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Selling Your Home? Don’t Neglect These 6 Maintenance Tasks—or Else

February 15, 2018

If you’re a homeowner, you already know that keeping your property in tiptop shape requires dedication and patience for ongoing maintenance. But what if you’ve put your home on the market, or even accepted an offer? Perhaps you’re thinking: Not my problem anymore.

Sorry, folks, we’ve got news for you: Just because you’re selling doesn’t mean you’re off the hook from routine maintenance tasks—and that’s especially true if you’ve already vacated the house.

Sure, a well-cared-for house shows better: Small things like broken doorbells and leaky faucets make buyers wonder if your property also has bigger issues elsewhere. But more important, a little routine maintenance can help you avoid a catastrophic problem down the line (e.g., burst pipes, roof leaks, critters moving into your attic) that could devalue your property and derail that sale.

To prevent minor issues from escalating into full-blown, money-sucking, sale-killing problems, focus on these six important areas you can’t afford to neglect.

1. Keep up the yard and walkways

Whether you’re still living at the home or not, you’ll want to make sure to keep your landscaping tidy—remove dead tree limbs, rake leaves, and clean out flowerbeds.

If your home is already vacant, have someone tend to the yard regularly so that grass and weeds don’t detract from your home’s appearance, suggests Kyle Hiscock, a Realtor® with Re/Max Reality Group in Rochester, NY.

“If your home does not have a well-maintained exterior, (potential buyers) will keep driving,” he cautions. “Plus, this kind of neglect can be a bull’s-eye for vandals to break into your property.”

Consider having lights on timers so the house doesn’t look dark all the time, and arrange for driveways and walkways to be plowed weekly in the winter months. And don’t let mail pile up in the mailbox.

2. Clean the gutters and check the roof

This one’s easy to forget about, even when you don’t plan on going anywhere. But when it comes to gutter and roof issues, neglect can cause a dangerous domino effect.

Overflowing gutters can damage your foundation, and also lead to drainage issues. And, of course, you don’t want buyers seeing puddling water as they approach your house.

Just ask Alise Roberts, owner/broker at Alise Roberts & Company in Bellevue, WA. In the rainy Pacific Northwest climate, she frequently has to remind her clients to keep sidewalks clear of moss and clean gutters of pine needles and leaves.

“Buyers, seeing the house when it’s raining, will also see your gutters overflowing,” she says. “That’s a terrible first impression.”

And then there’s the roof. Of course, it’ll be examined during the home inspection, but it would behoove you to do it before putting your home on the market. Small roof cracks can remain undetected for years, causing water to slowly infiltrate your home and damage ceilings and walls.

“If water starts to penetrate a property, it can be a very difficult sale,” Hiscock notes. “Water in basements or in homes is one of the top three things buyers are scared of.”

3. Service your heating systems

It’s not sexy, but the hidden guts of your home need regular attention, whether you’re still living there or not. That means having your HVAC systems professionally serviced.

First up, your furnace: If you get it addressed before you list your home, it won’t smell like dust when you crank up the heat during an open house on a chilly day. While you’re at it, have the duct work and filters cleaned as well. And if you have baseboard heaters, vacuum those out, too.

(Speaking of heat, Roberts suggests keeping the thermostat at 66 degrees Fahrenheit when agents are showing your house so buyers can visit your place comfortably. This will also avoid any issues with pipes freezing or bursting.)

Have a chimney? Be sure to have it inspected and cleaned as well.

“You want to make sure there are no cracked flue tiles, and that from the exterior, there are no gaps in the mortar between the bricks,” Hiscock explains. “Otherwise, you could potentially have the chimney fall over onto the house, and that’s a very expensive fix.”

4. Keep the critters out

If you don’t want to add “family of raccoons included” to your listing (and pay the hefty tab for getting them out), inspect the inside and outside of your home for any areas that need to plugged up. Take care of holes from damaged siding or fascia under the roofline—and do it promptly.

“In a colder climate, squirrels look for somewhere warm to go, and they’ll find their way into your property,” Hiscock says.

Stove and dryer vents, for example, should be covered with wire mesh to deter pests.

5. Wash your windows

Most people associate sparkling windows with spring-cleaning, Roberts says. But if your house is on the market, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is—you need to get those babies squeaky clean.

“If buyers walk through your home and all they see is dirty windows, that’ll really mar the showing process,” she says.

Make sure to wipe them down after a bad storm, when they’re especially likely to show muck and grime buildup.

6. Check the calendar

Depending on what time of year you bring your house to market, pay attention to any details that scream, “We don’t live here or care anymore,” Roberts says.

