Friday, August 28, 2015

Almost Fall Time and my property hasn't sold..WHY?




If the listing for your home hasn’t been attracting buyers for a few weeks in a fast-paced real estate market, or for a few months in a slower one, you certainly have good reason to be worried.


A home doesn’t sell due to a variety of factors, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t.
Let’s start with the things you can control, which also happen to be the most important elements of any home’s appeal to buyers: price and condition.

Price Your Home Right, From the Start
As I tell my clients in the beginning, the correct price for your home is based on a thorough comparative market analysis (CMA). The reason it’s so important to price your home appropriately from the beginning is that a home that’s priced too high will languish on the market without any offers.
Even if you lower the price later, you will have lost the momentum of the initial listing period and buyers will assume there’s something wrong with the home. Eventually you may sell it, but more than likely the final sales price will be lower than your correct initial price would have been. Price your home too low and you have lost out on potential profit. Buyers today don’t care what you paid for your house when you bought it. They don’t care if you make a healthy profit when you sell. They only care about paying a fair price in today’s market.
Your price should be based on current local market conditions, not on what you need to pay off your mortgage, what your neighbor sold her place for a year ago, nor your guesstimate of what your home is worth. The comparative market analysis (CMA) will look at recent sales, homes that didn’t sell and were pulled off the market, and current listings to guide your price decision. If there aren’t any buyers making offers on your property, it might be time to lower your asking price.

Condition of Your Home- DeClutter and Curb Appeal
Regardless of your local market conditions, buyers have high expectations for your home, beginning with the exterior. While you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money, you do need to raise the level of your home’s curb appeal with some sweat equity. Pull weeds, trim the grass, plant a few flowers and perhaps paint your front door to make sure prospective buyers don’t decide to drive away.
Inside, your home needs to be consistently clean, neat, decluttered and depersonalized so that buyers can visualize themselves living there. Your Broker should be able to suggest ways to prepare your home for a sale, which, by the way, is nothing like the way you live in it. Your kitchen counters should be cleared, your bed always made and your dishes always put away in case a buyer wants to visit.

Marketing Your Home
When you choose a REALTOR® to list your home, make sure you ask about photos and a marketing plan. 98% of buyers look online first at properties so it’s crucial that your home has multiple professional-quality photos that make it look as enticing as possible, and that your home appears on multiple websites so buyers can see it. A listing without a photo or with one badly lit photo isn’t likely to generate many offers.

 Make Your Home Available
One of the more challenging aspects of listing your home for sale is that you must make it available to buyers as easily as possible. Buyers prefer to see a home without the owner there, so make sure there’s a lockbox at your property and that you allow nearly unlimited access to prospective buyers.
 Overcome Challenges
Sometimes market conditions or a specific flaw in your home make it tougher to sell as quickly as you would like. I can help you evaluate the market and let you know if you need to offer particular incentives, such as closing-cost help. If your home has an awkward floorplan or is located on a busy street, allow me the opportunity to come up with ways to emphasize its positive aspects and deemphasize any negative aspects, such as by staging the backyard or highlighting the renovated kitchen.
Ron Goldstein,MBA
Certified Luxury Broker@Berkshire Hathaway Chicago & St. Petersburg 
(o)312-264-5846 (c)312-771-7190 (f)312-264-5746
Offices in Chicago and St. Petersburg

2014 BHHS President's Circle - Top 4% in Nation

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Feng shui secrets to sell your home


Image result for feng shui pictures of plants and water

Trying to sell a house this year? Consider using feng shui.
The practice, which originated in China, is a very down-to-earth analysis of what does (and doesn't) make your home appealing and inviting, says Terah Kathryn Collins, author of "The Western Guide to Feng Shui" and founder of the Western School of Feng Shui.
"I think the whole popular notion of staging is all contained within the practice of feng shui," she says.
Everything we associate with staging -- from clearing the clutter to making the place smell good to sprucing up the entryway -- are all feng shui strategies, she says.
But feng shui experts are the first to admit that it, alone, won't sell your house, says David Daniel Kennedy, a feng shui practitioner and author of several books on the topic, including "Feng Shui for Dummies."
First, you want to have "the right price, the right agent and the right marketing plan," he says.
"Those are the three basics that have to be right or feng shui is a nonstarter," Kennedy says. Once you have that, then you can put some feng shui techniques to work -- to amp up your chances of a sale, he says.

