Selling Tips

Pioneer Valley Moving Into Seller's Market

An article recently published by Mass Live announced that the Pioneer Valley is moving into a “seller’s market”.  This means that the real estate market is currently favoring sellers, rather than buyers. The lack of homes for sale puts pressure on buyers to move quickly in their purchasing actions, or else risk losing out on getting the house they wanted.

According to the article, sales of single-family homes in June 2017 are fewer than in June 2016, while the median sales price rose. Also, the average number of days a home is on the market for June 2017 has decreased compared to June 2016. Specifically in Franklin County, sales are down 1.3 percent with 75 sales in June 2016 and 74 sales in June 2017 and the median price rose 16.3 percent from $224,000 to $260,500.

So what does all this mean for you? In a seller’s market, desirable houses sell quickly. If you are pursuing a new home, act in a timely manner. On the other hand, if you have been thinking of putting your home on the market, now is a good time to do so. However, sellers sometimes get overexcited in a seller’s market and might ask too high of a price. This leads to their house sitting on the market for too long. Make sure to maintain reason when listing your home.

For more advice on how to act in a seller’s market of if you are thinking of buying or selling, get in touch with Wanda Mooney at (413) 768-9848 or wanda@wandamooney.com.

To read the full article on masslive.com click here.

Selling? Be Ready for a Home Inspection

 

You now have a buyer for your home and they have scheduled a home inspection.   

This article provides insight as to what you can expect and how to prepare your home for a thorough inspection.

 

Selling Your House - Better Be Prepared for a Home Inspection

You’ve got a contract on your home for sale—congratulations! But before you pop the cork on the champagne, you’ve got to go through an ordeal that could make or break that sweet deal: a home inspection.

The home inspection is a contingency written into most offers, meaning that if the buyers aren’t happy with the result, they can cancel the sale without losing their earnest money deposit, or reopen negotiations and ask for a price reduction.

So it’s important to prepare yourself and your home for this important step of the process. How? Hey, we’re glad you asked! Let’s start at the beginning.

Will there always be a home inspection?

If your buyers are planning to tear down your home and build their own dream house, you might feel a pang of regret, but at least you won’t need to worry about the quality and condition of your property. These buyers are trying to get the lowest price possible and, if they think a clean contract without an inspection contingency will make them an attractive buyer in a competitive market, they’ll often forgo an inspection contingency.  

But most buyers who are planning to live in your home want to know what they’re getting into. They want to know which systems work, and which don’t. They want to know how much money they’ll need to plow into the purchase, and which items you, dear seller, are willing to fix or replace to seal the deal.

The results of home inspections can give buyers peace of mind, or a tool they can use to bargain down the price. In the worst case, people with buyer’s remorse will use results of a home inspection to back out of the deal without penalty.

Sound scary? Don’t fret just yet. That first home inspection will let you know everything that’s wrong with your home. Armed with that information, you can fix problems before the next buyer shows up, adjust the price to reflect necessary repairs, or simply have a ready response when the issue comes up again.

Inspectors will look at everything

A home inspection is no quick once-over. Inspectors have a 1,600-item checklist, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors. Yep, you read that right—1,600. 

“If we can get to it, we’ll inspect it,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Here are just some of the areas of the home your inspector is checking, and what a home inspector is looking for:

  • Grounds: Standing water, faulty grading, sick or dying trees and shrubs, crumbling paths and walls
  • Structure: Foundation integrity, rotting or out-of-plumb window and door frames
  • Roof: Defects in shingles, flashing, and fascia; loose and hanging gutters; defects in chimneys and skylights
  • Exterior: Cracks or rot; dents or bowing in vinyl; blistering or flaking paint; adequate clearing between siding and earth
  • Window, doors, trim: Rotting frames, peeling caulk, damaged glass
  • Interior rooms: Water-stained ceilings, adequate insulation, and sufficient heating vents
  • Kitchen: Proper venting, no leaks under the sink, and cabinet doors and drawers operate properly
  • Bathrooms: Toilets flush properly, showers spray, and tubs are securely fastened
  • Plumbing: Drains flow properly; water has proper temperature and pressure
  • Electrical: Proper electrical panels and working light switches and outlets

How can you prepare?

The home inspection isn’t a test that you need to study for. But there are some things you can do before a home inspection to make the process go more smoothly.

  • Clean and de-clutter your home: Yes, inspectors will look way beyond the superficial sparkle of a clean home. But you want to make sure they have easy access to attics, basements, and electrical panels—and aren’t tripping over your kids’ toys while trying to do their job. Think of it as an early start to your packing.
  • Get your paperwork together: You should create a file with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home. If you’ve had an insurance claim on your house, keep those papers together, too, so you can prove that you took care of the problem.
  • Provide complete access to your home: Make sure you unlock gates and doors to a shed or garage that doesn’t have lockbox access.

You could consider getting a pre-inspection to eliminate any surprises; some sellers choose to hire their own inspector to give the house a once-over and point out any problems, so they can fix them before the buyer’s home inspector arrives on the scene.

But be careful with this tactic.

“It’s not a good idea,” says Bill Golden, an Atlanta-area real estate agent. “If you have five different inspectors inspect the home, you’ll get five different lists of items they’re concerned about. Just because your inspector didn’t have a problem with something doesn’t mean the buyer’s inspector won’t.”

More important, if your inspector points out a problem, you’re obligated to disclose it to buyers.

“This could be a potential turn-off to buyers,” Golden says.

Do yourself a favor, and leave

Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, give the inspector your cellphone number, grab your car keys, and go to a movie or out to lunch when the home inspector shows up. Your anxiety will only make everyone uncomfortable, which isn’t a productive atmosphere during an inspection.

