Category Archives: Ideas for Home Sellers
What home selling tips are the most important for sellers to know? We sought to answer this question when we surveyed 500 real estate agents about the importance of two dozen top home selling tips. Each tip was then ranked based on the survey responses and we used the first eight – those viewed as being “very important” by 80 percent of agents or more – to create this infographic, “Home Selling Tips Every Seller Should Know.”
To sell or to rent. It’s a tricky question, especially in a down market. If you are relocating or just ready to move on from your ball and chain of a house, renting might make more sense than selling. Here is a quiz to help you decide whether you should sell or rent your home.
Can You Afford to Sell Your Home?
Here’s an example of a situation where a couple had to examine how affordable it was for them to sell their house. The couple knew they wanted to move to a new home, but they live in an area of Florida where houses have halved in value since the peak in 2006 – the same year their house was purchased. As they debated whether to sell their home, they realized that if they chose to sell, they would be forced to take a $150,000 cash loss, not including closing costs. They looked at the numbers and decided they could not afford to sell their home. For them, it made more sense to rent their home and purchase a second home that then became their primary residence. When you rent, you may take a loss on a monthly basis, but you do not have to come up with the cash to satisfy the loan immediately upon sale. If you sell at a loss, then there is no tax benefit.
Can You Afford to Rent Your Home?
Research the going rents in your market using tools like the MLS listings and craigslist.org. Look for comparable properties in your neighborhood or similar neighborhoods to get sense for what your home might bring in as a rental. It is important to take features like square footage, number of rooms and upgrades such as granite kitchen counter tops, location and proximity to desirable schools into consideration while looking for comps. You can also talk to real estate agents and property managers to get their take on pricing. If it turns out that you can’t cover your mortgage with the projected rent, then calculate how much of a loss you can take to still be able to afford to rent the house.
Do You Need Tax Deductions?
You can often take losses and costs from rental properties as tax deductions. In addition to deducting the cost of your mortgage beyond the rental income, landlords can often deduct all expenses associated with the rental, including property management and maintenance fees. Consult your accountant to ensure that you know what the costs and benefits will be from a tax perspective before you make the decision to rent rather than sell your home.
Can Your Credit Take the Hit of a Short Sale?
If you don’t mind sacrificing your credit score for a few years, you can’t afford to rent and you really need to get out of your house, then a short sale is always an option. A short sale is a real estate transaction in which the bank agrees to accept less than the amount owed on the mortgage to release the owner from their financial obligation. For example, if the mortgage on a home is $200,000 and a buyer makes an offer for $150,000, the bank may accept this offer and forgive the additional debt. Besides mucking up your credit, a short sale can also contribute to your tax bill. Often, the forgiven amount (in this case, $50,000) can be added to your tax bill as taxable income. It is important to consult a lawyer or accountant so that you know the details of how a short sale will impact your taxes and your credit before you move ahead.
Should You Sell or Rent Your Home?
Depending on your immediate financial situation and long-term outlook, it can make more sense to rent rather than sell. In some cases, a short sale is the best remedy for escaping an underwater property and moving on with your life. Before you make any decision about renting or selling, be sure to consult a lawyer or accountant for customized consultation so that you fully understand the tax ramifications and benefits given your unique situation.
As an agent, one of the best ways you can help clients stay calm through the selling process is to keep them informed from the get-go. You know that the more knowledgeable a seller is, the greater their chances are of getting the best transaction quickly.
Make sure your current clients and prospects know what to expect during the selling process and how they can help get their home sold with this free guide.
With Getting to Sold they’ll learn:
The biggest selling mistakes to avoid
How agents use comparables to find the right home price
Open house dos and don’ts
Download it now to give your sellers the advantage — along with some much-needed peace of mind.
Spring appears to be here! And with spring comes prime selling season. People like to move in the late spring / early summer for several reasons. First of all, the weather is mild. Secondly, if moving across school district lines, families with children like to move during summer break so that their kids’ lives will be disrupted as little as possible.
