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5 Tips to make your house more sellable

Are you wondering whether now is a good time to sell your home?  Maybe you are thinking about downsizing because all the kids have moved away or upsizing as your family grows?  Either way there are several things that are truly important when it comes to getting your home sold quickly.

1. Clean, clean, clean!

There’s a huge difference in living in a clean house and in living in a house that has been cleaned to sell.  When looking at a home, all the corners where that tiny bit of dust has accumulated on the baseboard, the edge of the wall the dog leans against, the slight water stain on the shower door are some of the things that will subconsciously lead a buyer to think that the home has not been well-maintained.

The key here is that these tiny things create a subliminal message to a buyer that they don’t even notice.  Will a buyer purchase a house that is not spotlessly clean?  Of course they will but it will take longer to get it sold and the house will sell for less money.

2. Paint

Customized rooms with extremely bright or dark colored paint, wallpaper, or wall fixtures can make a house feel like a home for the current homeowner, but often can be a turn off for home buyers.  You want a buyer focused on the house itself, so painting in neutral colors will keep them from focusing on the decor and direct them instead to the floor plan and room sizes.  An added benefit is that fresh paint makes the house look clean and well-maintained.

If you already have a single neutral wall color, consider painting the trim to freshen the look.  Doorways tend to show paint wear faster than other areas because of the higher traffic.

3. Budget Minded Kitchen Updates

Maybe you always planned to overhaul the kitchen or bathroom with a major remodel but never found the time.   There are some small, inexpensive changes that can be done.  Replacing the hardware on cabinets, upgrading light switches, and changing outlet covers are a few examples.  Let’s go a little further and change out the beat-up looking trash compactor for a pull-out trash drawer or a wine fridge. Do you have a giant fluorescent light fixture in the ceiling framed in oak? Take a look under the diffuser panels and see how easy it would be to remove that and turn it into an interesting and updated light fixture.

4. Bathroom Updates

Like the kitchen, simple updates make a difference.  Light switches, cabinet hardware, and light fixtures can change the entire feel of the space.

5. Curb Appeal

Remember to take a close look at the outside of the house too.  Here’s another opportunity to clean it up!  Even if the paint is in good condition, make sure that it is also clean.  Wash the house to remove dust from the siding.  Make the windows sparkling clean both inside and out, tidy up the landscaping and draw the buyer to the front door.

These are just a few ideas that make it easier to sell your home faster for more money.  If you want more specifics for your own home, just call 661-375-7325 for an expert no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Because you found value in these ideas, why not share this post with your friends?

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Is it a Seller’s Market or a Buyer’s Market?

A question most often asked by someone thinking about buying or selling a home is, “Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?”  It’s a bit surprising how often real estate professionals don’t know the definitive answer to that question!

Experience shows that 6 months of available housing inventory is considered to be a balanced market.  Less than that favors sellers and more than that favors buyers.  In the greater Tehachapi area, you can’t just consider the entire region because the absorption rate varies significantly from one community to another.

The real answer though is. “it depends.”  It depends on a number of different factors beyond the actual calculation of available inventory and probability that a particular house will sell.  It depends on things like the popularity of a particular area, what’s going on politically in that community, whether or not the community is showing up in local media in a positive or negative way.

The truth is that even if the numbers show that it is the type of market that you would prefer the reality may be different.  Want to know more?  Call 661-375-7325 today and let’s talk about the specific neighborhood you are interested in moving from (is it a seller’s market?) or moving to (is it a buyer’s market)?

 

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Energy Upgrades Can Improve Property Value, But Are There Financing Pitfalls?

There are loads of good reasons to make energy efficient improvements to your home but choose wisely to get the most bang for your buck.  Not only does it matter what you upgrade but even more important is how you pay for those improvements.  That tankless hot water heater could land you in financial hot water if you’re not careful!

New windows, doors, roof, insulation, et cetera will all make your home more comfortable and potentially more attractive as well as increasing the value.  Few people have the cash available to do the upgrades they intend and so will resort to financing the improvements.  That can be a great way to get the improvements you want with a relatively low pain point in your monthly budget.  Here’s where you need to be careful.

