What Happens when you Make an Offer?

If you want to buy a new washing machine, you simply go into a retail store and pay the listed price. Pretty simple.

However, it doesn’t work quite that way when it comes to real estate. Although a home will usually have a “listed price”, you must make an “offer” for that property and then the seller must accept it. In fact, if there are other buyers interested in the property, you may not get the home even if you offer the listed price!

That’s why it’s so important to work with a good real estate professional, who can provide information and experience to help you determine the right offer to submit.

Once you make an offer, if the seller accepts it, the home is yours. If the seller rejects your offer, it could be because they’ve accepted another buyer’s offer, feel your offer is too low, or have rejected one of your conditions.

Sometimes, the seller will come back with a counteroffer. If you accept it, congratulations, you’ve bought the property. If you don’t like the counteroffer, you can make a counter-counteroffer!

This back and forth negotiation can get a bit tricky, which is another reason to have a professional by your side.

Is Your Home in “Move-In” Condition?

When buyers view your home, they ask themselves whether they like it. Assuming that the answer is “yes”, they try to determine how much work would be required before they could move in.

It’s not uncommon for a buyer to be interested in a property but be turned off by the perceived amount of work required. In fact, this can sometimes discourage a buyer from even making an offer.

That’s why ensuring your home is in as “move-in” condition as possible is so advantageous. It will help sell your home faster and, often, for a better price.

So what does “move-in” condition mean? It means that there are no repairs or maintenance issues that need to be addressed immediately. Buyers can be discouraged by seemingly minor issues, such as a loose closet shelf or a lightly dripping shower head. So it’s important to get those little repairs done before showing your home.

Buyers will also likely want to know the age of your furnace, water heater and other appliances, in order to anticipate when they will need to be repaired or replaced. If you have transferrable warranties for any of these items, be sure to let buyers know.

A fresh coat of paint is one of the best investments you can make in preparing your home for sale. More than any other repair or renovation, a coat of paint can make just about any room look almost new and move-in ready.

Buyers are sometimes worried about having to purchase new window coverings. If your window coverings will stay with the home, make that clear to buyers too.

Generally, the more you can do to make your home seem ready to move in, the better.

Want more tips on selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today!

How Much Can you Afford?

Why is it so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a home?

Two reasons.

First, you don’t want to buy a property and then find out, after you’ve moved in, that you can’t financially maintain it. That would mean having to resell it under stressful conditions.

Second, you don’t want to settle for a property that’s less than ideal, when you really could have afforded the “dream home” you’ve always wanted.

So how do you figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next home?

The first step is to gain a clearer understanding of how much your current home will likely sell for in today’s market. That amount, together with other financial resources you might have (such as savings), will determine your available down payment.

The next thing you’ll need to figure out is the maximum amount of mortgage for which you qualify.

Say, through the proceeds of the sale of your home combined with your savings, your expected down payment is $150,000. If the lender authorizes a mortgage of $375,000, then you can afford a $525,000 home.

Typically your lender determines your maximum mortgage based on, among other things, a percentage of your income, to ensure you can maintain the property.

It’s worth doing your own calculations too. Calculate your anticipated utilities, insurance, and property tax, and make sure you have some money set aside for unanticipated expenses.

Of course, you don’t need to spend as much as you qualify for on a new home. A home that meets your needs in terms of property type, features, and community, may in fact cost you less.

Consider the Possibilities

You’re shopping for a new home. You visit a property that looks great from the outside, but when you go inside to explore the rooms, you’re disappointed. The kitchen is cluttered and “feels” small. The living room seems too wide. The master bedroom doesn’t look comfortable at all.

Should you strike this home off your list of possibilities?

Maybe. Maybe not. You see, there may be any number of reasons why a room doesn’t look appealing. Some of those reasons may have little to do with the size and configuration of the space.

For example, a bedroom might look tight and uncomfortable because there are two over-sized dressers taking up most of the space, making the room feel cluttered. Without them the room could be ideal.

The kitchen might seem small because the toaster, coffeemaker, spice rack and numerous other items are using up all the counter space. If you can imagine those gone, you might see how roomy the kitchen could feel.

So the next time you’re viewing a home, consider the possibilities for each room, not just how the room actually looks now.

How Much is Your Home Worth?

If you are like most homeowners, you have probably often wondered what your home is currently worth.

You may want to know the value of your home just because you’re curious, or because you need to know the financial value of this important investment, or even because you’re thinking of making a move in the near future.

These are all good reasons. So how do you find out?

Well, a lot of homeowners simply guess. You might have heard a friend or colleague say, “We bought this property for such and such five years ago. So I bet we could get such and such if we sold it today!”

Unfortunately, a guess is just a guess. It’s often wrong.

Other homeowners might find out what the “house around the corner” sold for last month, and base their estimate on that. While that’s actually a more accurate predictor of what your home is worth, you can still be off by tens of thousands of dollars.

