All posts by Elysia Diaz

Foreclosure Homes in Today’s Market

Green Bay, WI REO HomesAhhh, foreclosure homes. REOs. Bank Owned properties. Whatever you want to call them, I get asked about them all the time. Are foreclosure homes still out there? Are they the best deals? Yes and no. To both of those questions. 

Yes, foreclosure homes are still around, but according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA), “annual single-family foreclosures are down 19.4 percent in just the last year, and they are down 69.8 percent from their peak 2009 levels. Indeed, foreclosures are at their lowest levels since 2000, well before the housing crisis emerged.”

So, yes and no. They are out there, but definitely not as many. And this leads into my next most asked question; are they the best deals? Well, some are. And some of them, not so much. They either need a ton of work, priced high, or have heavy competition with multiple offers which leads to a higher priced home. What does a ton of work mean? Mold, foundation issues, roof work, new windows. You know, the more major money suckers, and that’s before you clean the place, add back in appliances, and redo flooring and paint. 

Don’t get me wrong, I like foreclosure homes. I’ve sold them to many clients, and have even bought one myself. But they are not what I like to call creampuffs. (Nothing to do, because it all updated and move in ready.) 

Set your expectations accordingly, and happy hunting for your foreclosure home!

Want more info on a foreclosure home? Contact Green Bay Realtor Elysia Diaz

 

Home Selling FAQs in Green Bay, WI

Home Selling FAQs from Green Bay RealtorThinking about selling your Green Bay area home? I’m sure you have questions. Even if you’ve sold more than a couple of homes, I bet you still have questions. At least you should! Selling your home is very different from even just a few years ago. Home buying and home selling is definitely an area where there’s constant change. 

So, here’s a list of the top frequently asked questions by home sellers, it should give you a fair amount of understanding all that is involved when selling your home. If this list doesn’t cover one of your home selling questions, contact me! I’d be more than happy to go over the home selling process with you. 

Before You List Your Home for Sale

How is the Housing Market Now?

The housing market is constantly changing. You need to ask your Realtor about this. They can give you stats and updates about what is happening in and around your particular neighborhood. Don’t have a Realtor to ask? Ask ME! 

What time of year is best when selling my home?

Good question! And the answer is somewhat vague, because it depends on you, the home owner. Are you in a hurry to sell? How motivated are you? Spring and summertime are the busiest times to sell your home, not necessarily the best times.  With that being said, you’ll have more competition in the spring and summer. But what about the fall and winter? There are still buyers out there looking for homes to buy, and at that time of the year, there’s less homes for sale on the market. I’ve sold homes (yes, that’s plural) the day after Christmas,  just after New Years, and in the gray days of early February. All the above rambling means: it varies. Talk with your Realtor about what strategy would work best for you. Since the market is constantly changing, there’s no real clear cut answer. 

What do I do to get my Home Ready to Sell?

Oh boy. This is a long answer one. Not every home is the same, therefore, not every answer is the same. But I did make some blog posts with tips on how to get your home sold. Click on these few links: 
Boosts in Curb Appeal 
Neutral Paint Colors
Home Staging
More Tips
Talk with your Realtor and come up with a game plan. Most real estate agents will give you “homework” on what to do to your home in preparation for putting it on the market. 

How much is my home worth?

The million dollar question, folks! First off, let me make this clear – the current housing market will tell you what your home is worth. Your home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. You have a number as to what your home is worth, the tax man has a number as to what your home is worth, a home buyer’s appraiser will have a number as to what your home is worth, and online housing sites, such as Zillow, will have a number as to what your home is worth. These will all be different numbers! You need to get a Realtor to do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to see what the market is telling you. That’s how you should price your home.

How Much Does it Cost to Sell my Home?

I will tell you this right off, it ain’t cheap to sell your home. You have Realtor fees, title fees, and depending on what you and the buyer agree upon, you may also be paying for some of the buyer’s fees. Roughly? You’re looking at about 7.5-8%. Ask your Realtor to give you a breakdown on what the costs will be. 

What’s Your Commission?

Typically, I charge 6%. Have I ever charged more than 6%? Yes. Have I ever taken a listing for less than 6%? Yes. With that being said, I’m sure you’ll find a real estate agent to give you a discount, but then you better expect discount service. The saying, you get what you pay for, is very true. Especially in the real estate business business. 

How Long Do Listing Contracts Last? 

That is between you and your real estate agent. Typically, I do 6 month contracts. Have I had longer contracts? Yes. Have I had shorter contracts? Yes. It varies depending on the situation. 

What Should I Disclose About My House?

