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Quick House Sale: Is Home Staging Worth the Trouble?

Remember the good ol’ days when all that was needed to achieve a quick house sale was to tidy up and put up a For Sale sign?

If you were looking to sell your home say, 20 years ago, there was no such thing as ‘staging’ a home to appeal to buyers.

Times have changed.

Buyers are more sophisticated than ever, and the real estate market is competitive. You need to stand out from the rest.

In fact, research shows that homes staged in the US can reduce their listing time by as much as one-third to even half!

Today’s buyers are looking to invest in perfect, well-kept and ready-to-move-in homes where very little needs to be done in terms of decorating and fixing.

Plus, popular reality shows like Staged to Perfection and Designed to Sell on HGTV are literally redefining the way houses are showcased and put up for sale.

So if you want the best price, you need to show your property in the best light!

How Can Staging a House Help?

Since most sellers see their houses as homes, they are not able to keep an objective eye and get the most out of their property listings.

You probably know that your home has to be neat and clean before you start showing them to prospective buyers.

In fact, you may have already decluttered, cleaned, and packed away most of the stuff that is not really needed.

But staging a house goes a step further and makes your home look even more cozy, comfortable, inviting and colorful.

It’s also about giving a personalized and unique look so it stands out from the rest of the houses on the market!

But It’s Not Only About Decorating!

Staging a house is not only about decorating. It’s also about selecting the right props, moving furniture around, getting rid of worn out furniture, and renting/investing in new furniture to accentuate each and every room.

If you were to hire a professional home stager, they will go through each room of the house and suggest changes to make it more appealing to the buyers.

This may mean investing in color-coordinated accessories, luxurious linens, table settings, cutlery, window treatments, painting, lighting fixtures, and any other repairs that may be required to showcase the best aspects of the house.

Beyond the Interiors…

Staging a house goes beyond the interiors – the exteriors also need to be perfect!

You need to make the outside and entry of your house pleasing too.

When prospective buyers come to have a look, the first things that will greet them are your porch, lawn, and main entrance. If you have broken fences, an unkempt lawn and garden and broken tiles on the walkway, it will instantly put them off.

You need to ensure that everything is fixed, right from mending the fences and painting them, mowing the lawns, planting a few colorful flowers and plants, to patching up the walkway and installing more light fixtures, if needed.

You can also go one step further and accessorize your lawn by placing a few garden gnomes or even hiring a professional landscaper to do up your lawn entirely.

But, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to stage your house, you can always hire a professional house stager.

What do Professional House Stagers Do?

Professional house stagers take the emotions out of the process because they’re not attached to your house. Hence, they are able to look at a home objectively and suggest changes without bias.

Since this is their job, they are more hands on and familiar with the latest interior design trends, as well as what buyers are looking for in the current market.

Most home stagers have their own unique methods and routine, but a professional house stager is likely to follow the steps outlined below.

First, the stager will come over to your house and meet with you. They will do a consultation where they will explain the entire process.

Next, they will observe and evaluate your house. This process involves taking measurements to draw rough floor plans, taking notes of large pieces and taking a lot of pictures of the entire house in different angles.

The stager will then prepare a detailed and comprehensive report, which includes the following:

  • Positive and negative features
  • Suggestions and ideas for improvement
  • Tips and tricks
  • Resources
  • Thorough outline of the steps to take
  • How to complete each step

They will come back to your house and explain the report in detail and walk you through the entire plan room-by-room.

Of course, this will come at a cost. Most stagers offer package deals or they can charge you by the hour, half day or full day.

So, staging a house definitely comes with a ton of benefits and seems like the best thing to do if you’re looking to sell your property and get the best deal.

But – Is it Worth It?

But… is home staging the only way to go?

While effective home staging can no doubt influence first impressions of a property, there is no guarantee that the strategy itself can convince buyers to pay more, or  even that you’ll sell the property faster!

Staging a home and getting it ready to show prospective buyers involves a lot of work. Not to mention the additional cost of refurbishing the entire home by painting, landscaping plus paying for rental furniture and accessories.

If you’re not very careful, the cost of hiring a professional home stager can spiral out of control!

