Category Archives: Selling your Home

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Spring has sprung….

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Have you outgrown your home?

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Take a LEAP this year.. to a new PAD

Is it better to sell your home or rent it out?

Considerations For Renting or Selling a Home

Renting vs selling a home

Suddenly out of the blue you have found out that a new position has opened up within your company and they are asking you to relocate your family to the other side of the country. The job opportunity is too good to pass up so you decide to take the position. You realize with an impending move you are going to need to either sell or rent your home.

Considerations for renting or selling a home

Anyone who is considering selling a home in 2011 and has bought in the last six or seven years faces the real possibility that they will be losing money on the sale. The thought of losing money is never pleasant but unfortunately is part of today’s Real Estate reality. In my experience the immediate thought process of most home owners is to rent the home and not sell for a loss. This is kind of similar to the stock investor who hangs on for dear life with their losing picks but sells their winners instead.

In many cases they will ride the loser for an extended period of time until they realize it will take a very long time for that stock to come back to where it once was when purchased. Anyone who has ever invested in stocks including myself has been guilty of this. It is hard to give up on a loser because there is always the thought that it will come roaring back. So is renting the home really the best move or should you unload this asset that is working against you?

Where is the local Real Estate market headed?

One of the considerations of whether to sell or rent your home is to find out from a local Real Estate expert where they feel market values are  headed both in the near term, as well as longer down the road. A knowledgeable Realtor that has been in the business for a while should be able to help you determine the trend of where the market is headed at least in the short term.  Crystal balls are a hard thing to come by in Real Estate. Those that are lucky enough to have one are often times millionaires. Unfortunately knowing exactly when the Real Estate market will turn around requires one.

Most economists believe that once Real Estate markets do hit bottom the climb back up will be a slow and steady one. The opinions of most are that yearly appreciation will return to more normal historic levels of  3%-4%. Of course this is an average and states, cities and neighborhoods that are desirable could rise at a slightly higher clip.

As a home owner what you should be trying to figure out is how long will it take you to get back to a break even point or even something you can financially stomach. You should also be asking yourself is the time it takes to get back to break even worth it to you?

For example, lets say you bought your home for $500,000 and it has dropped in value by 25% and is now worth $375,000.  Lets further assume that the Real Estate market beats the economists predictions and rises by 5% yearly. Do you realize it would take seven years to get back to break even?

If you have equity in the home you need to figure out if you would be better off taking the loss and putting your equity somewhere that could potentially earn you more money. If you don’t have any equity you would need to figure out if you have the necessary funds to bring to the closing table or would need to explore other alternatives like a short sale.

What is the local home rental market like?

Should I sell or rent my current home

Again you should consult with a local Realtor to determine how well the rental market is performing. Has the rental market done as poorly as the Real Estate market or is there demand for rental housing? Some areas rental markets have done very well.

There is a good possibility there are folks who would like to rent a nice home rather than commit to purchasing if they feel they could be transferred in a short time period or feel market values are still sliding and don’t want the risk.

The rental home becomes an investment property

Relocating home owners need to remember that a rental home becomes an investment property. Owning a home as an investment property has the potential to help or hurt you tax wise. This is definitely something you would want to consult a tax professional for guidance.

Although you will be taking in rent you need to remember that you will still have principal, interest, taxes and insurance to pay. If the property is a condo you would more than likely also be paying the condominium fees as well. As a landlord you will also be required to maintain the property and fix any necessary issues that come up.

Many landlords that have relocated out of state will also consider hiring a property manager. The typical charge for management services runs around 8-12% of the rent. So if you are charging $2000 a month for rent you can expect to pay a manager in the neighborhood of around $200 a month. There are some excellent tax deductions for rental property that could play a factor in your decision making.

Taking on landlord responsibilities

As a landlord one of the 1st steps is going to be choosing the right tenant. Over the years I have seen a few occasions where the renter did not treat the home the same way an owner would. The owner was left with paying to replace carpets and do quite a bit of painting. These kind of costs can add up fast. Picking a responsible tenant becomes critical.

There are also considerations such as handling tenant complaints, maintenance issues or even legal issues such as eviction. In the end there is a lot to think about when deciding whether selling or renting your home makes the best fiscal and practical sense.

Ease – yyyyy

The 10 Most Important, Cost-Effective, Easy Fixes When Selling Your Home !

1. Master bedrooms and baths should appeal to both sexes – if yours is gender specific, balance it with some masculine/ feminine accessories – pillows, art, greenery, a well placed throw and use neutral bedding – your grandmother’s homemade quilt isn’t going to cut it!  
2.  Walk through each room as if you were a buyer  – can you move freely about? If not, open up the space by eliminating excess furniture to create easy traffic flow. when selling – less is always more!
3. If possible rent a small local storage space to put excess furniture, personal items, knickknacks – anything that clutters the home and causes distractions – after all, you’re selling your home, not your lifestyle. (This also eliminates a lot of stress down the road when the buyer is ready to move.)
4. Assess the color palate of your home —make sure it’s uniform throughout and stick to neutral or modern colors – this creates continuity. Add pops of color using accessories like pillows, art and a throw.

