Category Archives: home value

What Does It Mean to Sell A House “AS IS “?

Sometimes people inherit a home they simply need to unload and other times they don’t want to make the effort to make repairs or tune up the home’s curb appeal. In today’s world, it can also be a financial concern to finish projects or catch up on some of those deferred maintenance items. sell-my-house-as-is For these home owners looking for a quick sale, they often think selling a home “as is” is the way to go. If you’re like most folks, you might think the “as is” sale means “take it or leave it” and “what you see is what you get.”  

But an “as is” sale isn’t necessarily a cakewalk. It doesn’t mean you’re completely exonerated from taking some responsibility for the home’s condition. While advertising a home “as is” lets buyers know they’re likely to have to do some work, it also broadcasts that the home is probably going to be a relatively good deal, provided they’re willing to take on repairs.

home-disclosureAs is” doesn’t relieve you from disclosing problems with the home.   What you know about, you must disclose by law. Failure to do so could get you into hot water. If you know about a problem but hope it slips by the buyer’s inspector, you’re at risk. The seller’s disclosure provided by most listing agents to their their sellers to fill out; is a great way to list any of the improvements you might have done on the home as well as a chance to give buyers an idea of how old the roof or the heating system might be… these are two questions almost every single buyer asks – they are concerned about the big ticket items needing to be replaced or repaired.

 

And that’s another thing: “As is” homes still go through the inspection process. While your “as is” sale may indicate your unwillingness to make repairs, it doesn’t mean the buyer won’t ask you for compensation based on condition issues. You may not come out of pocket, but it could come right off the top of your listing price, so keep this in mind. What’s more, once these conditions come to light you generally must disclose them to future prospective buyers if the current one bails-in other words, if one buyer walks after an inspection – you must now disclosure all known defects to other prospective buyers.  Keep in mind, safety and environmental issues or hazards are almost never – AS IS. Underground abandoned storage tanks, wood destroying pests, and lead paint are just a few of buyers concerns.

calculaterWith any luck, your “as is” buyer will be a cash buyer, but if not, prepare for the appraisal. Banks don’t want to loan money unless they deem the value of the home is acceptable. If the appraisal comes in low, your buyer may find themselves without the funds necessary to meet your price.

While selling “as is” may seem like a viable alternative to bringing a house up to its full market potential, recognize there are some trade-offs. Go in informed and you’ll find the process much easier to navigate.

Thinking-About-Selling-Your-HouseWhether you’re looking to sell “as is” or not, I’m happy to help you get the best price possible for your home. Let’s talk when you’re ready!

Oh, By The Way, We are Never Too Busy To Give Some Help or Guidance!

tap into my network 2017
Oh By The Way, we have a great referral base of contractors, painters, dining and more to help make your house home…

Adding an Independent Living Area to Your Home

suite2Years ago, it wasn’t so uncommon to have multiple generations living in the same home. Sometimes these were aging parents moving back in with their kids, and other times they were college students getting their finances in order after graduation. Many homeowners utilized extra space in their home to create independent apartments or separate living spaces. Though they go by many common names (in-law unit, granny flat, garden cottage, basement apartment), these types of spaces are known as ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units.

If you have extra space such as an above-garage loft, or extra land where you could build a freestanding structure, you might be interested in adding an ADU to your home. Even if you don’t have a family member in need of the space, they can be great for hosting out-of-town visitors or earning extra income from short or long-term rental agreements.

While communities have different rules regarding ADUs and their permitted uses, there’s a high likelihood that you can find a pathway to adding one to your property if the idea appeals to you. According to AccessoryDwellings.org:

Flexibility in housing makes sense for environmental, lifestyle, and financial reasons. Though many people buy houses and live in them for decades, their actual needs change over time. But the way that houses are currently built doesn’t reflect those changes, especially the way households may spend decades with just 1 or 2 members. Many American houses are too big for 1- or 2-person households, which is too bad, because size is probably the biggest single factor in the environmental impact of a house.

If you have a reasonably sized house, and an even more reasonably sized ADU, you’ve likely got a pretty green combination with some social benefits as well. You could have your best friend, your mother, or your grown kid, live with you. This kind of flexibility and informal support could really help as the nation’s population ages. Most people want to stay in their homes as they age, but finances and design can be problematic. An ADU could help aging people meet their needs without moving.”

(Source: https://accessorydwellings.org/what-adus-are-and-why-people-build-them/)

If you’re interested in exploring ADUs, be sure to check out AccessoryDwellings.org for an extensive library of resources on the topic.

