Business Insider asked real-estate agents around the country about what it’s really like working in the industry, what they wish they could tell their clients, and the biggest mistakes people make when trying to sell their homes. Almost every single agent the publication talked to said the biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their home.Other common mistakes include not decluttering the home before listing and failing to realize that some furnishings are too taste-specific to appeal to most buyers. Here are nine of the biggest mistakes people can make when trying to sell their home, according to real-estate agents.
FROM BUSINESS INSIDER: If you’re looking to sell your home, you probably want to do everything you can to sell it at the best price possible.
Business Insider asked real-estate agents about the easiest ways to increase a home’s value. Several of them said getting rid of clutter is the easiest way to spruce up your home, while others advised upgrading your light fixtures, removing rugs and carpeting, and replacing your bedding with a simple white duvet.
Here are 13 easy things you can do that will increase the value of your home, according to real-estate agents.
Several real-estate agents said getting rid of clutter is the easiest way to spruce up your home
“The simplest and least expensive thing that you can do is rid your home of clutter,” Deborah Ribner of Warburg Realty told Business Insider. “A buyer needs to be able to envision their things in your home, and when a home is too cluttered … it’s hard for them to do that. Think bare minimum.”
Ribner recommends clearing off bookshelves, coffee tables, kitchen counters, and dishes and beds for pets. You should “think of your home as being as much of a blank canvas for buyers,” she said.
Rachel Lustbader of Warburg Realty suggested getting rid of old, worn furniture as well.
“Buyers want to see the future in their new home, not the past,” she said.
2. Put away family photos.
Several agents recommended putting away your family photos when you’re trying to sell your house.
“Remove all family photos, children’s artwork on the refrigerator, and declutter,” Julie Brannan of Compass said. “You want them to superimpose their own circumstances on the home, not look at yours.”
3. Switch out your cabinets and appliances instead of redoing the whole kitchen.
“If your kitchen is dated and appliances are worn out but you don’t want to redo the whole kitchen, consider a cabinet refacing and change out the appliances,” Christopher Totaro of Warburg Realty told Business Insider. “It’s a plug-and-play upgrade. It’s as easy as calling your local home-center to schedule a consultation.”
He added that it’s possible to add a new countertop without replacing the cabinets.
4. Deep clean your home.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but making every nook and cranny of your home sparkle can work wonders, according to Robin Kencel of Compass.
“The number one game changer that costs nothing but a seller’s time and elbow grease is a top–to-bottom clean-out of closets, pantries, playrooms and other rooms that tend towards accumulation,” Kencel told Business Insider. “You are selling space — be sure the buyer doesn’t have to work too hard to find it.”
5. Upgrade your light fixtures.
Eric Mendelsohn of Warburg Realty told Business Insider that upgrading your home’s lighting will “reveal the best features and unique assets.”
“If you don’t have it in your budget to upgrade or renovate your bathrooms, then at least make some little improvements like updating hardware, changing light switch plates around light switches and around outlets and even think about changing out those old yellow-light emitting bulbs for some brighter and cooler ones,” she said.
6. Add a fresh coat of paint.
“A fresh coat of paint makes a home feel like new, even when it isn’t,” Ribner said. “When a buyer sees paint chipping, and cracks in the paint, it can be a turn off to a potential buyer as well as an invitation to look for other imperfections. Also, 10 years ago, the color yellow might have been all the rage but now when a buyer sees a yellow living room, it screams out that it’s dated.”
Domingo Perez Jr. of Warburg Realty recommends a two-tone effect, “where the ceiling, crown moldings and a few inches below are all white and the remaining walls a shade darker. The effect screams ‘rich,’” he said.
7. Get rid of rugs and shine up your floors.
“Remove those area rugs and treat your floors to a sand, stain, and buff job,” Perez Jr. said. “Your floors will look new and the comments you’ll get will be worth every penny.”
8. Swap out your door hinges.
“Everyone has contractor-grade doors and stainless steel hinges,” said Perez Jr. of Warburg Realty. “Set your house apart by installing solid wood doors and splurge on decorative hinges. They are like adding cufflinks to a shirt, everyone notices!”
9. In the bathroom, replace your toilet seat and touch up the grout.
”In the bathroom, a fresh toilet seat and repairing the grout in the tiles, floors, and tubs are relatively easy upgrades,” Mendelsohn said.
