In an effort to aid struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co., are offering short-sale incentives to qualified homeowners. They aren't releasing many of the details; however the buzz throughout Florida is that defaulting homeowners have received between $10,000 and $20,000 from the banks upon agreement of a short sale.
A recent survey showed that 87% of first-time homebuyers would much prefer to purchase a home that is ready to move-in. Sprucing up your home before you put it on the market could pay off in the long run.
Sellers that will take the time to make these minor changes are more likely to sell their home faster and for more money. In a market such as this, adding a little love to your less than perfect home can make all the difference in the world.
Are Short Sales a Viable Option for Sellers?
If you feel you may qualify, whats your next step?
Sellers do at times need to boast the value of their property, but where should they put that money?
As a realtor in Hernando County primarily (Spring Hill, Weeki Wachee and Brooksville, we have seen many frustrated sellers and we would like to tell them "don't shoot the messenger", but, unfortunately, we are the bearers of the news when we do a Comparative Market Analysis of their home.
A seller needs to know that one of the most important obstacles in selling a home is the appraisal. We don't want to list their home for less than it is worth, we want to sell it! We can only give them an honest and "educated" opinion. The realtors spend a lot of time listing a home, marketing the home, finding the buyers, and following through. There are a lot more "behind the scenes" work that we do and we want to make sure it is as smooth as possible. Besides the appraisal, the lenders are so strict now that it is difficult even with a "pre-approved" buyer. We are going to ask our buyers to have their lender put their information through underwriting, before they go out and become discouraged.
We will always keep you posted.
To Sell or not to Sell?
That is the question for many homeowners in California. While many people have chosen to leave the stage due to the cost of living, others are holding tight believing that their investment, particularly in beach front properties, still offers hope. Not only could the value improve, but theres ways the option of retiring to the Golden State for those proverbial Golden Years.
If you visit California, theres no question that housing away from the ocean is suffering terribly in the current market. People with ocean real estate, however, arent seeing the hammer fall. Yes, there might be some compromises since its currently a buyers market, but generally speaking the waves and sand seem to cast a spell on many people, and also insure value in a home.
Just this week, the median home price in Southern California went up over 22 percent. That's the fastest rate increase people have seen in over five years. Theres a good reason for this. There are state incentives available right now. And where were most of the homes selling? You guessed it the beach. The second area of sales were in markets like San Diego with upscale properties.
Home owner credits in CA started on May 1. A buyer can get state tax credit if theyre buying for the first time for up to $10,000 spread out over three years. Thats a lot of umbrella drinks and beach side barbecues!
So if you currently own a home on the water in California, dont be too quick to jump on the sales band wagon. You have a treasure there. If you dont own a waterfront property what are you waiting for? The timing couldnt be better.
When a real estate market becomes soft, short sales become very popular. The short sale market is designed specifically for homeowners who have homes that are not worth the amount of their loan. Short sales work cooperatively with the mortgage company, who commits to accept the sale proceeds as paid in full on the house even though the debt will be more than the buying price.
Sellers obviously do not turn a profit from a short sale, but they do get out from a burdensome debt without having to foreclose. The lenders advantage here is the chance to sell a property quickly, which saves money.
The major beneficiaries from a short sale are the buying agents and listing agents who get commissions. Title companies, appraisers, and insurers also get a cut from a short sale because a new title policy, appraisal, and homeowners coverage must be written for the buyer. Should the seller get legal consult, that real estate lawyer will see apiece of this pie too, as might tax consultants. Of course I should add that buyers get something too more house for their money and a lower mortgage payment.
Short Sales & Credit Ratings
Normally a short sale isnt even a consideration unless youre behind on your mortgage payments. Those late payments directly impact your credit rating. Being just 30 days late drops your rating an average of 80 points, while a foreclosure or short sale drops it around 120 points.
While that sounds terrible, there is an upside here. If youd foreclosed on your property you could end up waiting as long 5 years to be considered for another mortgage (at least one with a reasonable interest rate). When you complete a short sale, by comparison, you can look to buy again in about two years. If you were current in your payments and moved into a short sale, the FHA and Fannie Mae says you can try to qualify before that time. The question then becomes finding an amenable loan institution.
Deciding on the Short Sale
If youre not certain whether a short sale is right for you, theres a lot to think about. Financial advisors disagree somewhat as to whats worse short sales or foreclosures. The scales seem tipped toward foreclosures having a worse credit impact. Then too, if you know you will eventually want to own another home and dont want to wait too long, the short sale is a much better option.
Just bear in mind that it can take several months to obtain short sale approval from a lender, and the documentation that goes with the sale can be incredibly complex and cumbersome. Make sure that you work with professionals who understand the ins and outs of this process for the best possible outcome.
The real estate market has its ups and downs. When its down it becomes a little more difficult to sell your home for the amount desired. There are, however, things you can do to give your home an advantage over other houses potential buyers may see.
