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Seller Has Unanticipated High Costs for House Sale

Home sales can be a challenge for the seller, with a lot of unpredictability. Mark and Debbie found this out the hard way.

The couple had rented their former residence located in a desirable area of town. Mark and Debbie decided that they wanted quick cash, and priced the house at the realtor’s recommended competitive price. After making repairs to the house, like replacing a broken tile, the residence was placed on the market.

An offer came in quickly. The potential buyer backed out when the inspector noticed a water leak on the patio. The roof was replaced before the home was relisted. The new roof cost the couple $9,936. A leak was also found in the water heater, this was a repair of $450. After the residence was listed again, the next potential buyer backed out because the home had polyurethane plumbing. Determined that this would not deter the next potential buyer, the sellers replaced the plumbing at a cost of $3,967. While waiting for the third offer to close, a tree fell on the screened in patio. This was a repair of $2,400.

Mortgage payments, basic utilities, and landscaping continued to eat into their cash. With the third offer at $20,000 less than the asking price, the sellers made much less than they had expected.

Mark and Debbie wished that they could have had a better idea of the final number sooner. The sellers were grateful when the house finally sold after months of stress.

​If you want to sell your home quickly without expensive repairs, contact Seller’s Advantage online (https://www.sellersadvantage.com/contact/) 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.

The Myths of Owning Investment Property: Landlord Drama

Every day, people find themselves with an extra house on their hands. It could be from an inheritance, a settlement, or simply a house or condo that you didn’t sell when you bought your new home. However you got it, you’ve got to deal with it. Your friends are probably telling you to hang on to it, you can make a killing if you turn it into an investment property. These friends may not have any investment properties of their own  or understand the responsibilities involved in becoming a landlord.

Yes, the market nationally for rental homes is blistering hot, and rents have never been higher. Even if you own the home outright, it’s not free to keep owning it. You’ll have to pay taxes on it, and if it’s inherited you may find yourself owing back taxes. Even without a mortgage requiring homeowner’s insurance you need to have the structure insured–if a tree falls on it or lightning strikes you’re left with a hole in the roof or a burned out house, so a little policy to cover costs to repair is a really good idea.  If your property has any HOA dues you’ve still got those to pay on a regular schedule.

Once you’ve worked out the budget for the cost to own, figure out your cost to rent. You heard that right–it will cost you to rent your house. You’ll need to spruce up the place–repair any damages to walls, floors, windows, whatever is less than shipshape. A fresh coat of neutral paint, new or refinished floors, and new appliances are necessary to attract the sort of tenant you want, and the landscaping should be freshened up.

If you’re still determined to be a landlord, you might need a property management company to deal with routine maintenance and repairs, or be prepared to be very handy and available 24/7. States have a variety of rules defining the landlord/tenant relationship, but failing to respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner is frowned upon in most states and you don’t want to go to court because you didn’t get the message the water heater burst.

There is an alternative to trying your hand at managing property–let Seller’s Advantage buy it. We can usually close a transaction in a couple of weeks, and you have the benefits of ready cash and keeping that landlord dream alive. If you think this is the solution for your extra house, contact us and learn more about our simple, no-pressure home buying process.

Why Appliances Matter – Purchasing New Appliances Before Selling Your Home

You’ve done it all – the house is staged with borrowed furniture, the curtains tied back to let in the sun and the counters have been swept clean and freshly washed. It looks a little bare, but that’s just how staged houses look – bare and a tad too clean. Unfortunately, no matter how much elbow grease you put into your cupboards and floors, if you haven’t updated your appliances in years then your kitchen might be making buyers think twice.

Selling With Appliances
Most prospective home buyers prefer to see appliances in the kitchen. Purchasing a home without a dishwasher, stove, microwave and fridge can mean a significant, immediate investment on top of the purchase price. A new set of appliances can easily run $3,000 or more depending on the quality and brand they prefer. This is why many realtors suggest selling your home with the appliances intact. Because when the buyer knows they will need to purchase and pay for new appliances, their offers will reflect their estimate of the after purchase costs.

Quality Matters
The quality of the appliances you have inside your home speaks to your prospective buyer – what it says depends on what they are looking for. Low quality, old or lightly damaged appliances may be a mild disappointment for some and a major passing point for others.

First Time Home Buyers – If your buyers haven’t looked at many houses yet, they may still be holding on to a few Pie-in-the-Sky dreams of gleaming hardwood floors, double garages and stainless steel appliances. If your home isn’t what they are looking for, they will give it a hard pass. However, after reconciling their dreams with their checkbooks they may find themselves back for a second look. Decent appliances, in good shape and working order, can become a reasonable selling point to disenfranchised buyers.

