Finding a “Deal” in Carroll County

The statistics show it’s still a “Buyer’s Market” in Carroll County. Inventory is high and sold prices continue to have a downward trend.  Sellers have gotten the message- after years of denial. More and more listings in Carroll County are coming on the market priced to sell. We still have our fair share of foreclosures and short sales which are continuing to ensure we have an oversupply of properties, thus continuing our “Buyer’s Market”.

Many Buyers today in Carroll County think they have to have an offer price way below the asking price to get a “deal”. This is where having a good Buyer’s Agent working on your behalf comes into play. Once you’ve decided to make an offer on a property, have your Buyer’s Agent run a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) on the home and property. This will show you what similar properties in the area have actually sold for recently i.e. in the last 180 days. And it can show you what condition the property was in at the time of the sale. IF the listing agent has done their job, the home may already be priced very competitively. You, the Buyer, won’t know that until you have reviewed the CMA. If it is overpriced, have your Carroll County Buyer’s Agent send the CMA over with your offer so the seller knows how you came up with your offer price.

Here are some other tips on finding a “deal” here in Carroll County:

A “standard” sale may be better than a foreclosure or short sale. This may go against what you’ve heard, but remember, home owners have more leeway and can have more motivation to accept a low other than a bank. Realize that in a Short Sale, the bank is the ultimate arbiter on how low the seller can go and that answer can take months and months. On foreclosures, banks have guidelines on what they can accept below fair market value. Banks today have done at least 3 CMA’s from 3 different sources to come up with the list price. It’s all about business when dealing with a bank. They have control of thousands of properties, if they have to hold on to one more to wait for a better offer it’s no big deal to them.

On the other hand, when you deal with an individual home seller, they have no such limits. Some sellers are very motivated. Also individual home sellers have the ability to bargain on other transaction points as well. Part of your offer may include home fix ups, and the seller paying closing costs. To find motivated sellers, have your agent check into listings that have been dropping their price. Cross check those listings with “Days on Market”. Again, your Carroll County Buyer’s Agent can research the average Days on Market for the area the home is located in. When you find a property that has been lowering its list price and it’s been on the market for longer than the average- that’s a good indication of a seller that maybe truly motivated.

Now that you’ve identified a property that fits your needs and wants, don’t insult the seller. If your agent has run the numbers and the property is overpriced, include the CMA so the seller knows where you are coming from. If the seller has been in the home a long time, selling their home is a very emotional decision. Even today sellers think their home is worth more than it actually is. It’s very tough for them to understand that what was important to them about the home and property may not carry the same significance with TODAY’s buyers. Of course buyers can offer whatever they want, the question becomes do you really intend to buy it. If, after all the research, the list price shows to be 3% over priced, don’t offer 15% to 20% less and expect the seller to even counter your offer. Sellers will simply refuse to sell to someone who they feel has insulted or disrespected them. That insult can be from a lowball offer or from the buyers talking down the house. Buyers have always been told not to get overly excited in front of a seller on a home they really want. The same applies to verbally trashing it.

Have your Carroll County Buyer’s agent talk to the Seller’s Listing Agent and see what information they can glean as to what’s their motivation is for selling? What’s important to them with regards to the offer, besides price. There’s more to an offer than just the offer price. As a Buyer, you have to give in order to get. Finally you have to sell yourself and your offer. As I said earlier, make a logical, convincing case on the price AND if they do take your low price, that you, the Buyer, will complete the deal. Make sure your Carroll County Buyer’s Agent presents a polished offer that includes all the up to date market info, you have a well written pre-approval letter from your lender and you include what type of loan (FHA,VA or Conventional) and the down payment amount. The higher the down payment the more re-assured the seller will be to your commitment. Also include why you chose the home and what features you like.

If you follow the above guidelines you can find and more importantly, go to settlement on a true “deal” in Carroll County. Whether it’s in Sykesville, Eldersburg, Woodbine, Finksburg, Westminster, Hampstead, Manchester, Taneytown or some place in between, there are good real estate deals out there. Make sure you have good Buyer’s Agent working on your behave and anything is possible, if you work together.

