Category Archives: Seller

Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

  1. Get at least three written estimates.
  2. Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.
  3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
  4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
  5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.
  6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
  7. Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
  8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved too.
  9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or regulations.
  10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
  11. Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.
  12. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Make Sure Your Buyer Is Qualified

Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer’s financial status before signing the contract. Ask the following:

  1. Has the buyer been prequalified or preapproved (even better) for a mortgage? Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly.
  2. Does the buyer have enough money to make a downpayment and cover closing costs? Ideally, a buyer should have 20 percent of the home’s price as a downpayment and between 2 and 7 percent of the price to cover closing costs.
  3. Is the buyer’s income sufficient to afford your home? Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28 percent of total income to cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).
  4. Does your buyer have good credit? Ask if he or she has reviewed and corrected a credit report.
  5. Does the buyer have too much debt? If a buyer owes a great deal on car payments, credit cards, etc., he or she may not qualify for a mortgage.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Make Sure Your Buyer is Qualified

Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer’s financial status before signing the contract. Ask the following:

  1. Has the buyer been prequalified or preapproved (even better) for a mortgage? Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly.
  2. Does the buyer have enough money to make a downpayment and cover closing costs? Ideally, a buyer should have 20 percent of the home’s price as a downpayment and between 2 and 7 percent of the price to cover closing costs.
  3. Is the buyer’s income sufficient to afford your home? Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28 percent of total income to cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).
  4. Does your buyer have good credit? Ask if he or she has reviewed and corrected a credit report.
  5. Does the buyer have too much debt? If a buyer owes a great deal on car payments, credit cards, etc., he or she may not qualify for a mortgage.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Home Staging Tips

•Remove the clutter – put small things away
•Brighten areas up with light – open drapes and blinds, add lighting
•Re-purpose rooms – add some new furniture and paint
•Vary wall hangings – try different groupings
•Bring nature inside – add plants and fresh cut flowers
•Group in threes – odd numbers are preferred when grouping accessories
•Give areas a face lift – add new counter tops or cabinet doors if dated
•Add some color – paint with warm tans, honeys and soft blue-greens
•Beware of layout – pay close attention to the traffic flow of each room
•Clean – this is the cheapest and easiest way to improve the look of your home

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Home Improvement Projects to Avoid

In addition to being a poor investment, these projects will often hurt the future sale of your home:

  • Turning a bedroom into another type of space
  • Installing an above ground pool
  • Not keeping paint colors neutral
  • Installing a hot tub
  • Creating themed children’s bedrooms

When making changes or improvements to your home, always ask the question; how will this affect my home’s value and marketability when it’s time to sell?

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Improve Your Odds of an Offer

  1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
  2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
  3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
  4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
  5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Checklist: Prepare for Your Move

Update your mailing address at usps.com or fill out a change-of-address form at your local post office.

Change your address with important service providers, such as your bank(s), credit companies, magazine subscriptions, and others.

Create a list of people who will need your new address. Whether you plan on sending formal change-of-address notices in the mail or just e-mailing the family members, friends, and colleagues who should be informed, a list will ensure no one gets left out.

Contact utility companies. Make sure they’re aware of your move date, and arrange for service at your new home if the service provider will remain the same.

Check insurance coverage. The insurance your moving company provides will generally only cover the items they transport for you. Ensure you have coverage for any items you’ll be moving yourself.

Unplug, disassemble, and clean out appliances. This will make them easier to pack, move, and plug in at your new place.

Check with the condo board or HOA about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits or entrances for moving, if applicable

Pack an “Open First” box. Include items you’ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, chargers, box cutters, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pens and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, towels, and basic toiletries.

If you’re moving a long distance:

Obtain copies of important records from your doctor, dentist, pharmacy, veterinarian, and children’s schools.

E-mail a copy of your driving route to a family member or friend.

Empty your safe deposit box.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Vocabulary: Transaction Documents

When you walk away from the closing table with a big stack of papers, know what to file away for future reference.

