4 Tips to Selling an Inherited Property

4 Tips to Selling an Inherited Property

Selling an inherited house can be draining. Coldwell Banker gives 4 tips on how to successfully prepare, organize and sell your inherited house.

One difficult topic real estate agents routinely have to discuss is about selling an inherited home from a parent when they pass away. It is a situation that is an overwhelming experience, one filled with emotions and many questions. While talking about it is difficult, it is smart to be prepared. This includes having conversations as a family to determine who will be included in the will to inherit the home, where the deed to the home is kept and where other paperwork is located.

After the estate has been settled and the home received as an inheritance, deciding to sell, rent or keep the home is the first step which will help determine what to do next. For those who decide to sell the home, it is a good idea to work with a team of professionals including a lawyer and a real estate agents who can offer advice and guidance throughout the process.

Although each situation is unique, the professionals at Coldwell Banker have provided the following four tips to help prepare to sell an inherited home:

Assemble a strong team of professionals. Working with a real estate agent, lawyer and potentially a tax specialist can help make the process of selling an inherited property go more smoothly. A team of professionals can give the guidance necessary to prepare the home for sale and get all of the affairs in order. A real estate agent can offer crucial, local market information that is especially helpful if the heir does not live nearby. Lawyers and tax specialists can help put all of the processes in order to ensure that selling the home is as easy on you and your family as possible.

Do a home walk through and get organized. Going from room to room and looking at everything from the condition of the floors to how fresh the paint looks can help determine what may need to be done to the home to help it sell more quickly. If the inherited property is older, a home inspection is important before making any decisions as there may be certain systems that need renovations. Equally important is to gather all of the necessary paperwork such as the deed to the home as well as researching whether there are any mortgages on the inherited property that need to be paid. Even if the original mortgage was paid off, a reverse mortgage may have been negotiated to help cover expenses. Also looking into local property taxes and when they were last paid is important.

Have the home appraised and price it correctly. Property received as an inheritance is not considered to be income by the beneficiary. The adjusted basis of a home is its fair market value at the time it was inherited, so it is important to get an accurate appraisal of the home. A real estate agent can also provide counsel on an appropriate listing price to match market value. Out-of-town beneficiaries can also find it difficult to select competent appraisers, inspectors and other professionals to assist in the home selling process, all of which a real estate agent can assist with.

Consider staging or other cosmetic improvements. Although not necessary in all markets or price ranges, home staging can be the difference in getting a home sold in a price-competitive market. An inherited property may not be furnished in the style of other local homes on the market selling at a similar price. A real estate agent can help determine whether or not home staging is a good fit for a specific situation. They may also suggest making home design improvements such as repainting rooms and/or landscaping the yard or other parts of the property. Make sure the lawn and landscaping look good and that the exterior of the house is in good condition. Low curb appeal can keep potential buyers from researching a home they may otherwise love. Perhaps most importantly, having an experienced real estate agent to answer questions quickly and accurately frees up time to devote to other activities and events.

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Help! My Home Isn’t Selling

Help! My Home Isn’t Selling

You listed your home for sale, but the home isn’t selling! Learn the simple things you can do to sell your home faster with Coldwell Banker real estate agents.
You listed your home for sale with high hopes. You love your property and you felt certain that it would sell in a reasonable amount of time. But it’s been several months since you listed your home.

You’ve had some interests and several showings. You’ve received a few lowball offers. Maybe you’ve even experienced the emotional turmoil of watching a contract fall apart. Regardless of the details, one fact is clear: your property is very much still for sale.

What went wrong? What can you do? Here are 8 effective tips to facilitate a faster sale.

Depersonalize
If your house has been on the market for six weeks or more without so much as a nibble of interest, it’s time to take a hard look at what might be putting buyers off.

If buyers can’t imagine themselves living in a home, they’ll be reluctant to make an offer.

To make your home appealing, pack away all of your family pictures, child artwork, and mementos. Paint your walls a neutral color like beige, cream or white. Pack away any polarizing or controversial pieces of artwork or decor. Depersonalize and try to make your home look like a model home.

Declutter
Buyers like to see clean, wide-open living spaces. If you have physical or visual clutter in the room, you’re sending a message to the buyer that you don’t have enough storage space.

Don’t send that message. Instead, get those moving boxes and start packing. You may not have a contract yet, but if you minimize your possessions and declutter the space, you’ll make the rooms look larger and create the impression of having tons of storage space.