 My name is David Post and I’m a full time Realtor here in Carroll County Maryland. If I can assist you or someone you know in either buyer or selling a property in CarrollCountyor any other nearby county, please call me direct at 410-984-2221 anytime. This is what I do and this is what I love…. Real Estate! I’d be happy to send out my Special Report- “How to avoid paying too much- A simple guide to help avoid over paying for your home”, just drop me a line at dpost@mris.com or call me at 410-984-2221. www.postwithdavid.com

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Top Ten Inexpensive Staging Tips

If you are trying to sell your home in Carroll County then it really pays off to go to a little extra effort to impress your buyers. There have been studies that show it takes buyers only seven seconds to decide whether or not they are going to buy a home once they set foot in a house. That it is why it so crucial to make a good impression and also why “staging” a home for sale is such a fine art.

 However not all sellers have the cash on hand, or the time and energy, to do things that are really going to flip your home over to the next buyer quickly.  For instance, not everybody has the cash on hand to install a brand new flashy Jacuzzi complete with freestanding brass towel warmers and new stone tile floors. However you might have the money on hand to install designer faucets, paint the walls and replace the old iron door handles with trendy new crystal knobs.

Here are some quick and easy ways to make your home show like a model home for only a few hundred bucks. These are easy-to-do tips and the type of thing an interior decorator would advise you to do to help “stage” a property so it is more attractive to buyers. The goal of this “top ten list:” is to give you hints on how to make your home show better than your competitor’s home on the real estate market! Remember it’s a Buyer’s market right now, whether you’re in Sykesville, Eldersburg, Westminster, Hampstead, Manchester, Taneytown, Woodbine or Mt Airy.

1. Clear All Clutter and Smells

You can get rid of all of the junk in your home for free. Simply get rid of anything you don’t need and haul it away in your car to the nearest dump or Goodwill type of charity. This means getting rid of “stuff” in the front yard, back yard, hallway and basement. Studies have shown that people perceive clutter as being indicative of a property that is decrepit or not worth much money. They also associate it with decay and the presence of vermin or bugs.

One thing in particular you need to get rid of is ashtrays. People consider houses that have been smoked in to be less desirable and also smelly. You should also get rid of all junk in your yard. This includes things like broken garden hoses, old equipment and bicycles. 

Even things you are actively using should be tucked out of sight before a house showing. This means clearing your kitchen counter of appliances like George Forman Grills or blenders or anything else that takes up counter space.

Outside you should make sure that your garden hoses are coiled up, your birdbath is clean of leaves and that you do not have sports equipment or bikes laying around your front porch.

2. Get Rid of Evidence of Pets

Most of us love our pets but houses with pets are also considered to be less desirable than ones with no pets at all.  Hide the litter box and any evidence of it’s aroma. Make sure there are no dog feces in the front yard. This type of thing, along with its smells can convince a buyer that there are allergens, mites and pet urea in the house.  To sum up these first two tips- “if you can smell it, you can’t sell it!”.

3. Get Rid of Evidence of Kids

Get rid of strollers on the porch, inflatable kiddy pools in the back yard and any toys that may be lying around in the hallway. Get rid of baby gates and make sure there are no handprints or crayon drawings on the wall. Studies have also shown that homes that have kid’s stuff strewn about are considered to be less hygienic or valuable than those that don’t.

4. Clean Up the Front Yard and Porches

The front yard and porch are very important as that is what your buyer will first see when they approach the home. Make sure that the grass is cut and that the garden is nicely tended.

If you have to, fertilize and reseed the lawn and plant a few decorative bushes. It also does not hurt to spruce up the front door with a coat of paint and replace the house number plates and the door knocker with new versions. Head to the home store and add a few flowers and/or a pot of flowers to the front. Don’t overlook the mailbox, make sure it’s straight, freshly painted or brand new.

