What does “Move-in Ready” Really Mean?

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might still need significant updating and while systems are assumed to be operational, they might still be old or outdated.

“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.

The A Team

What to Repair in your Home Before you List It

A lot of money goes into buying a new house so it is understandable if a
seller feels hesitant investing even more money to fix up their current
house prior to selling. However, sellers may not realize that some of the
issues they live with everyday and consider minor, such as the hallway light switch or the kitchen sink that has plumbing issues, may actually be
considered major to home buyers. These issues may even prevent buyers
from making an offer on a home or making a lower offer. It’s crucial to keep your house presentable and in good shape before you list it on the market. That being said, read on to find out what repairs you might want to
consider before you list on your house on the market.

Roof Problems
A roof is one of the most important components of a home, protecting all
that is underneath. Additionally, roofs are major expenses to replace.
Therefore, it is imperative to keep the roof well maintained and free of
damage and leaks. Issues like water and sun damage, clogged gutters, and
rotting will lead to bigger issues if not fixed timely. Tending to these items
immediately will help prevent further damage and help present the home
well.

Poor Maintenance
Minor issues such as damaged flooring, paint chipping, and old carpeting
can be easily fixed to give your home a renovation. Your goal is to make
your home appealing so start by replacing anything that is heavily worn and adding a fresh coat of paint. And these minor upgrades can be inexpensive because you’ll most likely see a return on investment.

Plumbing
Plumbing problems can result in minor or major issues and it is very
important to take care of these issues right away as they can lead to further
problems. Bigger problems such as water damage can lead to mold and
easy fixes to leaky faucets can be replaced inexpensively.

Wiring
Electrical problems can cause a wide variety of problems. Smaller fixes
such as faulty switches, missing wire nuts, or damaged junction boxes can
be fixed with a good electrician. Replacing a circuit breaker might be needed if they don’t match the amperage of your home. Some repairs are obvious to see and others aren’t so it’s a good idea to run a pre-inspection of your house before listing. After, review it with your realtor because they can advise on which ones are the first priority.

Should Sellers Offer Home Warranties?

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.

The A Team

The #1 Feature Today’s Home Buyers Want: A Laundry Room

Home sellers and listing agents across the country spend a great deal of time and energy trying to determine what home buyers want. They pour over magazines and read blogs to learn what is the #1 feature they can add or enhance to ensure home buyers find their home irresistible.

The National Association of Home Builders’ released a 2019 home trend and buyer preferences report which cited a surprising and very practical answer – laundry rooms. In the report, 91% of those surveyed stated that having a separate laundry room was essential in their new home.

The association surveyed over 4000 home buyers and asked about features which ranged from outdoor kitchens to master suites and spa-style baths. While these features were well received, the overwhelming response to what was most important in the home design is the laundry room.

Laundry rooms have become so popular, that home builders are finding ways to increase their size and utility in home developments.

Home buyers stated that homes with laundry chutes which lead to the room was their idea of the perfect home. These home buyers were willing to forgo trendier amenities like wine cellars, dog runs and outdoor fireplaces in order to hide
piles of dirty laundry.

Home buyers can be finicky and mysterious to home sellers and their agents. What this trend demonstrates is that staying with home features which provide convenience and ease of use is more important to home buyers than fancy features and expensive upgrades.

The A Team

Tips for Selling in Summer

Summer has traditionally been the best time to sell a home. Not only do many families take advantage of moving when the kids are out of school, but in climates where winter weather is unpredictable or severe, the warmer months make it easier to be away for showings. With more homes on the market, how can you maximize your potential for a great offer among the options? Fortunately, you can take a few steps to ensure your home stands out from the crowd.

Tips for Selling in Summer

Control the Climate – The first thing a buyer will notice when they walk into a home is the temperature. If the weather is warm and humid, it’s critical you keep the home cool. A larger air conditioning bill is a small price to pay for a top dollar offer.
Let in the Sun – It might be tempting to close the blinds to save money on air conditioning, but bright, sunny rooms are always more appealing; leave enough open to showcase natural light.
Extend Outdoors – Today’s lifestyle includes the outdoor areas and more and more homes feature outdoor living and dining areas. Regardless of your home’s features, maximize the impact of your yard with furniture, BBQs and manicured landscaping.
Spring Clean – A fresh, de-cluttered home with a lighter, seasonal color scheme will be visually appealing to your buyers. Replace dark pillows, linen and accents with softer colors which make the rooms seem larger.

The summer selling season is here. Make sure your home is dressed for success. Welcoming outdoor spaces and bright sunny rooms combined with inviting an air conditioned rooms will ensure you get the best possible offer.

The A Team

Home Improvements with High ROI

Is your house a little dated? Do you want to make some improvements or upgrades but also want to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck if you decide to sell? Not all home improvements bring a good return on investment when selling, so unless the improvement is simply for your own style and enjoyment, choosing projects with higher ROI just makes sense.

