Monthly Archives: November 2017

5 Surprisingly Smart Reasons to Buy a Home During the Holidays

Turkeys and tinsel, dreidels and pumpkin pie. Yes friends, the holidays are here again, and it’s the perfect time for … house hunting? OK, we know you’re busy enough planning family feasts and much-needed vacations while dealing with blustery weather, but hear us out. While it might seem counterintuitive to put a big-ticket item like a home on your holiday shopping list, it really does make sense.

Don’t believe us? Check out these surprisingly smart reasons to let everyone else hit the mall to buy half-off sweaters while you make the purchase of a lifetime: a new house to ring in the New Year.

1. Less competition from home buyers

Most buyers take the month off to celebrate the holidays, attend parties, host out-of-town guests and, quite frankly, avoid trudging around in inclement weather to look at houses. Or, maybe they’ve heard that this is a lousy time to buy a house. Whatever the reason, shopping for real estate at a time when fewer buyers are in the market can pay off big.

That’s because competing with multiple offers is one of the most stressful parts of the home-buying process, says Brian Wasson, a real estate broker with Center Coast Realty in Chicago.

2. Motivated (OK, desperate) home sellers

The December seller is likely to be serious and motivated—and therefore more open to negotiation. So what you might lack in choice of available homes could be balanced out by dealing with a more flexible seller.

Most sellers have a compelling reason for putting their house on the market during the holidays. (Let’s face it: It’s no holiday party for them to have strangers wandering through their house.) They might be facing a relocation and want to get their kids settled before the new term. Or they might just be feeling some stress if they listed their home in the fall and it’s still languishing post–Turkey Day, making them just a little more desperate and anxious to deal.

Many sellers might also want a contract in hand for tax advantages. If it’s a rental property on which they incurred a loss, they are likely to want to take the deduction this calendar year, Wasson says.

Another tax-related reason: If sellers are likely to make a hefty profit and have a salary raise set to kick in on Jan. 1, they might be subject to a higher capital gains tax on their home sale in the coming year. In this scenario, sellers may want to unload a property before the new year.

Sellers are exempt from paying capital gains tax on the first $250,000 in proceeds from a home sale for a single person, or $500,000 for a couple. After that, the capital gains tax kicks in, based on their income bracket.

3. Tax advantages

In case you weren’t aware, the tax benefits go both ways, notes Realtor® Al Cannistra with Texas Premier Realty in San Antonio. Buying now can help you save in April and beyond. Homeownership brings numerous tax perks, from deducting mortgage interest to property taxes. (Update: The House of Representatives just passed its version of the GOP proposed tax plan, which would cap the property tax deduction at $10,000. The House bill also would only allow homeowners to deduct the interest on mortgages up to $500,000, down from the current $1 million.)

Some states also might have a homeowner’s tax exemption, says Cannistra: “If your state does, closing the deal by Dec. 31 rather than waiting for the first week of the new year can make a year’s difference in whether or not you get that valuable tax savings.”

Also, many closing fees are tax-deductible if you itemize—although you should always double-check with your accountant about any tax questions.

4. A realistic picture of the house

What house doesn’t look amazing in the typical spring buying season, with newly planted flowers and plenty of sunlight streaming through the windows? Checking it out during the miserable winter season, on the other hand, might give you a more accurate idea of what you might be living with the rest of the year.

In addition to seeing the house, warts and all, you can check for issues that you’d notice only during cold weather.

“Maybe there’s a bedroom in the home that doesn’t get sufficient heat, or the front door gets jammed in icy conditions,” says Wasson. “Inspectors are less likely to catch these issues with the home when they check them out of season.”

Of course, don’t forget that issues that crop up more during summer will be less accessible—such as how well the air conditioning works or what the roof really looks like under all that snow and ice—so make sure that your home inspector does a thorough job on those fronts, too.

5. Greater accessibility to professionals

“Since December is usually a slower month all around, you will have easier access to movers, inspectors, and mortgage brokers,” says Jennifer Sommers with Sotheby’s International Realty in Boca Raton, FL.

