Selling Your Home

What stays (Conveys) with the home?

What Stays with The Home?

More than one seller has been surprised to find that their favorite chandelier is not theirs to take when they move. First-time home sellers might be especially confused when confronted with an exclusion form presented by their agent, but understanding what is, and is not included in the sale by statute is important to avoid disappointment on both sides.

The first rule of thumb is to consider if the item is nailed down, bolted, mounted, or planted. This covers a wide range of items both inside and outside the home. This might seem simple enough, but the debate about what constitutes a “fixture” has caused many post-sales lawsuits. Fixtures will stay with the home unless specifically excluded. This includes light fixtures, shelves, cabinets, built-in shelves, and more.

Consider the mount for the big-screen TV. It might seem logical to assume the mount would go with the TV when the sellers leave, but technically it’s likely considered a fixture as it’s bolted to the wall. What about a window-mounted air conditioner? If it’s sitting in the window, it’s typically personal property, if there is a hole in the wall to accommodate it, then it’s a likely fixture.

Outdoor items are subject to the same rules. Anything planted in the yard goes with the home, as does furniture or other items bolted to the ground. In that scenario, an arbor or patio cover bolted to a concrete slab would stay. Contrary to everything just outlined, however, curtains typically go with the home.

Clearly, it can be confusing.

If you are ready to buy or sell a home, make sure and discuss with your agent what you want to add or exclude to the sale. This is the best way to avoid disappointment at best or a courtroom at worst....

Selling A Tenant Occupied Property

Selling a Property with Tenants in Place

The strong seller’s market has prompted homeowners across the country to consider selling their homes. What if your property is a rental unit with tenants in place? Can you still sell and take advantage of the rising home values? Yes, by understanding the steps and following a few tips, you maximize your profit in this strong market.

The first step in selling your home with tenants in place is to understand your rights and responsibilities. The kind of lease you hold will determine if you can simply give notice to the tenants or if the new owners will buy the home with a lease in place. Only month-to-month leases can be terminated unilaterally with proper notice.

Next, meet with the tenants and discuss the situation. Explain your reasons for selling and assure them that you wish to make it as easy as possible. Offer to sell the home to the renters first, and then discuss any future plans they may have. If they can’t or don’t want to buy the property, you may be able to offer them money to move. Your goal must be to have the cooperation of your tenants so they will help facilitate showings and maintain the home.

When you have tenants, who will remain in the home after the close due to their lease, then you must disclose the lease terms to the buyer. The new owner will be legally obligated by the lease. In a strong market, you may find a buyer willing to wait for the expiration of the lease, even if they intend to occupy the home.

Selling with tenants in place doesn’t have to be difficult. Do your homework, understand your obligations and be transparent with the renters and potential buyers. This way, you make it easy on all parties and can reap the reward of high home values.

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Liens That Can Stop A Sale

Property Liens That Can Stop The Sale

One of the most common reasons for a home sale to fall through is the presence of property liens. Often the sellers are not even aware they have a lien on their home and the delay caused by having them removed can cause a qualified buyer to look elsewhere.

Along with other pre-listing tasks, such as repairs and curb appeal projects, sellers should order a title search to determine if any liens are on the property. Some liens are expected, such as the mortgage lien which ensures any home loan is paid off at the time of close, but others might come as a surprise. Here are a few liens which can derail your closing.

· Mechanics Lien – A contractor may place a mechanics lien on your home to make sure they are paid after a home project.

· Divorce Lien – Even if you and your spouse have agreed on the sale of the home, the court may need to approve the sale before the lien can be removed.

· Homeowner’s Association – Past due HOA payments and assessments can lead to a lien on the home.

· IRS and Property Taxes - A government legal claim against your property when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt.

· Judgment Liens - Is a court ruling that gives a creditor the right to take possession of a debtor's real or personal property if the debtor fails to fulfill his or her contractual obligations.

· Credit Card Liens – If you default on a credit card and the issuers get a judgment, they can attach...

5 Signs You Should Take Your Home Off The Market

5 Signs That You Should Take Your Home Off The Market

When you first list your home for sale, the goal is to see an offer or two from a highly qualified buyer quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes days and weeks go by without much interest. When this happens, it may be time to reevaluate the listing and cancel the listing. Here are 6 signs that it’s time to take your house off the market.

