The Home Selling Process for Beginners

Selling your home may be a big task, and choosing to sell your home yourself is definitely a daunting decision. But with some key information and basic knowledge of the process, you can set yourself up for success and a great experience. Here are some points to focus on as you prepare to list your home and represent yourself.

The personal side

Two months before listing, there are a few tasks you should complete. These include:

  • Evaluating your finances and budget
  • Add up transaction costs and remaining equity
  • Collect all key documentation, including title, survey, mortgage, and insurance

You should also consider the following questions to help you plan the next stages of your home sale:

  • Just how urgent is your need to sell your home?
  • Is a career or other change prompting this relocation?
  • Is your move tied to a school year, medical concerns, or other financial pressures?

All of these points tie in to determining your listing price. The more urgent your need to sell fast, the lower you will want to set the price to get hits early. However, if you have time to spare, you can wait for an ideal offer and price your home a little higher. But no matter your personal wishes for your listing price, you will still want to price competitively with current trends for your neighborhood.

The physical side

Two months before listing your home, you should:

  • Evaluate the condition of your property
  • Fix obvious problems
  • Begin thinking about upgrades to improve equity

Especially if you want to sell quickly, your home needs to be move-in or nearly move-in ready. Try to set aside your personal likes and dislikes, and view your home with a critical buyers’ eye. You may also want to get an outspoken friend to come over and give you an honest opinion. There are three types of problems you should be looking for:

Cosmetic problems

These can usually be fixed or neutralized at minimal cost. Grimy walls can be scrubbed down and painted. Torn carpet can (and should) be replaced, but sometimes it’s even better to remove all the carpet to the underlying hardwood and refinish it for more equity. Torn window screens and crooked lighting fixtures must all be fixed.

Functional repairs and upgrades

Ruthlessly examine the condition of your appliances, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, roof, and other structural elements of your home. By repairing or replacing these potential negatives, you take away that reason for a buyer to reject your home. Your house will also appeal to cash-strapped buyers who worry about potential surprise costs right after they move in.

Problems you can’t fix

The location of your home is something you can’t change, and the same can be said for your neighbors, school district, noise and traffic, and many other factors. While you can’t fix these, you can take these factors into account when pricing your home, to make it that much more appealing to potential buyers. There are some things you have to report to buyers, like seepage in the basement—that’s state law, for the most part. But you can also get a home warranty, which will provide peace of mind to home buyers, as this will cover the cost of repair or replacement for some major home systems.

This covers much of the early preparation work needed to sell your home yourself, however there’s still a bit more to discuss. Check in April for the continuation of this blog post!

9 Tips to Increase Valuation During The Appraisal Process

An appraisal is an important part of selling your home. It is an evaluation of your home’s monetary value by a licensed industry professional. The appraisal provides documentation to all interested parties that your home is worth the price it’s listed for. There are some factors that can affect the appraisal, and there are some ways to get the most for your money.

Outside

Your home should be neat, free of clutter, and have some serious curb appeal. Landscaping will add value, but too much landscaping will look overdone and diminish your home’s value. If your home is painted, there should be no peeling, fading, or graying. Siding will add to your home’s worth; even if your home is already painted, it might be a good idea to install siding. If your home is already fitted with siding, make sure it is very clean and in excellent repair.

Inside

The interior of your home should be tidy, organized, and clean for the appraisal. Pet and smoke odors will negatively impact the appraisal, so take steps to eliminate these odors right away and thoroughly. If there are any special features of your home that you want the appraiser to consider, make sure you can easily access those areas.

Remodeling and Upkeep

Updating certain areas and features of your home can increase your home’s value. The kitchen and bathrooms are focal points for appraisers, so updating the cabinets, sinks, and fixtures can improve the appeal. Repainting rooms that are peeling or faded, and cleaning or repairing wallpaper will also improve the value. Finishing the basement is another great choice. If you have begun any improvements or repairs, make sure they are all complete before the appraisal.

