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     News of what is driving the market and what direction rates are moving

     Selling and buying your home.

     Property values and appraisals.

     Real estate tips and terms.

     Featured Mortgage programs.

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Cheep help Floor exercises Tuning up your house Dealing with drought
  How to help your agent 

Why is it that some homebuyers and sellers absolutely love the same agent whose name has been torn from other buyers’ and sellers’ address books? 

The difference isn’t necessarily just the agent. More than likely, the buyers and sellers own behaviors and attitudes were part of the equation. 

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Are fix-ups worth it? 

The houses that sell for the most money are usually the ones that are in move-in condition. These are the homes that are in highest demand. They often sell quickly, sometimes for over the asking price. 

Buyers often avoid listings that need a lot of work. Some buyers are scared off when they hear a home has a lot of termite damage or that it needs a new roof. For others, the mere thought of overseeing contractors to get repair work done is burdensome. And it's difficult for most buyers to envision transforming a dowdy abode into a home that's oozing with charm. However, if you're energetic and imaginative, a home that needs work can present a great opportunity. 
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The difference between appraisal and inspection 
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Dear Barry, 

As a real estate appraiser, I've considered the addition of home inspections to the services offered by my company. One of the trade journals I receive has actively promoted this idea, and I've met other appraisers who are taking this advice seriously. According to articles and advertisements, a home inspection can be performed concurrently with an appraisal and generally entails an additional hour or so at the property. One thing that concerns me, however, is the added liability. Before attempting to engage two tandem businesses, I'd like to know as much as possible about the relationship between home inspection and appraisal. Do these two services seem compatible or are there risks involved in attempting to do both? –John

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How do you increase the value of your property?

The biggest factor that can affect property value -- market conditions -- are outside of your control. But other factors -- including the condition of the property, certain home improvements and neighborhood stability and safety -- are not. 

For example, specific home improvements can increase your property value above the cost of the improvements themselves, such as remodeling a kitchen, adding a bathroom, finishing a basement or upgrading landscaping. Just be sure that quality pays with remodeling. A bad remodeling job will do little to boost your property value. 

If you live in a high-crime area, an organized community watch program not only will lower the crime rate but can enhance property values, too. It also helps to live in an area where other homeowners are upgrading their homes, which can help pull up your property value, too. 

The bottom line is to measure the cost of any improvements you want to make against the overall values in your neighborhood. If you overimprove for the neighborhood, you may not necessarily recover your costs or boost your property value significantly. 

What is the difference between market value and appraised value?

The appraised value of a house is a certified appraiser's opinion of the worth of a home at a given point in time. Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process; fees range from $300 to $350. 

Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a real estate agent or broker. Either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis is the most accurate way to determine what your home is worth. 

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