Friday, October 30, 2015

Will Your House... Haunt You?

It's Halloween and this week I would like to discuss the scariest part of real estate. 



The fear of the unknown.


Buying or selling a house is the bigget deal most people make in their lifetime. It can be very stressful - even when everything goes right. In real estate, everyone knows that honesty is the best policy.

Some people think that covering up a problem like a leak with a fresh coat of paint is a good way to show that the property is in good condition. If the leak was fixed, that may be enough to finish the job. Unfortunately sometimes there are unresolved issues that people try to hide.

Disclosures have become a very important part of any real estate transaction for that very reason.

What is a disclosure, you ask?

A Disclosure is the seller’s opportunity to be open about any issues with the property.

Types Of Issues


There are several types of issues that a seller should mention to potential buyers.

These can be something inside the house, like an existing problem, a re-occurring problem, or even a problem that has been fixed. 

The most common type of disclosure deals with physical issues related to structure, water or electricity. 

Sellers may also want to describe any renovations or upgrades that have been done. This is especially true for any un-permitted work.





The seller may wish to be transparent about any issues outside of the house as well. 

If there are noise issues from neighbors or a passing train, a smart seller will be open about it. 

If there are any disputes between immediate neighbors, it may be wise to note it.

The same is true for any major issue that could diminish the quality of life, for example if a neighboring property had been used for commercial purposes in the recent past. 

I have seen several condo projects built on sites that were former gas stations. As a buyer, I would definitely want to know about any possible subterranean fuel leaks and soil contamination!


Other disclosures may involve financial issues. The seller should disclose if they recently or will declare bankruptcy. The same would be prudent if there are any liens on the property.

The last major category relates to crime or death in the house. If there were any criminal activities on the property, such as drug dealing or manufacturing, it would be very difficult to hide the traces. Even if the property was scrubbed, chances are the owner would eventually find out from neighbors – or unwelcome visitors.

In the case of murder or even accidental death from illness or old age, a seller must disclose these events, especially if they happened within the last three years. 

Surprisingly, it is also important to disclose any suspicion of haunting!


The Logic


I must be crazy to describe problems with my house!

Why on earth would a seller want to say anything negative about their property? Wouldn’t that make it harder to sell???

If a seller is open about issues, then an interested buyer has the choice as to whether to continue with the offer. Buy telling them up front, all parties avoid the awkward situation of having the issue turn up during the inspection. 

If the issue may cause a buyer to back out, then it is probably best to save everyone’s time and move on to the next interested party.

If the seller is aware of the problem beforehand, the issue may not matter to them. On the other hand, if there is something that was not disclosed and is discovered during the inspection process, then the seller may assume the buyer is not honest about other things as well.

Some sellers think they can gamble, and that the seller or their inspector may not find the issue. While this is possible, it still leaves the seller open to a law suit later on if it is discovered they knew about the situation. Buyers usually have up to ten years to file a lawsuit.

What They Are


There are standard documents available where the owner may check off typical issues by answering Yes or No questions. In addition, sellers may usually add anything that is not mentioned on the forms.



It is important to note that these are legal documents and that every effort should be made to fill them out the best of the seller’s ability. These documents may be used in court.

How It’s Done


A seller may offer this document to any potential buyer. In most cases, the buyer receives the document once an offer has been made.

It is very important for the seller to have the buyer’s signed acknowledgement and to keep this document for as long as the state laws require.



When selling a house, it is always a good idea to make a clean break. By disclosing any known issues a seller can move on with their life without worrying about a potential lawsuit. Don't be haunted by a house you SOLD!!!

If you are putting your home on the market yourself, describing disclosures may be a very stressful time.  In addition, if selling during the holidays isn't something you wish to consider right now, we can help.


If you have come to the realization that it is time to move right now to have a better life, but your house isn’t ready for market, we can help. 

If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this fall, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. 

Contact us for details.

Next time we will look at small spaces.


So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 

Turn Your House To $OLD!



Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.


Lynda  623-335-2662







_____________
Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Just Do It? Should I Or Shouldn't I?

Most people know that when they plan to sell their house it has to be in the best condition possible. Doing renovations and repairs can be a very big expense. Piled on top of moving paying to fix your house for someone else can be a very unwelcome prospect!


A lot of owners look for bargains or try to do the work themselves. They think that this is a great way to save. After all…they aren’t doing the work for their own benefit!

