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6 Surefire Ways To Get Your House Sold

6 Surefire Ways To Get Your House Sold

We're coming to the end of summer, and that means that families seeking to buy a new home before school starts have likely already done their thing. But that doesn't mean you're out of luck if you're looking to sell. Whether you're just getting ready to list your home or haven't had any bites on your existing home for sale, these tips will get it - and you - moving.

Price it right

This is the most obvious, but also the most contentious, tip when it comes to selling a home. Everyone wants top dollar. But rule No. 1 about a house that isn't selling is to lower the price. (Likewise, listing a house now at an unreasonable price likely won't get you the sale you're looking for, especially when kids go back to school and sales naturally slow down.) ABC News has a good piece on how to tell if your home is overpriced, but…if it's not selling, and your showings are limited, and your real estate agent has already talked to you about this (maybe more than once, including when you first discussed the list price), you probably already know why it's not selling.

Here's how to get past the disappointment of having to list your home at a lower price than you want or lower it when it's sitting on the market: Your ultimate goal is to get the home sold and get on with your life, right? Maybe that means buying a larger home. Perhaps you're looking to downsize or even move out of state. Whatever your plans, you're delaying them by letting your home stay on the market.

Every month it doesn't sell is another month you're in a holding pattern. And, it means you're spending more money on carrying costs if you've already moved to a new home before your old one has sold. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself what your happiness or peace of mind is worth. Chances are it's more than the money you'll miss out on if you sell for less. Once you've come to that realization, it should be easier to make a price adjustment.

Choose the right REALTOR®

Another "Duh" statement here. But the reality is that the right agent can make or break your sale. You may be inclined to list your home with a friend who's just getting into the business or a cousin twice removed due to family pressure, but consider this move carefully. When you're dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars, you want to make sure you have someone in your corner who has the knowledge and experience to navigate professionally and successfully through every step of what can be a very complicated process. While your pal or relative may be eager, they might not have the depth of understanding of sales trends to strategize the best listing price, or the negotiation skills to get the deal done. The relationships a seasoned agent has with other industry professionals is also key to a quick and profitable sale.

Paint your front door

We all know the value of curb appeal, so getting your front yard in order is a must-do when listing your home. (If it's not selling, perhaps a little more sprucing up out front is in order.) But don't skip your front door while you're trimming bushes and laying down new mulch. A refreshed (or new, if needed) front door regularly tops the list of improvements providing a good return on investment on the annual Cost vs. Value Report. It's an easy DIY update, too.

But, before you run off to buy paint, carefully consider the color. Choose wrong and you could turn off buyers. Choose right and you could actually get more for your home.

"When it comes to paint color, homeowners may have reason to go back to black. Houses with front doors in shades of black - from charcoal to jet - fetched $6,271 more than expected when sold, said MarketWatch. "Pops of color are especially important for front doors. It often forms the first impression in a prospective home buyer's mind and can determine how they will view the rest of the property when touring a home. A door paint in a popular color can help make buyers feel that the property is well cared for."

Take half the stuff out of your closets

Yes, your overstuffed closet can kill a sale. If a potential buyer feels like they won't have enough space for their stuff, they won't be a potential buyer for long.

Put your personal stuff - and your personal taste - away

"Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. You'll have to do it eventually anyway when you move, and buyers tend to have a hard time seeing past personal effects. You don't want your potential buyers to be distracted. You want them to be able to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there," said The Balance. "This goes for furniture items, too, painful as that might be. Not everyone will share your taste, so if you have your bright red sofa screams, "I'm unique!" you might want to remove it for the time being. Try to stick with your more understated pieces." 

Keep your emotions out of it

Selling your home can be an emotional experience, especially if it was your first home or it's otherwise filled with memories. But emotions can get in the way of a home sale, and waylay your objective, which is to move up or move on.

"Once you decide to sell your home, it can be helpful to start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and a home seller, rather than as the home's owner," said Investopedia. "By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you'll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property that you've undoubtedly created many memories in. Also, try to remember how you felt when you were shopping for that home. Most buyers will also be in an emotional state. If you can remember that you are selling not just a piece of property but also an image, a dream and a lifestyle, you'll be more likely to put in the extra effort of staging and perhaps some minor remodeling to get top dollar for your home. These changes in appearance will not only help the sales price, but they'll also help you create that emotional distance because the home will look less familiar."

Mortgage Broker Q&A

Mortgage Broker Q&A

1. What does a mortgage broker do?

A professional mortgage broker originates, negotiates, and processes residential mortgage loans on behalf of their clients.

2. What are the benefits of using a mortgage broker?

A mortgage broker represents your interests rather than the interests of a lending institution. They act not only as your loan officer, but as a knowledgeable consultant and problem solver. Mortgage brokers have access to a wide range of mortgage products, a broker is able to offer you the greatest value in terms of interest rate, repayment amounts, and loan products. Mortgage brokers will interview you to identify your needs and your short and long term goals. Many situations demand more than the simple use of a 30 year, 15 year, or adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), so innovative mortgage strategies and sophisticated solutions are the advantage of working with an experienced mortgage broker.

3. How do I ensure that I've chosen the right mortgage broker?

The greater the broker's experience and lender network, the better your opportunity to obtain the loan product and the interest rate that best suits your needs. Be sure to read their reviews online and see how long they have been in the business before selecting your broker.

4. What documents should I be prepared with when meeting with a mortgage broker?

A mortgage broker will need to review all your financial information, such as: w2's, tax returns, paystubs, bank statements, as well as various other documents that pertain to your individual circumstances.

