Navigate Your Home Sale

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Navigate Your Home Sale

The paperwork required from home sellers has become rather complex, a good agent will help you navigate your home sale.  Seller disclosure statements and jurisdictional forms include and inform of any known defects to the home as well as airports, new roads and forest protection areas as well as actual taxes, future estimated taxes and a range of environmental concerns. To protect yourself from liability, it is important to fill out these forms thoroughly and accurately. Your realtor will help you to navigate the correct forms and required paperwork.

Find the right realtor

In the maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing, and negotiating, it makes sense to work with a professional who knows the community, has experience with the process and who you can trust to navigate your home sale.

Price it right- from the start
Several factors, including market conditions, your home’s condition and recent neighborhood home sales will determine how you should price your home. In other words, home selling is part art, part science, part marketing, and part negotiation. A house that starts out over priced takes longer to sell and likely sells for less. Your real estate agent will supply you will the latest stats and help you to price your home right.

Plan your move
UNCLUTTER! (and pack) Cleaning out closets, the basement, and the attic, you will have less to do once the home is under contract. Your agent will share resources for junk haulers, and charity organizations for donations .

Market your house for maximum exposure
Your Realtor should share a marketing plan with you, the more you know about the process of selling your home the easier it is to support your Realtor’s efforts. The photo’s and brochures, internet and print ad should be in place before the big launch of making your house active on the market.

Repair, Prepare, and Move

Your Realtor will help you stage your home- which sometimes means removing furniture, and will suggest landscaping and other improvements. She will also help you find  great licensed contractors, a mover and other professionals you may need to facilitate the moving process.

Negotiate the offer

Whether you have one offer or several to consider, your agent will help you bottom line the offer and present your options to you- accept, counter-offer or reject.

Move

Your Realtor will help you with finding  great licensed contractors, movers, and finally — find you a great new house!!!

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.
Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

A Good First Impression

Good First Impression

Good First Impression – OnLINE

You should prepare for your photo shoot as much as you would for an open house or private showing. Work alongside an excellent  local real estate agent , and follow these tips to make sure your home looks its best.

Never list your home online without photos

Today’s buyers get email and text alerts when a new home that matches their criteria hits the market. There is nothing more frustrating than to see the desired address come across as an alert, only for the listing to be incomplete.

Buyers (and agents) will punish you for jumping the gun. Will they go back later and look again, once you have the photos up? Maybe — but maybe not.

You’re adding an extra step for them, and it comes across like you don’t have your ducks in a row. That’s not a great way to start out with your future customer.

Clean, declutter, organize and remove

You should spend a good amount of time preparing for your photo shoot. This means that you fluff the pillows, put toilet seats down, put Fido’s bowl and toys away, and ensure the home  is in impeccable condition.

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A tidy home free of clutter appeals to buyers. Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

People can zoom in, zoom out and play with photos in online listings. They’ll notice everything. If your photos don’t show your home well, it sends a message to the buyer that you don’t care, and that you are not a serious seller.

The buyer is your customer. You have a product for sale. Take the time to present it in the best possible light.

Poor photos won’t cut it

Images that are blurry, poorly lit, or distorted are not going to sell your home.

It’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer who will take high-resolution photos, and even bring extra lighting or equipment to enhance their work. They’ll also take dozens of pictures and work tirelessly to show your home in the right light and from the best angles.

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Well-lit photos show off your home’s assets. Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Don’t skimp on the number of photos

When it comes to photos, the more, the merrier. You want to make it easy on buyers to get comfortable with and learn more about your home.

Not only are the listing photos their initial impression, but they serve to help orient the buyer after the first or second showing. Once they have been through the home in person, they are better able to relate to the floor plan and how it flows. Going back to the listing photos allows them to make connections and dig deeper. Encourage them to do so by posting plenty of photos.

BY BRENDON DESIMONE

Tracy Tkac
Direct – 301-437-8722

Office -202-364-1700
Evers & Co.
Tracy@Eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

Spring Checklist

Spring Checklist

Here are some basic hints and a spring inspired checklist for getting your home ready for sale or just a happy new spring beginning.

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De-clutter your home

Clean off your kitchen counter-tops of everything, and tidy up the pots and pans in cabinets, pantry and spice drawers. Toss or recycle un-matching mugs and dish-ware.