10. Spruce up the outside of your home.
”Make your home look pretty from the street — power wash your deck or your front porch and even the sidewalk in front of your home,” Ribner said. “Think about planting a few pretty colorful flowers outside around the front door. And don’t forget when you do that interior paint job to put a fresh coat on the outside of your door.”
11. Switch out your bedding for a simple white duvet.
”For your bedroom(s), for under $100 on Amazon, you can buy yourself a crisp white set of sheets and duvet or comforter,” Ribner said. “You may love your floral bed cover with the doves on it but there’s a good chance that whoever comes through your home to buy it will not. Rule of thumb, the simpler the better.”
12. Replace your kitchen counters.
One of the cheapest ways to increase your home’s value is by changing the kitchen countertops, Joshua Sloyer of Compass told Business Insider.
“There are many fabricators out there that can come in and put a white or light gray to give a more modern feel,” Sloyer said. “White countertops and glass backsplash make a big difference! Bonus: This is a great tip because these contractors are licensed and insured and typically do the same procedure day in and day out.”
13. Focus on your kitchen and bathroom.
“Kitchens and baths sell homes,” Perez Jr. said. “So if you’re up for a renovation, the return on this investment is high.
WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED IN BUSINESS INSIDER
Offering over asking price on a house often makes buyers wince. But let’s face it, paying above list price is just a reality in certain circumstances—at least if you really have any hopes of getting that house. ( From Realtor.com)
So when exactly should you aim high and offer over asking? Check for these signs below that suggest this pricey move is essential.
1. It’s a seller’s market
A seller’s market is when there are more home buyers than sellers—meaning demand outpaces the supply of homes for sale. As a result, home buyers in a seller’s market face a tough challenge: Due to increased competition, they often have to act fast and bid high to woo sellers into accepting their offer, says Seth Lejeune, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway in Malvern, PA.
Looking at a couple of key factors can help you determine whether you’re in a seller’s market, Lejeune says, starting with the average days on market.
A good rule of thumb: “If houses are selling in your neighborhood in less than 10 days, it’s a strong seller’s market,” Lejeune says. You can find what the average days on market is in your city using realtor.com’s Local Market Trends tool.
You’ll also want to evaluate what homes are selling for compared with their list price. In a strong seller’s market, Lejeune says, the final sales price is typically at least 10% higher than the asking price. (Your real estate agent can pull this data for you.)
2. You know, for a fact, you’re going up against other offers
Bidding wars can erupt, even in a buyer’s market—sometimes all it takes is an aggressively priced home, which is why it’s important to find out whether there are other bids on a property before you make an offer. So go ahead and ask (or have your real estate agent ask on you behalf); generally it’s in their interests to say if other offers are on the table since it might spur you to act fast.
3. The house is blatantly underpriced
Some sellers decide to list their home well below the property’s fair market value in an effort to spark a bidding war. In that instance, it may make sense for you to offer over asking price in order for your bid to outshine other offers.
To figure out if a house is underpriced, you and your agent should assess recently sold homes in the area (also known as comparables, or “comps”). This will give you a baseline that you can use to calculate a home’s true market value, which you can use as a benchmark when pricing your offer.
4. You’re competing with cash buyers
Home sellers swoon over all-cash offers for one simple reason: It means there’s no doubt that you’ve got the coin to close the deal. Consequently, all-cash home buyers have a distinct advantage over those who need a mortgage, because there’s no guarantee that lenders will fork over the money.
Cash offers made up 29% of single-family home and condo sales in 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. So, if you know you’re competing against one, making a bid that’s over a home’s list price could persuade the seller to accept your offer.
5. The seller isn’t motivated
Some home sellers have to unload their house as quickly as possible, say, due to an imminent relocation for a new job or a need to raise cash to purchase their next home. Other sellers, though, aren’t quite as motivated—and they may just be listing their house to “test the market” and see what sized offer they can get, which is why it’s important to ascertain what the seller’s motivations are, says Diana George, founder of Vault Realty Group, in Oakland, CA.
“I always call the real estate listing agent and speak to them directly to get a better understanding as to what’s driving the seller,” George says.