Remove Evidence of Pets
We love our four-legged friends, but their food and water dishes, crates, and even just hair on the carpet can be a big turn-off to buyers who don’t like animals.

If you know that someone is coming to look at your home, put the food dishes away, store the crate in the garage or outside, and make sure to remove all signs of pet fur and dander.

Freshen Up the Space
Don’t let buyers turn up their nose at your home. Smell is the first thing potential buyers notice when they walk into a house.

Clean your home to get rid of any dusty or musty smells. If the weather is nice, open the windows to let your home air out. Install all-natural room fresheners or light scented candles in discreet places like the bathroom closet, laundry room, and garage. Choose a neutral and natural scent, like vanilla, rather than a pungent floral scent.

You could also consider investing an essential oil diffuser to leave running during home showings. Sage, lemon, lavender, and cinnamon are all subtle, relaxing, and inviting scents that help brighten your living space.

Work on Curb Appeal
Some buyers won’t even step into your home if they don’t think the property has curb appeal. Clean the windows and make sure that there are no visible cobwebs. Mow your yard and trim the edges, prune the bushes, plant fresh flowers, and spruce up your shutters by giving them a fresh coat of paint. You may even want to install a new mailbox and outdoor light fixtures.

Consider an Affordable Mini-Renovation
Not everyone likes a fixer-upper. Stained carpets and less than appealing paint colors may look like dollars needed for (and the hassle of) renovation in the buyer’s eyes.

Small renovations may lead to big payoff. Consider painting the walls a neutral color, installing a smart thermostat, replacing hardware and fixtures and other fairly inexpensive changes that will take away the label of a fixer-upper.

Stage Like an Expert
You’ve depersonalized, decluttered, renovated, and worked on curb appeal. Now it’s time to stage your home like a pro.

Place brand new, neatly folded towels and candles in the bathroom. Place a decorative bowl filled with bright red or green apples, lemons, or limes in the kitchen. Fill a clear glass cookie jar with fresh cookies on the kitchen counter.

Ask Your Agent About Pricing
If your home isn’t selling after you’ve done everything above, it’s time to talk to your real estate agent about adjusting the price.

This is where your agent’s knowledge of your market and the amenities of your home come into play. If your home is priced competitively, buyers will feel like they’re getting a great deal. A $5,000-$10,000 reduction may be all it takes to motivate the right buyer.

Make Your Home More Accessible
Make your home available for showings. If you limit your home to pre-scheduled viewings, you’re definitely not going to be able to sell as quickly. If you’re flexible with when you allow buyers to come see your property, you’ll have a better chance of getting more foot traffic and more potential buyers into your home.

6 Tips Every First Time Home Seller Should Read

6 Tips Every First Time Home Seller Should Read

Before you plant the yard sign on your front lawn and start packing boxes, take a look at these wise words on selling your home from our network of Coldwell Banker professionals.

Selling your home is a big move.  Literally. But a few small steps can set you on the path to a successful sale.  Before you plant the yard sign on your front lawn and start packing boxes, take a look at these wise words from our network of Coldwell Banker professionals. See their insight on the real estate process, how to sell your home with kids, and even what the home buying process can teach you about selling your home.

“Pack or purge.” – Chavi M. Hohm, Coldwell Banker BAIN in Seattle, WA

“Think about what position the home will put you in when you are ready to sell and how it will help you buy your second home. Sweat equity is your friend here!” – Kevin Lawton, Coldwell Banker Schiavone & Associates in Yardville, NJ

This Ballard Beauty is located at 7351 Mary Ave NW in Seattle, WA and is listed by Team Diva with Coldwell Banker BAIN.

“When you were negotiating and came in with a low offer that probably irritated the sellers… it may in fact happen to you. Remember that when you are on the receiving end. Try to keep emotions in check. Of course in a hot market perhaps not as much but the same goes for pricing. Be aware of the market and what your home’s actual worth is.” – Melissa Mummery, Coldwell Banker Coastline Realty, Brokerage in Ontario, Canada

“Remember what you noticed before you moved in. The HVAC, outlets and switches. Where are they placed, How many in each room/area? ” – Tina Kerr, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

This remarkable historic colonial is located at 129 Bayview Ave in Amityville, NY and is listed by Jennifer Ronzo with Coldwell Banker Harbor Light.

