Buying a Home…..The American Dream. What does that dream look like for you?

See it, feel it and believe is will happen

The American Dream used to be to get a good job, buy a house and raise your family in that house. Is home ownership still the dream? Is this your dream?

The answer to that question leads to so many more questions. But what I would like you to think about here is your dream home. Not whether you are buying, renting or living on someone’s coach. What does your dream home look like. I believe this is the starting point into whether Your American Dream is home ownership. How big or small is your dream home? Is it a whole house, an apartment, a condo, a room in a house you share with others? What is your favorite place in your home? What does the kitchen look like? How many bedrooms do you have? How about the bathroom? Is there a garage? I encourage everyone to take a little time to think about the place they would absolutely LOVE to live! Go into detail. Think about the color of the walls, furniture, fireplace, flooring….as much as you can possibly dream of in your home. What will you do in your home. How do you feel living in this beautiful home of yours? Are you make full use of your super cool new kitchen? Do you have a deck or patio? Is the yard a place you love to go to relax? Are there lots of flowers or a vegetable garden? Dream big here! Make it yours.

The reason I encourage everyone to dream about the place they call home is because it makes it a real place. It let’s you feel what it’s like to live in your home. It helps you figure out what you really would love to have in your home. And most importantly, do you feel inspired to be a homeowner. Or can your dream home be a rental? This exersice in dreaming is about figuring it out. Are you motivated to make a plan to see your dream come true. I told you to dream big so I understand your dream home may be out of reach right now, but doesn’t it feel good to dream?

So back to reality. Now that you have had some fun and created a clear and awesome vision of your dream home, let’s slide into step 2 of this little exercise. You may be thinking….I can’t afford that home! Or maybe you can! Think about what it would take for you to actually live in that dream home (or a slightly scaled down version of that home). You have to consider your finances, lifestyle and career, the economy and all the stuff that you are looking forward to in life. So many things to think about. Does it make sense to you to rent or buy your home? Could you buy a starter home and work your way up to that dream home? Is home ownership really your American Dream?

So many people dream about owning a home. They count it out because of the cost, the responibility, the mortgage approval process,etc., etc. Remember, in this world, nothing is impossible unless you make it impossible. If you feel drawn to the “American Dream”, figure out how you can make it happen. Take the steps necessary to improve your financial picture. Save the money you need for the down payment and closing costs. If home ownership is really important to you, you can make a plan and start working towards that goal. Pack your patience and get started now.

I hope you enjoyed daydreaming about the place you would like to call home. Maybe this little exercise has motivated you to start thinking about home ownership. Maybe you have a home and would like to upgrade. Maybe the place you call home just needs a little tweeking to make it your dream home. My goal was to let you dream and explore your “American Dream”.

I know as a Realtor I should encourage everyone to buy a home. However, I understand that home ownership isn’t for everyone. In my opinion the ownership of the physical property isn’t as important as the feeling and enjoyment you get from the place you call home. Home is a very important part of a person’s lifestyle. It’s an important part of your well being. It doesn’t matter whether you own it, rent it or share it. What matters is having a place to call home and a space you can relax and recharge and enjoy life.

I’m behind on my house payments. I don’t want to lose my home but I don’t know where to turn. Help!


I offer a free no obligation consultation to help you figure out your next step.

Believe me I know how it feels to be in the position of losing your home! It feels aweful. Like you are in this maze and just can’t find your way out. I lost my home a few years ago. I tried everything to save my home, but the bank had no interest in helping me. Even though it was during the time when they were suppose to be making every effort to help homeowner’s in distress. The homeowner wasn’t their concern at all. Their bottom line was all that mattered. It was a difficult time. It was exhausting. I was depressed. So many feelings ( failure, fear, anger, frustration and just a little glimmer of hope). I learned a lot in the process. In the end, I had to realize it was just a house. I really wanted to stay there but it just wasn’t going to work out. Once I came to terms with that reality, I was able to move on and rebuild.

I felt the need to write about this today because I was looking at pre-foreclosure listings in Zillow. I did ths search because I had listened to a webinar about buying houses from distressed homeowners. I found, in Pottstown, there were 111 pre-foreclosure listings. I thought foreclosure activity was declining. I am a real estate broker and an appraiser, however, I can’t say I had really researched that fact. But in my everyday work, looking at the number of sales on the MLS, the sale prices and the listing prices in the area, it appeared as though the real estate market was just fine. Real estate has rebounded from 2006-2007 when real estate crashed. It is in a much better position today. That being said, there are still 111 homeowners in distress in Pottstown.