This is a reason to consider looking into investors to buy your property.

Why Consider an Investor?

If you’re looking to sell your house quickly and don’t have the time to wait up to a year for a listing to sell, then contacting an investor would be the best way to move forward.

Investors don’t really need ready-to-move-in houses. They are more interested in the property, not the aesthetics. If they like what they see, they can make you an offer within a few hours, even if your home is in a bad condition.

If you and the investor agree on a price, many can give you the cash within a few days of contacting them. It’s a quick, smooth process.

There’s absolutely no hassle of renovating your house or making it look ‘pretty’ for the buyers.

It’s a great option if you don’t want to spend the extra dollars staging your house and waiting for that perfect buyer.

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Do You Have to Make Upgrades to Sell a Home?

Sometimes you just have to sell your house, but it can be a bit more tricky and involved than selling an old painting on eBay.

(Believe it or not, it couldn’t be easier to find someone in the world willing to pay top dollar for an ugly painting!)

But what about your older home? Truth is, it just may not be a competitive sell in today’s market – and that’s not your fault.

Plus, there can be circumstances beyond your control:

  • You have taken ill and have to move in with people who can take care of you.
  • You need to upsize or downsize, and you can’t wait a year to sell.
  • You’ve inherited a home you need to sell.
  • You have a new job and have to move quickly.
  • After losing your job, you can no longer afford the mortgage payment.

Whatever the reason, you find yourself in desperate need of someone to buy your older house.

Relax. Like that questionable painting, your older home possibly has a buyer who sees potential where you don’t. Plus, the internet can help make it easier to find them.

You just have to know which upgrades you will need to make your house that much more attractive. Here are a few things to consider before putting out the For Sale sign:

Know Your Liabilities

You need to have reasonable expectations about your quick-sale property. There are some things you can’t change at any cost.

At a basic level, the house is what it is. You have heard something describe a house as having “good bones.” This implies that some houses have bad bones. And, there is nothing you can do about that.

You also can do nothing about the neighborhood. Many professional investors will not touch a house that is in a crime-ridden neighborhood.

There is also the challenge of being upside-down on your payment. In this case, there are a few options to consider if you have time on your side. If you don’t have time for other options, a short-sale can be a solution, freeing you of further obligation.

Being realistic about your liabilities will help keep you realistic about what kind of price you can expect.

As Little as Possible

Don’t be so quick to get started on the upgrades. You are selling your distressed property. You want to get as much as you can, for as little work as you can put in, and as quickly as possible.

The best thing for you to do is forget about repairs when dealing with a cash investor. They will build in the cost of repairs into the offer.

This is actually one of the best things about selling an older home – even a distressed property! Cash investors buy as-is. They know what they’re looking for. And they are fine with your home as is. There is no need to try to impress a cash investor. You can relax!

Remember that your priority is to get out of the house, and out from under the debt. Unless absolutely necessary, upgrades are a distraction. Avoid them when you can.

The Don’ts Are Just as Important as the Dos

Before doing any upgrading, you might want to start with a list of things you shouldn’t bother with. This list might include a few things that are meaningful to you, but not so much to the purchasing public.

That means that putting in that life-sized chess set in the back yard is probably a bad idea.

According to the experts, there are other upgrades you should absolutely avoid.

Painting a child-themed bedroom is just one of those fatal errors that seemed like a good idea at the time.

First of all, your child is going to outgrow Pokémon a lot faster than you think. Second, the kid that is due to inherit the room may have very different tastes. Finally, the people moving in may not even have kids, let alone kids that are the right age.

You will also want to avoid things like colored trim, textured walls, and too much landscaping, all for the same reason: It will be perceived as too much work.

Anyone who has ever tried to paint knows how difficult it is to paint trim. Sanding down textured walls can also be a pain.

Landscaping is good. Excessive landscaping is either laborious or expensive work. Take your pick. Both are turn-offs for perspective buyers.

Finally, there are hot tubs. Don’t do it. What you found romantic and exciting is what another person will find gross.

When it comes to upgrades, don’ts are just as important as dos.

