Equity Stripping Scams

February 8th, 2014

With the rise of foreclosures in the past decade it’s important as a home owner to be aware of equity stripping scams that happen. These scammers take advantage of homeowners that are having trouble making their mortgage payments with promises to save their house from foreclosure, while allowing the homeowner to remain in the house, or even giving the homeowner cash to pay other bills they are behind on.

There are no known statistics on how many people are affected nationwide, it’s an issue that has very little legal recourse, so you’ll want to know what to look out for.

Many of these scammers will offer to buy your home for what you own on it, allow you to rent the home from them until you get back on your feet, and then ‘they will sell it back to you’. All in the name of helping you out and saving your credit!

If you find yourself in tight financial times, you may be targeted by these scammers that mine information from public records. They use predatory advertising techniques with wording such as;

“Bills keeping you up at night?”
“Trouble making your mortgage? Get help and avoid foreclosure!”
“Let us help you get out of debt.”

Many of these scammers pose as legit lenders, and may send mailings to your home with fake approval amounts, or borrowing offers, all in the name of helping you out. The thing is they aren’t looking to help; they are looking to make money and take your equity.

Key’s to making sure your lender is legit;

  1. Don’t fall for false promises. If you lender guarantee’s that they can “save your credit”, or “buy your house if something happens”, turn and head for the door.
  2. Don’t sign documents you don’t understand. Never sign a document without fully reading it, even if the lender is pushing you to sign right away, take it home, read it through and consult a lawyer if it doesn’t make sense to you.
  3. Reach out to the Deja Lett Team so that we can talk to you about options and get you in touch with one of our preferred lenders if you are falling behind.

Have you ever been contacted by this type of lender? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Basic Real Estate Terms Made Easy – Part Two

January 29th, 2014

Multi-unitIt’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No, It’s just a Multi-Unit house by a different name!

While looking through listings you’ll find many words that consumers consider interchangeable: Condo’s, Co-op’s, Townhouses, Multi-Units, Two-Family, Duplexes, etc. The thing is, these words aren’t truly interchangeable in real estate; each has its own definition when it comes to buying real estate.

A cooperative or co-op is a type of multiple ownership in which the residents of a multiunit housing complex own shares in the cooperative corporation that owns the property, giving each resident the right to occupy a specific apartment or unit. In essence you own a share of the property, but not your specific unit.

A condominium is ownership in real property where all of the owners own the property, common areas and buildings together, with the exception of the interior of the unit to which they have title. Often mistakenly referred to as a type of construction or development, it actually refers to the type of ownership.

A condominium hotel is a condominium project that has rental or registration desks, short-term occupancy, food and telephone services, and daily cleaning services and that is operated as a commercial hotel even though the units are individually owned. These are often found in resort areas like Hawaii and not generally found here in Maine.

A Multidwelling unit is a property that provides separate housing units for more than one family, although they secure only a single mortgage. This is also known as a duplex in some regards, where one owner owns all the housing units in the building.

In this type of housing common areas are owned (or managed) by a planned unit development (PUD) or condominium homeowners’ association (or a cooperative project’s cooperative corporation), meaning that all of the unit owners share in the common expenses of their operation and maintenance. Common areas can include swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreational facilities, as well as common corridors of buildings, parking areas, means of ingress and egress, etc.

When thinking about a multidwelling property it is important to take into account any additional fees that these associations will charge on top of your mortgage.

Have questions? Reach out to the Deja Lett Team today!

Staging Your Home For Sale

January 22nd, 2014
Photo Courtesy of HomeStagingAtlanta on Flickr

Photo Courtesy of HomeStagingAtlanta on Flickr

Last week we talked about separating emotion from the real estate sales process. This is an important aspect when it comes to staging your home. You’ve designed it to be just so and you’ve been happy with the layout of your furniture and belongings, but you aren’t selling it to yourself so you may need to make some changes in order for potential buyers to see themselves living in their future home!

