Category: Agents

Tips for Buyers on How to Buy a Home with a Tax Lien

Purchasing a home that has a tax lien.  

You’ve finally found your perfect home. The only problem is that it has a tax lien. Your friends and family may have told you to consider the lien a red flag and move on. However, you’re not sure. More often than not, a tax lien on a property doesn’t need to get in the way of your perfect home purchase. It’s simply a matter of doing your homework on the reason behind the lien, the amount it’s for, and whether the agreed-upon sale price will take care of the seller’s debt.

Property taxes are collected by state and local governments to fund public services and institutions, most often associated with public education, first responder services, and operational costs of local museums and parks. A lien is placed on a property when the homeowner fails to pay annual property taxes to the state or government. The lien is the amount owed and must be paid in order for the sale of the property to go through. Other forms of tax debt can also lead to a tax lien on the property.

If there’s a lot of money owed on the lien, you could be setting yourself up for a significant financial loss. Mortgage lenders take a more cautious approach. If you’re obtaining financing to purchase the property,then you will probably not be able to purchase a house with a tax lien on it.

If you need a loan to purchase the house, then you will most likely not be able to purchase as long as the tax lien is attached to the property. Most mortgage lenders require a first lien position on the property, and a tax lien will have first lien priority over the new mortgage loan. Therefore, your mortgage lender will require somebody to pay the taxes and have the tax lien removed before it will give you a mortgage loan on the property. In some circumstances, a tax lien may be subordinated which would allow the transaction to proceed.

Being prepared for a home sale or purchase is critical. Ensure that you know how to handle it by relying on the expertise of a professional mortgage corporation. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Curb Appeal Tricks to Attract Homebuyers

Make sure your client attracts homebuyers with these curb appeal tricks. 

Are you working with a homeowner to list their property? If so, you want to be sure that they pay particular attention to ensuring the outside of the house looks its best at all times. Buyers only have one chance to make an impression on a seller, and the front of the house is the first thing people will see. If it’s looking lacklustre, check out these tips to improve curb appeal that you can relay to your client. 

  • Give the front door a facelift – Give the front door a fresh lick of paint (or paint it a new, bold color!) and molding for a grand entrance to your home!
  • Painting or re-painting – This is a great way to drastically alter the home’s curb appeal and it may be the perfect option if you want to give your house a brand new look. Give the exterior walls some flair by picking a different (but neutral) color.
  • Change the light fixture – This brightens up the house while creating a safe and inviting environment.
  • Make the bed – Groomed garden beds indicate that the home has been well-maintained. Add some fresh, spring flowers, remove dead weeds and any debris to tidy and brighten up the front garden.
  • Prune and divide – Trim shrubs, making sure to remove dead branches. Get rid of dead or diseased plants in the landscape. If there are perennial plants that have gotten too big, divide them and plant them in other places around the landscape.
  • Trim the trees – The home needs to be visible from the curb so cut overgrown bushes and trees that blockage the driveway, path, or windows.
  • Wash away the dirt – Many homeowners never realize how dirty their house gets! Turn the garden hose to the strongest setting to eradicate any dirt from the house and driveway.
  • Fence around the yard – A small and neat fence is a great way to give the home a nice and cozy look.
  • Let in light – Clean the windows to make them sparkle.

Have more questions about home improvements? Buying and selling a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Should Home Buyers Buy a Property with Cash?

Talking to your home buyer about purchasing with cash.

Is your home buyer thinking about purchasing a property with cash? If so, make sure that they understand the implications of purchasing with cash, and the pitfalls that they could encounter. Although paying cash is still a far-fetched dream for many people, it’s becoming more common in the real estate market. Buyers should be mindful that it may not always be the right option.  Here’s what buyers should know.

Mortgage qualification

If you have enough cash to purchase a home outright, lenders will likely view you favourably for mortgage options. With a down payment of 20 percent or more, you don’t have to worry about mortgage insurance when it comes to a conventional loan, and you’re likely to receive a low-interest rate.

Loss of liquidity

Generally, it’s not wise to purchase a home with cash if you have just enough liquidity to pay for it. Cash is important to have on hand for unexpected disasters, such as a new roof or a medical emergency. You need to have some sort of a backup in case you lose your income.

Tax breaks

All homeowners with a mortgage receive a tax break on the interest paid to the lender. The interest you accrue when you pay on the loan is huge. If you choose to pay for your home in cash, you miss out on this tax break. 

Some buyers don’t realize they can close with cash and refinance right away to get a portion of their cash back in hand, while still keeping a possible interest deduction with financing.

Contact Dean Rathbun when you’re looking to secure the right mortgage for your needs. We work with your credit score and financial picture to ensure that you lock in the right home loan to land that house of your dreams. Give us a call to get started.