If you find yourself dealing with an unmotivated seller, offering above the home’s list price could make the seller bite. The caveat, of course, is you don’t want to offer so much above asking price to the point where you significantly overpay for the home.
6. You absolutely adore the home—and can’t risk losing it
Sometimes buyers simply fall head over feels for a house, says Chris Dossman, a real estate agent with Century 21 Scheetz in Indianapolis. If you find a house and feel your heart would be broken if you lose it, offering over asking price can help you lock down the property, Dossman says.
7. You can afford to pay over asking price
One word of warning: If you’re obtaining a mortgage, be aware that if you pay way over what a home is really worth, the home still has to pass appraisal in order for your lender to provide you with the loan that you need. Any difference between a home’s appraised value and your contract price would have to come out of your pocket. As always, you’ll want to rely on your real estate agent to help you craft a winning offer you can afford.
Purchasing a home will most likely be one of the costliest endeavors of a buyer’s life. It can also be emotional, unnerving and bewilderingly complex. However, Identifying and avoiding expensive mistakes can help smooth the experience. Here are some of the most expensive mistakes home buyers make and some tips for how to avoid them in preparation for the search, purchase and transaction process.
(From MSN.COM/Money- Real Estate)
Failing to Negotiate the Sales Price
First-time home buyers often worry about insulting the seller by offering less than the asking price. This can be a costly mistake because most sellers are prepared to come down on their price. Your buyer’s agent can counsel you on an appropriate bid based on how long the house has been on the market and the recent sales prices of similar homes, but the final decision is up to you. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Not Cleaning Up Bad Credit
Life happens—perhaps you were out of work for a while and made a couple of car payments late, or you misplaced the occasional credit card bill. Unfortunately, it takes only a few late payments to negatively affect your credit score, and if you have less-than-stellar credit, you’ll end up paying more in interest on a home loan. Before you start house-hunting, obtain a free copy of your credit report and work toward raising your credit score. Many communities offer free credit counseling to help you clean up your credit.
Buying a Fixer-Upper
If you’re a fan of home improvement shows, you may think you’re ready to tackle a fixer-upper. But before you sign on the dotted line, there’s something you should know. Many communities require licensed professionals to upgrade wiring, plumbing, and roofing. Even if you’re allowed to do the work yourself, it will have to meet local building codes. So, if you’re not 100 percent confident in your building skills, you may end up having to hire subcontractors, and this will add substantially to the cost of a house that needs a lot of work.
Buying “As Is” Without Inspections
You’ve undoubtedly seen houses listed “as is,” but those two words should send up a red flag. When a seller lists a property “as is,” it means the seller will not warranty any defects in the house. What you see is what you get with these houses. Before making an offer on an “as is” house, pay to have the home professionally inspected. It will cost around $400, depending on the size of the house and the complexity of the inspection, but what you learn about the condition of the home will save you from getting stuck with unexpected, expensive repair costs.
Getting the Wrong Loan
Unless you’re buying a house to flip, don’t be lured by the promise of the low monthly mortgage payments that come with an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). An ARM offers low payments for a year or so, but after that the payments can increase along with increases in the national prime lending rate. If the Fed raises interest rates, you could end up with monthly payments so high you’re forced to sell. Get a fixed-rate mortgage from the start, and you’ll always have the same monthly payment.
Not Working with a Buyer’s Agent
If you’re like many potential home buyers, you scan the listings of available homes in your area, choose one you like, and then call the agent who’s listed on the ad. Big mistake. This agent is the seller’s agent and is legally bound to represent the seller’s interests, not yours. To protect your financial interests, you need a real estate agent who represents buyers—a buyer’s agent. Once you contract with one, she’ll handle all communications with other agents, show you through homes, and work on your behalf
Having a Change of Heart
When you make an offer on a house, you put down earnest money as a show of good faith. The amount of money is up to you, but it’s typically well over $1,000. If the deal falls through because you couldn’t obtain financing or because an expensive problem was uncovered during an inspection, you’ll get your money back. If you back out of the deal because you found a better house, however, you’ll lose your earnest money. It pays to be very sure before you make an offer.
