Selling your home

Did you ever wonder how REALTORS® price your home?

Did you ever wonder how REALTORS® price your home? Do they just guess or is there some method to the price they suggest? Well, let’s explore how this process works. First, the REALTOR® will view your home in person looking for upgrades, additions and any other improvements. The REALTOR® has already done his or her research before they come by in person. We have access to assessor.org to see how the county has assessed your property, what you paid for it, the size and details of your property.

This is a public website that anyone can use. You can see aerial views of property lines and all details about the property. In addition, REALTORS® have access to the local MLS where your property is located. They can see the history of your property including past sales, photos and updates. This can help the REALTOR® determine the market value of your property. Next, they will do a comparative market analysis looking at active and sold listings similar to your property.

 A REALTOR® determines your home’s value by more than just one factor. While they look at price per square foot to get a starting point, they consider other details such as location, lot size, upgrades and amenities. Layout is important too. If the rooms are smaller in size than other comparable properties, this can affect the price.

Market conditions are a huge factor when determining price. Are houses flying off the market? Is your economy booming? If there is a large amount of inventory, prices may be lower than during a sellers’ market or lack of inventory. If your town has pending layoffs or a lack of jobs, it may be more difficult to sell, and your REALTOR® will suggest a price that fits the area more appropriately.

If you’re selling your house, your goal is to find a buyer willing to pay your asking price. Pricing your home too high may cause it to sit on the market for way too long. Calculating the fair market value of your home can help you price your property right. Market value is what the buyer is willing to pay. If you need to upgrade your kitchen or baths, the buyer may see that as money they need to spend. This may lower your market value.

Most areas across the country are experiencing a Seller’s market or lack of inventory. Multiple offers, cash deals and quick closings are some of the terms I am sure you have heard on the news. The Morgantown area is no different. We currently have 157 single-family listings for sale in the area. The average days on the market are 123. This is a seller’s market. If you are considering listing and have somewhere to go, this may be the time to sell. Contact your REALTOR® today to get your market analysis.

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer, maybe taking some trips and seeing family and friends. Have a great week and remember to do good things!

Congratulations, you just accepted an offer…

Congratulations, you just accepted an offer on your home and the closing date is set. What should you do next? In addition to packing and potentially purging items you do not want to take with you, it is time to start planning your move.

If you have a confirmed closing date, go ahead and call the utility companies and plan for terminations. Let them know if you are transferring to another property, that way you won’t have to set up new accounts. Contact the post office and schedule to forward your mail. Keep in mind they will only forward for up to 6 months, so it is a good idea to contact those that send you mail directly.

Your insurance agent should be contacted to schedule for the cancellation of your homeowners’ policy. We always recommend having it set to cancel a few days after closing in case something would happen. The WV DMV requires you to change your address on your license within 20 days to avoid any fines. The human resources department, for your employer, will also need to know your new address. These may be places we do not always consider.

Go through your files and leave any appliance manuals for the new buyer. Ask your REALTOR® if the buyer would want leftover paint that you have used in the home. Any materials that pertain to your house should be left in the garage or attic. This could include shingles and siding or any supplies you have used.

Next, make sure you clean the home and leave it the way you would want to find it. If you can afford it, hire a professional to steam clean the floors and carpets and just do an overall deep clean. Did you remove the family photos and find that you left some holes? Maybe patch those up and paint for the new buyer. You want to make them feel welcome as they already love your home.

Some buyers are very receptive to meeting the homeowner at the property so they can be shown all the ins and outs of the home. It is always good to know if the light switch works an outlet only or how often they flush out the hot water tank. These are all quirky things that only the current owner may know.

As important as the interior is to be cleaned, make sure you are keeping the exterior tidy as well. Cut the grass, clean up the weeds and remove all trash right before closing. No one wants to start their journey in the new home with clutter and dirt.    

If you can’t meet the buyer in person, maybe leave them a note with some things that you love about your home and neighbors. A forwarding address is important too if you are expecting any packages or mail that hasn’t been delivered. These are just some tips that may make the buyers transition pleasant and memorable.

We should see some nice weather this weekend. Best wishes for a relaxing time and remember to do good things!

What is a multiple offer?

