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Untold Secrets of Buying and Selling Real Estate
Owning a home can truly be satisfying. However, with the financial pressures of today's world, getting good value is crucial. These days I am much savvier about buying and selling homes than I was when we bought our first of eight houses. The knowledge I acquired as a former realtor and veteran corporate mover (seven moves) has provided me with a real world education about the process of finding a house that is a good value and that will resell quickly.
So, If the key isn't the age old "Location, Location, Location, what is it? My real world experience says it is 1) Curb Appeal, 2) Interior Appeal and 3) Price. Sure, if you buy in the most exclusive neighborhood with the best schools you probably won't have a lot of difficulty selling your home, but will you make money and will it sell fast? Maybe, maybe not.
A home's appearance from the street is by far the most important factor. If the house doesn’t draw prospective buyers inside, they'll never get to see your beautiful decor. Of the seven homes we have owned and sold, five were really cute from the street. They all sold quickly and for top dollar. This is the only test that really matters. The two other homes we bought were beautiful on the inside but pretty undistinguished looking from the street. Neither resold well. Don’t make this same mistake.
When it comes to interior appeal, the kitchen & family rooms are far and away the most critical. Also, if numerous prospective buyers complain about a particular element, fix it. We bought a house that had been for sale for over a year. That fact alone put us in a good bargaining position. The house was a Cape Cod outside and had a kitchen with contemporary cabinets. The den and breakfast room were traditional and in the same big space. I had a cabinet-maker make new traditional paneled doors. I painted and hung them with my husband’s help. When our next move came up, we placed an ad in the local paper and sold and closed the house in 60 days without the help of a realtor. I priced the kitchen job with the pros as high as $20,000. We did it for $1,500.
The master suite is next in areas of importance. Choose neutral backgrounds and fixtures. You want a potential buyer to feel “My stuff will look great in here.” Don’t get carried away with window treatments. Floor to ceiling side panels and understated top treatments work well, and you won’t leave a lot of money when you sell your home.
Now, let's talk about price? What makes a house a good value? I like to look for a house that is on the low price end for the area. This may sound obvious but how do you know how prices should run in a specific area? You can get data on houses that have sold near by from the web, the tax office or Multilist. Homes near the home you are considering that have resold in the last sixty days are most relevant. Make adjustments (Add and subtract) for individual differences. If you have a large number of resold homes, a good rule would be to discard the high and low priced homes. Never buy the highest priced house in the neighborhood if you care about resale. Donald Trump made his initial fortune by always buying real estate based on good value or price. He made his money on the front end.
Before you apply for a mortgage, clean up your credit. Credit problems will cost you in higher interest payments every month for the entire term of the loan. My favorite mortgage broker says a buyer can finance over 100% to cover closing costs if the house appraises for the higher amount. You simply raise the price and have the seller give you an equal amount of credit toward closing costs. However, he cautions that if you buy a house that is a fixer upper or one that needs work to give it street appeal, it may be years before you can afford to make any improvements. It’s also important not to over improve the house for the location. Think about this before you buy. If you’re good at fixing up, buy a home with the potential for street appeal and create it.
About the Author:
Michele Roman breaks with the traditional real estate rules and tells all about selling your home faster and for a lot more money. Learn her secrets (Free) at http://www.sell-my-home-for-more.com.
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