Dec. 14, 2017

Merry Christmas from Forefront Real Estate 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Forefront Real Estate, LLC.! Thank you to all of our family, friends, clients, and our Homes for Heroes recipients who have done so much for our community; It feels great to be able to give back!

Thank you all for making our 2017 so successful, we are truly blessed and made better for knowing all of you!

By the way...We heard the color of the year for 2018 is Purple! check it out here https://goo.gl/X5ujBP We are taking that as a sign and we are ready for an even better 2018!

Visit us online at http://www.forefrontrealtors.com/ or stop by at:

340 W. Collins Dr. Casper, WY 82601

Posted in Newsletter
Dec. 11, 2017

Homes for Heroes Holiday Drive 2017

We have adopted several Veteran Families for Christmas and many more are in need. YOU can join us in giving back to these Heroes in need for the Holidays.

Please stop by our office located at 340 W. Collins Drive, Casper WY with your donation of nonperishable food items, unwrapped clothing, toys, board games, or other appropriate donation in new condition Monday-Friday between 8:30AM to 5:30PM by December 15th 2017.

You may also Join us December 14th 2017 from 3:00PM to 6:00PM to bring your donation and join us for hors d'oeuvres and cider. All donated items will go to local Veteran Families this holiday season.
Forefront Real Estate, LLC

Posted in Newsletter
Nov. 21, 2017

4 Small Changes That Can Add Major Value To Your Home

When it comes to selling your home, obviously you want to do everything you can on your end to add value to your home and secure the highest offer. But while you might automatically assume that major added value comes from major renovations, sometimes it's the small things that add up ending the most value to your home. Here are four small, inexpensive changes that can add major value to your home (and get you higher offers in process):

1. Spruce Up Your Exterior

While many homeowners focus their renovations and changes on the interior of their home, the exterior of your property is the first thing potential buyers will see. And if you want to get off on the right foot and make a positive first impression, it's important that the exterior of your home is inviting and well-designed. You don't have to completely landscape your property in order to make a good first impression. A few minor changes to the exterior can really spruce things up and make the space feel more inviting for potential buyers. Put a fresh coat of paint on your front door. Line the walkway leading up to your entrance with inexpensive potted plants. If you have room, add a small chair or table to create a sitting area on the front porch. And always make sure your lawn is watered and mowed. Having a clean, inviting, and well-decorated exterior will have buyers falling in love with your property before they ever even walk through the front door.

2. Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint

One of the most inexpensive ways to add serious value to your home is by adding a fresh coat of paint, particularly if it's been awhile since your walls have been redone. Old, peeling, or out-of-date paint can make your home look like it's in rougher shape than it actually is. A fresh coat of paint will breathe new life into your rooms and frame them in the best light to potential buyers. When choosing paint colors, go for neutral colors like gray or beige; using bright or unique colors can be off-putting to some potential buyers. Neutral tones makes it easier for buyers to see themselves in the space. Just be sure to avoid white - the color can feel overly harsh and can make your home feel cold and impersonal (not exactly the feel you're going for when selling a home).

3. Update The Bathroom

If you have an older home, making a few minor updates to the bathroom - even if they're only cosmetic - can go a long way in adding value to your home. Things like outdated wallpaper, tile, or light fixtures can make your bathroom feel dated, a feeling which may carry over into the rest of your home and turn off potential buyers. Take stock of your bathroom and see what changes might help it feel more modern and up to date. Currently have wallpaper that looks like it belongs in the 80s? Ditch the wallpaper for a more modern print or a fresh coat of paint. Does your vanity feel ancient? Try replacing the hardware for a more sleek look. Renovating a bathroom can be pricey, but cosmetic changes are not - and can have a huge impact on the value of your home.

4. Hire A House Cleaning Service

When you're selling your home, it needs to be spotless. Dust bunnies under the couch, stains on the sink, or fingerprints on the wall can keep you from getting offers on your home - even though all of those situations are temporary and completely reversible. And while you might be great at cleaning under normal circumstances, when you're selling your home, you should definitely consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Professionals are trained to cover every nook and cranny and ensure that your house is sparkling by the end of the service. And having a house that's expert-level clean can be a huge selling point to potential buyers. Look for a local cleaning service that has experience preparing homes to sell and book their services before your next open house. This minor investment can pay off big time when potential buyers are drafting up their offers. Before you sell your home, you want to do everything in your power to drive up the value and walk away with the highest offer possible. And these four changes are so small, inexpensive, and easy, there's no reason not to use them to your advantage!

