Selling Your Home - Common Q&A About Selling Your Home
Should I add on or buy a bigger home?
Consider these questions before making a choice between adding on to an existing home or moving up in the market to a bigger house:
- How much money is available, either from cash reserves or through a home improvement loan, to remodel the current house?
- How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a second floor or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level?
- What do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
- How much equity already exists in the property?
- Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy housing needs?
Ultimately, the decision should be based on individual needs, the extent of work involved and what will add the most value.
What do all of those real estate acronyms in the ads mean?
If you find yourself stumbling over weird acronyms in a real estate listing, don't be alarmed. There is method to the madness of this shorthand (which is mostly adopted by sellers to save money in advertising charges). Here are some abbreviations and the meaning of each, taken from a recent newspaper classified section:
- assum fin: assumable financing
- BR: bedroom
- dk: deck
- DR: dining room
- gar: garage
- gard: garden
- FDR: formal dining room
- frplc, fplc, FP: fireplace
- grmet kit: gourmet kitchen
- HWF, Hdwd: hardwood floors
- In-law potential: potential for a separate apartment. Sometimes, local zoning codes restrict rentals of such units so be sure the conversion is legal first.
- LR: living room
- main lvl: main level
- MBR: master bedroom
- pvt: private
- pwdr rm: powder room or half-bath
- Wow!: better check this one out!
How long do bankruptcies and foreclosures stay on a credit report?
Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on a credit report for 7 to 10 years. Some lenders will consider an borrower earlier if they have reestablished good credit. The circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy can also influence a lender's decision. For example, if you went through a bankruptcy because your employer had financial difficulties, a lender may be more sympathetic. If, however, you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, the lender probably will be less inclined to be flexible.
What are some tips on negotiation?
The more you know about a seller's motivation, the stronger a negotiating position you are in. For example, seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Other so-called "motivated sellers" include people going through a divorce or who have already purchased another home. Remember, that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller's asking price stacks up.
discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be
presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating
Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?
Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.
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. Replace leaky faucets and frayed cords.
- Eliminate the source of any bad smells, such as the kitty box. Use air freshener or bake a batch of cookies before your open house to ensure that the house smells inviting.
- Invest in a couple of vases of fresh flowers to place around the house.