Arrange rooms to 'welcome' visitors

Ever walk into a party where all the guests have their backs to you? That's what it's like when you walk into a room and all you can see is the back of the furniture, says Collins.
And that was one of the big problems with a $5 million home she'd been hired to consult on prior to the sale. "There was not a lot of intimacy in this house," she recalls.
She turned the furniture so that it faced the entry ways, and "it made all the difference in the world," says Collins.
Another problem in the house? Chairs were isolated -- set down as one-offs. "Where do you sit and have a conversation in this house?"
So Collins grouped them in pairs. And she placed them diagonally -- often sharing a table -- to create spaces where people could sit and talk.
You want buyers to walk in and feel like they instantly belong, says Jayme Barrett, author of "Feng Shui Your Life." That means you don't want them to walk into your living room "and see the back of a sofa," she says.
That arrangement "creates an obstacle," she says. "And you want the positive energy" -- and the buyers themselves -- to be able to move freely through the home, she says.

Create a good traffic flow

Good traffic flow isn't just for parties. Buyers want that in their everyday lives, too.
With one house, Collins "came around a corner and almost ran into a chair," she recalls. "That's a big no-no."
The rule: "You don't want anything that's going to keep people from feeling that they can move through an area."
So look at the room in terms of creating easy-to-navigate, open pathways. You want to represent a home that makes potential buyers feel comfortable -- not one that feels cramped or claustrophobic.
And if that means getting rid of some of the pieces, that's OK, too, Collins says.
"The way space is arranged has such power over people," she says.

Watch the subliminal messages

The painting over the bed in one client's master bedroom? A three-ring circus.
While it was colorful, the underlying message was "stress," Collins says.
"It might have been fine in a den, but it's not fine in a bedroom," she says. Instead, create an atmosphere that's calm, restful and restorative, she says.
With that in mind, the homeowner selected another piece of art to hang over the bed -- "a beautiful landscape," Collins says.
"Nature scenes are soothing and will relax the buyers," Barrett says.
Make sure to also put away those personal family photos and religious and spiritual icons, says Barrett.
"You want to make your home as welcoming as possible to potential buyers ... you don't want your spiritual preferences, which may be different from theirs, to sway them in any way," Collins says.
"It's essential for the buyers to be able to envision their family and furniture in the home so keep the decor neutral," she says.
"Nature scenes are soothing and will relax the buyers," Barrett says.
Feng shui -- and home marketing -- are all about making a good first impression, says Collins. "You want to create that friendly, positive first impression."

Use plants and water to your advantage

Image result for feng shui pictures of plants and water

Real estate agents will tell you to close toilet lids because no buyer wants to look into your commode.
Feng shui philosophy advocates the same thing for a different reason.
"Water represents money and the toilet is the one place where water/money escapes," Barrett says.
Instead, "You can place a small tabletop water fountain either at the entrance or in the back left corner of the home, which is the wealth corner," she says. "Moving water circulates prosperity energy throughout the home."
Another welcoming touch: "Place thriving plants and flowers in the corners of the room," Barrett says. That will "enliven the home and create harmony."

Don't get emotionally attached to 'your' price

Feng shui alters the way you interact in your environment -- so you are at least half of the equation, Kennedy says. One of the biggest roadblocks he sees is an emotional attachment to a particular price.
"People are valuing the home based on an internal value rather than the market," he says.
That set-in-stone price can be based on anything from what the sellers need to zero out the mortgage(s), to what they "need" to buy their next home -- or even how much they want in the bank for retirement, he says.
Regardless, if you stubbornly hold on to $350,000 when the market is screaming $300,000, it won't sell, Kennedy says. And no amount of feng shui tactics will fix that.
His go-to fix is something called the "emotional freedom technique." It's a combination of memory, meditation and tapping specific acupressure points that you can use to give yourself an "attitude adjustment," Kennedy says. "Think of it as a change for your 'internal' feng shui."