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Posted in Seller Tips
Nov. 21, 2017

How Selling Your House Is Like Making Lasagna

How many layers are there in a lasagna? There's no right or wrong answer to that. Other than, "more than one" probably. Even two is pretty skimpy. So, let's say three is minimal for argument sake. (But, four or more is better.)

This isn't a lasagna lesson.

You could say that it doesn't really matter how many layers there are, as long as it tastes good. And, there really isn't any rule that you can't have a one or two layer lasagna. So, you'd be "right". It just wouldn't look exactly right. Not a big deal. It's lasagna. But, this article isn't really about lasagna, it's about real estate. Specifically, the critical "layers" you need to have when you list your house for sale. Like we were talking about above with lasagna, for the sake of argument, you definitely need three layers. More would be better. So, let's look at the three most important layers when listing your home for sale.

The 3 layers

The three "layers" you need to have when you list your home for sale are: 1- Price 2- Exposure 3- Ease of access

Price

The price of your home is the first, and most critical layer when you are listing your home. If you don't nail the pricing, the next two layers won't matter a whole lot. It won't matter how much exposure your home has if the price isn't in line with the market. Buyers have a good handle on values, and they won't waste their time looking at a house if the price is way out of whack. There's certainly a little room to be on the "high" side. You don't need to "give your house away". But, you really need to be priced well against the current competition, and justifiable against similar homes to yours which have recently sold.

Exposure

How do you make sure your home is seen by all of the potential buyers in the market? For this you need marketing muscle and expertise. This is why we spend countless hours and thousands of dollars marketing the homes we list at Forefront Real Estate. We make sure our website is constantly up to date and that your listing will be picked up by all other sites linked to the MLS.  the bottom line is this — your home needs to be easily found. And since most buyers are actively looking online, make sure it's on there as "everywhere" as possible.

Ease of access

Your home needs to be easy for buyers to come and see. Sounds simple enough... You want your home sold, so of course you figure you'll make it easy to come and see. But not everyone does. More people than you can imagine make real estate agents and buyers jump through hoops to schedule a showing. Saying no to a showing, or trying to corral every showing into a tight window of time during the week is going to hurt you. So, just make sure you keep your house ready to show at any given moment, and say yes to any request to come see the house. (Within reason, of course...) If you just do all three of those things, you're in pretty good shape to get your home sold for as much as the market will bear, in as short a time as possible. But, it won't necessarily be as good as it could be if you were to add just a few more layers to your "listing lasagna".

The "extra" layers.

While the first three layers are more or less non-negotiable, and will most likely get you as close to the highest offer as possible, as quickly as possible, you may want to consider these extra layers. Adding these into your mix will increase your chances of getting the highest and best offer possible, as quickly as possible. 1- Hiring an agent who knows and understands the market. 2- Hiring an agent who is a strong advisor. 3- Hiring an agent who can negotiate. 4- Hiring an agent who keeps things together.

Knows and understands the market

It's easy enough to hire a real estate agent. There's plenty of them. But, you should really make sure to hire one who truly knows and understands your local real estate market. You want one who can analyze the activity on your house, and the overall market, so that the agent can...

Advise you

There's a lot of talk about selling homes "as quickly as possible". The key words there are "as possible". Sure, you and your agent want your home to sell, and sell quickly. But "quickly" depends on the market. And you want an agent on your side who, after analyzing the market and activity, can advise you on what to do... Should you stay firm on your price and just be patient? Should you lower your price? If so, how much? Is there something you can change about your house that buyers are getting hung up on? If so, is it worth doing, or will the cost be too much for it to make sense? There's way more than that to list, but those are just a few examples of advice your agent should be relied upon for, and be able to provide to you.

Negotiate

This is another thing that gets a lot of lip service. But an agent who negotiates well is a huge asset. Sure, you want one that will negotiate a "win-win" enough to make a deal come together. But, you really want one that gets you the fatter end of the win. And that isn't always just about price. A good negotiator will get you the best price and terms. And, more importantly, it's important to have an agent who will...