You’re always going to be better off being honest and upfront. If you’re aware of defects with your home, fixing them before listing your home on the market is best. At the very least, your Realtor will have you fill out a Real Estate Condition Report. This is where you should disclose defects to the potential buyers. If you’re unsure whether you should mention something, MENTION IT. Talk to your agent.  

When Your Home is Listed on the Market 

How Do I know When a Showing is Scheduled for My House? 

I use Showingtime. It’s a service that will call or text you with any and all home showing requests. It will say the name of the real estate  brokerage, the real estate agent that’s showing it, the date and the time. If over the phone, you say yes. If via text, you type in Y. It’s that easy. 

Will I get Feedback From Showings? 

Most of the time, yes. Most real estate agents that show your home will give feedback. But there are some real estate agents that simply do not, no matter how many times you call them. Sad, but true. 

Should My Real Estate Agent Run an Open House? 

Is that in your listing contract? If not, then your real estate agent is not obligated to run an open house. Not all real estate agents host open houses. Why, you ask? Because less than 5% of homes actually sell at an open house. In my now 4 years of being a Realtor, I have sold 1 home at an open house. Not to be a Debbie Downer for open houses, but talk to your Realtor about the pros and cons to hosting an open house.

Why Isn’t Anyone Looking at my Home?  

Your home is listed on the MLS, you have beautiful home photos, and your real estate agent is working hard in the advertising and marketing department, but you’re not getting any showings? It’s PRICE. It’s a tough answer to take, but it’s true. 

When You Have an Offer or Have an Accepted Offer

What Do I Do with a LowBall Offer?

Counter it! Never reject an offer to purchase! Counter, counter, counter. 

What is a Home Sale Contingency?

It means the buyers have a home to sell before they can purchase your home. They may already have a buyer lined up, or their home may not even be listed on the market yet. Your real estate agent will have the details.

What Are Common Bank Required Repairs? 

If your buyer has a conventional loan, bank required repairs are pretty non-existent. But for a VA, WHEDA, or FHA they are: peeling paint, broken windows and screens, roof in poor condition, missing hand railings, missing electrical cover plates, no GFCIs in the kitchen and bathrooms…

What Happens After the Home Inspection?

If you have the right to cure, you go back to negotiating. Buyers may or may not ask you to fix defects. But, there is a time limit as to when the buyers can ask for repairs. Each time limit varies per agreed contract. This is a very abbreviated answer, talk with your Realtor to get the full details. 

What Happens if the Appraisal Comes in Too Low?

First off, take a deep breath, there are several solutions. You come down in price to what the appraiser said your home is worth, or the buyer pays the difference from the appraisal  price to the agreed upon purchase price, or you both agree to meet somewhere in the middle, or finally, you both agree to end the deal. The common answers are the deal ending, and the seller matching the appraisal price. 

Do I Have to Steam Clean the Carpets? 

According to the standard contract in Wisconsin, your home must be left in broom swept condition. If you want to steam clean your carpets, I’m sure the buyers would really appreciate it, but it’s not necessary. But, for a simple solution, so you don’t have to deal with any cleaning – hire a cleaning service to go in and take care of it for you, you’re going to be busy enough moving your furniture and belongings to your new place to worry about being tidy in the process. 

As I said, these home sale FAQs do not cover the entire home selling process, but it should give you a better understanding. Any questions about selling your home and the process of it, please don’t hesitate to contact me

2016 End of Year Stats

2016 was a record breaking year for Wisconsin home sales! The year was full of solid growth, which caused annual home sales to a record high. According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA), December 2016 home sales were 4.1% above 2015 December home sales. This year, as a whole, saw an increase of 6.1% for home sales compared to the 2015 year. I’d say this is pretty good news!

The 2017 year is anticipated to be similar to the 2016 year. Even with mortgage rates rising (they already have actually), Wisconsin will stills see a strong year for home sales, but home buyers will have to move quick.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s WRA President & CEO Michael Theo and his 2 cents:
There are excellent values and opportunities in this market, even in an environment of rising prices and rising rates, but buyers must be decisive. Working with a REALTOR® who is experienced and who knows your neighborhood can make a new home a reality, but only if buyers are ready to write an offer quickly after touring a home they want to buy. This really is a ‘you snooze, you lose’ market.

So here’s to a great year, and buyer’s — let the games begin!

 

 

 

Green Bay Home Buyer’s FAQs

Green Bay Home Buyer FAQsAfter working with many home buyers, I decided to put together a FAQs list. Does it cover EVERYTHING? No. This list would be really, really loooooooong. Contact me for a buyer’s consult or speak with your buyer’s agent for a more in depth look at home buying. 

