Category Archives: For Sellers

How to Get an Offer on Your Home

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Filed under For Sellers

1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.

2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.

3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.

4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.

5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.

Source: Realtor Magazine

12 Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

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Filed under For Buyers, For Sellers

1. Get at least three written estimates.

2. Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.

3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.

4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.

5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.

6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.

7. Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.

8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved too.

9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or regulations.

10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.

11. Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.

12. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.

Source: Realtro Magazine

Open House Safety Tips

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Filed under For Sellers

An open house can be a great sales tool, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time. Stay safe by practicing these guidelines.

•Call the local police department and ask them to have a squad care drive by during your open-house hours.
•Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial. Carry an extra, fully charged cell phone battery.
•Determine several “escape” routes that you can use in case of an emergency. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
•Turn on the lights and open the curtains. These are not only sound safety procedures, but also great marketing tactics.
•Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
•When prospective buyers begin to arrive, jot down their car descriptions, license numbers and physical descriptions.
•When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
•Notify a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to notify the police immediately.
•Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.

Source: National Association of REALTORS® Safety Week

Understanding Capital Gains in Real Estate

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Filed under For Sellers

When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on your gain — the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for. The same holds true when selling a home (or a second home), but there are some special considerations.

How to Calculate Gain

In real estate, capital gains are based not on what you paid for the home, but on its adjusted cost basis. To calculate, follow these steps:

1. Purchase price: _______________________

The purchase price of the home is the sale price, not the amount of money you actually contributed at closing.

2. Total adjustments: _______________________

To calculate this, add the following:
• Cost of the purchase — including transfer fees, attorney fees, and inspections, but not points you paid on your mortgage.
• Cost of sale — including inspections, attorney fees, real estate commission, and money you spent to fix up your home just prior to sale.
• Cost of improvements — including room additions, deck, etc. Note here that improvements do not include repairing or replacing something already there, such as putting on a new roof or buying a new furnace.

3. Your home’s adjusted cost basis: _______________________

The total of your purchase price and adjustments is the adjusted cost basis of your home.

4. Your capital gain: _______________________

Subtract the adjusted cost basis from the amount your home sells for to get your capital gain.

A Special Real Estate Exemption for Capital Gains

Since 1997, up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for a married couple) on the sale of a home is exempt from taxation if you meet the following criteria:

• You have lived in the home as your principal residence for two out of the last five years.

• You have not sold or exchanged another home during the two years preceding the sale.

• You meet what the IRS calls “unforeseen circumstances,” such as job loss, divorce, or family medical emergency.

Source: Realtor Magezine

What are Pre-foreclosure, Short Sale and REO?

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Filed under For Buyers, For Investors, For Sellers

Pre-foreclosure just as its name suggests, it is the time before Foreclosure. It happens when owners fail to pay the loan principal and interest on schedule and the lender has been issued a Foreclosure notice. How long it takes to Foreclosure Auctions is determined by each state’s Foreclosure laws. As long as the owner pay all unpaid loan principal and interest before the auction (in accordance with the amount of the loan contract expired, not all the principal) and they can cancel the Pre-foreclosure. Under this situation the total debt plus the owners sell costs (taxes and commissions and other expenses) it can be lower or higher than market prices. If the total debt plus the cost to sell is higher than the market price, it must get the lender’s approval to sell (because the total sale price was not sufficient to pay the bank loan). This is the Short sale process; if the total debt plus the cost to sell at below market price, the buyer don’t need to get the bank’s approval and can deal directly with the owner. Why is this good for buyer?  Because the property owners will get into the foreclosure process later, so the buyers may buy the house at below-market prices. This pure form of Pre-foreclosure situation are relatively more common in previous years rather than Short Sale, but now more and more cases need to go to Short sale situation.

Short sale is as described above, the owner owed the bank more money than the property market prices. In order to sell the property, the property owners must get approval through the bank. Let us repeat the concept: Short sale is a Pre-foreclosure status. However, Pre-foreclosure does not necessarily have to enter into short sale. Because there is still one condition that the owner’s total debt are still below the market price of the house. Only the original owner could not afford or ignore to pay overdue interest and principal of the loans, they were issued a Foreclosure notice. That is why the Pre-foreclosure may be a short sale, or may not be a short sale.
 
Foreclosure Usually we are talking about Foreclosure refers to Foreclosure auction. Not mean before Foreclosure auction nor after the Foreclosure Auction. These Foreclosure auction are required buyers carry the full amount of the cashier check to attend the auction. Those who do not need to take full of cash to the auction are not Foreclosure auction, they are only variety of real estate auctions.
 
REO (also known as Bank Owned) The situation occurred after the lender’s foreclosure auction and no one bought the property at the auction for whatever reason, the banks then release the property back to the market (MLS). Because the bank is not a real estate investor, so the bank aims to sell the properties. However, how much the banks are willing to reduce the price it’s depends on the local market (e.g. how many REO properties on the market), the number of REOs bank hold and bank’s own financial position etc.

Does Moving Up Make Sense?

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Filed under For Buyers, For Sellers

These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.

1. Have you built substantial equity in your current home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving. 

3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district. 

4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.

6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.

Are you looking to sell within the next 45 days and you want to know where your home fits in with todays market? Call or email me for a FREE market evaluation for an estimate of what your home is worth today!

Source: Realtor Magazine

5 Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market

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Filed under For Sellers

1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.

2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

3. Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.

4. Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.

5. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?

Are you looking to sell within the next 45 days and you want to know where your home fits in with todays market? Call or email me for a FREE market evaluation for an estimate of what your home is worth today!

Source: Realtor Magazine

Arcadia, CA Market Update for January 2010

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Filed under For Sellers

There were total of 27 houses listed for sale in Arcadia for the month of January 2010. The listed prices were from $338,000.00 to $$4,388,000.00. In the month of January 2010, Arcadia sold total of 26 houses. The sold prices were from $392,000.00 to $2,050,000.00, total number of days in market were from 3 days to 137 days. And there are no pending sales in January. Are you looking to sell within the next 45 days and you want to know where your home fits in with all of this statistics? Please call me (626) 215-2671 for an estimate of what your home is worth today.