If you’re looking for a home with an existing ADU, or want to find one with land or enough space to create an ADU, I’d be happy to help you find one ASAP. Just reach out to on of us today:  Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square  realestate@thenicholasteam.com  973-509-2222

Eliminate Junk Phone Calls with Nomorobo

We’ve all been there. You’re just sitting down to dinner or your favorite Netflix binge and the phone begins ringing. hang-up If you’re like most people, you’ve probably gotten used to screening a lot of calls because so many are robocalls. You know the kind and you know the drill: Political ads, solicitations, scams. You pick up saying “Hello? Hello?” and then comes that eerie pause which tells you you’re about to hear a pre-recorded message.

It’s a rude waste of your attention, and yet many of us can’t just get rid of our home phone line. While you can ignore the call, often they call multiple times a day or every day of the week at the same time. The problem is widespread.

 In early 2013 the FTC held a contest to combat the scourge of robocalls. The winner of that contest was Nomorobo, a free service which can check incoming calls to your phone lines against a massive blacklist database of known robocall sources. If Nomorobo detects a robocall, it screens the call much like the way internet web forms use CAPTCHA graphics to make sure you’re human. If the caller is a bot, the call never makes it to your phone. nomorobo (Nomorobo will ring your phone once to let you know a call has been blocked.) Bingo! Peace and focus are preserved.

 

 The service is free, but your phone provider must be able to provide a feature known as “Simultaneous Calling.” The Nomorobo website provides a form which quickly allows you to determine if your carrier already provides this service. If not, you can request it be added.

 You can learn more about Nomorobo here:  xlarge   

 We love to share tips and tricks to make our lives more hassle-free. If you’d like to keep up with tips like these as we find them, get in touch with us today: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square realestate@thenicholasteam.com   973-509-2222 and we will happily add you to our monthly newsletter!

Practice Fireplace Safety!

Gathering the family around a crackling fire can be one of the joys of the coldest months… or it can be a nightmare. fireplace  It’s one thing to be seated cozily on the couch while the firewood glows, and quite another to be standing on the curb in the cold watching the fire department trying to save your home.

 More than 14,000 fires begin each year in fireplaces, and fires are the cause of nearly $900 million dollars in property damage. Don’t be a victim because of shoddy maintenance or careless usage of your fireplace. This goes for both wood-burning and gas fireplaces.

 Here are some tips to maintain your fireplace and protect your life:

 1. Before the coldest months set in, get your fireplace inspected. Remember, most inspection companies will be very busy during the winter, so try and secure an inspection at least a month or so before you anticipate using your fireplace heavily.

 2. Inspect your fireplace before you use it. Take a flashlight and look in the flue. Look for obstructions. Check for cracked bricks, missing mortar, or other signs of damage. Be sure to clean out any ashes and dispose of them in a metal-lid trash can.

 3.      10121-f5f9c001-768f-4c7d-9114-3f7bdbb9e259Burn properly.  This means using seasoned hardwood (which avoids creosote accumulation), and burning logs on an approved rack or elevated grate. Also, don’t burn trash, cardboard, or other debris in your home fireplace.

 4. Keep the area around the fireplace clear. Don’t put your Christmas tree near the fireplace, or anything else which is liable to combust. If it’s flammable, keep it safely distant from those flames. 

 5. Guard against sparks. Sparks may periodically leap from your fireplace, so use a screen to prevent them from landing on rugs or nearby furniture. A screen will also prevent family pets from exploring the fireplace when not in use.

 6. Don’t leave the house with a fire burning. Extinguishing a fire before you leave is common sense, so don’t leave those burning logs unattended!

Would you like a home with a fireplace? Let us help you find just the right one: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square  realestate@thenicholasteam.com  973-509-2222

*****

Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance recently published this infographic about fireplace safety -you might want to print it out and share with your friends and family!

e3c7371ece5d5e29ec96b548057d47a1

 

 

Dodging Deal Breakers for Buyers

When you finally find your dream home, the worst thing that can happen is the deal falling through at the last minute. It’s more common than you might think, and the reasons are often surprisingly small. Fortunately, a little attention to detail and thorough planning can save you from the heartbreak of a buy gone bad. Here are some pitfalls for buyers:

 

  1. Last-minute shopping sprees. Until your home loan has been funded, big purchases are flat out dangerous to closing the deal. Your credit matters and so does your bank balance. Every time they take a hit (say for new furniture, appliances, or even a big pickup truck for moving day), you risk skewing your financial picture in a foul direction. Lay off the buying until you’re in the clear.  storage
    Last winter, we had a buyer who bought three rooms of new furniture two weeks before closing- Bob’s Store was running a sale with 18 months interest free new credit… this purchase delayed the closing by two weeks and  required her to put the new furniture she bought for a house she didn’t own yet and had delivered into storage…good thing she had interested free payments!

