Top 10 Things to Know About Selling Your Home

1. Price it Right: Comparing your property to others on the market similar in neighborhood, size and features will help you understand what “too high” is. An overpriced property will initially attract buyers who are looking for larger and fancier, similar to others falling within THAT price range, not the price range that you should be in.

2. Curb Appeal: As Harlan Hogan said, “You never have a second chance to make a [great] first impression”. Pressure-wash the sidewalks and driveway. Trim the shrubs, touch up paint, fill in dead grass spots, plant some flowers and paint the mailbox. Many sellers would be shocked to know how many buyers have made appointments to see a home, only to pull into the driveway and then refuse to enter.

3. Great Photos: Beautiful, professional, quality photos also go far in helping make a great first impression. With the majority of new buyers searching for properties online, this is a crucial step in the process.

4. Exposure: Your property deserves to be seen! You want to make sure that it is being displayed on all the major listing sites.

5. Clean and Declutter: Get your mind in the zone. You are placing your home on the market and it will sell! Go ahead and remove all the family photos and all the unnecessary personal items from all counters and shelves. Remove crowded furniture. Too much furniture will make rooms seem smaller and will make it difficult for a buyer to envision themselves being able to “squeeze in”. If necessary, hire a local staging expert to help.

6. Pets: Yes, we all love our furry little friends, but cat food, litter boxes or any faint scent of wet dog can kill the sale, period.
Personal true story: Once as a young child I accompanied my real estate broker grandfather to look at a home that he wanted to buy. When we entered the home, my grandfather asked me “Boy, do you know what that smell is?” I replied, “I think it’s cat pee granddaddy”. To which he replied, “No son, that’s the smell of money. No one’s gonna pay much for this house as it sits and I’m about to get a great deal”.

7. Easy to Show: Easy to show means making sure that the home is always ready for action. Remember, you did not just put your home on the market, you are getting ready to move. Keep your mind in the game! And, DO NOT EVER stay in the home when it is being shown. Your presence will make the buyer feel awkward and they will feel a) more rushed, b) less inclined to speak freely.

If you think that you are going to help your agent by speaking directly with buyers, stop right there. First off, the buyers do not want to talk to you. They do not want to meet you. Plus, word gets around. Agents will tell the other agents in their office about you dominating the buyers with conversation. Other agents will avoid showing your home like the plague. Let the agent sell the home. That’s what you hired them for.

8. Fix it: This is no time for half completed fixer-upper projects. It would only reinforce (in the buyers’ minds) that the home needs work. Remember, every buyer enters a home looking for objections. Many buyers are Nervous Nellies. What secret can they uncover that will confirm their suspicions that this is not the right home for them?
Everything needs to be fresh and in good working order. Clean the carpets, touch up paint. Clean the switchplate covers on all the light switches and hand marks on doors. Replace the A/C filters. New doorknobs and updated A/C vent covers can make a very positive impression for very little money.

9. Hire the Right Agent: Hire an agent that you feel comfortable with. Get personal and professional references if possible. Your agent should have a great local track record of success. This is no time to hire someone that is trying to learn the business, because it will be at your expense!

10. Upgrades: Consult with a professional, seasoned real estate agent before embarking on large projects to get ready for sale. Many sellers waste money on upgrades that will not actually result in a faster sale or a sale for more money. Your agent can help guide you through the process. They know what buyers in your market are looking for and what those buyers expect in your price range.

http://www.destinfloridarealestate.com/2016/02/3158/

So, what IS with the condo market?

Condo sales are down this year, no question. One of the biggest factors is the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act which, of the 13,789 pages involved, probably can lay claim to about 100 pages of sane legislation.  Dodd-Frank is a law that was designed to criminalize dumb behavior. It makes the mortgage loan processes so unnecessarily burdensome  that lenders are unable and unwilling to make many sound, safe and conservative loans, lest they run afoul of Dodd-Frank. Both Dodd and Frank have of course personally retired.

Many condos along the Gulf Coast (and elsewhere) are classified and non-warrantable. This means that they cannot be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the largest mortgage purchasers in the nation. Loans on non-warrantable condos are therefore much more limited. With today’s super-cheap long-term interest rates, most purchasers wishing to finance their purchases rather than  pay cash will not likely be able to obtain a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. A more likely option is a 5 year balloon.

More financing options means more sales and more appreciation. Dodd-Frank has not been kind to the real estate and mortgage industries. Just another case of typical knee-jerk government reaction and interference.

 

 

 

I have been trying to sell my house for a long time and I’m considering an auction now to try and sell it. Will an auction work for a $250,000 house in town or is it just for beach properties?

