Flood Insurance Rates Skyrocketing on Homeowners

Collier Swecker video blogs about how FEMA recently released updated flood maps in the Birmingham AL area and many homeowners are shocked to learn that their property is now in a FEMA defined flood zone. Many experts are concerned that many properties have been deemed to be in a flood zone when in fact they should not be. The creators of the flood zone maps did not, in most cases, create these flood maps after a visual inspection of the properties, but rather they were created from data models as they sat at their desk in some far off bureaucratic office. Why is this bad? It is bad because at nearly the same time a bipartisan bill was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama that essentially removed all Federal subsidies for the Federal Flood Insurance Program and as a result increased the annual premiums as high at 10 times the current rates. Remember, that if a homeowner is going to obtain a mortgage on their home or they currently have a mortgage and any part of their property is in a flood zone they are in for a big increase in the cost of the required flood insurance. There is no phasing in of these rate increases. We have worked with at least two young couples that have seen their rates go from $350 a year to over $3000 a year. In each of these cases the chance of them actually flooding was so slim that I am not sure that Noah would have worried about building an Arc. I am not opposed to raising Flood Insurance premiums or getting rid of government subsidies, I am just against these subsidies being removed “cold turkey” with no advance warning to these homeowners, many of whom are living month-to-month. They should have phased out the subsidies over a number of years. This issue WILL affect our economy and the real estate market over the coming years. If you have any questions or comments email me at Collier@MegaAgents.com, visit my blog at www.CollierSwecker.com or my website at www.MegaAgents.com.

Home Sellers Security Systems Spying on Home Buyers?

Collier Swecker video blogs about how many of the homes currently on the market for sale have “Smart Home” technology that allows Home Sellers to not only listen to Home Buyers as they tour a home with their Realtor but in some cases Sellers can video the entire visit as well. While it is understandable that Sellers want to protect their home from thieves, I am concerned that too many conversations that Home Buyers intend to be private are being recorded or overheard by the Home Sellers who are essentially getting information from the Buyers that they can use against the Buyer in negotiations.  I believe that Homebuyers should, out of an abundance of caution, hold all purchase / “game plan” type conversations with their real estate agent outside of the home that they are looking at, so that they don’t risk losing any competitive advantage. If you have any questions or comments email me at Collier@MegaAgents.com, visit my blog at www.CollierSwecker.com or my website at www.MegaAgents.com.

Home Sellers Should Go With Neutral Paint Colors For a Reason

 

Neutral Paint ColorCollier Swecker video blogs about the importance of keeping the paint colors very neutral when home sellers are listing their home for sale. It is so important thatSellers allow prospective Home Buyers the ability to envision their furniture and “stuff” in a home and not to use Bold colors that will distract the Home Buyer. We recommend Sherwin Williams “Original Khaki” and “Relaxed Khaki” as the perfect neutral colors for a home that is listed for sale. If you have any questions or comments email me at Collier@MegaAgents.com, visit my blog at www.CollierSwecker.com or my website at www.MegaAgents.com.

Sellers You Need to Check Your Realtors Website

Collier Swecker video blogs about how important it is for home sellers to ask real estate agents that they interview about their web presence and ask whether the agent is relying on a free generic website that is given to them by their brokerage. The Agents who are actually Selling tons of homes in this market spend thousands of dollars every month, making sure that they have a customized website that has been optimized to put thousands of eyes on their listings and to make sure that when potential buyers visit the website, the buyer has an easy search experience so that they will keep returning to the website. The generic, brokerage provided websites are not indexed easily by Google and the search experience by prospective buyers is usually down right awful. A simple question you can ask a Realtor is, “Do you pay for your website?” If they say no, keep interviewing till you get a “Yes”. One good way to check if an agent understands how real estate is marketed online is to see if they have a custom email address instead of a generic email address like @gmail.com, @bellsouth.net, and @yahoo.com. If an agent cannot market themselves properly online, I am quite certain that they will not be able to market your home effectively online either. If you have any questions or comments email me at Collier@MegaAgents.com, visit my blog at www.CollierSwecker.com or my website at www.MegaAgents.com.

Home Sellers and Realtors Need to Use Professional Photography

Collier Swecker video blogs about a recent study by the real estate brokerage Redfin, that showed that sold homes that had professionally shot photographs sold on average for $3,000 more than those homes that had owner shot or agent shot photography. Since Web Appeal is the new Curb Appeal, photography may be the absolute most important aspect of the marketing process. We use professional photography on over 90% of our listings and it has made an incredible difference in ensuring that our listings sell faster and for more money. Make sure you ask your agent if they intend to have your home photographed by a professional photographer. If you have any questions or comments email me at Collier@MegaAgents.com, visit my blog at www.CollierSwecker.com or my website at www.MegaAgents.com.