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4 Expensive Home Repairs Every Homeowner Must Face

Owning a home is a great way to build wealth and equity. Homeownership is a component of the American dream. However, like many investments, there are costs associated with it too. Some underestimate how much home upkeep truly costs. They are unprepared when a major repair comes their way. Suddenly, that home is more of a burden than a benefit. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The key is to not let those repairs take you by surprise.   Then you can decide if you want to take the time to make those repairs or,  sell your house and have cash in hand to buy something new.

1. A new roof:

Replacing your roof is a large cost for your home. However, it shouldn’t catch you off guard. A new roof should last between 20-25 years. How old is your home? When was the roof last replaced? This will help you create a timeline to budget your repairs. The costs of the replacement will vary. If you have the skills to replace the roof yourself the costs will be between $2,000 and $6,000. If you contract out the work, you will pay between $5,000-$12,000. The size of your home will determine how much you spend.

Don’t ignore the signs it’s time to replace or repair your roof:

Some will wait until the last minute to repair or replace their roof. They don’t have the money liquid to make such an expensive repair. They wait until there are leaks in the roof and their personal effects are being ruined by the water damage. It doesn’t have to be this way. Look at your roof. Are there missing shingles? Do you see weak areas on the roof? If so, it’s time to call a roofer before the damage gets worse.

Preventative maintenance:

Eventually, the best roofs must be replaced. But, with some preventative maintenance, you can get a long life out of your roof. Every 5-10 years have a professional come to inspect the roof. This way they can catch damage early before it becomes a huge repair.

2. HVAC:

Your HVAC can last nearly 20 years. Common repairs won’t break the bank either. The average cost for a furnace and air conditioner repair is around $300. Replacement units are a bigger investment. A new AC is a little over $5,000 and a new furnace is about $4,000.

HVAC preventative maintenance:

Once spring rolls around it’s a good idea to have the units inspected. A technician can do a tune-up and cleaning of the units. This will help you get the longest life out of your air conditioner and furnace.

3. Hot water heater:

Replacing a hot water heater is not as expensive as a roof or HVAC. But it will still set you back a bit. The telltale sign it has broken is that cold shower. However, keep your eye out for rust colored leaking and strange noises coming from the tank. These are signs of a problem. Repairs cost around $500 and a replacement tank is around $1,000. Tankless water heaters are also an option. They are more efficient than the standard hot water heater. Yet, they are also more expensive.

Don’t procrastinate with water heater repairs or replacement:

Don’t ignore the signs of a broken hot water heater. If it bursts or begins leaking you will have the water damage bill to pay too. You don’t want to add mold remediation to your list of home expenses.

Hot water heater preventative maintenance:

Every few months check the pressure valve to make sure it’s operating properly. When you are doing your home maintenance during the spring flush the hot water tank. This will get rid of particles and build up that could lead to a burst tank.

4. Foundation repairs:

Do you struggle to close your doors correctly? Do you see cracks in your walls? These could be signs of a foundation problem. If caught early, crack repairs run around $500. You don’t want to ignore these problems as they can turn into safety issues over time. Holding off on leak repairs can lead to mold. A major foundation replacement like stabilizing runs around $10,000-$12,000. A structural engineer can tell you what to do to resolve the issue. Steel beams may need to be installed to stabilize the house.

Foundation repairs and resale value:

Trying to sell a home with foundation problems can feel impossible. But, investing in the foundation can help your resale value. Having the home stabilized makes the home more appealing to buyers.

Budgeting for home repairs:

Your home repairs don’t have to break your bank. But it will require putting aside money each month for potential repairs. Many recommend the square foot rule for budgeting. You should put aside $1 per square foot of home per year for maintenance. If you own a 2,000 square foot home, you should put aside $2,000 per year for repairs and replacements. Another method you can use is the 1% rule. Put aside 1% of your home’s value per year in repairs. These are guidelines for your maintenance budget. But there are other factors to consider.

  • Age: If your home is new you probably aren’t expecting too many major repairs. If the home is 20-30 years old expect to be making some major repairs soon.
  • Inclement weather: If you live in a region that is susceptible to inclement weather your repair costs may differ. Heavy snow and extreme cold are taxing on a home. If you live along the coast you may be at risk for hurricane damage. The climate may allow pests to thrive too. If your area has termites consider pest control and prevention in your maintenance.
  • Flooding: If you are on a floodplain or at the bottom of a hill this will increase your maintenance costs. You may also be required to carry flood insurance on the home. This is a good question for your insurance agent.
  • Single family home, condo, or townhome: If you live in a single-family home you must pay for all maintenance. But if you live in a townhome or condo your HOA dues will cover several costs. You would be responsible for the interior repairs like electrical and plumbing. The HOA would cover exterior maintenance like roofing and foundation repairs.

Home ownership is a great opportunity to build equity. Yet, you don’t want to be drowning in home repair costs. Home ownership is meant to help you build wealth not bankrupt you. Have a budget, manage your preventative maintenance, and anticipate major repairs or replacements. This way your home will be a benefit instead of a burden.

Contact Seller’s Advantage online or call us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your home. We purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

So You Want to Fix and Flip a Property: 3 Things You Should Know

When exploring options for dealing with a fixer-upper home, owners will likely consider the fix and flip strategy. With popular reality television shows making the practice seem easy and the possibility of high profits motivating owners, it’s not hard to imagine how the fix and flip strategy seems like an enticing option.

While the fix and flip strategy can be profitable, the reality of the challenges and risks involved need to be carefully considered. Basically, the practice is harder than it looks on television and riskier than homeowners and investors may think. In an effort to help, let’s discuss 3 reasons to reconsider the fix and flip strategy.

 

1. Steep Learning Curve for First Time House Flippers:

 

Learning the ropes with fixing and flipping a home is much like that of starting a new career. The learning curve is steep and requires commitment, time, investment, and a desire to learn about real estate, contractors, law, marketing, building codes, taxes, and more.

Basically, this isn’t a strategy for those who want an easy way to deal with an existing home or an easy way to make money from an investment. Unless a person wants to make this strategy part of their real estate investment career and is willing to learn the ropes, the fix and flip strategy isn’t likely for them.

An article found on The Washington Post called: “Why you won’t get rich flipping homes”, written by Justin Pierce, explains how the fix and flip strategy is “Knowledge-intensive”:

 

“You have to know at least a little about a lot of different things to be able to manage the business. In my opinion, the most important knowledge required is real estate market specifics. You absolutely have to know how to value a home and what the buyers want, which includes popular designs and decor.

…it’s very tough to be successful in this business if you don’t have a good understanding of construction, which includes the dozens of specific trades required in building a home.