Be sure you're ready to let go

If you haven't let go of the house, that's a big roadblock to a sale, Kennedy says.
If the house isn't moving, it could be a red flag that you, or other family members, don't really want to move. So it's smart to rethink your options. Don't let yourself be fast-talked into something you don't want, or caught up in artificial "deadlines." Instead, focus on what you and your family truly want.
If you're set on leaving, find a way of saying goodbye and letting go, says Kennedy. And that's no mean feat. "Your basic sense of security is still getting rattled in a big way."
Some strategies:
  • Walk room by room through the house and mentally say "thank you" for the good -- and bad -- times you had there, says Collins.
  • Picture yourself holding the house, presenting it as a gift to the next owner, Kennedy says.
  • Start packing. "It starts getting the energy moving" and releases "your hold on the house," Kennedy says. Plus, packing away your personal items is a good way to lose the "It's my house, not yours" vibe.
  • Image result for feng shui pictures of plants and water
  • --
    Ron Goldstein,MBA
    Certified Luxury Broker@Berkshire Hathaway Chicago & St. Petersburg 
    (o)312-264-5846 (c)312-771-7190 (f)312-264-5746

    Offices in Chicago and St. Petersburg

    2014 BHHS President's Circle - Top 4% in Nation


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Maximizing your credit scores and Key credit mistakes to avoid

Your credit score is important, often affecting areas of your life that range from where you live to how much you pay for auto insurance. More importantly, it usually determines whether or not you’re approved for credit, and could cost or save you thousands of dollars, as it’s often used to figure out how much you’ll pay in interest.
While building a great credit score is probably easier than you expect, it’s unfortunately also a lot easier to kill your credit health than it is to improve it. Consider your payment history for a moment – even if you made 50 consecutive payments on time, a single late payment could drop your score drastically and affect your credit health for years to come.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s go over a few key credit mistakes to avoid and some tips for keeping your credit in tiptop shape:

1. Maxing Out Credit Cards
Most people know that maxing out their credit cards isn’t the best for their overall finances because, well, it involves spending a lot of money. However, potential lenders also care about how much you’re charging to your card, as the more you spend, the more likely you’ll be unable to repay that debt. For this reason, your credit card utilization rate, calculated by dividing your total credit card balances by your total credit limits, typically has a high impact on your score.
Instead … try keeping your utilization rate between 1 and 20 percent. This will show lenders that you’re using credit, but don’t rely on it.
In order to lower your credit utilization, do whatever you can to keep your balances low. If this simply involves spending less money on frivolous purchases, great! Cutting out those impulse buys will simultaneously save you money and lower your utilization rate. However, if you’re using your cards to pay for purchases you really need and are still using up too much of your credit limit, try making payments more than once a month. Alternatively, you can pay for some of those necessities with cash. Lastly, if you haven’t received a credit limit increase in a while and have a good history with your creditor, it doesn’t hurt to proactively request an increase. Just be sure to ask whether this will result in a hard inquiry, so you can make an informed decision.

2. Making Late Payments
We touched on this earlier, but this factor is so important that we’ll bring it up again: Your on-time payment percentage could make or break your score. Lenders really want to see that you’re a reliable borrower who will repay debts in a timely manner. Consider this Credit Karma analysis: While consumers in the “excellent” scoring range (750 or higher) typically pay their bills on time 99.9 percent of the time, even the average consumer who falls into the “fair” range (640 to 699) has a respectable 99 percent on-time payment record. The numbers paint a stark picture – paying most of your bills on time isn’t good enough – just one or two late payments could have a drastic effect on your score.
Instead … get those payments in on time as often as you can. If you’re the forgetful type, set up a calendar reminder. Personally, I like to pay my bills whenever I get paid (twice a month). That way, I get payments in on a regular basis and know I have the money to back them up.

3. Applying For Tons of Credit
Simply put, racking up handfuls of hard inquiries by applying for lots of credit could make you look desperate for credit – a trait frowned upon by potential lenders. While one or two hard inquiries each year may not affect your score by much, a ton of hard inquiries can do some significant damage.
Instead … limit your applications, and try only applying for credit that you need. If you’re looking for the best auto or home loan rate, shop around over a short period of time – within 14 to 45 days. By applying for the same type of credit line each time during that period, some scoring models will recognize that you’re rate shopping and may combine those hard inquiries into just one.

