Holmquist Team, Other Realtors, Will See More Short Sales In Coming Days

Short sales a way out for those swamped by mortgages

For those swamped by their mortgages, short sales may help avoid the coming tide of new foreclosures.

Although the news media and real estate blogs have been talking about the improving real estate market, there’s an unpleasant fact that people in the market have to face: Even as home sales are increasing, The Holmquist Team and other Realtors in New Jersey soon will see many more foreclosures and short sales.

The housing marketing is improving. Home sales in theNorthwesternMorrisCounty area up, days on market are down and the number of buyers per home is increasing. But a recent report by the Mortgage Bankers Association saysNew Jersey now has the second highest percentage of mortgage loans in foreclosure in the country. With 8.4 percent of homes in foreclosure,New Jersey is second only behindFlorida.

The problem is a 2010 court-ordered moratorium on foreclosure filings as part of the “robo-signing” scandal. Banks and mortgage companies were signing so many documents so quickly, that they often didn’t have proper documentation when a home was sold and couldn’t prove ownership when foreclosures were challenged. Add to that New Jersey’s court process that stretches out for more than a year, and you loans due for foreclosure just piling up.

Now the courts have cleared the way for the floodgates to open. While Realtors, economists and government officials will say that the housing market can’t stabilize until the foreclosures are dealt with, it doesn’t help those who are drowning in debt and facing foreclosure.

For some, foreclosure can’t be avoided. But for others, there are ways out. For those behind in the mortgages or barely keeping up, the issue may soon be unavoidable.

For those folks, attorneys and knowledgeable, experienced Realtors can provide information about the many federal, state and non-governmental programs that are available.

There are programs to help people in foreclosure. Others help people readjust their mortgages. For many, short sales are a good answer. In fact, several experts are predicting an increase in the number of short sales.

A short sale is when the bank allows a homeowner to sell a home for less than what’s owed on it. The seller gets to stay in the home until closing. Short sales have less of an impact on the seller’s credit rating.

On the other hand, there are complicated negotiations and there could be tax implications to a short sale.  It takes a team of experienced Realtors and attorneys to do a successful short sale.

If a short sale seems like a good idea, talk with your Realtor or attorney. Make sure they are experienced in dealing with short sales.

And plan on spending Monday evening, June 11, with us at Cinders on Route 46. I’ll be there with attorney Marty Eagan, an attorney who specializes in short sales and other distressed sales. Call (908) 867-7109 or email me at kholmquist@comcast.net.net for more information about our free workshop.

Summer’s Here: Time To Make Your Home Bloom

Bright red flowers help homes sell more quickly

Realtor Kelly Holmquist recommends planting brightly colored flowers to help homes for sale sell more quickly.

LONGVALLEY– It’s summer, and houses for sale are popping up like dandelions. Making a home standout in the summer means staging it so it’s the most attractive-looking home on your block from the outside as well as the inside.

If you’re selling a home, you’ve heard about staging your home. What you may not realize is that staging is different in the summer than in the winter. Here are 10 things The Holmquist Team tells its customers to do to make their homes jump out as the most desirable in their neighborhoods:

1. Step across the street and look at it as a house, not your home

Forget about all the good times you’ve had in that home and look at it like a buyer would: $$$$$. By adopting this mind set, everything else comes easier

 2. Trim the trees and plants, take down hanging plants and wind chimes

You want visitors to see your home and how pretty it is. You also want to make sure there’s amble space for light and air to get through to the windows. Trim low-hanging branches and run-away bushes. Make sure windows and doors are visible from the street

3. Give the outside of your home a good cleaning

Make sure there are no sticks, branches or other debris on the roof. If your home has vinyl or aluminum siding, consider power-washing it, especially if there’s mildew anywhere. If you’re home needs paint, invest in having it painted. Don’t forget to clean your windows.

Get all the outdoor toys organized in one place and move the trash cans, hoses and similar utility equipment somewhere where they’re out of the way and not readily seen from the street.

4. Stage the front porch and the back deck or back yard

Don’t overdo it in either place. If you have a front porch, consider putting a couple of chairs or a bench on it, along with a small table. Add a vase of flowers on the table. 

The backyard should definitely be staged as an extension of your home. At the very least, put a few chairs around a table with, perhaps, an umbrella. Put out a table cloth and set the table. If you have a special view or spot in the backyard, consider highlighting it with a bench or a couple of tables.

5. Green up your lawn and gardens

Make sure your lawn and gardens are well watered and brightly colored. If your lawn has large yellow spots, consider having a lawn service fix it. One professional stager suggested a quicker fix: There’s paint out there with colors that are close to that of your lawn. She suggests painting the spots.

Plant flowers that bloom in bright reds and yellows. If you don’t have a garden, consider planting one just to brighten the outside of your home.

6. Driveways

You can’t hide your driveway. If it’s paved, consider having it patched and sealed. If it’s gravel, consider adding gravel and having it rolled. If your driveway is beyond repair, consider replacing it. The only alternative is acknowledging that you may need to lower your price so the buyer can fix it.

7. Front doors

Your front door is a major part of your home’s presentation. Consider painting it a bright, but complementary color. Some stagers suggest adding a brass door knocker or kickplate or both.  If your front door is old and in bad condition, consider replacing it.

8. Roof

Roofs are like driveways: You can’t help but see them. If your roof needs more than cleaning, you may want to consider replacing it. At the very least, if winter storms have left shingles broken or out of line, have them repaired or replaced. Discuss with your Realtor whether it’s worth replacing the roof or simply adjusting your price.

9. Fix and run your air conditioner

Open windows can give a home nice airy feel in the spring, but once the oppressive summer heat sets in, run your air conditioner. Let buyers enjoy the cool air of your home. It’ll make them stay longer and enjoy your home more.

 10. Inside

The rules for inside your home are the same as they are for the rest of the year: declutter, clean and organize. Make sure your home, not its contents, are what buyers are seeing. Of course, in the spring and summer, make sure heavy curtains are down so there’s lots of light coming in. And put out vases of brightly colored flowers and bowls of fragrant, seasonal fruit in the kitchen.

By the way, if you have pretty photos of your home in the winter, put them out for buyers to see so they can imagine having, say, Thanksgiving in your home.

With the market beginning to come back to life, you don’t want your home to be left behind. Buyers today are expecting the home they buy to be ready for occupancy. That means you need to make an extra effort to make your home attractive and move-in ready to command top dollar and be competitive.

Ask your Realtor to use his or her trained eye to give your home a fresh look and offer you advice on making your home so attractive, there’ll be a sold sign on it before long.

If The Holmquist Team, part of Keller Williams Towne Square Realty, can help you, please call us.