Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do I need a real estate agent if we build a home?

Dear Rich -

My wife and I are moving to the Charlotte area from Florida and we would like to build a new home. We have been up once before to check out the area and we would like to plan another trip within the next few weeks to look at neighborhoods. My question to you is if we are looking at buying a new house, is there any benefit to working through a real estate agent? Wouldn't it be more cost effective to work directly with the builder?

Thanks for your help on this--we have always bought pre-existing homes before and I want to make sure we make the right decision.

Bob - (Tampa transplant)

Dear Bob -

It is definitely in your best interest to have an agent when dealing building, or purchasing a new build home from a builder. Many times the buyers think they will get a better deal if they do not bring their own agent. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there are some differences in the transaction, there is much that is the same from buying from another owner: you need someone to look out for your best interests.

When you look at a planned or new development, the builder's salespeople will be very friendly and helpful. But remember, they work for the builder, and are being paid to sell you a house at the highest price they can get from you. A buyer's agent will know what can be negotiated, and give you an objective assessment of the neighborhood, homes, and construction. Additionally, a buyer's agent will be able to make sure the contract includes everything you want, and excludes any surprises. Remember, this is a 150K, 250K, 350K decision. You need professional representation from someone who understands this market, real estate and property contracts! This is an investment--so it is important to protect yourself--use a Buyer's Agent!

Best of luck with your move, and feel free to call my office ( 704-564-0807) and we can set up an appointment to go meet with some builders.

Would you like more information on new home purchases and why buyers should use an outside Realtor/Broker not the sales agent at the builder’s office? Email Rich Ferretti.

Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market? Check out http://www.richferretti.com/

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Charlotte Home Values

Foreclosures and dropping property values are a concern for all home owners. Even in Charlotte's relatively strong real estate market, some areas are doing better than others. The Charlotte Observer today did a story about Mecklenburg Counties current property values. There is good news and bad news. We are fortunate to have a great economy and strong home sales, but that doesn't mean we are immune from foreclosures, which bring neighborhood values down. Time will tell how Charlotte will fare, but for now, we can still be cautiously optimistic. "It is important to know what you can about your neighborhood when you are looking to sell so that you price right," says Rich Ferretti, Charlotte area real estate agent, "and if you are going to buy a home in Charlotte, then use a buyer's agent which knows where the best home values are, and where you will be making the best investment."

To learn more about buying or selling a house in today's market here in Charlotte, please contact Rich Ferretti - Charlotte Area Real Estate Agent.

Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market? Check out www.richferretti.com

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Charlotte Real Estate as an Investment

Dear Rich,
My wife and I are living in Charlotte and we are thinking of buying a second home as an investment property. We understand that this is a good time to get a decent price and it seems that real estate would make a good investment right now. What do you think? What are some things that we should think about before start looking?

Peter W. – Charlotte, NC

Dear Peter,

Thanks for writing in. People talk to me all the time about investing in property in the Charlotte area. And I generally agree, that it is a great idea to think about real estate as an investment—especially in this area.

Charlotte is home to some incredible and value-increasing neighborhoods. Combine that with our strong economy, growing population and geographic location, and Charlotte ranks right up there with places where a second home, rental or investment property would be an excellent financial choice.

There are, like all other cities, locations which I would recommend more highly for different types of investors.

The questions you should ask yourself before starting your search include:

1) What is your budget for the investment property?

2) Do you know where you would like to purchase this property?

3) Are you looking for a single family home, multi-family unit, apartments, townhouses, or vacation property?

4) Will you want, or be able to make updates to the investment property?

5) How long do you expect to own the investment property?

6) Will you want to live in the investment property part of the year?

7) What is the proximity to your current permanent residence?

8) Will you be handling the maintenance and management of the p[roperty yourself, or will you be hiring a management company?

If you would like more information about investing in property in the Charlotte area, please contact my office.

Rich Ferretti – Charlotte Buyer’s Agent


Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market?
Check out www.richferretti.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Selling your home in Charlotte, NC

Dear Rich,

My husband and I are moving to the Ballantyne area from Uptown Charlotte. We know that this is a good time to buy -- and yet we obviously have to sell as well. Our home is in a desirable area and is a great home. But what can I do to get more people in, and have a higher chance of getting the old house sold so that we can seriously start looking at the available homes in Ballantyne.

Michelle in Uptown Charlotte (and hopefully soon... Ballantyne!)

Dear Michelle,

The real estate markets all over the country are going through a transition, and while the Charlotte market is strong, the days of quick sales and bidding wars pushing the price way up have past. If we look at thing realistically, homes are not selling as quickly as they have in recent years - good news for buyers (like you!) but bad news for sellers (like you!). But ultimately, homes still sell. Some go fast, and many will sell at prices that the sellers are happy with. There are of course ways you can give your house the best chance possible to sell quickly and close to your asking price. Here are a few ideas:

1) Clean and De-clutter. Less clutter in your home makes it look bigger, and cleaner. Go through your house and take away the garbage, junk and clutter--then go back through and put your off-season clothes in storage, (to make the closets look neat and big), and even consider removing some furniture if it is unnecessary.

2) Price it right. A home that is priced well above the neighborhood or above similar style and size homes will not sell quickly--maybe not at all! Your agent will work with you to get comparables and price the home right the first time.

3) Use a great real estate agent. A good real estate agent or broker can make all the difference in the world when we are in a "buyer's market." Hire an agent who knows the market, your area, and how to best advertise your property. It is perfectly acceptable to interview real estate agents and ask for references.

4) Fix it up! Interested buyers will ask for a home inspection. You’ll save time by getting a preliminary home inspection done and making repairs before your house goes on the market.

5) Be open to constructive criticism. Get feedback from potential buyers after a showing or open house. Accept negative comments openly, and as ideas for making your house more attractive at the next showing.

