If you’ve been searching for a new home no doubt you’ve seen the term, “move-in ready.” This description sounds very appealing, but understanding what it
actually means is important so you have the right expectations when arranging
your home listing tour.
First it’s important to remember that the descriptions in real estate listings are
written by the listing agent or broker. There is no set industry standard for what
agents can say in their listings. While there are guidelines and rules which prevent
blatant lying, most home buyers have become aware of the fluffy language used
to market a home for sale.
The meaning of “move-in ready” is fairly straightforward; it means that the home
is in a condition which is acceptable for immediate occupancy. The home meets
the standards of living and assures the buyer that the essential elements needed
to occupy the home are present and in running condition. For example, the home
should have working plumbing, appliances, sound roof, electricity, gas and locking
doors and windows.
What “move-in ready” does not necessarily mean is that the home is in pristine
condition. A home that is “move-in ready” might still need significant updating
and while systems are assumed to be operational, they might still be old or
“Move-in ready” is a common phrase in real estate listings. Understanding that
the home might still need quite a bit of work to suit your taste and lifestyle, you
can approach the listing with realistic expectations and determine if the property
is the right fit for your needs.
If you are selling your home, one of the most common requests with the buyer’s offer is to pay
for a home warranty. As a seller, you might be wondering if it’s something that’s worth the
expense. Some agents suggest that the seller purchase a listing warranty as well as part of the
sales process. Understanding the benefits of a home warranty is the first step in deciding if it’s
worth the cost to you, the seller.
A home warranty is a policy which covers the cost of repairs to a number of critical systems in
the home. While coverage varies, most cover electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning
and appliances. Some optional coverage could include pool and spa, roofing and code
protection among others. In the event that a home buyer has a problem with any of the
covered systems, the warranty would send a service person out to make the repairs for only
the policy deductible – usually between $65-100 per problem.
The home warranty provides peace-of-mind to the buyer that if an undetected problem shows
up after the close; their out-of-pocket cost is limited to the small deductible. While this does
not negate the need for a professional home inspection, it can push a transaction to close with
buyers who are nervous about unexpected problems. As an additional bonus, most warranty
companies offer a free listing warranty which covers unexpected issues during the listing;
often saving the home owner hundreds of dollars in repairs arising from the inspection.
Offering a home warranty in the listing is one way to demonstrate to potential buyers that the
condition of the home is important to the seller as well. You take maintenance seriously and
they can rest assured that they are making a good investment.
Are you ready to list your home for sale? One of the first questions you might have is, “how
can I maximize my home value?” Every seller wants to get the best possible price for their
home; fortunately there are ways to make sure your potential buyers see the true value of
your property and allow you to receive top dollar when you sell.
Clean, declutter, depersonalize – The first thing every home seller needs to do is take a
critical look at the home and clear out the distractions. Cleaning the home/yard is a
must. Remove anything that can draw a buyer’s eye away from the beauty of the home.
Redecorate – Professional home stagers will often advise clients to remove and/or
replace furnishings. Even if you love oversized furniture, it can make the room look
small; consider renting more neutral pieces during the listing.
Perfect Condition – No home is perfect, but before you list take care of deferred
maintenance issues. Replace missing roof tiles, repaint any area that is worn or dirty,
and re-sod your lawn; remember; buyers want to know the home has “good bones.”
Update carefully – It’s not important for home sellers to have the latest countertops or
custom bathtub to get a good value for their home. Often the home
updates/improvements sellers undergo cost more than they would lose in sales price
without them. If your home is very dated, consider a seller credit instead to allow the
buyer to choose their own upgrades.
Homes retain value based on a few factors; the location, the condition and the features.
Before you list, speak with your agent, friends and family – then make any necessary repairs
and changes to ensure you get the best value for your home when you sell.
Before you start searching for your new home, the first step is to speak with a lender and
determine your budget. This is being pre-qualified for a loan. Once you find the right home,
then your lender will order an appraisal of the property and complete your financing. If this is
your first home purchase, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve purchased, understanding how to
prepare for the qualifying process is the first step to success.
What do I need to qualify for a home loan?
When preparing for your meeting with the lender gather all the pertinent documentation and
bring them with you. The lender will want to see 2 months of employment pay stubs and bank
records as well the past 2 years of tax returns. After reviewing your income and savings, the
lender will also order a credit report which shows all your recurring debt and payment history.
This will be used to determine your ability to pay the proposed mortgage.
How does credit, down payment and income affect my ability to get a loan?
There are a variety of loan programs available. From 0% down VA loans to traditional 20%
down loans, your lender will review all your options with you so you can determine the best
program. Some government guaranteed loan programs, such as the VA or FHA, are more
lenient with your credit score requirements as well as other qualifications, such as savings and
Qualifying for a home loan might feel overwhelming, but your lender can walk you through the
process and requirements. After learning your options, you can make the best financial
decision for your new home loan.
Congratulations, you have multiple offers on your home listing. It’s exciting to hear that you
have a choice in buyers. Yet how can you make sure that you choose the right offer? With
varying sales prices and terms, comparing offers might be harder than you expected. Still – it’s
a great problem to have.
If you find yourself in a multiple offer situation, the first step is to meet with your agent to
discuss each offer in detail. What are the actual differences? It’s easy to see what price they
offer, but what about the other items – the terms, the financing, the contingencies.
Sales Price – This is the easiest to compare. Start with the sales price and then check to
see if they are asking for extra concessions; these could include seller credits or paying
for closing costs.
Terms – Determine when the buyer intends to close and when they want occupancy.
Financing – Financing can vary dramatically and affect your decision in choosing a buyer.
For instance, a buyer who offers a slightly lower price but is going to put 50% down
might be a better offer than someone using a FHA, 3.5% down loan which could be
harder to close.
Contingencies – Most offers come with contingencies for items such as inspections,
appraisal, loan approval and more. An offer with less contingencies, or shorter time
frames to remove them, could be a better offer than others.
Working with your agent, consider all the elements which go into an offer; then you’ll be in the
best position to determine the best option for your financial goals, timeframes and needs
Selling your home? Every seller wants to make sure they sell their home for the best possible
sales price. Getting top dollar for your home is not as complicated as you might think. By using
a simple negotiation strategy, you can make sure receive the best price for your home listing.
The first step in a negotiation strategy begins before you even list your home. Choosing the
right real estate agent and listening to their advice regarding home value is important. Choose
a realistic list price; over-pricing to “test the market” is not only a waste of time, but as the
listing ages on the market, buyers are more likely to write lowball offers.
Once you receive and offer; review and respond to all reasonable offers. Never assume that a
buyer isn’t serious just because the offer is lower than you’re willing to accept. Make a
reasonable counter offer; if you are motivated to lower your price, you can, but if not,
countering with a full price number is acceptable also. Just make sure your price is fair for the
actual value of the home.
Consider compromising on terms. Often you can negotiate a higher sales price if you are
flexible on other terms. Does the buyer need extra time to close/move? Would they like to
have the garage shelfs or patio furniture? Win-win situations do not have to involve
compromising on price.
All negotiations are different, but by setting the proper stage and calmly navigating through
offers, you can make sure you sell your home for the best possible sales price. Getting top
dollar for your home is a simple strategy of fair pricing and unemotional negotiations.
I was surprised to find out children with lead poising may not ever show symptoms. It is so easy for a child to get lead poising. See this article on Lead Base paint. https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes/healthyhomes/lead.
If you are buying a home prior 1978 make sure you receive a copy of the lead base brochure. http://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/hd/hrs/cfcreserv/home_lbpaintbrochure.pdf