…you also need to know real estate and business law, insurance, contracting, negotiations, project management and more.”

 

2. Large Investment Needed with Unknown Return:

 

One of the biggest misconceptions about house flipping is the profit margins, at least for beginners. The truth is the fix and flip strategy requires a large investment and doesn’t guarantee a profit in the end. This is especially true with beginners who haven’t calculated the comprehensive expenses involved from start to finish.

The Washington Post article mentioned before explains more:

 

“Flipping a home is a costly endeavor. It involves the input of dozens of specialists, all of whom have to be paid. No one can do all of this alone. Even if you could, it probably wouldn’t be the best use of your time.

…There are a lot of people between my final paycheck and me.

…I have to pay my lenders and investors for the use of their money.

…I have to pay the agent who brings me a buyer.

…I also have to pay lawyers, contractors, material suppliers, inspectors and appraisers. And the tax man gets me about three to five different times for the same deal.”

 

The author, who’s also a licensed real estate agent, goes on to explain the slim profit margins involved with flipping houses:

 

“Sure, I might make a $40,000 profit on a project, but that is a really low return if I had to spend $600,000 on it.

…Despite what the gurus tell you, this is a very high-risk business, especially for those who are new. You have to rely on a lot of other people. The biggest risks are in valuing the property, determining the renovations and managing the construction.”

 

3. The Amount of Time and Effort Needed to Flip a Home:

 

The fix and flip strategy can work, yet owners must be willing to take the time and expend the effort necessary to make a decent profit. How much effort and time it takes to do this highly depends on the specific variables involved; often for beginners, the entire process takes longer and requires more effort than originally expected.

There are many hindering factors that can derail ideal fix and flip scenarios, such as:

 

    • legal issues
    • contractor issues
    • real estate market demand
    • inaccurate valuations
    • unexpected repairs
    • code issues

 

There are many nightmare fix and flip stories that validate this point; one such story is told by an experienced real estate investor and house flipper Mark Ferguson on his website Invest Four More in an article called: “My Five Worst House Flipping Experiences”:

 

“A couple of years ago, I bought a house that was in really bad condition…I bought the house on 4/28/14 and sold it on 2/26/16!”

…Time dragged on and on, and the work was not getting done. The contractor had a number of excuses, but then I made a huge mistake. I paid him a partial payment for the work he had done, and then my bookkeeper paid him again because I forgot to write ‘paid’ on the invoice. He got paid in full for the job before he was done. After that, he would almost never work, and I had to threaten to sue him multiple times to get anything done. In the end, he finished the work, but it took him almost a year!”

 

This is a good example of the type of delays and hindrances owners may face when flipping a house. This story was due to contractor issues, both with trying to find one and then trying to get the one hired to do the work. These aren’t the type of variables owners plan on dealing with, yet they can happen to even experienced house flippers.

 

Conclusion

 

While the fix and flip strategy can be profitable, owners and investors should carefully consider the challenges and risks involved. At the very least, they should expect it to be more difficult than popular reality television shows make it seem. In reality, the fix and flip strategy involves a steep learning curve, the ability to stay committed through delays and hindrances, and the willingness to risk a large investment for an unknown return.

Basically, the fix and flip strategy isn’t suited for everyone and every situation. For situations where homeowners want to sell quickly for cash as is, finding a reputable service to deal with is key. Dealing with a reputable service like Seller’s Advantage ensures homeowners get the best price in the quickest time frame.

If interested in learning more please contact Seller’s Advantage online or call us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your home. We purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

So You Want to Be a Landlord: Beware of These Four Issues First

Being a landlord isn’t as easy as it may seem on the periphery. Sure, with ideal tenants and no big surprises, renting a house can be a fairly easy way to make an income or pay off a mortgage, yet this ideal scenario isn’t generally the norm. In an effort to give potential landlords a balanced view, let’s examine the downside of being a landlord.

1. Dealing with Tenants

Let’s start off with likely the most difficult part of being a landlord, which is dealing with the tenants. Prospective landlords shouldn’t underestimate the difficulty of dealing with tenants in the course of being a landlord long-term.

This isn’t to say all tenants are going to be difficult, dishonest, unclean, destructive, etc., yet it does mean that dealing with tenants requires discernment, patience, resolve, commitment, and perhaps money (if using a rental agency instead of doing it alone).

Tenants aren’t just retail customers or employees who come and go from the store or workplace, rather landlords have to deal with them on a long-term basis. While this can be a rewarding experience, unless a landlord has excellent discernment and an ability to be upfront with people, renting to tenants can be a nightmare as well.

Of course, the type of house and neighborhood will make a difference in the type of tenants attracted to the rental, yet landlords should remember it takes time to get to know who people really are. For instance, tenants can look and sound great in person and on their applications, yet when an issue occurs (theft, flooded sink, neighbor’s dog barking, etc.) or their expectations aren’t met to their standards, their true colors will come through.

Basically, being a landlord involves dealing with tenants on a long-term basis, which means getting to know exactly who they are deep down inside. This isn’t always easy to discern and can become a real nightmare for landlords when unexpected circumstances reveal contentious personalities.

2. Management Aspects of Being a Landlord

The management aspects of being a landlord involve dealing with tenants, yet also so much more. Essentially, being a landlord (even of one house) is like being a business owner; some business aspects can be outsourced to a property management company, yet this is another monthly expense to calculate.

Potential landlords should ask themselves:

    • Do I want to master the IRS Schedule E for landlords?
    • Do I want to incur the responsibility for resolving evictions, late fees, damages by tenants, and other potential liabilities?
    • Do I want to accomplish the extra bookkeeping or pay someone else to manage it – including a CPA at tax time?

 

While there may be profit at the end of all the taxable and non-taxable expenses, potential landlords must consider the time and effort it takes to manage the manifold business aspects involved. They also must consider the potential liability involved when renting their houses to relatively unknown people.

While some landlords may be fortunate enough to have great long-term tenants, most landlords deal with many tenants over the years. Considering the average credit score for renters is 650 and in 66% of housing markets, buying is more affordable than renting (stats from mysmartmove.com), great long-term tenants are not easy to come by.

3. Time and Expenses of Repairs and Maintenance

Homeowners already understand how much maintenance and repair houses need every year. As a landlord, add to these duties the tasks of coordinating repairs with tenants and meeting their variable expectations. Then consider that the time spent doing repairs and maintenance isn’t tax deductible; the cost of the repairs is tax deductible, but if done by the landlord themselves, the labor isn’t.

Paying all the repair and maintenance expenses and spending the time to coordinate, hire, or DIY, are big downsides to being a landlord, especially with an older house. Even if most of the expenses can be deducted at tax time, they’ll require landlords to constantly spend money upfront.