File, put away or hide stacks of mail and paperwork.

Go through your closets and give away old coats and clothes you don’t need or use anymore.

Straighten-up your linen closet and toss or donate the old linens and towels you don’t use.

Remove shoes, coats and other personal items from entryway.

Toss or recycle old magazines and give away or recycle old paperbacks.

Pack away multiple family photos, leaving only a few out for decoration.

Clear bathroom countertops of all personal items.

Clear the garage of all old garden items, unused sporting equipment and organize bikes and gardening tools.

Clean

Clean or hire a professional cleaner to do a deep cleaning  including:

clean windows

clean fan blades

clean air-flow registers

clean out refrigerator and remove any items from the top and front- dust and clean the top too.

clean inside and outside of oven and microwave polish counter-tops

clean bathrooms throughly, throw away shower liner and replace with new, scrub shower doors and all fixtures

clean or hire a professional carpet cleaner, buff or polish wood floors

look up, make sure there are no cobwebs or dust on the ceiling

clean off fireplace mantel

clean off bedroom dressers and desks

Outside

Remove old flower pots, broken outdoor furniture, broken childrens toys

Put cover on grill

Tidy up yard

Mulch flower beds

clean front door

Paint and Freshen

Paint front door

Consider new hardware on front-door and out door lighting

When in doubt- paint interior and exterior

Place flowers at entrance in pots outside or planted and always – lovely flowers inside!

I am happy to come to your property and give you my opinion and advice- at no cost or obligation, just give me a call!

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Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Buying 101

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Home Buying 101

Home Buying 101

Basic guidelines for the first time home buyer and the home buying process, simplified- Home Buying 101.

by Tracy Tkac 
Making an offer to purchase a house can be intimidating and scary, it’s a big commitment that will require a chunk of your financial resources. It’s also exciting and wonderful! You will be building equity and getting tax breaks for mortgage payments, but importantly , you will have a place of your own to do with what you wish.  Most of all, your home will be the place where you will make memories and entertain friends and family. You will make your house into your lovely home. Below are the basic guidelines and the home buying process simplified or Home Buying 101.

 Making an offer

Even though it’s early in the buying process, you still must sign a legally binding contract. With your signature, you’re committing to moving ahead with the seller. Keep in mind you can add contingencies to many real estate contracts. For example, most real estate buying offers will be contingent on a property inspection, radon inspection, loan approval, appraisal and sometimes other matters. Such contingencies enable buyers to opt out of the contract if unexpected problems or concerns pop up.

 Disclosures

In most states, sellers are legally required to provide buyers with disclosure documents including any know defects, lead based paint information, real tax bills from the current year and the estimated property tax bill for the next year. In addition, sellers must disclose any known issues that might affect the property’s value or habitability. Usually, in a transfer disclosure statement, sellers must answer a series of “yes” or “no” questions about the property, and provide the neighborhood homeowners association/ or condo information. If there have been leaky windows,  work done without permits or plans for a major nearby development, the seller must disclose them. You will have the opportunity to view the areas master plan and the will be provided with a list of nearby airports. The disclosures will need to be signed by the purchaser and will become part of the offer to purchase and then after all terms are agreed to, they will be part of the contract.

The appraisal

Most buyers put a certain amount of money down toward the purchase price. The balance will come in the form of a bank loan (usually). But a bank isn’t going to hand over that money without due diligence. An appraisal is the financial institution’s way of making sure the contract price is the right price. So the lender sends out a third-party appraiser, which the buyer pays for, to confirm that the contract price is in line with the neighborhood’s comparable sales. If it’s not, the bank can deny the loan or change the terms.If a property does not appraise, the contract price can be renegotiated or contract voided.

Inspections

As part of the real estate contract, you have the right to a property inspection One of the most common, is a “specific” property inspection, in which the inspector checks the home from the foundation to the roof and investigates all major systems and components. As the buyer, you should follow along with the inspector to learn more about the property. For example, you’ll want to know about the components (such as the water heater) and have a plan in place for maintenance.