4. Not Monitoring Your Credit
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to keep an eye on your credit – there wouldn’t be any data breaches to worry about, and you could trust all the lenders and bureaus to keep your information accurate. Sadly, this simply isn’t the case. With the Federal Trade Commission reporting that 1 in 5 consumers have errors on at least one of their three major credit reports, it’s clear that one of the biggest mistakes you can make is avoiding checking your credit regularly.
Instead … perform regular checkups on your credit (and finances in general). allows you to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year and is a great resource to take advantage of. In addition, Credit Karma, Credit Sesame and Quizzle all allow you to regularly check your credit score for free. By using these educational sites to monitor your credit regularly, you can ensure your information remains error-free and your credit score accurately represents you.

5) Be careful when closing unused credit cards: Closing credit cards that you no longer use could hurt your credit score. That’s because your score rises when you use a lower percentage of your available credit. Closing unused cards, though, could drop this percentage. Here’s an example: You have five credit cards each with a credit limit of $2,000 for a total of $10,000 in available credit. Say you owe a total of $3,000 in credit-card debt, but two of your cards have no balance on them at all. If you close those two cards, you take away $2,000 worth of available credit. It looks worse to lenders for you to have $3,000 of credit-card debt on $8,000 worth of available credit than it does for you to have that same $3,000 of debt on a more generous $10,000 worth of available credit. The lesson here? Don’t close those unused credit cards.
The Bottom Line
You’ve worked hard to build a respectable credit score – the last thing you’d want is for a few mistakes to ruin your history for years to come. As you make financial decisions on a daily basis, keep these mistakes in mind, and do your best to avoid them. You won’t regret it!

Ron Goldstein,MBA
Certified Luxury Broker@Berkshire Hathaway Chicago & St. Petersburg 
(o)312-264-5846 (c)312-771-7190 (f)312-264-5746

Offices in Chicago and St. Petersburg

2014 BHHS President's Circle - Top 4% in Nation

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mortgage Process DeMystified!

Some of my clients/friends are concerned about that daunting step in buying a new home know as the ...Mortgage process..Here's a great infographic simplifying the process. Have a great Monday!
‪#‎chicagoluxuryrealty‬ ‪#‎stpeteluxuryrealty‬ ‪#‎sarasotafloridaluxuryrealty‬

Monday, August 3, 2015

Carpe Diem- Thought leadership & August Real Estate Newsletter from your trusted advisor

Click here to view online with images.

August 2015

Carpe Diem!
My motto in life and business. As an exclusive senior broker representing buyers, sellers, investors, developers, and financial institutions, I am dedicated to providing high quality service in the Chicago suburbs and city as well as exposure on a global level for your property. I possess an intimate knowledge of the local market and am a Luxury Collection™ Specialist in both residential and commercial properties.
2014 Berkshire Hathaway President Circle-Top 4% in nation
Latest Zillow review!
*****Highly likely to recommend
Probably  the best I have seen in marketing a property and keeping it in front of the public. Uses every avenue especially digital media right down to holding open houses. A pro in presenting the facts, even when you don't agree. However he is usually accurate in his market knowledge. He is one of the few brokers that I feel is on my side.
Ron Goldstein
Luxury Broker Associate   |   3127717190
Visit me on FacebookVisit me on TwitterVisit me on LinkedInVisit me on YouTubeVisit me on Instagram

