The keys are yours, now what?
Congratulations! You’re a new homeowner. While you may not be able to wait to move in, there are a few things you should consider tackling before hanging those family photos on the walls.
1. Change the locks – For peace of mind, it’s a good idea to change out the locks on your exterior doors to ensure that anyone the previous owners may have given a key to can no longer access the property. According to Home Advisor, the average homeowner spends between $100-$300 hiring a locksmith.
2. Paint – Don’t love the lemon yellow the previous homeowners chose for the master bedroom? Painting your new home will be infinitely easier if you can do so before moving furniture into the space. Head to your local paint store to pick up a few samples to test before committing. Take your time and be sure to view the color swatches in different lights before committing. There are also handy online visualization tool like the Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer.
3. Take care of your floors – Like with painting, treating and refinishing floors is much easier without furniture in the way. Costs for this project will vary depending on the size of the job, but you can estimate roughly $200 for supplies and equipment. Check out this useful guide to refinishing wood floors from This Old House before heading to the hardware store.
4. Make any necessary repairs – Does the bathtub need to be re-caulked or the tile re-grouted? Do the floor boards creak? Make a list of priority repairs and tackle them one by one. You’ll be happy you did a few months from now when other projects crop up on the honey do list.
5. Clean from top to bottom – The only thing better than a new home is a clean new home. Now is the best time to give every nook and cranny of your home a deep clean. Scrub the inside of appliances like the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and microwave. Wipe down walls and baseboards with a damp cloth. Looking for clever ways to banish grease and grime? Check out our Home Tip of the Day video series.
6. Set up your utilities – Call your electric, gas, cable and water utility providers to make sure service is transferred to you after closing. You’ll also want to research when trash and recycling pick-up are scheduled for your zone.
7. Change your Address – While you may want those mortgage bills to be sent elsewhere, it’s important to file a change of address with the US Postal Service to ensure that all mail is forwarded to your new address following your move. Also be sure to alert friends and family of your new address. They’ll need to know where to send that housewarming gift!
Now, the only thing left to do is celebrate! Looking for great housewarming party ideas? Try one of these backyard flings!
You listed your home for sale, but the home isn’t selling! Learn the simple things you can do to sell your home faster with Coldwell Banker real estate agents.
You listed your home for sale with high hopes. You love your property and you felt certain that it would sell in a reasonable amount of time. But it’s been several months since you listed your home.
You’ve had some interests and several showings. You’ve received a few lowball offers. Maybe you’ve even experienced the emotional turmoil of watching a contract fall apart. Regardless of the details, one fact is clear: your property is very much still for sale.
What went wrong? What can you do? Here are 8 effective tips to facilitate a faster sale.
If your house has been on the market for six weeks or more without so much as a nibble of interest, it’s time to take a hard look at what might be putting buyers off.
If buyers can’t imagine themselves living in a home, they’ll be reluctant to make an offer.
To make your home appealing, pack away all of your family pictures, child artwork, and mementos. Paint your walls a neutral color like beige, cream or white. Pack away any polarizing or controversial pieces of artwork or decor. Depersonalize and try to make your home look like a model home.
Buyers like to see clean, wide-open living spaces. If you have physical or visual clutter in the room, you’re sending a message to the buyer that you don’t have enough storage space.
Don’t send that message. Instead, get those moving boxes and start packing. You may not have a contract yet, but if you minimize your possessions and declutter the space, you’ll make the rooms look larger and create the impression of having tons of storage space.
Remove Evidence of Pets
We love our four-legged friends, but their food and water dishes, crates, and even just hair on the carpet can be a big turn-off to buyers who don’t like animals.
If you know that someone is coming to look at your home, put the food dishes away, store the crate in the garage or outside, and make sure to remove all signs of pet fur and dander.
Freshen Up the Space
Don’t let buyers turn up their nose at your home. Smell is the first thing potential buyers notice when they walk into a house.
Clean your home to get rid of any dusty or musty smells. If the weather is nice, open the windows to let your home air out. Install all-natural room fresheners or light scented candles in discreet places like the bathroom closet, laundry room, and garage. Choose a neutral and natural scent, like vanilla, rather than a pungent floral scent.
You could also consider investing an essential oil diffuser to leave running during home showings. Sage, lemon, lavender, and cinnamon are all subtle, relaxing, and inviting scents that help brighten your living space.
Work on Curb Appeal
Some buyers won’t even step into your home if they don’t think the property has curb appeal. Clean the windows and make sure that there are no visible cobwebs. Mow your yard and trim the edges, prune the bushes, plant fresh flowers, and spruce up your shutters by giving them a fresh coat of paint. You may even want to install a new mailbox and outdoor light fixtures.
