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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.

Selling Your Home in the New Year? Get Ready Now!

Selling your home might be one of your New Year’s resolutions, but keep in mind, there are dozens of steps involved and many details to attend to before your home is ready for the market. These include repairs, some of which can cost you thousands. So if you own a home and are considering selling in the New Year, make sure to assess the condition of the items in the list below to be sure you can afford all of your needed repairs, and to learn how to prevent having to make large repairs so often.

  1. Foundation. Water is the enemy of concrete and especially foundations. Because foundation repairs are one of the most costly repairs, you want to prevent this damage before it can occur, which means ensuring that water is directed away from the foundation rather than toward it.
  2. Roof. Just like a foundation, roofs are highly susceptible to rot and water damage. And because a roof is one of the first things that people notice when looking at a house, it’s vital that your roof is in good shape before selling. You should regularly check for leaks, holes, and wear on your roof. If you don’t, water will seep into your house and wreak havoc that can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $12,000.
  3. Deck. One of the easiest ways to preserve your deck for longer is to keep the wood protected from the elements. This means applying stain or sealant every year or two, to extend the life and health of your deck.
  4. Septic system. Which would you rather do, pay $15,000 to fully replace your septic system, or spend a fraction of that to have your tank inspected annually? Chances are good that you chose the second option. Septic systems are complicated to replace, so it’s worth it to have it inspected regularly to prevent such a large expense from becoming necessary.
  5. Driveway. Like anything that sits outside constantly, driveways experience a lot of wear and tear. When they’re not being strained by the weight of vehicles, they can crack and crumble from water damage or too much sun and humidity. To prevent having to pay up to $5,000 to re-pave your driveway and haul away the old one, take care to protect your driveway from excessive wear by applying driveway sealer. It’s a simple process and relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the price of replacing your driveway entirely.

If you’d rather sell your home without the time and expense of repairs, contact Seller’s Advantage today.Seller’s Advantage will buy your home in AS-IS condition and will give you a cash offer in as little as 24 hours. Contact them online at Seller’s Advantage.com or call 1-800-208-3243 to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote on your home. If you’re ready to sell, Seller’s Advantage is ready to help.

Why the New Year is a Great Time to Sell Your Home

Traditional wisdom says winter is an unwise time to sell your home. The open house was once a very powerful tool for selling, and no one wants to go out when it’s miserable January cold. That was how it was, but the real estate business has changed dramatically. We’ll give you three excellent reasons why January is now a great time to sell.

  1. The internet. Vast resources and information available on the internet make an open house far less necessary. Pictures and descriptions are easily viewable online. When someone comes to look at a home, they almost always have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to see. Pictures will also give them a good idea of what the house will look like with green grass and flowers.
  2. The crowd. Most people still follow this old wisdom and wait until the spring to list their house. Selling in winter gives you a distinct advantage as there are fewer houses for buyers to choose from.
  3. Buyers with cash. Many people get bonuses and monetary gifts from family over the holiday season. Particularly first time home buyers also often file for their tax returns as early as possible, so most at least know what kind of return they will be getting, and many have access to the cash through tax return loans offered by tax preparation companies.

Sometimes it is wise to follow traditional wisdom. Sometimes it’s smarter to follow new trends and pay attention to how the world is changing. If you are ready to sell now, we are ready to buy. Please contact us to see if you are interested in getting a cash offer for your home in as little as 24 hours.

Design Your Bedroom for the Best Night’s Sleep

Unless you build a new home, you probably have little control over the shape of your bedroom or location of its closet or dressing room. You can still create a cozy, comfortable room by combining light, view, layout and circulation.

Built Just Right
A bedroom with an efficient design and of well-organized space provides an enjoyable environment for a good night’s sleep. If you build new or remodel your home, first, think of the room’s circulation when designing it. Circulation refers to the paths of travel in a room. Strive for a circulation design like that of a hotel room. It provides one clear path from the adjacent bathroom to the bed and further to a writing-table or dining table. The television sits across from the bed and nightstands flank either side of the bed. This provides a clear, straight path of travel through the points of the room. A closet across from the bathroom creates an efficient design.