Homebuyers are attracted to clean and spacious houses with curb appeal. Before listing your home you’ll want to do a deep clean, staging and curb appeal check.

While doing your deep clean you’ll want to scrub your home from top to bottom;

• Remove ALL clutter from countertops, tables and rooms.
• Pack away or discard any magazines or papers that are normally on the coffee table or your desk.
• Remove excess pictures. If you have a shelf with multiple pictures, pick your favorite and pack away the rest.
• Have all carpets steam cleaned.
• Dust and scrub everything, clean from baseboards to cobwebs. The cleaner the house the brighter it will be and the better it will smell!
• Fill any nail holes or cracks and paint them.

While you can’t change the square footage of your home there are staging techniques you can use to make it more spacious;

• Consider renting a storage unit and packing items you don’t use on a daily basis, your holiday dishes, winter clothes, out of season athletic equipment, collections (if you have a lot of something from books to china dolls – downsize the collection and put some away).
• Look through your closets and pack away or donate the items your never use. Closet space is always a selling point for buyers.
• Mirrors are also a great way to make rooms look larger. Reposition the ones you have or invest a little money in decorative mirrors for entries and main living areas.
• Take a good look at the layout of your furniture; do you tend to walk around a specific item? Consider moving it or putting it in storage. Do you have lots of pieces in one room? Consider moving items to new areas.

Curb appeal is what will turn “drive-by” traffic into “stop-by” traffic.

• Make sure you keep the landscaping in tip-top shape.
• Trim the trees and shrubbery.
• Plant flowers.
• Remove all debris and clutter from your yard.
• Clean your front entrance area; can you tell which entrance is the main entrance? Is the house number displayed?
• Make sure your roof is in good condition.
• Touch up exterior paint.
• Make sure you have no broken windows or damaged weather-stripping.

By taking emotion out of the staging process and looking at your home from a buyers perspective you could potentially realize a quicker sale and better return!

Don’t forget you can contact the Deja Lett Team for a FREE home value analysis.

So You Think You’re Ready to Sell Your Home?

January 17th, 2014

The time is has come; you’ve outgrown the home that you’ve loved, you need to relocate for a new job, or you need to downsize. Whatever the reason for selling your home, there are steps that can help make the process less stressful.

The most important aspect of selling your home is to be unemotional; we know that your house has been your home and there IS emotion involved but now that you’ve decided to sell it, you need to separate the emotional aspect from the business transaction. By separating emotion from the decisions, you’ll be able to make the changes you may need to, in order to get a higher sales price.

Another piece to consider is the price. Last week we talked about the difference between Appraised Value and Assessed Value.  You’ll want to make sure that the price you’re asking falls into the appraised value range, and price it at the true market value, not just what you think its worth. If you choose to work with the Deja Lett Team, we will pull records of homes in the area that have sold recently so that we can access what the market conditions truly are for your home. This process is comparing Apples to Apples; we will find homes with the same square footage and amenities as your home and price it accordingly.

The final aspect you’ll want to consider is your time-frame for the move. Do you need to relocate to a new city ASAP for a job, or do you have some time before your move? These factors will help determine how the home is marketed and how often it is shown. If you need to sell ASAP then you’ll have to be more accommodating to showings and open houses, if not then you can set a different expectation with your agent on days / times / and notification periods needed before a showing.

Being realistic in your expectations and your goals will make the process less stressful and you’ll be able to enjoy the process of shopping for your next home.

Next week we will talk about the changes you may need to make and staging to get your asking price.

 Don’t forget you can contact the Deja Lett Team for a FREE home value analysis.

Basic Real Estate Terms Made Easy – Part One

January 9th, 2014

Real Estate Terms Buying or selling a home will bring you into another world of acronyms and terms you may not hear on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis! We want to make sure you understand some of the basic definitions and terms that you might hear during the process. In this multi-part series we break them down for you!

What’s the difference between an Appraisal and an Assessment?