It also helps a lot to get rid of dead trees or bushes that may be on the property. Many people associate that with bad luck or a lack of caring for the property.

5. Get Rid of Sunken Paving Stones

The path to your front door and the driveway are also very important. Sunken paving stones or missing rocks make your home look ratty and cheap. It is quite easy to buy new stones, level them and redo these pathways.  Curved path ways look more contemporary than ones that are at right angles.

6. Paint Rooms That Need It

If you have a wall that looks scratched up, beaten or damaged you are well advised to paint it. This can go a long way towards making a home look less shabby.  You should also make an attempt to plaster any holes or crumbled parts of walls in your home as well.  If hiring a painter is out of the question then you certainly should make an effort to paint it yourself. If you have wallpaper, it really should be removed if it’s at all dated looking. For under $20 for the weekend you can rent a wallpaper remover at your local rental store.

7. Replace Some Fixtures and Hardware

If your chandelier or light fixtures look dated, then go to some trouble to replace them. You can also make a home look more contemporary and like it is worth more money simply by making a few cosmetic changes like changing the light switch plates or electrical plates as well as door knobs and cabinet hardware to designer versions.

8. Change the Faucets and Spouts

Sometimes you can make a kitchen or bathroom look really glamorous simply by changing out your old faucets and spouts for glamorous new ones. There are lots of different styles on the market that can instantly transform a sink into a contemporary silver masterpiece of design and many of these fixtures also cost less than $200.  Furthermore it can be quite easy to install these fixtures all by yourself.

A tall spigot on a kitchen sink can make it look suddenly very European and modern. Replacing the shower head in the bathroom with something quite snaky, long and silver with several water flow options can also help it seem more luxurious and expensive.

9. Provide Flowers and Greenery

If you have cleared all the clutter, then you should have a home that looks more simple and kind of Zen in nature. One way to augment this air of designer sophistication is to put flowers or vases of tall grasses in every room.

For instance if you have a dining room table it is quite a good idea to put a display of fruit or flowers on the center table to make it seem more glamorous or traditional. It is also quite chic to place a small display of flowers or bamboo in the bathroom.  A rose floating in a bowl of water looks nice reflected in a dresser mirror in a bedroom.

10. Provide Some Aromatherapy

It’s been proven that if an item for sale makes some kind of impression on the nose then people are also more likely to buy it. That is true for small ticket items but it is also true of big things like an entire house.

One of the tricks that professional real estate agents use at Open Houses is to simply bake some cookies in the oven so the scent of cinnamon and vanilla fills the air as potential customers walk in the front door. This gives a place a more homey effect.

It is also nice to have aromatherapy candles burning in places like a downstairs bathroom where things might be a little dark. Soy candles are especially aromatic.

If you do not want to spend your time baking you can buy all kinds of professional scents for you home that help it seem more cozy or sophisticated.  You can even buy vanilla, cinnamon or apple pie scents that mimic the smells of baking.  Tropical scents such as pineapple and mango are also used by professional real estate agents and also the owners of clothing stores to encourage people to buy.

Of course if you do have some money to invest in preparing your home for sale, you can also hire a professional to stage your home for you. The benefits of this are usually a faster sale and more money for your property.  Many of these organizations can rent you furniture and accessories that can help make your home look better.  A home stager can also offer you an objective perspective on what exactly it is that can make your home look fresh, appealing and attractive to others.

With an eye for design and just a few hundred bucks you can usually fix up your home so that it is more appealing to buyers all by yourself. Remember, there’s a difference between how you live in a home and having it sellable.

My name is David Post and I’m a full time Realtor here in Carroll County Maryland. If I can assist you or someone you know in either buyer or selling a property in Carroll County or any other nearby county, please call me direct at 410-984-2221 anytime. This is what I do and this is what I love…. Real Estate! I’d be happy to send out my Special Report- “29 Essential Tips That Get Homes Sold Fast (And For Top Dollar) ”, just drop me a line at dpost@mris.com or call me at 410-984-2221. www.postwithdavid.com

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Selling your home in Carroll County Maryland

 

How can I sell my home Carroll County? 