Upgrades for All

In the same way that cupholders sell expensive cars, it’s the little things that sell houses. If you must upgrade, focus on the little things that everybody loves (and that won’t bust the budget).

Exterior lighting, bathroom exhaust fans, and ceiling fans are great places to start. These are small things that can make a house feel a lot more like home.

If you already have these features, throw a few dollars at fixing up your porch and gazebo. A fresh coat of paint may be all it takes to make those areas feel like an extension of the house.

A good porch is just a few upgrades away from being a sun room. And, a gazebo is a great place to entertain guests. These are areas that inspire the imagination of the perspective homeowner.

There are also more little touches that can make a house feel more finished and modern. Towel racks and a toilet paper holder in the bathroom goes a long way.

Knobs, handles, and pulls give a kitchen a feeling of completion.

Finally, if you are going to do something expensive, HGTV recommends you put the money into curb appeal.

All the upgrades you make to the inside of the house are meaningless if you don’t succeed in getting people to walk inside the house in the first place.

The way to do that is to make sure the outside of the house looks warm, inviting, clean, and ready for guests.

There’s no place like home until you get ready to sell it. So make sure you can unload it by being mindful of your liabilities, doing as little as possible, being aware of what upgrades not to make, and only doing those upgrades that are universally loved.

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Avoiding Foreclosure is Possible, Here’s How

Over the past decade, a lot of homes have gone up on the auction block. Foreclosure has threatened millions of homeowners and devastated some neighborhoods. It’s always a scary time when a household or property owner has to face the threat of foreclosure.


Foreclosures happen for many reasons. Sometimes there’s an unexpected financial emergency or a death in the family, or some other tragic circumstance. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of losing the household’s main income. In other cases, property owners get underwater when the home’s value crashes below the amount that they still owe on the mortgage.


The good news is that homeowners have various solutions available to them in order to prevent a foreclosure from ever happening. By understanding some of the programs and strategies that are available, those who are paying mortgages can be more confident that they can get out of a bad real estate situation without foreclosing on a home or other property.


Look at Available Government Programs


One of the first steps for many homeowners, especially in low income households, is a series of government programs now available to help with the rash of foreclosures that has been happening across America. There is the Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP, which will modify a mortgage payment, possibly bringing it down to 31% of the property owner’s verified pre-tax income, according to this government web page which provides more details on the program.


There’s also the Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP — this is available to mortgage holders who haven’t been able to get refinancing on the private market, mainly because the value of a property has declined.


Those who are underwater on their mortgages can work through HARP or a program called the Principal Reduction Alternative or PRA that will also reduce payments according to the home’s value and what is currently owed. Get more on these federal options here.


Of course, all of these government programs are only applicable in certain situations, and really address mortgage holders who are in default. Many find that selling their home to a private investor is a much simpler solution.


Contact Lenders Up Front – And Keep in Touch


Another very good piece of advice for families threatened by foreclosure is to notify lenders as early as possible, and keep current on communications with the lender. There are many different cases where the lender can actually help out with options, so that they don’t end up having to take someone’s house. Experts point out that lenders are not in the mortgage business to take on distressed properties — in many cases, the lender would rather solve the problem in a different way. In fact, this Bankrate article shows how some houses become “zombie” houses because the lender doesn’t want to touch them – and how this can leave the property owner open to tax bills and other problems.


One of the best ways to get a better chance of surviving the default situation is to talk to the lender early and often. Another big step is to find a buyer for the property! That’s where private property buyers come in. They will help when there’s no time left to coordinate with the lender.


Forbearance and Repayment Options


There are also other types of programs available from some lenders. Some of them will help property owners with a forbearance agreement where a mortgage holder can show a hardship such as a job loss or illness. A repayment plan is similar, except that small amounts are paid out over time to get up-to-date with the loan.


There is also a process called deed-in-lieu of foreclosure and while this can be difficult, it might be a better path than foreclosure. Here the borrower hands over ownership of the property to the lender directly. This resource from government lender Freddie Mac shows how a deed in lieu of foreclosure can help prevent a foreclosure sale, while it does not allow the borrower to keep the property. On the other hand, when you sell a property to a private firm, you’re getting the value for that property, which is really a significant success in resolving a situation that could have involved a default on the loan.