Provide yourself a lovely view. Include a window or two overlooking the backyard or a more exciting view if you have it. Try to make the view, not the bed, the first thing you see upon entry. If you can, connect the room to the outdoors with patio or French doors. Placing your bedroom on the corner of the house provides at least two walls of window space. Windows provide ventilation and light.

Design with privacy as a priority. Don’t site bedrooms across from family rooms, great rooms or kitchens. Remove the bedrooms from high traffic areas using a foyer or hallway. Design with a designated bed wall. Also, design for the furniture you’ll need to place.

Working with What You’ve Got
In an existing home, you work with the space you’ve got. Organize your furniture as efficiently as possible. Layout the room for optimal circulation with the bed against one wall. Leave space on either side of the bed for night tables. Think about hanging your television. Both static and adjustable mounts are available. This saves space in smaller rooms and makes viewing from bed easier.  Try to provide yourself a view upon entry, but if it’s not possible to see a window upon entry, hang a painting on the wall opposite the entry.

At night, close blinds, curtains or shades, so you maintain a darkened room until your alarm sounds. Open window covers let light in as the sun rises which may be before your alarm. Open the window dressings upon waking to enjoy a healthy, natural light.

Organizing your bedroom and controlling light entry can help you enjoy time spent there, especially sleep hours. You can get a better night’s sleep in an optimally designed room. Contact us to sell your home and find the perfect place to lay your head.

Things you Should Know Before Becoming a Landlord

The term ‘Rental Property’ can make your second property sound a bit like a cash cow. You would have to be crazy to turn down a solid chunk of passive income, right? If you’ve recently inherited or otherwise came into possession of a second house, becoming a part-time landlord can sound like a pretty tempting idea. Here are a few things you should know before you become a landlord.

Passive Income
Passive income, or income that comes about without any substantial investment of time or effort on your part, is an attractive reason to invest in rental properties. Much like investing in stocks, in order to generate truly passive income off of your investment, you will need to hire someone with a portion of the rents to keep an eye on them while you go about your business. Rents collected are used to pay for repairs, wages and fees and the remainder is returned to you in the form of passive investment income.

Single Unit Ownership
Owning a single rental unit does not carry with it the benefits of a large rental investment portfolio. Less income means you cannot pay for someone else to handle your property. There are no managers to take care of your tenants, maintenance employees to repair your units or an accounting department to keep track of expenses and prepare tax documents at the end of the year – you don’t even reap the benefit of volume purchase discounts at the local hardware store.

As a small-time landlord, you will need to cover these bases on your own. You will also need to keep abreast of all local, state and federal laws regarding your unit, your tenant and your income.

Tenant Management
One of the biggest surprises to new landlords is how difficult it can be to find and keep good tenants. It is an unfortunate reality that many tenants, regardless of your screening process, will damage your property and skip town without paying their bills. Where a real estate investor with a large portfolio can absorb the occasional speed bump, spending thousands of dollars repairing your rental property can be hard to swallow for your average homeowner.

Legal Concerns
Being a landlord will require you understand and obey a variety of regulations regarding your property. Depending on where you live, this may be as simple as ensuring your home has a functional fire safety system. However – most areas also have rules that will require you upgrade the structural and building materials to meet local guidelines regarding natural hazards (earthquakes, fires and floods), health hazards (asbestos, pests and air quality) and safety standards – such as fire and carbon monoxide sensors, egress windows and handicap accessible bathrooms. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in substantial fees.

You will need to be prepared to deal with legal matters regarding your tenants too. In many areas, you cannot remove a renter without a court ordered eviction and before you can collect damages you will need to plead your case in conciliation court as well.

Renting out your second property sounds fairly simple – you register it as a rental property, put up an ad and someone gives you money to live there. However, there are a variety of federal, regional and local laws that govern you, your property and your tenant that must be obeyed at the risk of substantial financial and legal damage to yourself.

Sellers Advantage can offer you an alternative that will provide you with money now – with none of the time, costs or risks involved in maintaining a rental unit. 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.