“Inspectors and buyers are not at all comfortable with the seller being present during an inspection,” Golden says. “They need to be able to freely inspect and discuss any and everything they come across. You may think you are being helpful by being present, but you are not; you are impeding the process.”

“A home inspector’s job is to point out each and every deficiency and safety violation they see,” Golden says. “Arguing with the buyers about an inspector’s findings is not helpful.”

“It may be agreeing to fix an item, it may mean giving them some money toward a repair, or it may simply be providing documentation,” Golden says.

An experienced real estate agent knows how to interpret inspection reports, which issues are vital to address, and which are red herrings designed to reopen price negotiations.

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning freelancer who's written about real estate and home improvement for realtor.com, Yahoo, AOL, and many others.

 

How Much Value Do Solar Panels Add to Your Home

I am often asked how much value is added to a home that has solar panels. There are many factors that a real estate agent needs to know in advance before this determination is made.  Whether you are getting ready to sell your home or just curious below are some tips that will help guide you in the right direction.  

1.  The first thing an agent needs to know if your panels are owned or leased.  It will make a big difference in their value.

2.  If your panels are owned they should be factored into the price of the home just as any other asset would be.  It is prudent to search for comparable homes with owned solar panels.   If it is difficult to find a home with solar panels that has sold I suggest to consult with a local appraiser to help assist you in determining the value.  The solar renewable energy credit (SREC) should also be considered when valuing the asset. Any buyer purchasing your home will want to know if they are transferrable.   

3.  If the solar panels are leased it can be a bit more complicated to determine the value.  Before you house is on the market you should contact the leasing company to find out the process to transfer over to the new owners.  I would have all this information together prior to listing so the buyers will be well informed prior to making an offer.  

4.  If you find out that buyer do not like the fact your solars are leased, you might be able to buyer out the lease.  

What is Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC)

An SREC is created for every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced by a solar generator.  SRECs allow a seller with a solar array to use electricity that is produced by the panels and then separately sell the SREC to a utility company.  Some solar owns use SREC brokers to handle the sale.  

If you are interested in getting solar panels, click here to visit the MassGov website for helpful tips.  

The information provided was taken from notes provided from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors Legal Hotline.    

Selling this Spring? Tips to Get Your House Ready!

While it still may be chilly outside, the weather isn't the only thing that's about to warm up. The spring selling season is right around the corner, and we've got 7 things you can do now to prepare for selling your home once spring arrives. Now is the time to get ahead start.

1. Give a Thorough Clean

Spring Cleaning Tips

Think spring cleaning territory when deciding what level of clean your home requires for sale. Everything from scrubbing baseboards to dusting fan blades and clearing cobwebs from storage areas should be covered as you scrub-down your home. If the task feels overwhelming, simply go room by room until it's done.

If you have carpet, and it's in reasonably good shape, a thorough cleaning with a professional carpet cleaner will improve the look and the odor in your home. If carpets are worn and threadbare, consider a reasonable replacement, such as a good quality laminate. Cracked tiles should be replaced now, if it's in your budget, for maximum effect.

Image Source: Flickr/Laura D'Alessandro

2. Do a Minor Update

It's no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. A quick update to a kitchen can make a huge impact simply by cleaning painting or replacing tired hardware and fixtures. If your kitchen lacks a backsplash, this is the perfect time to add one for maximum appeal.

3. Clean the Windows

Even if it's too cold to tackle the job from the outside, you can get half the job done now. Scrub the interior side of all windows and don't forget the window sills, tracks of sliding doors, and the surrounding trim. Buyers will notice the attention to detail once your home is on the market.

4. Paint

Painting Your Homes

Choose the spaces that have the boldest color and tone them down to a neutral palette. The goal should be for buyers to see your home as a blank canvas for their own belongings. Focus on high traffic areas next, and finally, repairing any flaking paint in damp areas such as basements or bathrooms is a must.

Image Source: Flickr/Dean Hochman

5. Pack Early

While you don't need to pack up everything you own, strategically boxing up personal items that will depersonalize your space is a good idea. Family mementos all serve to remind buyers that this is your space, and you want them to picture it as theirs. Storage space is another big item on a buyer's list, so consider packing up any out of season clothing and tucking them away to make closets seem larger.

6. Purpose Every Room

A cozy home reading nook, staged for real estate

Every room should have a clear purpose, so buyers can see how versatile your space is. This may mean removing furniture from a crowded space and moving it somewhere else in your home to create defined living areas. Look for opportunities to create functional spaces like an office area or reading nook, and if you have too much furniture, consider putting it in storage. Less furniture will create an open feeling throughout your home.

Image Source: Flickr/Michael Pardo

7. Go Outside

While it is too early to landscape, paint, or deal with the exterior areas of the home, curb appeal is essential to getting buyers to even walk through the door. Assessing your home now, from the garden spaces to the roof and front entry, will let you make a list of quick and easy items you can tackle as soon as the weather warms up, which will make selling your home a breeze.

Winter Selling Tips

Selling Real Estate in Winter

  1. Clear a Path: Shovel snow and spread sand to provide easy and safe access to your house.
  2. Keep the heat up: You want your home to feel warm and inviting
  3. Lighten up: Make sure blinds are open and lights are on!  You want your house to look bright on those grey winter days. 
  4. Organize: Make sure your closets and winter gear is organized and in place.
  5. Clear Decks and Patios: You want prospective buyers to see your decks and patios.  Make sure they are shoveled and can be accessed.
  6. Seasonal Photos: It is a great idea to have seasonal photos on display so prospective buyers and can see what the yard looks like during the summer.

Winter is a great time to sell your home. Less inventory and the buyers who look are serious. Contact me for more information.