Home Selling

3 Tips To Sell My House Quicker

If you’re trying to sell your house quickly, skip the for sale by owner option. By going it on your own with a FSBO, you’re required to perform hours of research, just to determine a starting listing price. You’ll also have to supervise and control all of the other nuances that go with selling your home on your own. This includes arranging home showings and drafting a legal P&S (purchase and sales) agreement.

Here are three helpful tips that you can take opportunity of TODAY to help sell your house quickly:

1. Set a competitive asking price right from the start

Many sellers make the mistake of setting a price too high and then lowering it when the house fails to sell within a predetermined time. It’s important to understand that activity during the first 30 days of your house being on the market is the best you’re going to see. Starting out with a price that’s too high will delay the sale of your home unnecessarily. At Longwood Residential, we have years of experience establishing the right selling price for specific neighborhoods.

2. Don’t overlook the importance of preventative maintenance and curb appeal

Keeping up with your home’s maintenance means you won’t have to scramble when it comes time to sell. If you notice something needs repair, we recommend taking care of it before putting your house on the market. It’s also essential to enhance the view of your home from the street. Consider planting flowers, replacing the dented mailbox, or giving the front door a fresh coat of paint. Buyers won’t even stop to look if they’re already turned off before setting foot inside your home.

3. De-personalize your home

This will probably be hard to do, but it’s a necessary step. Buyers need to picture themselves living in the house, not you. If you need successful home staging ideas, just ask your Longwood Residential realtor.

Bonus Tip!

Work with an experienced Longwood Residential realtor! As our client, you will benefit from our many years of experience selling in the Brookline/Boston markets. When you list your home with us, you’ll have access to the best tools and helpful Realtors who can help you quickly get your home from just listed to blissfully sold.

What is a short sale?

You’ve probably heard of the term “short sale” if you’re looking to buy a home. However, many people don’t have a clear understanding of what a short sale really is. When you agree to complete a short sale with a seller, it means that the lender has given them permission to sell their home to you for less than what’s owed on it. Common reasons for this include the borrower’s inability to continue making payments or depreciated value on the property.

From the lender’s perspective, agreeing to a short sale is better than having to foreclose on the property. For sellers, going through with a short sale has less of an impact on their credit rating than a foreclosure, and it allows them to get out of a mortgage they can no longer afford.

A Short Sale Must Be Approved by the Lender

Now that you understand what a short sale is, it’s important to realize that the process doesn’t transpire just because the seller wants it to. The lender must approve of the short sale first, since it means they must accept less for the property than what is owed on it. The seller needs to submit proper documentation to the lender, proving that they can no longer keep up with their mortgage payments. Lenders tend to look more favorably on this practice, as opposed to someone just abandoning their property.

Benefits and Considerations of a Short Sale for Buyers

A short sale gives buyers the opportunity to acquire a home at fair market value without the same risk associated with purchasing a foreclosed property. However, it differs from a traditional real estate sale in several important ways:

  • It may take longer to complete a short sale because it’s more challenging to set a closing date -- lenders require significant documentation before agreeing to a short sale.

  • Buyers purchase the property “as-is,” which probably means they’ll have to invest additional money for repairs or remodeling.

  • The seller may have to pay some money at closing. If the buyer is unable or unwilling, the sale may fall through even though the lender approved it.

  • Inspection fees that a lender may cover in a traditional real estate sale are the buyer’s responsibility in a short sale.

Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent if You’re Interested in a Short Sale

Purchasing a home via short sale can save you money, but it’s also complex. An experienced agent will anticipate challenges and know how to overcome them. Longwood Residential is available to help you navigate the home buying process. Your agent will help you evaluate all options, including Longwood condos and short sales.

How does rent-to-own work?

When looking to buy a home, rent-to-own can help you secure a property, even if you have poor or insufficient credit. People who are struggling to sell their home, or who would like to sell it to someone who may not qualify for a traditional mortgage, can also benefit from a rent-to-own arrangement.

Details of a Rent-to-Own Contract

Many people confuse rent-to-own with a lease-option contract, which is entirely different. In a lease-option, the person occupying the home and making rent payments has the right of first refusal if the house goes up for sale. He or she does not promise to buy it. A rent-to-own deal is a legal contract to buy. A rent-to-own deal is a contract between buyer and seller that typically extends one to two years into the future. The main difference is that it gives the buyer time to obtain acceptable financing and save for a down payment.

Buyers and sellers should include the following information in a rent-to-own contract:

  • The full name of each party, the property address, and the date of the agreement

  • The terms, including amount of rent, payment due dates, grace period, and late penalties

  • The contract should indicate how much of the rent goes towards the purchase price

  • If necessary; a pet policy may be included, as well as a utilities payment schedule, who can reside in the home, and who is responsible for property maintenance during the rental period

The amount of the “option consideration fee,” which is separate from a security deposit, should also be included in the rent-to-own contract. This fee is paid out to the homeowner in exchange for a written agreement to not sell the home to anyone else. When the buyer changes over from renting to owning, the entire amount of the fees collected by the seller should be subtracted from the purchase price.

If you’re interested in rent-to-own as a buyer or seller, please contact one of the Longwood Residential professionals for assistance.

What Is My Home Worth?

When it comes time to sell your home, you’d obviously like to get as much as you can for it. For some people, the question “What is my home worth,” seems like an unsolvable mystery. Often times, we tend to assume our home is worth much more or less than it actually is. It often comes as a surprise to homeowners that land appreciates over time, while the physical structure occupying the land can depreciate over time.