1. Your Financial Situation Has Changed – If you are planning to buy a new home and you are no longer able to do so, then it could be time to cancel the listing, job loss, major expenses, etc.

2. Lowball Offers – Lowball offers could mean either that the house is priced too high, or buyers see the home as a fixer-upper.

3. Repair Needs – If you discover major repair needs, such as a new roof or slab leak, it might make sense to repair and then relist.

4. Needs Updating – While most real estate agents discourage making updates before listing if you are getting feedback from buyers that your home is too dated, performing targeted upgrades may help sell when you relist.

5. Too Much Competition – Even in a seller’s market there can be too many options for buyers. If you can wait for a slower market, your home will stand out more and garner more interest.

A seller’s market does not guarantee that every listing will sell quickly and for a good price. If your home is not attracting the offers you’d hoped for, consider removing it from the market and adjusting your approach.

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Hiring a Listing Agent

Additional Criteria When Hiring a Listing Agent

Most sellers spend a long time considering whether they should sell their home. These same people who have considered all the financial and personal pros and cons of moving hire the first real estate agent they like. While certainly it’s important to find an agent you can communicate with, the right agent brings more than a pleasant demeanor to the transaction and it’s critical to choose the right one.

Before signing with the nice agent who stopped by the community garage sale, interview a few local options. Ask friends and neighbors if they have any recommendations and arrange a sit-down visit with the agents. Ask questions, such as:

  • ·  How many homes have you listed and sold in the past year?

  • ·  How do you handle the marketing of the home?

  • ·  Will you hold open houses?

  • ·  What kind of offer should I expect? How will you handle multiple offers?

    Ask for specific examples of how they have handled difficult situations in the past. What if the appraisal comes in low? How do we negotiate request for repairs? Most importantly, ask what list price they recommend and why. You should expect a full comprehensive analysis and the agent should be able to answer any questions you have.

    Finally, ask for references and call them. Ask the references the tough questions – what did they like and dislike about the agent? Buying or selling a home is typically the largest financial decision of someone’s life, hiring the right listing agent is the most important aspect of a successful transaction. Choose the best agent, not just the one that seems nice.

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Has your listing gone stale?

Are Buyers Avoiding Your Listing? Strategies to Revive A Stale Listing

It may seem like every listing sells the first weekend these days, but as the market begins to slow down, more sellers are facing the dilemma of an aging listing. If your listing has been on the market for a while, buyers naturally assume that there is something wrong with the home and avoid viewing the home. Fortunately, there are strategies to renew the listing and re-engage buyers’ interest.

If your listing is losing steam, the first step is to understand why. Typically, if a home is not getting offers, it’s priced too high. Even homes in terrible condition will sell quickly for the right price. In a market where homes are selling quickly, it’s common for sellers to assume they can push their listing price even higher, but savvy buyers and agents will reject overpriced homes.

Another strategy is to put the home on hold and make a few updates. In most cases, simply adding a fresh coat of paint or new carpet can offer a more appealing look to buyers. In other cases, to garner a top price, sellers may need to replace appliances or more. Always weigh the cost in dollars and time before making significant updates.

Finally, some Multiple Listing Services (MLS) allow an agent to refresh the listing by temporarily taking it off the market for a few days and then placing it back on “active” status (with seller authorization). This triggers new alerts to both buyers and agents who are looking for a comparable property. If your listing is not getting the attention it deserves, speak to your agent about your options.

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Pricing your home in a softening market

How to Price Your Home to Sell in a Softening Market

The summer selling season has come. Unfortunately, those home sellers who were looking forward to sky-high prices and multiple offers may be disappointed to find the market softening. In a declining market, pricing a home becomes critical to success.

Pricing your home in a softening market

The first step is to realize the market has changed. Buyers will not overpay for a home in an uncertain market. Whereas just a few months ago it might have made sense to “test the market” and set an aggressive price, sellers who try that strategy today will lose valuable time, risking an even slower market when the home sells.

