|How do I prepare the house for sale?
First and foremost, put it in the best condition possible, especially if you are in a market with few buyers
and lots of homes for sale. That means taking care of any major repairs that could deter a buyer (such as
replacing any broken windows or replacing a leaky roof) if you can afford it. Next, work on your home's curb
appeal. Make sure your landscape is pristine. Mow the grass, clean up any debris and weed the garden
beds. Plant a few annual flowers near the entrance or in pots to be placed by the door. Other quick fixes
that don't cost a lot of money but can help you get top dollar for your home:
* Clean the windows and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking.
* Be sure that the doorbell works.
* Clean and freshen up rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings.
* Make sure that bathrooms and kitchens are spotless.
* Organize closets.
* Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work.
* Get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords.
* Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking...etc
* Hide the kitty litter.
* Put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house.
* Prepare any information about the house you have prepared for buyers..
* Having pleasant background music playing in the background.
|What repairs should the seller make?
If you want to get top dollar for your property, you probably need to make all minor repairs and selected
major repairs before going on the market. Nearly all purchase contracts include an inspection clause, a
buyer contingency that allows a buyer to back out if numerous defects are found or negotiate their repair.
The trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs, especially if there are few houses on the market but many
buyers willing to buy at almost any price. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the only way to
sell your house in a down market.
|How is the price set?
It's very important to price your home according to current market conditions. Because the real estate
market is continually changing, and market fluctuations have an effect on property values, it's imperative to
select your list price based on the most recent comparable sales in your neighborhood.
A so-called comparative market analysis provides the background data upon which to base your list-price
decision. When you prepare to sell and are interviewing agents, study each agent's comparable sales
report (the data should be no more than three months old).
If all agents agree on a price range for your home, go with the consensus. Watch out for an agent whose
opinion of value is considerably higher than the others.
|Can a home seller sell a home for less than its mortgage?
Yes, in some case you can sell your home for less than what you still owe on the mortgage. But it is
complicated and depends on the lender. This situation is known as a "short sale." Sometimes a lender will
be willing to split the difference between the sale price and loan amount, which still must be paid.
A short sale may be more complicated if the loan has been sold to the secondary market because then the
lender will have to get permission from Freddie Mac, the two major secondary-market players.
If the loan was a low down payment mortgage with private mortgage insurance, then the lender also must
involve the mortgage insurance company that insured the low-down loan.
What is seller financing?
Seller financing is when a seller helps to finance a real estate transaction by taking back a second note or
even financing the entire purchase if the seller owns the home free and clear. Usually sellers do this when
a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price.
Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not give the buyer cash to complete
the purchase, as does a lender. Instead, it involves extending a credit against the purchase price of the
home while the buyer executes a promissory note and trust deed in the seller's favor. These special
circumstances must be acceptable to the lender who makes the first mortgage on the property.
The necessary paperwork is prepared by the title or escrow company after the terms are worked out
between the buyer and seller.
If you are a seller considering such an arrangement, it is critical to thoroughly evaluate the creditworthiness
of the buyer first. Fear of default makes many sellers reluctant to take back a second. But seller financing
can bring a higher price plus complete the sale sooner in some situations. For more information, contact the
Internal Revenue Service for a copy of its Publication 537, "Installment Sales." Order by calling (800)
What are the benefits of seller financing?
Seller financing offers tax breaks for sellers and alternative financing for buyers who can't qualify for
conventional loans. If you are a seller, the risks you face are the same as those facing any lender: Is the
borrower a good credit risk? Will the property hold enough value over time to allow for the repayment of all
loans made against it?
You should run a full credit check on the borrower, require hazard insurance on the property and include a
due-on-sale clause. There also are financing, disclosure and repayment-term requirements that need to be
met. It is wise to consult a lawyer when putting together this kind of transaction.
How are the rates set for seller financing?
The interest rate on an owner-carried loan is negotiable. Ask your agent to check with a lender or mortgage
broker to determine the current rate on institutional first (or second) loans.
Seller financing typically costs less than conventional financing because sellers don't charge loan fees
(points). Interest rates on an owner-carried loan will also be influenced by current Treasury bill and
certificate of deposit rates. Sellers usually aren't willing to carry a loan for a lower return than they would
earn if their money was invested elsewhere.
|Real Estate Agent
How do I find a real estate agent?
Getting a recommendation from a friend or work colleague is an excellent way to find a good agent. Be sure
to ask if they would use the agent again. You also can call the managers of reputable real estate firms and
ask them for recommendations of agents who have worked in your neighborhood. In any case, whether you
are a buyer or a seller, you should interview at least three agents to give yourself a choice.
A good agent typically works full-time and has several years of experience. If you are a seller, you should
expect to review a comparative market analysis, which includes recent home sale prices in your area, when
you talk to a prospective agent.
Are commissions negotiable?
By law, real estate commissions are negotiable. The pricing of real estate service varies by level of service
and consumer needs.