Keep the deal together

There's a lot of time, and a lot of things that can lead to a deal falling apart between signing the deal and a closing. Things go wrong. People get cold feet. Buyers get greedy and ask for credits and repairs, or threaten to bale on the whole deal. Appraisers throw their opinion into the mix. Again, just to name a few examples... but there are so many things that can make a deal fall apart. Having a strong agent on your side, who can almost predict and nip problems in the bud before things get out of control, is a huge layer to add to your listing lasagna. And, if things do get dicey, you want an agent who can wrangle it all in and get things back on track.

Looks can be deceiving.

People often look at selling a house as pretty simple. And the truth is, it is pretty simple...in terms of the first three layers. But that doesn't necessarily make the best "lasagna" possible. It might look OK enough to be called lasagna, but it's not gonna be quite as tasty as it could be, if you take enough care to add the next four layers.

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Posted in Seller Tips
Nov. 21, 2017

9 Ways Home Flipping Shows Mislead Viewers

We all know the premise of home-flipping shows: An investor buys a veritable dump and then, with the help of a team of ready-and-willing contractors and landscapers, transforms it into the best-looking home on the block. Next, that intrepid buyer turns around and sells it for a hefty profit. Sounds like a straightforward formula for financial success, right? Well, not quite. What makes for entertaining television doesn't always translate into a win beyond the high definition flat screen. The following are nine ways home-flipping shows mislead viewers. So, if you're considering turning this into your next career or even a side gig, you may want to separate fact from fiction first.

1. Tight turnarounds aren't always realistic

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In order to realize as large a profit as possible, it's important to flip the property as quickly as you can, otherwise paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance quickly chips away at your bottom line. While sales tend to happen quickly on TV, the reality is that even if you have a willing buyer, getting pre-approved and securing the financing doesn't happen overnight. For anxious sellers, that ticking clock is a constant reminder that every passing day means a little less money in their pockets.

2. Finding a dedicated team isn't easy

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As far too many homeowners know, not all contractors are created equal. For the most part, the artisans who make their way onto home-flipping shows are trustworthy, knowledgeable and willing to work nearly round-the-clock to get the job done. In reality, contractors may be working on multiple projects simultaneously and may disappear for days at a time. And as we all know, time is money.

3. DIY doesn't work for everyone

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Part of the appeal of these home-flipping programs is the ease with which the whole property comes together. But it's more than just the time-lapse photography that makes it seem like anyone with a tool belt can renovate like a pro. While you might be tempted to take a DIY approach to keep expenses low, remember, these people know what they're doing, whereas most homeowners are experts at other things. Sometimes tackling a task yourself will end up costing you more than if you'd hired the right person for the job.

4. When trouble strikes, it's not so easy to resolve

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Even with a careful home inspection, surprises (not the good kind!) pop up when you least expect them. Yet, if a sink hole opens and threatens to swallow a sunporch, home-flipping show teams are ready to fix that issue like it's no big deal. When it happens to non-TV-star homeowners, it's not always easy to find the right subcontractor -- especially when you're under time constraints. And, once you do, can you even afford to deal with whatever unpleasant shocker has come your way? If you have to go back to the bank for more money, that will impact your timeframe and ultimately your profit. (See number 1.) Home-flippers on TV seem to have bottomless bank accounts. Must be nice, right?

5. Materials don't arrive simultaneously

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When home-flippers begin a project, all the requisite materials are on-site and ready to go. If only this were the norm! Anyone who's ever fallen in love with a special order item knows that it's almost impossible to find everything you like in stock and ready for delivery. Some contractors are reluctant to start a renovation until all the supplies are in, which, again, can hurt your timeline and your profit.

6. The back-and-forth is all done behind-the-scenes

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Never mind the fact that homes showcased on these programs never seem to lack for buyers, in many instances there doesn't seem to be any haggling to speak of when it comes to the asking price. Leaving out the art of negotiation does viewers a disservice as it makes it appear that buyers can't wait to pay full price -- or above it.

7. The math is fuzzy

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In order to reap the biggest profit, you need to buy below market value, sell above it, and not put more money into the renovation than you'll get back. As if that equation weren't complicated enough, on television, you don't always hear about the costs of buying or selling, inspection and appraisals fees, and other expenses that go into both sides of the transactions. Leaving out some numbers conveniently inflates the profit.

8. Costs vary by area

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Renovating a bathroom in rural Tennessee is going to cost much less than it would in, say, Manhattan. Not only will the labor be less expensive, but the materials and delivery charges will also skew lower in non-metropolitan areas. Of course, none of that is addressed in the show and most often estimates on TV are far lower than those you'd gather in real life.

