Friday, November 30, 2007

5 Powerful Buying Strategies

1. Don't Get "Pre-Qualified!" Get "Pre-Approved"

Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller. In years past, we always recommended that buyers get "pre-qualified" by a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. Sellers are aware that such certificates are WORTHLESS, and here's why! None of the information has been verified! Unknown problems can surface for example: recorded judgments, child support payments due, glitches on the credit report (due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately), down payment funds that have not been in the clients' bank account long enough, etc. So the way to make a strong offer today is to get "pre-approved". This happens
AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It's VERY POWERFUL and a weapon we recommend all of our clients have in their negotiating arsenal.

2. Sell First, Then Buy

If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! Let's pretend that we go out looking for the perfect house for you. We find it and you love it! Now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that's a risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN'T have to sell a house while he's waiting for you. So he says OK, he'll do the contingency but it has to be a full price offer! So you see, you paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency. Now you have to sell your existing house, and in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the dream house! So to sell quickly you might take an offer that's lower than if you had more time. The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars. We always recommend that you sell first, then buy. If you're concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that then put your house on the market. Another tactic is to make the sale "subject to seller finding suitable housing". Adding this phrase to a contract means that WHEN YOU DO FIND A BUYER, you will have some time to find the new place. If you don't find anything to your liking, you don't have to sell your present home.

3. Play the Game of Nines

Before house hunting, make a list of nine things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the nine things you don't want. We call this "NINE OF THIS AND NONE OF THAT". You can use this list as a scorecard to rate each property that you see. The one with the biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you're comparing dozens of homes. When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between "SKIN AND BONES". The BONES are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. The SKIN represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings. Buy the house with good BONES, because the SKIN can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant. Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller's decorating skills.

4. Don't Be Pushed Into Any House

Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don't make a decision on a house until you feel that you've seen enough to pick the best one. Review the Multiple Listing printout with your agent to make sure that you are getting a COMPLETE list. But don't over shop the market. Over the last ten years, homes have been selling quickly, usually a few days after listing. In this kind of market, you may be advised to make an offer ON THE SPOT if you like the house. If it feels right, it probably is. Don't forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you're considering. Information is available on every school; such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from your agent or directly from the school.

5. Stop Calling Ads!

A word of caution - agents create ads solely to make the phone ring! Many of the homes have some drawback that's not mentioned in the ad, such as traffic noise, power lines, or litigation in the community. What's not mentioned in the ad is usually more important than what is. For this reason, we want you to be very careful when reading ads. Remember that the person writing the ad is representing the seller and not you! The most important thing you can do is have someone on your side looking out for your best interests. Your own agent will critique the property with an eye towards how well it meets your needs and will point out any drawbacks you should know about. So whether you decide to work with us or not, pick an agent you feel comfortable with and enlist the services of that agent as a buyer's broker. Then you become a client with all the rights, benefits, and privileges created by this agency relationship, and you're no longer just a shopper. Did you know that many homes are sold WITHOUT A SIGN ever going up or an AD EVER BEING PUT IN THE PAPER? These "great deals" go to those people who are committed to working with one agent. When an agent hears of a great buy, who do you think he's going to call? His client, who he has a legal obligation to work hard for, or someone who just called on the phone and said "keep your eyes open"? So, to get the best buy on a property, we always recommend that you hire your own agent and stick with him.

For more information contact The Korn Team at 402-436-3379 or email us at

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Competitive Advantages?

With over 800 real estate agents in Lincoln, Ne it is imperative to separate yourself from the competition. That is no secret but, it can be hard to do. Consumers want to know, "What makes you different from every other REALTOR?" and rightfully so.

Well at The Korn Team we always tell people exactly what makes us different from everyone else. Most of it is our aggressive & consistent marketing which I would love to go into further detail about but, in the interest of not making this a book, I won't. But, as I was driving home tonight from one of my appointments I decided that I was not telling my clients/potential clients what else sets The Korn Team apart from many others and that is our heart and passion for real estate. I don't just mean our heart and passion for the business but for education of consumers and for developing a life-long relationship. In all honesty, that is all that really matters at the end of the day.