How long does it take to buy a home?

Typically, from accepted offer to closing, about 45 days with a financed deal. For cash it’s quicker, a week, maybe 2. 

Should I get a buyer’s agent?

YES. However, I’m just going to shoot this answer to a previous blog post I wrote about a buyer’s agent.

Do I need to be pre-approved when looking for a home?

It would be best if you were! It will tell you what range you should be looking in, and that will save you time and heartache. You don’t want to find your dream house when you can’t afford it. 

How do I know what my payments will be?

Contact your lender. If you don’t have one, ask me, I’ll gladly give you a recommendation (even if you’re not my client). Or ask your buyer’s agent, best friend, parents…anyone you trust. 

How many homes should I look at?

That depends on you. I’ve had buyers that have written an offer on the very first one we’ve seen, while others have taken longer. The average is around 7. If you tour a home, and it meets all your needs/requirements, and you can picture yourself living there, why would you wait? Another buyer may snatch it right up while you continue to look. 

Are foreclosure homes the best deals in town?

Absolutely not. Ask your buyer’s agent. 

What’s earnest money?

Think of this as a glorified security deposit.  This is not money just given to the seller. It’s held in the listing agents company’s trust account, or somewhere else if stated in the offer.  Primarily, the purpose is to show a seller you are serious about purchasing their home. That you’ve got some “skin in the game.”  Upon a successful closing, your earnest money deposit is credited back to you and is subtracted from your final amount you pay at closing. In most cases, the larger amount of earnest money,  the stronger an offer looks to a seller.

How much earnest money should I offer?

Talk to your buyer’s agent. This amount varies with every transaction. There isn’t a magical amount. I’ve had buyer’s offer $500, and I’ve had buyer’s offer $5k. 

How low can I make my offer?

It is entirely up to you with what you want to offer. You’re the one purchasing (trying to anyway) the home. Is there a lot of interest in the home? Has there been an offer before? How long has it been on the market? Is the seller having a good day? Is it Tuesday? Talk to your buyer’s agent for advise. 

PS – Obviously, some of those are random. Seriously, just talk with your buyer’s agent. This is not a one-size fits all kinda answer.

My offer was rejected. Now what?

Why was it rejected? Have your buyer’s agent do some work and find out. Common theme: Was your offer too low? Or was there another offer that was better? Is the home still for sale? Is it Tuesday?

When will my offer be considered accepted and binding?

As soon as the sellers sign the offer and deliver it back to your buyer’s agent.

My offer was accepted, now what?

Hooray! Now the fun begins. It’s time to turn in your earnest money, set up any and all inspections, and get in contact with your lender to see what they need from you. 

Do I really need to get a home inspection?

I would highly advise getting a home inspection. Think of it this way, you’re about to make one of the most largest financial decisions of your life, and you’re not sure if you want to spend the extra few hundred dollars to make sure it’s a sound investment? 

How long does a home inspection take and do I need to be there?

About 2 hours? Depends on who you hire. It would be great if you could be there for it, so you can see first hand everything your inspector sees. It also gives you time to ask them questions on defects, or maintenance issues. 

What are my fees to pay?

Your lender has fees, ask them about it. There will be title fees (a nominal amount), even though the seller does pay most of them. You will pay for your home inspection, anywhere from $250-$350. A buyer’s agent is free, BUT if they are not free, you should know the price, as it will be in the paperwork you signed with them. 

Can we close early?

Depends. It would depend on your lender, if they can wrap up things quicker. And it would depend on the sellers, if they would agree to it. 

What about utilities?

You will need to get in touch with WPS. You will begin service the day to close. Water transfers with title, so you’re good there. 

What’s a final walk through, and do I have to go?

Typically, it’s done within 3 days of closing. I would say maybe 60% of my buyers do this. And the buyers that can’t/don’t want to do a final walk through, I do the walk through. It’s a time to see the home before you close. Maybe see completed repairs in person. Maybe make sure the seller did indeed leave the washer and dryer like it was stated in the offer. Or maybe to take some measurements. If you can’t or don’t have time for a final walk through, MAKE YOUR AGENT GO FOR YOU. 

It’s closing day, I’m super excited, may I give you a hug?

It’s closing day, I’m super excited for YOU, and I love hugs 🙂

Make sure to visit my buyer’s page for more information, articles, and resources.

Sell Your Home Checklist

Thinking of selling your home? Here’s a basic checklist of what all is involved when you work with me. 

