Our Real Estate Blog
If you add your house to the real estate market but fail to garner buyers' attention, now may be a good time to revamp your home pricing strategy. Otherwise, your home may remain on the housing market for many weeks or months before it finally sells.
Generally, there are several factors you need to consider to determine if you have priced your residence appropriately. These factors include:
1. The Current State of the Housing Market
The demand for houses in your city or town may have far-flung effects on your property selling experience. For example, if there is significant demand for houses in your area, the real estate sector favors sellers. Or, if there is minimal demand for homes in your city or town, the real estate market favors buyers. And if you do not price your house appropriately in a seller's or buyer's market, you may struggle to stir up interest in your home.
It often helps to price your house based on the current state of the real estate market. By doing so, you can establish an initial asking price for your home that falls in line with buyers' expectations.
To assess the current state of the housing market, evaluate the prices of recently sold residences in your city or town. You should find out how long these houses were available before they sold, too. Once you have this housing market data in hand, you can determine whether a seller's or buyer's market is in place and price your house accordingly.
2. Your Home's Age and Condition
The price you originally paid for your home is unlikely to match your house's current value. Fortunately, if you evaluate your residence's age and condition, you may be better equipped than ever before to set a competitive initial asking price for your home.
Sometimes, it helps to conduct a home appraisal before you list a residence. An appraisal enables you to receive a property valuation that accounts for your house's age and condition, along with various real estate market factors. Then, you can use this valuation to determine the optimal initial asking price for your house.
3. Your Home Selling Timeline
If you are in a hurry to sell your home, you should establish an initial asking price that will grab buyers' attention. On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient during the home selling journey, you should not settle for a subpar offer to purchase your house.
When it comes to establishing a home selling timeline and determining how to price your residence, hiring a real estate agent may be beneficial. A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. As such, he or she will work with you to ensure you can price your home competitively.
For those who want to streamline the home selling journey, it typically helps to start with a competitive initial asking price for your house. If you consider the aforementioned factors, you can boost the likelihood of pricing your home appropriately from day one of the house selling journey.
As the workforce changes and a growing number of companies seek out contractors and freelancers, many Americans find themselves in a gray area when it comes to their income. They may put in full-time hours, but on their taxes they work for themselves.
Mortgage lenders are cautious about who they lend to. They want to make sure you are a low-risk investment who has reliable, predictable income to ensure that they’ll earn money off of your loan.
This can sometimes make it difficult for freelancers, contract workers, or the self-employed. Not only might your taxes be unconventional, but your income could vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of business you receive.
It’s easy to see why many people would be anxious about applying for a mortgage under these circumstances. However, if you’re self-employed, there’s no need to worry. You can still get approved for a mortgage at a fair interest rate--you just need to do a bit of work to provide the right documents to your lender.
In this article, we’ll show you what documents and proof of income you’ll likely need and how to present it to a lender to make the process run as smoothly as possible to get you approved for your mortgage. Here’s what you need to do.
Organize your records
Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to take a look at your record-keeping process. As a self-employed worker, you’re probably already used to tracking your own income. However, this will help the lender analyze your income easier and move the process along more quickly.
Having a master spreadsheet of your dated invoices, paid amounts, and the names of your clients is a good place to start. You’ll also want detailed, easy to read information for your previous employers, landlords, references, and any other information you think will be pertinent.
Next, gather your tax documents for the last three to five years. As a self-employed worker, you likely file a Schedule C (Form 1040) and a Schedule SE. Make sure you have copies of these forms.
Dealing with deductions
Many self-employed workers write off business expenses in their tax returns. Travel expenses, internet, and other costs associated with doing business are all ways to save by reducing your taxable income. Doing so can save you money, but it can also reduce your net income which is what lenders will see when you provide them with your information.
If you’re hoping to get approved for a bigger loan, one solution is to plan your taxes in the year prior to applying for a mortgage. Make fewer deductions than you normally would to increase your net income.
Be ready to clarify
When a mortgage lender is reviewing your information, make sure you are open and available to provide any information that can be helpful to them in considering your application. Being prompt and accurate with your responses will signal to your lender that you are willing to work with them.
Getting your house ready to be sold can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Like any large project, though, if you take it one step at a time, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!
The ideal scenario involves having everyone in the family pitch in to keep your house looking its best for each showing. When you divide the labor and work as a team, things get done a lot faster and more efficiently.
Keeping your lawn mowed, bushes trimmed, and house clean on a consistent basis are among the many challenges of always being ready for the next showing. Another common necessity involves applying a fresh coat of paint to walls and other surfaces. That relatively inexpensive step can help make your home look dramatically brighter, vibrant, and more appealing to prospective buyers.
One thing to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market is that you (the owner) are probably "too close to the trees to see the forest." In other words, you may be overly accustomed to the appearance, the imperfections, and the décor of your home to be able to identify what needs to be upgraded, fixed, or changed. An experienced real estate agent can help you develop a cost-effective plan for staging your home, enhancing curb appeal, and making necessary improvements to maximize your home's appeal and marketability.