In addition, motivated real estate agents will bend over backward to provide service with fewer client demands and will share your desire to get it done and in the books before the new year rolls around.  Ditto on your mortgage broker, who is bound to speed your closing through.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/reasons-to-buy-a-home-during-the-holidays/

Original Date: Nov 16 2017

Original Author: Cathie Ericson

Downsizing is a Good Idea as Homeowners Age

You purchased a large property to fulfill the requirements of your family with kids. Now your kids are gone and settled in their own homes and careers. You are living with your spouse in the same large house, somehow coping with the maintenance costs and huge utility bills. Why don’t you move into a smaller apartment or house to cut down on your expenses and maintenance costs? Referred to as downsizing, this concept has become very popular among old age couples preparing for their retired life without kids and their families.

Cut down on your expenses

Are you frustrated by the fact that you have to mow the lawn on your own in an attempt to save on the fee charged by a gardener? Do you find it irritating to pay for the cost of heating and cooling such a large area inside the house when you and your spouse are effectively using only a small percent of the area?

Well, this is the case with most couples staring at their impending retirement with their children having moved to faraway places, settled in their careers. You can get rid of these extra expenses by simply selling your large house and moving into a smaller house or apartment. You can even start to live in a rented place, depositing all the cash you get by selling the house into your bank account.

There are emotional costs of downsizing

Cost of ownership is not limited to just financial costs. There are so many memories attached to the place you called your home for so many years. You have the neighbors and your friends living in the area. It can be painful leaving all these memories behind. Also, you need to find your new home in a place that is not too far away from the kids and your friends otherwise traveling back and forth could add to your expenses.

Calculate the cost of selling and buying

Selling your large house will no doubt fetch a lot of money in your hands but do not forget the commission of your agent and other related costs of selling. Add to this the cost of buying your new small home and take a decision to downsize only when you are able to save a considerable amount of money for your retired life. Downsizing proves counterproductive if you cannot give up on your ego and plan to splurge on furniture and other household items like before.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

Hardball Fouls: 6 Home-Selling Negotiation Strategies That Can Backfire

When you’re selling your home, you might imagine you hold all the cards. And you do—sort of. But it’s easy to become overconfident in a seller’s market. If  you don’t do a reality check, pronto, you could end up sabotaging your sale. So much for that straight flush!

Here are six common home seller negotiation tactics that can totally backfire if you don’t approach them carefully.

1. Starting a bidding war

Bidding wars are the stuff of home sellers’ dreams. And there’s nothing wrong with fueling a little competition among buyers in order to get the best deal for you. But this tactic can easily backfire if you bungle it.

“If mishandled, people may assume the worst, and the best offer may walk away,” says Sep Niakan, owner/broker at Miami-based HB Roswell Realty.

Common bidding war bungles include the following:

  • Not clearly explaining upfront how you intend to handle multiple offers.
  • Giving an offer deadline that is too many days away. Some buyers might not want to wait for you to make a decision, especially if other homes are in contention.
  • Already having a strong offer on the table, but then insisting that all potential buyers come back with their highest and best bid. There’s no guarantee buyers will play ball and, if that strong offer walks, you’re stuck with lower offers to choose from.

Bottom line: Proceed with caution before turning up the heat on the competition, lest you risk losing out on a dream deal.

2. Haggling over repairs

What if the buyer completes an inspection and comes back with a long list of requested repairs? If sellers get too tough here, they might send a buyer walking.

The sellers should consider how good the overall package is for them before refusing to do repairs, says Lucas Machado, president of House Heroes in Miami. “When the buyer’s offer is high, and the seller tries to negotiate away from legitimate repairs, the buyer may feel the seller is taking advantage of them.”

3. Threatening to put your home back on the market

If negotiations aren’t quite going your way, you might be tempted to call the buyer’s bluff. Hey, if they don’t want to ante up, you can always put your home back on the market and find another eager buyer to squeeze. Right?

Yes, you might find another taker quickly. But beware of this move—it might not go according to plan.

That’s because there’s often a stigma associated with putting a home back on the market, and it might be harder to get buyers to take a second look, says Realtor® Michael Hottman, associate broker at Keller Williams Richmond West in Richmond, VA.

“Exercise caution with this tactic, because real estate markets can change quickly from hot to cold, leaving you without all those buyers you were expecting,” Hottman says. “And the ones who you had initially thought were legitimate prospects may have moved on to other homes in the time between your property originally going under contract and now coming back on the market.”