Families – If your home is big enough and in a good area, you may be entertaining quite a few families. For these buyers, no appliances or even older, damaged appliances can become a hard no if your selling price isn’t low enough. Families worry about quality and finding funds to replace failing appliances can be difficult. If your appliances don’t look like they have at least 3+ years of service left in them you can expect these buyers to pass.

Professionals – If you live in a nice enough area and your home is in good shape, you may see quite a few single or professional couples coming through your doors. Unlike most prospective buyers, professionals are more likely to see your appliances as an unwanted expense than an asset. For these buyers, the cost of purchasing new appliances isn’t a hindrance and having brand new appliances installed is preferable to using those they have purchased with the house.

Planning Ahead
Marketing to your buyer-group is an important part of selling your home. While every buyer is an individual, your realtor can help you determine what preferences prospective buyers for your home will have. As far as appliances go – If they are in poor repair, then it will usually be in your best interest to replace them.  Buyers tend to overestimate the price of purchasing new appliances and could reduce their offer by thousands more than you would spend replacing the appliances prior to selling.

An Easier Way to Sell
Not all sales require this type of attention, however. If you are looking for a quick sale, without the hassle of tailoring your house to meet buyer expectations then Contact Seller’s Advantage online or call us at 1-888-654-ASIS (2747) 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.

Common Home Repairs & Cost Creep

So you’d like to sell your house, but you need to “fix up a couple of things” before you talk to a realtor about putting it on the market. It’s amazing how you stop seeing things like ratty bath hardware and peeling deck paint, and then when you really look you’re kind of disgusted with how you live! YouTube is loaded with how-to videos that make it look so easy to repair tile or shore up deck supports, so you think, “I can do this, no problem” and hit the hardware store with a list of stuff and a quick weekend project.

The problem is, nothing involving home repairs is every as easy as it seems and before you know it, you can easily spend thousands on a project that you thought would cost a few hundred at most.

Take that deck with the peeling paint that’s a little saggy. If it’s more than a few years old, it could well be out of code if your railings are horizontal rather than vertical. When you go to the hardware store to figure out how to fix it, that’s a question the salesman will ask–and if you’re out of code you’ll have to pay for an updated deck one way or the other; on the front end if you fix it yourself, or as a credit or price decrease to the buyer. If you’re naturally handy and have the tools, it might be less expensive to do it yourself. But if you’re like most homeowners and don’t have post hole diggers, circular saws, and an impact drill, you’re going to spend a lot in that repair–you can rent the tools if you’re confident using them, and buy the materials for the project. Or hire a professional to do it–again, costing well over the three or four hundred you had budgeted.

Your third option, saving the best for last, is to let Sellers Advantage come in and buy your home in a couple of weeks, as is. Save yourself time, stress, and money with the easiest real estate transaction you’ll ever have. Contact us today, call the moving trucks tomorrow!

Is Your Home Holding You Back? Five Things That Can Cause You to Outgrow Your Living Space

If you are like most homeowners, you fell in love with your house on sight. Something about it – maybe it was the location or the size, the yard – something made it stand out. Unfortunately, as our lives change we often find that the things that drew us to our home are not as important to us as they once were. If your house has become a stumbling block, it might be time to consider a moving on.

Situations Change
How long have you been in your home? What kind of changes have you seen over that time? Have you had children grow up, or brought in new ones? Maybe had a parent move in or move out? There are a lot of reasons why people outgrow their home.

  • Family size
  • Employment
  • Finances
  • Mobility
  • Hobbies

Adjusting Your Home
On finding themselves stuck between the hassle of moving and staying, many homeowners first chose to remodel their home in hopes of finding a simpler solution. For some, making a few minor, or major, alterations is enough.

Accessibility and mobility remodels are a great way to keep yourself in your home if you have developed difficulties getting around. Many homeowners who have children that have left the home find that there is just too much space. A home office or a hobby area with plenty of shelves and work areas can help you fill up those empty spaces.

Moving On
For others, especially those with long commutes or financial motives, remodeling simply isn’t an option. Making the choice to put your home on the market is not always easy. Moving can be a difficult process – finding and purchasing a new home, packing up and moving boxes and selling your old home are chaotic and stressful situations. They can be scary, time-consuming and emotionally disruptive even under the best circumstances. Your best bet for a smooth transition is to plan ahead. Make sure you know what you are looking for, and if you expect your situation to change it is smart to take future needs into consideration when looking for your next home.