But is Do It Yourself or using unlicensed labor a smart move?

Yes …and No!

Proof


The most important consideration is whether it would be advantageous to have proof in the form of a receipt. For major renovations or repairs, having invoices and warranties is beneficial both to show your house as well maintained – and in some cases for income tax purposes. 

When renovating to update your house for sale, it is advantageous to show prospective buyers that you have had work done by a professional. In most cases this implies a certain professional quality of work that adheres to local or state standards. Having the work done by a licensed contractor usually comes with a period of warranty. Should anything go wrong, there may be an option for the provider to come back and remedy the issue. This offers a buyer some reassurance that if something should go wrong with the work, that they have someone to contact.

The additional benefit of using licensed contractors is that many repairs to a house may offer certain tax benefits. While renovations to a primary residence typically cannot be used as deductions, there are still advantages when it comes to selling. If you sell and make a profit on your residence, renovations may help lower your tax burden.

If you are selling a property that is not your primary residence, then you may have greater incentive to use licensed contractors. Repairs that keep the property in good condition can be a tax deduction. Many investment property owners think that improvements are also tax deductions, but this tends not to be the case. Most improvement s are calculated as depreciation over several years. The tax benefits of improvements can be very advantageous, but better left to a skilled financial specialist.

Government incentives


There are times when state or local programs offer property owners subsidies to do work. 

Often these programs involve energy efficiency, such as the addition of solar panels. If doing this type of work will give your house an edge on the market, it may be worth considering.  

In these instances, using licensed professionals is usually mandatory.







The different advantages of using licensed contactors are easy to see. But when can a property owner best use the services of a handy man or do it themselves?

General repairs


If the repair is something that may be considered truly simple, an owner could very well take care of it themselves.

Painting, polishing floors or changing out hardware or fixtures is usually simple enough that most people can do it. The same is true for most yard maintenance. Many property owners do this type of work themselves.

Where it becomes less clear is when specialized equipment is required. 

As an example, while it may be simple enough to change most burnt out light bulbs, it may be better to hire someone to change out the bulbs in an entry chandelier that is thirty feet in the air – if you don’t already own a suitable ladder. In a case like this, there is no advantage to buying a ladder when you are thinking of selling the house or hiring a professional electrician to do the work. 

The neighborhood handy man may be a better choice.



In most instances using licensed contractors is an advantage even when selling. It usually comes with quality materials and labor, and there is the additional advantage of paperwork and some sort of a warranty. The best way to know how to maximize any tax advantage for this work is to speak with a tax professional, such as your accountant.


If you are putting your home on the market yourself, having to renovate or do extensive repairs can be a very costly and stressful time.  In addition, if selling during the holidays isn't something you wish to consider right now, we can help.


If you have come to the realization that it is time to move right now to have a better life, but your house isn’t ready for market, we can help. 

If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this fall, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. 

Contact us for details.

Next time we will look at disclosures.


So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 

Turn Your House To $OLD!



Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.


Lynda  623-335-2662







_____________
Article Sources:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Apples and Oranges: How To Price A House

Most people think that pricing a house is a long and mysterious process. 

Since everyone likes to think their house is unique, they tend to believe that any comparison is like the proverbial apples and oranges – when they have a lush ripe pineapple!

Some other people think that to price a home all they need to do is look on Zillow. The real estate website giant offers a Zestimate as soon as an address is entered. 

This is a great way to start because it will show you what information is public about your house.

What most people don’t know is that Zillow can be very inaccurate when it comes to price. People in the real estate industry rarely rely on this resource for pricing information. What they sometimes use Zillow for is to see the pictures of the interior.

So how can the average person get an idea of their house can sell for?

The same way as the pros!

Comparables


There is a process called “comparables”. During this process a person looks at houses in the neighborhood, and draws a comparison from information on houses in the area. Realtors use the MLS for current and sold listings, but you can use several websites to get a cross section of this information. There are three basic categories of what is reviewed.



What houses are for sale

This is an indication of what your competition will be when you put your house up for sale. It usually consists of houses in your neighborhood, subdivision or street. The number of houses is both good and bad. If there are a lot of houses for sale, you can have a good idea of what your house may be worth. Conversely, it also means that you have a lot of competition. If there aren’t a lot of houses, then it is harder to get a comparison, but may be easier to sell.

What houses are like yours


Of all the houses for sale, it is important to select the properties that have the most similar features to yours. Normally three to five houses are a good number for comparison.

