare Your Home For Sale .In this market, your home has to be in good market condition. In the Central Virginia area including Mechanicsville, Hanover, Glen Allen, Henrico County, Varina, King William, Chesterfield and other surrounding counties, there is more inventory on the market than we have seen in years. If your home is cosmetically challenged or otherwise looks ill kept, that potential buyer will go to the next house. If you do not have the Resources to accomplish the task of getting your home in tip top showing condition, ask your Realtor. Any Realtor that has been in the business should have a list of Resources to provide you. A small amount of money spent upfront will pay large dividends later! See my next article for a list of items that you can do to get your home ready…

Good Luck & Happy Selling,

Kathy Holland Broker/Owner

Resource Realty Services