There are dozens of inexpensive things you can do that often have a major impact on the impression you make on potential buyers. Having your carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies professionally steam-cleaned, for example, can make a world of difference! So can adding a few colorful flower arrangements, inside and out. Lots of light -- both natural and artificial -- also helps make your home look more cheerful and inviting. Keeping your windows crystal clear is another way to make a positive impression, as well as cleaning out your closets to avoid a cluttered, unkempt look.
A few other critical things homeowners sometimes forget to do is clean up dog droppings in the yard, fix squeaky hinges, and remove visible mouse traps from the basement and garage -- especially if there are mice in them! The cleanliness of your cat's litter box is another major priority that can easily be overlooked.
Even the most meticulous, conscientious home sellers can forget to clean, prepare, or organize important things before potential house buyers come to visit, so it's useful to create checklists and routines to get ready for scheduled house showings.
While some homes pose more of a challenge than others when it comes to getting ready for real estate showings, the goal is to make the most of what you have, and do so within your available budget and timeframe.
You are required to get homeowners insurance when you purchase a home. You probably are so excited about buying a home that you neglect to learn the ins and outs of your policy. Unfortunately, there are many things that insurance won’t cover, yet many homeowners think that they are covered under their home insurance policy. Below, you’ll find some things that are often not covered by your home insurance, even though you might think they are.
While your home insurance will cover damage from water in your home (different than flood insurance), the policy probably won’t cover what it takes to fix broken pipes. Your best bet in this area is prevention. You should be sure that your pipes are insulated properly and that there is adequate airflow around the pipes in your cabinets.
If an earthquake hits, you’re out of luck when it comes to your homeowners insurance policy. You typically need a separate policy to get earthquake coverage. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, you’ll need to inquire about specific policies to protect your home from this type of natural disaster.
You’ll also need a separate policy in the event of a flood. Homeowner’s policies do not cover damage or losses caused by flooding. You can get optional coverage and this is highly recommended, especially if you live near a body of water or in an area that’s prone to flooding.
A Sewer Backup
If a sewer backs up, you’ll face some serious damage in your home. Unfortunately, your homeowners policy will not cover this type of damage. The repairs can be hefty. If you wish, you can always add this type of coverage to your policy.
Only Portions Of Disasters May Be Covered
If a hurricane hits, any damage that has been caused by the wind will be covered by your home insurance policy. If you face flooding, however, and do not have a flood insurance policy, you’ll be out of luck. Without extra coverage, some natural disasters can be a special disaster for you and your wallet.
Keep Up The Maintenance On Your Home
It’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered by your home insurance policy. When you know how to prepare for different situations, it will make caring for and maintaining your home and your financial future a lot easier. If you prepare accordingly for natural disasters as directed, and perform proper maintenance on your home, your insurance policy should act in the best interest for you. If you happen to live in an area where you are prone to natural disasters, make sure you get the appropriate additional coverage that you’ll need to protect you.
Are you shopping for art for just the right piece to complete your décor? You'll find a plethora of art at vintage stores and antique malls. Some stalls cater specifically to old paintings, maps, or empty frames, so take a peak in all the kiosks and booths. But know what you're looking at before you go.
Paintings versus prints
It's easy to mistake a print for a painting when it is in an old frame and sold as antique or vintage. Don't misunderstand, a print, especially one known as a hand lithograph, can be quite valuable, and certainly be the perfect choice for your décor, but it's best to know the difference. Paintings have discernable brushstrokes while print reproductions have very tiny dots. Take a good look, up close and personal. The value in the painted art is that it is original. The value in hand lithographs is the work and detail involved.
Lithographs typically come numbered and not mass-produced. Prints, on the other hand, when mechanically reproduced are less valuable than a lithograph with their evenly spaced dots and uniform color. But a print is still worth purchasing if it fits your décor, just know before you overpay for it.
What if it’s cracked?
Old paint cracks. That's part of its charm and value. The fine web-like cracks have a particular name: craquelure. In no way does craquelure indicate that there is something wrong with your painting. It often denotes your pieces is likely authentic and sought after by collectors.
Should I reframe it?
Original frames and the nails used to hold the painting in the frame and hold the frame together often contain vital information that dates the piece. If the wood has aged or the metal patinaed, that indicates the frame might be older. Often, framers placed a mark, label, or stamp on their work too, so if your frame or backing has such a mark, it might reveal, with a little internet sleuthing, the frame’s age.
What if there isn’t a frame?
While it’s nice to find the perfect piece in the original frame, some art makes its way to vintage shops because of a damaged or broken frame. Don’t be afraid to put an older print in a modern frame for an eclectic look.
Is it authentic?
When shopping at an antique mall or store, try to learn as much about the art as possible. The dealer might have information on where it came from, or how old it is. It may have come as part of an estate sale and could even have accompanying documentation to prove its age and ownership.
If you have the art, but no place to hang it, your real estate professional will happily help you find just the right place to showcase your collection.