Getting Ready To Sell

Posted in Bob Ashworth, Bob Ashworth Realtor, Florida Real Estate, Home Selling tips, Homes for Sale SWFL, Lee County Homes, Multiple Listings Service, Sell Your Home Now, Selling your Home, SWFL Home Sales, SWFL Home Selling Advice, SWFL Real Estate, Uncategorized

How to Improve Curb Appeal

Home Selling Advice to Help You Attract Potential Buyers

Are you interested in selling your Southwest Florida home? Would you like to improve your chances of not only selling your home quickly but getting the most return on your investment? You’re in the right place! A large percentage of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house or take it seriously based on its curb appeal—the view they see when they drive by or arrive for a showing. You can help make sure they want to come inside your house by spending some time working on the its exterior appearance.

It’s difficult to look at our own house in the same way that potential home buyers do, because when we become accustomed to the way something looks and functions, we can’t see its faults. Decide right now to stop thinking of the property as a home. It’s a house—a commodity you want to sell for the highest dollar possible.

Curb Appeal Exercise

The next time you come home, stop across the street or far enough down the driveway to get a good view of the house and its surroundings.

  1. What is your first impression of the house and yard area?
  2. What are the best exterior features of the house or lot? How can you enhance them?
  3. What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot? How can you minimize or improve them?

Park where a potential buyer would and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit. Is the approach clean and tidy? What could you do to make it more attractive?

Take photos of the home’s exterior. If you have a digital camera, view the color versions first, then remove the color and look at it in black and white, because it’s easier to see problems when color isn’t around to affect our senses.

Make a list of the problem areas you discovered. Tackle clean up and repair chores first, then put some time into projects that make the grounds more attractive.

  • Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
  • Stow away unnecessary garden implements and tools.
  • Clean windows and gutters.
  • Pressure wash dirty siding and dingy decks.
  • Edge sidewalks and remove vegetation growing between concrete or bricks.
  • Mow the lawn. Get rid of weeds.
  • Rake and dispose of leaves, even if your lot is wooded.
  • Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the home’s roof.

Don’t Forget the Rear View

Buyers doing a drive by will try their best to see your back yard. If it’s visible from another street or from someone’s driveway, include it in your curb appeal efforts.

Evening Curb Appeal

Do your curb appeal exercise again at dusk, because it isn’t unusual for potential buyers to drive by houses in the evening.

One quick way to improve evening curb appeal is with lighting:

  • String low voltage lighting along your driveway, sidewalks, and near important landscaping elements.
  • Add a decorative street lamp or an attractive light fixture to a front porch.
  • Make sure lighting that’s visible through front doors and windows enhances the home’s appearance.

Landscaping Decisions

There are times that adding elements to your landscaping can improve curb appeal, but there are other times when removing something is even more effective.

For example, we had a listing for a large brick house with large white columns. Tall evergreens, planted in front of each column, had grown taller than the roof. They obscured the columns and windows and made it difficult to see the front of the house.

We suggested that the owner remove them. She trimmed them back, but it didn’t do the trick—they were unattractive and still kept potential buyers from seeing the true character of the house.

I sold the house to a couple who could see past the trees. One of their first tasks after closing was to yank them out of the ground, instantly boosting the home’s curb appeal.

Most buyers cannot visualize changes, and often won’t take a second look at a house if the first look doesn’t appeal to them. Home buyers who can visualize changes, and are prepared to make them, expect you to reduce the price of the house to compensate for the work they plan to do.

A Few Curb Appeal Tips

  • If you can budget it, a fresh paint job does wonders for a dingy house. Drive around your town to find color schemes that are appealing.
  • Install a more attractive front door, maybe something with leaded glass inserts.
  • If you can’t justify the cost of a new door, consider replacing plain doorknob hardware with something more attractive.
  • If new hardware is beyond your budget, repaint or stain the door and polish the hardware?

If you brainstorm, you’ll find that there’s a solution to most problems—one that lets you stay within your budget. The trick is to find the areas where improvements are needed, then work on them as best you can. Please feel free to give me a call so I can offer you more tips, ideas and information on successfully selling your southwest Florida home or condo!

We invite you to like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and connect with us on linkedin. We hope that you find our website to be a great source of information and visit often. Whether you are looking for Homes for SaleMoving Resources, or even Mortgage Information everything you need is right here.