What is a multiple offer? A seller may like them, and a buyer may not. A multiple offer means that the house is priced right, in a desired location and many buyers are interested. But the true meaning is that many people are competing for the house that you as a buyer so love and there are several offers. This a good reason to hire a REALTOR®. A multiple offer situation can be very confusing and frustrating.

So, let us discuss what to expect if you are a seller. You have several showings, back-to-back, within the first day or two of the listing. While this can be a bit overwhelming, it is a good thing for you as the seller. The more showings, the more chances of offers. Your agent may bring you several offers and will help you negotiate each one. But do you have to negotiate with each offer? You do not. The best option is for your agent to send a multiple offer form and ask for all offers to be in by a certain time. Every offer will be different. You should do what is best for you and your family. Do not let emotion guide you, consider not just the monetary value but the inspection dates and buyers requests.

How do you negotiate all the offers? First, you should review them and determine if the terms meet your selling needs. Do they want a 60-day closing and you need 45 days? Do they want you to assist them with closing costs and money is tight? Are they asking for your washer and dryer and you need to take them with you? These are all things that you can negotiate. Let your REALTOR® help and guide you. He or she is working to represent you and to get you the best and highest offer.

A buyer may not be as excited as the seller to learn of multiple offers. Some may not want to compete; others will go over asking price. Again, your REALTOR® can help. Emotion will be driving you to get the house. Make sure you are not going over market value when making the offer.

Sometimes homebuyers wonder if it is even worth trying to compete against other buyers in a seller’s market. It is not unusual for a seller to receive 5 offers when there’s little inventory on the market. It is almost always a good idea to write an offer anyway. Somebody will be the winning offer. Why can’t that person be you?

In the end, a multiple offer situation will be exciting and scary at the same time. You can only accept one offer so make sure you ask advice from your family, REALTOR® and any other advisor that you trust. This is a huge purchase for everyone and must not be taken lightly.

Happy Graduation weekend to all the high school graduates and especially my beautiful daughter. Have a great weekend and Remember to do good things!

Curb Appeal.

Curb Appeal. We hear it on HGTV and read it in magazines. But what does it mean? Well, according to The National Association of REALTORS®, how your home looks on the outside can have a significant influence on the potential buyers’ perception of its value. We all know that buyers are cruising the neighborhoods, looking at real estate. If your grass is not cut and there are dead flowers from last spring still in pots, the buyer will keep moving.

It is finally Spring and time for new growth and new beginnings! If you are in the market to sell your home, then you need to spruce up the exterior so the buyer will want to see your interior. Where to start? We should talk flowers. How often do you drive through a neighborhood and see beautiful hanging baskets and think wow! This is curb appeal. You view the exterior as pretty and automatically assume the interior is kept in the same condition. This is what will help with showings. Many local nurseries are open. Support local.

Here are some tips to make your curb appeal to buyers. Stand in front of your house and look at it, with a visitor’s eye. Do you see dirt? Are your gutters covered with slime? Does your front porch need some sprucing? What needs painted? Develop a list of things that you can do to make the front of the home inviting.

Start by washing the windows inside and out. First impressions are best and dirty windows will have the buyer running to the next property. Power wash the gutters and siding if they have built up mold and slime from the winter. Place a flag or hanging flower basket on your front porch and keep it tidy at all times. Keep the grass cut and shrubs trimmed. No one wants to buy a house that looks like a jungle.

How is your roof? Did you know that this is probably the first thing a buyer sees when viewing your property? Why? Because it can be a huge expense if it needs replaced. Repair any loose shingles. If it is at the end of its life, consider replacing it now. This will help add value to your home when you list it for sale.

You need to view your home from all angles. Do you have a deck? Does it need painted, repaired or replaced? Buyers want to see themselves in your property, on your deck, on your porch. If it is not well maintained, they will move onto the next property. Paint your front door. Add some shutters. This is the time to do some home repairs. Remember first impressions are the best impressions. Ask your local agent for suggestions when they come to view your home.

The weather is looking good this week, so get out there and work on your curb appeal. I have my list! Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing ladies! Remember to do good things!

The busy spring real estate market is in full swing.