So yes, we have many years of experience in two other major markets (KC & Dallas, yes we have very aggressive and consistent marketing but, what really matters is that we have the drive and passion to do what it takes to sell your home!

Let The Korn Team help you! I can promise you that you will receive the most dedicated and effective service you could ever imagine. For more information you can contact Jason Korn at 402-436-3379 or

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How To Get Top Dollar In Any Market

The best chance for selling your property is within the first seven weeks. Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less the seller will net. Listed below are the five main factors to accomplishing this goal.

* Pricing Factor

It is very important to price your property at a competitive market value right when you list it. The market is so competitive that even over-pricing by a few thousand dollars could mean that your house will not sell. It's interesting, but your first offer is usually your best offer. Here are reasons for pricing your property at the market value right from the start in order to net you the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.
An overpriced home:

* Minimizes offers
* Lowers showings
* Lowers agent response
* Limits financing
* Limits qualified buyers
* Nets less for the seller

80% of the marketing is done when we decide on what price to list your home. If you are unwilling to list at current market value, you would be better off not putting it on the market at this time.

* Clean Factor

Most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanness or odor when buying a home. Sellers lose thousands of dollars because they do not adequately clean. If your house is squeaky clean, you will be able to sell your home faster and net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more. If you are planning on moving, why not get rid of that old junk now so that your house will appear larger? Make more space. Odors must be eliminated especially if you have dogs, cats, or young children in diapers or if you are a smoker. You may not notice the smell, but the buyers do! Most agents have a difficult time communicating to their sellers about odor. If you employ an agent to get the most amount of money for you, please don't take offense if he must confront you about odor problems.

* Access Factor

Top selling agents will not show your home if both the key and access are not readily available. They do not have time to run around town all day picking up and dropping off keys. They want to sell homes! The greatest way to show a house is to have a key! When your home is being shown, please do the following:

* Keep all lights on
* Keep all drapes and shutters open
* Keep all doors unlocked
* Leave soft music playing
* Take a short walk with your children and pets
* Let the buyer be at ease and let the agents do their job

* Paint & Carpet Factor

Paint is your best improvement investment for getting a greater return on your money. Paint makes the whole house smell clean and neat. If your house has chipped paint, exposed wood, or the paint looks faded, it is time to paint. If your carpet is worn, dirty, outdated, or an unusual color, you may need to seriously consider replacing it. Many houses do not sell because of this problem. Don't think that buyers have more money than you have to replace carpet. They don't. They simply buy elsewhere.

* Front Yard Factor

Your front yard immediately reflects the inside condition of your house to the buyer. People enjoy their yards. Make certain that the trees are trimmed so the house can be seen from the street. Have the grass mowed, trimmed and edged. Walkways should be swept. Clean away debris. Remove parked cars. This all adds to curb appeal. If a buyer doesn't like the outside, they may not stop to see the inside.

For more information contact The Korn Team at 402-436-3379 or email us at

Monday, November 26, 2007

Waiting until Spring to List/Re-List?

This is the time of year that many people (including real estate agents) think that the market goes dormant. While I might agree that things slow down (especially around the holiday season) I don't agree that the market is that bad. In fact, I contend that this is a great time to list your home.


Well, many people have the mind-set that homes do not sell during the winter but, buyers do still buy homes. If you wait until spring you will have far more competition because everyone is waiting until spring to list their property. Think about it... it does not cost you anything to have your home listed! You only pay if your home sells! Often when I hear that people tell me, "I think we are going to wait until spring becuase the market is too slow right now." I ask them one questions that almost always seems to get answered the same way, "Well Mr./Mrs. Seller, if I brought you a full-price offer tomorrow would you accept it?" I almost ALWAYS hear, "Well of course I would!"

Then why not have your home listed during the winter? You never know when YOUR buyer is going to be ready to buy. Why not be ready when they are ready?

If you would like a FREE consultation to find out how The Korn Team can help you sell your home Quickly & for Top Dollar, call Jason Korn at 402-436-3379!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Real Estate Market slowing?

