post

Selling a House in a Buyer’s Market: Getting the Best Price for One’s Home

In today’s housing market, selling a home for a decent price isn’t easy. Since the housing bubble burst, prices for homes, both new and existing, have been in a tailspin. In fact, according to a report released by Demographia, from July 2014 to January 2015, the national median house value decreased by twenty-nine percent; and “this loss, over a 2.5 year period, is comparable to the Great Depression house value loss of twenty-seven percent over a four year period.”

As things stand, the outlook for the near future is far from promising since economists foresee still more homeowners facing foreclosure as the result of toxic loans, resulting in a continued decline in property values. So, the question is, what can homeowners do to help ensure they receive top dollar for their homes when there are so many bottom-dollar houses for sale?

Price It Right

According to David Hemenway, a realtor in Cottage Grove, Oregon, who’s been in the business since 1968, starting too high is the worst thing a seller can do (Max) And why is this the case? Hemenway says it’s because the greatest opportunity to sell one’s house is “immediately after it goes on the market,” since that’s when the majority of serious buyers will see it (Max). Moreover, even if sellers lower the price to reflect the market, they will have fewer people coming through than if they had priced it right to begin with (Max).

Use Elbow Grease

Scrub the house until it glistens. Wash windows inside and out, remove pet and coffee stains from carpets, wax floors, scour bathrooms, dust ceiling fans and baseboards, clean electrical plates, scrub appliances, and polish mirrors and doorknobs. In other words, sellers should complete all those tedious chores they’ve been putting off until another day, either that, or hire a cleaning service. The important thing is that a clean house makes a far better impression than a pigsty.

Clear Out Clutter

Clutter makes a house look smaller, as well as dingy. So, take one room at a time and purge it of clutter. This doesn’t mean a seller has to throw away that hideous lava lamp he’s been saving for sentimental purposes, but he should at least put it in storage. Remember, when potential buyers enter a home, they want to envision themselves living there, which is next to impossible if the rooms are filled with stuff to remind them it’s someone else’s home.


Repair, Repair, Repair

Mend or replace tattered screens; replace cracked bathroom grout; repair loose cabinet knobs and drawer pulls; fix leaking faucets; replace burned out light bulbs; patch holes, including nail holes, in the walls (preferably before painting); repair broken steps (inside and out); and replace or remove torn and/or faded wallpaper. In other words, if something is worn out, damaged, or broken, fix it; and if it cannot be fixed, replace it.

Paint the Walls

It is amazing what a coat of paint will do for the interior and exterior of a house. It makes everything look new and fresh. Even if the paint job is recent, however, if the walls are colors that may not appeal to everyone, paint them a neutral color, preferably within the cream or beige family. Stark white is, well, too stark, whereas soft creams and beiges make rooms look more spacious. Plus, it’s much easier for potential buyers to picture their things against a neutral canvas than against one that’s chartreuse, burgundy, or cobalt.

Create Curb Appeal

Take a long, unbiased look at the outside of the house. Does the grass need mowing? Are the flowerbeds more weeds than flowers? Are toys strewn hither, thither, and yond? Have the neighbors’ cats and dogs used the lawn as a litter box? If the answer is “yes,” then cut the grass, pick up the toys, weed the flowerbeds, and scare away the neighbors’ pets.

Another way to enhance curb appeal is by practicing the teachings of the ancient art of Feng Shui; for example, place large attractive flowerpots containing healthy, colorful plants on each side of the main entranceway. Paint the front door a dramatic, vibrant color, for example, deep red, dark charcoal, or rich chocolate.

Turn on the Lights

When showing the home, open the drapes, blinds, and curtains, but also turn on the lights. The more light the better because light makes rooms look larger, as well as airy. Remember, no one wants to live in the dark, well, that is unless he or she is a vampire, so sellers should light up a house for potential buyers.

Selling a home in today’s market is not easy, but it is possible. It’s also possible to sell it for what it’s worth. It simply takes a little foresight and preparation on the part of the seller.

post

Advantages to Renting an Apartment

Cost Factor of Renting an Apartment

Apartments often cost less to rent than owning a home. Saving money on housing will enable saving for other things, such as vacations, cars or amassing funds for children’s private schools or college education.

Aside from the often lower price of rent, having an apartment can save money in other ways. For instance, if something major goes wrong in a rented apartment, such as a broken appliance or faulty plumbing, it’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to pay for and fix.

 Less to Worry About

In an apartment, tenants are often only responsible for what happens within their walls. For instance, household cleaning, cooking and so on. But homeowners have much more to worry about. There may be lawns to mow, driveways to maintain, falling limbs from trees to worry about. Having less to do around the home means more time for the things that are more fun in life.

Aside from having less to maintain when living in an apartment, not having to worry about a yard or driveway also helps keep costs down, as gravel and landscaping can be pricey.

The Ability to Get to Know an Area

If a person has recently moved to a new area, renting an apartment is a smart idea. This allows renters time to see if the area is actually where they want to be, and also to have time to find out more about the town. For example, what are the good and bad areas of town, what kind of jobs and services are available in the area, and what the location is like in relation to schools, parks and stores.

In some cases, a family will find out that a town is not for them, and it’s easier to get out of an apartment than to have to sell a house and move. Renting is also a good option for those who must move often, such as military families or people who have jobs that require frequent relocations. On the flip side, it’s also easier to rent an apartment on short notice than to buy a home when making sudden moves.

For some, renting an apartment is a better option than buying a house. It can be less expensive, require less worry, and enable people to become familiar with an area before committing to buy a home there.

post

Best Website to Find a Rental Home

Craigslist

Almost everyone has heard of Craigslist, and it definitely has its pros and cons. Some people shy away from Craigslist because they are fearful that the advertisements are bogus. It is important to bring along a friend when checking out the location in person to protect yourself. However, there are some major benefits to craigslist as a source to check out rental properties: 

  1. Photos – most people provide 4 photos for users to look at before bothering to even inquire about the home
  2. Direct communication with owner – either through email or occasionally by phone, users can typically chat with the owner as opposed to a real estate agent/intermediary
  3. Bargaining – Most advertisements on craigslist are a bit above what the owner will rent the property for. Users can typically bargain with the owner to reduce the listed price.
  4. Access to more selections – When dealing with a real estate agent, renters only gain access to the few houses those agents may have for rent. Not to mention the fact that renters are typically not the priority for real estate agents, who have more to gain financially by dealer with sellers/buyers. Craigslist offers a wide variety of possibilities in one easy-to-access, free location.

Tips:

  • As mentioned, always bring a friend with you. Just because Craigslist has some great postings does not mean it does not have some potentially dangerous postings. Be careful who you trust and whose house you step into.
  • Remember that real estate agents and property managers do post on Craigslist too. If you see a bunch of listings that say the same thing (often listing offers that seem completely too good to be true), be especially wary.
  • If you are look for a specific neighborhood or a specific feature, use the top of the Craigslist page, where you can search for keywords, etc.

Other helpful sites:

Rentals.com and Rentalhomesplus.com are easy to access and very easy to use as far as narrowing the search by amenities, price range, etc. However, be aware that many advertisements are not removed quickly when the homes/apartments are already rented. There are also many location-specific sites to use; however, some request money and most are run by real estate agencies with only a few options.