“Detach from the emotions. To make the best decisions and start moving forward, you need to emotionally detach from the house and the moving process.” – Sunny Lake, Coldwell Banker BAIN

“Staging and decluttering really does matter. I had a young family that had 3 children ranging from infant to 3 years. They totally decluttered/depersonalized. Every time we had a showing they had their kids throw their toys in a suitcase and threw them in their trunk and took off for a clean empty home to show! Sold in no time and the buyer could not believe how many kids they really had! Buyers don’t want to see toys (kids or pets) so put it away or take it with you!” – Jennifer Ronzo, Coldwell Banker Harbor Light in Amity Harbor, NY

Most importantly, you don’t have to go it alone.  Working with a real estate professional can be one of the best things you can do to navigate the real estate process. If you’re looking for a real estate agent in your area, visit coldwellbanker.com.

What You Should Know About Credit Scores

A credit score is a complex mathematical model that evaluates many types of information in a credit file to determine your financial reliability or credit risk; that is, how likely you are to repay a loan and make your loan payments on time. Many factors influence your score, with the two most important being how you pay your debts and how much debt you owe. For example, late payments on loans, a past bankruptcy, debt collections or a court judgment ordering you to pay money as a result of a lawsuit will negatively affect your credit score.

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation that calculates the popular “FICO score”, the following factors (and weighting) determine your credit score.

• Payment History (35%) , which includes account payment information, bankruptcy or judgments, how long overdue payments are, amount past due, and the time since any adverse occurrences.

• Amounts Owed (30%) , which includes the amounts owed on accounts individually and totaled together as a whole, number of accounts with balances, proportion of credit line used and proportion of installment loan amounts still owed.

• Length of Credit History (15%) , which includes the time since you accounts have been open as well as the time since your accounts have been active.

• New Credit (10%) , which includes the number of and time since recently opened accounts and proportion to total accounts, number of and time since recent credit inquires, and the re-establishment of positive credit history following past payment problems.

• Types of Credit Used (10%) , which includes the number of various types of accounts, like credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage, etc.

Credit scores change over time to accurately reflect your current financial behavior and length of credit history. Accurate negative information can be reported for 7 years, with the exceptions of bankruptcy (10 years), lawsuits or judgments (7 years or until the statue of limitations runs out, whichever is longer), or information based on an application for a job with a salary of more than $20,000 (no time limitation). Since your credit score is a “snapshot”, it’s unlikely that your credit score a month ago is the same as it is today.

In order to ensure that credit reports are fair for everyone, certain factors are not included in your score. To name just a few, race, religion, national origin, sex, age, salary, and any other information not proven to be predictive of future credit performance are never included in calculating your score.

Is the Market Hot or Not?

Is the Market Hot or Not?

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There are various stories on any given day about the health of the real estate market. They are so varied in fact that is it extremely difficult to ascertain exactly how healthy the market is. Real estate agents from across the region are sharing stories of homes going under agreement within days of being listed, and offers coming in that are far above listing prices.  Is it too late, can you still afford to buy? Should you wait to sell until prices rise even further?

All the while reputable news outlets are reporting a drop in sales, prices, or both.  Should you take your home off the market? Will your property lose value? Who is telling the truth?

The reality is, real estate is a very local business and because of that, it is difficult to gage an entire industry’s overall success using anecdotes from any particular area of the country that isn’t your own. Of course most expect the real estate market in New York to be different than it is in Los Angeles.

Would you be surprised to know that your market can change depending on price point or even what street you live on? What is happening to the entry level market is vastly different than what is happening to the move-up market. Even the luxury market has its own price points that determine time on market and overall sale price. It really is that varied.

There are several lessons to be learned here:

  1. Don’t assume that daily news reports about real estate will determine your level of success with your own real estate goals. National data can provide an overall temperature of the market; however your success will be based on your marketplace. How many homes are on the market in your price point? How many days were they on the market? It’s a lot of information to collect and analyze.
  2. Never speculate or try to time the market. By the time you think you should make a move, the market has already changed.
  3. You have access to experts that can help you. There are so many variables that can determine your success and a real estate expert can advise you and lead you through the process. There is data readily available at any given moment, just like the data presented here. A real estate expert can translate the data for you and help you determine the best actions to take.
  4. Trust your real estate experts.  As your real estate expert we can tell you, the current market continues to improve and is moving steadily in the right direction.

Call me, Steve, today to find out more about what your particular property may be worth.  I am always available to answer any questions 617-372-1870.