9. You can over-renovate

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Once you're in the home improvement groove, you may be tempted to splurge and really go all out, but you have to resist the temptation to overdo it and put in more money than you'll ever get back. In the quest to make your flip as fabulous as possible, you never want to lose sight of the the reason you started this project: to make money. Consider the return on investment for each improvement you make.

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Nov. 16, 2017

9 FSBO Pitfalls & the Lessons We Can Learn From Them

Whether you've lived in your home for a few months or a few decades, you probably think you know it best. But that doesn't mean you're the most qualified person for the job when the time comes to sell it. Many folks are tempted to take the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route believing they'll save a bundle by not paying an agent's commission. They may imagine it's a simple as sticking a sign in the ground and watching a qualified buyer magically appear. While that may happen occasionally, the vast majority of that time it doesn't work like that. At all. Consider these FSBO pitfalls and the lessons homeowners can learn from them.

1.Do you know how to price it accurately?

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Coming up with the right asking price requires doing your due diligence. Researching what comparable homes in the area recently sold for is key. You may also want to hire an appraiser to be sure you're not over-pricing or under-pricing your property, as both will end up costing you. Also, beware: Those who've gone the FSBO route note that very often buyers are hoping for a deep discount knowing sellers aren't paying anyone a commission. So even if you've listed it for a fair price, be prepared to negotiate.

2. Are you a marketing maven?

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If only selling your home were as simple as sticking a few 'For Sale' and 'Open House' signs around town and watching the offers roll in! But there's a lot more to it than that. Most buyers and agents will first find your property online. That means you'll want to be sure to develop a stellar Internet strategy. Your home should be easily viewable on your local Multiple Listing Service site. (Expect to pay a fee for this!) You'll want flawless photos too, of course, so put that iPhone away! You may also consider creating a website that shows off your place in all its splendor. Are you ready to make up flyers, post it on Craigslist or other online forums, put signs in prominent locations on your open house days? All of this takes time and effort but is the only real way to guarantee foot traffic.

3. Do you have the time to show it?

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Sadly, not all prospective buyers will want to see your home between noon and 2 p.m. on a Sunday. You'll need to be available during the day and evening. Even if you work locally, dropping everything for an impromptu showing gets old pretty fast. And what happens if you're not accommodating? Chances are your potential buyers are going to move on.

4. Are you up on the latest trends?

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Think your home is perfect just as it is? It may be, but unless you're in the know when it comes to exactly what homebuyers are looking for, you can end up losing a potential deal thanks to outdated bathrooms and overflowing closets. Never underestimate the value a licensed real estate pro brings in terms of helpful home staging and cleaning hints.

5. Are you certain buyers are pre-approved?

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Nothing is worse than thinking you're this close to striking a deal only to find out your would-be buyer won't be able to come up with the financing. Can you confidently separate the real prospects from the lookie-loos? Agents vet potential buyers, saving you time, money, and serious aggravation. If you're going it alone, be sure to ask for a pre-approval document before taking your home off the market.

6. Can you remove the emotion?

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Even though you're ready to sell it, you may still feel some attachment to your home. So, when you hear that buyers want to gut it, level it, or possibly take a sledge hammer to those granite countertops you spent hours selecting, it can strike a nerve. At that point, reason can take a backseat to emotion and you'll blow a potential deal by not putting the big picture ahead of your feelings.

7. Are you ready to field calls night and day?

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Once you've got a buyer on the hook, get ready for all sorts of calls and requests to show the place to every relative they've ever met. They also may have a sudden urge to stop by at 10 p.m. to measure for a new couch. You may be too afraid to tell them "no" for fear of losing them. This is where an agent will often step in and keep those demands to a minimum.

8. Will you understand all the documents?

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OK, here's where things get really complicated. How well-versed are you in homebuying and selling vernacular and legalese? When you sell a home yourself, everything you're stating needs to be accurate or the buyer may be able to come back to you for reparations later. For example, did you advertise that your floors are hardwood when they're actually veneers? A real estate pro is aware that the devil is often in the details. Are you?

9. You may lose money

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Even if you really put your heart and soul into selling your place yourself, you still may not come out ahead. According to a 2015 report by the National Association of Realtors, the average home sold by its owner sells for $210,000, while one sold by an agent goes for $249,000. Now, of course, studies have also pointed out that owners are more likely to try to sell their homes themselves in markets with lower price points, making that disparity seem greater than it might be. But, when you consider the time and effort that go into selling your home on your own, it may make (dollars and) sense to hire a local real estate professional.