After the property inspection, the inspector may suggest having a specialist come out. This could be a roofer, electrician, HVAC specialist or even an engineer. Listen to the inspector and have any recommended follow-up inspections. Remember: This is your one chance to approve the property from top to bottom. If issues arise, you may be able to negotiate repair or a buyer credit.  If something major arises and it’s not what you signed up for, you can void the contract via your inspection contingency.

Loan approval or commitment

In addition to making certain the property appraises at no less than the contract price, the bank will want to fully approve your credit, debt and income history. The bank will also want to approve the property’s preliminary title report to make sure there are no liens recorded against the property that might affect its value. The bank can take up to 45 days to complete its review, which should result in a loan commitment or full loan approval. Once that’s completed to the bank’s satisfaction, you’re guaranteed a loan, and you’re one step closer to closing. How much money do you need?

Final walk-through

Before closing, you will do a final walk through in the property to make sure it’s in the condition it is supposed to be in, if you have negotiated for repairs, check the receipts and repairs to make certain they were done correctly. Make sure the seller didn’t remove any fixtures, make modifications or leave behind garbage or debris. Check the plumbing, air or heat and that everything that is supposed to remain at the property is there- this your your last chance to make sure all is as it should be!

 

Settlement

Depending on the market, the closing may happen at an attorney’s office or at a title company. In some situations, the buyer and seller don’t ever meet. Each goes in to sign their closing papers separately. In others, the buyers and sellers sign the closing documents together. Regardless of how a closing happens, if you’re a buyer and getting a loan, plan on signing dozens of documents at closing. You’ll need to show photo ID, as your signature will be notarized. Prior to the closing, your lender will work with the settlement attorney and send you a closing disclosure statement to review at least 3 days previous to the settlement. The statement details your final closing costs and the money you need to bring to the closing. The funds can be wired in or paid with a cashier’s check on closing day.

 

Enjoy your new home

Don’t be afraid to call your realtor and ask questions, for direction or help. She is a great resource  for the big and  little things that come up when owning your own home.

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.
Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

 

Ready to Buy a Home?

Ready to Buy a Home?

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Ready to Buy a Home?
Are you ready to buy a home this year? It’s time to get moving!

Laying the foundation by taking the steps to prepare will ensure a seamless transition from just dreaming about it to actually being ready to buy a home.

 Step #1

Speak with a lender.  Call or email your Realtor and ask who she recommends, Realtors work with many different lenders and will likely know who will be the best fit for your situation. A lender will talk with you about your income, debt, and credit situations and will be able to give you a price range of the homes in which you should be looking, and also tell you approximately what your monthly payment will be, including taxes. Don’t be shy, you are not obligated to anything at all. If you are not ready to speak with a lender, you can check your own credit first by following the steps below.

Make sure your credit is good and if it isn’t – fix it by paying on time and disputing any erroneous information. Every person is entitled to one free credit report annually from all three credit reporting agencies;

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Be ready to print the report or convert to PDF and save, you will only have one chance to get this information free.  https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

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Step #2

Save money for downpayment and closing costs. If you are applying for  a conventional mortgage and put down 20% or more of the purchase price, you won’t have PMI (private mortgage insurance). There are other types of financing such as an FHA loan which only requires 3.5% down payment but very likely has a slightly higher interest rate than conventional loans. VA loans are available to those who have served and do not require private mortgage insurance like FHA and less than 20% conventional loans. Closing costs are approximately 3% of the purchase price. Learn more about types of loans and the requirements of loans below.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/20-percent-down-payment-for-a-home/

Your Realtor can help you with a offer strategy if you need to ask the seller for a credit at closing to ensure you have the funds needed for closing costs. Asking for closing costs may work in the right circumstances.

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Ready to Buy A Home?

 

Step #3

Contact your Realtor. If you don’t have one,  get a referral or look on line, most home and agent searches now start at the computer or smart phone. You can research what Realtors service the area in which you would like to live. Read the reviews, pick up the phone and talk with a real estate agent to make certain the agent seems to know what they are talking about and you have a comfort level with her. Use a professional, not someone that sells 2 or 3 houses a year, but an agent that is working hard and is a career professional, and is up to date on the area and has a great track record. http://www.zillow.com/profile/Tracy-Tkac/ Ask your agent to set up an automatic email of home listings so every morning you will be emailed new home listings and not miss anything when you are ready to buy a home.

You will be ready to buy a home- chose the one that makes you happy!