Some appliances will aid you in the appraisal. If you have a luxury bath, like a hot tub or spa, make sure the fixtures are clean and in working order before the appraisal. Central air conditioning units are included in the inspection as well, so change the features and clear away any debris.

Misunderstandings

Something that not everyone knows is that the appraisal of your home is based on the condition and features of your home as they compare to the value and features of similar homes in your area. Adding features that are excessive or unusual for the area can actually diminish your appraisal value. Bedroom walls painted in bright neon colors or large, ornate garden statues in a smaller yard are not good choices in a moderately-priced suburban area. Permanent pools can also lower appraisal value due to the expected maintenance required by the new owners.

To recap:

You basically want your home to look its best when the appraiser arrives, and you want to have an idea of the things you want to point out to the appraiser beforehand. Don’t leave projects unfinished, and don’t plan any huge improvements that eat up money and don’t add a lot of value. Remember that your neighbors’ homes will provide a comparison basis that the appraiser will consider, and that your home is not existing in a bubble. Put on a smile, and be assured that the worst is nearly over. You’ll be on to bigger and better things soon.

Choose what’s BEST for you

Everyone places different value on different criteria. Whether your’re choosing between new cars or picking out your favorite candy bar, no one size fits all. What makes real estate wonderful is the inherent uniqueness of each house. No two are made the same. While you could argue that there are multiple instances of any given floor plan, the location is ALWAYS different, however subtle that may be. And I can also promise that your neighbors are ALWAYS different too.

In much the same way, choosing how you sell your house is ALWAYS different too. Time of year, condition of the house, the time you have to sell, the amount of work you need to be able to sell, and finding a price are all big variables that affect the sale. Selling a house can be a daunting task to the inexperienced. Often times, homeowners feel they must rely on real estate agents to guide them through the process, but there are just as many real estate agents that don’t have quite enough experience to have all the right answers either. In real estate we tend to agree with the 80/20 rule, that is, 20% of the real estate agents do 80% of the work. In fact, I would even say it’s more of a 95/5 rule where 5% of the real estate agents do 95% of the work. If you’re one of the unfortunate house sellers that picks the wrong real estate agent, it could end up costing you a lot of time and money. There are some really great real estate agents out there and we are happy to refer you to some if that’s what’s best for you, but consider your options before you do so.

We have purchased multiple houses from real estate agents, and from real estate agents representing their clients. Some of these agents really did take the time to figure out what was best for them, and what was best for their clients too. And while that may not always be the case, we’re more than happy to give an honest opinion of some factors you should take into consideration before making your decision. There’s a phrase used in real estate to describe an offer, “highest and best.” This phrase really says a lot about how an offer to purchase a house is viewed, of course highest refers to the highest dollar amount, but what do they mean by best? In the phrase “highest and best” best typically refers to the terms of the offer. Let’s say you had multiple offers on your house, one from buyer A was for $100,000 and they could purchase next week. The other offer from buyer B was for $108,000.00 but they didn’t want to purchase for 4 months. Is it obvious to you which offer is “best”?

It shouldn’t be, it’s a very subjective opinion. Just like being the best chef in the world is a matter of opinion, so too is figuring out which offer is “best”. If, say for example, you need to sell your current house in order to purchase your next house, which you have under contract and are set to close in 30 days, the offer from buyer B is out of the question. You simply don’t have the time to wait for buyer B to follow through with the purchase, otherwise you may have no next house to move into.

Another example. Let’s take the same situation with the two buyer’s, but remove the seller having a new house to purchase. Why wouldn’t the seller take the offer from buyer B? At first glance, it’s clearly a higher number, so the only difference is an additional 3 months time to close. Here’s the problem, what if life happens? What if the buyer loses their job or gets laid off in those extra 3 months? They can’t buy the house. What if the buyer finds another house they like better? They’re not going to buy. What if the buyer spends a lot of time thinking about the house and changes their mind and decide they want something small, or bigger, or cheaper, or newer? They’re not going to buy.