What Should a Seller Fix?

Prepare your seller to repair these important items.

Homeowners often overlook a lot of the wear and tear that happens to the property over the years. But, when they are starting to think about selling the property, the state of the home becomes much clearer. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to get the most money out of your property or a real estate agent who is working with a new seller, take a look at these common issues that need to be repaired when selling a property.

  • Paint

Paint is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to update the look of a property before listing it. Lighter and neutral colors are preferred when selling because they tend to appeal to most people. Not every room needs to be painted, but a touch up on the important rooms and exterior won’t go amiss.

  • Lighting

Lighting can make even the smallest home seem open and inviting. To maximize the perception of space, take advantage of bright and well-placed lights. If there are ‘dated’ light fixtures, this is another area to address. Updating the lighting fixtures can translate into a quicker sale.

  • Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it pays to give it extra attention. A large kitchen renovation isn’t’ required, but updating the lighting fixtures, paintwork, and countertops can help to appeal to more home buyers. 

Have more questions about home improvements? Buying and selling a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

3 Ways to Capture More Listings Without Cold Calling

Ideas on how to get more listings without picking up the phone. 

Most of us aren’t natural cold callers. It can be awkward, intrusive, and even counterproductive. Fortunately, there are many ways you can still get real estate leads without picking up the phone and trying to generate interest. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Target divorcees

Although this is a slightly taboo topic, it does present a great opportunity for agents looking for listings. Did you know that most judges mandate that couples sell their current property? This means that you have an opportunity to help divorcees to navigate a swift and easy home sale. You can target this group through social media fortunately, meaning you don’t have to make awkward announcements on social networks.

Vacant homes

It’s a good idea to prospect vacant homes. This can take quite a bit of legwork, but they may prove to be worth it. Once you find them, it’s just a matter of time before the previous homeowner wants to sell. You can use your local county clerk’s website to prospect for homes that might be vacant.

Partner with the community

Small local banks, builders, plumbers, electricians, and more are looking for business just like you. Look up possible businesses you would want to work with and then devise a plan of action on how to capture their attention. Be sure to follow up with them every month and figure out a way for the two of you to work together.

These tips can help you to become a better, more efficient real estate agent. When you’re looking for more tips and advice about the industry, talk to the experts at Dean Rathbun. We have the right resources for your needs.

What to Tell Your Real Estate Buyer Early On

What you should let your real estate clients know.  

Real estate deals fall through every day for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, many times these occur because the real estate agent or broker forgot to or didn’t explain something clearly to the client. It may seem overwhelming, but educating your buyer clients early on in the process can spare you heartache down the line. Here is what you should tell your buyers early on.

A very low offer can backfire on you.

Sometimes, a slow market with rising inventory can encourage buyers to make low-ball offers to test the sellers’ motivation. It’s typical that sellers come back with a high counter offer to draw the buyer up to a decent price. However, going in with a low offer approach can backfire. If the homeowner has loved their property for many years, such a low offer can offend them and cause damage to the relationship.

I’m not an expert in X, but I can help you locate one.

Many buyers have this preconceived notion that a real estate agent can help them with all things home and property related. In many cases, this is true. However, you may not also be a lawyer, appraiser, or engineer. Don’t take on too many tasks that you are not comfortable with, as this can end up with them being disappointed later on.

Avoid buying new furniture until the deal closes.

We’ve all been there – close to a sale where the buyer gets too excited and starts splashing out on new furniture to fill their new home. This can dramatically affect their credit, meaning that if the lender runs a check the day before closing, they may reconsider the agreement because of this new debt. Advise your buyer to make no significant credit changes or purchases during this critical period.

Need industry advice on how to sell a property and expand your book of business? Talk to the experts at Dean Rathbun who can help you get started today.

How to Break the Myth That All Real Estate Agents Are the Same

Tips on how you can stand out from the real estate crowd.

As a real estate agent in California, you may know by now that the industry is full of hot competition. You want yourself as an agent and the services you offer to stand out from the crowd – but so does everyone else. It’s not just real estate agents that suffer with this. Buyers and sellers can often think that it doesn’t matter which agent they choose – they’re all the same. To help you truly shine in this industry and prove you’re different, take a look at these tips.

Think outside the box

When a real estate agent thinks of promotional material, the first thought is often to plaster their headshot on signs, business cards, and benches. However, this can be seen as an outdated method that doesn’t capture that much attention these days. Professionals should take the time to demonstrate a true respect for buyers and sellers. Like most marketing material these days, it should be clean and concise.

Highlight your services

Do you do anything different than most real estate agents and agencies? If so, let your followers and fans know! If you have particularly good reviews and referrals, make sure to share them on your site and social media. People like to know what they’re getting out of a service, especially if it is from someone you have previously worked with.