 

by Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co. Real Estate

cell    301-437-8722

office 202-364-1700

tracy@eversco.com

www.WashingtonHG.com

Licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of ColumbiaYour referrals are warmly welcomed and appreciated!

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

 

It is time to do the Fall Home Maintenance Checklist necessary to get your home ready for winter. Be certain to turn off your hose bibs and perform the other household chores listed below around Halloween time, enjoy the treat of a nice smooth transition into  winter rather than the trick to dealing with clogged downspouts and frozen pipes when the weather gets colder.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

  1. Turn off your house bibs.  Locate the outside hose spigot and the corresponding inside area where the pipe comes into the house, most of the time that will be in the basement. Follow the pipe and turn the water supply off by turning the knob to the left or if the turn- off is a lever- pulling the lever to be perpendicular (across it) to the pipe.  Then go outside and turn on the hose spigot, water will drain out of the pipe. Go back inside and armed with a cup- loosen the small metal nut next to the turn off handle, water will dribble out into the cup and replace the nut. Repeat with other hose bibs, and you have winterized your outside plumbing!
  2. Clear out your gutters. You can get a ladder and do it yourself or hire a handyman. Cleaning the gutters will prevent ice blockages and water seeping into the house or pulling the gutters off and causing other damage.
  3. Change your furnace filter. This should be done monthly or quarterly depending on the type of filter you install. Also consider having the HVAC system annually services at this time.
  4. Rake the leaves on the yard and mulch. You and your neighbors will appreciate a tidy lawn even when the landscape is barren.
  5. Replace outside lightbulbs. No one wants to get on a ladder in freezing temperatures and winter brings shorter days, you will thank yourself for the exterior lighting when you really need it.
  6. Change the battery in your smoke detectors. Winter is a time of fireplaces, candles and light decorations, take precautions.
  7. Plant the last bulbs in your yard. You will be delighted by the fresh colors and beauty in the spring for the work you did in the fall.

by Tracy Tkac, Realtor

Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co. Real Estate

cell    301-437-8722

office 202-364-1700

tracy@eversco.com

www.WashingtonHG.com

Licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of ColumbiaYour referrals are warmly welcomed and appreciated!

 

Real Estate Disclosures

Real Estate Disclosures

Real Estate Disclosures

 

It’s standard practice in real estate to give a home a fresh coat of paint before putting it on the market. Nine out of 10 times, the intention is to show the property at its best. But every so often, the seller paints the house in hopes of covering something up.

In most parts of the country, sellers (and agents) are required to document any known defects —  whether current or past — to potential buyers. But some sellers don’t play by the rules and will try to get one past a buyer.

Whether you’re a listing a home for sale or in the market to purchase, this is what you need to know about disclosures.

What is a disclosure?

Disclosure statements, which can come in a variety of forms, are the buyer’s opportunity to learn as much as they can about the property and the seller’s experience in it.

Potential seller disclosures range from knowledge of leaky windows to work done without the benefit of a permit, to information about a major construction or development project nearby.

Not only do disclosure documents serve to inform buyers, but they can also protect the sellers from future legal action. It is the seller’s chance to reveal anything that can negatively affect the value, usefulness or enjoyment of the property.

How does a seller make a disclosure?

Disclosure laws vary from state to state, even down to the city and county level. California has some of the most stringent disclosure requirements. The law requires that sellers (and their agents) complete or sign off on dozens of documents, such as a Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement, Local and State Transfer Disclosure Statements, Advisories about Market Conditions and even Megan’s Law Disclosures.

Disclosure typically comes in the form of boilerplate documents (put together by the local or state real estate association), where the seller answers a series of yes/no questions about their home and their experience there.

Additionally, sellers must present any documented communication (between neighbors, previous owners, the seller or the agents) about a substantial defect or item that could have an adverse impact on value.

Depending on where you live, sellers can be on the hook for what they disclose (or fail to) for up to 10 years. Sellers should err on the side of caution. If you know it, put it out there. If you try to hide something, it can come back to haunt you in the form of an expensive lawsuit.

What do sellers disclose to potential buyers?

Previous improvements, renovations or upgrades done by sellers are typical disclosures, as well as whether work was done with or without permits.