 
The first thing you have to understand is that we are in a Buyer’s Market. There is an oversupply of homes currently on the market in Carroll County. Whether you’re in Eldersburg, Westminster, Hampstead, Finksburg, Sykesville, Taneytown or someplace in between, there’s a lot more properties for sale than there are buyers.


Every listing is in competition with other listings that are similar. The first and most important factor is deciding that you really want to sell. This is a very emotional decision, there’s no half way answer or “maybe”, if you want to sell, you have to be fully committed. Once you’ve made your decision it’s time to find a Realtor to get the job done.
Talk to your friends, neighbors and relatives to see if they have any recommendations. You want to find an agent that is familiar with the area you are located in. This is key, because Real Estate is so local. Hopefully several names will come up and you can talk to several. You want to feel comfortable with him or her as you will be spending a lot of time together, sharing some personal and financial information with them. Your Realtor is there to work for you and represent your interests. I can tell you that a good Real Estate agent can become a lifelong friend because we get so involved in our clients lives, we want to see them succeed in life and make good Real Estate decisions.

 

Setting the Price
Once you’ve decided to list your property in today’s market, the next critical step in the home selling process is setting the price. Sellers naturally focus on not being underpriced; we all want the most for our home! What is the key to getting the most for your home in Carroll County Maryland? It’s not OVER pricing your home. Over 90% of Buyers start their search on the Internet and the first category people search for is price. If your home is overpriced, buyers will see it immediately compared to the other similar listings. How do you know if you’re overpriced? One answer…. no showings. You can’t receive any offers if you don’t have any showings. The market place will determine what price your home is marketable at. Another factor that Sellers don’t understand is that most likely the Buyer of the property will be applying to a lender for financing. Before the lender approves the Buyer’s loan, the lender is going to have an independent appraiser assess the property and set a value. This value is what the lender will lend on, regardless of what the Seller and Buyer have agreed upon. This is why it’s so important to have an experienced agent go over what has sold recently in your neighborhood. Your agent has to know your market inside and out, helping the Seller arrive at a marketable price is more of an art than a science.

 
Marketing the property
Your Realtor has to have a comprehensive marketing plan. With a marketable price on the property, buyers on the internet are now ready to “click” on your home. Buyers are most interested in new listings, with this in mind; the first 30 days are decisive. Qualified buyers who have been out looking at properties for several months know what they like and what they are looking for. For a swift home sale, these are the buyers you need to attract. When a new listing comes on, buyers and Realtors have set up all sorts of alerts to signal them of this ‘hot’ listing. In order to get the people to click on your listing it needs a dynamite description and GREAT pictures. Let me repeat, GREAT pictures. Unless your Realtor is a professional photographer, he or she should not be taking the principal pictures of your home and property for marketing purposes. They should hire an experienced professional photographer. And there should be lots of pictures, at least 20 to start with. Be a nosey neighbor and go to my website www.postwithdavid.com, type in your zip code in the search engine and start looking at listings. How quickly do you go by the listings with one picture? Once you open up a listing, can you tell the difference between agent pictures and professional photography? Of course you can! The listings with great pictures makes you want to see more.
There’s a lot more to marketing your property, it starts with price, then moves to pictures. Now, what’s in those pictures is also very essential. In my next sellers post I’ll talk about “staging” and “curb appeal”. 

 
My name is David Post and I’m a full time Realtor here in Carroll County Maryland. If I can assist you or someone you know in either buyer or selling a property in Carroll County or any other nearby county, please call me direct at 410-984-2221 anytime. This is what I do and this is what I love…. Real Estate! I’d be happy to send out my Special Report- “29 Essential Tips That Get Homes Sold Fast (And For Top Dollar) ”, just drop me a line at dpost@mris.com or call me at 410-984-2221. www.postwithdavid.com

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Your first steps to buying a home in Carroll County

 

Your first steps to buying a home in Carroll County.

 Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a home in Carroll County or any county in Maryland, there are some key steps and decisions that need to be completed. If more than one of you is purchasing the property, each person MUST communicate with each other on what’s important to them. Get out the ol’ pen and pad of paper, and start a list that you each agree on.

 First and foremost is selecting an geographic area that suits your needs. This sounds easy, but needs to be thoroughly thought out. Go online or buy an actual physical map and draw an area that works for you. This is your “bulls-eye” area.  Think about your commute, daycare, shopping etc. Then highlight an area a little outside of that bulls-eye, this is your “plan B” area. It’s a little outside your ideal area but is still doable if the perfect property came along.

 Next, make a list of your ‘needs & wants’. What do you need? What is it that is critical to your property purchase? Example- “3 Bedrooms, 2 baths, basement (can be unfinished) on at least a quarter acre lot, no more than $300k etc.” Now on the ‘wants’ section- “ Fireplace, garage, updated kitchen, finished basement, walk-in closet etc”. On the ‘wants’ list, have some fun, make a long list of all the features you would love to find in the home and on the property i.e. all brick home, big deck, level lot, fruit trees, workshop, dead-end street, 3 car garage etc. It doesn’t hurt to dream a little, and remember dreams can become reality.

 With the above steps done, now’s the time to find a Realtor to assist you. Talk to your friends, neighbors and relatives to see if they have any recommendations. You want to find an agent that is familiar with the area you are interested in. This is key, because Real Estate is so local. Hopefully several names will come up and you can talk to several. You want to feel comfortable with him or her as you will be spending a lot of time together, sharing some personal and financial information with them. Your Realtor is there to work and represent your interests. I can tell you that a good Real Estate agent can become a lifetime friend because we get so involved in our clients lives, we want to see them succeed in life and make good Real Estate decisions.

 Your Realtor can assist you with finding a reputable mortgage lender. This is the next step that is critical in the home buying process. Whether you’re a 1st time home buyer or a 3rd or 4th time homebuyer, you need to get a pre-approval letter from a lender BEFORE you actually go out and look for properties. The mortgage lending world has changed in the last few years, standards have been tightened. It’s much more than a credit score. When you talk to a lender, honestly lay all your cards on the table. Hold nothing back with regards to you past and current financial situation. It’s better to find any bug-a-boos now than when you’re a week from settlement on your dream home and your lender says “we have a problem”. I’ve seen it happen too many times. Things that you think aren’t important, may be very important to a lender’s underwriters. Your lender will assist you in finding the best loan program for your situation, whether it’s FHA, VA, USDA or Conventional. The lender can tell you, based on their company’s and/or government standards, what the maximum amount they are willing to lend you and what your approximate monthly payment would be. (An exact amount can’t be computed until a specific property is identified.) You may not need/want to borrow the maximum amount, but now you know how much money a lending institution will loan you.

 So now you 1) know the area you want to live in 2) have a list of your ‘needs & wants’ 3) found a full time Realtor who knows the area and you feel comfortable with and 4) have a pre-approval letter in hand as to how much you can borrow. You are now ready to begin your search for the perfect property!! What you do after you find “that” property will be covered in a future post.

 My name is David Post and I’m a full time Realtor here in Carroll County Maryland. If I can assist you or someone you know in either buyer or selling a property in CarrollCountyor any other nearby county, please call me direct at 410-984-2221 anytime. This is what I do and this is what I love…. Real Estate! I’d be happy to sent out my Special Report- “How to avoid paying too much- A simple guide to help avoid over paying for your home”, just drop me a line at dpost@mris.com or call me at 410-984-2221. www.postwithdavid.com

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Why Carroll County Maryland?? It feels like home.

“Why Carroll County Maryland??” …..Because it feels like home.

