Category Archives: Home Selling

Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

  1. Get at least three written estimates.
  2. Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.
  3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
  4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
  5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.
  6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
  7. Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
  8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved too.
  9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or regulations.
  10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
  11. Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.
  12. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Make Sure Your Buyer Is Qualified

Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer’s financial status before signing the contract. Ask the following:

  1. Has the buyer been prequalified or preapproved (even better) for a mortgage? Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly.
  2. Does the buyer have enough money to make a downpayment and cover closing costs? Ideally, a buyer should have 20 percent of the home’s price as a downpayment and between 2 and 7 percent of the price to cover closing costs.
  3. Is the buyer’s income sufficient to afford your home? Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28 percent of total income to cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).
  4. Does your buyer have good credit? Ask if he or she has reviewed and corrected a credit report.
  5. Does the buyer have too much debt? If a buyer owes a great deal on car payments, credit cards, etc., he or she may not qualify for a mortgage.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Make Sure Your Buyer is Qualified

Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer’s financial status before signing the contract. Ask the following:

  1. Has the buyer been prequalified or preapproved (even better) for a mortgage? Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly.
  2. Does the buyer have enough money to make a downpayment and cover closing costs? Ideally, a buyer should have 20 percent of the home’s price as a downpayment and between 2 and 7 percent of the price to cover closing costs.
  3. Is the buyer’s income sufficient to afford your home? Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28 percent of total income to cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).
  4. Does your buyer have good credit? Ask if he or she has reviewed and corrected a credit report.
  5. Does the buyer have too much debt? If a buyer owes a great deal on car payments, credit cards, etc., he or she may not qualify for a mortgage.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Home Staging Tips

•Remove the clutter – put small things away
•Brighten areas up with light – open drapes and blinds, add lighting
•Re-purpose rooms – add some new furniture and paint
•Vary wall hangings – try different groupings
•Bring nature inside – add plants and fresh cut flowers
•Group in threes – odd numbers are preferred when grouping accessories
•Give areas a face lift – add new counter tops or cabinet doors if dated
•Add some color – paint with warm tans, honeys and soft blue-greens
•Beware of layout – pay close attention to the traffic flow of each room
•Clean – this is the cheapest and easiest way to improve the look of your home

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Home Improvement Projects to Avoid

In addition to being a poor investment, these projects will often hurt the future sale of your home:

  • Turning a bedroom into another type of space
  • Installing an above ground pool
  • Not keeping paint colors neutral
  • Installing a hot tub
  • Creating themed children’s bedrooms

When making changes or improvements to your home, always ask the question; how will this affect my home’s value and marketability when it’s time to sell?

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Improve Your Odds of an Offer

  1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
  2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
  3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
  4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
  5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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How To Attract More Buyers

These tips will help you convince buyers your property offers top value for their dollar.

Amp up curb appeal.

Look at your home objectively from the street. Check the condition of the landscaping, paint, roof, shutters, front door, knocker, windows, and house number. Observe how your window treatments look from the outside. Something special—such as big flowerpots or an antique bench—can help your property stand out after a long day of house hunting.

Enrich with color.

Paint is cheap, but it can make a big impression. The shade doesn’t have to be white or beige, but stay away from jarring pinks, oranges, and purples. Soft yellows and pale greens say “welcome,” lead the eye from room to room, and flatter skin tones. Tint ceilings in a lighter shade.

Upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms.

These are make-or-break rooms. Make sure they’re squeaky clean and clutter-free, and update the pulls, sinks, and faucets. In a kitchen, add one cool appliance, such as an espresso maker.

Add old-world patina to walls.

Crown molding that’s at least six to nine inches deep and proportional to the room’s size can add great detail on a budget. For ceilings nine feet high or higher, consider dentil detailing, which is comprised of small, tooth-shaped blocks in a repeating ornamentation.

Screen hardwood floors.

Refinishing is costly, messy, and time-consuming, so consider screening instead. This entails a light sanding — not a full stripping of color or polyurethane — then a coat of finish.

Clean out and organize closets.

Remove anything you don’t need or haven’t worn in a while. Closets should only be half-full so buyers can visualize fitting their stuff in.

Update window treatments.

Buyers want light and views, not dated, heavy drapes. To diffuse light and add privacy, consider energy-efficient shades and blinds.

Hire a home inspector.

Do a preemptive strike to find and fix problems before you sell your home. Then you can show receipts to buyers, demonstrating your detailed care for their future home.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Checklist: Prepare for Your Move

Update your mailing address at usps.com or fill out a change-of-address form at your local post office.

Change your address with important service providers, such as your bank(s), credit companies, magazine subscriptions, and others.

Create a list of people who will need your new address. Whether you plan on sending formal change-of-address notices in the mail or just e-mailing the family members, friends, and colleagues who should be informed, a list will ensure no one gets left out.

Contact utility companies. Make sure they’re aware of your move date, and arrange for service at your new home if the service provider will remain the same.

Check insurance coverage. The insurance your moving company provides will generally only cover the items they transport for you. Ensure you have coverage for any items you’ll be moving yourself.

Unplug, disassemble, and clean out appliances. This will make them easier to pack, move, and plug in at your new place.

Check with the condo board or HOA about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits or entrances for moving, if applicable

Pack an “Open First” box. Include items you’ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, chargers, box cutters, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pens and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, towels, and basic toiletries.

If you’re moving a long distance:

Obtain copies of important records from your doctor, dentist, pharmacy, veterinarian, and children’s schools.

E-mail a copy of your driving route to a family member or friend.

Empty your safe deposit box.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Vocabulary: Transaction Documents

When you walk away from the closing table with a big stack of papers, know what to file away for future reference.

Loan estimate

Your lender is required to provide you with this three-page document within three business days of receiving your loan application. It will show estimates for your interest rate, monthly payment, closing costs, taxes, and insurance. You’ll also learn how your interest rate and payments could change in the future, and whether you’ll incur penalties for paying off the loan early (called “prepayment penalty”) or increases to the mortgage loan balance even if payments are made on time (known as “negative amortization”).

Closing disclosure

Your lender is required to send this five-page form—which includes final loan terms, projected monthly payments, and closing costs—three business days before your closing. This window gives you time to compare the final terms to those in the Loan Estimate (see above), and to ask the lender any questions before the transaction is finalized.

Mortgage and note

These spell out the legal terms of your mortgage obligation and the agreed-upon repayment terms.

Deed

This document officially transfers ownership of the property. In a cash deal, it goes to you, but otherwise you won’t get the deed until you pay off the mortgage.

Affidavits

These are binding statements by either party. For example, the sellers will often sign an affidavit stating that they haven’t incurred any liens on the property.

Riders

This word describes any amendments to the sales contract that affect your rights. For example, the sellers may arrange to retain occupancy for a specified period after closing but agree to pay rent to the buyers during that period.

Insurance policies

These documents provide a record and proof of your coverage, be they insuring the title or the property itself. Homeowners insurance documents will generally be your responsibility, while proof of title insurance will be given to you at the closing table.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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