So what do you do when you are the homeowner in distress? Many times the depression and fear take over and homeowners do nothing. That is not a good move! You have to do something! Let’s look at some options.

Number 1 is to Ask for Help. Call your mortgage company. Inquire about a revised payment plan to get caught up, refinancing or a mortgage modification. If that doesn’t work out, talk to family and friends. I know it’s not the best option. Nobody likes to admit they need help. And asking family and friends is hard! Option 1 is just a first step and I understand in many cases the mortgage company options are out of reach and you don’t know anyone with extra cash to bail you out of your financial situation. On top of that, and I am with you here, who wants to be in debt to family and friends. So in reality this option doesn’t work for a lot of people

Number 2 is Call a Real Estate Agent. If you are in a distressed situation, you need to know exactly where you stand. Do you have enough value in your home to be able to cover the mortgage and other debts (taxes, utilities,liens) againts the property? A real estate agent can give you an estimated value and the cost to sell your home. It’s so easy to check sales and listings in your area on Realtor.com and Zillow that you may already know there isn’t enough value in your home. However, there are options such as short sale and maybe even renting your home until you get back on your feet. A good real estate agent give you the information you need to determine your next step.

Number 3 is sell your home yourself. When you are just a little short on making a sale without paying thousands out of your own pocket, selling on your own may work. If you don’t have to pay the commission, it may be financially feasible to sell the home and pay all the debts. Selling on your own isn’t as easy as some think, however, it’s not impossible. I just want to add a little note of caution here. Buyers will expect a lower sale price because they know you aren’t paying a commission. Be clear on the numbers, particularly your home’s value, before you embark on the FSBO route. Also be wary of “WE BUY HOUSES” offers. They may be your fastest and easiest option, but again, know the value of your home! These companies are in business to make a profit! I’m not going to say it would be a bad move because, depending on the time factor, they may be your best option. Just be informed.

A little side note on the value of your home. A lot of homeowners will look on Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow to find the value of their home. These value estimates aren’t an accurate assessment of your home. You really just get a ballpark estimate. Another area where homeowners fail in determing value on their own is having an emotional attachment to their home. In some cases the homeowner feels their home, for whatever reason, is much better than the home that sold across the street. This thinking can lead to the idea that their home’s value is much higher than that one, even if it is not. Take the emotion out of it when comparing. If you really need to sell your home, price it competitively. Be objective and remember, value is determined by many things. Condition, features, size, location and even the condition of the sale (relocation, short sale, shortage of homes, oversupply of homes, etc.), are just a few things that enter into the value equation. My point here is, again, know the true market value of your home! Now let me get back on track,

Number 4, when all else fails, give it back to the bank. The bank will take the property off your hands. If there is no equity and you have no way of bailing yourself out of the mortgage debt, do a deed in lieu of foreclosure. They take the property and in most cases wipe out the debt. You may even be able to negotiate a small amount of money for yourself. They sometimes give you cash for moving expenses. You will have t to leave the property promtly and in “broom swept” conditon.

I don’t want to leave this blog on a down/negative note. So let me add some inspiring/uplifting notes. As I said, once I realized I couldn’t save my home, I accepted it and moved on. That initial realization and letting go was huge. The weight was lifted. I was free from the stress and worry. I had a new plan. There was still hope. The process is difficult but it can be easier if you ask for help. I didn’t. But looking back, it would have been easier with some guidance and understanding. Feel free to call or email me for advice. No strings no pressure.

I hope this blog was helpful. Being someone who has been through this process, I fully understand.

Kathy Kissinger, Broker Owner of Kissinger Realty Group, Inc

Call 610-327-4626 or email kkissinger247@gmail.com

Aging in Place: What do you do when small repairs are needed? Is your real estate investment being protected?

grayscale photography of person using phone
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I am a huge supporter of seniors aging in place. I believe, as long as there is no health or safety concern, we should honor a person’s desire to stay in their own home. The objective should be to keep our seniors happy, safe and engaged in life. Many times to achieve the goal of aging in place safely and comfortably, the family must provide help and support to the aging family member. There are so many agencies available today to do the household chores and provide companionship. There are very few service providers to that take care of the real estate. Who makes sure the systems are running properly, there are no leaky faucets, the heating system is working properly and is being maintained, the yard work is done and repairs are being completed when necessary. In other words, Who is taking care of the house!