Sell the Home


Another very common strategy is to sell the home. If there is adequate value and equity in the home, the property owner should be able to sell through the regular real estate market. However, the real estate agent’s commission and other factors can eat into the profit margin and cause situations where a deal would actually lose money beyond what the mortgage holder has to pay the lender in a theoretical private market sale.


There’s also a system in place called a short sale which can work with underwater properties. When there is not sufficient interest in the private market due to the low value of the property, a short sale can be a way to avoid foreclosure.


A short sale involves selling the property for the amount that the mortgage order may get, and taking a credit hit for the balance. However, a short sale can be less harmful to a credit score than a full-scale foreclosure and can have different kinds of psychological impact as well.


When there’s no buyer on the public market, the best thing to do is to talk to private investors that may be able to offer value for a distressed home or other property.


Sell Your House with a Private Investor for Faster Results


In a lot of cases, it’s impossible to sell the house quickly enough to avoid being bankrupted by the burden of mortgage payments and going into foreclosure as a result. It can be a question of time as well as a question of money. There may simply be lack of interest in the private market, where the property owner who’s trying to prevent foreclosure just doesn’t get offers in quickly enough to be able to sell the property to pay off their loans.


Third-party investors can be a lifesaver in these types of situations. Often billed as “we buy houses” or “cash for houses” businesses, third-party investors will offer a fair market price for a house or property in order to help the property owner to get rid of the property quickly. Talk to individual private investors to try to get a deal made in order to stave off foreclosure and all of the negatives that come with it. Whether it’s a stand-alone home, a condo, or some other type of property, the potential to sell to a buyer company is there.


Any of the above solutions can help to prevent foreclosures by adequate planning, but in many cases, working with a buyer company is particularly quick and effective. A property is a huge asset, but it can also be a huge liability. There’s a lot of emotional toll that is taken when a property owner goes underwater on a party or is unable to make the mortgage payments.  Using a home buying company helps to cut through the red tape and get a deal done that allows someone who was unable to pay a mortgage to walk away with confidence.

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Job Relocation or Job Loss? A Quick Solution To Sell Your Home

Job relocation or job loss are just two situations where you need to sell your house fast, and it’s important to be aware of all the options available to you. One that’s often overlooked is working with a cash investor, especially since most can buy your home in as little as seven days.

This method can save you from putting a ton of prep work into putting your home on the market just to have it sit… and sit… until the right buyer comes along. Plus, there’s no need to worry about financing because a cash investor pays just that – cash.

Working with a cash investor can be especially useful in a circumstance like job loss or relocation (or any other circumstance where you have to move quickly!). They provide an offer in as little as 48 to 72 hours, and there’s also no need to complete any repairs on your home. This leaves you with a ton of extra time to job search or prepare for your move.

Not to mention, with real estate agents taking between 6 to 10 percent commission and the extra costs of closing and taxes, it’s possible to lose a good portion of what your home is worth through traditional house selling methods. With a cash investor, what they offer is what you get – no hidden costs or surprises later. There’s no commission required, and no need to worry about closing costs or repairs. The price offered is the value you get for your home.

A cash investor gives you the opportunity to sell your home in less the amount of time than if you let it sit on the market waiting for a buyer. The cash investor is the buyer and can make the transaction happen in a timeframe that works for you. Because they are paying cash, their finances are secured and don’t require the long wait of getting a bank involved.

Other Reasons This Solution May Work for You…

A cash investor will allow you to sell your home in the quickest amount of time possible, while helping you save on labor and time. Here are some things to know:

Forget About Repairs

By choosing a cash investor, you can forget about the repairs that need to be done on your home. They will work with you to figure these repairs into the price of your home.

Who has the time to make costly repairs when they’re looking to sell or move quickly? A cash investor simply makes you an offer, and you can move forward.

You Can Start Packing Immediately

The time it takes a cash investor to provide you with an offer for you home, and then to close on your home, is much faster than working with a real estate agent. You will be able to make your next move very rapidly as a cash investor can work with you to close on your house in the timeframe that you need – often within one to three weeks.