Another downside to renting a home is most tenants won’t treat the home as if it was their own; in other words, they may neglect and treat the home harshly, which may lead to more repairs and expenses that wouldn’t normally occur. And if any late payment fees, evictions, or other issues occur, tenants may thrash and damage the home out of anger and malice – creating more repairs and expenses.

4. Dealing with Vacant Rentals

The rental market may be good now, but even this doesn’t mean landlords won’t suffer from vacancy between tenants. Finding the right tenants takes time, as does the repairs and maintenance done between tenants, and taking the first applicant out of desperation or expediency is a gamble not worth taking.

The point is, landlords have to deal with vacant rentals when tenants leave or are evicted. If the latter occurs, landlords may have to pay legal fees and wait out the legal process of evicting someone who won’t leave – one nightmare story details a man who lived free during the eviction process for 274 days!

Hey, “life happens” is the old adage that applies here; applicants may have intentions of staying long-term, yet with job, marriage, and other life changes occurring, they very well may have to move much earlier than expected.

Landlords must deal with these unexpected situations and go through the application process as many times as necessary; in the meantime, rent isn’t coming in and expenses are going out. With enough of these unexpected departures in a short period of time, landlords may have a hard time just breaking even for the year.

What’s the Alternative?

Examining the downside of being a landlord may have some homeowners looking for an alternative to being one. And if being a landlord was an alternative to dealing with the traditional way of selling a home, they may be discouraged all-together!

Don’t worry, there’s good news; the alternative to both is to use Seller’s Advantage to sell the house quickly and without the hassles. Seller’s Advantage has purchased thousands of houses, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and has many positive reviews online from past customers.

For homeowners wanting to sell quickly and for the best cash price possible, Seller’s Advantage is the best alternative around. If interested, contact Seller’s Advantage online or call us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote. We purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give homeowners a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

To Rent or To Sell Your Home: The Devil is in the Details

You own a property. You can sell it or rent it. You are not going to live in it yourself so, apart from leaving it empty, you only have those two choices.

It is a big decision. Many people make what they see as an easy decision based on how they came to be the owner. They may have inherited it, so it may have some emotional ties for them and their family. They may simply have had a job transfer and moved out of town. They may have received it as part of a divorce settlement. Each situation brings different factors into the decision. And each situation also brings its own hassles, pressures, and emotions regardless of property ownership.

It feels like an easy decision, “to rent it out until we are sure.” It is also easy to look ahead a little and see possible interest rate increases coming down the pike. When mortgage rates go up, fewer people can afford to buy, so they are more likely to rent, so renting the property looks like a good idea. If mortgage rates go up, home prices go down, so renting it makes sense until the market picks up. They are easy decisions and they are decisions that owners often regret. It is as true of being a landlord as it is of many things – the devil is in the details.

Rent it Yourself or Use an Agent
Again, you have two choices. Many owners take the “do-it-yourself” route because they have heard the horror stories about agents who “did not do their job properly.” Real estate is a complex line of business. It is erratic in terms of demand from would-be buyers or tenants. It is filled with buyer and tenant emotion because it is potentially their new home they are looking at. And it is a business filled with part-time agents who, no matter how well-intentioned they are, can only be available to find a tenant, interview them, handle the background checks and the walk-throughs, and everything which property management involves in the evenings and weekends.

So, many people decide to become their own part-time property manager. You do not need a real estate license to rent out your own property, and “if we find the right tenant, all will be OK” as many owner-landlords say to themselves.

Learning on the Job
Advertisements go into the press, websites sell well-designed rental property pages, neighborhood websites get read by folk looking for somewhere to live, so it is not too long for potential tenants to raise their hand.
The new landlord knows there is a process to follow, so reads up on the subject. It is important to meet the prospective tenants, show them the property, discuss it with them, do a background check, download a rental agreement, and all should be well.

Advertising the Property for Rent
Advertising the property is the first potential pitfall. The Federal government and State governments have laws that say what can go into an advertisement or, more precisely, what cannot. Not knowing the law is no excuse. The Federal Fair Housing Act makes things very clear about what a landlord can and cannot do, but is less clear on how to do it.

Meeting Mistakes
Meeting with tenant applicants is the next potential pitfall. Let us say the landlord meets the first tenant applicant at the property and begins the tour. As part of the “getting to know you” conversation the landlord asks if they have children. They do, and the landlord says the neighborhood is great for kids. They view the property, and say the would like to take it further.

The next tenant applicant arrives. It’s late, the landlord feels thirsty from all the talking, so offers to make this visitor a coffee. The first visitor did not get offered a drink. The conversation begins, and the landlord follows on from the previous conversation and says that the neighborhood is great for kids. This tenant does not have children.

The landlord has now possibly contravened the Federal Fair Housing Act twice. Really? Yes!  Telling the second tenant that the area is great for kids could be interpreted as “discrimination based on familial status.” The first person was not offered a drink, but the second one was. Was it just because the landlord was thirsty, or did it have something to do with the fact that the first visitor was from a foreign country and had just moved into town?

But it was just conversation! To the everyday person, yes it was just conversation, but the Federal Fair Housing Act says it may be discrimination. Now here is the problem, the property cannot be rented out to both applicants, and if the unlucky applicant felt disappointed, then they may hire a lawyer to pursue their case for compensation.

Background Checks
It is essential for landlord peace of mind to carry out background checks on tenant applicants. Landlords have a right to choose a tenant they believe will pay their rent on time, look after the property, and not behave in ways that may anger other residents. To learn enough about applicants, they carry out background checks.

The checks include such things as:
• Credit score.
• History of paying debts on time, not having any liens against them, not having any forced account closures, etc.
• References from previous landlords, current employer, etc.
• Any criminal history (both state and federal.)
• Any history of drug or alcohol dependency.

Landlords must seek permission for such checks, must complete the requests correctly, and must handle the responses correctly. In some states, for example, it is forbidden to seek the source of income. Knowing who can be told about the results of criminal or other history is also essential. By not following the rules, the landlord is liable for a claim.
It is illegal to discriminate against someone with a previous drug addiction, for example, if that applicant has completed or is actively involved in a rehabilitation program. Worrying that the applicant may fall back into old ways and wanting to charge a higher rent to cover any potential damage is against the law. Not renting the property to that person but renting it to someone else is a landlord’s right, but all of the correct steps must be taken to avoid a potential claim for discrimination.