Before your home is listed

  • Hire Me
  • Find a mortgage broker/lender if you are planning to buy another property after you sell your current property. I recommend comparing at least two lenders/mortgage brokers to see who will give you the best terms and rates. I can recommend a few too. This way you know if you can afford to buy another property and, if so, if it makes sense to sell now.
  • Fill out questionnaires:
    1. Top 10
    2. Ready, Set, Sell!
  • Discuss approximate closing costs.
  • Review and sign all listing documents. Have me come and do a staging evaluation. Repair, replace, etc. any items on the staging evaluation checklist before the house goes on the market. Set up a date/time for me to come and take photos.
  • Make an extra set of house keys to go in the lock box for showing access. 
  • Deep clean the house the day before it goes on the market or have someone come and clean for you.
  • Arrange for pets to be out of the home or contained in a crate, if possible, during showings.
  • Hide all valuables including money, passports, jewelry, electronics and prescription medication. Password protect all computers.
  • Discuss with me the possibility of multiple offers, low appraisals, quick closings dates, etc.
  • Discuss showing instructions.
  • Discuss what title company to use.

Once listed

  • Be prepared to be flexible with showing times, and last minute cancellations. 
  • Share your news on social media (if you use social media) – discuss with me what to post and what NOT to post.
  • Keep up to date with your competition. See if they do price drops, get offers…

When you have an accepted offer

  • Get excited!
  • I will send you a receipt showing earnest money has been received. 
  • I will let you know when the home inspection will occur so you can vacate the property. Home inspections generally take about 2 hours. You will be given a copy of the report.
  • If there are inspection issues, be prepared to negotiate. 
  • Hire a mover/rent a van and begin packing. 
  • Call and arrange for WPS utilities to be stopped the day of closing. Water will be automatically transferred with title, so you are good there. 
  • Be responsive with the title company.
  • Once moved out, make sure the property is in broom swept condition or better! Leave garage door openers and any keys on counter. 
  • Close! Closing may be done in person, or remotely. Ask for details. 

Want a FREE home evaluation as to what you home is worth? Contact Green Bay Realtor Elysia Diaz.  

Mortgage Rates Forecast for 2017

I get asked all the time if mortgage rates will increase during the 2017 year. When I answer, “Most likely, yes.” The very next question I get is how much will they raise. 

While, you can’t pinpoint the exact amount mortgages rates will raise (or even lower), the general consensus among the rate gurus (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Mortgage Bankers Association…) all say rates will rise. 

Why, oh why, you ask? 

Well, when unemployment is down, and wage growth is on the rise, that spells out inflation.  While this is great for the economy as a whole, it’s not so great for mortgage rates. 

Rates are currently around 3.52% and are positioned to incline around 4% – depending on which guru you talk to. 

One positive of this is that home buying is still supposed to be strong throughout the 2017 year. Home prices will increase, but not at the pace of the 2015 and 2016 market. 

What should you do if you want to buy a home but are concerned over the rates?

  1. Talk to more than one lender or mortgage banker. 
  2. Build up your credit, as that helps with your personal rate you qualify for.
  3. Put more money down.

Contact me if you want a referral for a mortgage lender, I do know a few of them that are aggressive with rates and fees. They just may be a right fit for you!

 

Home Buyers Checklist in Green Bay, WI

Green Bay Home Buyer's ChecklistA home buying checklist, just for you!

To-Do Now

  • Find and pick your buyer’s agent.
  • Find a mortgage broker/lender. Talk to at least 2 different brokers/lenders to see who will give you the best terms and rates. Need a Referral for a Loan Officer? Contact me via email at info@homesforsalegb.com or call/text 773.218.0502 and I would be happy to refer you to a qualified loan officer.
  • Turn in your pre-approval letter to your buyer’s agent along with your lender’s contact info.
  • Register at my website to get listing alerts for potential homes. https://www.homesforsalegreenbay.com/email-alert-sign-up/
  • Look online, attend open houses – but keep in close contact with your buyer’s agent. If you see a home you like, CALL THEM, do not call the listing agent or another agent because you don’t “want to bother your buyer’s agent.” Your job is to bother them 😉
  • Do not buy anything expensive or open new credit cards. Continue to pay all your bills on time. And please be careful with your finances until we close.
  • Ask your buyer’s agent to send you a copy of the contracts that will be used to purchase your new home. Review them, so when the time comes to put in an offer, you’re more comfortable with the process of putting in an offer. Any questions, ask your buyer’s agent.