A Stress-free Move
Moving doesn’t have to mean added stress.   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.

How Too Much Time Can Kill Home Deals

Just because you’ve gotten a great offer for your home doesn’t mean you’re home free. The harsh reality is that once you’ve signed a contract, it’s as likely that your buyer will walk away as that they will stick around for closing.

Since the real estate market crashed in the late 2000’s, it’s been a lot easier for a buyer to walk away from a house, even when they’ve signed a contract and made an earnest money deposit. And the longer the period between signing a contract and the closing, the more likely that your sale will fall through.

Buyers walk away from contracts for lots of reasons, but the most common one is that the inspection reveals more damage and repairs than you are willing to make. Electrical wiring, moisture, a failing HVAC system, and cracks in the foundation are some major repairs that will kill a sale–they are expensive to repair, and if there are code violations of any sort then a lender won’t take the property as collateral. They may decide that the house is too dated and the cosmetic repairs they want to make are too expensive.

Other times, when a closing is not scheduled for several weeks post-contract, the buyers get a case of buyers remorse and second guess their decision to buy your house. Or they find another one they like better, and decide to terminate their contract with you.

​In many cases, when a buyer terminates a real estate contract, they are entitled to get their earnest money back, leaving you with no sale and no cash. You’re left to put your house back on the market and wait for another buyer, hoping that the next one won’t walk away.

At Sellers Advantage, we can take the stress away from selling your house. We don’t worry about inspections and dated bathrooms, and can give you cash for the house in a few days. If you want a hassle-free sale, contact us today.

Homeowner Hacks: 5 Tips For Tiny House Living

The tiny house revolution looked like it was just a fad, at first, but it’s proved to have quite a lot of staying power. With housing costs remaining high, and so many people struggling with both the financial cost and the carbon footprint of full-sized homes, the option of living in a tiny home has a strong appeal. It does take a bit of adjustment, though.

If you’re used to living in a regular home, or even in an apartment, moving to a tiny house will take some getting used to. Fortunately, here are some tips to make it a little easier on yourself. Also helpful for those who just don’t seem to have enough space in their homes, and who want to make the most of what they’ve got.

Tip #1: Downsize Your Possessions
This is the most obvious step, but it’s also one of the most difficult ones for people who are trying to live in a tiny house. This is particularly true if you’re used to living in a place with room to sprawl. The first thing you should do is get rid of everything you don’t truly need. So, while you might be sentimental about those jeans you haven’t worn since high school, or that old Christmas tree stand, there simply won’t be room for that stuff in your tiny house.

With that said, you don’t have to necessary throw your possessions away. While you should donate or recycle things you don’t genuinely need (especially if you have friends or family members who could use that big couch or desktop computer), you can put stuff you will use, but which you don’t have room for, in self-storage. But that might defeat the purpose of living a smaller, sleeker lifestyle for some folks.

Tip #2: Get Clever With Your Storage
As HGTV points out, storage is at a premium in tiny houses. With that said, it’s surprising just how many storage options we overlook in our daily lives. If you train yourself to see storage potential in your tiny house, then you’ll be surprised how many places you can keep your stuff.

As an example, most tiny houses use a loft bed as a way to maximize the available space. Lofts have stairs leading up to them, and even a narrow staircase has a lot of room inside it that can be used to store smaller items. Whether you want a bookshelf, somewhere to keep your DVDs, or just some spillover drawers, this is an ideal place to put them. If you have a couch, consider a drawer for interior storage underneath it. If you have a table, make sure the top opens up, or there is room under it to keep your stuff. You only have so much space, but if you’re smart, you can make sure your tiny house is just chock full of things you want to have on hand.

Tip #3: Don’t Forget To Put Your Walls To Work
Vertical storage is also an important part of tiny house living, and as Compact Appliance points out, some of the most efficient tiny houses are the ones where the walls play an active, vital role in day-to-day living.

For an example of this, look at the kitchen. Are there places to hang utensils from the walls? A magnetic knife block along one wall can minimize space used, and keep all your blades close to hand for when you’re preparing meals. Do you have overhead hooks you can hang your pots and pans from? This might seem decorative, but it actually frees up a lot of space in cabinets and drawers, and it allows you easy access to your cookware. If you walk out to your living space, do you have shelves on the walls for your books, your movies, and your other miscellaneous entertainments? Is your TV set into the wall, freeing up space that would otherwise be taken up with another stationary object? Have you decided to forego a traditional TV set entirely, opting for a projector that uses a thin screen that you can easily roll back up into the ceiling when it isn’t being used?