An Appraisal is a written justification of the price paid for a property, based on analysis of comparable sales of similar homes nearby. The appraisal process is done by a qualified appraiser (they could be independent or employed by a mortgage lender), who has the education, experience and training to know the local market.

An Assessment is the act of placing a value on your property for taxation purposes. This assessment is completed by the public official (employed by the government), who determines how much your property is worth from a government standpoint.

What’s the difference between an Assessed Value and an Appraised Value?

Assessed Value is the valuation placed on a property by a public tax assessor for taxation purposes; it could be much less than the selling price or appraised value depending on the last time the city or town did a reassessment.

Appraised Value is an opinion of a property’s fair market value, based on an appraiser’s knowledge, experience and analysis of the property. This is also based on the most recent sales price and may change when a house sells. In most cases the appraised value will be higher than the assessed value.

Have questions on what your home is worth? Reach out to the Deja Lett Team for a FREE Comparative Analysis of home’s in your area. 

Historic Tours & Museums

January 3rd, 2014

Saco Old Orchard Beach OOB Maine

Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Biddeford are home to some amazing historic buildings, and has a rich history dating back to the 1700’s.

If you are new to the area or looking to relocate to the Greater Portland area don’t miss out on these amazing historic tours and museums in Southern Maine.

The Saco Historic District is approximately one half mile from the Saco Museum to Saco Island. Descriptions of the buildings can be found here. You can also take a self guided walking tour offered by the City of Saco.

Harmon Museum is located in Old Orchard Beach and features historical artifacts back to the 17th century. This isn’t a stuffy old museum; it is a fun and educating experience. They also have a gift shop where you can pick up some mementos to bring home with you!

Biddeford Mills Museum offers historic tours in season. Teaching our current generations about the rich history of millworkers in Biddeford; from the high being a booming textile town to the lows of economic shifts that left the buildings mostly empty to the revitalization that has occurred in present time.

Would you prefer a self guided cycle tour? Explore Maine offers a self guided 27 mile or 48 mile ride through the beaches and historic landmarks of Southern Maine.

How about a Civil War History of Maine from Private John W. Haley? Saco Museum offers an exhibit of his journals and letters to and from the front line. See how local residents and this local hero experienced the war.

Already in love with Southern Maine?

Why not contact the Deja Lett Team to see how we can help you find your dream home in 2014! With knowledgeable brokers and realtors specializing in buying and selling homes in this picture perfect area, we can help you discover your ideal home and the history that goes with it.

Saco Maine Home for Sale. Just Listed- 4 Buckthorn Circle

January 3rd, 2014

Just Listed this immaculate Saco Maine Home for Sale features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, Open Concept living that is  great for entertaining,   Built in 2004 and only one owner.  For more information or photos of this Saco Maine Home located in a desirable neighborhood, Click on the photo!

 IMG_00564 Buckthorn Circle, Saco,Maine

Year to date there have been 176 Single Family Homes and 39 Condo Sold in the Saco Maine area.  For the most recent Market Trends in Saco Maine, click here.

There are currently 141 Single Family Homes and 29 Condos for Sale in the Saco Maine area.   To Search All Saco Maine Homes for Sale, click here.

If you’ve been thinking of Selling your Saco Home, buyers are looking for new inventory to preview and purchase.   Find out the value of your Saco Maine Home for FREE

Deja Lett, Realtor with Keller Williams Realty has been helping Buyers and Sellers in the Southern Maine Region for over a decade.  New office conveniently located in Saco, across from Thornton Academy at 439 Main Street, Suite 102, and also in Portland at 50 Sewall Street, 2nd Floor. For more information on this property or how The Deja Lett Team can assist you with your real estate goals, please contact our team at 207-553-2602 or DLett@maine.rr.com

www.DejaLett.com

Local Business Spotlight: Big Daddy’s Restaurant & Bar – Old Orchard Beach, Maine

July 15th, 2013

Attention Foodies:

Experience New American Cuisine in Old Orchard Beach!