Don't believe everything you read! Even though the national media paints a bleak real estate picture, don't let it fool you. The real estate market in Lincoln, Ne is still doing very well! In fact we are only down 1% from last year in real estate sales. Is the market tougher? Yes, but, if you have extremely aggressivie marketing and a realtor that is dedicated to getting your home sold then you will still have a very successful real estate transaction.

To find out how The Korn Team can help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar, call Jason at 402-436-3379 or visit us at

The Korn Team can help you!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from The Korn Team

The Korn Team would like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this year!

This is the time of year that we give thanks for all of those who we have been blessed to come in contact with in our lives as well as all of the things that we have been blessed with in life. The reason I got into real estate was to have a career that I could not only support my family but, also to have a career that when all was said and done at the end of the day, I could feel good about. Helping families through the most important and possibly most stressful transaction in life is more rewarding than anything that I could have ever imagined.

I am so thankful that I have the ability to make such a positive difference in so many people's lives. So thank you to all of you who have supported The Korn Team in their first year in Lincoln!

Thanks be to God!
Jason Korn

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How to Prepare Your Home for Showings

OUTSIDE: Trim all shrubs. Pull all weeds. Flowers planted. Leaves raked. Water lawn to keep green. Pick up and discard or store all implements, materials and debris that are not part of the lawn decor. All windows washed. Garage should be swept, neat and tidy. During the winter, all walks and drives should be shoveled and salted.

LIGHTING: Open all shades and draperies during the daylight hours. Replace all burned out light bulbs with the maximum light producing bulbs. Turn on all lights throughout the house and basement prior to showing the house.

STORAGE: All clothing, shoes, hats, accessories, tools, papers, magazines, books and personal items not contributing to the decor of the room should be stored in closets or dressers. All closets should be tidy, neat and clean. Basement storage areas should be neatly arranged. Kitchen counters should be clean and free of any articles not contributing to the decor of the room. All magazines, books, ashtrays, food, bottles, containers, boxes, cans, toys, hobby accessories, tools, dishes, cookware, etc. should be stored in the proper cupboards or closets or storage areas.

CLOSETS: The interiors of all closets should present an organized, tidy and uncluttered appearance. All unneeded or unused items should be discarded. Display your storage and utility space by removing all unnecessary accumulations in attic, stairways, basement, closets and garage.

BASEMENT: Should be neat, clean, dry and tidy. All materials and tools should be stored on shelves or in cabinets. Discard as much unneeded material as possible prior to showing the house to prospective purchasers.

WINDOWS: All windows should be spotlessly clean inside and out. All window sills, as well as any space between the window and storm window should be spotlessly clean and free of any flaking or loose paint. All windows should be in good repair with no cracks. Screens should be clean and in good condition, free of rust and holes. Any paint on glass should be removed with a razor blade prior to cleaning.

FIXTURES: All bathroom and kitchen fixtures and counters should be sparkling clean. Polish chrome faucets and handles in the tub and sinks. All sinks, tubs, toilets and counters should be clean.

FLOORS: All flooring should be clean and waxed if necessary. All carpeting should be very clean regardless of its age. If the carpeting has not been steam cleaned for more than two years, now is the time to do it. Basement floors should be swept and mopped.

DOORS: All doors should be free of scotch tape, posters, decals, or stickers. All door handles should be clean and in good repair.

CERAMIC TILE: All joints between tiles should be clean and white. Use DAP bathroom tile sealer to reseal the joint between bathtub and wall and floor.

WALLS: All walls should be clean and free of gouges, scratches, smudges, scotch tape, posters, thumbtacks, etc. Walls should only have decorative items. Posters and paper pictures taped to walls should be removed and all evidence of the tape markings removed.

ODOR: Nothing smells better than fresh air. On warm days, have your windows open and shades up. Make your home feel and smell bright, fresh and clean and you will have a faster sale.

KEY POINT: Make very sure that there are absolutely no pet odors.

For more tips or information about how we can help you further, contact Jason Korn & The Korn Team, Home Real Estate at 402-436-2279.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lincoln Real Estate Stats for October 2007

Sold: 246

Avg Price: $160,865

Avg Days On Market: 62

Highest Sold: $775,000

Extracted from Midlands MLS on 11/14/2007 - Residential sales only.