So on this beautiful Saturday, I have the desire to go outside and begin my annual spring clean up, in preparation for all of the gardening to come. As well, I am preparing my own home for sale, so now is the time to get stuff done.
As a professional home stager, I am often asked by my clients how to stage the outside of a house. And my answer is not quite so simple. I always begin with “First impressions count!” and curb appeal cannot be underestimated. After all, if a potential buyer is turned off to your house by the outside, they will not be impressed with the inside, no matter how perfect your house is!
Don’t sabotage your home sale with outdoor decor that turns buyers off before they’ve even walked through the door. Here’s what not to do when prepping your home’s exterior and landscape.
We are in a buyer’s market. That means that there are a lot more people who are trying to sell a home than people who want to (or can qualify to) buy a home. Home prices peaked, depending on where you live, sometime in 2005/2006. Since then prices have been on a steady (if you’re in a good market) decline. In some areas home prices resemble the scary side of a roller-coaster. In a declining market if your home is listed at the same price it was three months ago, it’s overpriced! To compete with the other hopeful sellers on the market, you have to price your home ahead of the decline. Buyers have 10 to 15 homes that will work for them in this market. You have to demonstrate that you are a serious seller to get their attention.
Your home is ugly
I know its cliché, but a picture is really worth a thousand words. What buyers see when they pull up to your home has a more significant effect on their opinion of your property, than anything else involved in the decision process. If they can’t see your home for the overgrown trees or shrubs that block the view, they aren’t able to connect to the property. In real estate we have a saying, “if you can’t see it, you can’t sell it”. If the flower beds are bare and the plants are dead, that is an early indication of the condition of the rest of the home. If you have the only green, blue or red home on the block, you may have to wait a long time to find a buyer that shares your taste. Make you exterior neat, trimmed and clean and you’ll move up the buyer’s food chain.
When was the last time you cleaned your baseboards, ceiling fan blades, lite fixtures or cabinet doors. If it wasn’t done right before your home went on the market, you’ve already turned off some buyers. “Live in” clean and “for sale” clean are two different things. Buyers expect to see a model home when they visit your castle. It’s impossible to have a home too clean for buyers. You can’t leave dishes in the sink when you leave or water drops in the shower. Buyers look at everything. They even open the stove and microwave. Spring Cleaning Guide and Cleaning House: Secrets of a Truly Deep Clean will get you started on a truly clean buyer experience.
Your home stinks
Do you have indoor pets? If you do then you also have indoor odor. I know you can’t smell anything because you live there every day. Have someone come over who hasn’t been in your home in a while, and who will also tell you the truth, and ask them if they can smell any unusual scents. Pet Odor Can Chase Away Buyers will get you headed in the right direction to neutralize any lingering pet aromas. There are also odors in an unvented basement. It may smell musty, mildewed or just closed in. A dead giveaway that there is a problem is when you have a fan blowing in the basement during a showing. If there is carpet have it professionally cleaned and scented. Also, artificial scents can go a long way to disguise the stale air.
Your home is too cluttered
When buyers are looking for a new home they are trying to visualize how their family and belongings will lay out in your floor plan. If they can’t see the floor, they can’t begin to imagine how your home would fit them. If every flat surface has something sitting on it and every closet is bulging at the seams, what a buyer can see is that the home is probably too small. If they are moving up, it’s because they have run out of space at their current home. If there is barely enough room for them to view yours, single file, they’ll assume that your home won’t give them any extra space to work with. The one area where you might get away with clutter may be the garage. If you have begun to pack and the garage is full of boxes, they know that when you go the boxes will go too. If there is room, move unused furniture and extra belongings into the garage and live on bare minimum furnishings while your home on the market. When buyers come over, less is definitely more. And if you do it right, it won’t be on the market very long.
If you home isn’t being shown, if you have had several showings with no offers or questions and if it’s been on the market over three months, print out this article and discuss these areas with your listing agent. If you’re the one who brings it up they’ll be much more forthcoming with tough, but definitely needed, advice. Good selling!