Best of luck finding a new home in the Ballantyne area, please do let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rich Ferretti

Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market? Check out www.richferretti.com

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Charlotte Realty: All doom and gloom or is there a silver lining?

If you read the Charlotte Observer today - you may think the Charlotte real estate market is all "doom and gloom." And while we are experiencing a higher-than-usual amount of foreclosures, I am here to tell you that Charlotte has a comparatively strong real estate market.

Essentially, like all over the country, people got into mortgage situations that they could not handle. For whatever reasons: bad decisions, mortgage brokers pushing adjustable rates, the economy, it has all come to a head over the last few months, and Charlotte is not immune to that.

Now, despite the national, (and growing global) problems with the real estate markets, Charlotte has in fact, remained strong--even grown, but that doesn't mean that there aren't a higher percentage of foreclosures than we are accustomed, or comfortable with.

So what does this mean for you? If you are looking at moving to Charlotte within the next 6 months to a year, it means you should get your house ready, and on the market ASAP. Other markets are having record-long selling cycles, and you need the time to sell yours. You should think long and hard before buying a new home here before your current house is sold. You may get caught with 2 mortgages, and I believe this is the case for a high percentage of the foreclosures here in Charlotte.

Now, if you are nearing a foreclosure situation right now, do what you can to avoid missing payments. Once you have missed several mortgage payments in a row, it will become increasingly difficult to refinance. Look at ways to cut expenses, or borrow money until you can refinance. If the house you are in is not one that you can continue to pay for, look to sell as soon as possible - even if it is at a loss. This will sting in the short-run, but is better than being without a house and having to go through bankrupsy. Cut your losses before things get worse.

Now, If you are in a good financial situation, this is a perfect market for considering investment property, or for getting a good deal on a new home. Foreclosures are not only often a great bargain, but so are the other homes in the Charlotte market. Historically Charlotte has drawn newcomers because of our healthy economy and good housing prices, and that is still true. Additionally, we are in a strong buyer's market. If you can and want to buy - this is the time!

I would be happy to discuss the Charlotte real estate market and if now is a good time to buy for you - please comment below.

- Rich Ferretti

Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market? Check out www.richferretti.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Extra Home Buying Services

Dear Rich,

My wife and I are moving to Charlotte from Florida this Fall to be closer to our 5 grandchildren. We are looking for a newer home on Lake Wylie, (waterfront) and at least 4,000 square feet. Our budget is in the 2M+ range. Are there any special services available for retirees or people buying from out of town? We have a limited amount of time and need to find something quickly--but we also gave a situation that requires discretion... Your counsel on this is appreciated.

Terry - Tampa, FL

Dear Terry,

Thank you for contacting me and I hope that I can be assistance in finding you your dream home on Lake Wylie, here in Charlotte. I would be happy to discuss with you your particular situation at any time, (feel free to contact me at 704-564-0807). However, I can tell you that through Southern Winds Realty, your price range qualifies you for some exclusive extra services called the Southern Winds Concierge TM. This service is about focusing on the individual throughout the home-buying process. Southern Winds offers this service because we have the knowledge and insight into the luxury home industry, and we wish you to have the best possible experience--and that includes accommodating you and your right to privacy throughout this transaction.

The Concierge is a unique lifestyle Real Estate service for our luxury consumers ($500,000 and above) that blends three vital ingredients: investment, confidentiality and lifestyle decisions.

As a valued client to this service, the benefits listed below are complimentary:

1) Investment: Estate Search through our sample inventory or conduct your own search through our on-line database. Additionally our demographic analysis of the area is vital to see future growth or understanding your annual appreciation rate. Our team is fully trained on assisting with alternative financing such as wealth management or private banking with companies like Wachovia IJL.

2) Lifestyle Decisions: Whether it's calculating the amount of commute time to work, activities for the children or retail availability, understanding your immediate surroundings can have a negative or positive affect on your home. Our goal is to listen and recommend positive lifestyle decisions.

3) Confidentiality/Privacy: Your privacy is important to us. We understand that there is difficulty of accommodating both personal privacy interests and the public interest of transparent government. As a result, our attorneys have designed a trust document that will hold Real Estate title, thus giving our clients total privacy from prying eyes. Southern Winds Concierge TM and our attorneys will coordinate with your lender or ours to install the trust and record it properly.

We look forward to working with you and introducing you to our special luxury client concierge service.

-Rich Ferretti

Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market? Check out http://www.richferretti.com/

Sunday, April 6, 2008

When is it a good idea to refinance?

Dear Rich,

We are in an ajustable rate mortgage and we would like to refinance our home in Charlotte. Do you think this is a good time?

Kevin R. - Charlotte, NC

Dear Kevin,

If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), like many people right now, refinancing may be a good option. With the volatile market, there is a good chance that your rates will rise. So to avoid paying more every month -- or you want the security of knowing exactly how much payments will be in the future, this may be a good time to consider refinancing to a fixed-rate mortgage. Rates are generally good right now and if you have good credit, then this is at least worth investigating.

If your credit is poor, then I recommend working at repairing that for the next several months (or longer...) before you try to refinance. Not only will you have a better chance of getting the mortgage, but the rates will be lower.

Remember, you will need to consider the cost of refinancing into your decision, including the application fees, the closing costs, and possibly prepayment penalties. After that, you will need to measure out against how much longer you continue to live in your present home here in Charlotte.

In short, the answer is that this is a good time in general to consider refinancing, especially if you are in an adjustable rate mortgage. See your mortgage broker to get a quote, or contact me, and I can recommend someone in the Charlotte area.

Best of luck,
Rich Ferretti

Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market? Check out www.richferretti.com

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Charlotte North Carolina Real Estate Professional. Visit our site www.RichFerretti.com