This will allow you to begin packing your belongings immediately. No longer will you have to transition between selling your home and moving to a new place, all while keeping your home in tiptop shape. You will not be responsible for having showings at your home at all hours of the day (which your home needs to be immaculate for!). A cash investor inspects your home once, and makes an offer.

You will be able to move on to your next opportunity in a swift fashion without the headaches of appointments to keep with a real estate agent, or scheduled open houses.

You Will Be Given A Fair Price

With a cash investor, you don’t have to worry about pricing your property, because they’ll take care of deciding a fair market value for you home. They base this on several factors: the condition of your home, what you need for repairs, and the value of other homes in your neighborhood. This can be incredibly helpful for those who need to move because of a new job or recent job loss.

Those who have sold their home with a traditional real estate agent know the anxiety that comes with playing “the price game.” Is it set too high? Too low? Will you need to lower it later, signaling to potential buyers that there’s something wrong with your listing?

A cash investor takes this worry off your plate.

You Won’t Be Stressed Out

Imagine getting to sell your home without having to worry about preparing it for market, working through the listing, paying extra costs and fees, deep cleaning, and knowing you’ll have to leave on a whim for a showing.

Perhaps the best value a cash investor can offer is freeing you from a ton of stress. If you’ve recently experienced a job loss, or you need to relocate to a new area, you’ve got enough on your plate.

If you need to move quickly, and would like to let go of the hassle of going the traditional route in a real estate market, this could be a great solution for you.


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Selling your house to an investor

Five things you should be asking when selling your house to an investor

  1.  What is their net offer?

Many investors will make the seller pay closing costs, commissions, or even make repairs when selling your house.  These can add up to be nearly 10% of their offer.  So if they offer you $200,000, it could end up being $180,000 after these costs.  In many cases, working with this type of investor doesn’t give you any advantage over selling your house with a real estate agent.

Whenever I give a homeowner an offer, it is the NET offer.  That is, that it is after any commissions and closing costs.  This means that if I say $200,000, I mean $200,000.  The only things you have to pay are your mortgage, and their property tax proration.  The rest is yours to keep when selling your house!

  1.  Are they wholesaling the property?

There are people out there who will come to a homeowner and offer to buy their property.  They will ask for a 10 day inspection period, but instead of inspecting the property, they try and sell it to another investor for a substantial profit without telling the actual homeowner.  Sometimes it can be beneficial to everyone to have this type of arrangement, but if the investor is unable to sell the property within that 10 day timeframe, they will back out of the contract.  I have even seen situations where the investor tries to put no money down, and so if they back out of the contract after the 10 days, the homeowner can’t keep the deposit.  The homeowner is left scratching their head, wondering what happened, but the investor never planned to buy the house for themselves and doesn’t want it if they can’t sell it to someone else.

When I buy from a homeowner, I always put a good faith deposit down on the house.  I also only do short inspection periods between three and five days.  This way the seller can be sure that I’m serious about buying the house.  I never put a house under contract for which I do not have the ability to buy for myself.

  1.  How much time do I have to move out?

I am really flexible with sellers.  I can buy the house in as fast as two weeks, or I can give up to several months depending on the situation.  I want to make sure that you have somewhere to move and have enough time to remove any personal belongings.

  1.  What repairs do I have to make?

None.  Typically it’s cheaper and easier for both of us if I make any necessary repairs to the property.  For instance, if you need a new roof, or if the garage door is broken, I am able to make my offer that takes into account me having to repair these items myself.  I never nickel and dime sellers for minor repairs and having been in this business long enough, I know how much it costs to make various repairs.  That is how I determine my offer.

  1.  What won’t you buy?

Let’s begin with what I will buy.  I prefer to buy single family homes under $500,000 in Palm Beach and North Broward Counties.  I find that I can bring the most value to those homeowners.  However, I have bought townhomes, villas, and condominiums.  I will not buy in high crime areas.  Sometimes it can be difficult to buy properties in 55+ neighborhoods, but I do my best to make it happen.

