Thursday, November 13, 2014

Listing Your Home? Choose an Agent Wisely

Speech bubble-250.jpgA list of talking points can be very valuable to guide the conversation with an agent that will lead to a decision to have he or she represent you in the sale of your home.  If you haven’t been through the process before or it has been a while, the answers to these questions can reveal things about the experience and where-with-all of your candidate.
Even if you only intend to interview one agent and maybe they are a trusted friend, it is appropriate to understand how different issues will be handled.  Professionals should not feel challenged to discuss these important concerns.
1. Tell me about your experience and training.
2. Do you work real estate full-time?
3. Are you a REALTOR® and a member of MLS?
4. What is the average price of the homes you have sold and how many did you sell last year?
5. Which neighborhoods do you primarily work?
6. How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood?
7. What is your list price to sales price ratio?
8. How many buyers and sellers are you currently working with?
9. Tell me about the positives and negatives of my home?
10. Describe your marketing plan for my home and if you will use outside professionals.
11. Specifically address Internet exposure, open houses and showings.
12. Describe how you’ll keep me informed all along the way.
13. Will I work directly with you or with team members?
14. Can you provide me with three recent references?
You might have noticed that price was not in the list of talking points.  The seller sets the price but the market and the buyer determine the value.  The agent can advise you about the proper range that will insure activity and ultimately affect your final proceeds.  The advice should be based on facts that are available to all agents as well as the prospective buyers and the appraisers.
The decision to list a home with a particular agent and company should never be based on the listing price suggested by the prospective agent.

A Homeowner's Tax Saving Benefit

Increase Allowances.pngA homeowner’s tax saving benefit is generally realized when they file their federal income tax return after the money has been spent for the interest and property taxes.  Some people look forward to the refund as a means of forced savings but some people need to realize the savings during the year.
It is possible to adjust the deductions being withheld from the homeowner’s salary so they realize the benefit of the savings prior to filing their tax returns in the form of more money in their pay checks.  Employees would talk to their employers about increasing their deductions stated on their W-4 form.
By increasing the exemptions or deductions, less is taken out of the check and the employee will receive more in each pay check.  If a person over-estimates their exemptions and therefore, underpays their income tax, they might incur interest and would have additional tax to pay when they filed their tax return.

Buyers considering this strategy should seek tax advice and discuss it with their human relations department at work.   Additional information is available on the Internal Revenue Service website about Completing Form w-4 and Worksheets.