Home Repairs Inside and Out
First off, take care of all those little things that youve been putting off. Put a new light switch cover in the bathroom, clean the dust off the chair rails and baseboards, put a new light bulb in the closet, trim the hedges, weed the garden, and tighten a stairway railing. Youre used to those things, but a buyer is looking at every detail. The more effort you put into the details, the more your house will shine.
Keep it Clean
Speaking of shine, cleanliness and neatness counts. If you have children, let them know toys have to be put away. Shoes should be orderly, coats hung up, etc. Now, I know in a work-a-day world its not always easy keeping all the dishes done and other chores on task. However, if you do a little bit every night, youll find you have much less fussing come open house day. You also wont panic when you get a call from your broker for a walk-through.
Home Staging and Pets
In terms of how your house impacts the buyer, some people hire a professional home stager. This person acts like an interior designer who specializes in making your house even more appealing to potential buyers. If you really cant afford that try to look at your space critically. Get rid of clutter and put away highly personalized items. You want your buyer to be able to see their family living in your space. By the way, personal items include your pets. With strangers coming into the home, keep the cats and dogs in a safe spot where they wont run out the door or nip at a house-seeker. Make sure pet beds and cat pans are immaculate. Pet odor is not a selling tool.
Sometimes it helps to be out of the house when its being shown. Your presence can make people uncomfortable. Additionally, listening to buyers nit pick your home can be emotionally frustrating. Talk to your agent about the possibilities.
The value of curb appeal shouldnt ever be underestimated. Look at all sides of your home, tidy up the yard, and make your front door area very welcoming. Sometimes all it takes is a few well-placed flower pots!
Buyers know they have it good, so theyll be more critical now than ever. The kitchen and bathrooms are by far the most important rooms into which you should put spruce up efforts. If youre dishwasher is old and your cupboards look yucky, focus on the cupboards first. You dont want to over-invest and not recoup that value.
Call several recommended listing companies in your area and interview them. Ask them how they would market your home and what kind of turn around you could expect. Choose a company thats working for YOU, not just for a commission.
In a buyers market its not unusual for a seller to pay for a home inspection. An inspector will find the kind of problems that a potential buyer is also watching out for. If you can show buyers youve had the inspection and already done that work, its a huge advantage to both them and you.
When it comes to receiving offers, remember that your flexibility matters. You might, for example, find someone willing to pay a better price if youre willing to move out early, or if youre willing to pay some of the buyers points or make space for some of the buyers belongings in the garage before moving day.
If the offers feel low, remember to look at what values have been like throughout your neighborhood. Remember the offer isnt something personal; its a judgment call based on the buyers outlook. Instead of turning down these offers outright, consider making a reasonable counteroffer. This shows youre willing to work with buyers and find a happy medium.
Discovering mold in your house is not pleasant. While molds are perfectly normal and even have a role to play in the life cycle of organic matter, mold has numerous spores that can irritate allergies, asthma and even make people or pets ill. Mold spores stick to damp areas, and they cannot live in a dry environment.
A mold allergy typically evidences itself with cold-like symptoms and sometime with a skin rash. Being around mold may produce itching eyes, sneezing or coughing and a runny nose. Besides this nuisance, mold often causes damage to your home as it grows.
Having mold present when youre trying to sell your house is a huge issue. Not only does it devalue your home, but its also something that most states require be disclosed to potential buyers. So if youre planning to put your house on the market, take a good hard look now and make sure youve gotten rid of the mold before you list the house.
Because mold moves through the air you will probably always have some spores in your house. However, if youre diligent about keeping your home dry it will reduce the risk of the spores actually landing and growing greatly. Any leaks, any damp spots, etc. must be fixed. If you dont, mold will come right back and start growing again.
Cleaning up the Mess
According to the EPA, if youre dealing with a small are of under 10 square feet, you can probably clean up the mold yourself. Anything larger than that should be handled by a professional. Also if your air ducts may be affected, thats also a situation for a contractor who knows how to handle mold (note: dont run air/heat until remediated if practicable).
Step one in your clean up is to dry the area as completely as possible. Remove any porous material from the area thats affected (its really best just to replace those items). Wash all surfaces with soap and water, followed by some type of cleanser like bleach. Dry thoroughly. To safeguard your self from potentially harmful exposure its a good idea to wear eye and hand protection while cleaning. When your done there should be no visible signs of mold in the area, and the air should smell fresh. Continue to watch this spot to make sure the situation does not recur (as mold is often NOT just a superficial issue).
Note: if you do use a biocide cleanser, make sure the area in which youre working is properly ventilated. Do not mix such cleansers with anything else as hazardous gases can result. You want to kill the mold, not put yourself in the hospital.
Keeping it Dry:
I mentioned previously that a moist environment invites mold. That means keeping things dry becomes the key element to protecting your home from mold and mildew. When you have a leak, condensation or dampness, the faster you clean it up the less likely it becomes that mold will develop. Experts say that if you get this work done in under 48 hours, you shouldnt have any problems.