 5. Think upscale hotels – clutter free, updated and designed to appeal to the masses. If you have dated  boarders or wall paper take it down – this is one of the biggest turnoff to buyers and they often move on. (I’ve heard of homes for sale labeled as the “wallpaper” home and it’s not a compliment! 

6. Don’t assume buyers won’t look in cabinets, closets, basements and attics. 

Storage is key for buyers and they want to see if the home has enough space to accommodate their stuff. Organize, or better yet store it- this demonstrates to buyers that indeed their things will fit and is a big selling advantage.

7. Clean, Clean, clean – It’s the easiest, no cost, effective fix and this can’t be emphasized enough – nothing turns a buyer off more than a messy, dirty or smelly home – this will send buyers running for the door – trust me on this one!

8. Open all blinds, eliminate heavy window treatments and let the natural light shine in – this cheers up and brightens the home, making it feel airy and more spacious – and, it’s so easy! If you have dated vertical blinds, it best to take them down

9. Fix leaky faucets, broken screens, door hinges, door bells or running toilets – Yes, I’m going to beat a dead horse, but these are big turnoffs and don’t invoke any confidence in the buyer that your home is well taken care of – you know the kind of homes we all want to buy!

10. Make sure your MLS photos are GREAT – 80% of buyers shop online before ever stepping out the door with their Realtor!

Okay, so I lied,  #11 – drum roll please… 

My list wouldn’t be complete without strongly suggesting hiring a professional stager who is trained to prepare your home for the market, using proven techniques to enhance, highlight and showcase your home it its best possible light and appeal to the most buyers

Home and Curb Appeal LLC-  Lisa Bear  – (262)893-5555

When you’re looking to sell quickly and for top dollar,  Home and Curb Appeal LLC – Lisa Bear knows how to get the job done right. We will use proven techniques to create warm, inviting, updated spaces that will appeal to the masses. In today’s competitive market, every home can use an edge and that’s what  Home and Curb Appeal is all about.

Courtesy of  Lisa Bear  RE/MAX Realty Center

It’s Open house time — Are YOU ready?

5 Ways to Prep Your Home for an Open House

Preparing your home for an open house can be a little like getting ready for a blind date. You don’t know what you may be facing but it is important to look your best. Open houses can often be stressful for homeowners because they know that strangers will be tromping through the door evaluating every last detail. You know the home needs to be as clean as possible but here are a few other things to keep in mind as you prepare.

Depersonalize as much as you can: You don’t want strangers seeing all your personal stuff and that’s reason enough to put photos, awards and sentimental objects elsewhere but there’s another reason as well. All that stuff is distracting and your potential home buyer could spend more time looking at what is in the home than actually seeing their lives taking place there. Your goal is to have your home appear as a blank slate, just waiting for a new buyer to make their mark. Pets should be out of the home not just for the day but ideally for a few days in order to allow any lingering odors to dissipate.

Don’t shove it all in the closet: You’ve got clutter, you need to get it out of sight, at least temporarily. The first instinct might be to move it all out to the garage, put it up in the attic, stack it in the basement, or fill up the closets. But remember your potential buyer probably has a fair amount of clutter too. They will be looking at all those storage spaces and the more available room they see, the more it will look like your home has all the space they need. Ask relatives or friends if you can temporarily store some items with them. You can also rent a storage space. The important thing is to make your home appear spacious and inviting.

Warm it up: The old trick of baking bread or cookies works to appeal to clients because it makes the home feel warm and lived in. Scented candles can work a similar magic. Fresh flowers or plants are also a nice touch and one that stagers often use. Another trick from stagers is to use colorful pillows and softly draped throws to provide a bit of color in bedrooms and living spaces. The home needs to be depersonalized but it still needs to look lived in and so a stack of plates left on the counter, fruit in the fruit bowl, towels in the bathroom, all go toward showing that the home is a great place to live.

Keep it bright: Light sells homes. Windows should be freshly cleaned on both the inside and the outside for maximum sunlight potential. Also go around and check to make sure all your light bulbs are working and that they are bright enough to really show off the rooms to their best advantage. Open all curtains and shades and take down any heavy curtains that might block some of the light streaming in.

Make a day of it: You know you shouldn’t be hovering around your open house but instead of going down to the local coffee shop and waiting until it’s over, reward yourself with a real mini vacation. Even the happiest of moves are stressful, so defuse some of that by taking yourself and your family out for a little reward. Put some distance between you and the home by going on a small day trip. Then later you can reconnect with your Realtor after he or she has had time to gather up all the impressions about the home.

Remember, you may not get an offer on the first day but an open house can lead to future showings and an eventual sale.

Do you know how much your home is really worth?

How Much Is Your Home Really Worth?

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may be fantasizing about the profit you’ll reap from the sale or calculating exactly how much you’ll need to pay off your current mortgage and have enough left over for a down payment on the next house.
 
Before your fantasies run amok you need to realize that, while you can estimate the value of your home in a variety of ways, the true value is only what a buyer will pay for it. That said, there are several ways to get a strong idea of how much a buyer will pay for the property in current market conditions.
 