5. What kinds of loans are available?

A mortgage broker most likely has access to every product the market has to offer. Most mortgage brokers are approved with multiple lenders to ensure they can offer every product available.

a. What are major differences to be aware of?

With a mortgage broker, you only need one application, rather than completing forms for each individual lender. Your mortgage broker can provide a formal comparison of any loans recommended, guiding you to the information that accurately portrays cost differences, with current rates, points, and closing costs for each loan reflected

6. Costs associated with working with a mortgage broker over a bank?

A mortgage broker is offered loans on a wholesale basis from lenders, and therefore can offer the best rates available in the market, typically making the total loan cost lower for the client.

7. How long does the process take from start to closing on a home?

An "A paper" borrower with good credit can close as fast at 15-21 days.

8. What setbacks should I be aware of?

The market is hot right now so be prepared to compete with other buyers in the marketplace and come in with a strong offer.

9. Are there any incentives for first time buyers? (Lower down payment percentage, etc.)

Yes, there are several down payment assistance programs available for first time home buyers. Some programs will cover your down payment and closing costs.

10. Is there anything else I should be considering when choosing a broker and committing to a loan?

My honest advice would be to get more than one quote. More often than not, borrowers are not shopping around, they are going with the lender that their realtor refers to them and not shopping at all. Get two or three quotes before making a decision.

Shelby Elias, Founding Partner of United
Wholesale Lending - (Sacramento, CA)

There are Different Kinds of Community Associations

There are Different Kinds of Community Associations

A large number of American homeowners now live in a community association. But do you know that there are several different kinds of community organizations, and each has a different set of laws, and different legal structures.

Oversimplified, the three main types of community associations are condominiums, cooperatives and homeowner associations. Although all three types may appear to be the same, in reality they are quite different. Before you buy into any association, you must read the operational documents carefully and ask your financial and legal advisors for guidance if you do not completely understand what you are buying.

Condominiums: most states have specific condominium legislation which spells out basic concepts. However, these laws generally do not get into the operations of the association -- the nitty-gritty of daily life. In a condominium, there are three operational documents which are probably as important -- if not more so -- than the state law. These are the Declaration, the Bylaws and the Rules and Regulations which are adopted by the Board of Directors of the Association. This Board is elected by the members, and has fairly broad authority to run and manage the day-to-day activities of the association. The Board also sets the budget of the Association, and has the authority to bring legal action against unit owners who do not pay their condominium fees.

In a condominium, there are three basic elements: (1) the unit, which is owned by the individual owner; (2) common elements -- which are the parts of the building not owned by individuals. Common elements include such areas as the elevators, the roof, the lobby and any laundry room or swimming pool in the complex; (3) limited common elements -- these are common elements which are accessible to less than the entire membership, such as patios or parking spaces -- and in some projects even mailboxes.

Cooperative Housing: Coops are a different breed of legal entity. The entire complex is owned by the Cooperative Housing Corporation; individual cooperative owners in reality do not own anything. Rather, they have a written documents -- called a "proprietary lease" or an "occupancy agreement" giving them the right to live in and use a particular apartment within the building. Real estate taxes are paid by the entire cooperative, and in most cases, each coop owner has the right to deduct his or her proportionate share of these taxes on their own individual tax return. Generally speaking, the Board of Directors in a cooperative have more authority -- and more flexibility -- than the Board of a Condominium.

However, cooperatives have legal documents, including Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and if enough members get together, these documents can be amended.

Homeowner Associations: the main difference between a condo and a homeowner association (HOA) is that the HOA owner owns his/her house -- including the front and back lawn -- but there are covenants (rules recorded in the land records) which must be followed by each owner. Generally, condominiums are found in high-rise buildings, while HOAs are single family units or townhouses.

The covenants include such matters as architectural controls. This has been a hotly debated -- and often litigated -- topic. Some Boards of Directors insist on strict compliance with these covenants, and will take legal action to enforce the covenants, even when there are minor variations from the covenants. For example, some communities have stringent controls on the size of fences, the color of the windows, or the number of trees which can be planted in the front yard.

Books have been written about community associations, and it is not possible to give a full explanation in this short column. However, if you are interested in purchasing in a community association, there are two things you must do:

1. before you buy, read all of the legal documents. Make sure you fully understand the nature of community living, especially within the particular association you may want to live in. Talk to current residents and the managing agent before you sign a legal purchase contract.

2. if you become an owner in a community association, you must get involved. Ideally, you may want to consider running for a position on the Board of Directors. Short of this, however, you should attend as many Board meeting as possible, especially the annual meeting. Get on a committee and be active. Read your legal documents periodically, and review the written minutes for each Board meeting.

After all, this is your investment and you should be monitoring all of your investments carefully.

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Caroline York,  Associate Broker
Caroline York Mortell, Broker

Real Estate Concierge Services, LLC
100 Beach Drive NE, Suite 401
St Petersburg, FL 33701

727-510-1811
info@RECSFlorida.com

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Caroline York, was so helpful and very patient with me in my look for a new home. She took so much time and was always there when I needed her. When I finally picked my new home, Caroline was so instrumental in getting it closed. I would be happy to refer her to anyone and everyone seeking a great experience looking for a home. 01/18/2016 - JoanneMarley
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Caroline Mortell | Real Estate Concierge Services, LLC. | 727-510-1811york@carolineyork.com
100 Beach Drive NE, Suite 401, St Petersburg, FL 33701
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