 

  1. Not drilling down deep on seller disclosures. Nobody likes surprises, so ask all the questions you have about condition issues in the home or on the lot. Sellers must disclose, so you’re well within your rights to ask after anything which seems unreasonably unexplained. Finding out late can sour the deal or stick you with costly repairs post-closing. Ask your agent to perform an OPRA Request on the property-its a written request done at town hall asking for a history of permits pulled for any  rehab or renovations done to a home. This will also give you reassurance  that any work was done correctly, inspected and approved.

 

  1. chandelierFailing to clarify which “fixtures” are included with the house. Fixture can be one of those words open to interpretation. Get clarity on what is an appliance, what is a part of the home, and what remains the seller’s personal property. An early understanding of what’s excluded will prevent sour feelings later on.  If you fall in  love with the house based the purple chandelier in the dining room because it reminds you of the one Grandma used to have- make sure its staying.  Seller can be asked to replace lighting fixtures but they aren’t always replaced with exact replicas.

 

  1. Not securing a preliminary title report ASAP. Great surprises lurk in the title search, so you’ll want to know in advance if there’s anything which might complicate the deal. You never know when someone might have an interest in the property (like an ex-husband), and you can’t be 100% sure about the property boundaries until you’ve defined them, can you? A misplaced fence or disputed driveway can foul things up in a hurry.

 

  1. Insurance surprises. Is the home in a flood plain? Will your rates be through the roof for hurricane or earthquake risks? It’s worth investigating early on in the process. You may still decide to buy the home, but you’ll at least be able to budget accordingly. Again, your agent should be able to do a little research to find out about flood plains, but your best bet may be to ask your insurance agent for the most accurate information.

 

I like to help buyers navigate the home buying process smoothly, armed with all of the knowledge they need in order to find the right home at the right price. Let me guide you to a smooth closing this year!

 

Barbara & Gregg , THE NICHOLAS TEAM of RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE   973-509-2222 ext.1126   RealEstate@TheNicholasTeam.com

 

 

Undertanding Your Home’s Equity

home equityThe dream of home ownership is about more than just a stable place to live, exempt from the whims and decisions of landlords. For many, home ownership is a piece of the wealth building picture, essential to a future retirement or financial independence. The idea is pretty basic: You purchase a home and pay it down while hoping the value of the home increases over time. Generally speaking, this is what happens over a long enough period of time. (Remember, real estate is meant to be a long term investment.) As you go, you build what’s called “equity.”

 Equity is defined as “the market value of a homeowner’s unencumbered interest in their real property—that is, the sum of the home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property.” If you were to sell your home and pay off the balance of the mortgage (and any other debts, such as home equity credit lines or liens), the cash you would have leftover is your equity. Your “equity position” changes over time due to a variety of factors.

 As you’ve probably noted, the biggest variable in your home equity position is the home’s true market value. A variety of factors can influence your home’s value, including: Market demand for homes in your area, local amenities, schools, your home’s particular features, upgrades you’ve made, condition issues, and quite a bit more. So how can you tell your equity position?

 First, you need to know what you owe on your home. This is as simple as checking home equity 2your mortgage statement to see what your principle balance is on the loan. This number can differ slightly from your actual payoff amount due to closing dates, interest, and other issues determined during the sale, but generally speaking your principle balance is the number you need to know. If you have any other debt on the home, you need to add the value of this debt to the principle balance. This might include credit lines, liens, or second mortgages, for example.

 Next, you need to know the value of your home. While there are sites such as Zillow and Trulia out there which will tell you what your home’s value is, these “automated valuation models” are generally not very accurate when it comes to your home’s value, as they exclude many crucial factors. Often they come in quite a bit higher. They can, however, give you an idea of general changing trends in your market over time.  Learn more about market values and prices here.

Hiring an appraiser is one way to determine your home’s value from a more bank-like perspective. While an actual sale may be above the appraisal, this thorough, conservative option is a good way to go. The downside? You may have to pay up to $500 for the appraisal.

 Of course, We’re happy to help you get a handle on your home’s current value with a comparative market analysis (CMA). Just get in touch today: THE NICHOLAS TEAM, Barbara & Gregg, realestate@thenicholasteam.com  Office: 973-509-2222 ext. 1126