Overestimating Your Budget
It’s always a good idea to get preapproved for a loan before you start house-hunting. That way you’ll know exactly how much you can spend. But being approved up to a certain amount doesn’t mean you should spend that amount. Owning a house involves a lot of unforeseen costs, such as utility costs, homeowners association fees, maintenance and repair costs, property taxes, and more. Once you factor in all those costs, buying a house at the top of your preapproval rate could strain your finances
Buying a House on Emotion
If the house with a white picket fence and cottage-style shutters brings back fond memories of your childhood visits to grandma’s, it can be difficult to see past its curb appeal. Buying on emotions can be a costly mistake if the house doesn’t meet your real-life needs. Your best bet is to make a list of all the things you need in a house and then eliminate any houses that don’t meet those needs, no matter what nostalgic or joyful feelings they may stir up.
Making a Small Down Payment
In the long run, you’ll pay a lot more for a house if you put down a tiny down payment. Your lender may accept as little as 3 percent of the cost of the home as a down payment, but if your down payment is less than 20 percent, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), and you could also get stuck with a higher interest rate. Combined, the two could add thousands of dollars to your annual mortgage costs. If possible, save up so you can put 20 percent down when it comes time to buy.
Talking to Only One Lender
Don’t assume that all lenders are offering the same interest rates and terms on home loans. Before working with any lender, it’s a good idea to visit at least three and ask about their rates, fees, and terms. Request an estimated amortization schedule from each and then compare the numbers. Over the course of a home loan, you could save thousands just by choosing the right lender.
Skipping the Walk-Through
The inspection is over, your financing is in place, and you’re getting ready to close on your new house. A few hours or a day before the closing, you’ll have the option of taking one last walk-through before you finalize the deal and get the keys to the house. Don’t skip the opportunity. At this point, the house is usually vacant so it’s easier to spot problems, and it’s your last chance to see if anything’s wrong. Switch all the lights on and off, check the appliances, look under the sinks for leaks—make the most of the walk-through, because once you close, you, not the seller, are responsible for repairs.
WRITTEN BY GLENDA TAYLOR FOR MSN.COM/Money
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) returns to Los Angeles this week when some of the best players in women’s golf descend on the Wilshire Country Club, WCC. (ARTICLE COURTESY OF THE LARCHMONT CHRONICLE)
The second annual “Hugel-Air Premia LA Open” will be held April 24 to 28, and it will feature 144 players competing over 72 holes for a share of the $1.5 million purse.
At a March 18 press event, hosted at the WCC, tournament director David Tucker told guests that he is looking forward to building on the success of last year’s event. “Our field of players will not be finalized until the week prior to our event, but today we are excited to share our current list of early commitments,” said Tucker. Highlights include 91 of the top 100 players on the LPGA’s money list, and 14 of the last 15 major winners, including Ariya Jutanugarn, Danielle Kang, Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko and Anna Nordqvist.
Photo Courtesy of The Associated Press
Reflecting on the success of last year’s tournament, WCC President Patrick O’Grady said that he thought it “was a really good experience, one that our membership would love to re-create” at the April tournament.
During a panel discussion, O’Grady confirmed that the WCC has recently agreed to host the LPGA for an additional five years.
Student design contest
Four students from Hancock Park’s Third Street Elementary School have been tapped as winners of a ticket design contest for the tournament. The winning artwork created by each student will appear on the tournament’s daily grounds passes.
“Last month, students received a blank sheet of paper with a box and the LPGA logo, and using colored pencils, crayons and markers were asked to bring the spirit of the LPGA to life on paper,” explained Tucker.
As an award, students Caitlyn Lee, Samara McCarthy, Basia Carroll and Emily Oh received special replica plaques of their designs.
Want to witness all the action in person? Tickets are still available. In addition to daily and weekly grounds passes ($25-$40 daily; $99 weekly), this year’s ticket packages include two new options for fans interested in taking their LPGA experience to the next level: The Macbeth Pass ($1,500) and the Notorious Pink Lounge ($125 daily; $350 weekly). Spectator parking will be at a remote location in Hollywood, with free shuttles running before, during and after tee times. Find more details at la-open.com.
The tournament, sponsored by Hugel, a South Korean-based maker of Botox, and Air Premia, will be televised live on the Golf Channel.
Written By Billy Taylor For Larchmont Chronicle: www.larchmontchronicle.com