Archive for the ‘Buying a Home’ category

Is buying a home a good idea in November and December?

October 10, 2014

thanksgivingAs the holiday season approaches, based on my years of experience, the months of November and December are great for home buyers. The reasons for this appear to be:

  1. There are fewer buyers – with all the things going on around the holidays many buyers are simply too busy to focus on finding a home.
  2. Fewer buyers mean Sellers may be willing to deal – when homes stay on the market during the holiday season that indicates the seller is very motivated to close quickly.
  3. I find sellers are more willing to pay closing cost and leave items (like refrigerators) as part of the transaction.

So, if you are looking for a home during the holiday season, be sure to contact me and we will find the best place at the best price.

Are you Taking Advantage of Referrals?

May 13, 2014

How do you handle a referral? When someone gives you the name and contact information of a potential client, do you have a process? If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’re not going to take advantage of the referral.

Your Personal Network

Your Personal Network

Sometimes referred to as a “warm lead”, a referral is not an automatic sale. You must manage and nurture the potential client to prevent them from becoming another name in your client list. Here are five tips recently offered by to turn a referral into a client.

  1. Arrange an Introduction

Try to set up a meeting where the prospect, the person giving the referral, and you can meet face to face. Having everyone together is a great way to create trust, get to know one another and generate rapport which is the foundation for a strong working relationship.

2. Do Your Homework

Once you’ve met the referral, set up a time to discuss exactly what the prospect is looking for and how you can be of service to them. By understanding their “wants” and “needs” is a critical first step in determining exactly how you can best present solutions to meet those wants and needs.

Dig deep, many times people don’t know exactly what they really need or want, but they know what they don’t want. Build a picture for them. Be sure to ask follow up questions regarding what they’ve told you to help explain why they want a specific option or service. “Why is that?” or “Please explain?” are great ways to find out the why behind the want.

3. Assume Nothing

When you receive a referral, the referrer may try to tell you everything they know about the prospect. Don’t rely on this information as the only information you depend on as you move forward. You must get to know the prospect personally. Your relationship may well be completely different than that of the referrer and the prospect may respond completely differently in the context of your dealings.

  1. Don’t Overwhelm Your Contact

It is human nature to want to give the prospect everything they will need to make a decision right at first, but many times this will run them off. We want them to be well informed but remember too much at once can overwhelm and frustrate potential clients. Introduce important information each time you meet with them.

  1. Let Your Personality Shine

It’s quite likely that you received a warm contact through someone that knows you, or at least knows of you. They referred you for two primary reasons: your professional ability and your likability. You can prove your professional mettle in a number of ways — defining wants and needs, educating your client on the local market, and demonstrating your expertise in the buying/selling process. Showing your personality is sometimes more difficult than proving professionalism. It’s important to do though, as people want to work with someone they like. As a real estate pro, you’re used to reading people and understanding what makes them tick. Use that skill to “break the ice” early in the process. While you can’t force someone to like you, making an effort to be personable can pay huge dividends.

Once you’ve taken care of the referral, remember to take care of the referrer. You don’t have to fill them in on every single aspect of what you’ve done for the referral, but a few key points will help strengthen your relationship, especially if you tell them how much they have helped you succeed. Of course be sure to reciprocate with a good quality referral. Building your referral network will do more for your long term success than any advertising campaign.

When does a Buyer’s termination option really end?

April 17, 2014

In a recent blog post on the Texas Association of Realtors web site, asked this very question. When does a Buyer’s termination actually end?

ContractMany Realtors say the deadline is 5:00 PM of the last day of the contract but in actuality “TREC contracts and addenda do not specify a time-of-day deadline.” Further the post commented “The language of the termination-option provision allows for termination at any time within a specified number of days after the effective date of the contract. Therefore, a buyer may provide the notice to terminate up until 11:59 p.m. of the last day of the termination-option period.

The best thing to do, of course, is for all parties to avoid last-minute compliance with performance-of-contract obligations or requirements whenever possible to avoid controversy.

It must be noted that the blog has a legal disclaimer (which is repeated here for convenience):

“The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.”

“While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.”

To read the comments about the TAR article click on

Finding Design Help on the Web

April 14, 2014

You’ve lived in your home now for many years and its time to start making changes to make it more livable. Where do you go to start your design plans? This article introduces you to a couple of my favorites.

The first site to check out is offers great articles, idea books, Advice and weekly e-zine.  Design ideas vary from landscaping to building. This site is very visual. Every article is packed with images of finished projects. It is the perfect place to see what others have done. Check out an example article.