Consider an Affordable Mini-Renovation
Not everyone likes a fixer-upper. Stained carpets and less than appealing paint colors may look like dollars needed for (and the hassle of) renovation in the buyer’s eyes.
Small renovations may lead to big payoff. Consider painting the walls a neutral color, installing a smart thermostat, replacing hardware and fixtures and other fairly inexpensive changes that will take away the label of a fixer-upper.
Stage Like an Expert
You’ve depersonalized, decluttered, renovated, and worked on curb appeal. Now it’s time to stage your home like a pro.
Place brand new, neatly folded towels and candles in the bathroom. Place a decorative bowl filled with bright red or green apples, lemons, or limes in the kitchen. Fill a clear glass cookie jar with fresh cookies on the kitchen counter.
Ask Your Agent About Pricing
If your home isn’t selling after you’ve done everything above, it’s time to talk to your real estate agent about adjusting the price.
This is where your agent’s knowledge of your market and the amenities of your home come into play. If your home is priced competitively, buyers will feel like they’re getting a great deal. A $5,000-$10,000 reduction may be all it takes to motivate the right buyer.
Make Your Home More Accessible
Make your home available for showings. If you limit your home to pre-scheduled viewings, you’re definitely not going to be able to sell as quickly. If you’re flexible with when you allow buyers to come see your property, you’ll have a better chance of getting more foot traffic and more potential buyers into your home.
Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Mattter Blog
This is SO IMPORTANT for you to know as a Buyer or Seller so that you can strategize your plan of action wisely and accurately. Of course, your agent can easily explain this to you, but you need to understand it! Make no mistake, if you don’t pay attention to the difference in these two markets, you may not enjoy the results of the transaction.
What you need to know when buying or selling a home.
One important thing to remember about the property market is that it’s always in a state of change. Sometimes the market is favorable to buyers and sometimes it’s favorable to sellers. But don’t worry, a knowledgeable agent can guide you in the sale or purchase of your next home, no matter what type of market you’re facing.
What is a Seller’s Market?
A seller’s market is simply a property market that benefits you as a seller. In a seller’s market, there’s a scarcity of properties, which can drive up the price of homes, especially in desirable locations.
Sellers can depend on real estate experts to know what the market is doing, but here are some signs of a seller’s market:
– Low inventory when compared to previous months and/or years
– Homes are selling faster
– Less than six months of inventory on the market
– More homes are selling
– Median sales prices are growing
– Less information in real estate ads; just the bare details
– “For Sale” signs don’t stay up long before being replaced with “pending” or “sold”
What is a Buyer’s Market?
A buyer’s market is the opposite of the seller’s market. If you’re buying at this time you’ll be spoiled for choice as the supply of homes on the market exceeds the number of buyers, giving you the chance to score a fantastic deal.
A sharp agent will quickly be able to tell you where the market lies, but here are some signs of a buyer’s market:
– Inventory that is high when compared to previous months and/or years
– Homes are selling more slowly
– More than six months in inventory on the market
– Sales prices are shrinking
– Fewer sales are taking place
– Real estate ads are growing in size, giving more details and/or images
– “For Sale” signs are staying longer, meaning the days on the market are longer too
How Do I Figure out the Months of Inventory in a Market?
1. Look for the total number of active listings for the month prior to the current one
2. Look for the total number of sold or closed transactions for the same time frame
3. Divide the total number of listings by the number of sales. This figure represents the number of months of inventory there are.
For example, let’s say there were 6,500 listings in one month’s time. During that same time, there were 1,500 properties that were sold. Divide 1,500 into 6,500 and you arrive at 4.3 months of inventory, meaning that this is a seller’s market.
While a savvy real estate agent is the best resource for this information, other resources include real estate listing websites and/or your local real estate association.
Do All Markets Follow the Same Cycles?
Markets are always in a state of flux. At its core, people are the driving force behind the real estate market.
For example, as more people move into a location, the more need there is for housing. If the number of properties in the area cannot support the number of people moving in, prices of existing homes will likely rise until more homes can be built.
This constant change to the supply and demand in a market is how markets shift back and forth from being more favorable for either buyers or sellers.
Can I Buy in a Seller’s Market?
Absolutely, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You’ll need determination, knowledge, and most importantly, someone on your side who knows the market inside and out.
Something to consider – you don’t know the seller’s true reasons for wanting to sell. Maybe there’s a divorce pending or another baby on the way and they need more space fast. Whatever is going on with the seller, a savvy agent will spot opportunities to help you and the seller arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.
One key reason it’s vital to engage an agent in a seller’s market is for their negotiating skills. While it’s important to always negotiate, a seller’s market calls for serious help to ensure that you don’t pay more than you need to.
Should I Wait to Sell?
It depends. Is it mandatory that you sell right now or could you wait until it’s a seller’s market again?