The Takeaway
Being a first-time landlord may seem like an easy decision and an obvious route to follow. But the route has pitfalls. There are successful landlords who never took a misstep, and others who learned from their mistakes. The details set by federal and local laws can be cumbersome, and finding the right property manager can be difficult.
The best decision, therefore, may be to sell quickly, simply, and for a fair price. Click here to contact Seller’s Advantage online or call us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your home. We purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

What You Need to Know Before Selling a Hoarder’s Home

When it comes to hoarding the first thought is someone with a messy home. A person who can’t or won’t clean up. But, it’s more complicated than what meets the eye. Cleaning the house will not automatically solve the problem. Hoarding is a mental illness and must be treated with compassion. However, swift treatment is key due to the hazards that come with hoarding and selling the home of a hoarder.

Common symptoms of hoarding:

Hoarding is a mental illness. But, if you can spot the signs early you can encourage the person to see a doctor before things progress.

1. Excessively purchasing unnecessary items.

This person may buy items they don’t need nor, can they store. They may believe this item will have a use in the future and is unique. That is their justification for the purchase.

2. Emotional attachment to their belongings:

This goes beyond one or two items which have sentimental value. It also does not include things they use daily or would have a legitimate use for in the future. They are emotionally attached to a vase they never use. Or, a broken appliance that is beyond repair. For the hoarder, these items may remind them of better days or of a loved one they have lost.

3. Saving unnecessary things:

Hoarders will become attached to empty detergent bottles or empty boxes. Things non-hoarders would throw away when they are consumed. A hoarder will justify this because they don’t want to waste anything.

4. Clutter:

The clutter that accumulates due to a hoarder’s behavior renders rooms unusable. This problem extends beyond an inconvenience or messiness. This kind of clutter creates a fire and trip threat for the hoarder. If the mess is blocking windows and entrances, it becomes a fire hazard. Yet, the clutter makes the hoarder feel safe and secure. Despite the safety problems is causes.

Who is at risk?

There are some risk factors common among hoarders. Those who are indecisive are more susceptible to hoarding. If the person has a family history of hoarding they are a high risk of becoming hoarders themselves. Unhealthy coping skills can result in hoarding too. If the person has had a divorce, eviction, or job loss recently they may revert to hoarding.

Hoarding risks:

There are numerous health and safety risks associated with hoarding. Anyone assisting a hoarder needs to understand these risks and prepare accordingly.

1. Sanitation:

Excessive clutter makes proper cleaning difficult. This also becomes a breeding ground for germs. Living in this environment compromises the hoarder’s health and immune system. Rotting food that is left indoors becomes food for germs which can make the occupants sick. If the person hoards animals, it creates more problems. Decomposing carcasses make go unnoticed and attract bugs and rodents. The germs that cling to animal’s waste can make everyone in the home ill.

2. Infestations:

The litter, rotting food, and waste create the perfect environment for pest and mold infestations. Bedbugs are attracted to clutter as they can hide in small crevasses. Rats and flies will flock to the rotting food. Since there is so much clutter they can hide from the person living in the home. These pests are far from harmless. Many are carriers of parasites. Their waste in your home puts you at risk for E. Coli and salmonella.

3. Respiratory issues:

Junk can fall into vents obstructing air from properly circulating. The rotten food becomes a magnet for mold, mildew, and fungus. The mold causes several respiratory and health issues.

4. Fire Hazard:

Hoarding is a fire hazard in many ways. First, is the flammable clutter in the home. If some of it were to hit the stove or heater the house would quickly be in flames. The rodents can chew through wires putting the home at risk for an electrical fire. Unsafe appliances make heating the home dangerous. In the event of a fire, the fire department would have a difficult time finding the occupants. The sheer amount of clutter is an obstruction for them. Often, entryways are blocked by boxes and other items making rescue difficult.

5. Structural integrity:

The weight of the unnecessary items compromises the structural integrity of the dwelling. The load-bearing structures become stressed making the home dangerous. The clutter itself may collapse and cause additional damage.

How to prepare a hoarder’s home for sale:

It is possible to prepare to sell a home after a hoarder has lived there. However, you will need to call a few professionals for help.

1. Professional hoarding clean-up:

This goes beyond a regular clean-up job. It will require a team of cleaners and take several days. The team begins by completely clearing out the room. Then, they will sift through the clutter and separate what to keep and what to throw away.  Another option is hiring a junk removal service. They clear out the home completely and dispose of everything.

2. Professional exterminators:

You must hire a professional exterminator when selling a hoarder’s home. Pest control will asses the damage and come up with a plan to fix problems like rodents or bedbugs.

3. Trusted contractor:

You want to hire a trusted contractor to fix any structural damage to the home before sale. This is especially important for load-bearing walls.

4. Mold remediation:

The mold growth in the home of a hoarder is hazardous to the health of everyone. You need a mold remediation expert to help. They start by assessing the extent of the damage. From there they come up with a plan that includes isolating contaminated areas, removing all mold infested items, and extensively cleaning and killing the mold. After this is complete, they will make sure the mold issue is resolved.

Hoarding is a serious illness that affects the hoarders mental and physical well-being. The clutter and safety hazards are symptoms of a deeper mental illness. Cleaning the home does not resolve the problem. What you see as junk they see as treasure. Even after cleaning it up the hoarder will go back to their old ways without effective therapy. The hoarder needs the help of a mental health expert while the physical needs of the home are being tended to.

Yet, it is not impossible to sell a home that a hoarder lived in. Once you understand the time and money involved in the repairs you can get to work. Every hoarding situation is different. Many homes can be restored and sold after a hoarding occupant.

Contact Seller’s Advantage online or call us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your home. We purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

 

 

 

Is Being a Landlord Worth It? Managing The Drama And Expense

At some point in your life, you’re probably going to have the opportunity to be a landlord–rent a house you own to a tenant. You could inherit a home, or keep an older house when you buy a new one–however you come by that empty house, it’s hard not to see dollar signs blinking over it. Before you put a “For Rent” sign in the front yard, you need to know your responsibilities as a landlord, and your prospective tenants’ rights.  Knowing this could impact your choice between being a landlord and selling your rental property and getting cash for something else – retirement, college financing for your children, or investment opportunities.

Responsibilities

The minutiae of landlord duties differ among states, but according laws in every state except Arkansas, there is an implied warranty of habitability. Here’s what that means in practice.

  • Basic structural elements (roof, walls, floors, stairs) are solid and intact
  • Mechanicals–heat, air conditioning, water, electrical, and plumbing have to be operating safely
  • Extermination of pests and rodents
  • Provide for trash removal and receptacles
  • Disclose any environmental hazards–mold, radon, asbestos and lead paint–and manage against any danger to the tenant
  • Provide safety against criminal intrusion

The remedies for some of these requirements are quite simple. The county or city will usually provide trash bins (it’s what you pay taxes for); leave asbestos alone, new paint over old lead based paint, and good ventilation and landscape plants take care of most radon concerns. Change the locks before a new tenant comes in and put locks on the windows and you’re providing safety.