The busy spring real estate market is in full swing. Buying a home, whether it is your first or where you will retire, is an exciting time. What will your design style be? Where will you live? These are all important things to consider. Inspections are an important part of the home buying process. But do you think about pests? This type of inspection is usually done toward the end of the process. As a buyer or seller, would you freak out if the inspector said you have termites, carpenter bees or worse, rats?

A pest inspection is a crucial step when buying or selling a home, and in maintaining the home you may already own. Pest inspectors typically search for insects that cause wood damage, but they might also look for pests that can be a threat or nuisance in general. Many people never give a second thought to pest inspections until a problem arises, or until they are buying or selling a home.

It is an ugly truth that most homes have some sort of pest issues. If you are selling your home, spend the extra money upfront to get a pest inspection. It is always best to get ahead of these things and not be surprised. Pests can affect your home inside and out and can cause a lot of damage.

Common concerns that can plague homeowners and homebuyers alike include determining who pays for an inspection, who to hire, and how to exterminate any pests that are discovered. The cost and labor of having your home inspected is well-worth the peace of mind you will have in knowing you have prevented structural damages down the road, or a disruption in the home-buying process.

Many pests, including termites, are practically invisible. Often, the damage they do to a home remains unseen until it is severe, potentially causing structural damage. Hire the professional inspector trained to determine what pests may be invading your home.

Professional inspectors are thorough in searching for signs of infestation. They will examine both the interior and exterior of a house, including foundations, areas around windows and rooflines, and rafters. If they find a soft spot or other signs of infestation, they use a specialized probing device to poke a hole in the wood. This is a normal part of an inspection and should not upset homeowners. If an inspector can easily poke a hole in the wood, that simply serves as evidence of a far greater problem.

Pest reports identify areas of concern and list a pest company’s recommendations to cure any problems, including repairing decaying wood. If you are the buyer, you may be asking the seller to have the pest problem repaired prior to closing. If you are the seller, I recommend having this inspection done prior to listing the property. As a homeowner, it can save you in the long run if you keep up the maintenance in your home with quarterly inspections and treatments. I prefer to let the pests live outside and not in my home, so get that inspection done soon!

Don’t be a pest, just do good things!

Is it time to downsize?

Is it time to downsize? You may ask yourself where to begin? Do not stress, just declutter. Here a just a few tips to help you get started.

Start early. If you and your family have decided it is time to move, then start the decluttering process before you list your home for sale. Pace yourself and get the whole family involved if you are not an empty nester already. There are so many methods you can use like KonMari where you declutter by category and if the item does not bring you joy, you toss it. Also, the One Day Method is a good way to start the downsizing process. This way describes letting go of one item per day that corresponds with the date. For instance, if its day 12 of the month, then you get rid of 12 items that day. Do what works for you but do not get overwhelmed.

If decluttering your whole entire home at once is giving you anxiety, then take one room at a time. Pick a room and clean out the drawers one day and the closet the next. Everyone has a junk drawer or unorganized cabinet. Take some time and match those Tupperware lids with their containers. Trust me, you will be much happier. Donate gently used clothing or household items to a local charity.

You should have an idea of the size of your next home so you can determine what to keep and what to donate. What if your living room furniture will fit and you decide to sell it? Or if you want to keep the piano but find that your new home does not have the space. You cannot plan for all of it, but at least determine what things you know will not fit.

Downsizing is also a lifestyle change. If you are moving to warmer climate, I can bet you will not need the snowblower. If you have chosen a condo, then sell that lawnmower. There are just some things you know you will not need. Ask yourself why you are considering this life change and then set goals to get there.

Make sure when you are tossing stuff out, that you are not just moving it from one location to the next. The experts recommend going room by room. As you determine that the item should go, get rid of it. People tend to box up personal items and other things they have accumulated over the years only to discover when they move that they did not declutter at all.

For those nonessential items you do not plan on moving with you, have a sale to offset moving expenses or updating your décor in the new home. Organize and label as you declutter. This will help in the move as you box items from drawers and closets. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, ask a friend or family member to help you. They will have a fresh idea to help you declutter so you can downsize.

Yes, this market is crazy! Lack of inventory is driving up prices in our area. Good time to sell if you are ready! Have a great week and remember to do good things!

Does our weather drive sales in the real estate market?