Home Improvements with High ROI

  • Add square footage – The best return on investment is adding space. Converting an attic or basement into a family room, adding a room or bathroom or even installing a garden room or outside kitchen will bring solid returns when selling.
  • Bathroom and Kitchens – Remodeling a bathroom or kitchen will always bring more than their cost when selling. Create simple and soothing environments where a future owner can imagine themselves using and avoid heavy period-style cabinetry and surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows – Upgraded doors and windows can really add impact to a room. Not only do current options save energy, they come in a wide variety of styles and finishes to accentuate the space.
  • Garage Doors – If you have an old or weathered garage door, this is a relatively inexpensive way to dress up your home.
  • Paint – Fresh paint is inexpensive and makes the home appear new and modern. Choose calm tones which compliment any décor.

Regardless of whether you’re considering a weekend project or a major remodel, understanding the return on your investment can help you make the best choice for your project. Home improvements can be costly and if you’re considering listing your home for sale in the future, make sure you can recapture your cost.

Top Tips for House Hunting Online

Hunting for a new home online a is a great place to start your search but
keep in mind that you don’t see everything. Real estate agents are great at
highlighting the features of a house listing online but to make the most of
your time, keep these three things in mind:

Identify your Housing Needs
Preferences are important when house searching. A house may not have
everything you want but it will have most of the things. Be realistic about
pricing and keep in mind the must-have items that will definitely be needed because this will help narrow your search.

Stay up to Date
When you start your search, make sure you go to sites with up-to-date
listings directly from the multiple listing service. Realtors post their most
current homes for sale through this. Many sites fail to remove listings that
are already off the market, and this can lead to you trying to sort through
them and find the recent ones.

Pictures can be Deceiving
Photographers capture listings at their best. They use different strategies
and tools to boost the appeal of the home like creative editing and
expensive camera equipment known for its effects. What they don’t show is unappealing parts, like an undone bathroom or small closet.

Go See The Listing After
After you have chosen a house that’s appealing to you, schedule a showing
with your real estate agent. This is the opportunity to see every part of the
house in person and see if it’s a good fit.

Searching online is a great way to learn more about the house you’re
looking for. Even if you’re still unsure about moving, house hunting online
gives potential sellers the basic information.

The A Team

Common FSBO Mistakes

Selling your home on your own as a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) can be tempting. With real estate commissions amounting to as much as 7% of the sales price, many owners consider selling their homes on their own to save money. Selling as a FSBO is more complicated than it might seem, but if you can avoid the most common mistakes, you will have a better chance at
a good outcome.

Not Pricing the Home Properly – Doing market research on your own is tough. Too often a FSBO is not priced correctly.
Not Advertising Properly – Marketing a home is more than an ad in the local newspaper. FSBO sellers can utilize online tools like Zillow and Trulia, just like the agents.
Saying Too Much To Buyers – Homeowners are rightly proud of their homes, but telling buyers everything they know about the home, good or bad, can turn off a potential buyer.
Not Disclosing Problems or Defects – Just because the home is being sold by the seller, it doesn’t mean they are not subject to the laws governing seller disclosures.
Not Negotiating Terms – Not only the price, but the terms are negotiable.

Selling a home without an agent can be successful. Without doing the proper research ahead of time to know what to expect, it might end up costing more in the long run.

The A Team

How To Lower Closing Costs

Closing costs help facilitate the sale of a home and both buyers and sellers
pitch in. Some closing costs can be paid before the home is officially sold and others are paid at the end.

However, closing costs aren’t set into stone and they can be negotiable. You
can ask your real estate agent or lender with help in estimating your actual
closing costs. Look over everything to make sure all the numbers are right
and then you plan accordingly in how you’re going to lower them.

Loyalty Programs
Some banks offer assistance to buyers when they use them to help pay for
the purchase. It’s a way for a bank to reward loyal customers.
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Closing at the End of the Month
Schedule your closing at the end of the month so you don’t have to pay the
per diem interest for so many days.

Get Multiple Quotes
Get estimates from different lenders because you’re looking for the best
package of closing costs and interest rates. There might be something better out there.

Junk Fees
There may be some fees a lender charges that may be negotiable, such as
origination fee, processing fee, or application fee. Make sure to ask if what
you are being quoted is the best they can offer.

Title Costs
Sometimes title insurance and settlement are bundled together. You may be able to find a title and settlement company that is less expensive.

Negotiate With the Seller You can try to negotiate with the seller in paying for some of your closing
costs. Buyers can ask for credit or to cover lender expenses during the offer
and negotiation process.

Easy Landscaping Ideas

You’ve heard the term “curb appeal.” You don’t need to have a green thumb to make some simple changes to your yard which will delight your potential buyers. A weekend project is all you need to make these easy landscaping and yard changes.

• Add color; seasonal flowers in pots by the front door or beds in the front yard add brightness to the home
• Native plants; create a lower maintenance environment with native plants who thrive in your area
• Outdoor lighting; with so many solar options, it’s easy to add a glow
• Garden accents; fountains, benches and garden art create interest and a sense of luxury
• Vegetable and herb gardens; consider a raised bed in a portion of the yard or large pots filled with tasty plants
• BBQs and furniture sets; while more expensive, adding furniture arranged to showcase the outdoor lifestyle will appeal to buyers and enhance your yard

As the weather becomes warmer, buyers naturally spend more time in the yard. Give them a reason to imagine themselves enjoying this summer in their new home.