That means tackling seasonal tasks such as clearing away lawn mowers in the fall and storing shovels in the spring.

“Too often, I see a seller’s patio furniture still outside during the winter time. To me, that’s not a good reflection on the property,” Hiscock says. “It shows deferred maintenance and lack of caring, and can really turn off a potential buyer.

“If a seller can’t put away their patio furniture and lawn mower, what makes you believe that they’ve actually maintained the property all the years they’ve been there?” he adds.

Staying on top of these regular tasks will make it easier to sell your home with fewer headaches. Plus, it’ll preserve the value of your property, and potentially, the thickness of your wallet, too.

By Wendy Helfenbaum, Realtor.com

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

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Buying a home as an unmarried couple? Do these 3 things

February 8, 2018

 

 

This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Beth Buczynski is a writer at NerdWallet.

 

Love and marriage don’t always go together, no matter what Sinatra says. If you’re in a committed relationship but nuptials are on the back burner, just know your dream of buying a home doesn’t have to be.

Sixteen percent of first-time homebuyers in 2017 were unmarried couples, an annual National Association of Realtors report found, the highest share the organization has recorded since 1981, says Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communication for NAR.

But many couples don’t realize how risky buying a home with an unmarried partner can be. Here’s how to deal with these risks using some planning, a good lawyer and a slightly awkward conversation or two.

BUYING A HOME AS AN UNMARRIED COUPLE

1. SIGN A PRENUP… FOR THE HOUSE

No couple wants to talk about breaking up, but if you’re going to be co-homeowners, it’s a must, says Renee Bergmann, a real estate attorney and owner of Bergmann Law LLC in Westmont, New Jersey. She recommends unmarried couples create a co-ownership contract with the help of a legal professional before closing day.

The agreement should answer basic questions like: What happens to the property if you split? What if one of you becomes disabled or dies? Who pays utility bills or for major repairs?

Don’t just “wait and see what happens,” Bergmann says, because without a written agreement “things could get messy very quickly.”

2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF TITLE

Turns out there’s more than one way to own a house, and taking title the right way is especially important for unmarried couples. Options vary from state to state but generally include:

— Sole ownership: Only one name is recorded on the deed and that person has all the rights and responsibilities of ownership.

Pros: Sole ownership may yield tax savings if your incomes are drastically different. And, if your partner has bad credit, applying for a home loan in your name only may help with approval. However, remember ownership rights are determined by names on the deed, not the mortgage, Anna Fabian, vice president of product at lender SoFi, said via email.

Con: If the relationship ends and you’re not on the title, you’ll risk walking away with nothing even if you contributed money to the purchase or mortgage payments.

— Joint tenancy: Each person owns 50 percent of the property. If a tenant dies, that person’s share automatically transfers to the other joint tenant.

Pro: Joint tenants enjoy right of survivorship, so you won’t have to worry about fighting the estate or relatives for the house in the event of your partner’s death.

Con: An unfriendly breakup could spell trouble, especially if one partner can’t or won’t buy the other out.

— Tenants in common: Allows unequal ownership, so you could own a 75 percent stake while your partner owns 25 percent, for instance.

Pro: Ownership shares can be tailored to match financial contributions; if you paid more toward the down payment, for example, you can own a larger percentage.

Con: If one tenant dies, the other has no automatic right to that person’s share of the property unless named in a will or living trust.

No matter which approach you choose, if you tie the knot after buying, consider revising the deed to reflect your new legal status with something called a “quitclaim deed,” Bergmann says.

3. LEAVE YOUR PARENTS AT HOME

Buying a home is a stressful decision, so younger unmarried couples often involve their parents, but sometimes this only makes things more confusing, says Danielle Moy, an agent with Coldwell Banker residential brokerage in Orland Park, Illinois.

“I can tell the parents are unsure of the situation, and it causes a bit of an emotional roller coaster when they’re looking at homes,” Moy says.

Ultimately it’s your house and your decision, Moy says, so make sure you and your partner agree about what you want — no matter what Mom and Dad think.

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

2018 Tax Reform Bill Overview

January 31, 2018

 


(Courtesy of SimpliFi retirement planners)

 

– The new tax code will not affect your 2017 taxes. Everything you’ve heard and read will go into effect this year (2018), so you won’t truly know if it positively or negatively affects you until next year, when you file your 2018 tax return.

– Deductions: Under the new law, no one can take a tax deduction on investment fees, investment expenses, or tax preparation fees.

– Divorced with alimony payments: Those who sign divorce or separation paperwork after December 31, 2018 will no longer be able to report payments on their tax return. Payments will not be deductible to the person who makes the payment, nor will they be included in the income of the person who receives the payment.