 I moved to Carroll County over 20 years ago when I was looking to start and raise my family.  I was from the DC suburbs and had been to Carroll County several times and remembered “how far away it seemed”, yet still close to everything. As a young first time home buyer the first thing that caught my eye were the affordable home prices. It’s still the same today, Carroll County http://www.carr.org  is very affordable compared to its neighboring counties. Then, when I researched the school system http://www.carrollk12.org/  crime statistics www.carrollcountysheriff.com/ and recreational facilities , I knew Carroll County was the place to put down roots. And this was before I’d met anyone who lived here! Once I starting talking to people that lived in Carroll, I knew I made the right decision.http://www.carrollcountytourism.org/

 Located 30 minutes from Baltimore and less than an hour from Washington D.C., the 452 square miles of Carroll County always reminds me of the America mid-west or the “Heartland of America.” I think we have more “Main Streets” than any county in the State of Maryland! Quaint little towns like Sykesvillehttp://www.sykesville.net/ , Mt. Airyhttp://www.mountairymd.org/ , New Windsorhttp://www.newwindsormd.org/ , Manchesterhttp://manchestermd.org/ , Hampstead http://www.townofhampstead.us/ , Union Bridgehttp://www.carr.org/~unionbr/ , Taneytown http://www.taneytown.org/and the biggest little town- Westminsterhttp://www.westgov.com/ , all have that middle of America feel. The public schools have names like “Freedom” ,”Francis Scott Key”, & “Liberty”. The local fire departments http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/pubsafe/firedept.asp across the county have weeklong carnivals during the summer, almost like the circus is coming to town. Starting in June you could go to a different carnival each week throughout the summer.  In addition all the towns have some type of yearly parade complete with floats and marching bands.  And yes, to this day you can still find yourself behind a slow moving farm tractor, sometimes on a back road, usually when you’re running late.

 Yet Carroll County is very modern and up to date. The public school system is ranked in the top tier of the state each year, in addition, the county is home to over 25 private schools as well.  Carroll Hospital Centerhttp://www.carrollhospitalcenter.org/  is now up to 195 beds and delivered over 1100 babies last year. Carroll County has over 4800 businesses http://www.carrollbiz.org/ that employ over 48,600 workers, 60 of those employers, employed over 100 employees each, including Random House, Jos.ABank Clothiers, Northrop Gruman, English American Tailoring ,General Dynamics ,Knorr Brake and the Flowserve Corp.  Maryland State Police Training Academy http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/aboutdpscs/pct/  is also located in Carroll County and trains all future State Troopers and Correctional Officers for the state. There are 7 Golf courses located within the county, and over 30 parks and recreational facilities http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/recpark/default.asp including 11 recreational councils offering programs for all ages.  Carroll Community College http://www.carrollcc.edu/ had almost 4000 student enrolled last year and is fully accredited.  Founded in 1867, McDaniel College http://www.mcdaniel.edu/ is located in Westminster and is Carroll County’s only private college offering both undergraduate and graduate courses, with an average class size of just 17, it too feels like a college you’d expect to find in the middle of the country.

 And McDaniel College and the City of Westminster offers something each summer that is truly unique, its home to the Baltimore Ravens http://www.baltimoreravens.com/ football team training camp. Each summer Westminster is transformed into a town covered in purple to welcome both the Baltimore Ravens and their many fans that travel to see them practice. An experience not to be missed.

Rounding out some great things about Carroll County is our outstanding library system http://library.carr.org/ . With six branches located throughout the county you’re always near a branch that’s ready to help with any needed research or just pick up the lastest novel. Carroll County also has it’s award winning daily paper the Carroll County Times  http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/ celebrating it 100th anniversary this year. Along with our own radio station WTTR http://www.wttr.com/ “playing the greatest hits of all time”, you’re always informed and entertained.

 So if you’re looking for a place to call home, may I suggest Carroll County Maryland.  I’ve lived here for over 20 years and each time I cross the county line, it still feels like home. If I can help you find just the right property for you and/or friends and  family in Carroll County or anywhere in Maryland, please give me a call anytime at 410-984-2221. I’m a full time Realtor here in Carroll County and love helping people find a place to call home. Visit my website at www.postwithdavid.com

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