The point is, a lot of life can happen in the midst of a real estate transaction, and usually that means an unsuccessful sale.  And what happens when a buyer doesn’t buy? The seller is stuck with a house they don’t want. It can be an unfortunate reality sometimes that humans, buyers, make decisions based on emotions and those decisions are often not what’s best for the seller. Fortunately, you have decisions too, and you must choose what’s best for you.  Consider a CASH offer and make the choice.

Who do we buy houses from?

I bet you’d be surprised to find out some of the people who have sold us their houses. Most of the clients we work with are people just like you. While there are some extenuating circumstances that we are familiar with such as inheritance, probate, wills, foreclosure, and the like, the vast majority of people we work with aren’t in a position where they HAVE TO SELL. Some of the most common situations we run into are clients that would like to sell a house to buy another, whether that’s up sizing, down sizing, or relocation they understand the cost and risk associated with paying two mortgages and maintaining two properties. We are often the ideal solution for these people that need to payoff a mortgage in order to qualify to purchase their next house. The flexibility we have in purchasing a house really sets us apart from the rest. Not only can we buy your house, but you can stay there, rent free for a month until you’re ready to buy your next one. Need a real estate agent to help with finding your next house, we can help, and we can even get you a rebate on your purchase!

Doctors, real estate agents, published authors, investment firms, army officials; these are all people we have called clients, and on multiple occasions. There’s just a plethora of people out in the world that place a greater value on their time, effort, work, and convenience than going through the lengthy and problematic process of listing with a real estate agent and dealing with difficult buyers. Many of our clients just want to make things easier on themselves and reduce hassles, headaches, and unnecessary waiting. Wouldn’t you like to spend more time with your family, spend less time working on a house you don’t want, or focus on just about anything else in your life that needs more attention than your house? I would.

We Buy Houses AND LAND!

Of course we buy houses, we buy all kinds of houses. Large and small, old and new, pretty and well…un-pretty. Our passion is real estate and that extends beyond houses as well. We have conversations with folks everyday that ask “would you buy my house” and the answer is YES. Don’t let that fool you however, we are actively seeking multi-family real estate (such as duplexes, fourplexes, and apartments) and we are always on the lookout for land.

That can be a bit of a misnomer however, as many people seem to think the term land equates to farm land, or grazing pastures, or the like. In reality, land is just a basic term we use to describe any piece of property without a residence already built on it. There are numerous pieces of property even in town that were never built on for whatever reason, we’re certainly interested in those. You might be surprised where some of this vacant property pops up, we often hear from neighbors that they thought the land was owned by the city, or a right of way, or designated open space when in fact it’s just a piece of dirt that the owners never got around to building on.

Now, that’s not to say that the open space that might be around your house is available for someone to buy, many times there are vast tracts of land that are designated open space, or greenbelts, or have building restrictions such that no new buildings may be erected anyway. But if it can be built on, or even if you’re not sure, give us a call or click to fill out our form so we can help you figure out what to do with your land too.

We don’t just buy ugly houses

We understand that many people think that we only buy ugly houses. That’s just not true. As much as we love to buy houses that require a full blown renovation, we also buy houses that need little to no work at all. Check out the what we buy page to learn a little more about what we buy, but generally speaking, we buy all types of real estate. Big and small, old and new, pretty and well… un-pretty, and everything in between. Sometimes there’s more to real estate than meets the eye, potential exists in every house we purchase. Whether its a full renovation, a light remodel, or a turn-key rental property we are looking to find opportunities in the market where our hard work and experience can produce a positive outcome for us while simultaneously meeting the needs of the homeowner that’s wanting to sell us their house.

We have purchased properties with the intent of renting them out, we have purchased properties with the intention of building additions and adding square footage, and we’ve purchased properties with the intent of fixing them up and restoring them to their former glory. You may be surprised to see some of the houses we’ve purchased before, and some of the people we’ve purchased houses from. More on that later.