The housing market crash has affected countless people throughout our country and it continues to do so. There is some recent evidence that the market may be turning around and that is good news. I have been impacted by the real estate crash in two different ways. We had purchased a home in an “up and coming” area. We made renovations and improvements to the home and felt confident that we would make a profit when the time came to sell. A job opportunity 13 hours away that was too good to pass up forced the sale a little sooner than we had expected. My family was separated for 4 months while the house sat on the market with little or no activity. We finally received a horrible offer that we took because we were tired of living so far apart and many real estate agents will tell you that the first offer is often the best offer. We had to bring $25,000 to closing on a house that we had turned from outdated to like new again, so we lost all the money we had put into renovating it as well. The second way we’ve been affected by the housing market slump is still happening today. We bought a house to “flip” during the time when buying a house to fix up and sell quickly was a popular thing to do. The market had already been slipping by the time we finished the home and when we got it on the market it just wouldn’t sell. We couldn’t afford to lower it to a price that would have probably brought a buyer so we were forced to rent itout. The home has continued to loose value and so we own a home 13 hours away (that we sometimes receive rent for and sometimes don’t) that we might be upside down on for a long time. The good news is that if you’re buying, this is a great time to capitalize on some really good values on homes. The good news if you’re selling is that there are a few things that can be done to help make your home more appealing, even in an unpromising market.
Staging is a relatively new concept in real estate but it is rapidly gaining popularity. Staging has been proven to increase the sale price and also shorten the amount of time the property is on the market. When you stage your home you put your homes best foot forward. The best way to start is to go room to room and clear out all the clutter and all non essential furniture. You’re moving anyway so start by packing up anything that you don’t use or haven’t used in a long time. Removing everything extra will make each room look and feel bigger. Also, remove family pictures so that buyers can picture themselves in the space instead of picturing your family. Also, make sure everything is as clean as possible and make any minor repairs that need to be made such as painting rooms, fixing trim or any other inexpensive updates that will freshen up how your home looks. Go room to room and look at it like you’re seeing it for the first time, as if you’re the potential buyer. Make sure each room is neutrally decorated, clean and free of clutter. Also remember to open all the blinds to let in as much light as possible and turn on all your lights during showings, light makes everything feel warmer and more inviting.
It is really important to price your house correctly when you first put it on the market. Your real estate agent can help you determine the right price. Your house is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, no matter how much you think you should be able to get for it. It is better to set your best price at the beginning rather than continue to lower it to try to pick up more traffic. Buyers will wonder how low you’ll go since you keep reducing your price.
If you are looking to buy, keep in mind that the market has started to rebound and it will go back up eventually, so there is no time like the present. There are many incentives for buyers right now and there is no shortage of properties for them to choose from. There are a few things to keep in mind to help you get the best deal possible.
Shop for the Best Interest Rate
Interest rates are low right now in an effort to help stimulate the real estate market. Shop around for the best rate, one good website for that is bankrate.com. Get all the facts and make sure you know all the fees involved to be sure that you are looking in the price range that you can afford. Foreclosures can also be a really good value, just be sure you are aware of the exact condition of the home and take note of repairs that need to be made.
First- Time Home Buyers Incentives
The government is offering an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers who purchase a home before December 1, 2009. Most states are offering incentives of their own so make sure you look into that as well. Some are helping with down payments and other options may be available as well.
If you are selling your home don’t be discouraged, there is a buyer for every home. If you are buying, enjoy looking for the right home for you in an excellent buyers market!