If there is any mold in the house, you need to confirm it’s not a health hazard.

This is actually the easy part, since all you’re required to do is provide a safe and habitable house. It gets complicated when you look at other rental properties to figure out what they offer and what they charge in rent and fees–you’ve got to keep up with the market to attract a tenant.

Shopping List

These are some of the things that you will expected to provide in most markets across the US.

Kitchen Appliances–range or cooktop and oven, refrigerator and freezer, dishwasher, and disposal.

Washer and Dryer

Water Heater

Central Heat and Air Conditioning

Access to Internet and Cable

Repair Responsibilities

If you’ve owned a home before, you are all too aware of the costs to maintain it. If you’ve inherited a house and haven’t had to fix a leaky roof before, you’re in for a bit of a surprise.

When it’s your house, you can let stuff go for awhile of it’s not a major thing–until you hardly notice the missing cabinet door and hinges. When you’ve got other people paying to live in the house, you’re required to maintain the house just like it was when they moved in. The time frame is fluid–that broken hinge doesn’t have quite the urgency of a burst pipe–but you should have repairs done within a week.

Major mechanical issues go back to the implied warranty, so things like burst pipes, non-functioning furnaces or a broken banister have to be fixed immediately. Major issues are not necessarily expensive; the part to fix the furnace or the banister could be a $50 trip to the home improvement store.

Managing The Money

Every state is different in the way landlords are required to maintain security deposits, fees, and rents. One thing to remember is that a security deposit does not belong to you; you are holding for the tenant. In light of that, those monies should be deposited in an interest-bearing savings account against the day you have to return it.

Open a separate checking account for rent payments and other non-refundable fees (credit check, administration, application). While it’s not illegal in some states to use your personal accounts for business purposes, it’s just not a good idea and you’ll need detailed records and bank statements for the IRS.

When There’s Disagreement

Being a landlord is not for those who can’t handle conflict. If you’re a pushover or too hot tempered, find someone else to manage the property. There will be disagreements between you and your tenants, and you should be aware of your and their legal rights, as well as penalties, when disputes arise.

The lease should be clear and concise, and you should have an attorney either draw it up or review it for you before you present it to the tenant. Any state laws supersede a clause in the lease that conflicts with the law–if state law says you’re responsible for pest extermination and your lease says it’s the tenant’s job, you’ll lose that argument every time because you can’t dispute a statute and it will cost you a lot more than the Orkin guy to try.

Conflicts usually arise over repairs–the tenant wants a state of the art washer and dryer and you want to install something you found on Craigslist. Or their lamps and small appliances keep shorting out, and they want you to get an electrical inspection. Clearly one of these is a disagreement, and the other is a huge safety hazard.

The implied warranty is clear on the appliance–you must replace it with a similar item (like iPhones, when a model is discontinued you’re stuck with the newer and more expensive one). You can’t warrant a secondhand appliance works the same as the one that broke, but you also don’t have to spend a fortune. You also don’t want to have to replace the replacement in two months. If you’re in disagreement over a possible safety issue, deal with it and if the tenant is crying wolf, send them the bill or deduct it from the security deposit; refer to the lease terms for this resolution. The last thing you want is a burned out house because you didn’t address a problem.

Keep records of communication with the tenant–usually you have an email or text chain, and if they threaten you at all make a note. Most disputes can be resolved without an attorney.

Or, You Can Avoid All The Hassle And Sell The House

If you’ve got the fortitude to be a landlord, it’s a nice way to make a little extra money. If you’re going in that direction because you’ve got a white elephant of a house on your hands, let Seller’s Advantage take it off your hands. They’ll not only pay cash for the house as-is, but close within a couple of weeks. So instead of trying to turn Great-Uncle Fred’s ramshackle ranch into a cash cow, go ahead and get the milk–call Seller’s Advantage today.

 

5 Reasons to Sell Your Vacant House Before Halloween

Do you have an empty house you just want to get rid of? Believe or not, thousands of other homeowners across the country are in a similar situation. You may have an inherited house you don’t want, a house that needs to be sold after a divorce, or even just a home you’ve moved out of and want to get off your hands. No matter what your situation, one thing is for sure: You want to get that empty house sold before Halloween. While this holiday may mean fun costumes and spooky parties for most of the country, it also marks the absolute worst time of year to have an unlived-in house on your hands for a number of powerful reasons.

Halloween is a terrible time to be selling a house, and it only gets harder from here. Between the howling winds and rock-throwing hooligans, and empty house is more of a liability than an asset during the cold months. Especially around Big Spooky when teenagers everywhere are up to no good and just looking for a little damage to do that ‘won’t hurt anyone’. If you’ve been trying to sell a house you don’t want that is still on the market in late October, it’s time to do everything you possibly can to get it sold and into the hands of someone with the time and resources to take care of the property.

Today, Seller’s Advantage is here to outline the five leading reasons to get your house off the market before the big spooky holiday of costumes, candy, and mischievous property damage rolls around.

1) Winter is the Slowest Time for Home Sales

Whether or not you are afraid of hooligans, the most profound reason to sell your house right now instead of waiting for the “right buyer” to come along is that we are about to enter the dark season for the housing market. Winter isn’t just when the days get shorter and the nights get colder. It’s also the slowest possible time on the housing market. Very few homes sell after mid-autumn and the sale rate slows to a glacial pace once the snows start to fall.

Home sales don’t pick up again until spring thaws the ice and begins to inspire thoughts of homemaking, gardening, and the patter of little feet on new hard wood floors. If you don’t want to worry about that house sitting empty for another four to six months, the time to sell is right now before Halloween marks the official beginning of the Holiday season.

2) Autumn and Winter Storms Can Rack Up Repair Costs

The next real concern is that, starting with All Hallows Eve, the weather becomes a scary proposition for the exterior of your home. Winter storms are notorious, especially in regions like Philadelphia, Chicago, and of the astoundingly windy Midwest states. Freezing gale-force winds will rip the shingles right off your roof and warp siding with their howling speed. Winds can also break off dry and brittle tree branches, gouging roofs and sometimes even crashing down large branches to create real rooftop holes.

And even without the winds, autumn falling leaves followed by piling up snow can cause their own problems. Both piles of leaves and piles of snow can create damp mounts that slowly rot away at your roof. First the shingles, then the timbers underneath will suffuse with trapped water and develop water damage. The roof will get soft in those spots and need serious repairs when the spring rolls around allowing the snow to melt and blowing away the leaves.