Buyers should cross check the seller’s disclosures with the city building permit and zoning reports. Work completed without a permit, or approval by the municipality, may not have been performed to code, which could result in a fire or health hazard.

Other standard disclosures include the existence of pets, termite problems, neighborhood nuisances, any history of property line disputes, and defects or malfunctions with major systems or appliances. Disclosure documents often ask sellers if they are involved in bankruptcy proceedings, if there any liens on the property, and so on.

Is a disclosure the same as an inspection?

Disclosure is something given to the buyer by the seller documenting their knowledge of the property. It is not the same thing as an independent inspection by a third party. An examination may reveal defects that the seller may not have been aware of.

The buyer should always do a full property inspection, before moving forward with the purchase. The inspector checks all systems and components from the roof to the basement. Often, in the interest of the ultimate in full disclosure, a seller hires a property inspector before going on the market and supplies the written report to the buyer.

When does the buyer receive disclosure statements?

In most markets, disclosure documents are provided to buyers once the seller has accepted their offer. In addition to their inspections or loan contingency, the buyer has an opportunity to review the seller’s disclosures. If the buyer discovers something negative about the property through disclosure, she can usually back out.

In some markets, sellers provide these disclosures to the customers before an offer. Smart sellers let buyers know everything they need to know up front. It’s smart because it saves everyone time, hassle and expense by preventing deals from falling apart once they’re in escrow.

Buyers must sign off on all disclosures and reports. So it’s important to review them carefully and ask questions if you need to. Full disclosure upfront is the way to go. Providing full disclosure can help a seller. By laying their cards out, sellers can give buyers a sense of comfort or peace of mind, making their home more desirable than a competing one.

BY BRENDON DESIMONE,  Zillow

 

 

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.
Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

 

Home-Buying Fears

It’s natural to feel a little apprehensive when making a major purchase, but home buying shouldn’t scare you out of your wits.

Buyers’ biggest real estate fears sometimes hold them back from buying — not just around Halloween, but throughout the year. The scary thing is, these fears are sometimes well-founded.

Here are some of the issues that commonly keep home buyers awake at night, and what you can do about them.

“The house has a cracked foundation, dry rot, or a leaky roof”

Renovating, fixing and repairing are on few buyers’ wish lists. When faced with the home of their dreams, they fear the inspection. What if there is dry rot, or a roof or foundation issue?

Most homes will need routine maintenance, and a good inspector will point this out. But it’s important not to let your fears get the best of you. Much of what the inspector comes up with during the inspection is for informational purposes only. Every problem does not need to be repaired right away.

The inspector’s job is to point out every issue he sees in the house. Ask him to explain how bad the issue is, and how long it can go before needing replacement or repair.

If an issue arises that needs immediate attention, go back to the seller and see if they will repair or credit you back to repair after you close.

“I’ll lose my deposit”

Buyers typically put in an earnest money deposit with a signed contract. Typically, this is 3 percent of the purchase price. The seller does not cash the check. Instead, the money sits in an escrow account and can’t be released without both parties’ signatures.

It’s nearly impossible for a buyer to lose their deposit. If you have an inspection, disclosure review or loan contingencies, work closely with your real estate agent to mark those timeframes.

If you need to remove these contingencies in writing, plan to firm things up a day in advance. If you are in negotiations around a contingency date, be sure to extend the contingency date to keep yourself under contract.

“I’ll lose the house”

If you find the home of your dreams, you may have to move fast. Particularly in competitive markets, many homes sell before the first open house to quick acting and super-motivated buyers.

If you see a new listing hit the market, be sure to let your agent know right away. Try to make an appointment to see the home as soon as possible.

Also, find out immediately how the seller’s agent plans to handle any offers received. Sometimes they will take the first offer, especially if it’s a good one. More often than not, the seller and the agent will have an offer date to review offers or ask for best and final offers by a certain day.

If you are travelling or busy with work, be sure not to miss out on your dream home. Be in constant contact with your agent, and flag potential homes that look like a great fit.

“My agent doesn’t have my best interest in mind”

Great agents are always on the prowl for new properties, checking out the market and protecting your best interest at all times.

Some buyers fear that their agent might have different motivations, or that they aren’t on the same page. If you have doubts, change agents. Never settle or take any random agent that comes along as your buyer’s agent.