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Posted in Seller Tips
Nov. 16, 2017

7 Signs It’s Time To Downsize

For many people, a large, sprawling home is part of the American Dream. But with additional space comes bigger utility bills and oodles of upkeep. Depending on your lifestyle, you may suddenly find yourself with more house than you actually need or want. While the thought of moving to a modest home can be daunting, you don't need to sell off all your belongings and join the tiny home craze to downsize effectively. Also, as you shed square footage, you'll find that you gain a range of benefits that make a big difference to some homeowners. Wondering if it might be time to look for a smaller abode? Ask yourself these seven questions and you'll have your answer.

1. Is routine maintenance taking up too much of your time?

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If you find that your weekends suddenly slip away as you attempt to keep up with your landscaping or just maintain your home's interior, you may be ready for a little less housework. Sure, you could hire someone to take care of these tasks for you, but that's less money in your wallet.

2. Do you have too much house?

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Are there some rooms in your home that you don't enter for days at a time? Even if you're not using them, you're still paying to heat or cool them. (And did we mention dust and vacuum them as well?) Unless you're planning to try your hand at AirBNB and rent out a room or two, you may want to think about downsizing.

3. Are your house-related expenses eating away at your savings?

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If your income has shrunk due to retirement or an unforeseen unemployment, you don't want to have to tap into your savings each month just to make ends meet. A smaller house will require less maintenance while lowering your utility bills. You can also consider downsizing in an area where the cost of living is lower so your overall expenses will decrease.

4. Has your home appreciated substantially?

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Are homes in your 'hood fetching top dollar? This could be the time to lock in your profit and add that windfall to your retirement savings. Or, spend a little and see the world beyond your picket fence. Vacationing is easier when you leave behind a smaller home -- especially one like a condo or townhouse where outdoor maintenance is handled for you.

5. Are you feeling isolated?

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If the kids have moved away and your neighbors have also downsized, you may feel like you're the last man standing on your block. If the only person you recognize in your area is your mail carrier and that leaves you feeling isolated, it may be time to plan a move to a place where you'll see some familiar faces.

6. Has your lifestyle changed?

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Even if you once reveled in the majesty of your two-story entryway, if the thought of climbing 28 stairs to get to your bedroom now leaves you wanting to sleep on the couch in the living room, it's time to move. As many homeowners get older, they seek the ease and convenience of one-level living. If your house has become too large for you to comfortably and safely maneuver, make a change.

7. Are you sick of having too much stuff?

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Whether you're looking to explore the minimalist lifestyle or just wondering when and how you've accumulated so much stuff, you may want to consider streamlining your belongings. Holding a garage or estate sale is a great first step when thinking about downsizing. Organizations looking for donations abound online, with many offering free pickup and removal. Living in a tighter space forces you to really take stock of each item you allow through the door. Though it seems counterintuitive, having a smaller home may force you to really stay organized and not let clutter dominate your dwelling.

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Posted in Seller Tips
Nov. 16, 2017

4 Reasons NOW Is The Time To Buy A Home

If you're considering buying a home, ask any real estate agent worth their salt and they'll tell you: NOW is the time to do it. The real estate market is seemingly changing by the day, and if you want to get a great home for a great price, making a move now is in your best interest; conditions a year from now (or even six months from now) aren't likely to be as hospitable. And why is that? Why shouldn't you, if you're interested in buying a home, wait? Why is NOW the time to make a move?

1. Interest rates won't stay this low

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The first reason you should buy a home now is that interest rates are extremely competitive. While they aren't at the near-historic lows homeowners enjoyed in 2016, they're still hovering in the high 3%'s for 30-year fixed mortgages and the low 3%'s for 15-year loans. But that's going to change. Mortgage rates are scheduled to rise at least 3 times in 2018, with many experts predicting the interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage to reach 5% by the end of 2018. But what does that mean for you as a potential homeowner? Let's say your mortgage principal is $200,000. If you secured your mortgage with a 3.87% interest rate, the total interest you would pay over the course of the loan would be $138,571 (360 monthly payments of $940, for a total of $338,571). Now, if you secured a mortgage with a 5% interest rate, the total interest you would pay over the course of the loan jumps to $186,152, a difference of $43,581 (if you're interested in how changing interest rates affect the total cost of a mortgage, you can check out this interest rate calculator tool). Locking in a lower interest rate on your mortgage will save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your loan, which is why securing a loan now is in your best interest.