We will always be available for personal service by phone or email, so feel free to contact us with questions any time! My offices are located on 2326 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33990. You can reach me at  239-425-2503 or email me at Bob.Ashworth@gmail.com and you can visit my website at www.BobAshworth.com.

Sincerely,
Bob Ashworth

Short Selling Your Home

Posted in Bob Ashworth, Bob Ashworth Realtor, Cape Coral Real Estate, Cape Coral Realtor, Florida Real Estate, Home Selling tips, Lee County Homes, Real Estate Advice, Sell Your Home Now, Selling your Home, Short Sales, SWFL Home Sales, SWFL Home Selling Advice, SWFL Real Estate, SWFL Short Selling Homes

NOTE: This is a copy of an email that I’ve sent to dozens of buyers and I felt it made a good blog post. The good news is that banks are more acceptable to working out a short sale today, than when I originally wrote this about 3 years ago.

Short sales defined. Short means that the lender holding the mortgage on the home will have to accept a short pay off in order for the home to be sold. While this in itself isn’t necessarily the end of the world, nor completely impossible it does add significant complications as you can imagine.

The biggest problem with the short sale is that the bank has not agreed to the list price. In most cases the bank isn’t even aware that a short sale is being attempted until a buyer writes a contract on the home. Everyone seems to think that it just takes longer to get done and whereas “I’m in no hurry I’ll wait” for the bank to get around to approving the sale. Not necessarily an accurate assumption.

The list price on a short sale has been determined by the Realtor and the seller (who in effect can’t sell because he can’t pay off his mortgage). The list price is only a starting point for negotiations with the bank. The list agent needs a buyer to write a contract so that they can begin to deal with the bank. The bank won’t discuss selling short unless they have a contracted buyer on the home. In other words, even though you see what looks like a great price, no one truly knows what the home will sell for until well after you write a contract on it. In addition to that, the first thing that the bank does is review the sellers financial situation; income, assets, original loan application etc, etc. Then if they have deemed that the seller truly has a hardship situation, and didn’t commit fraud on their application they may consider letting the home sell and accept a short pay off. If they decide to do so, their next step is to send an appraiser to the home to determine its value. They may let it sell for a little less than true market value though they will not let it sell for substantially less than market value as most short sale home buyers think. As much as I have little respect for the banks intellectual prowess, they are not totally stupid.

People in general have always thought that the list price on a home indicates market value. In a normal situation it is merely the amount that a seller wishes to get. If it doesn’t sell, it is because the seller didn’t want to sell their home at current market value. They listed to high and never priced where the buyers were willing to pay, which is who establishes market value. Sellers establish list price, buyers establish market value, either by buying or not.

In the case of a short sale the buyer still establishes market value by buying or not, it’s just a little different. Say you offer full list price on a short sale. The bank who must approve the sale and accept their short pay off does their due diligence (their due diligence takes 2-6 months) and decides to let the deal happen. If the list price for instance was $150k and you offered $150k, but the bank appraiser felt the home was worth $190k the bank will likely counter with $175k to $180k. There’s your deal, somewhat off of market value but not the steal you originally thought it was. You see, the bank is in the driver’s seat because at that point they will be within several weeks of foreclosing anyways and are certainly not held over a barrel by anyone.

Helpful statistic: 100% of foreclosure homes sell to a buyer at unprecedented values. 25-30% of short sale homes sell, the majority go into foreclosure, many with an offer form a buyer sitting somewhere at the bank.

I’m not saying its impossible, and or cannot be done, it just isn’t what the general population thinks it is. The list agent on the short sale property has to really know how to work through the banks maze too. Homes that have 2 mortgages on them are 10 times less likely to close short. I’m not even going to go into that.

We invite you to like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and connect with us on linkedin. We hope that you find our website to be a great source of information and visit often. Whether you are looking for Homes for SaleMoving Resources, or even Mortgage Information everything you need is right here.

We will always be available for personal service by phone or email, so feel free to contact us with questions any time! My offices are located on 2326 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33990. You can reach me at 239-425-2503 or email me at Bob.Ashworth@gmail.com and you can visit my website at www.BobAshworth.com.