4. Being stubborn on the closing date

You’ve decided you’re not going to allow the new people to move in until (insert future date) because that’s when the closing date is on your new home. Or, they can’t possibly take possession this spring because your kids are still finishing school.

Guess what? Your buyers have scheduling issues of their own, says John Powell, chief development officer at Help-U-Sell Real Estate in Tucson, AZ.

“Sellers need to understand that they may have to move twice, since buyer and seller schedules seldom work out perfectly.”

5. Getting greedy over what comes with the house

Planning to take your beautiful custom light fixtures with you? Not so fast, Hottman warns. Often, he finds that sellers have expensive fixtures in place to show the home, but plan on taking them when they move. And that can cause trouble at the negotiating table.

The buyer “might have decided to buy the ceiling fan, and the house happens to come with it, or they get so upset that a fixture they fell in love with is now missing that they won’t buy the home,” Hottman says.

Avoid this confusion by replacing anything that won’t be staying with the house before you show it. If that’s not possible, be prepared to leave the prized fixture behind, or negotiate a comparable replacement.

6. Refusing to pay closing costs

So, you’re coming down the home stretch and this deal is almost done. Congratulations! But the buyer asked you to cover their closing costs.

Before you say “no way,” consider it this way: Buyers sometimes roll the amount of those closing costs into their offer. For instance, let’s say your home is listed for $200,000. A buyer might then submit an offer for $204,000, but ask you to cover the $4,000 in closing costs.

“Some sellers will hold firm at the $204,000 offer and refuse to pay the closing costs because they want this higher price the buyer offered,” Hottman says. “Some sellers can’t see the net is nearly identical between a $200,000 offer with no closing costs and $204,000 with $4,000 in seller-paid closing costs, and they miss out.”

A good deal comes down to doing the math, keeping your ego in check, and putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. After all, when you sell your house, you’ll probably be buying one, too.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/selling-negotiation-tactics-that-backfire/

Original Date: Nov 1 2017

Original Author:

The Smart Way to Buy a Home

Buying a house is perhaps the biggest financial decision of your life. You must remain careful and take a wise and informed decision as it is a matter of crucial importance for you.

Why are you buying the property?

There can be many reasons why you have decided to buy a property.

  • You are fed up of living in a rented property
  • You want to pay the EMI of your own home rather than feeding your landlord
  • Your family has outgrown the space available in your present home
  • You are interested in buying a rental property
  • You want a property having a yard
  • You desire to live closer to your workplace

Once you know the real reason behind your desire to buy a property, it becomes much easier to identify and buy the right property matching your requirements.

Can you afford buying a property?

Knowing the answer to this question is very important in arriving at a decision to buy a property. Of course it is a great way of building an asset for your family and an investment into your future. But only you know whether you can easily afford the monthly repayments to the lender for a long time to come. If you are settled in your career and sure of receiving increments in future, you can go ahead and buy a home for your family.

Preparations before buying

You may be surprised to know this but it is a fact that there are some preparations that are necessary to be carried out before you start the process of buying.

Make the green file

If you do not know, green file is a file that contains financial documents of an individual necessary for securing a loan. It includes:

  • Your banking details
  • Financial statements
  • Investments and assets
  • Credit card details
  • Loan details
  • Recent paystubs
  • Tax retunes
  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement account information

Check your credit report

This is perhaps the most important step in your preparation for buying a property. Every lender studies your credit report and pays attention to your credit score before deciding in favor, or against giving you mortgage loan. Ask your credit report from one of the three credit ratings (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) and check your score before you go and apply for a mortgage loan in a bank. It is your credit score that decides how much of a loan the lender will give and at what rate of interest.

Be realistic with your expectations

Many individuals are very happy and excited when starting their search for a new home. All their enthusiasm fizzles out when they find that they are not getting their dream home in the price range that they have in their mind. If you have seen 3-4 houses and feel that you are not getting what you have in your mind, you have to remain prepared to make some compromises. This is exactly how people are able to buy homes for their families. A little compromise on space, location, price, and features is what you should be mentally prepared for. If you are too picky, you will spend a lot of time seeing houses and still not be satisfied with any of them.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.