Before you decide to list your home take a look at these areas to see if changes are warranted:
1. Curb appeal – This is your first chance to make a good first impression with a buyer. Stand in the street and take a hard look at your home’s exterior. Are the shrubs overgrown, is the lawn neatly trimmed, should you add some flowers, do you need a new mailbox and etc. You want to have landscaping that’s welcoming, looks great and will keep the buyer interested.
2. Exterior – Walk around the outside of your home and make an assessment of the condition of its exterior. Do you find some damaged trim, do you need to paint, are the window screens in good order, do you find areas that need to be caulked and etc. If the buyer finds the outside of your home to be in good repair, then you’ve set the stage for a more favorable showing on the inside.
3. Kitchens – They can often make or break a sale. You want the buyer to walk-in and fall in love with your kitchen. Take an objective look at your kitchen; could it use some improvements? It could be as simple as a fresh coat of paint, or all the way up to a full blown renovation.
4. Baths – A nice bath rates high on a buyers list. It much like the kitchen in that you can simply improve it with a fresh coat of paint or do a full renovation. Many small improvements on a bath can have a great impact, such as, new lighting, new towel bars, a new sink and the like.
5. Decorating – You may love the color schemes in your house, but many buyers may not. You want to have your house decorated so that it appeals to the masses, not a select few. Generally neutral color tones work best.
6. Pets – Pets bring unwanted issues when trying to sell. If at all possible try to find a good temporary home for your pet while your house is on the market. If that’s not possible, at a minimum remove your pet from the home when it’s being shown.
If you lost your home due to a foreclosure or short sale, you probably would like to own a home once again. The good news is that a number of guidelines have changed which may allow you an opportunity to buy a new home sooner than you think.
The traditional waiting period after a foreclosure is seven years. However; these waiting period guidelines may change and you would be best served to get up to date information from a qualified mortgage professional. Many lenders will shorten the waiting period some if there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the foreclosure of your home. Was there a death or illness that prevented you from earning enough money to meet your mortgage obligations? Did you loose your job or incur a substantial pay cut for some reason? These and similar reasons might be enough for a lender to shorten your waiting period after a foreclosure.
Your credit is often re-established quicker after a short sale than a foreclosure. Generally lenders will require only a two-year waiting period before they will consider you for another mortgage. Once again; seek the advice of a licensed mortgage professional to obtain the latest information on their qualifying guidelines.
Most people only buy a couple of homes in their lifetime. This lack of experience leads to many home buyers feeling woefully unprepared, increasing their stress level which affects their decision making at the worst possible time. The process doesn’t have to be so complicated if you keep things in perspective.
Keep in mind you’re not getting married. You don’t have to make a lifelong commitment to a home. So relax, you only need commit to a home for a few years. You can always move later if you fall out of love with your home, as long as you buy it right.
Here are a set of rules that will help you through the process:
*Determine your needs for the next five years. Affordability is number one. Make sure you consider all the costs: mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. Your family size, lifestyle and profession are also important factors.
*Get the facts. The number one rule is do not overpay for a home. Try to determine what a home is worth based on comparable sales. If the home needs repairs, be realistic when you estimate those costs.
*Don’t fall completely in love. Lacking experience, people rely on their emotions. Remember a house is just sticks and stones and there are plenty of them out there.
*Get professional help. Seek the assistance of a REALTOR® to help guide you through the different steps. Educate yourself as much as possible so that you can better utilize your agent.
*Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger or walk away. Once you compile all the facts concerning a house you love, it becomes a much easier decision. If you love a house, the price is fair and affordable, then don’t be afraid to seal the deal.
The REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics was established in 1913 by the National Association of REALTORS®. It’s a set of rules that were established to raise the standards of professionalism and service in the real estate industry. The rules are divided into three areas: 1) a broker’s duties to his clients, 2) a broker’s duties to his fellow brokers and 3) a broker’s duties to the public. The current Code of Ethics contains seventeen articles.
Over its one hundred year history, the Code of Ethics has been amended and revised to keep up with the changing times. Local REALTOR® Associations are charged with enforcing the Code of Ethics and handing down punishment to those found to be in violation of one or more of the articles.
To keep REALTORS® up to date on the Code of Ethics, the National Association of REALTORS® requires all REALTORS® to take a training course on the subject every four years.
In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others.