Does our weather drive sales in the real estate market? We tend to think so. Wouldn’t you rather look at property when it’s warm and sunny outside? Or have pictures of your home taken in the spring versus the winter? I know I would. However, when it is time to buy or sell, do not let the weather stop you.

So, you have decided to list your property for sale. Great! You may ask yourself, what comes next? Your agent will have you sign the listing documents, they will take photos and place a sign in the yard. They will also market your property through social media, print, and the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

Hopefully, you are getting a lot of showings, some good feedback and an offer. Let’s discuss what to do when that offer is presented to you. First your agent will call, email or text you that you are getting an offer on your property. They will then discuss all the terms of the contract including the price, date of closing and whether the buyer will be completing inspections.

This is the time for you to consider all the options presented to you. If you are lucky, you will get close to your asking price and a quick closing. That doesn’t always happen though, and your agent can help you with the negotiations. Most often they will provide you with comparable sales for your property and help you get the best price.

Once accepted, it will be time for inspections. The buyer will hire the home inspector and the buyer’s agent will contact your agent to keep everyone updated on who the inspectors are and when they expect to come to your home. The home inspection can take almost half a day. The inspector may ask the buyer to come toward the end of the inspection to go over his or her findings. The home inspectors should be certified and some also offer radon and mold inspections.

The next step is for the buyer to report the repair requests to the seller via their agents. They may ask for the seller to complete the repairs prior to closing, offer a reduced sales price or give money toward closing costs. All these things will be negotiated over a few days and once terms are accepted the process can move forward.

The appraisal can take a bit longer. The buyer’s bank will order the appraisal and using a third party, the request will be picked up by an appraiser. Your agent will be notified by the appraiser of the date they want to inspect your property.  

Hopefully all the above inspections are good, and your home appraises for the sales price. If that is the case, then the bank will send everything to underwriting and get you a “clear to close”. REALTORS® love to hear those words! Now it’s time to pack and hopefully you are moving to your perfect home!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Remember to do good things!

Technology has rapidly evolved how we do real estate.

More than 70% of today’s buyers search for homes online; technology has rapidly evolved how we do real estate. During this pandemic, I think the use of technology has really come to the forefront in the real estate industry, and it should be used as an opportunity to improve the process and provide the best client experience possible. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or rent a home, pulling up listings to browse on your phone or tablet is the norm these days. Technology continues to play an impactful role in how both consumers and industry professionals are approaching the market. Technology offers a user-friendly experience when showing homes.

 Going beyond photos, new software allows buyers and sellers to take a 3-D virtual tour of a residential or commercial property, making it feel as if you were walking through the space without having to view it in person. The buyer can see the property in real time and even measure the room to see if their furniture will fit. REALTORS® can conduct the virtual tour via Zoom or Facetime call.

Technology also offers access to websites. Websites make it easy for anyone to view inventory and see what is available. Along with photos and detailed descriptions of the properties, you can find tax and purchase history, school ratings, and other neighborhood information. These sites have apps as well; easily accessible forms of technology that keep you informed without having to do a thing.         

Transaction management is much simpler using mobile technology. With electronic document signing apps and automated emails, we have significantly cut down the time spent on this portion of the sale. The agent-buyer interactions have changed over time as well. Data is easily accessible, making clients more knowledgeable on the topic. Technology allows clients to significantly narrow their searches by choosing the criteria that fits their buying needs.

Technology has been a wonderful addition to the real estate industry, but it has not and will not replace the real estate agent. Agents are highly trained and educated and can provide insight to buyers and sellers about their local markets and communities; you cannot get that personal information from technology. Working with a REALTOR® gives you the confidence that someone is representing your best interests in the transaction.

Technology is a part of everyday life, but it will never surpass the quality of one-on-one assistance you receive when working with a REALTOR®. We have REALTORS® in North Central West Virginia that have the same tools that technology offers in the process of searching for a new home. If you are in the market, and are looking for an experienced REALTOR®, please check out our website: www.morgantownrealtors.com.

Have a great week and remember to do good things.

Determining which improvements are necessary and which are not.

Spending time at home these last several months has given us the opportunity to tackle those home improvement projects. If you are considering listing your property soon, then those projects may not be worth your investment. Everyone wants top price for their property and rightfully so, but you may spend more time and money than necessary. Let’s determine which improvements are necessary and which are not.