What this means is finding the houses that have the same number of rooms, the same number of floors, similar construction and exterior space. If you have a garage or swimming pool, the best comparables will too. If there are features that your house doesn’t have, the best comparables will not have these features either.

If there aren’t three to five of these houses on the market, then there are calculations that can be made. It is possible to average the price for a square foot and multiply by the number of square feet in your house. There are other calculations as well. For example, a swimming pool is typically worth $10,000 - $15,000. If you don’t have one, but the comparable does, then that amount is subtracted from their asking price to give you an idea of what you can ask for. Similar calculations are available for green spaces, busy streets and renovations.

What houses have sold for


Undoubtedly the best information comes from houses that have already sold. The reason for this is that a person can ask for any amount for their house. What is important is what a buyer will actually pay!

Typically houses in this category have sold within the past three months. Any older than that and the market conditions may have been too different for comparison. Think back to the housing crisis of 2007. Any person selling today wouldn’t want to be compared to those prices – even if it is the same house!

If there aren’t enough nearby houses that have recently sold, then houses that are further away will need to be reviewed. It is important to remember that the further away a sold house is from yours, the less accurate the comparison will be.

Why is that?

Amenities


Amenities are the desirable features of a neighborhood. Typically it refers to services and recreation in the area near a house. Proximity to shopping, parks and transportation access are a few considerations.



Coming up with your asking price


Once all the available information is collected, it is time to choose the three to five houses that are the most similar to yours. Using the photos from Zillow, or other sites, you can eliminate anything that is too different on the outside or the interior.

Objectively consider the final selection. Compare any renovations or upgrades including style trends and materials used. Determine where your house sits between these others. Is it the best, worst or just average? That will tell you if you are at the high end midpoint or low end of the price range.

Remember though, that the asking price is just a beginning point for negotiations. If priced right, those negotiations should start happening in a few weeks. If not priced competitively, your house may sit on the market for a long time.





If you are putting your home on the market yourself, the pricing process can be a very stressful time.  In addition, if selling during the holidays isn't something you wish to consider right now, we can help.


If you have come to the realization that it is time to move right now to have a better life, but your house isn’t ready for market, we can help. 

If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this fall, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. 

Contact us for details.

Next time we will look at how to fix up your house before a sale.


So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 

Turn Your House To $OLD!



Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.


Lynda  623-335-2662







_____________
Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mirror, Mirror on the wall: Will your closets make your home sale fall?




Most people believe that closets are private, sacred spaces. Unfortunately this does not apply when you are selling your house. 

Some people think they only need to clean out the closets for the inspection, but this can’t be furthest from the truth! As soon as a house goes up for sale, closets are fair game. Some buyers will not even think about making an offer unless they have viewed all these secret spaces!

So how is a seller supposed to keep living in a house where their closets are on display?

Today when buyers tour houses, they expect expansive walk in closets that are impeccably organized. A lot of buyers have bought into the dreams they see on TV and in magazines. If they are disappointed – or disgusted by your closets, you might lose that sale!



Everyone would love to have this closet. If it was mine, I might be reluctant to come out after dressing! LOL

While this may be far from reality in your neighborhood, there are steps you can take to make your closets both beautiful and memorable while still keeping them functional for your daily life.


Clean


Most people know that they need to clean their closets when selling their house. Buyers don't want to see your mess!



This closet is a disaster! Everything is disorganized. Clothing and shoes have just been tossed in like the person doesn't care. While it may not matter to you, a buyer may wonder if you take care of your house's maintenance in the same way.

In some cases, tiddying may not be enough to prepare your closets for buyers.


If you have a lot of items packed in, even the largest closet will seem small and cramped. 

If the closets look empty, psychologically it seems as though you have ample space!

This closet looks organized, but it is so cramped that it seems as though the house does not have enough storage space.





A popular suggestion is that sellers should get rid of at least half of the stuff in any closet. 

This closet looks bigger because there is ample space between hung items and items on rge shelves:


Purge


The first thing to do is to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit into your lifestyle any more. 

Get rid of old, broken or useless items. 

Sort through clothing, sports equipment and anything else you may have in your closets and get rid of things that don’t fit or that you don’t use!

Don’t be tempted to keep things by convincing yourself that you “will use them at your new place”. Think about it – rationally – and make sure you really will!

If you have friends, family or a favorite charity, they may wish to take some of your possessions. Recycling is also a better option than throwing stuff in the garbage.