Leverage referrals

Similar to above, make sure you use referrals to your advantage. A review from a previous client gives more depth to your agency as people see you as a person rather than just another service provider. Make sure to ask for referrals from your clients so that you have a nice accumulation of reviews.

As a real estate agent, you help buyers find their dream homes. The team at Dean Rathbun can help agents grow their reach and book of business. Whether you need an expert network or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

Tips for Giving Your Home a Fresh Start for the New Year

Breathe new life into your property with these tips.

The New Year is an exciting time for all of us, especially homeowners. Although January can feel a bit lifeless and limp, there are certain things you can do to bring about fresh opportunities and a sense of revitalization. This can extend to our homes, too. Take a look at our top ways you can breathe new life into your property this year.

  • Switch Things Up

Make small or large improvements to the property this year. You can move the furniture around to design a new living space, revamp your décor, repaint, upgrade the bathroom, and more! Making changes, however big or small, helps to create a better-designed space for you and your family.

  • Deep Clean

Although spring cleaning duties are still a couple months away, you can get a head start by giving your property a deep clean. A thorough clean and declutter can help to set the intention for the year ahead. Tackle one room at a time, starting with the ceiling and working downwards. Don’t forget to pull out appliances and furniture to clean the space behind them. A sparkling space makes a great start to the New Year!

  • Tend to the Yard

Over winter, the outside of our properties often gets neglected. This year, dedicate some time to revamping your yard, improving curb appeal, and making the property look new and improved. Painting the front door, trimming the bushes, and planting colorful flowers helps to bring out the best in a house.

Have more questions about home improvements? Buying and selling a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Ask for Client Referrals

Easy ways to ask for referrals to improve your real estate business.

As a realtor, it’s common to feel like you’re bothering clients when asking them for a referral. It’s a service that benefits you rather than them, and many business owners leave this important step out of their marketing strategy. However, if clients are happy with your service, sparing a couple of minutes is not a big ask. Plus, it hugely benefits your business. To help you ask for referrals with ease, read on.

Think differently about referrals. Stop telling yourself that you’re asking for referrals. Instead, think of it as progressing your business and caring about clients. In fact, you could be saving your clients’ friends thousands of dollars. Changing your mindset towards referrals will help you to ask for them!

Establish a referral reward program. Create an easy-to-follow procedure on how clients benefit from referring your business. If your clients know exactly what to expect when they refer someone, they are more likely to do it.

Add a recommend-a-friend section on your site. This strategy continues to be effective time and time again. Have a page or box somewhere on your website that allows people to send an email to a friend recommending your agency.

Ask in your email signature. Your email signature is a block of text that automatically shows up at the bottom of your emails. Most people’s signatures display their name, contact information, and maybe a link to their website. This place is a great opportunity to request a referral, because it’s not a direct email asking a client, but it does allow the reader to quickly forward on your contact information to friends and family.

Hand out two business cards. When you hand out your cards, give everyone two and ask them to hand out the second one. Mention that the second card is for a friend or family member.

Thank referrers on your social media sites. When you receive customer referrals, go to your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and thank the people who have provided referrals out in the open for everyone to see. Not only does this show the referrer how much you appreciate their gesture, which should get you more referrals from them, but it shows everyone else how you appreciate referrals, encouraging others to leave you one!

These tips can help you stand out as a real estate agent. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make referrals work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing business.

Real Estate Marketing Tools Agents Need in 2019

Don’t leave these essential factors out of your toolkit.

Real estate marketing strategies have changed dramatically over the past several decades. The digital age has opened new doors for marketing to potential clients and most, if not all, real estate agencies have some form of online presence. If you have the right tools and resources, you’ll reach a larger audience and expand your book of business. Whether you’re tech-savvy or still getting the hang of Facebook, take a look at these marketing essentials your agency will need in 2019.

A website that stands out. Your agency and service is unique – so why settle for a templated website? Undoubtedly, your website should look good, be easy to navigate, and have information readily available. Stunning photos should be of high quality to grab the guest’s attention. A fully functioning website is one tool that you do not want to overlook this year!

3D virtual tours. When it comes to online marketing, content is king. A close second, though, is visuals – specifically, video. Still-frame photos are still incredibly important to any real estate agency, but many buyers are enjoying 3D video virtual tours that allow them to get the feel of a property without leaving their own home. Videos are intriguing to buyers and do a good job of grabbing their attention.

Marketing campaigns. Real estate marketers can benefit significantly from running campaigns that have a large reach. Text message marketing, in particular, is often neglected but can be hugely beneficial. With new texting services, you can send market and listing updates with ease and quickly communicate with your clients.

These tips can help you grow your agency throughout the New Year. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make these resources work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.