It all depends on who wants to know. The tax assessor? The insurance agent? The banker? Or, are you going to try to sell it (market value)? The different values placed on a property by the respective parties often confuse home owners and/or prospective buyers. If you've bought or sold a home recently, you probably noticed the real estate agent, insurance agent, tax assessor and bank all had a different idea of it's TRUE value.
I am asked on a frequent basis which is better, 'to sell a house vacant or occupied?' The rule of thumb has always been that houses show better occupied than vacant. However, I can give you many cases in which the seller's occupancy hurt the sell more than it helped and other cases where the sellers decorating forte sold the house. Ultimately, buyers pay for what they can see and when you sell a home vacant the defects & dirt become more obvious. Sometimes, sellers have no or little choice whether or not to sell occupied vs vacant, due to their circumstances. Here is a list of general do's and don'ts if you must sell your home vacant.
I recently read a blog that really disturbed me and exemplified the attitude a lot of showing agents have out there; they don't feel giving feedback to a seller after a showing is their job.
You've seen HDR (high dynamic range) photography whether you realize it or not. HDR photography can look more like a portrait than a photograph and it is beautiful. But, will it sell your house?
Periodically, a seller thinks they want to sell their house and then gets cold feet, reasons for moving fall through or they just change their mind for whatever reasons and decide they don't want to sell. This remorse can occur during the middle of a contract with a buyer and/or during the listing agreement with an agent. Buyers and agents have very little empathy for a seller who waste a lot people's time and investment. Since, real estate is unique, seller's can be sued for specific performance by buyers in contract or their listing agent for commissions. It's best to avoid the situation all together. Don't list your home for sale unless you plan on selling it. It is pointless and rude to do otherwise.
First, the key factors you do and don't control. The seller controls the property's condition and price. The seller doesn't control the competition, previously sold homes nearby, whether or not it's a buyer or seller's market nor interest rates. Understanding the key market factors and the proper balance of these factors will expedite your sale. SOLDS… is the single greatest factor affecting value. Neighborhood desirability and recently sold homes is fundamental to a property’s fair market value. COMPETITION…Buyers compare your property against competing properties and buyers interpret value based on SOLD properties. TIMING…The real estate market may reflect a seller’s market or a buyer’s market (current market conditions). Market conditions cannot be manipulated; an individually tailored marketing plan must be developed accordingly along with intelligent list pricing. CONDITION…Property condition affects price and speed of sale. Optimizing physical appearances and advance preparation for marketing maximizes value such as staging. TERMS...The more flexible the financing, the broader the market, the quicker the sale and the higher the price (current market conditions are the exact opposite with very restrictive lending practices). PRICE…If the property is not properly priced in regards to condition & location then a sale may be delayed or even prevented.
Whenever sellers ask, 'Should I tell them about....' my immediate response is disclose, disclose, disclose. Sellers are required to tell buyers of any known material defects about a home. Such as a leaking roof, pest infestation, water damage, drainage issues, boundary disputes, environmental issues, etc.... Putting it in writing and having all parties acknowledge it with signatures is the most advantageous way to guarantee proof items were disclosed. Most state real estate commissions have seller disclosure forms that assist sellers in ensuring all items of concern under the law are fully disclosed.
Periodically, you'll hear old school real estate terms such as 'Kick Out Clause' or 'Texas Shoot Out.' These clauses got their nicknames because one party isn't going to like the outcome in most real estate agreements. Typically, they create an emotional and financial ride one party won't benefit from and can be ugly. Thus, before you agree to have one put in your contract fully understand what they mean and don't hesitate to get legal advice.
What doesn't work.
Home staging has come about as a result of sellers competing in a merciless buyer's market. It's no longer about baking cookies right before a showing or just keeping the grass mowed. It focuses on preparing and transforming a home into an environment appealing to the mass majority of buyers. With the right Realtor marketing, intelligent list pricing and staging, a seller can just about guarantee shorter days on market which translates into more money for the seller.
It is not unusual for a buyer and seller want to include personal property in their real estate contract. Personal property being included is far more complicated than the average buyer, seller and in a lot cases agents understand. Most especially when the buyer is getting a loan to buy the real estate.
I haven’t owned a home yet that wasn’t good to me, especially when I poured my heart into it. The hours spent investing good old fashion sweat equity. Freaking out over the little things that go wrong; lessons only learned with hands on life. I’ve always loved seeing my finished product. It’s just a shame that memories do not hold financial equity and not all improvements return dollar for dollar. After a person goes to Disney Land do they demand a refund? I once had a neighbor that was selling their first home. I really admired what he said to me about why he had priced it so fairly for resale unlike other sellers who start out demanding unrealistic amounts, ‘This house has been good to me. I’ve made a fair amount on it and I want it to be good to someone else.’ He put a price tag on his serenity, realized the gain he had already made and got it sold fast. The home had already been very good to him not only financially but mentally and spiritually too. I often times hear sellers complain, 'I'm loosing money', but most times they're not; when they do the math. There are lots of financial advantedges to owning such as the income tax mortgage interest deduction, homeowner capital gains exclusions, etc... Most times than not, when a seller actually does the math, they discover it cost them considerably less per month to live in their home full of memories versus had they been a renter. And, over the course of their ownership they are far from being at a loss. Of course in today's current economic mess, there are sellers that are truely 'loosing money' and that's a different story. Blessedly, here in Oklahoma, we have not seen the bubble burst the rest of the nation has had to endure.
, This blog and website is presented for informational purposes only. It is my/our opinion and perspective of this business and does not constitute any form of a legal relationship or contract between you and I or S. Walker & Co. I/We are not an attorney, CPA, engineer, architect, chemist or any professional that requires a degree and licensing we do not have. I/We are a licensed real estate broker and brokerage firm in the state of Oklahoma. Never disregard or delay seeking legal, tax and/or other expert professional counsel to your specific transaction or situation because of something you read on the internet. Legal, tax, engineering, construction and industry standards vary state by state in regards to real estate. I make reasonable effort to present current and accurate information but I make no guarantees of any kind. Any links to external websites is provided as a courtesy and is not an endorsement or guarantee of product, service or information.
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