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					8                                                            HOME & GARDEN Spring Edition                                                        TRAVERSE CITY RECORD-EAGLE Tuesday & Sunday, April 12 & 17, 2005




Tips for both buying and selling your home
BY GAYLE CRAMPTON                    TIPS FOR BUYERS             weekend we’d go look at                important thing a seller can        your asking price and the            involved with the house,”
Special to the Record-Eagle                                      them from the curb, drive              do, and there’s no ideal way        speed with which you want            Stapleton said. “We can
                                       Get Prequalified          around the neighborhoods,              to get it right. If you bring in    to sell. With a reduced              help you set a better price,
  A home is probably the
                                  “Prequalifying,” or identi-    and make appointments to               100 potential buyers, 100           price, you might be able to          and we can spot a house
biggest purchase most of us
                                fying how much money you         go see inside the ones we              Realtors and 100 apprais-           sell to someone who is               that’s way overpriced.”
will make. Both buying and
                                might obtain from a lender,      were interested in.”                   ers, you’ll get 300 different       happy with a “a fixer-                 Marc and Janet Wood sold
selling one involves emo-
                                will clarify the price range                                            answers, all valid. They’re         upper.” Instead, paint. It’s         their house with a Realtor’s
tional decisions — after all,
                                of homes you can consider               Get an Inspection               just from different perspec-        cheap, relatively quick and          help last year after they had
our home is our center of
                                and will speed up your actu-       No home is trouble free,             tives,” Stireman said. “But         removes a multitude of               trouble selling it them-
security, our expression of
                                al financing when you do         but a home inspection can              the market will always set          small sins. And if necessary,        selves.
ourselves.
                                find a house. Make sure that     identify any problems that             the correct price, if you let       it can be easily replaced by           Janet said, “This time,
  But purely emotional deci-
                                the lender breaks the full       can substantially impact               it.”                                a buyer.                             (working with a Realtor) we
sions can be fraught with
                                amount down, so that you         value. Usually your pur-                 So be ready to move the                                                had 48 showings! With two
error and disappointment,
                                can see what your monthly        chase agreement (PA) is                price if you get 25 viewers               Bargain with tenants           young children, I was just so
so thoughtful buyers and
                                payments would be at vari-       written to be “contingent              in two weeks without offers           If you are selling property        glad I didn’t have to do
sellers bring hard facts and
                                ous different levels.            upon housing inspection.”              or repeat visits.                   you are currently renting,           them myself.”
a little research to the task
                                Lenders typically qualify        The fee can be money well                                                  keep the lines of communi-             Realtors can also save you
as well.
                                you for a larger dollar          spent, as it can save you                      Stage the house             cation open. Be honest and           from discomfort during
  Longtime Realtors agree
                                amount than you expected.        grief later. If a significant            Your house, of course,            fair about the terms of the          negotiation.
that there’s no secret to
                                Remember, you have a bet-        problem does arise, you                should be clean. Turn on            lease and whether your ten-            “The Realtor is a sort of
instantaneously selling your
                                ter understanding of your        have the option of trying to           the lights, open curtains or        ants have to move after a            neutral party,” Wood said.
home, or finding a new one.
                                monthly expenses than a          renegotiate the PA with the            both — do everything you            sale. Consider a longer wait         “Buyers don’t have to worry
  “The buying mind is a
                                lender.                          seller — many are willing to           can to maximize light in the        before closing the sale, to          that offers are insulting to
mysterious mind,” said
                                                                 drop the price to allow for            room. Make sure the house           give them time to move.              owners.
Andy Stireman of Coldwell
                                          Look Around            needed repairs, or will                is warm enough and smells             “You definitely want them            Luckily, Realtors’ assets
Banker Schmidt Realtors in
                                  “I call this ‘windshield       make repairs before the                good. (The smell of baking          on your side, helping,”              can be very helpful: quick
Traverse City, with a laugh.
                                time,’¡” said Stireman. “It’s    sale.                                  cookies may seem gimmicky           Stireman said. “Maybe you            access to ad systems, web
“Often I see people happily
                                no pressure, no fuss, just                                              to some viewers, and fresh          can give them ten bucks off          pages, comprehensive
purchasing a home that’s
                                spend some time driving           Stay calm until you close             flowers or potpourri can set        the rent for every showing           regional listings and lots of
practically the opposite of
                                around in various neighbor-       Try not to get carried away           off allergies.) Give the            that goes as it’s supposed to        buyers.
what they originally went
                                hoods or areas, looking at       about the home you plan to             potential buyers a chance to        — when they’re out of the              To choose an agent, always
looking for.”
                                homes for sale from your         buy until the day you buy it.          see it as their house, by           house and it’s clean.”               seek referrals. Have they
  Even after 16 years in his
                                car.”                            Problems can occur                     removing yourself, your               When deciding whether to           sold homes like yours, or
family’s realty business, the
                                  Buyers Dave and Kari           between PA and closing.                children and your pets.             use a Realtor or to sell the         like the home you want, in
only magic he’s seen are the
                                Speckman used this tactic.       Don’t order the custom                                                     house yourself, consider             the area important to you?
mental twists and turns that
                                  “We’d pick an area each        draperies and living room                   Don’t spend a nickel           your available time.                   Also, look for Realtors
eventually convert lookers
                                week, look online at the         suite until the house is                 unless it nets you a dime           Christine Stapleton,               who maintain a Web site
into buyers.
                                Traverse Area Association        yours.                                   Don’t invest in expensive         Realtor, broker and owner            and belong to state and
  Realtors do suggest, how-
                                of Realtors Web site (see                                               repairs, new wallpaper or           of Stapleton Realty in               national Realtor’s associa-
ever, some time-tested ideas
                                below) for any homes that             TIPS FOR SELLERS                  floor coverings. Potential          Honor, has worked in Grand           tions.
that can reduce frustration
                                seemed promising and pull                                               buyers might not share your         Traverse and nearby coun-
for both buyers and sellers.
                                the addresses,” Dave                  Set the price right               tastes. Important repairs           ties for 10 years.                     Gayle Crampton is a local
                                Speckman said. “Then every        “This is probably the most            should be weighed against             “We’re not emotionally             freelance writer.