3) Houses are Hard to Maintain Over the Winter

Another challenge is that houses are much more difficult to maintain in the winter. Particularly in regions where the outside temperature can drop below zero. Leaving a home empty with the utilities turned off is all well and good during warmer months, but there is a serious risk of home decay if you let the house get too cold inside. The materials that home interiors are made of are designed to remain between livable temperatures. Extreme cold can damage and warp the wood, walls, and cabinetry almost as badly as extreme heat and humidity.

Then there is the risk of burst pipes. If there is any water at all sitting in the home’s pipes, freezing temperatures risk the pipes swelling with expanding ice and bursting. This creates a truly monumental repair task that will eat into your budget while also adding water damage that will make it even more difficult to sell the home.

4) Few People Attend Open Houses in Cold or Rainy Weather

But even if nothing extreme goes wrong and you simply keep hosting open houses and marketing your house for sale, you will have little luck finding ready buyers. Not only does the housing market slow way down during the colder months, but even buyers who are interested will tend to move more slowly in the buying process. After all, few people want to drive out to a house to walk around the grounds or attend an open house event in cold and snowy weather.

This is, in part, because it’s simply less pleasant to travel and check out houses when it’s cold. But if your region experiences snow, buyers may also be hesitant to complete a deal until they’ve seen what the home looks like not covered in a fluffy white blanket. No matter how many cups of cocoa you put out, it will be difficult to get buyers to come out and see your home after Halloween passes.

5) Halloween Tricksters Target Empty Houses

And finally, the reason this is such a profoundly October-focused tip is that Halloween night itself is a very dangerous time for empty houses. Some teenagers and even older hooligans take “Trick or Treat” all too seriously. If there are no decorations, no candy for the kids, and no lights on inside some will decide that this is an affront to the holiday. Their desire to throw eggs, rocks, and rolls of toilet paper will become irresistible. Especially with the floating concept that no –people– will get hurt if they decide to lay waste to your unwanted house.

Empty homes are prime targets for Halloween mischief and if no one comes outside shouting, that mischief can quickly get out of hand. If you don’t want to find yourself scrubbing off eggs, gathering scraps of toilet paper, and repairing broken windows, it’s best to get that house sold before the 31st rolls around.

Halloween is a dangerous time for empty houses on the market and your prospects for selling only get worse past this point. Fortunately, Seller’s Advantage is here to help. We will buy your home no matter what shape it’s in, how long it’s been on the market, or how haunted the local kids might think the house is around this time of year. We aren’t afraid of ghosts, know how to handle hooligans, and will pay you a fair price for your house after a simple inspection and no-obligation cash offer. For more information about how to sell your unwanted house before the risks of Halloween and the dark winter market beyond, contact us today!

Planning to Sell Your Home AS-IS? Be Aware of the Challenges

The “Normal Way” to Sell a Home

You want to put your home on the market, which means you will have to keep it in “show” condition and staged for every viewing. You know from interviewing the Realtors that most FSBO sales (people who try to sell the home themselves) fall through or sell for much less than if they hire a Realtor and pay the 6% commission.

You also know that buyers will have at least two home inspections done (Safety and Functionality, and Wood Destroying Organism) You also know that, depending on the age of the house or the type of mortgage the buyer wants, there may be even more than two inspections (Radon, Lead Paint, Etc.) The buyer’s insurance company or mortgage lender may also require a Wind Mitigation Inspection to check that the house is structurally sound enough and will withstand strong winds

You and your real estate agent discuss the idea of selling the property in “As is” condition because you assume it means probably no inspections, but even if the buyer wants to pay for inspections, you do not have to do any repairs.

Unfortunately, that is not how “As is” contracts work. Let us dig into that to make sure you, the seller, know what will probably happen and the hassles it can cause.

The Problem with Regular “As Is” Contracts

There are several problems putting your home on the open market in “As is” condition. Some buyers:

  • Assume that means the seller knows there is a serious problem and doesn’t want to fix it, so they do not want to view the home. This reduces the chances of getting an offer from otherwise ready, willing and able buyers.
  • Know their lender will not lend on an “As is” house, so they do not want to view it either.

Other problems for the seller include the fact that there are several different regular “As is” contracts, so until you, the seller, receive an offer, you do not know what the actual conditions are. Remember, the buyer and their agent decide on which contract to use, not the seller.

Some regular “As is” contracts allow the buyer to walk away from the contract for any reason they choose. Let us say the buyer just gets buyer’s remorse. If they tell the seller they have changed their minds, they open themselves to an escrow dispute over the good faith deposit. If they use the “walkaway” clause in the contract, it may give them the legal right to break the contract for any reason. For example, they “do not like the color of the front door” or they “have just noticed the light switches are showing their age.” Regular “As is” contracts protect the buyer and, in some cases, for any reason at all.

Regular “As is” contracts do not protect the seller from doing repairs. To keep the contract in place, the seller may pay for repairs or renegotiate the sale price, even though they thought “as is” meant just that.

The Problem with Other Contracts

Most contracts require the seller to transfer the property in a safe and functional condition. It will also set a financial limit as to how much the seller will be liable to spend on repairs and replacements following the inspections. That amount is negotiable, of course, but the buyer’s and seller’s agents will say what “the normal amount” is.

Some buyers see that seller liability clause as “their money” that they haven’t got back yet. They, therefore, want the inspector to find problems. An astute buyer can then do one of two things, they can:

  • Require the seller to do the work using suitably qualified and licensed contractors. Contracts do not usually permit the seller to do simple repairs themselves. Any and all fixing must be carried out by an approved contractor at however much they charge for parts and labor.

The buyer will then have a right, under the contract, to have the repairs inspected. Any fault found will mean the seller will have to pay for it to be done again. If the seller disagrees that the repair is faulty, then another inspector will be called in to be paid for by both the seller and the buyer.

  • The buyer may simply agree that the repairs do not need to be done in exchange for the seller handing over the repair money at closing so the buyer can do the repairs themselves. This, of course, reduces the amount of money the seller gets at closing.

An off-shoot problem from this post-contract renegotiation is that either the seller or buyer gets angry and the whole deal falls through. This leaves the seller having to start marketing their home all over again.

An Added Problem

Most states demand that the seller completes a “Seller Disclosure” statement to help potential buyers understand enough about the home before they make an offer. If a previous contract fell through because of an argument over repairs following an inspection, the seller must now update the Seller Disclosure to state that the previous inspection uncovered safety or functional problems that have not been repaired. This would probably lead to the listing price for the home being lowered, or the seller paying for the repairs before the house goes back on the market.

All this takes time and can result in the seller having to rethink their plans for after they sold their home because the home is not now sold.

What About the Inspection?