-Homeowners: No changes for those with an existing home loan. For new home purchases beginning this year, mortgage interest deduction has been lowered for those taking out large mortgages (over $750,000). Home sellers who make a profit will still be able to exclude up to $500,000 of earnings (or $250,000 for single filers) from capital gains, as long as it’s been their primary home for at least two of the past five years.

– The corporate tax rate dropped to 21% (from 35%). The corporate tax move is geared to make the U.S. a more attractive place to do business. Companies can now “repatriate” overseas cash (send money back to the U.S.) at a tax rate of 15.5% (down from 35%). Apple, for example, announced plans to repatriate the “vast majority” of its $252 billion held overseas. The implications of such moves are hotly debated (paying their fair share of taxes vs. more jobs, a new Apple campus, and the tax revenues of approximately $38 billion).

A combination of lower tax brackets and higher standard deduction may result in lower income taxes for some however the cut may not have a meaningful impact in the total taxes one pays. For example, many deductions will be reduced or completely eliminated, but other factors, such as a higher standard deduction may benefit people who no longer itemize. Please speak with your tax adviser to determine if the changes affect your individual situation.

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

Real Estate @ A Glance – January 2018 Edition

January 29, 2018

Local Market Update - San Diego County - Real Estate
Real estate is about location, location, location . . .  If you have questions about the market in your specific area, please contact me via email or call 619-888-2117.

The number of homes for sale, days on market and months of supply were all down in year-over-year comparisons in a majority of the country for the entirety of 2017, as was housing affordability. And although total sales volumes were mixed, prices were consistently up in most markets. Buyers may not benefit from higher prices, but sellers do, and there should be more listing activity by more confident sellers in 2018. At least that would be the most viable prediction for an economic landscape pointing toward improved conditions for sellers.

Unemployment rates have remained low throughout 2017, and wages have shown improvement, though not always to levels that match home price increases. Yet housing demand remained incredibly strong in 2017, even in the face of higher mortgage rates that are likely to increase further in 2018. Home building and selling professionals are both cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. Housing and economic indicators give reason for this optimism, with or without new federal tax legislation

The number of homes for sale, days on market and months of supply were all down in year-over-year comparisons in a majority of the country for the entirety of 2017, as was housing affordability. And although total sales volumes were mixed, prices were consistently up in most markets. Buyers may not benefit from higher prices, but sellers do, and there should be more listing activity by more confident sellers in 2018. At least that would be the most viable prediction for an economic landscape pointing

Closed Sales decreased 15.9 percent for Detached homes and 8.4 percent for Attached homes. Pending Sales decreased 4.2 percent for Detached homes but increased 6.0 percent for Attached homes.

Single-Family Detached Activity Overview 2 Single-Family Attached Activity Overview 3 New Listings 4 Pending Sales

The Median Sales Price was up 8.9 percent to $685,000 for Detached homes and 15.3 percent to $449,700 for Attached homes. Days on Market decreased 26.5 percent for Detached homes and 19.4 percent for Attached homes. Supply decreased 30.0 percent for Detached homes and 20.0 percent for Attached homes.

5 Closed Sales 6 Days on Market Until Sale 7 Median Sales Price 8 Average Sales Price 9 Percent of Original List Price Received 10 Housing Affordability Index 11 Inventory of Homes for Sale 12 Months Supply of Inventory 13 All Properties Combined 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Positively Perfect

January 25, 2018

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more. Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

 

 

 

 

Owners Get Real About Home Values

January 18, 2018

Article Source: DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

 

The gap between homeowners’ and appraisers’ perceptions on the value of properties is continuing to close. Homeowners, in general, still tend to slightly overestimate the price of their home, but not by nearly as much as they did a year ago.

Home appraisals were, on average, 0.5 percent lower than what owners expected in December, according to the latest National Quicken Loans Home Price Perception Index. The gap is closing; a year ago, homeowners were overestimating their property values by a full 1 percent more than appraisers.

Home values are increasing, which helps value estimates align. Quicken Loans’ index showed the average appraisal value increased 0.65 percent from November to December 2017. This is 6.17 percent higher than a year ago.

“Appraisers and real estate professionals evaluate their local housing markets daily,” says Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans executive vice president of Capital Markets. “Homeowners, on the other hand, may only think about their housing market when they see For Sale signs hit front yards in the spring or when they think about accessing their equity. This is reflected in the [index]. The housing markets that are rising quickly, like those in the West, are having appraisal values increasing above owner estimates because owners don’t realize just how quickly those markets are advancing.”

 


Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

Closing Chaos

January 11, 2018

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more. Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

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