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Real Estate

Coldwell Banker offers advice to house hunters

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 26, 2013 at 04:31 PM

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate knows the secret to its success in the Tampa Bay area.

"Our success is based on the continual communication and education of buyers and sellers, helping them understand the variations happening in the marketplace and helping them determine the best course of action and outcome for their particular needs," says Cathleen Smith, senior vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Tampa Bay. "We do extensive market research to provide statistics that will help the consumer make good decisions while communicating and educating through the entire process.

"It is very well stated in our mission statement," Smith says. "Coldwell Banker is dedicated to creating exceptional real estate experiences for our customers and communities through the passionate delivery of truly remarkable service. We believe that and so do all of our many trained and professional real estate associates."

Smith is proud that many consumers choose Coldwell Banker as their business partner. "As indicated by our market share, the consumer chooses Coldwell Banker more times than any other company in the Tampa Bay region because they feel there is value in our company and in the services we provide," Smith says.

Smith says Coldwell Banker's sales professionals enjoy their work because of the services they provide.

"We are given the privilege of helping people through what many would indicate is a very stressful situation," she says. "Whether buying or selling a property, there are intricacies that you must work through for a successful conclusion. It is always rewarding and exhilarating to help each individual person through this process and have a successful transaction as a result of our efforts."

Smith and her sales team recommend that home buyers keep several things in mind.

Don't try to time the market: When home prices are lower, it's tempting for potential buyers to try and wait as long as possible in the hopes that prices will decline further. This strategy can be detrimental. Once a home is priced to what the market will bear, buyers will make offers. It's best to work with your sales associate to make an offer based on the prices at which similar homes in the market are selling. In a buyer's market, there are more opportunities for negotiations, but making an offer is an important step. If you find a house you love, put your bid in and negotiate. Don't let it sit for another buyer to make an offer.

Take your time ... to a degree: Although each local market is unique, the National Association of Realtors reports that the national home inventory is at just over 6½ months of supply. The increased supply of homes on the market gives buyers a great opportunity to evaluate a variety of properties. However, this does not mean buyers should procrastinate. Gauge the time you may have to choose a home by asking your sales associate how long properly priced homes are staying on the market before going into the contract stage. You may find the change in days on the market from last year is just a few days longer.

Homes are selling: Don't think you are the only one looking for a new home. Properly priced homes are selling. The National Association of Realtors predicts there will be more than 6 million home sales in 2007, which would be the third best year in history. Studies such as the recent Coldwell Banker Homeownership in America Index revealed that most people move based on lifestyle changes, such as a new job/promotion, marriage, divorce or family expansion.

Watch mortgage rates: While it's true that mortgage rates have indeed risen over the past two years, the increase has not been so dramatic as to significantly impact a monthly mortgage payment. Consider the following example: About two years ago, mortgage rates were at about 5.85 percent, which translates into a monthly payment of $1,769.82 on a $300,000 loan. The current mortgage rate of 6.32 percent converts to a monthly payment of $1,860.32 on the same loan, a difference of $90.50. Be sure to watch the rates and do your math carefully because changes in mortgage rates are not necessarily cost prohibitive.

Negotiate on the incentives: Owners eager to sell their homes may offer incentives such as cars, trips, paying off your credit card bills and other deal sweeteners. If you accept an incentive, make sure it makes sense for you. Instead of having your bills paid, you may opt to have the seller renovate the master bathroom or install new flooring. Of course, you can always ask the seller to just deduct that amount from the list price.

"We are passionate about the business and the people we serve," Smith says. "In what other business can you make such a huge difference in people's lives? And we take that very seriously."

For information or to find a Coldwell Banker sales professional, call 1-800-624-5292 or visit www.floridamoves.com.

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