Many times seniors neglect repairs because they don’t know who to call and they are worried about the cost or being taken advantage of by a contractor. These are valid concerns. If there is no family close by to call on, taking care of the house could be a challenge for seniors. Doing even the small tasks like changing light bulbs, filters on the heating system and moving a piece of furniture can be difficult for a senior homeowner.

As a real estate professional and senior home aid/companion, I feel the best way I could be of service to senior homeowners is to provide a sort of property management service for seniors. How awesome would it be to have a trusted real estate professional, familiar with property maintenance, stop by on a monthly basis to make sure your home/real estate investment is being properly maintained. During monthly visits the small repairs could be completed along with a bit of a wellness check in. How about a single phone call when maintenance or repairs are needed? As a real estate broker, I am able to make contacts, get estimates from reliable contractors, help review the estimates and supervise the work along with the homeowner.

I realize this blog is a bit of a business promotion, however, I really feel strongly about this service for senior homeowners. The best way I know to get the work out….is to use my word/blog platform.

Let me know what you think of this service. If you have any suggestions about ways to improve the life of a senior homeowner…let me know!

Coach to Sell- Can a coach help you sell your home?

FSBO

When you decide to list your home “For Sale by Owner” hiring a coach will help! Selling your home can be a very stressful process.  There is the cleaning, the staging, the pricing, the marketing, the showing, writing the sales contract and getting the whole thing to the settlement table.  What could possibly go wrong? Right!
I have been thinking a lot lately about my purpose and passion in this life.  My purpose is to help people be happy and enjoy life. My passion is helping people create a home that is their sanctuary.  The place where they are safe, at peace and where they can be happy.  That is why the majority of my coaching offers center around creating that space.  I am continuously to asking myself, “How can I help?”  Most recently I began to think more about the process of selling and buying a home.   I already combine my coach skills with my real estate knowledge to help buyers and investors.  I decided I needed to expand on that and help homeowners who offer their homes “For Sale By Owner”‘.
As a realtor my focus is on serving the client. Not all home owners are comfortable handing the sale of their home over to a real estate agent. Sometimes there is not enough equity in the home to pay the commission to the realtor.  Whatever the reason, I respect a homeowners decision to sell on their own. I feel I can offer value and serve these home owners by offering them my coaching and consulting services.  Many times home owners selling their home by themselves have questions, struggles and doubt.  Having a realtor/coach/consultant to work with you would be great, wouldn’t it! When you call on the typical realtor they are hoping to change your mind about selling your home by yourself.  They will tell you it’s not a good idea. They say they can get you a higher sale price. They tell you they have connections you don’t have. There is even the scary thought that you may mess something up legally in the sales process. These points may all be true, however, if you are set on selling on your own, you have the right to do so.  I would be honored to work with you as you market and sell your home.
The Coach to Sell Program Offers 
A market analysis of your property
Suggestions that may improve marketability
Weekly Check in Calls for support as you market your home
Unlimited e-mail/text support and questions

I will even write the sales contract for you

The investment for my Coach to Sell Program is $1,200
This coaching/consulting fee is paid when the property settles!

PS…This blog may be a bit sales y …..but I was feeling the need to get the word out!  Because I am sooo excited about helping Homeowners!

Can you transform your house into your dream home?

bricks and morter

 

I believe the bricks and mortar we call real estate, is transformed into our dream home as we decorate and bring our personal belongings and energy into the house. Our real estate than becomes the place we can relax, recharge and truly enjoy life with friends and family. It becomes Home.

Sometimes our home stops feeling like home.  It loses it’s shine. Or maybe it never really felt right. How do you feel in your home? Is it a place you enjoy hanging out? Does it fit your lifestyle? It is your sanctuary? Does it really feel like Home? If not, Why doesn’t it feel like Home? What went wrong?