Loan estimate

Your lender is required to provide you with this three-page document within three business days of receiving your loan application. It will show estimates for your interest rate, monthly payment, closing costs, taxes, and insurance. You’ll also learn how your interest rate and payments could change in the future, and whether you’ll incur penalties for paying off the loan early (called “prepayment penalty”) or increases to the mortgage loan balance even if payments are made on time (known as “negative amortization”).

Closing disclosure

Your lender is required to send this five-page form—which includes final loan terms, projected monthly payments, and closing costs—three business days before your closing. This window gives you time to compare the final terms to those in the Loan Estimate (see above), and to ask the lender any questions before the transaction is finalized.

Mortgage and note

These spell out the legal terms of your mortgage obligation and the agreed-upon repayment terms.

Deed

This document officially transfers ownership of the property. In a cash deal, it goes to you, but otherwise you won’t get the deed until you pay off the mortgage.

Affidavits

These are binding statements by either party. For example, the sellers will often sign an affidavit stating that they haven’t incurred any liens on the property.

Riders

This word describes any amendments to the sales contract that affect your rights. For example, the sellers may arrange to retain occupancy for a specified period after closing but agree to pay rent to the buyers during that period.

Insurance policies

These documents provide a record and proof of your coverage, be they insuring the title or the property itself. Homeowners insurance documents will generally be your responsibility, while proof of title insurance will be given to you at the closing table.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Checklist: For the New Owners

Before the property changes hands, consult this list to make sure these items are transferred with the house.

Owner’s manuals and warranties for any appliances left in the house.

Garage door opener(s).

Extra set of house keys.

Other keys. Think beyond the front doors; do you have any cabinets or lockers built into the home that require keys?

A list of local service providers, such as the best dry cleaner, yard service, plumber, and so on. You’re not just helping the new owners, but also the local businesses you’re leaving behind.

Code to the security alarm and phone number of the monitoring service if not discontinued.

Smart home device access. Any devices listed as fixtures need to be reset for the new homeowner. Make sure your account information and usage data are wiped from the device so that they may use it. Check with your device’s manufacture to find out how to do this.

Numbers to the local utility companies. This can be especially helpful to owners who may not yet have easy access to the Internet in the new home.

Contact info for the condo board or home ownership association, if applicable.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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How to Pack Like a Pro

Plan ahead.

Develop a master to-do list so you won’t forget something critical heading into moving day. This will also help you create an estimate of moving time and costs.

Discard items you no longer want or need.

Ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you’d feel if you no longer had it. Sort unwanted items into “garage sale,” “donate,” and “recycle” piles.

Pack similar items together.

It will make your life easier when it’s time to unpack.

Decide what you want to move on your own.

Precious items such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move should probably stay with you. Pack a moving day bag with a small first-aid kit, snacks, and other items you may need before unpacking your “Open First” box.

Know what your movers will take.

Many movers won’t take plants or liquids. Check with them about other items so you can plan to pack them yourself.

Put heavy items in small boxes.

Try to keep the weight of each box under 50 pounds.

Don’t overpack boxes.

It increases the likelihood that items inside the box will break.

Wrap fragile items separately.

Pad bottoms and sides of boxes and, if necessary, purchase bubble-wrap or other packing materials from moving stores. Secure plants in boxes with air holes.

Label every box on all sides.

You never know how they’ll be stacked. Also, use color-coded labels to indicate which room each box should go in, coordinating with a color-coded floor plan for the movers.

Keep moving documents together in a file, either in your moving day bag or online.

Include vital contact information, the driver’s name, the van’s license plate, and the company’s number.

Print out a map and directions for movers and helpers.

Make several copies, and highlight the route. Include your cell phone number on the map.

Back up computer files on the cloud.

Alternatively, you can keep a physical backup on an external hard drive offsite.

Inspect each box and piece of furniture as soon as it arrives.

Ahead of time, ensure your moving company has a relatively painless process for reporting damages.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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