2. Competition is getting fierce

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Another reason now is a good time to purchase a home is that housing markets are growing more competitive every day. Now that much of the country has recovered from the recession, more and more people are in the position to purchase real estate. And the more people there are on the market, the more competition there is for homes. Competition is getting fierce in markets across the country. Homes are sold almost immediately, often at above asking price, and sellers are often dealing with multiple offers. The competition in most real estate markets is still manageable and deals are still to be found, but as the economy continues to improve, the competition will heat up even more - making finding and buying the home of your dreams significantly more challenging (not to mention expensive).

3. Homes are getting more expensive by the day...

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Speaking of expensive, homes are (literally) getting more expensive every day. In fact, as of June 2017, home prices have been rising every single month for well over 5 years. And that trend shows no sign of slowing. Experts predict home prices will jump up to 5% more in 2017 and another 3.5% in 2018 (with hot markets, like the Pacific Northwest, seeing even greater increases). Which means that if you purchase a home at the end of 2018, you can expect to pay an average of 8.5% more than you would pay today. Combine the rising interest rates with the rising home prices and you've got a recipe for paying a lot more for a home a year from now than you would pay today.

4. ... And there are fewer to choose from

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One of the factors in rising home costs is low inventory. When there are too many people who want to buy homes and not enough homes for them to buy, it drives up prices and competition in the market. We have a huge problem with low inventory now, but unfortunately, that problem doesn't have a simple solution. As interest rates rise, people are less likely to put their homes on the market in an effort to preserve the lower interest rates on their mortgages. The moral of the story is: there's low inventory now, but there's likely to be lower inventory in the future, which means prices will soar even higher. It's better to buy now than it is to wait for the problem to get worse. Buying a home is a big decision. But if it's a decision you're considering, now's the time to make a move. You'll enjoy lower interest rates and an overall less expensive (and less stressful!) experience today than you will if you wait. So get out there and find your dream home!

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Posted in Buyer Tips
Nov. 16, 2017

4 Behind-The-Scenes Ways Your Real Estate Agent Supports Your Home Sale

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, there are obvious things you notice them doing to help your house sell. Things like: hosting open houses, bringing potential buyers on home tours, and marketing your property in multiple ways to make sure it gets enough exposure. But when it comes to adding value to your home sale, that's just the tip of the iceberg. A huge percentage of your agent's job takes place behind-the-scenes, and they're working around the clock to get your house sold — even when you're not looking. Here are 4 behind-the-scenes way your real estate agent is working to get your house sold:

1. Performing market research

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When it comes to pricing your home, your agent doesn't just pull a random number out of a hat. Your agent's recommendation is a result of extensive market research to ensure your home is priced in a way that's attractive to both buyers and you, the seller. Agents pull data on comparable properties in your area (from both the MLS and any public databases) for the past 12 to 18 months. They research how each home was priced and how the price correlated to the average time the property sat on the market before coming up with a CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine the market value of your property and suggest a listing price. All the insights gathered from your agent's behind-the-scenes research are crucial to pricing your property correctly — and wouldn't be possible without your agent's hard work.

2. Gathering relevant information for buyers

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A critical part of the home selling process is providing accurate and complete information to potential buyers. But most of the information buyers want isn't something you, as a seller, will have ready and available. Your agent gathers all the information a potential buyer might want to know so that if and when they request it, it's ready to go. Agents research things like the average utility usage of your property for the past 12 months, a breakdown of the home's floor plan, and a list of all available electricity and gas vendors in the area to make it available to buyers, which saves you a ton of time and hassle.

3. Phone calls and scheduling

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As part of their marketing efforts, your agent likely has your property listed on both the MLS and multiple public forums in order to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as popular. And while the increased exposure is great for driving interest in your home, someone needs to manage all the inquiries, follow up with interested buyers, and schedule viewings. And that person is your real estate agent. When your agent calls you to schedule a tour, that's just a small part of the process. Before they called you, they've already answered email inquiries, fielded multiple phone calls, talked to buyer's agents, and weeded out people who aren't serious about viewing — and potentially buying — your home. The call you get to schedule the tour is the last step in a lengthy scheduling process — most of which your agent manages behind-the-scenes.