Sincerely,
Bob Ashworth

Foreclosure Alternatives

Posted in Bob Ashworth, Bob Ashworth Realtor, Cape Coral Real Estate, Cape Coral Realtor, Florida Real Estate, Foreclosure Advice, Home Foreclosure SWFL, Lee County Homes, Real Estate Advice, Realtor, SWFL Foreclosures, SWFL Home Sales, SWFL Home Selling Advice, SWFL Real Estate

Are you behind on your mortgage? Are you facing foreclosure?

I specialize in helping homeowners navigate the ever-changing waters of the SW Florida real estate market. This space is designed for bringing you the latest information, news, details, tips, advice, do’s and don’ts in the real estate industry. I’m here to educated you and create awareness on those topics that you need to know about in order to make the best decision that’s right for you! Below is some important information on foreclosure alternatives that you might want to consider.

HAMP extended to offer foreclosure alternatives

President Obama recently spoke of the American dream of homeownership, and how that dream was shaken by the collapse of the housing and mortgage markets in 2008. In his State of the Union address to the nation, the president offered hope to homeowners trapped by falling home values and rising interest rates through a plan to cut red tape so homeowners can refinance to take advantage of currently low-interest rates.

Not addressed by the president, but of equal importance to people whose homes are worth less than their mortgage debt, is the extension of the Homes Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Launched by the federal government in 2009, HAMP was slated to expire on December 31, 2012, but was extended for one year to December 31, 2013.

HAMP offers incentives to mortgage lenders to encourage them to refinance and modify existing mortgages by lowering interest rates and reducing mortgage balances to the current value of the property. The extension of the program included an expansion of the eligibility rules to make it available to more homeowners.

Details of the new HAMP eligibility criteria will be released to mortgage lenders and servicers in February 2012. Homeowners can begin submitting applications under the new eligibility guidelines in May 2012. Until then, homeowners can submit applications for modifications under HAMP to their lenders under the existing eligibility guidelines.

According to the information available so far, the following are the main changes to the program:

• Homeowners found to be ineligible under the current debt to income ratio of 31 percent may be eligible under the new criteria.

• Non-owner occupied homes and owner occupied homes with tenants are not eligible under the current program. The new guidelines would allow tenants in part of the home as long as the homes are owner occupied, or the owner intends to take occupancy.

• People who were approved for a HAMP trial period, but did not make the payments as scheduled, would be eligible for consideration for a modification under the new eligibility criteria.

• Homeowners who missed payments under an approved HAMP modification, as opposed to a trial period, would be eligible to reapply under the new rules.

The new refinance program unveiled by President Obama, and the extension of the HAMP initiative with new eligibility guidelines, promise to offer foreclosure alternatives to at-risk homeowners struggling under the weight of mortgage debt.

I invite you to like my fanpage on facebook, follow me on twitter and connect with me on linkedin. I hope that you find our website to be a great source of information and visit often. Whether you are looking for Homes for SaleMoving Resources, or even Mortgage Information everything you need is right here.

I will always be available for personal service by phone or email, so feel free to contact me with questions any time! My offices are located on 2326 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33990. You can reach me at 239-425-2503 or email me at Bob.Ashworth@gmail.com and you can visit my website at www.BobAshworth.com.

Sincerely,
Bob Ashworth

Building Your Credit Score

Posted in Bob Ashworth, Bob Ashworth Realtor, Buying a Condo, Buying a Home, Buying a Home SWFL, Cape Coral Real Estate, Cape Coral Realtor, Clean Credit, Credit Report, Credit Score, Florida Real Estate, Improve Credit Score, Lower Your Interest Rates, Realtor, Selling your Home, SWFL Real Estate, Uncategorized

I’m always looking for ways to help my clients prepare for their new home purchase. Below are some useful tips I recently came across on how to better your credit score so you can get the best home loan possible! Thanks for reading and please share this blog post with anyone you feel might find it useful!

Higher Credit Scores = Lower Interest Rates

Whether you want to buy a house, a condo or a piece of property to build your dream house on, good credit will get you the loan you need at the lowest interest rate possible.

But even if you have a bad credit score from unexpected life situations that couldn’t be helped, there are still lots of things you can do to improve your score

1. Find out your free credit score

You’ll need a score of 660 or higher in order to qualify for most mortgages, but shoot for a credit score of 720 or above to get the best interest rates, which are 1-2 percentage points lower. A few percentage points may not seem significant, but they translate into thousands of dollars difference on your loan.