Most sellers assume they must allow the buyer to have inspections done regardless of the type of contract, and that the buyer will show good faith throughout the process. Many do, but some use the inspections as a way to renegotiate the contract price, as was mentioned above.

Inspectors are there to check safety and functionality. Is everything safe? The plumbing, the electrics, hot water tank, the air conditioning/furnace, the garage door, structural issues, etc. Is everything functioning to industry standards? The roof, doors, windows, all appliances, electrics, hot water tank, air conditioning/furnace, etc.

A comprehensive inspection can take a couple of hours. Many buyers attend the inspections so they can talk with the inspector. The inspector works for the buyer, so may err on the side of pleasing the buyer if something is marginal, for example.

The wood destroying organism (WDO) inspection is also called the termite inspection. Not having termite infestation does not mean the money set aside is safe. There may be old termite damage, or dry rot or wet rot damage. This must be corrected per the contract.

If a property is older, someone may have used lead-based paint which, over the years, has been painted over. A buyer may choose to have a lead paint inspection. This can cause untold hassles.

Sellers should check to see if inspectors must be licensed to inspect in their state or county or if the buyer can bring in, let us say, a relative who is also a contractor, or a contractor-friend of someone the buyer knows to do the inspections. Friends and relatives of the buyer are never on the seller’s side.

A Better Way

Selling a home can be a hassle, can cause sleepless nights, and, of course, the sale is not over until it’s over. Contracts exist to protect both the seller and the buyer, but different contracts, or specific clauses within a contract, may appear to favor the buyer.

Most sellers want to sell their property quickly, easily, for the right amount of money, and without all the post-contract hassles that most people never think about until those hassles appear. And that is where we come in.

Sellers can avoid all of those hassles by contacting Seller’s Advantage online or calling us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your home. We buy homes for cash online in true AS-IS condition, without the hassles of a regular “As is” contract and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

9 Reasons to Sell Your Rental Property

There are several benefits to owning rental property. If all goes well, you have a steady stream of income with minimal effort on your part. That is if you have a good tenant, nominal repairs, and your property taxes don’t skyrocket. But, what if the home needs a new roof? Or, you must evict a tenant? This is all part of being a landlord. Why should you consider selling your rental property?

Marketing:

Marketing your rental is a time-consuming process. There are many free options to use but you still need to qualify all the prospects. Of course, the rental property must be marketable as well. You will want to invest in simple durable landscaping. The condition of the home will determine your turnover costs. Simple wear and tear items are not covered by a security deposit. You will need to determine what to replace or retouch to attract a new tenant.

The income is not always steady:

Even the best tenants leave after their lease is up. Renting is temporary. Sometimes there is a gap between when a tenant leaves and a new one moves in. You will need time to turn the rental before a new person moves in. That takes a few days and you don’t receive payment for those days. Sometimes, things out of your control can hinder your ability to rent your home. A plant closes, and many people must move away for a new job. All these things cause you to lose income. You may have to reduce the price due to market demand. This cuts into your profits.

Bad tenants:

Bad or high-maintenance tenants cost you time and money. There are steps you can take to decrease your risk of a bad resident.

Run credit and criminal background checks:

This should be done on all prospects who apply. The cost of each check depends on what company you choose. You can offset this cost by requiring an application fee. This will also increase your chances of working with serious prospects.

Run a landlord background check:

If the prospect signs the authorization form you can call the former or current landlord. There are a few important questions to ask. Did they pay their rent on time? Did they have issues with other tenants (if applicable)? Did they abide by the lease or were there lease violations? What was the condition of the unit? Is there substantial damage to the rental? Would the landlord rent to this person again? Make sure to run a reference checks for two landlords. Some landlords will tell you what you want to hear to get rid of a troublesome tenant. But, if you ask a previous landlord, they have nothing to lose or gain by giving you a reference. They are more likely to be honest.

Verify employment and income:

You want to verify that your prospect has a job. However, they also need to earn enough income to cover the rent each month. The rule of thumb is that rent should not exceed 30% of your net monthly income.

Background checks help reduce the risk of a bad tenant. But, it’s not 100%. A tenant can lose their job while they are renting from you. This may cause them to get behind in their rent and other bills. They may also commit a crime while they are leasing from you. You may find yourself evicting these tenants.

Turnover:

The cost to turn a rental and put it back on the market can vary. If you had good tenants, you may need to clean and spot paint. If not, you are looking at an expensive time-consuming task. Carpet replacement, stolen appliances, and pet droppings are a few examples. To prevent this, you need to do two things. First, inspect the property frequently. You can do this if you provide the tenant with acceptable notice. Second, have a detailed lease and stick to it. Being the landlord means you must have tough conversations. Sometimes, those conversations must lead to you kicking out a resident. This is your asset you must protect it.

Evictions:

Evictions are costly for any landlord. It takes time and money to process an eviction. If you play your cards right you can get the resident out by the end of the month. But, then you still must deal with the unit itself. Many evicted tenants damage the rental and leave belongings behind. You must repair the damage and store the tenant’s belongings. The landlord charges the resident for these expenses. But, you can’t expect to see that money soon, if at all.

The landlord laws:

There are laws that you’ll need to be familiar with as a landlord. You must remain up-to-date on all state and federal laws pertaining to landlords. A lawsuit violating these laws would cost you dearly.

Portfolio diversification:

You stand to lose money if the neighborhood takes a turn for the worse.  If the local economy takes a hit, you will take a loss. If local real estate starts to hurt, then so do you. Your financial assets are poured into this rental. Unlike mutual funds, this loss is not divided among many people. The bank account is the main thing hit.

Maintenance:

There will be maintenance on the rental that you’ll need to address. Your homeowner’s insurance will cover catastrophic incidents like a fire. You are responsible for keeping the home up to code regarding safety items. There are many things that will require your attention like plumbing issues and electrical problems. You want to put some of your profits into a maintenance fund to handle these repairs. If you are renting an older home the maintenance costs may dig into your profits. Major things will wear down and need replacement.

Taxes and insurance:

As a landlord, you are responsible for the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Your resident should carry their own renter’s insurance to cover their belongings. These costs won’t be a surprise to you. They will be a fixed yearly cost. Bear in mind, it costs about 25% more to insure a rental property than your own home. Whether your unit is occupied or not you must pay these fees.

There are reasons to own rental property. If you market is in a slump it’s a great way to keep an income stream until the market goes back up. Yet, there are numerous reasons to sell the home too. Selling the home gives you peace of mind that you have the money from your asset. Renting is more stressful because you don’t know if you will get that income monthly. Selling the home can save you the hassle of dealing with rent stressors.