The best way to find out what your home would sell for in today’s market is to calculate its Current Market Value. This is done by reviewing what similar homes in your area have sold for recently – usually within the last six months – and then, based on that data, and the unique characteristics of your home, determining the value of your property today.

Buyers will Love your Storage Areas if…

Potential buyers come to view your home. They explore each room with interest. Then they open the closet door in the master bedroom. Will they be impressed with the space and imagine their clothes adorning the racks and shelves?

That likely depends on how you use and manage that storage space.

Of course, their first reaction will be based on size. Short of doing a major renovation, there’s not much you can do about that.

However, there is plenty you can do to make the space seem bright and roomy. Your first step is to remove as much of the clutter as possible. If the closet doubles as storage for boxes and other items, for example, move those items elsewhere. (It might make sense for you to temporarily rent space at a local self-storage.)

Next, make sure the space isn’t over-filled. You don’t have to remove all your clothes, but consider removing enough to fully accentuate the roominess of the space and make it look neat and organized.

Finally, don’t forget about lighting. It also plays a key role. A dimly lit closet will make the space look unappealing. Use enough wattage to create a pleasant glow throughout the area.

Don’t forget to do the same things for all your other storage spaces too.

What to Look for when Viewing a Home

Shopping for a home is a little like shopping for a car. Unless you know what to look for, you risk being swayed by first impressions and buying something that does not truly meet your needs.

For example, you might fall in love with the recreation room and unconsciously overlook the fact that the home doesn’t have enough bedrooms to accommodate your growing family.

So when you’re viewing a potential new home, make sure the home meets your needs.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there enough room for my family, now and in the future? Remember, as kids grow so does the space they require!
  • Are there enough bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and storage space?
  • Is the yard big enough?
  • Will my furniture fit the space?
  • Do I like the community? Always take a walk around and explore the area.
  • Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? If the seller won’t be taking care of such issues, repairs or replacements could add thousands of dollars to the true cost of buying the property.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when viewing a home. After all, it’s a major purchase. You want to get it right!

Need help finding homes to view that meet your requirements? Call today.

How to Sell your Home Super Fast

If you put your home on the market, chances are you want it to sell quickly. However, there are certain circumstances in which sellers don’t just want their home to sell quickly, they actually need it to sell super fast. This may be due to a sudden relocation, the purchase of a new home with a tight closing date, or any number of other reasons.

Obviously, this can be a stressful situation. However, there are some practical things you can do to help your home sell super fast:

  • Find out the current market value of your property. This will guide you in your decision on the listing price.
  • Be reasonable about the listing price. You can sell quickly and still get a good price for your home. But, realistically, you won’t be able to hold out in the hopes of getting an “above market value” offer.
  • Be as flexible and accommodating as possible when it comes to scheduling viewings. If you’re going to restrict buyers to seeing your home on Saturdays from 3 to 5, then you’re going to reduce your chances of a quick sale.
  • Clean and declutter your home. This is the fastest way to dramatically improve how it shows.
  • Tend to the outside of your property. Cut the grass. Trim the hedges. Fix the creaking back gate. Do everything you can to increase your property’s curb appeal.
  • Apply fresh paint wherever possible. Painting is the quickest and least expensive “renovation” you can do. It can significantly improve the look of any area of your home.
  • Spread the news that your home is on the market and that you’re looking for a quick sale. Tell your friends, family and co-workers.

Diffusing Disputes with Neighbors

Even if you live in a beautiful home in a great community, a dispute with a neighbor can make living there a miserable experience. That’s why it makes sense to settle such disputes quickly and amicably.

How do you do that? Here are some tips:

  • Deal with the issue quickly. It’s tempting to avoid facing an unpleasant dispute with a neighbor and hope the problem just goes away. That rarely happens. To settle a dispute, you need to act quickly.
  • Avoid displays of anger. Acting angrily typically only gets the other party on the defensive. It can escalate the situation and rarely, if ever, leads to a resolution.
  • Isolate the problem. Never generalize a dispute with a neighbor. Be specific.
  • Don’t complain; propose. Rather than complaining about loud music at night, propose a solution. For example, “When our front lights have been turned off, that means we’ve gone to bed. Would it be possible to turn down the music at that time? Thanks!”
  • Say thanks when there’s a resolution. You may never be close friends, but being cordial will go a long way toward easing the tension.

Understanding how Homes are Priced

Whether you plan on putting your home on the market someday soon, or you’re just interested in how much your property is worth from an investment perspective, it makes sense to know how homes are priced.

When a home goes on the market, there is an overwhelmingly high probability that it will sell for somewhere close to its market value.

So if a three-bedroom, detached home in a community sold for X dollars, then you can expect a similar home down the street to sell for roughly the same price.

That’s why real estate professionals look closely at recent home sales in the area in order to advise clients on the best listing price.

Are there other factors that determine the selling price? There are many. Home improvements, special features such as a large deck as well as the general attractiveness of your home, can all increase its value to potential buyers.

While some of these characteristics may help boost its selling price, others may simply help you sell your home more quickly.