                                                                   ‘Hybrid’ mortgages offer 5 years of savings
                                                                 BY JAMES M. WOODARD                                                        Freddie Mac report.                  0.82 percentage points above
                                                                 Copley News Service                      The most popular                    Nothaft said there is grow-        the rate on the traditional 1-
                                                                   What kind of mortgage                 hybrid is known as                 ing popularity for ARMs,             year ARM, and 0.65 percent-
                                                                                                                                            particularly those carrying          age points below the rate on
                                                                 loan is best — fixed-rate or             a 5/1 ARM, which                  no interest for the first five       a 30-year fixed-rate mort-
                                                                 adjustable-rate? That ques-
                                                                 tion puzzles many con-
                                                                                                           carries a 5-year                 years in high-priced mar-            gage.
                                                                                                           fixed rate, then                 kets.                                  “Hybrid ARMs provide
                                                                 sumers seeking to buy a
                                                                                                                                              The most popular hybrid is         consumers with the comfort
                                                                 home or refinance an exist-             the rate is annual-                known as a 5/1 ARM, which            of knowing that interest rate
                                                                 ing mortgage. The answer
                                                                 differs for different people,           ly adjusted for the                carries a 5-year fixed rate,         will be fixed over the first
                                                                                                                                            then the rate is annually            five years of the loan,”
                                                                 but it may explain why                  remaining term. In                 adjusted for the remaining           Nothaft said. “However, the
                                                                 adjustable-rate mortgages
                                                                 are popular and why
                                                                                                           2004, almost 40                  term. In 2004, almost 40 per-        interest rate may jump as
                                                                                                           percent of new                   cent of new adjustable-rate          much as 5 percentage points
                                                                 “hybrid” adjustable mort-
                                                                                                                                            mortgages were 5/1 mort-             on the fifth anniversary.
                                                                 gages are today’s rising                  adjustable-rate                  gages, the report said.              Thus, the loan has been par-
                                                                 stars.
                                                                                                           mortgages were                     For example, the average           ticularly popular with fami-
                                                                   In recent months, the dif-
                                                                                                                                            initial interest rate for 5/1        lies who plan to have the
                                                                 ference between interest                  5/1 mortgages.                   hybrids in 2004 was just             mortgage for five years or
                                                                 rates for fixed-rate and
                                                                                                                                            under 5 percent. That was            less.”
                                                                 adjustable-rate mortgages
                                                                                                        on the secondary market to
                                                                 has narrowed. This would
                                                                                                        assure a ready supply of
                                                                 normally weaken demand
                                                                 for adjustable-rate loans.
                                                                                                        home-loan funding.
                                                                                                          “When the difference in
                                                                                                                                                 SUNBRELLA AWNINGS
                                                                 But in 2004 when starting
                                                                 interest rates for ARMs
                                                                                                        interest rate between a 30-                    RETRACTABLE & STATIONARY
                                                                                                        year fixed-rate mortgage
                                                                 started inching up, lenders
                                                                                                        and the ARM rate decreases,
                                                                 countered by offering dis-
                                                                                                        lenders generally offer a                                                                   Largest
                                                                 counts to make ARMs more
                                                                                                        larger initial rate discount
                                                                 appealing.
                                                                                                        for ARM loans,” said Frank                                                                Selection of
                                                                   A year ago, the average ini-
                                                                 tial interest rate for a con-
                                                                                                        Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief                                                              Sunbrella®
                                                                                                        economist. “The larger ini-                                                                Outdoor
                                                                 ventional adjustable-rate
                                                                                                        tial discounts increase the
                                                                 loan was about one-third
                                                                                                        initial rate benefit of an                                                                 Fabric in
                                                                 percent lower less than that
                                                                 for a mortgage with a fixed
                                                                                                        ARM compared with fixed-                                                                   Northwest
                                                                                                        rate loans, helping lenders
                                                                 rate. By the end of 2004, the
                                                                                                        to boost their ARM origina-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Michigan
                                                                 difference had increased by
    C H E C K O UT                                               almost 1 percent to an aver-
                                                                 age of 1.3 percent.
                                                                                                        tions.”
                                                                                                          ARMs accounted for 34

         O UR                                                      Over the past 21 years, ini-
                                                                                                        percent of new mortgages in
                                                                                                        2004. Popularity peaked in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hi412 792390




                                                                 tial discounts averaged
                                                                                                        June with a 40 percent                • Patio • Traditional • Domes • Custom Cushions
     WEBSITE !                                                   about 1.7 percent, reports
                                                                 Freddie Mac, a government-
                                                                 chartered company that
                                                                                                        share. The highest annual
                                                                                                        share on record was in 1984,
                                                                                                        when ARMs rose to 62 per-
  www.record-eagle.com                                           buys mortgages from lenders
                                                                 and sells them to investors
                                                                                                        cent of all mortgages, says a
                                                                                                                                            5474 M-72 E. • PO Box 157 • Acme, MI 49610 • 231-938-2233 • 800-953-2288



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