4. Managing the close (and all the logistics that go with it)

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Now, once a qualified buyer makes an offer on your home — and you decide to accept it — your agent's job goes into high gear. Now, that's not to say that managing the close happens entirely behind-the-scenes; obviously, your agent is going to work with you to get the job done. There's plenty of the closing process (from negotiating with the buyers to reviewing contracts) that you'll get to witness up close and personal. But there's a lot more that goes into managing the close of your home then what you actually see from your agent. They have to make sure the signed contracts are sent to everyone who needs a copy, including the lender, the buyer's agent, the title company, and any involved attorneys. They have to file a status change with the MLS from "For Sale" to "Pending" and, finally, to "Sold." They need to schedule the final walkthrough with the buyers and their agent. Closing on your home? It's kind of a logistical nightmare. But luckily for you, when you work with a real estate agent, they take care of all the (many) details and logistics that need to be managed throughout the closing process, saving you immeasurable time, money, and frustration. When you work with a real estate agent, it's easy to see the value that they bring to the table during the process of selling your home. But what you see is just the beginning. The hours you see your agent putting in — the home tours, the open houses, the phone calls — are just a tiny fraction of the work they're actually doing. Your agent is working around the clock to get your home sold... and the majority of that work takes place behind-the-scenes.

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Posted in Seller Tips
Nov. 16, 2017

3 Ways Real Estate Agents Actually SAVE You Money During Your Home Sale

One of the main gripes that people have with real estate agents is their commission. Many homeowners (mistakenly) think, “Why should I pay a real estate agent to do something I’m perfectly capable of doing myself?” The reason people avoid working with agents is because they think it’s going to cost them money. But in reality, working with a qualified real estate agent is worth far more than what you’ll pay in commission. In fact, working with a real estate agent can actually make the process of selling your home less stressful, less time consuming, and less expensive. Here are three ways real estate agents more than earn their commission — and can actually save you money — during your home sale:

1. They know the right people

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As the old real estate saying goes, when it comes to selling your home, it takes a village. And if you don't have the right villagers in your corner, the process of selling your home can get expensive, fast. During your home sale, there's all sorts of vendors you'll need to work with: contractors, landscapers, inspectors, tradesmen, professional stagers, movers... depending on your needs, the list can be lengthy. Finding all of those vendors on your own will take a lot of time — and there's no way to ensure you're getting a good deal when you hire them. But when you work with an agent, they have professional contacts across the board and can recommend the right vendors at the right price. Having access to your agent's network is a huge time and money saver during the sale of your home.

2. They know exactly how to price your home

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Pricing your home is tricky business. If you don't price it high enough, you'll be kicking yourself when you get less than what you believe your home is worth. But price it too high and you won't get any offers, leaving your house on the market — possibly stigmatized as "having something wrong with it" — and costing you money in the process. When you try to sell your home on your own, pricing your property can feel like a guessing game. But when you work with a qualified real estate agent, their deep market knowledge will help you price your home in a way that works for both you and potential buyers. It's an agent's job to know what's going on in your market. They know how much homes are selling for, how long homes are sitting on the market, and exactly how you need to price your home if you want it to sell quickly and profitably. This information will significantly speed up the process of selling your home AND help you fetch a higher price — both of which put money right back into your pocket.

3. They give you your time back

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Many sellers who try to manage their home sale on their own start the process thinking that it's going to require a minimal time investment. They think posting a few ads on home listing sites, hosting an open house or two, and signing a contract are all it takes to get a house sold. But unfortunately, that's not the case. Selling a home is a full-time job. That's why there's an entire industry built around it! Homeowners who go the sale-by-owner route in an attempt to save money often find their time, and lives, completely monopolized by the process. And, as they say, time is money. If you're spending all of your time trying to get your house sold, it's taking you away from your life — your family, your job, your hobbies. And there's no price tag for what that's worth. Working with a real estate agent takes all that time burden off of you. Selling your home is their full-time job, and they can devote the time and attention necessary to get it done quickly. The amount of time and hassle this will save you is invaluable. Not working with a real estate agent to save money on commission fees makes sense... in theory. But in practice, working with a real estate agent saves you immeasurable time, energy, and cash. Any good real estate agent will more than earn their commission — and then some — before the time comes to sign the closing papers.

Forefront Real Estate, LLC
info@forefrontrealtors.com 307-234-1523 www.forefrontrealtors.com 340 W Collins Dr Casper, WY 82601
Posted in Seller Tips