To-Do When Offer is Accepted

  • Turn in earnest money. This can be a personal check and mailed in. Ask your buyer’s agent where to send it.
  • Set up your home inspection asap. Notify your buyer’s agent the date/time so they can clear it with the sellers and listing agent. Make sure you can attend the inspection too. Bring your check book so you can pay the home inspector. A typical home inspection takes about 2 hours. For recommendations on a home inspector, go to my resources page: https://www.homesforsalegreenbay.com/resources/
  • Contact your lender to see what they might need from you. Keep your buyer’s agent in the loop of your mortgage process.
  • Gather home insurance quotes. (you should do this too, even if you’re paying in cash)
  • Tell your landlord, or turn in your 60 day notice to vacate – if you are renting.
  • Begin packing. Hire a mover, or hit up your friends. Pizza is a fair trade, right?
  • Call WPS and have utilities to be transferred into your name on closing day. Water is automatic when title transfers, so you’re good there.
  • Gather funds for the down payment and closing costs.
  • Set up the final walk through with your buyer’s agent. This is typically done within 3 days before closing. If you can’t make it, tell your buyer’s agent to go for you.
  • CLOSING DAY! Double check that you have your driver’s license and down payment check with you!
  • Consider having all locks changed and new keys made. I know a reliable and cheap locksmith if you don’t want to buy all new locks. Change garage keypad passcodes too.

Make sure to visit my buyer’s page for more information, articles, and resources.

How much does $300K get you in Green Bay, WI?

I came across this real estate article and found it interesting. It was talking about how much home (square footage wise) you can buy for $300k in polar opposite type cities such as Detroit and LA. So, let’s just take this a step towards the Green Bay, WI way! 

Before I moved to Green Bay, WI, I lived in Chicago, IL. Great city, but an expensive city. We bought a newly rehabbed condo. Everything was 2 years old. It’s a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom 950-ish square foot condo but with NO PARKING. I repeat, NO PARKING. Stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, cherry hardwood floors and an updated bathroom. See the pretty photos below. 

Condo in Chicago versus Home in Green Bay, WI Granite Stainless Steel Kitchen Condo Bedroom Condo Real Estate Condo Bathroom Real Estate Home

We bought that bad boy for $302,250. And at the time, we were told it was a great price. This is before my Realtor days, and I trusted my buyer’s agent on that. 

Want to know what you could buy in Green Bay, WI for just a little more than $302,250? Of course you do!

This is a home I sold this past August. It sold for $315k. It’s 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms with 3087 square feet on a .5 acre lot. This home has hardwood floors and granite as well. It also has a 3.5 stall garage with potential for heating. Take a look at some of the photos:

Move in Ready Homes for Sale in Green Bay, WI Home for Sale in Green Bay, WI - $300,000 Homes Kitchen Home for Sale in Green Bay, WI - $300,000 Homes SunroomHome for Sale in Green Bay, WI - $300,000 Homes Bedroom

Such a difference, right? 

I loved living in Chicago. But, I also love living in Green Bay. Where would you rather live? 

 

Is your Furnace Operating Efficiently?

energy-efficient-furnaceIt’s that time of the year where your furnace works mostly non-stop. But is it operating optimally? Well, with it running up to 15 hours a day, I would certainly hope so!

Here are some top tips to keep you warm all winter long while keeping your furnace running smoothly:

  1. Clean/Replace your furnace filters every 2-3 months or as required. Filters tend not to be super expensive, so this one should be easy!
  2. Open window treatments to let in the sun’s warmth in during the day. Close window treatments at night to slow the loss of heat through the glass. 
  3. If you have a programmable thermostat, then set it to automatically adjust the temperature when you’re not at home. You could see up to 15% in annual savings simply by leaving your home five degrees lower for eight hours per day if you’re at work/school/vacation.
  4. Clean your vents. They get blocked with dust, debris, hair… 
  5. Set your ceiling fans in reverse and turn them on, let them blow the warm air around the room for you. Just make sure to change then to the opposite in the summertime!
  6. Get your furnace tuned up every year! Stay up to date and be proactive, it might save you money in the long run. 

Real Estate Tips, Home Maintenance 

Rockin’ October 2016 Home Sales Lead to a Record Year

October 2016 held some solid home sales just like October 2015 did. The first 10 months of this year are the strongest in housing since 2005! That’s amazing! Also amazing? Home prices in the 10 months of 2016 were up 5.1 percent over the same 10 month period in 2015. 

The best recipe for a strong housing market are low interest rates, a good/strong economy, and continued affordable housing – which currently Wisconsin has all three. Fun fact for today: Unemployment in Wisconsin is at a 4.1% which is pretty close to what economists consider to be full employment. 

To read more about the housing market in Wisconsin, click here

If you are thinking about buying or selling your home, contact me! It may be cold outside, but homes are still selling quickly, and there are still home buyers looking!