  • There’s a relatively new (since 2010) loan program available that allows local governments, state governments, or other inter-jurisdictional authorities, when authorized by state law, to fund the up-front cost of energy improvements on commercial and residential properties, which are paid back over time by the property owners.  The program is called PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy).  What this means is that certain lenders are funding the improvements for you and attaching a lien to your property that is repaid through your property taxes.

On the surface it sounds like a great idea and for some it may be but there are some pitfalls to be aware of.

  • Many times the contractor that is arranging to do the work is also the contractor providing the financing for the PACE program loan.
    • Be sure that both the cost of the improvements and the cost of the loan are within typical costs for the kinds of improvements you are considering.
  • Take your time in making your decision.  An offer that is good “today only” may not be your best choice.
  • Understand exactly the cost of the improvements with the financing cost and the terms under which you are repaying the loan.
    • Remember that the loan payments are added to your property tax bill as an additional assessment.  This means that if you become delinquent on your property taxes, you are also delinquent on your PACE program loan and your PACE program lender would be able to foreclose on their lien and you could lose your home.
    • A PACE program loan can also make it difficult or impossible to sell your home.  Most buyers will not be willing to accept your loan obligation as part of the sale.  That means that the PACE program loan has to be paid off before you can transfer ownership to the new buyer.  If you don’t have enough equity in your home to cover the cost of the lien, you may have to bring in additional funds.

Even if everything else looks good, you love the cost of the improvements and the PACE program financing terms, check with your lender before doing this kind of loan because the PACE program loan is recorded as a super lien.  This means that in most cases it is in order of priority above other liens on your property (including your primary mortgage)!  Your mortgage lender will probably not allow you to put them in this position.

In conclusion, as with most things, do your homework, make sure you know what you’re getting into and make your best decision based on the facts.  If you want to talk about your specific situation and how it relates to buying or selling your home, start the conversation with me at 661-375-7325.

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5 Top Tips for Sellers to Choose the Best Purchase Offer

Your house is for sale and what you want more than anything is to get it sold quickly for top dollar.  If you made it appealing to buyers and priced it correctly to begin with you should receive offers pretty soon after it starts showing on the internet.

Once you receive a purchase offer, you can accept it, reject it, or propose a change in terms and/or conditions by making a counter-offer.  Keep in mind that all terms and conditions are negotiable.

  1.  Keep your emotions out of the process.  Yes, this is likely the home that you have enjoyed for a period of time and you will no doubt have mixed feelings about the move.  The prospective buyer doesn’t have any history with this house and is often less emotionally involved in the process at this stage.
  2. Think about what is most important to you about selling this property.  Is it getting the highest price, being able to move on your preferred schedule, or something else?  If price is the primary factor, you may need to compromise on closing date.  If the date for you to move is more important it may require a compromise in price or other terms.
  3. If your property receives multiple offers, your real estate consultant can (and should) prepare a method to compare the relative merits of those offers for you.  Ask for their best recommendation and reasoning as to which offer will most likely provide the optimal outcome.
  4. Review all the terms and conditions.  Yes price is important, but what else is at stake?  Is the buyer asking for closing cost help?  Do they want you to leave appliances or other personal property included with the purchase?
  5. Make sure the buyer is actually capable of completing the purchase.  The purchase offer should include a pre-approval from a reputable lender that your real estate consultant has already spoken with and proof of funds needed to close the transaction.  Because your property is no longer being marketed once you have accepted an offer, you want to be sure that offer has the best possible chance of concluding successfully in a closed transaction.

Remain flexible and use whatever information you can to negotiate the best terms of sale.  For example if the buyer needs to move quickly, you may be able to hold firm on price provided you can compromise on an accelerated closing.

Above all, make sure that you are comfortable with and understand how the process progresses once you have an accepted offer.

This is one in a series of articles designed to help the consumer navigate the world of a real estate transaction.  Real estate is local, and working with someone who knows the area and the specific issues that may affect your transaction is important.

Sally Sig extra smallPlease share your thoughts or questions by commenting below, emailing me at Blog@93561Home.com or phone / text at 661.375.REAL (7325)

 

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