Consult with an agent to get his opinion about your chances of getting what you need or want for the sale of your home. He just might have some options you may not have considered that will help you get out from under your home and get on with your life.
Don’t be afraid to sell or buy if you think the market isn’t in your favor. The real estate market can be highly varied, so trust your agent to help you get the best possible results, no matter what the market looks like.
Source: CB Blue Matter
First time home buyers…this ones for YOU! Must read!
What are closing costs? What should I know before getting my next loan?
What Are Closing Costs?
Closing costs are fees paid in connection with the refinance or transfer of ownership in real property. They are paid by either the buyer or the seller on the settlement date.
These fees will always vary. What you pay for one refinance or property transfer will not be the same as another. This is due to the different parties involved, different types and locations of property, the financial capacity of a buyer and many more factors.
The law requires lenders to give you a loan estimate within three days of receiving your application. This document sets out what your closing costs will be. These fees, however, are not set in stone and subject to change.
Your lender should provide a closing disclosure statement at least three business days before the closing date. This is a more reliable estimate of your closing costs. Compare it to the loan estimate you’ve received and ask your lender to explain the fees and the reasons for any changes.
What Is Included in Closing Costs?
Your costs will differ depending upon the transaction. Types of costs include:
- Credit report fees (the cost of checking your credit record)
- Loan origination fees (which consists of the cost to your lender for processing your loan)
- Attorney fees
- Inspection fees (for inspections requested by either you or the lender)
- Appraisal fee
- Survey fee (so that both you and the lender know where your property boundaries lie)
- Escrow deposit which may cover private mortgage insurance and some property taxes
- Pest inspection fee
- Recording fee paid to a county or city authority to file a record of the property transfer and/or new mortgage lien against the property
- Underwriting fee to cover the cost of processing a loan application
- Discount points (money you pay your lender to get a lower interest rate)
- Title insurance (protection for you and the lender should there be any issues with title to the property)
- Title search fees (costs incurred by the company who checks the title on the property)
These fees can range anywhere from 2% to 5% of a property’s selling price. It’s smart to get estimates from two or three lenders so that you can take these costs into consideration before making an offer. For the easiest way to compare lenders who may use different terminology to describe their fees, simply ask for a loan estimate from each.
Can I Negotiate These Costs?
Some fees, such as document, processing, service, underwriting and courier charges are open to negotiation. However, third party fees such as an appraisal or survey, are not.
If you’re worried about how much you’ll need at closing you can find a bank that doesn’t escrow real estate and homeowners insurance. Often, banks will escrow six months of real estate taxes and several months of homeowners insurance premiums. When added to the other closing costs, this can be quite a large sum.
Keep in mind, however, that you will be responsible for paying your homeowners insurance and property taxes when they’re due rather than relying on your lender to pay them for you.
Where allowed by law, you can negotiate with the seller to have them pay some closing costs normally attributed to the buyer.
Can I Add my Closing Costs to the Loan?
Most loan programs will allow for a percentage of the purchase price to go towards closing costs. The easiest way to do this is to ask for a seller credit towards the closing costs.
The seller credit means that the seller will receive a smaller ‘net’ amount at closing, however there is a way to make a seller credit more palatable to the seller. If you can qualify for a higher purchase price – say 2.5% over list – the seller won’t lose any money and you can use the seller credit towards the closing costs.
In this scenario, what you’re doing is financing your closing costs over the life of the loan.
You can also do a lender credit. Like a no-cost refinance, you agree to a higher interest rate so that the lender will pay some of the closing costs. You can potentially get a lender credit of $2,000 to $4,000 – a sizeable amount of fees.
Keep in mind, however, that should you continue paying the same mortgage over the life of the loan, you could end paying more than if you were to pay up front.
What Can I Expect?
Before closing day arrives, contact your agent to confirm that he or she has everything for the transaction to go as smoothly as possible. Pull together any paperwork that you have received and keep it on hand for easy reference on closing day.
Be prepared to take your time reading through all of the closing documents. Make sure you completely understand all of the terms you’re agreeing to. If some of the terms are missing or incomplete, don’t sign until they are resolved to your satisfaction.
Your lender will send money to the closing agent via a wire transfer and may require that you set up a new escrow account with them to pay your property taxes and homeowners insurance together with your monthly mortgage payment.
You should be advised before closing day how much money you’ll need to have for closing, so bring your checkbook with you to cover any necessary escrow and/or closing costs.
Among the many documents you’ll be signing, three of the most important documents will be the:
- Hud-1 Settlement Statement – a document which sets out the costs incurred with your closing.
- Deed of Trust or Mortgage – a document in which you agree to a lien being placed against your property as security for repayment of your loan.
- Promissory Note – a document which can be described as a legal “IOU” which sets out your promise to pay according to the terms of the agreement.
Source: CB Blue Matter