Comparable Value

When determining your home’s worth, real estate agents first consider “comps,” otherwise known as comparable properties, which are other homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold. Your agent will likely use comps to prepare a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for you.

The steps to prepare your personalized CMA include:

  • Locate listings of homes that have sold in your immediate or nearby neighborhoods in the past six months.

  • Select three properties which are a close match to your home in terms of year built, square footage, size of lot, type of roof, style, and amenities. According to Home Guides, there shouldn’t be more than a 200-foot difference between your home and the comparable properties.

  • Consider whether your property is larger, newer, or has additional features from the compared properties. If so, your agent may choose to add to the price of your home. If not, they may opt to take some money off of the selling price.

  • Average the selling price of the three comparable homes, adjust accordingly, and set the price for your home intelligently.

The Option of Hiring a Home Appraiser

Sometimes it may be difficult for you and your agent to come up with an accurate selling price for your house. It’s possible that there haven’t been enough comparable properties sold around you in recent months. There may also be too much information to sift through, making this part of the process very time-consuming. A professional appraiser can work with challenging situations to come up with an accurate home worth.

Setting the Selling Price

After reviewing your home’s unique features and three comparable properties, it’s time for your agent to set a selling price. It’s a good idea to set the price a little higher than you expect to get, but not so high that it discourages buyers from bidding. This leaves room for negotiation on both sides. It’s common for real estate agents to suggest that clients should offer 5% less than what they plan to ask for their home. Of course, you would be free to respond to your agent with a counter offer.

Need Help Pricing and Selling Your Home?

We are available to help you with your home selling or buying needs. Please contact Mike today and let's get the process started!

Preventive Home Maintenance

preventative home maintenancePreventative home maintenance just makes sense, especially when you consider that an unexpected repair can set you back thousands of dollars. For starters, rain gutters can eliminate many problems associated with excess moisture. However, you need to keep them free of leaves and other debris. You can prevent rotting wood by aiming the sprinkler away from the house. When you shower, turn on a fan or crack a window to prevent moisture from forming that leads to mold and mildew.

Weekly, Monthly, and Seasonal Preventative Home Maintenance Chores

Developing a schedule of preventative home maintenance tasks now is the best way to avoid costly repairs later. Every week, plan to remove all debris from window sills and around the foundation of your home. You should also vacuum all carpets. Some of the things you can do monthly include:

  • Vacuum heat registers, refrigerator coils, and vents
  • Pour boiling water down drains to ensure they are not clogged
  • Clean exhaust fan filter and blades in kitchen
  • If you have a frost-free refrigerator, clean its drain pan
  • Look for leaks on your dishwasher

If you discover issues such as a clogged drain or leaky dishwasher, find out which tools you need to repair them and attend to the job right away.

Prepare for the warm and cool weather seasons in advance by weather-stripping around doors and windows. Changing the filter on your air conditioner and furnace is also important. Be sure to check your wood-burning fireplace and gas heater as well.

You can prevent a tragedy by making it a point to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every spring and fall. Everyday safety habits, such as turning off appliances and not overloading power cords, can also prevent a costly emergency or serious injuries.

Boston Housing Report

According to an April 2016 Boston housing report issued by Mayor Martin Walsh, the city is on target to meet its goal of creating 53,000 new units of housing by 2030. To that end, the city approved building permits for 565 new housing units during the second quarter of 2016. That brings the total to over 17,000 housing units developed in just the past two years. This is already nearly one-third of the original goal.

The Fast Growth of Boston

Mayor Walsh states that the population of Boston is growing faster than at any other time during its history. There is more new construction taking place now than there has been for the last 20 years. The demand is high for all types of housing, including rental properties.

The monthly rent in older buildings has remained steady, while studio and one bedroom apartments are seeing the largest increases. However, much depends on the location of the rental property. Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the Central District, Mattapan, and the South End have only seen marginal rent increases in the past two years.

Boston Housing Report and the Greater Boston Economy

The economy is strong in Greater Boston. Because of this, young people are moving to the area to start careers and families. An unemployment rate that is less than five percent makes means that people have stable income to pay rent or a mortgage.
The 2015 Greater Boston Housing Report Card estimates that two-thirds of all new housing developments will be multi-family units. This is good news for people looking to settle in Greater Boston who might not be able to find a place to live otherwise.

For Sale By Owner: Why Should I Work With A Real Estate Agent?

You may be considering selling your house on your own because you think it will save you time and money. In reality, going it alone usually ends up costing you more of both. Realtors are experienced at establishing competitive selling prices because they have access to updated sales data, financing terms, and other essential details of homes selling in your immediate vicinity. Without access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), your asking price could be off as much as 40 percent. According to a 2015 National Association of Realtors study, homes sold by realtors sell for an average of $27,000 more than those sold by the owner!

Real Estate Agents Offer a Professional Marketing Plan

Selling a home today is different than your parents’ generation. While putting up a yard sign and an ad in the newspaper may have been enough then, 88 percent of people looking to buy a home today conduct their search online. Other things to consider are that realtors have professional connections in the industry who might send an interested buyer your way. They also have years of experience in creating marketing plans to get your house sold.

One Word: Paperwork

Industry regulations and mandatory disclosures make for a lot of paperwork and this has only increased over time. After getting through the appraisal, inspection, and negotiation with the buyer, you still have a mountain of paperwork to sign at the closing. These forms can be difficult for someone without real estate training to understand, which means you could end up signing legally binding documents that are not in your best interest.

Selling your house is a major transaction that requires the guidance of a professional realtor. If you’re set on for sale by owner, consider sitting down with an agent first to see what he or she can offer you.