Is your kitchen outdated? Do the bathrooms need upgraded? These are parts of the home that buyers want remodeled with newer fixtures and appliances. While that may not be in your budget, there are things you can do to make them more attractive. If you are only able to change a few things, consider new faucets, light fixtures and fresh paint. We always recommend removing personal items including pictures and memorabilia to declutter the home.

We have all heard these four words: declutter, paint, clean, stage. Start by walking through your home, room by room and look at it from a buyer’s perspective. Is there too much furniture in your living room? Less is better. Do you run into the bed when entering the bedroom? Consider placing the bed on a different wall. Maybe you need fresh linens in the bathroom or a new quilt for the bed? These are smaller changes that may fit into your budget and really spruce up your home.

Focus on the area around your front door. The first thing buyers see when they walk up to your house is the entryway, so you need to make sure it gives a positive first impression. Paint that front door, clean off the mailbox, add a new doormat and clear any debris leading to the door. Check your driveway and sidewalks for cracks. Uneven, jagged sidewalks or driveways are an eyesore, a safety risk, and a turn-off for buyers. Buyers looking for a kid-friendly home do not want to deal with tripping hazards.

Neutralize foul odors. Air fresheners, candles, and fresh baked cookies are not what buyers want to smell when they step into a house. To make your house smell clean and new without overpowering buyers’ senses, you can remove pets, shoes, gym bags, and anything that holds onto odors. Lightly spray a lemon-scented air freshener in each room and leave the windows open for at least 30 minutes. On the day of the open house or showing, re-open the windows for 30 minutes to neutralize the smell.

Finally, organize your closets. Let’s face it, serious buyers are going to look everywhere to make sure your home is “the one”. They will be poking into your kitchen drawers, closets, and even under your bed. To avoid embarrassment, organize everything. Fold and hang clothing neatly, leaving extra space to make closets look bigger. Gather medications and hide them in locked boxes. Empty your refrigerator and clean it thoroughly. Remove excess kitchen accessories to enlarge the space. take away refrigerator art, phone chargers, paper towel holders, and small counter-top appliances. There are so many things that go into a home sale, it’s easy to forget home preparation steps that are less obvious, but equally important to sell your home.

Time to spruce up and remember to do good things!

What is the housing forecast for 2021?

What is the housing forecast for 2021? Will sellers still have the upper hand as buyers struggle with affordability? 2021 will be a robust sellers’ market as home prices hit new highs and buyer competition remains strong. Inventory is expected to make a slow but steady comeback, this will give buyers some relief. However, increasing interest rates and prices will make affordability a challenge throughout the year. This is all according to a Realtor.com study released in December.

So, what does this mean for our area? It could be a continuation of last year, with a lack of inventory and a surplus of buyers. This is a sellers’ market. Prices and demand will rise. Mortgage rates are at an all-time low which will keep stimulating demand. With the uncertainty of our economy, sellers remain skeptical about listing their homes. What if there is a quick sale and they have no place to go? Do they rent? Do they leave the area? These are all concerns weighing on their decision.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, they predict that the first quarter of 2021 will see a relatively high number of transactions. Demand is especially high in neighborhoods outside of downtown city cores, as increasing work from home and virtual learning requirements have driven many homeowners to favor space over on-the-doorstep amenities. They also feel there will be a continued shortage of inventory for sale on the market.

What should you do if you are considering buying? Make sure you are in a strong financial position when putting in an offer on a house, rather than just jumping at something you think is a good deal. If you have been considering buying a home, what is important is having your own financial house in order, and that means taking steps to shore up your credit history and save the necessary funds to purchase. If you have your house in order, absolutely, the first quarter is going to be a great time to buy.

It is a good time to spruce up your home, declutter the basement and talk to your local REALTOR® about selling your home. Most REALTORS® will provide you a market analysis of your property at no charge. What can it hurt? Maybe you are considering downsizing or even upsizing, if so, this is a great time to make the move. If you are a first-time home buyer, contact your mortgage lender to see what programs best fit your finances. Maybe the house payment is cheaper than the rent you are paying. You may be surprised at what you can afford.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember to do good things!