Along with fast cleanup, proactive maintenance of your home is vital Watch your gutters and roof for issues. Check downspouts making sure theyre pointing away from your house. Get a dehumidifier for known damp rooms (note a house that has humidity below 50% is ideal). Remember to use any ventilation fans you have in bathrooms and the kitchen (particularly when taking a shower or doing dishes).
Mold all too often hides behind paneling, dry wall and wallpaper. It may also grow in insulation and the backside of carpets. Figuring out if you have a mold problem in these locations can get expensive as you have to get underneath and behind things that are usually firmly in place. Before you start tearing off bits of wall or wallpaper consider getting professional input. Some of these regions house a colony of mold spores that you could accidentally release into your environment making matters all the worse. There are test that can be run, checking for mold and a variety of professional companies that are trained specifically in the removal of this environmental hazard.
One night at dinner mom or dad (or both) suddenly announce they want to sell the family home. Once children reach a certain age and begin moving out many family homes become too much for the aging parents. Theres a very empty home with a lot of upkeep and no extra hands.
Now comes the kicker they want your help! Many people face this moment feeling a wide variety of emotions. The word home means something. The memories of dancing to the Beetles, finger painting on the walls, and getting cooled down by the garden hose in summer still linger in your mind. The impact of effectively packing up those memories with little ceremony seems distasteful.
Going thru the Attic:
First off, realize that this situation is nothing new particularly in our very mobile society. You need to pace this endeavor in such a way that works for everyone. After all you have decades of stuff that has to be sorted. That alone isnt a fast or easy task, and needs to be handled with sensitivity. Some items will be sold (as your parents are likely scaling back to a much smaller residence). Some might be gifted to you, other siblings, extended family members and friends. Others still might go out for a yard sale, or be gifted to charity. Where everything ends up is up to your folks (with likely some input from you), but try to really listen. This is one of the most difficult aspects of selling the family home. Note that if there are some items that prove difficult to decide about, you can always consider a small storage facility until you (or your parents) are ready to figure out what best to do with Aunt Mays sideboard (for example).
The New Living Space
Once the sorting process is completed the next best step psychologically is to begin moving your folks into their new space. You can transport the tried-n-true familiar items so that the new house feels welcoming (yes, even that beat up chair.. in fact that may be one of the most important items to move right away!).
Beyond getting mom and dad settled and comfortable, moving them out before the family house sells has another advantage. They (and you) will not be subjected to strangers tramping through the house and criticizing every nook and cranny. From the potential buyers perspective this also gives them a more open house that doesnt have other peoples personal items everywhere. This allows the buyer to really picture themselves in the home and may move your family house along nicely.
Children and Selling a Family Home
Even when children are grown and in college some may have a very negative reaction to the idea of selling the family home. When they come back to visit, its no longer home to their mind. In this case its very important that everyone involved sit down and talk things through (even by telephone, but in person is better). Understanding the reasons for the move is vital emotionally. Also if the child has personal belongings still in the family home, they should have a say in what happens to those items.
If mom and dad are moving out of the area the scenario gets even more difficult. Now not only are children coming to a completely strange home, but also a town where theres no other friends or family. It leaves them out of sorts and with a sense of abandonment that can impair relationships if not handled delicately. The comfort zone is gone.
Use Your Words
Overall psychologically good communication seems to be the key to making the process of selling a family home go more smoothly. Recognize from the outset that there are going to be uncomfortable moments throughout the ordeal. Be ready to laugh, cry, feel anxious or frustrated, and generally get a bit stressed out. This is perfectly normal. Find a coping mechanism (exercise helps) and just keep those lines of communication open.
Family Home Sales due to Death
A death in the family can make selling the family home even more of an emotional whirlwind. Did you know that if a person dies at home you may have to disclose this information to potential buyers? Check the laws in your area.
Because the house is likely to be unattended for a while as legal issues work themselves out, you will want to get new locks on the family home and forward the mail to you or the estate executor. This helps safeguard the home from thieves who watch for mail to pile up as a sign that theres easy entry.
When youre cleaning out the home, take care to set aside important documentation like insurance declarations, bank statements, and bills. Youll need all of this to properly wrap up the estates holdings. Also keep anything that has personal information on it that could be used for identity theft (yes, this even happens after death). Once youre certain you have all of these types of documents, then you can move forward and prepare the house for sale as you might any other home.
Get a Realtor
When everyone is on the same page, and knows whats coming then you can start looking for a real estate agent who has experience in this type of sale. There are real estate companies and lawyers who specialize in estates, and theyre well worth a look. Having such a person gives you a little more emotional distance from the sense of loss that often accompanies every family house showing. Youll also know that the ins-and-outs of all the associated family paperwork will be handled correctly by experienced hands.
Best wishes, and look toward the future knowing your mom and/or dad will be situation in a home that far better suits their needs well into their elder years,and that you've handled your family's home with loving care.
6299 Lorraine Ln