You and your agent should be committed to each other. Sit down before you begin the process and speak to your agent, much like a job interview. And if you have any doubts about your agent’s abilities or motivations, find another agent.

“We’ll never find a house in time for…”

A real estate purchase should never be rushed. If you have a firm deadline creeping up, make a plan B.

For example, many buyers face an expiring lease or a school application deadline. If you are three months out from a deadline and you haven’t found a house, take the pressure off by putting an alternate plan in place.

Home buying is an expensive and complicated transaction. You don’t want to rush into a purchase and make a mistake. It’s much easier and safer to get another rental or find a temporary address or try some out-of-the-box idea. It may be a little inconvenient, but you can handle it.

If something scares you about a home, the buying process, or a third-party involved in the sale, voice your concerns. Listen to your voice of reason, and stick with your gut.

Many home buyers’ initial fears will fall by the wayside as the buyer gets into the market. Take it slow, and don’t be afraid to take a step back to allow time and space to think things through. It’s better to take your time than to let buying your dream home become a nightmare.

BY BRENDON DESIMONE

Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co. Real Estate

cell    301-437-8722

office 202-364-1700

tracy@eversco.com

www.WashingtonHG.com

Licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of ColumbiaYour referrals are warmly welcomed and appreciated!

Selling? MUST READ!

You may think of it as giving yourself room to bargain, but beware. You could just turn off buyers. If you are selling? This is a must read!

Pricing a home for sale is more of an art than a science. Each home’s value falls within a range, and the price the buyer and seller agree on determines the exact value of the property.

If priced competitively from the very beginning, a home will sell at the higher end of the value range. The longer it lingers, the lower it lands in that range.

In fact, “homes that linger on the market tend to sell for significantly less than their listing price: five percent less after two months,” according to Zillow research.

Price: The battle between seller and agent

Homeowners have a very limited perspective on the real estate market, as they are only concerned with one home: their own.

On the other hand, successful agents live and breathe their local markets daily. They have their feet on the street, and possess a great understanding of current market conditions because they work with buyers, tour homes, and have first-hand knowledge of what moves.

Because they have limited knowledge, many sellers over-value their homes. They may assume that the agent just wants to price their home — their biggest asset — at a low price for a quick sale. And so a friction begins.

But agents know that homes that are priced right and show well will sell in good times and bad.

First impressions make the difference

The market typically responds to a new listing in the first few weeks, so do everything you can to make it attractive to buyers right from the start. Price your home right, and take all of your agent’s advice about cleaning, de-cluttering, painting and prepping, and your home should sell without incident, and for top dollar.

List at the wrong price or with the home not in its best showing condition, and you’ll leave a poor first impression on the market. As time passes, a listing starts to lose its momentum as newer, more competitive homes come up for sale. As the number of days on the market increases, interest in your home decreases, and the listing becomes stale.

Next stop: price reduction

A price reduction inevitably occurs after weeks or months of inactivity. If the seller doesn’t price the home within striking distance (say, five percent in many markets) of what the buyer perceives the value to be at the time, the seller has to come down in price. Often, they come down, but still not enough.

If the sellers miss the market twice, buyers won’t take them seriously, and will wait around for the next reduction.

The home will eventually get into the right price range for the market, and a buyer will strike. But they will probably punish the seller by coming in with an offer far lower than they would have, had the home come onto the market at the right price.

Once sellers lose the momentum of being new on the market, they’re at a disadvantage when it comes time to negotiate.

Risk of the market changing

What’s worse is that markets can start to decline over time. A seller may list in March to a healthy market, but their odds of making a top-dollar sale fall as inventory piles up, the economy slows, interest rates rise, or any number of factors come into play.

Come September, the value range of the home is lower than it was in March. A change in market conditions is a risk a seller takes by pricing too high.

Risk of showing poorly

As time passes, sellers may get lazy, and keeping the house clean and organized becomes a chore. Weeds come back, dust bunnies creep up, and the house doesn’t show as well as it did when it first went on the market.

Buyers who show up when the price is right will have even more reason to penalize the seller with a low offer.

Advice to sellers

If you are serious about selling your home and have a game plan and motivation to move on, take pricing very seriously.