This week my Local Business Spotlight is on Big Daddy’s Restaurant & Bar in Old Orchard Beach, Maine!

Check this place out when you visit Southern Maine and if you’re local – stop by!

Introducing . . . Big Daddy’s Restaurant & Bar!!  The classiest hot spot in Old Orchard Beach!  Located across the street from the Pier and Palace Playland @ 2 West Grand Ave.  With our bluesy-jazz ambiance and our amazing wait staff welcoming you in, we guarantee you will want to stay a while.  Our menu is eclectic!  Every item on the menu is made fresh and delicately prepared. 

Front of BD's

My personal favorites are the Grilled Brisket Sandwich and Dried Ribs — both are to die for!  YUM!

Big Daddy’s offers a regular menu as well as creative Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner specials you will not experience anywhere else!

Old Orchard Beach Old Orchard Beach

 

Take a look at some of these amazing dishes!

 

Old Orchard Beach

Lobster Crepes

Old Orchard Beach

Portobello Mushroom & Goat Cheese Ravioli

Old Orchard Beach

The “Kenny Rogers” Burger – An 8 oz. Angus Beef Patty grilled to your liking with American Cheese, Bourbon BBQ Sauce, crisp apple wood smoked bacon, and crispy onion strings!!!

I highly recommend Big Daddy’s!  Great food, sweet atmosphere, attentive wait staff and a hands-on owner make this a pleasurable experience for all!

Old Orchard Beach

Big Daddy’s Restaurant & Bar Old Orchard Beach

Big Daddy’s is open every day from 7:30AM to 1:00AM, and they look forward to seeing you soon!

Executive Chef:  Oren Cartwright  |  Head Chef:  Steve Tuggle  |  General Manager:  Guy Loranger

When you stop by, please tell them Deja Lett sent you!

In addition to recommending my local favorites, I can help you buy or sell real estate!  If you or anyone you know are moving to or from Maine or buying or selling in Maine or anywhere else, please have them contact me today! 

 

Rising Interest Rates – What do Rising Interest Rates Mean for Buyers?

July 8th, 2013

Rising Interest Rates

Rising Interest Rates

It’s True . . . Interest Rates Went Up!

So, what does this mean exactly?

The rise in interest rates can be domineering; when rates go up, buying power goes down.  In addition, inventory across the country is lower than it has been in several years, which is resulting in bidding wars and an overall increase in prices.  An increase in the average price of homes across the United States, when coupled with rising interest rates, could be a deal-breaker for some first-time home-buyers.  Buyers who were already stretching to qualify for a loan and pull together the down payment could find themselves unable to buy the house they thought they could back in April.  A rule of thumb holds that every one percentage point increase in interest rates reduces affordability by 10%, so the recent move in rates just made homes about 10% more expensive to buyers who need to finance their purchase.

However, “Just because it would have been cheaper to buy a home six months ago, doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to buy one now,” says Trulia housing analyst Jed Kolko.

Rates, currently at about 4.6 percent, have climbed a full percentage point since May – but they’re still lower than they were just two years ago and far lower than their long-term average of about 8 percent. “In the history of America, a 30-year mortgage at less than 5 percent is a gift,” says Mark Dotzour, chief economist at Texas A&M’s Real Estate Center.

A snapshot of interest rates over the last few months from www.bankrate.com:

Mortgage rates 30-year fixed 15-year fixed 5/1 ARM 30-year jumbo
7/3/2013 4.48 3.62 3.48 4.66
6/26/2013 4.61 3.73 3.45 4.75
6/19/2013 4.12 3.3 2.99 4.29
6/12/2013 4.14 3.32 3.0 4.32
6/5/2013 4.1 3.28 2.93 4.27
5/29/2013 3.99 3.21 2.97 4.2
5/22/2013 3.74 2.97 2.7 3.99
5/15/2013 3.71 2.92 2.68 3.99
5/8/2013 3.6 2.82 2.64 4.0
5/1/2013 3.52 2.75 2.63 3.93
4/24/2013 3.57 2.8 2.65 3.98

Does this mean you should buy now?

