Archive September 2018

How To Improve the Odds of an Offer

Tip to Improve Your Chances of Getting an Offer

Price it right.  Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range. Consider:

  • Comparable properties: A “comp” is what real estate professionals call home sales that can be reasonably used to help determine the price of your home. But just because you’re in the same neighborhood doesn’t mean that the houses will sell for the same amount. Your real estate professional will help you determine how to compare your home in terms of size, upkeep, and amenities.
  • Competition: How many other houses are for sale in your area right now? Are you competing against new homes or condos for sale in the area?
  • Contingencies: Do you have special needs that might turn away buyers? A common one is refusing to be flexible about a moving date.
  • Accuracy: Studies show homes priced more than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell.

Prepare for visitors.  Get your house market-ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it. Make all your repairs, and then do a deep clean (or hire a cleaning service to help).

Be flexible about showings.  Spur-of-the-moment showings are disruptive, and making sure your home is constantly ready to show can be exhausting. But the more amenable you can be, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.

Anticipate the offers.  Decide in advance the price range and terms that are acceptable. Be clear with yourself and your agent about what kind of offers you’re comfortable with. It’s critical to know what price you’ll accept before entering negotiations with a potential buyer.

Don’t refuse to drop the price.  If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.

What To Know About The Appraisal Process

Once you are under contract, the buyer’s lender will send out an appraiser to make sure the purchase price is in line with the property’s value.

Appraisals help guide mortgage terms. – The appraised value of a home is an important factor in the loan underwriting process. Although lenders may use the sale price to determine the amount of the mortgage they will offer, they generally only do so when the property is sold for less than the appraisal amount. Also, the loan-to-value ratio is based on the appraised value and helps lenders figure out how much money may be borrowed to purchase the property and under what terms. If the LTV is high, the lender is more likely to require the borrower to purchase private mortgage insurance.

Appraised value is not a concrete number. – Appraisals provide a professional opinion of value, but they aren’t an exact science. Appraisals may differ quite a bit depending on when they’re done and who’s doing them. Changes in market conditions also can dramatically alter appraised value.

Appraised value doesn’t represent the whole picture of home prices. – There are special considerations that appraised value doesn’t take into account, such as the need to sell rapidly.

Appraisers use data from the recent past. – Appraisals are often considered somewhat backward looking, because they use sold data from comparable properties (often nicknamed “comps”) to help come up with a reasonable price.

There are uses for appraised value outside of the purchase process. – For selling purposes, appraisals are usually used to determine market value or factor into the pricing equation. But other appraisals are used to determine insurance value, replacement value, and assessed value for property tax purposes.

How To Finance a Home, Creatively

Tips for Financing A Home

Investigate local, state, and national down payment assistance programs.  These programs give qualified applicants loans or grants to cover all or part of your required down payment. National programs include the Nehemiah program, Getdownpayment.com, and the American Dream Down Payment Fund from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 Explore seller financing.  In some cases, sellers may be willing to finance all or part of the purchase price of the home and let you repay them gradually, just as you would do with a mortgage. A similar option is the assumable mortgage, where a home buyer takes over the seller’s existing loan (with bank approval). This can be especially helpful when interest rates are on the rise.

Ask your family for help. Perhaps a family member will loan you money for the down payment or act as a cosigner for the mortgage. Lenders often like to have a cosigner if you have minimal credit history.

Consider a shared-appreciation or shared-equity arrangement.  Under this agreement, your family, friends, or even a third party may buy a portion of the home and share in any appreciation when the home is sold. The owner-occupant usually pays the mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance costs, but all the investors’ names are usually on the mortgage.

Lease with the option to buy.  Renting the home for a year or more will give you the chance to save more toward your down payment. And in many cases, owners will apply some of the rental amount toward the purchase price.

Consider a short-term second mortgage.  If you can qualify for a short-term second mortgage, this would give you money to make a larger down payment. This may be possible if you’re in good financial standing, with a strong income and little debt. Such arrangements may also help you avoid jumbo loan restrictions and/or minimize the amount of private mortgage insurance you have to pay.

How To Use Feng Shui Concepts in Staging

Feng Shui is a Chinese system of beliefs that govern spatial arrangement in relation to the flow of energy or “life force” (known as chi or qi) in a building. Learn how to appeal to buyers who follow such principles.

Chi flows in.  Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Make sure the area is swept clean and free of cobwebs and clutter. Ensure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Consider lighting the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.

Chi can flow out, too.  Energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home inside, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.

Consider the bedroom carefully.  The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection. Place it farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. The optimal placement is diagonal in the farthest corner of the room. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.

Offer a formal dining space.  The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.

Get a clear perspective.  Windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting your windows professionally cleaned is a good idea anyway, but for buyers, your home will sparkle all the more brightly and your view will be optimally displayed.