Home Value Truths

  • ·  What you paid for your home doesn’t affect its value.

  • ·  Your asking price does not affect its value.

  • ·  What it might have sold for 2 months ago does not affect its value.

  • ·  What your agent tells you about price does not affect its value.

    The value of your home is determined by what a qualified buyer in today’s market is willing to pay for it, comparing it to others on the market for sale.

    Pricing Strategy in a Softening Market

    Your pricing strategy should be the same, regardless of whether you are in an accelerating or declining market – to price the home ahead of the market. In a declining market, that means you should price your home slightly below the most recent comp.

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Questions to ask when hiring a Listing Agent

Additional Criteria When Hiring a Listing Agent

Most sellers spend a long time considering whether they should sell their home. These same people who have considered all the financial and personal pros and cons of moving hire the first real estate agent they like. While certainly it’s important to find an agent you can communicate with, the right agent brings more than a pleasant demeanor to the transaction and it’s critical to choose the right one.

Before signing with the nice agent who stopped by the community garage sale, interview a few local options. Ask friends and neighbors if they have any recommendations and arrange a sit-down visit with the agents. Ask questions, such as:

  • ·  How many homes have you listed and sold in the past year?

  • ·  How do you handle the marketing of the home?

  • ·  Will you hold open houses?

  • ·  What kind of offer should I expect? How will you handle multiple offers?

    Ask for specific examples of how they have handled difficult situations in the past. What if the appraisal comes in low? How do we negotiate request for repairs? Most importantly, ask what list price they recommend and why. You should expect a full comprehensive analysis and the agent should be able to answer any questions you have.

    Finally, ask for references and call them. Ask the references the tough questions – what did they like and dislike about the agent? Buying or selling a home is typically the largest financial decision of someone’s life, hiring the right listing agent is the most important aspect of a successful transaction. Choose the best agent, not just the one that seems nice.

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Prepping an Empty Home to Sell

Prepping an Empty House for Sale

You read that right. Should you “prep” an empty house? This is not about adding furniture or plants to a vacant home, but it’s about looking at the empty home and making it more appealing to buyers.

Not all homes need furniture to sell for top dollar, but even a vacant home needs attention before it’s ready for showing. The key is to remove anything that would distract from a buyer seeing the home in its best light and highlight its best features.

What Should You Remove from a Vacant House?
· Anything that isn’t clean – Remove dirt from ceiling fans, baseboards,

sink, dishwasher, windows, shelves, etc.

  • ·  Leftover Items – Hangers in closets, old batteries from drawers.

  • ·  Cable and Cords – Neaten walls and floors by removing or hiding.

  • ·  Worn or Stained Carpet – Replace old, damaged, stained, or dated carpet.

· Old Window Treatments – Old dated curtains and tired Venetian blinds are distracting, remove them.

· Spider Webs and Dust Balls – Check those corners for dead bugs, cobwebs, and dust.

· Leave Behind Furniture – Don’t be tempted to leave indoor or outdoor furniture you no longer want.

· Dead Leaves – Clean the yard and remove all...

Repairs to Make Before Selling Your Home

So you’re ready to put your home on the market and to you, everything looks great. Unfortunately, much of the wear and tear on your home becomes unnoticeable when it is something you see everyday. While you may not think about the one light switch that doesn’t work or the chipping paint in the guest bedroom, now is the time to take a step back and look at your home with fresh eyes. When you decide to sell your home, the first thing you should do is make any repairs you can to save yourself money in the long run. Here are a few repairs to cross off so you can get the best deal for your home!

1. Paint Your Walls

Re-painting the rooms that need a fresh face is the cheapest way to update the appearance of your home. Consider using light, neutral colors to appeal to a broader group of buyers. If the room is too dark or has chipped or dirty paint, make it look brand new with a coat of paint. 

2. Make Minor Kitchen Repairs

Even if your kitchen isn’t large and spacious, a full renovation might not make sense financially. If your agent doesn’t advise you towards a renovation, consider making minor repairs instead. Paint what needs painted and install new fixtures where necessary. If your appliances aren’t operating properly or are in awful shape, you will need to replace them.

3. Update Your Bathroom

The first priority is making sure...