If you had a $300,000 mortgage for 30 years, the difference in rates could add up to $100,000 in interest. That’s a huge difference that you could save on if you had a better credit score!

2. Check your free credit report card

Pay close attention to your credit card utilization and payment history, which each account for a large portion of your credit score. Your derogatory marks is also worth your time, since an account in collections will really hurt your overall score.

3. Fix it!

If you have a large amount of debt, make an effort to pay it off. Decreasing your credit card utilization by paying down credit charges is a great way to help improve your credit score.

If you have any derogatory marks that you don’t recognize, pull your full, free credit report from Annual Credit Report and investigate. If you find something that’s not yours, get it removed.

4. Wait for it…

Your credit won’t be fixed over night, but by taking a proactive approach to fixing your credit, you can expect to see improvements in six to twelve months. In the meantime, hold off on new credit cards or loans, since the hard inquiries that come with that will ding your credit score.

You can also spend the time researching what kind of mortgage you want. I can help you with this – I can guide you through this process and help you find rates for different mortgages and a mortgage affordability calculator to see how much you can afford.

Taking the steps to improve your credit score can help you will save tens of thousands of dollars with a lower interest rate. Contact me for more details on how you can find and secure the home of your dreams. I’m here to answer all your questions and to help you get on the right track to buying or selling your home!

We invite you to like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and connect with us on linkedin. We hope that you find our website to be a great source of information and visit often. Whether you are looking for Homes for SaleMoving Resources, or even Mortgage Information everything you need is right here.

We will always be available for personal service by phone or email, so feel free to contact us with questions any time! My offices are located on 2326 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33990. You can reach me at 239-425-2503 or email me at Bob.Ashworth@gmail.com and you can visit my website at www.BobAshworth.com.

Sincerely,
Bob Ashworth

Better your Credit Score

Posted in Bob Ashworth, Buying a Home SWFL, Cape Coral Real Estate, Cape Coral Realtor, Clean Credit, Credit Report, Credit Score, Homes for Sale SWFL, Improve Credit Score, Lee County Homes, Realtor, SWFL Real Estate

If you’re looking to buy a home or condo in the Southwest Florida area in the near future, you’ve come to the right place! My pledge to you as a home, land or condo buyer is to work with you to identify your wants and needs, and then work to fit those within your budget. I will never try to sell you a property, I will help you buy one; the one that is right for you and your budget. I’m always looking for way to help my clients prepare for their new purchase. Below are some useful tips I recently came across on how to better your credit score so you can get the best home loan possible!

How To Improve Your Credit Score

The 411 on how to improve your credit score

If you’re asking yourself how to improve your credit score, you’ve already taken the first step. It means you understand that, while you may not be able to improve your credit score overnight, learning how to improve your credit score is very important.Everyone’s situation is unique. But no matter who you are, there are a few things you should pay attention to when trying to improve your credit score.

Tips for healthy credit

Be a better credit manager

Getting better at managing your credit could not only improve your credit score, it can save you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, down the road. And it isn’t hard to do. It just takes time, discipline and a little knowledge about the credit scoring system.

Don’t be late

Late payments, collection notices, and bankruptcies have the greatest negative effect on your credit score. That’s why one way to improve your credit score is by paying your bills on time.

Keep balances as low as possible

Your credit balances shouldn’t be more than 35% of your available credit limits. For example, if you have one credit card with a $2,000 limit and you want to improve your credit score, keep your balance under $700.

Put time on your side

The longer you can prove you have maintained good credit, the better. One way to improve your credit score is to establish a long history of paying your bills on time and using credit responsibly. If you keep the oldest account on your credit report open, that can demonstrate a longer period of active credit use.

Avoid excessive credit checks

Every time you apply for a new credit product, an inquiry into your credit is made. If creditors or lenders see a high number of inquiries over a short period of time, they may think you are taking on more debt than you can handle. So, while establishing credit history is an important part of learning how to improve your credit, make sure to apply for new credit in moderation.

Click here to read more on the TransUnion website.

We invite you to like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and connect with us on linkedin. We hope that you find our website to be a great source of information and visit often. Whether you are looking for Homes for SaleMoving Resources, or even Mortgage Information everything you need is right here.