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Condos Part 2

Continued – Condo

So the story continues, I was interested in purchasing the condo, but in addition to the rehab costs, I had to factor in whether I’d be able to purchase the property at all because it was in a 55+ community.  For those who don’t know, a 55+ community is a special designation for many of neighborhoods in South Florida marketed to retirees.  The regulations state that someone 55 or older must live in the house, or be on title.  Nobody under the age of 18 can live in the house as their primary residence, because there are lower taxes which don’t fund schools.  Since I’m not 55, I’ve found that some neighborhoods are OK with me buying a property in their neighborhood so long as I can give them a signed document stating I promise not to live there as my primary home, and that I promise I will only sell it to someone 55 or older.  Other neighborhoods still insist that someone 55 or older has to be on title, even if we promise not to live there which has driven a wedge into a few opportunities of mine.  For those neighborhoods, it can be more difficult to buy because I’m not 55.  I can sometimes work my way around those rules, but I’ve seen it be a deal breaker before.

For this particular situation, I was unable to get in touch with anyone on the board who could give me a definitive answer.  The property management company said no, but I never am satisfied with my first “no”, so there will be a part 3 coming very soon.

But it turned out after all that, the owner of the condo in question received an offer from another buyer and I was no longer in the running to buy the property. 

To be continued…

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Condos Part 1

Condos Part 1

About a week ago, I got a call from a nice lady who unfortunately was in a difficult situation. She had some condos in West Palm Beach in a 55+ condo community which she was looking to get rid of “yesterday.” She found my website and reached out to me to see if I might be interested in buying her condos. She explained that she had planned to retire in this unit so she planned a complete remodel. The unit was totally gutted and in some cases, walls had been moved. Unfortunately, she had discovered some mold behind some of the walls, and one of her contractors had taken a deposit and didn’t return her phone calls. My heart went out to her because thieving contractors are last thing a retiree needs to worry about! So after getting the backstory, I offered to go take a look at the unit to estimate my costs and to see if it was a property worth buying.

Typically, I try to stay away from condos for several reasons. First, they are expensive to own. Monthly condo fees can range from just a couple of hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars per month. If I hold a property for even just a few months, that amount can go up very quickly. I have to account for that when I estimate my project costs and it ultimately means I have to buy the property for less money than I would otherwise. Second, the “condo commandos” as they are frequently called, can make doing a rehab very difficult. Construction causes noise and the neighbors typically have a low tolerance for that noise. Third, when it comes time to sell the property to the next buyer, there are special rules which govern condo sales and the approval of new residents. Plus, if the buyer is getting a mortgage, I have seen instances where the condo association is required to have sufficient reserves that satisfy the buyer’s lender. All of these issues can make fixing up and selling a condo difficult, if not impossible.

What I like to do is set proper expectations upfront for the seller, to let them know that I am willing to buy their condo, but at a price that takes all of these factors into account.

To be continued….

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Calling all country club community residents

“Calling all country club community residents”

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “Are you interested in buying my house in a country club community?” Just this week, my Aunt-in-law called me about a real estate auction in her neighborhood. The neighborhood is a well-known and well regarded country club community. The house for sale was previously listed for about a million dollars. I could tell from the expired listing that the inside was gorgeous and was probably worth something close to the list price, except for the fact that the new owner would have to pay over $125,000 as a one-time payment to the club, plus close to $40,000 annually for club dues. Unfortunately, as I’ve seen recently, residents have been moving out of those type of communities with mandatory membership dues, instead of clamoring to get in them, which was the trend 20 years ago. The bidding was to start at just over half a million dollars, so a few minutes of research was worth my time just in case there was an opportunity there.

After doing some homework I declined to bid on the property, but asked my Wife’s Aunt to let me know what happened. “Well,” she said “nobody bid at the asking price and they ended up taking an offer that was below the half-million dollar price.” Nowadays, scenarios like that aren’t too uncommon for these communities. Had there been just a homeowners association and no country club, there would have been a bidding war. Even investors like me are wary of buying into a potential trap. The numbers could make sense, but how long will it take to sell the property once it’s fixed up? What are my holding costs? How many buyers are out there who want to and are able to pay the price of club membership? Chances are that if you’re reading this article, you already know the answer. Not enough.