If you feel your home needs some help, I highly recommend going through your home room by room and just looking around.  How does the room make you feel? Is there too much stuff? What objects in the room do you really not like? What objects in the room do you love? How do you feel about the color of the walls? The furniture? Really feel the room. Take notes. This exercise will help you identify what, if anything, needs to be changed in order to shift the energy and transform the room.  Many times small changes can transform your house into your home.  If your home is cluttered, some de-cluttering can make a huge difference.  Work through your home, making changes room by room. You may be amazed at how differently you feel about your home when you are done. Just one warning. Don’t feel you have to do it all at once. Baby steps. Take your time and enjoy the process. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed.

If you are a senior and have even a small decline in your health, energy or mobility,  the joy you feel in your home may be limited. Adding some awesome smart home technology can make some ordinary tasks a lot easier.  How much safer would you feel with a camera to see who is at your door? Talk to your visitor without leaving your chair. Add a smart door lock and you could let them in too. That is if you know the person and are sure the visitor is not a threat. Always check credentials. Lights, thermostat, security cameras and emergency services can all be added to your smart home system. Creating your smart home is surprisingly affordable and very easy to use. There are other small changes that will make life easier such as, rearranging cabinet so things that are used frequently are easily accessible. Increase lighting, make sure walk ways and stairs are clear and well lit. Online shopping and groceries delivered to your door eliminate the need to drive to the store and carry heavy bags into the house. Not familiar with the computer? Try your local library, college or senior center for classes on the basics. And of course there are companies and non profit groups that provide in home care services.  They provide companionship and take care of everyday chores, maintenance and transportation for doctor visits and shopping. How good will it feel to live the life you love in the home you love.

Life changes and circumstances change.  What do you do when you love your home but it just doesn’t fit anymore? You can make a list of the pros and cons of living in your current home. Then list the pros and cons of looking for a new home. Read through your lists and see what feels right to you. Where are you drawn? Trust your feelings. If there is no way you can stay in your present home do a little day dreaming. How do you picture your new home? Really see yourself in that home. Where is your new home located? Is it in the country? Are you in a city or small town? Maybe you see yourself on the beach or by the lake or in the mountains. What does the house look like? Is it a large 2 story home, a smaller ranch or cape cod? Walk through the front door and see yourself inside your home. Really let yourself dream. See as many details as possible. When you feel ready write down what you saw. This is your dream home. Now you have a starting point. Do your research, then start looking for your new home.

I truly believe your home should be your sanctuary. If you aren’t comfortable at home it can affect all areas of your life. You need a place to retreat from the outside world, recharge, relax and love life.

 

What is the role of a real estate coach?

In my last blog I talked about the benefits of a Real Estate Coach/Consultant.  I wanted to take some time to expand on the role of a real estate coach.  In your typical real estate transaction you find an agent, list you home for sale or set out to find your dream home.  Your agent helps you with sound advice, finds buyers or homes that meet your criteria, negotiates and coordinates the transaction, works through any problems that may arise throughout the process and finally goes with you to the settlement.  All of that takes skill, knowledge and sometimes a great deal of patience. Real estate agents really do earn their money.  Especially in today’s tighter and more complex lending arena.  So what is the role of a real estate coach and what can they add to this process?

First let’s define life coaching and the coaching process.  A life coach , as defined in Merriam-Webster, is an adviser who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems.  The typical life coach works with their client to achieve specific personal projects, personal, business or career growth and transitions in the client’s life, relationships or profession.  The coaching process consists of examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to create the life you can truly love.  The coaching process takes you from where you are now to where you want to be in less time because you create a vision, set goals, are more focused, have support and encouragement, are held accountable and you break through any blocks or beliefs that may be holding you back.   I know…. your are thinking “How does all that relate to a real estate coach and the real estate transaction?”.

In a typical client relationship with your real estate agent, the focus is on finding a home that meets their buyers criteria or finding a qualified buyer to purchase their seller’s home.  The agent represents their client in get the best home and/or best price.  This relationship is effective and works well for the typical real estate transaction.  But what about a not so typical real estate transaction? A highly stressful real estate transaction?  Such as a looming foreclosure, a divorce or estate property, downsizing/retirement planning, a first time home buyer or investment properties.  These real estate situations involve more than just the real estate transaction.  They affect the clients personal life, emotions, well being, finances and future.  A not so typical real estate situation requires an adviser to help you create a vision, make decisions, set and reach your goal, break through blocks and deal with any problems.  Wouldn’t it be great to have someone to offer support and encouragement, help you work through problems and perhaps see things you can’t!  This is the role of a real estate coach in the real estate transaction.