These are the sorts of things your walls, and your ceiling, can do to make your tiny space work extra hard.

Tip #4: Remember Your Outdoor Space, Too
Sometimes it’s just not welcoming outside… but a lot of the time, it is! As Mother Earth News reminds us, it’s important to both have space where you can be by yourself (if you’re sharing a tiny house), and to remember that the interior of your home is only a fraction of the space you have available. If your tiny house has a porch, then that’s space you can use to relax, and stretch out with a book, or your laptop. If you have an awning, you could set it up on one half of your tiny house to make a welcoming shade pool on one side, and once you add some folding chairs and a camp table, you’ve got a place you can relax, spend time with friends, or even have dinner without feeling like you’re stuck in the same, small nook.

Tip #5: Get Only What You Need At The Grocery Store
We tend to take food for granted, but when you live in a tiny house it’s important to make sure you have the necessities, and maybe a little extra. Refrigerators tend to be small, freezers tend to be smaller, and there just isn’t a lot of overflow space. So remember to make your list, and stick to it. Impulse purchases can be the difference between being stocked, and being overstocked.

​These are just a few, simple tips for getting the most out of your tiny house experience. If you still find your home is too small, though, you can always sell it quickly and upsize. We buy houses of any size and in any condition. For a cash offer in as little as 24 hours, contact us at Seller’s Advantage today!

Tenant Drama: 5 Reasons You Might Not Want to Be a Landlord

When you’ve inherited a property or have otherwise come into an extra property, your first thought may be to use it as a rental property. After all, that’s an ongoing source of income, right? Unfortunately, operating a rental property offers more challenges than many people realize–and in many cases, you’ll find that it’s simply not worth the struggle. These five challenges of being a landlord will help convince you to save the hassle and sell the house, instead.

1. Tenants who call at all hours of the night over the simplest things.
You know when you decide to be a landlord that you’re going to get some maintenance calls. Some tenants, however, will call over the smallest things in the middle of the night: a faucet that’s dripping, a toilet that won’t stop running, or other little hassles.

2. Constantly finding new tenants.
Lucky landlords get one tenant who moves into a home and stays there for years. Just as often, however, you’ll find that you’re constantly watching one tenant move out and looking for a new one to move in. That means checking references, reading applications, and letting potential tenants in to view the property on a regular basis–and it all adds up to a lot of time spent at your rental property when you’d rather be doing other things.

3. Tenants who don’t take care of the property.
It’s a rental. What do they care? They let the yard get overgrown, let the kids color on the walls, and don’t bother to report minor issues so that you can fix them before they cause big problems. That means that when they move out, you’re going to have a big mess to deal with.

4. Tenants who won’t move out.
Worse than tenants who are constantly moving in and out are the tenants that you want to move out, but who simply refuse. They aren’t paying their rent on time, you’re pretty sure they’re trashing the property, and you’re over it–but getting them out of the house is going to require a legal battle.

5. Tenants who trash the place.
Some tenants find themselves very frustrated when the time comes to move–and they’ll take it out on your property. Holes in the walls, missing doors, destroyed carpet: there are plenty of ways to make a big mess out of a rental home in even a short period of time.

Being a landlord can be an ongoing headache. If you’ve found yourself with a bonus property and want to save yourself the effort, contact us. We’ll take your bonus property off your hands.  We can give you a cash offer in as little as 24-hours and you can invest your cash in a more effective, and more manageable way.

Property Requirements for Home Loan Programs: What to Know Before Your Sell Your Home

If you live in a low to moderate income area and are trying to sell your home, you may find that even though you have interested buyers, your home doesn’t meet the requirements for their loan program. Many first-time and low-income home loan programs, such as the USDA loan, have strict standards for the property being purchased.

While many of the most common issues are easy to fix, others can cost quite a bit – but any of them can seriously impact your chances of a sale. Check out these documents regarding property requirements for USDA loans for more information about what you may be up against.

Wells
If your home is in a rural area, you may run into issues regarding your well and septic system. Depending on where you live and what is considered “normal” for your area, your property may not qualify due to the type, size or placement of its water and sewer systems.

Make sure to have your systems checked by a licensed inspector prior to putting your property on the market. Be aware that you may need to re-drill your well or even excavate and replace your septic system before you can close on your sale.

Damages
Most buyers are looking for a home in great condition. Low-income home loan programs are looking for that too – but they aren’t prepared to budge and there is no negotiating when it comes to minor damages.