It’s never good to make a hasty decision and buy the wrong house at the wrong time; however, interest rates are still considerably low and there is still time to leverage yourself.  Plus, it’s getting easier to obtain a mortgage, buying is still cheaper than renting, and with prices increasing slightly, you won’t have to compete with as many investors.

Supply and Demand

The increase in buying over the last year will create an increase in inventory, which will result in a balance between supply and demand, ultimately slowing rising interest rates and causing more sustainable price increases.  The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts rates will remain close to current levels through the end of next year.

According to the National Association of Realtors, total housing inventory at the end of May rose 3.3 percent, to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.1 months’ supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.2 months in April.  Listed inventory is still 10.1 percent below a year ago, when there was a 6.5-month supply.

If you’re an investor – buy now!

If a sector of home buyers are knocked out of the buying market due to rising interest rates and slight increase in home prices, then the rental market will have a higher demand, resulting in less buying competition and a larger market of renters.  If you are interested in purchasing an investment property, I can help. I can provide you with information on the local market and the best investment properties around. Don’t hesitate to contact me today at 207.415.8204 and experience the professionalism of an agent that works with the #1 Real Estate Company in the U.S.!

To really understand what’s happening in your local market and the effect of rising interest rates, you should contact your local Real Estate Professional.  If you need the advice of a professional, but don’t know who to turn to, contact me today, and I will help you locate the right Real Estate Agent for you, no matter where you’re located.  I have a network of real estate agents I work with across the country and even the world, and I would be happy to find the right one for you if you’re located outside of my locale.

 

Sources:

http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2013/07/08/why-home-price-gains-will-slow-amid-higher-mortgage-rates/

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2013/07/10/5-Reasons-Its-Still-A-Great-Time-To-Buy-A-House.aspx#huoQMPBQ7juCktj0.99

www.bankrate.com

Overpriced Listings

May 23rd, 2013

Overpriced Listings

How To Tell If A Listing Is Overpriced, Possible Reasons Why, And Why It’s Bad

Overpriced Listings

The top three ways you can tell a house is overpriced:

1. # Of Days On The Market
2. No Showings
3. You’ve Had Showings But No Offers

You might wonder why an agent would take an overpriced listing.

- They may be competing for a listing and enticing the Seller by flat out lying to them about the price.  If a Seller thinks one agent can sell their house for a better price than another agent, and has been told a price supported by false information, yet they believe it, of course they are going to pick the agent who they think will get them the most money for their house.

If you want to work with an honest agent who will price your house right the first time, please contact me today to find out what your home is worth in today’s market!

Honest Agents

You Deserve To Work With An Honest Agent!

- Free Advertising!  The agent’s sign will be posted for anyone driving by to see.  It will advertise the agent, their website, and the company they work for.

- The agent might ideally want to market to Buyer’s or other Seller’s in the price mark and is therefore listing the house with an inflated price for marketing and advertising purposes.  Buyer’s looking in the price mark will call the number on the sign at which point the agent will try to secure the Buyer and then ultimately end up showing them correctly priced houses in their price mark.
FMI on this topic click here.

Real Estate Trap

Why It’s Bad

- Agents will lose the motivation to market and show the property if it’s been rejected by Buyers.
- Sellers will lose valuable selling time. The more the wrong buyers see it, the less the right ones do.
- Sellers lose money since they are still paying for a house that could have been sold had it been priced right.  In addition, they will not be able to move on with whatever plans they have.
- Ultimately, the house will sell for less because the price has to be lowered over and over to compete with newly listed properties that are priced correctly.

Top Three Selling Mistakes

Time On The Market Works Against You

If you’re looking for someone to represent your best interest in the transaction of real estate, whether you’re buying OR selling, contact me today!