We will always be available for personal service by phone or email, so feel free to contact us with questions any time! My offices are located on 2326 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33990. You can reach me at  239-425-2503 or email me at Bob.Ashworth@gmail.com and you can visit my website at www.BobAshworth.com.

Sincerely,
Bob Ashworth

The Market is Changing!

Posted in Bob Ashworth, Bob Ashworth Realtor, Buying a Condo, Buying a Home, Buying a Home SWFL, Cape Coral Real Estate, Cape Coral Realtor, Clean Credit, Credit Score, Florida Real Estate, Home Affordability, Homes for Sale SWFL, Lee County Homes, Realtor, Selling your Home, SWFL Real Estate

Buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines for home or condo purchases in SW Florida should wait no longer. The median price of all single family homes in Cape Coral sold during the month of January 2012 rose 33% since January 2011 from $89,525 to $119,000 in January 2012. Condo values appear to have bottomed out and are showing signs of pressure towards higher prices. The unprecedented value at which homes and condos could be purchased for is slowing but surely slipping away as we lean towards a more normal market.

In addition, due in part to low prices and historically low interest rates, home affordability conditions have reached their highest level since record keeping began in 1970. Rarely do we see low prices and low rates at the same time. Buyers over the past 2 years have been able to solidify their financial futures in these tough economic times by purchasing a home at 1/2 it’s “true” value, while financing it at severely depressed rates saving them even more money monthly, and over the term of their mortgage.

Unfortunately qualifying for a home loan is more difficult today than it has been at almost anytime in the past, with the exception of when you were required to have a 20% down payment. Today it is so important to keep your credit clean, and to be able to document all income either through W2 and or pay stubs if employed or with copies of your tax return, 2 years please!, if self employed.

We invite you to like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and connect with us on linkedin. We hope that you find our website to be a great source of information and visit often. Whether you are looking for Homes for SaleMoving Resources, or even Mortgage Information everything you need is right here.

We will always be available for personal service by phone or email, so feel free to contact us with questions any time! My offices are located on 2326 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33990. You can reach me at 239-425-2503 or email me at Bob.Ashworth@gmail.com and you can visit my website at www.BobAshworth.com.

Sincerely,
Bob Ashworth

Welcome to Bob’s Blog

Posted in Bob Ashworth, Bob Ashworth Realtor, Buying a Condo, Buying a Home, Buying a Home SWFL, Cape Coral Real Estate, Cape Coral Realtor, Florida Real Estate, Homes for Sale SWFL, Lee County Homes, Realtor, Selling your Home, SWFL Real Estate

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog. I know that buying or selling a home is one of the most important things you will ever do, and we want to help make that experience as smooth and successful as possible.

My name is Bob Ashworth, Realtor, CBR, CDPE and I’d like to welcome you to my blog! I specialize in helping buyers and sellers navigate the ever-changing waters of the SW Florida real estate market. This space is designed for bringing you the latest information, news, details, tips, advice, do’s and don’ts in the real estate industry. I’m here to educated you and create awareness on those topics that you need to know about in order to make the best decision that’s right for you!

My offices are located on 2326 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33990. You can reach me at 239-425-2503 or email me at Bob.Ashworth@gmail.com and you can visit my website at www.BobAshworth.com.

My extensive experience and expertise in the Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, North Fort Myers, and Lehigh Acres real estate market will benefit you whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in the area.

Buying a home?

Buyers benefit from my experience and negotiating skills. 

My pledge to you as a home, land or condo buyer is to work with you to identify your wants and needs, and then work to fit those within your budget. I will never try to sell you a property, I will help you buy one; the one that is right for you and your budget.

Selling your home?

Sellers benefit from my Unique Home-Selling System.

I’m committed to selling your home in the least amount of time, and for the most amount of money that the market will bear. We’ll accomplish this by posting multiple photos and virtual tours to dozens of websites, utilizing a 24 hour toll free hotline, and creating a property address specific website with a Quick Response code.

I invite you to like my business page on facebook, follow me on twitter and connect with me on linkedin. I hope that you find my website to be a great source of information and visit often. Whether you are looking for Homes for SaleMoving Resources, or even Mortgage Information everything you need is right here.

I will always be available for personal service by phone or email, so feel free to contact me with questions any time!

Sincerely,
Bob Ashworth