Make sure to patch and repair all walls, floors, windows, light fixtures, roofing materials, sideboards – you get the picture. Right on down to the electrical outlets, your house needs to be in good shape to qualify. It is common for a house to require extensive repair work before closing, even when it is in “fair” condition. Luckily, these repairs are fairly straightforward – paint, plaster, elbow grease and time can take care of most issues. Everything else, like shingles, siding repairs and re-fencing can be taken care of by a contractor for a fair price.

Safety
Your home doesn’t need to just be in great shape, it also needs to be safe. Missing or broken fire alarms and stair rails are common issues noted in inspection documents. Other issues you might expect to find are plastered over electrical junctions, old wiring and dilapidated exterior structures, such as your old shed, deck or carpark.

If your buyers are using a government backed or guaranteed loan, you will need to address these issues before you can close. Some of them can be simple to fix, others – like replacing decks or wiring, may require more work. Make sure you check with your city offices regarding permits before removing buildings, decks or starting any large renovation projects.

Basics Functional and legal electrical, water, sewer and HVAC systems inside the home and grounds are a must. The house must be structurally sound and free of any major defects, including water and smoke damage. There should be little to no damage to the foundation or basement and it is also worth noting that the house must also be clean and ready for move-in to pass inspection.

Unfortunately, for many sellers meeting these loan requirements can cost more time and money than they can afford to spend. Fortunately, these repairs are not required for all sales.

​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.

6 Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money as a Homeowner

Owning a home is a wonderful privilege, but paying for maintenance and upkeep isn’t high on anyone’s list of joyful activities. The good news is there are many ways you can save money every month without expending a lot of money or effort.

Use these tips to save up to several hundred dollars on the expenses all homeowners face:

  • Insulate Your Water Heater
    You can buy an insulation blanket to wrap your water heater for under $30 in most places, but the savings on your energy bill can be substantial.
    Insulating your water heater can reduce the amount of energy you lose every month by 45%. This translates into a utility bill that is consistently 7%–16% lower. For the typical household, this means a savings of about $125 every year.
  • Monitor Your Electric Usage
    You can save on your monthly electricity bill simply by monitoring your usage. There are many affordable electricity monitors that track either the energy usage of a certain device or your current energy consumption and cost.
    Some monitors are designed so that you can plug a device into the monitor to see how much electricity it uses.  That allows you to determine which appliances or devices are energy hogs. Then you can gauge how often you want to use them or opt for a more energy-saving version.
    Other monitors monitor the usage on your outdoor electric meter and display real-time data about current consumption and cost on an LED screen inside your home. When you notice the numbers climbing, you’ll be reminded to turn off those extra lights or otherwise decrease your power consumption.
  • Install LED Light Bulbs
    LED lights used to be pricey, but the prices have dropped dramatically in the last few years. They are very affordable now. The savings they provide on your monthly electric bill are definitely worth it.
    According to the Department of Energy, a traditional light bulb would cost an average of $8.87 to use per year, but if you replaced each one with an LED light bulb, it would only cost you $1.95 a year. That’s a 78% savings on your lighting electricity consumption!
  • Use Programmable or Smart Thermostats
    Programmable thermostats can substantially reduce your monthly energy bills. They’re relatively inexpensive, and they allow you to turn your thermostat down automatically whenever you’re away or while you’re sleeping.
    Smart Thermostats take it a step further by allowing you to manage your thermostat anywhere using your phone, tablet, or computer. They “learn” about your behaviors and adjust themselves accordingly. They can even adjust themselves based on other conditions, like humidity.
  • Close Vents in Rooms You Don’t Use
    This tip is so simple, but how many people actually use it? Everyone has rooms that don’t get used very often, so it makes sense to close the heating vents in those rooms. This allows you to only heat the parts of the house that you actually use.
  • Use Surge Protectors
    Surge protectors are wonderful for protecting your electronics should an electrical surge occur, but they’re even more awesome at enabling you to easily unplug devices you aren’t using.Many appliances and devices will use electricity even when they’re powered off. However, if you plug everything into surge protectors, you can simply flip the switch on the protector to cut off power to your devices when you’re not using them. It’s a lot easier than walking around plugging and unplugging devices one by one.

Being a homeowner is great, but being a smart homeowner is even better.  Use these tips to make sure you’re not throwing away your money on unnecessary household expenditures.

And, if you decide to sell your home, you can save time 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 purchase homes in AS-IS condition and can give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours.  After all, time is money.