 
What Your Home Isn’t Worth
Many homeowners find it confusing that there are various numbers floating around that indicate their home value. Here are a few:
  • Property tax assessment. Each jurisdiction uses a formula to establish home values for a tax assessment, but this price rarely correlates with the market value of your home. Your tax assessment can be higher or lower than the current market value.


  • Homeowners insurance value. Insurance estimates are based on the cost of replacing your home without the land, so this value is skewed compared to market value.


  • Mortgage balance. Your mortgage balance simply reflects your home loan. The difference between your loan payoff and the market value of your home is your equity.


  • Neighbor’s home value. Even if your neighbor’s home is similar to yours, it’s not likely to be identical. A REALTOR® can help you evaluate your home’s worth in the context of other nearby properties.


  • Cost when you purchased the home. Regardless of how long ago you purchased your property, the value can have gone up or down.


  • Desired value. You can always try to put your home on the market for your desired price, but if you’ve over- or under-priced it, you’re shortchanging yourself. because you’re either selling too low or your house could sit on the market and eventually sell for less than if you priced it correctly in the beginning.


Comparative Market Analysis
 
A REALTOR® can do a comparative market analysis with recent market data to help you estimate your home value. When you sell your home, an appraisal will be required by the buyers’ lender, so keep in mind that your home has to appraise for the selling price or, depending on how your contract is written, you’ll have to renegotiate the sale or the buyers will need to come up with extra cash.
A CMA is both an art and a science. While it’s based on data, it also requires local market knowledge and intuition about which homes to compare and how to interpret the prices. Most realtors will look for recent sales of homes that are similar to yours, preferably within the past two or three months, up to about six months. In addition, a realtor can look at other homes currently on the market and homes that didn’t sell that were taken off the market to compare values.
 
The comparison of your home with others should include not only the size and the number of bedrooms and baths, but also the condition of your home, the neighborhood and the proximity to amenities. If you do not understand the comparisons a realtor is making, ask to see some of the homes currently on the market or look online at photos of the properties.
 
While it may be tempting to list your home with the realtor who tells you it can sell at the highest price, a smarter way to sell your home is to price it as accurately as possible from the beginning. Studies show that an overpriced home that lingers on the market will end up selling for less than the estimated correct price.
 
 

Is it time for your annual exam yet?

Give Your House a Physical

 
Would you buy a car without checking under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. Hire a home inspector. It’ll cost about $200 but could end up saving you thousands. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion. If the inspector does find any issues with the home, you can use it as a bargaining tool for lowering the price of the home. 


It’s better to spend the money up front on an inspector than to find out later you have to spend a fortune.



 Lisa Bear of RE/MAX (262-893-5555) 
an experienced real estate agent in Wisconsin, Waukesha County & the entire Milwaukee Metro. Wisconsin Lake Living.

5 Small-Cost, Big-Impact Updates for Home Sellers

5 Small-Cost, Big-Impact Updates for Home Sellers
5 Small-Cost, Big-Impact Updates for Home Sellers


When preparing to sell your home, small updates can make a big difference to buyers. Consider these simple projects that can deliver the biggest bang for your DIY bucks.

1. Doors: Replacing a worn-out front door with a new one – or even just repainting it – can create a strong first impression.
2. Cabinets: Giving kitchen cabinets a facelift doesn’t have to break the bank. Visit your local hardware store for a DIY kit to make easy touch ups with paint or wood stains. Changing the handles and knobs may even do the trick.
3. Paint: A fresh, clean coat in a neutral color can completely transform a space. Don’t forget the trim!
4. Closets: Storage space is eye candy to many homebuyers. Declutter and show the storage possibilities. Think about organizing with shelves and containers too.
5. Fixtures: Ratchet up your home’s style by throwing down a few bucks on new plates for your electric switches, new faucets and showerheads, and new lightning accessories.
Need help coming up with more easy ways to show your home in the best light? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.

Sellers: How to Decide Between Multiple Offers

Sellers: How to Decide Between Multiple Offers
Sellers: How to Decide Between Multiple Offers
What a splendid dilemma! You’ve received several offers on your property. Which one should you choose? It’s not always the highest one.
Here are just some of the areas your agent could ask you to pay particularly close attention to as you’re weighing the options.
1. Do the math.
This goes beyond simply calculating the dollar difference between the various offer prices. Before you do that, be sure to do all the math. Subtract things like closing costs, fees and potential repairs to determine the net proceeds of each offer.
2. Consider the financing.
Can the buyer provide proof from the bank that there are funds to back the offer? Your agent can help verify this – and help you understand the terms of the buyer’s financing.
3. Motivation.
Do the buyers have a baby-sitting parent in the neighborhood? A new job just around the corner? Buyers with extra motivation to purchase your home are less likely to press for concessions and more likely to work harder to close the deal. Some buyers even include a personal letter with their offer to explain why they want the home. These letters can be particularly helpful in multiple-offer situations.
4. Timeline.
Note the closing date each offer proposes. You’ll want a closing date that best meets your needs. You can always counter a closing date, too, if the best offer doesn’t quite meet your timeline.
Weighing the pros and cons of each offer can be tricky. An experienced agent can help you clarify, calculate and secure the very best deal for you. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.