Eliminate Pet Odors In Your Home

Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, you want to make sure you've removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home, is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off. No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, but won't generally eliminate it completely. To ensure you don't lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.

Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays

Don't make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.

Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents

We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls - it's essential to have it...

The Catch You Shouldn't Fall For

With the growth of online tools, companies are quickly building products to serve the real estate community. After all, it’s a lucrative industry, home buying and selling will always be a thing - even if it does slow down, and companies around the world are diving in to make as much money off consumers as possible.

What are they selling? The ease. The ease of buying or selling a home online. The catch? You actually don’t benefit from these online quick-sale services. In fact, you could find yourself out of tens-of-thousands in cost difference. If you’re in the market to buy or sell, and are considering foregoing a real estate agent for an online service, be sure you read the fine print. You’ll often times find that you aren’t benefiting at all. Will they buy your home upfront to resale, so you don’t have to worry about the headache? Sure, but you may have been able to get $50,000 more for your house using a Realtor. Can you see and purchase your dream home through said services and “save” on agent commissions? Sure, but you’ll probably be overpaying for the home anyway.

The real estate industry is heavily regulated for licensed professionals to ensure the consumer is always getting the best representation for the best savings. These online services don’t require regulation and licensing, therefore, they can get away with fine print “scams.”

Be sure you do your research. A Realtor...

Cleaning Before Listing 101

Before you put your home up for sale, you'll want to ensure it's clean for all of the buyers that will come through. A dirty house isn't appealing, and you won't get a good offer, if you get one at all, if your home isn't in tip-top shape. Cleaning your home doesn't have to be overwhelming, below we've listed the top things to remember to clean for each room.

FOYER:

+ Clean the door and hardware.
+ Wipe off all fingerprints on windows/furniture. 
+ Clean off scuff marks on floors and door.
+ Replace all light bulbs and ensure light fixtures are working.
+ Tidy/clean up the coat closet. People WILL look in there to see the size.

KITCHEN: 

+ Wipe down all cabinets.
+ Clean all appliances, inside and out.
+ Clean stove hood, on top and bottom.
+ Clean behind the refrigerator, on top and bottom too.
+ Ensure the microwave is clean of food splatter. 
+ Clean the space behind the sink.
+ Wipe down blinds/shades.
+ Wash any kitchen rugs, clean the floors and baseboards.
+ Store all of your pet food/food out of sight.

BATHROOM: 

+ Clean behind toilet and under sink.
+ Only display absolute necessities, declutter.
+ Organize and clean under the vanity.
+ Scrub floors and clean grout lines.
+ Keep dirty clothes and towels off the floor.
+ Be sure to lock away any medication.
+ Clean the fan and make sure it's functioning.
+ Replace any dead lightbulbs. 

BEDROOM:

+ Wash sheets, comforters, and blankets.
+ Clean the curtains and rugs.
+ Dust furniture. 
+ Remove any obvious stains from fabrics.
+ Keep closets clean and organized.
+ Store away dirty clothes and personal photos....

Why You Should Consider Selling in the Winter

Selling In Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

The season you sell your home can have an impact on how much you get for your home and how quickly it sells. The season that has the most success in selling homes is spring. This is a good time of year for families moving to new school districts and is also more convenient weather for moving. Because of this trend, most people will recommend waiting to list your home until after the winter is over. Avoiding the winter is a huge misconception in the housing industry and can cause homeowners to miss out on opportunities.

Selling in the winter can give you a few advantages. There will be fewer houses on the market since most people assume winter is a bad time to sell. This gives your home more attention. Potential buyers are always looking no matter the time of year. Keeping your house on the market in the winter might bring the right buyer to your door. Real estate agents also tend to be less busy during these months and commit more time to getting your home sold.

Studies have shown winter buyers are buying because they need to move right away either for a relocation or personal situation. They will want to close quickly and allow for a much smoother sale.

Bottom Line

If you need to sell your home right away, or have some time but want to see what is out there, consider listing in the winter. Most homeowners who are going to sell will list their home in the spring, making for a competitive market. The winter allows buyers who are in a hurry to move consider your home and sell for more money than you would have in the spring.

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