Auctions have been woefully unsuccessful in this market, which is why they are so rarely conducted here. Most auction properties that we have seen over the past 5 years have failed to sell at all, because the seller mistakenly believes that they can hold out for top dollar and the buyer mistakenly believes that they can get a huge discount. Two people cannot save the same dollar.

In a strong seller’s market, an auction may actually serve to “run up the price” a little. But otherwise, in a normal market or buyer’s market, expect lower average sales prices, and this, after spending all the upfront money that the seller is required to contribute prior to the sale.  Statistically much better to sell conventionally through an experienced Realtor.

I own my home that is in a flood zone. Are flood insurance issues going to make it difficult to sell now?

At least in terms of the astronomical rate increases that you have been reading about lately, probably not.

The U.S. Senate just passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act which had already been passed by the House this month. Once signed by the President, this Act will negate the majority of the devastating changes that were enacted by the House and Senate last year. More on this at: http://rem.ax/1fXPi7o

For information on this or other real estate topics, please visit www.DestinFloridaRealEstate.com or email us at smith@realtor.com

Are flood insurance premiums still supposed to go up?

Flood insurance (NFIP) premiums have already gone up astronomically in the case of pre-FIRM homes, the result of the Biggert Waters Act. In this area, pre-FIRM generally refers to homes that were built before 1974.  Our elected politicians in D.C. are going through the motions but making little progress in the re-writing of this very bad legislation.
Our salvation may lie in the fact that FEMA failed to follow the rules and did not conduct the required cost studies before enacting. Therefore, a now pending lawsuit in federal court may provide our best option for relief.

As always, please visit us at www.Ed-Terri.com or for questions, email us at smith@realtor.com

 

We want to sell our condo after the rental season ends this year. How far in advance should we put it on the market to sell it by then?

According to local MLS statistics, you will on average, spend six months on the market before a sale is consummated. This assumes that you are priced within normal market parameters.

By contrast, those properties that are overpriced by more than 7 percent tend to stay on the market for an average of 10 months before expiring and dropping off the market altogether.

25 years ago or today, good markets or bad, if you want it sold, price it right!

As always, please visit us at www.Ed-Terri.com or for questions, email us at smith@realtor.com

Ed & Terri Smith, Broker Owners
RE/MAX Coastal Properties
850-837-5500 x1

 

 

Are flood insurance premiums still supposed to go up?

Flood insurance (NFIP) premiums have already gone up astronomically in the case of pre-FIRM homes, the result of the Biggert Waters Act. In this area, pre-FIRM generally refers to homes that were built before 1974.  Our elected politicians in D.C. are going through the motions but making little progress in the re-writing of this very bad legislation.

Our salvation may lie in the fact that FEMA failed to follow the rules and did not conduct the required cost studies before enacting. Therefore, a now pending lawsuit in federal court may provide our best option for relief.

More on this at: http://rem.ax/1fnwewZ

As always, please visit us at www.Ed-Terri.com or for questions, email us at smith@realtor.com

Ed & Terri Smith, Broker Owners
RE/MAX Coastal Properties
850-837-5500 x1

 

Did I miss the opportunity to buy with really cheap interest rates? Are rates going to come back down?

The scaling back of QE is expected to increase mortgage interest rates by 50 basis points over the course of the year. Some believe that the recent increase in rates pre-absorbed that anticipated impact.

However, to put it all in perspective, 2001 marked only the second time in Freddie Mac’s history (1971) that rates averaged below 7%. 2010 marked the first year that rates averaged below 5%. So by comparison, at 4.5%, today’s rates are still very cheap and it is a great time to buy!

As always, please visit us at www.Ed-Terri.com or for questions, email us at smith@realtor.com

 

As an owner, can you really get paid by the banks for short selling your house?

Yes. Many lenders (not all) will pay you, as the homeowner to cooperate in the short sale of your property. This is referred to by the lenders as “relocation assistance”.  This assistance is based on a number of factors, including the loan balance, current value of the property and the loss severity rate. At least one major lender has recently increased their limit on relocation assistance payments to a whopping $45,000!

For more on this topic, visit www.FloridaBrokers.com or email us at smith@realtor.com.

What happens to a rental property that I own after my bankruptcy?

After your bankruptcy/debt is discharged, you are still the owner of record. Liability associated with the property typically resumes at that point.  After discharge, the bank may choose to file a foreclosure action or they may prefer to entertain a short sale proposal from you.

Some lenders will choose to actually pay you at closing for cooperating with a short sale after bankruptcy. In one such instance, our client received a check for $20,000. You should of course consult with your attorney before pursuing any post-bankruptcy real property action.

As always, please visit us at www.Ed-Terri.com or for questions, email us at smith@realtor.com

Ed & Terri Smith, Broker Owners
RE/MAX Coastal Properties
850-837-5500 x1