Consider a Professional Stager
“You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”
A statement that rings true in real estate. Buyers are quick to jump to conclusions about a home after a single glance. That’s why more sellers are turning toward professional home stagers to prepare for a sale.
A lot of what staging accomplishes occurs on a subconscious level—creating a positive link between your house and the prospective buyer. It’s easy enough to repaint after moving in, but first impressions are difficult to undo.
With the vast majority of buyers searching first on the Internet for homes, photos and virtual tours are extremely important in the selection process. Staging, as a priority instead of as a last resort, will give sellers key advantages.
A professional stager will:
Help eliminate clutter: That means picking up shoes from the hallway, removing papers from tables and furniture and even taking down personal items that add to the unnecessary clutter such as diplomas, pictures and trophies.
Consider buyer demographics and buying psychology: They use design elements in planning out the rooms, space and lighting. They understand traffic patterns to highlight positive attributes of a home while downplaying its negative features. They know not to overwhelm potential buyers with wild colors and furniture, even if you think it makes your home “special.”
Remember, making your home look like a model rather than lived-in can make all the difference in selling a home.
Working Kitchens Catch the Eye
of Aspiring Chefs
Cooking show ratings are at an all-time high as viewers are enamored with the idea of being culinary masters. Home sellers are upgrading to professional-style kitchens to capitalize on the craze.
·         One of the easiest steps appealing to today’s tastes is adding stainless steel appliances and sinks. They resist scratches and are easy to maintain.
·         Cast iron is another attractive choice for sinks, as it adds color and cast irons sinks are usually large enough for pots and pans.
·         Another popular amenity is a pot filler. It serves as an extendible faucet that can be installed next to your stovetop or sink for easy water access.
·         Granite and quartz countertops provide a proper working space and cool surfaces that are attractive, durable and popular.
·         Moveable cutting boards, rinsing baskets and various trays aren’t too expensive and will help open the eyes of potential buyers.
Take advantage of the gourmet explosion with kitchen upgrades that appeal to the home chef. Your effort and investment may yield some tasty results.
Facts About Radon and your Home
You can’t see, smell or taste radon, yet it can make you sick. It is believed that radon is a contributing factor in lung cancer in the United States. So what exactly is radon? Here are some quick facts:
·         Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water.
·         It can penetrate the air in your home through cracks in the foundation.
·         It can be discovered in all parts of the country and can cause a dangerous high indoor radon level in any home.
·         According to the Environmental Protection Agency, roughly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.
While it’s not necessarily a requirement, it’s a good idea to ask for a Radon Inspection Contingency. It can potentially initiate a “short-term” test done on any home to make sure the lowest levels of radon of the home are below 4.0 pCi/L—a target set by Congress for indoor air quality. The EPA enforces that mandate.
Buyers and sellers should be smart about radon. Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant or with a radon-reducing system installed.
Sellers should test for radon before they put their homes on the market. This can save valuable time if you have all the paperwork and testing data to show prospective buyers.
Time for an Appraisal?
It’s important that your real estate agent develop a comparable market analysis to help in determining the right selling price for your home. If your property isn’t attracting serious shoppers, you may want to invest in an appraiser for a second pricing opinion. They perform their service for a fee rather than a commission—a better chance for a more unbiased result.
It provides sellers and buyers with a “fair market value” and also allows a lender to know how much they can safely lend. It will provide a comparison of your house to comparable properties in the neighborhood. A home appraisal can range in length from two pages to more than 100 and can include:
·         Details about the house.
·         Description of the neighborhood.
·         Side-by-side comparisons.
·         Evaluation of the area’s real estate market.
·         Notations of major problems with the property that will affect its value.
·         Estimate of the expected time to sell the property.
Here are some tips for both sellers and buyers seeking to ensure their transactions are completed in a timely manner:
·         Make sure the lender hires a qualified appraiser (such as a designated SRA, SRPA or MAI member of the Appraisal Institute). The lowest-priced appraiser does not necessarily equate with the most qualified.
·         Accompany the appraiser during the inspection of the property, if possible. The more active you are, the more you will understand it and be able to catch any errors.
·         Request a copy of the appraisal report from the lender. Federal law requires that you receive a copy of the appraisal within 30 days.
·         Appeal the appraisal, if appropriate. Market conditions do change, especially in these economic times. If you feel that new information may affect the appraisal, be sure to speak up.
·         Have your agent ask the lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified and designated appraiser.
·         File any legitimate complaints with appropriate state board or professional appraisal organizations.
Remember, you needn’t agree with the outcome of an appraisal. You and your agent can work with the figures and determine if you should change the sale price. A home appraisal—no matter how scientific—is still an opinion that can be questioned.

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