Ella Decor

Ella Decor

Another excellent design site can be found at This site, like, has an eclectic array of ideas, concepts and examples. A word of warning, ElleDecor is much more of a typical web site with more advertizing but it delivers when it comes to Desgin and Decorating concepts.

These are just two of the many web sources to help you design that perfect yard, kitchen, or room. Check back regular for more home ideas.

Are foreclosures really a bargain?

March 6, 2014

foreclosed in flower mound, texasLife is full of twists and turns. As much as we try to plan for every possible contingency, there are simply factors that affect our lives over which we have no control. A foreclosure is not typically the desired outcome of any new home owner, yet it happens. If you have a previous foreclosure and are wondering about your options regarding future home ownership, be sure to check out our blog post titled: After a foreclosure how to own a home again.

For those of you looking to purchase a home on a smaller budget, there are several options available for “bargain house hunting.”

First, you might want to investigate purchasing a foreclosure. However, this is not a process you should go through alone. Many experts advise buyers to hire an expert to ensure the house is thoroughly inspected and that any liens, undisclosed mortgages or court judgments are cleared or at least disclosed.

Another option, if you are a veteran, is to look into veteran loans which can offer up to 100% financing. There are specific stipulations with this, so be sure you are dealing with an agent familiar with the process. The Veteran’s Association (VA) also has VA foreclosures, and if you are interested, you can call 1-800-827-1000 to request a current listing.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also acquires foreclosures, and if you (and the house) meet certain criteria, you could purchase a house with a down payment as low as $100.

Buying foreclosures are risky because you are buying the property “as-is.” This is why it is difficult to get a bank loan, because the bank knows if you default on your loan, they might get stuck with a money-pit.

For more information regarding purchasing a foreclosed property and where to find foreclosure listings, visit our Buyer’s Resource Page on Ideal Real Estate Group’s website and select Foreclosures. As an experienced real estate broker, Ideal Real Estate Group can walk you through the process.

If you feel you might be coming close to facing foreclosure, please pick up the phone and call me or email me, Sandy Luedke. I have decades of experience in the real estate market and have discovered options that may save you, and your home, from a foreclosure. Don’t wait until it’s too late and be proactive in exploring your options.

Do you know everything you should about home inspections and warranties?

February 13, 2014

Home Inspection

If you have spent any time on HGTV or are familiar with Mike Holmes, Canadian’s “Make it Right” guy, you know how important it is to get a home inspection before you sign on the dotted line.

Trying to rush things because you are hopeful things will just work out, or trying to beat out other offers by not having any buyer stipulations just isn’t wise. Moving into a home without a previous inspection can leave you saddled with emergency roof repairs, plumbing issues, hazardous wiring, insulation and asbestos issues, and so much more. Don’t leave it up to chance – invest in a home inspection.

In order to find a home inspector, Dian Hymer, author of “Buying and Selling a Home A Complete Guide,” Chronicle Books, San Francisco; 1994, advises looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications. “Ideally, the general inspector you select should be either an engineer, an architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations.”

So where do home warranties come in? For home ownership, you can expect at minimum 1% of the home’s value each year in maintenance costs. This could come in big chunks like replacing your AC, fixing your roof after a hail storm, or fixing damaged pipes after a freeze. This type of protection simply saves you money in the long run, and could really help you in the event of large home repair expenses.

There are a lot of home warranty plan options out there, so again, due diligence is wise. Sites like can be helpful in determining which plan is right for you.

For more tips on buying or selling your home, visit our Resource Page for Home Buyers

Finding a real estate agent, and what they need to know

January 30, 2014

Real Estate Agent InterviewsNo matter what type of business you are in, referrals are what keep the business alive. The same is true for real estate agents. Even with a good referral or two, due diligence needs to be done when looking for the realtor who is right for you.

First, be sure to ask around. Find someone who has actually used a full-time real estate agent in which they had a great experience. There are many people who “know” someone in real estate, but that does not give you an actual reference as to how the person performs.

Also, each agent will have different services they offer as well as different information they may require from you. There is a certain level of developed trust that is needed prior to divulging sensitive information, so it is best to begin looking for your ideal real estate agent as early as possible.

In addition, if you are looking to build a home instead of buying one from an owner, an agent can still be a great benefit to you as you deal with the home-builder’s sales agents.

For more specifics on what to look for when undergoing a search for your real estate agent, click here to visit our resource page titled Buying Your Home – Working With a Real Estate Agent.