Looking to sell your rental property fast? Let our experts help. Contact Seller’s Advantage online or call us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your rental property. We purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

 

 

2 Stressful Ways & 1 Easy Way to Sell Your Home

There are two stressful ways to sell a home:

  • Do it all yourself and sell FSBO
  • Hire a successful, cooperative, professional, experienced real estate agent and get them to do it all.

The alternative is not to sell it, and many homeowners who “go FSBO” or who hire just a “regular real estate agent” often end up not selling their home – in spite of all the time, effort, emotion, and money they put into the project. There are so many ways a home sale can go off the tracks, that many people think it is easier not to bother.

Why is it so overwhelming? Let us discuss it in detail. By going into detail, you will be able to decide why selling a home is an overwhelming process, and why so many fail or plow on until, eventually, they do sell it. A lot of FSBOs eventually hire an agent, and a lot of home sellers who began by hiring an agent, hire another one. There is an old saying in real estate; “The three best things in life is to be someone’s first love, second wife, or the third Realtor.” Yes, selling a home can be very difficult and very overwhelming.

What is Your Goal as a Home Seller?

This is a must-ask question but one that not enough people ask themselves. Those who do ask often answer with one word: “Price.”

A better answer to the question is something like, “I want to sell my home for the best price I can reasonably get, in a time frame that I like, and with the least amount of hassle, problems and effort. And with no come-back from the buyer.”

Let us look at the two obvious options, beginning with selling your home yourself without an agent.

The Overwhelming Process of Going FSBO

Selling a home is complex, emotional, time-consuming, and filled with legalities. If that were not the case, there would be far fewer real estate agents and far fewer real estate lawyers. So why do people try to sell their home on their own? The biggest reason FSBOs give is they want to save the 6% commission.

And therein lies a huge problem. Most buyers who buy from a FSBO make a lowball offer because they want to save the commission too. Many buyers are experienced investors who know exactly how to negotiate on a home’s price. This means that after doing all the marketing, repairs, learning about the legal side, handling the showings, etc, there comes a time when the only game in town is an experienced investor who knows everything the homeowner has been going through, so is prepared to “take it off their hands” to save them further hassle.

Selling low after everything a homeowner has done is truly overwhelming. It is at that point that many home sellers turn down the investor’s lowball offer, and begin to interview real estate agents.

Why is selling FSBO such a hassle? After all, the home seller knows their home and their neighborhood better than anyone else, they can demonstrate what a great buy it is when prospective buyers show up, and once a price is agreed, they just go to a lawyer or a title company to handle everything else.

Here is a list that FSBOs said they have problems with. These are the top six. The most difficult things were:

  • Having enough time to devote to everything that selling entails. Most people have full-time jobs, so being able to do everything that a full-time agent does is almost impossible.
  • Preparing everything to get the house on the market and doing the fix-ups. Decluttering, getting rid of old and unwanted items, redecorating where needed, making repairs where needed, and keeping the home in “show” condition takes time, effort, and discipline. A buyer can call at any time.
  • Selling within the preferred timescale. Home sales have fallen recently and the trend looks like it will continue, so getting the right price in the right timescale will challenge the best agents even more than the FSBOs who also have a full-time job to do.
  • Getting the right price. Skilled and experienced buyers look for FSBOs because they know there will come a point when the homeowner just has to “get it off their hands.”
  • Understanding and managing all the paperwork. Legalities vary state by state. Paperwork varies state by state. Legal responsibilities and liabilities vary state by state. A lawyer can explain it all, but probably at $250 an hour, and even then, the homeowner is liable, not the attorney, if the sale is FSBO.
  • Falling out with a friend or family member who wants to buy because they had expected a great deal, not a tough negotiation.

When you put all those together, there is a long list of things that take time, effort, skill, and patience. It is interesting to note that the things that did not make the top six on the list were making sure would-be buyers were genuine and not just “casing the joint” or out for a day trip and, if they were genuine, had actually been pre-approved for a mortgage so if they wanted to buy, they actually could. Problems like that also fall under “timescale” and “getting the right price.” Agreeing to sell to someone who cannot buy is not uncommon, and it takes time and emotion to handle it.

That covers a lot of why FSBO sales get derailed or if they do succeed, are an unpleasant and overwhelming experience.

The Overwhelming Process of Selling with a Real Estate Agent

Let’s go back to that Realtor adage – the three best things in life include being the third Realtor. That implies very strongly that many home sellers fail to sell with their first two listing agents. Let us explore that a little.

You decide to hire a professional to handle the marketing, vet the prospective buyers, and manage all the post-contract work. It is best to hire an agent who wants to know enough about the property to market it effectively to the most likely group of potential buyers. You want an agent who is experienced and knows the neighborhood and why a buyer would live there. You want an agent who will be diligent, co-operative, and successful, because you want the best price, in the right timescale, and with minimum effort on your part.

In your local area there will be an Association of Realtors, and they will have hundreds of members. Some will be specialists in your area, say waterfront properties, planned communities, downtown, suburban, golf course, whatever your neighborhood is. Many will not be. The majority of agents sell fewer than six homes a year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Many are new to the business, so are learning the ropes just like the average FSBO learns. Many are part-time and treat real estate as a fun way of topping up their retirement income.  And some are consummate professionals who sell one or two houses a week.

One part of “overwhelm” is finding and interviewing the right agent for a particular property. Which may explain why many homeowners fail to sell even though they do everything right, and have to find another agent to begin the work all over again when the current listing agreement runs out. It is also worth noting that listing agreements are legal documents and most levy a cancellation charge to discourage homeowners from wanting to cancel the listing early. Everyone knows to interview at least three agents, but many hire the first one they meet.

Even with an agent, it is still up to the homeowner to do the fix-ups, declutter, keep the home “staged” etc, so it always shows well. The hard work of preparing and showing is always the homeowner’s.

Final Comment

There is a third option.  The perfect solution is to find a ready, willing and able buyer quickly, and for that buyer to say “Forget the fix-ups, forget the decluttering, forget the show home condition, and forget the showings as well. Here is a fair price in today’s market, and here is a closing date that suits you.” In that situation, the “overwhelm” and “derailing” evaporate.

Please feel free to contact Sellers Advantage online or call us at 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your home. We purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.

Don't leave!

Please call us at 1-800-208-3243 to speak with us immediately or finish your form to receive an offer within 24 hours!

Seller’s Advantage is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ Rating and have been in business for over 12 years.  We've purchased more than 10,000 properties from homeowners just like you!

OK, let's finish!

Don't leave!

Please call us at 1-800-208-3243 to speak with us immediately or finish your form to receive an offer within 24 hours!

Seller’s Advantage is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ Rating and has been in business for over 12 years.  We've purchased more than 10,000 properties from homeowners just like you!

OK, let's finish!