A real estate coach is a valuable addition to the team when you are buying or selling your home.  As a buyer they help you get a clear picture of what you want in your new home, support you through the stressful times (yes there will stress involved), work with you as you make decisions and plan the move to your new home.  As a seller a real estate coach can help guide you through decisions related to repairs, upgrades, de-cluttering, support you emotionally in letting go of your home and through any stressful situations (there it is again), help you get a clear picture of what you want in your new home, and assist you as you plan your move and transition to your new home.  A real estate coach will take you from where you are now (a home owner, executor, investor or first time home buyer) to where you want to be (your dream home or the real estate goal you have set) in less time with support, well defined goals and less stress.

keep calm life coach

Why Hire a Real Estate Coach/Consultant?

Your Real Estate purchase may be the biggest investment you make in your lifetime.  Don’t you want to get it right?

There are many things to think about when you decide you want to purchase, sell, invest or upgrade your home.  That is why a real estate coach/consultant is well worth the investment.  A coach/consultant will listen to your ideas and concerns, evaluate your current situation, advise on market conditions and values, help you form a plan and guide you through the process that you determine is best.  Without this highly individualized service, you may not get the outcome that is best suited for you.

There are certain situations that are ideal for real estate coach/consulting.  My top recommendations are senior housing downsizing/planning, first time homebuyers, foreclosure or pre-foreclosure situations, probate/executor listings and investors.

Senior downsizing and planning for future housing needs requires an in-depth look at your present needs and anticipated future needs.  Some considerations include finances, mobility, location, amenities, safety and functional utility of the home.  Only you can decide what is best for your needs.  As a coach/consultant and senior real estate specialist, I am trained to work with seniors or pre-seniors, as I like to think of them.  I am familiar with the various housing options in the market today.  I work with my clients to explore these housing options, determine their benefits and drawbacks and determine which home is best for them.

I also provide a senior property maintenance program for senior homeowners.  Many times the ongoing maintenance of your home, as you age in place, can be overwhelming.  Especially when there is no family close by to help. My goal is to help senior, who prefer the warmth and privacy of their current home, to stay there as long as possible.  The two most important things in a home are safety and the way you feel in your home.   I love helping clients find and maintain their Happy Home.

The coach/consultant benefits to first time homebuyers are the one on one exploration, identifying personal preferences and planning for what you really want in your home and home buying process.  Get expert guidance as you embark on your first home buying experience.

If you are in the unfortunate position of foreclosure, you may still find a solution that the bank did not fully explain.  I have experience with this process and together we will determine what course of action makes sense.

I would like to explain a bit more in regard to the probate/executor situation.  Perhaps you have been named executor and there is a home included in the estate.  Your duty, in regard to the property, is to do what is best for the estate,  How do you determine “what is best”?  By working with an experienced real estate agent who is also an appraiser and coach/consultant of course!  In this capacity I work with my clients to determine whether “As Is'” is the best way to sell the home.  Typically you are advised to get the home sold ASAP.  That is sound advise as holding time does enter into the equation.  However, you may want to consider the “As Repaired Value” also.  Another aspect of a probate property where I be of service to executors is with the personal property in the home.  The clean out process can be challenging depending on home much and what kind of stuff is in the home.  As a coach/consultant I work with clients to determine what they feel is important and let go of what is not.  This includes how best to let these things go, whether it be auction, donation, trash or some other course of action.  Being executor isn’t always the easiest job, however, you have the power to determine what is best for the “Estate”.

I am a real estate broker and owner of Kissinger Realty Group, Inc.  In addition I am a certified residential appraiser, senior real estate specialist, certified probate real estate specialist and a Certified Professional Coach.  I am uniquely qualified to help you determine what outcome you desire for your real estate situation and work with you to devise and  implement your plan.  My coaching/consulting services are not contingent on you working with me as your real estate agent.  While I would love to serve in that capacity, I realize many people have agents that they know and trust.  My goal is simply to provide a more detailed, client specific, planning and implementation service which is not part of the typical realtor/client transaction.

Contact me for a free 1 Hour Consultation to see if Real Estate Coaching/Consulting is for you!

Kathy Kissinger

Kissinger Realty Group,Inc.  – 610-327-4626 – kkissinger247@gmail.comhttp://www.kissre.com