Now that we’ve established why I don’t really like to buy in country club communities, why do I still send out mailers to their residents? The reason is that often times homeowners in these communities have other properties they want to sell as well, even commercial property. I’ve met doctors who want to sell their medical office building, lawyers who owned the building which housed their practice, and other investors like me who own rental properties or apartment complexes. Just because I don’t buy in country club communities, doesn’t mean there isn’t something I can offer their residents. In fact, I love pivoting the discussion from their primary residence to some other property; these people tend to be very savvy investors.

So if you have received a mailer from me regarding your home in a country club community, you may want to consider speaking with me about your other properties as well, even in other states, because we might just be able to work out a deal!

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“What do you bring to the table?”

“What do you bring to the table?”

“What do you bring to the table?” That’s precisely the question I was asked this week by someone who received one of my letters in the mail in Delray Beach, FL. He said to me that the house in question was owned by his parents and now that they’ve passed away, he was wondering what to do with it. I’m not that familiar with the neighborhood, but while we were on the phone I took a look some of the other homes for sale on that street and the first thing I noticed was that they were all built within the last ten years.

I told the man on the phone that without seeing the condition of any house I can’t really give an accurate estimate, but seeing that it’s only ten years old, it’s probably in pretty good shape. He said “It’s certainly not an ugly house by any means, and I don’t want to sell it for less than market value.” I agreed with him, he shouldn’t sell it for less than market value.

He said “So what do you bring to the table?” That’s one of my favorite questions, and I answered it like this: “You can sell it quickly and easily with no repairs or you can sell it for top dollar. Typically if a house is more than fifteen years old, it will need some cosmetic updating, if it’s older than that, it could even need a roof in addition to that. If it’s less than fifteen years old, like your house, I’d be willing to buy it quickly and easily, but not for top dollar. The reason is that I can’t add value when the house is in excellent shape. What I bring to the table is a pain free solution for people who don’t want to deal with the trouble of listing with an agent, making repairs, and going back and forth with unpredictable buyers and their lenders. For houses that are older than fifteen years, it’s likely that I’ll be able to add tremendous value, but in your situation, I’d be happy to list it for sale as your agent, but I likely wouldn’t be able to give you what you’d like for it if I bought it from you with cash.”

As you might expect, I declined to buy the house from him, but offered my services as a real estate agent in Delray Beach, FL if he decided to sell. Even as an agent, I have a team of people who can make minor repairs to satisfy the most nit-picky buyers. I’ll let you know what ends up happening!

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You Shouldn’t go it alone

Why you shouldn’t go it alone

I was driving to a job site this week and saw a for sale sign in front of a house on the same street. As a Real Estate Agent who purchases homes frequently, I’ve owned two properties on this street before and I am very familiar with the properties. I would love to buy more homes on this particular street, so I called the number listed on the for sale sign. Spoke for almost 30 mins with the owner and learned the story behind the house- there is ALWAYS a story because homes aren’t just property, it’s where people live and have memories (plus, it can be emotional due to the amount of money involved). The story was that the house had belonged to her parents since it was built in the late 70’s and she inherited it when her folks died.  After having several bad tenants, she decided she wanted to sell, and she wanted to do it alone.  However, she wanted to get every dollar out of it that she could, she didn’t want to list it with an agent and didn’t want to fix it up.  However, even though the house was in largely original condition, she wanted 200% of what it was worth!  It needed a lot of work, including a new roof, kitchen, bathroom, floors, HVAC, you name it, it needed it!  But because she was stubborn and wanted to do it alone, she thought that by putting it as a for sale by owner, she would get the most money possible. I’m here to tell you that as appealing as it sounds, at a crazy price, and with no agent, she could be sitting on that house for the next year without any interest.  And once someone does come by to take a look, they will be very nice and she will never hear from them again.  Unfortunately for her, the house is in a 55+ community.  She won’t get any showings this summer because all of the buyers will have gone back up north.  Also, buyers these days want to buy something that’s turn key, but more importantly, a home that’s fairly priced. The lesson is: I could end up getting a call from her 6 months or a year down the road after she’s realized that her house wasn’t worth nearly what she had hoped and that at that point she would be willing to take any offer she could get!