If you and your agent disagree about the price, but not by a lot, it’s worth trying the higher number. But have an upfront plan to reduce the price quickly, and use that price reduction as a marketing activity.

The market will respond positively to a seller who shows they are serious about selling.

by Brendon DeSimone Zillow

Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co. Real Estate

cell    301-437-8722

office 202-364-1700

tracy@eversco.com

www.WashingtonHG.com

Licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of ColumbiaYour referrals are warmly welcomed and appreciated!

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Is it Time to Update Your Bathroom?

A bathroom should be a place of comfort — the optimal environment for a relaxing soak or getting ready efficiently during a harried morning.

“You’re going to spend time in there every day,” says Sarah Hurd, part of the mother-daughter team behind Short Story Renovations, a Baltimore-area design, rehab, and staging company. “You should not hate your bathroom.”

If a bad layout, poor lighting, and leaky fixtures are getting in the way, it might be time for some changes.

Here are nine signs that your bathroom could use a little work.

Not photogenic

“It’s weird how you can see in a picture what you can’t see anymore with your own eyes,” says Angela Hurd of Short Story Renovations.

She and her daughter, Sarah, recommend that clients take a photograph of their bathroom to get a better sense of what they might not otherwise notice. People can become blind to the discord — from a mismatched color palette to accumulated junk on the vanity counter, she says.

Outdated colors

Funky hues can be one of the most noticeable signs that a bathroom is out of date. White, gray, and black palettes will lend an element of ageless beauty to any space, says Michael Merschat, an architect with high-end residential design-build firm Wentworth Inc. of Chevy Chase, MD.

Courtesy of Jeremy Locke.
Courtesy of Jeremy Locke.

People are coming back to “that white, timeless look, be it a very modern-style white or something with a little more traditional flare,” he says.

Bad layout

Awkward bathroom layout is another indication that it’s time for an update.Odd arrangements, such as a toilet directly next to the bathtub, are typical in bungalows and houses built in the 1920s, ’30s, and ‘40s, when plumbing was a new phenomenon.

Installing a separate water closet can be a winning move, Merschat says. “It gives a nice bit of refinement to the room when the toilet isn’t sitting out in the middle of the space.”

Smells like a bathroom

Replacing a toilet’s wax seal, fixing a persistent sink leak that is causing mold, or adding better ventilation to a windowless bathroom can all be sure fixes for a fresher-smelling experience, says Sarah Hurd.

“With some bathrooms, you walk in and they just have an old bathroom smell,” she remarks. It’s another indication that it’s time for a renovation.

Leaks

When brown water stains appear on the ceiling below the bathroom, it’s definitely time to make repairs and update. Take the opportunity to put in modern fixtures that conserve water and speak to your style, Merschat advises.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Poor lighting

“If you’re either blinded by the lights that are overhead or it’s so dim you can barely see yourself in the mirror, that’s a problem,” says Sarah Hurd. Better light fixtures and brighter light bulbs may be the first step on your path to a bathroom redo.

Stylistic relics

If you have wallpaper or popcorn ceilings still hanging around from decades past, your bathroom is due for an update.

Wallpaper is making a comeback, so think about using it in a new way. “We’ve actually redone powder rooms where we’ve put wallpaper on the ceiling to give it a different pop,” Merschat says.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Low on storage

Can’t store all the things you need in the bathroom? This calls for action.

Install a larger vanity or add shelves above the toilet. You could even knock out a wall and steal a little space from another room to create a linen closet.

Time to sell

If you’re not interested in fixing up your bathroom for yourself, do it for your home’s next tenants. A fancy new washroom can add just the right panache to spur potential buyers to action.

“Redoing a bathroom that’s just an eyesore within the house might make a huge difference,” Merschat says.

If you’re ready to renovate, start thinking about the look you want for your new bathroom. At Short Story Renovations, the Hurds use Pinterest to share ideas with their clients.

“[We] start a board that all of us can put stuff on,” Angela Hurd explains. “That way [our clients aren’t] in the dark about what we’re trying to do.” This practice helps everyone involved get a feel for one look and stick with it.

BY BECCA MILFELD ON 18 AUG 2016

 

301-437-8722/ 202-364-1700 Real Estate Professional Licensed in Maryland, Virginia & Washington, DC