If you are looking to build, buy, or sell, and have any questions regarding the process, please contact Ideal Real Estate Group at any time, and let us help you find your way home.

If you liked this article, you may also like:

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Whether buying or selling, do you really know what the home is worth?

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Should you save and wait to buy your dream home or purchase a starter home now?

January 23, 2014

Save for dream home or purchase starter home now - 1This is one of many questions someone may ask when considering the purchase of a new home.

For tips and advice on how to best answer this question for you and your family, click here to read an article on one of our Ideal Real Estate Group Resource Pages.

Maybe your question isn’t quite so grand and you just want to know whether you should first rent or look into purchasing a home right from the beginning.

On one hand, home ownership offers tax benefits as well as the freedom to make decisions about your home. On the other hand, an advantage of renting is not worrying about maintenance and other financial obligations associated with owning property. Click here to view a few other considerations to make as well when contemplating renting versus purchasing a home.

Acronyms and abbreviations can also be confusing for home buyers when reviewing home advertisements and website listings. There isn’t really a standard everyone is required to adhere to, so you’ll see a lot of variations. Here’s a few abbreviations defined for you:

  • assum. fin. — assumable financing
  • dk — deck
  • gar — garage
  • garden — gard
  • FDR — formal dining room (not the former president)
  • frplc, fplc, FP — fireplace
  • grmet kit — gourmet kitchen
  • HDW, HWF, Hdwd — hardwood floors
  • nr bst schls — near the best schools
  • pvt — private
  • upr — upper floor
  • vw, vu, vws, vus — view(s)

For more abbreviations and tips on buying a home, be sure to visit Ideal Real Estate’s Resource page on these topics by clicking here!

Don’t be dazed and confused about your real estate journey – we are dedicated to making sure this is a great experience for you. We look forward to helping you with all your real estate needs, so give us a call today.

Buying a home – pricing, negotiations, and disclosures

January 16, 2014

Finding a bargain homeIf you are in the market for purchasing a home, do you know the difference between the home’s list price, sales price and appraised value?

If not, click here to check out this resource page for home buyers on our Ideal Real Estate Group website.

Another area home buyers wonder about is how to find bargain homes, how to be successful at purchasing a home below market value, and whether or not to put in a low-ball offer. Click here (the same page is linked above) to learn about five ways you can find and buy a bargain property, and find advice on submitting a low-ball offer.

Also found on the page linked above is another hot-topic you need to know about when purchasing a new home – contingencies. Make sure you are familiar with various contingencies that can be put in an offer to purchase a home.

Along the same topic, be sure you know what the seller’s responsibilities are on disclosures. Laws vary state to state, so it is always good to know your rights. Sellers should disclose everything that affects the life and budget of the new homeowner, which might include:

  • homeowners association dues
  • whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements
  • the presence of any neighborhood nuisances or noises which a prospective buyer might not notice, such as a dog that barks every night or poor TV reception
  • any death within three years on the property
  • any restrictions on the use of the property, such as zoning ordinances or association rules

To learn more, including more on negotiations tips, click here and visit Ideal Real Estate Group’s resource page to be informed and prepared for the road ahead as you consider purchasing a new home. We’re here to help you every step of the way!

Defining closing costs and the role of a title company for home buyers

January 9, 2014

What are closing costs and why do I need a title companyWhy are there additional closing costs when purchasing a home? Closing costs are the fees for services, taxes or special interest charges that surround the purchase of a home. They are a part of every home buying transaction and include upfront loan points, title insurance, escrow or closing day charges, document fees, prepaid interest and property taxes. Unless, these charges are rolled into the loan, they must be paid when the home is closed.

If closing costs are not rolled into the home loan, which typically isn’t done unless there is some kind of special provision allowing you to finance 100% of your home purchase (like the veteran’s home loan benefit), you still have options for lowering your up-front fees (like closing costs) of purchasing a home.

For instance, did you know you can negotiate your closing costs, or ask the seller to pay for your closing costs? (5 more tips on reducing your closing costs can be found by clicking here.)

Another consideration that is highly encouraged, and sometimes required, is that you include the cost of a title report in your closing costs. Why is this important? A clear title report ensures there are no liens placed against the prior owners or any documents that will restrict your use of the property.

The last thing you want after going through a new home purchase, is a contractor coming up to your door saying he has a lien on the property because of past-due renovation bills by the previous owner. This scenario is actually more common than you think, and a title report can help ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

These are just a few tips you will find on the Ideal Real Estate Group’s website, and you can click here to read more!

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