Pre-Pack


This is one case where the less you have to work with, the better! 

Pre-pack any item that is out of season and store it …somewhere else

If you have friends or family that can keep a few boxes for you, that’s great! If not, rent a storage locker.

Remember that buyers are paying by the square foot – and they want to see EVERY foot possible.








Organize


Once you have purged your closets, it is time to start fresh and organize them in a way that is appealing to buyers, but also in a way that will also be functional for you while you stay in the house.

Systems


If you have built in systems like this in your closets, that is fantastic. 



If you don’t, now may not be the best time to add some. It is unlikely that the expense would greatly improve your sale price. Look for ways to organize your closet with items that you can take with you when you sell. 

Opt for dressers, or free standing shelving (matching, of course!) to give your closet a more structured look. 

Free hanging systems are another good choice.

Baskets and bins on shelves are a great choice. If you are starting from scratch and buying these systems, opt for neutral shades. 

This pink and red closet system is lovely and functional, but the strong color may turn some buyers off.



Stategic Staging


Hide


It is not a question about being bashful or embarrassed by your belongings. When you hide items for a home sale, you are doing this to eliminate visual clutter and keep buyers focused on your house, and not your stuff.

You don’t want them focusing on your 100+ pair collection of shoes. You want them to notice the great features and proportions of your master suite!

If you have a nice set of luggage, don’t leave them empty. 

Use the luggage to store the items you still need whilr your house is up for sale.









Replace utilitarian items with something more decorative.

Everyone knows you will have laundry, but why not have it in a beautiful wicker trunk instead of a cheap plastic basket?


You may get bankers boxes from the copy center and dress them up a little to create a unique designed look for your closet. 

Simply covering them with newspaper can give them a designer look – and get rid of the visual clutter of the product labeling. 

This is a great way to conceal shoes, hats or sports equipment at little or no expense.

If you have a bunch of smaller items such as makeup or hair accessories, put them in decorative boxes, too. The less loose items, the easier it is for buyers to focus on your house.



Coordinate


One of the easiest mistakes in an organized closet is to have a variety of clothes hangers. The different styles, widths and heights can make any closet look sloppy.

The best way to show your closet is to have all matching hangers. It is very subtle, but it does create a sense of precision and elegance.



If buying new matching hangers isn’t an option right now, take the time to sort out your different styles and group them together. Take one style for shirts, another for blouses, and so on. It’s a good compromise and will make your closet look sharp.

Color


It is surprisingly simple, but a closet where clothes of a similar color are grouped together will show better by looking less visually cluttered. 

Start by organizing your clothes by function, and then group items of similar color together.
















Light


If you have a fixture or outlet in your closet, take the opportunity to set up some nice lighting. 

So often owners just leave a plastic socket and bare light bulb in the closet. 

It just looks sad! 

At the very least, clip a shade onto that bulb. 

You can also look for fixtures at your local charity’s store, or a new simple flush mounted fixture is about $20 – if you have someone handy in the house.



Odor


If you store sports equipment or the entire family’s laundry in a closet, take the time to get an air freshener and check on it to make sure it is still working. 

In fact, get some sachets for all the closets! 

They are inexpensive and available at most dollar stores. 

Stick with more neutral scents, such as vanilla, citrus or “fresh laundry” to give a light, pleasant fragrance to the air.









Pact For Cleanliness


Make a pact with your family to stay on top of closet organization while your house is up for sale. 

It is tempting to want to “do it later” but when you get a call that a buyer wants to visit, the last thing you want to be doing before they show up is fold a bunch of clothes. 








If you know that will be a challenge – especially for young kids – plan to keep an empty decorative trunk or ottoman in the room as a catch-all. 

If space is too tight in a room, at least plan to have one of the drawers empty for last minute storage should buyers come a-knocking J





It may seem like fruitless labor to organize your closets before moving, but well presented storage will let buyers know that your house has ample storage space. That is very desirable in any market!




If you are putting your home on the market, the holidays can be a very stressful time.  If selling during the holidays isn't something you wish to consider right now, we can help.

If you have come to the realization that it is time to move right now to have a better life, but your house isn’t ready for market, we can help. 

If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this fall, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. 

Contact us for details.

Next time we will look at how to set your house's price.


So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 

Turn Your House To $OLD!



Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.


Lynda  623-335-2662







_____________
Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory