Our lead story in this month’s Home Matters, brought to you
through our company's membership in RISMedia’s Real Estate
Information Network® (RREIN), examines how seller concessions are
beneficial to both parties within a real estate transaction as they
help when it comes to closing a sale quicker. Other topics covered
this month include tips to give your home a competitive edge in
today’s market and how to successfully stage your dining room to
create a memorable look. We hope you enjoy this month’s edition of
Home Matters and as always, we welcome your feedback. Email us
As anyone who has purchased a home can tell you, buying a
house is an expensive proposition. From saving for a down payment
to setting aside money for closing costs and everything else
associated with a home purchase, your bank account is undoubtedly
feeling strained. If you find yourself in this situation and you’ve
already been approved for a loan, seller concessions may help when
it comes to alleviating the final cost.
These concessions can either be a set dollar amount or
percentage of the purchase price that a seller agrees to contribute
to the buyer to help the closing go smoothly and keep the sale from
lingering while the buyer tries to find the extra money.
It’s always a good idea to talk with your real estate agent
about your desire for a seller concession before making an offer on
a home. Your agent can then put these concessions in the sales
contract so that you don’t catch the seller by surprise when asking
for concessions later on.
In some cases, your mortgage lender can include your need for
a seller concession in their pre-approval letter, although this
could scare people off from accepting your offer.
A conventional loan contract generally allows sellers to
offer assistance with the buyer’s closing costs up to three percent
of the total price of the property. The FHA allows up to six
percent of the price and VA allows up to four percent.
The good news for sellers is that they’ll be able to deduct
some of their concession money from their taxes. For example,
discount points and real estate taxes most often will be tax
For buyers, it’s important to remember that you must use all
the money offered by the seller, as anything not applied toward
closing costs will be credited back to the seller. To keep this
from happening, the money can be applied to home owner’s insurance,
taxes or even dues for an HOA. The remaining concession can also be
used to buy down the interest rate, lowering one’s payment and
saving thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.
Seller concessions are beneficial to both parties in the
transaction as they help when it comes to closing a sale quicker
while giving the buyer some funds to buy things for their new home.
When used properly, seller concessions can be the difference
between closing a home sale and losing one.
To learn more about seller concessions, contact our office
With all the tasks that go into preparing a home for a
showing, many sellers often overlook the effect that light has on
creating an inviting atmosphere for prospective buyers. In fact,
even if you have natural light streaming in through the windows,
it’s also a good idea to take advantage of the various light
sources within the home.
As any real estate agent will tell you, a home looks more
inviting when the lights are on. Not only do lights prevent harsh
shadows from the sun and brighten dim areas, they also add
dimension to rooms and bring out all the best features that you’ve
worked so hard to clean and get ready for the showing.
In addition to brightening up a space, lighting experts
reveal that lights can play tricks with the mind, helping to
enhance the physical size of a room or hide any shortcomings. For
example, if a room is on the smaller side, you can “push” one wall
open by washing it with light. If a room is on the narrower side,
illuminate the wide sides of the room to give it size.
When it comes to lighting, there are three areas that must be
considered. General lighting, which provides the majority of light
to a room; accent lighting, which highlights and draws attention to
certain aspects of the home; and task lighting, which helps light a
specific area to help complete a particular task.
For example, high-hats or recessed down-lights are a great
choice for ceilings. For bedrooms, additional lighting can be added
to the space by incorporating floor lamps or table lamps. Bathrooms
should have vanity lights next to the mirror and the kitchen should
have strong task lighting, with down-lights shining on countertops
and the sink.
You should also include decorative lights in the living room,
dining room and any other rooms with something to highlight.
Chandeliers make a great light source, especially if they have
bright light emanating from them.
If you’re in the process of getting your house ready for
sale, be sure to purchase new light bulbs for all lamps and
lighting fixtures. Go with higher wattages and crisp white light,
and stay away from any tints. You may also want to think about
removing (and saving) florescent LED lights and installing brighter
The same is true with exterior lights. Flip them on before
prospective buyers show up so that they can see everything your
house and yard has to offer.
When it comes to lighting, it’s important to remember that
strong lighting can make a home memorable and desirable.
To learn more about incorporating light into your space,
contact our office today.
For home sellers across the board, there’s nothing more
frustrating than seeing your house sit on the market day after day,
week after week or even month after month. If your home has been
languishing on the market, it may be time to up the ante. Instead
of simply lowering your asking price, the following tips may just
give your home the edge it needs to stand above the competition.
1. Try holding an open house on a weeknight. While house
hunters typically set aside time on the weekend to house hunt,
there will always be people who can’t make those Saturday and
Sunday appointments. Holding an open house on a weeknight is a
great way to attract this crowd. With less competition for
weeknight open houses, prospective buyers will be able to spend
more time imagining themselves living in your home.
2. Paint and depersonalize. If your house is full of rooms
that feature bold colors and lots of “interesting” furniture, it
may be time to go more neutral and basic. Hire a professional
stager to furnish the home so that it appeals to a wider range of
buyers. By changing up the house a little and posting new pictures
online, you’ll bring in more potential buyers.
3. View your home through the eyes of a buyer. Take your
iPhone—or any other video app you may have—and record yourself
walking through each room of your house, taking on the role of a
potential buyer. Make sure to go in every room, check out every
closet and pay attention to appliances and fixtures. After, watch
the tape and take an objective approach to what looks good and what
doesn’t. Often times we are blinded by our love for our own home
and can’t see the forest for the trees. This simple exercise is an
easy way to put yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes.
4. Upgrade the kitchen or bathroom. You might not want to put
any more money into a house that you hope to be out of in a month’s
time, but sometimes, spending money in one of these areas will pay
off in the long run. Make these rooms memorable and people will
want to buy. Even if you don’t get your full investment back, if it
helps you sell your home, it’s a win.
5. Review comparables. Sit down with your agent review the
details regarding homes that have sold within the last three months
and see if anything has changed. What may have been a fair price
when you put your house up for sale, may seem overvalued now. If
your price is out of line with the neighborhood comps, be ready to
For more tips on gaining a competitive edge in today’s
market, contact our office today.
Determining a listing price is one of the most important
items you’ll have to tackle when it comes to getting your home sold
without it languishing on the market. While coming up with a price
that isn’t too high—or too low—may seem daunting, looking at comps
can help when it comes to making an educated decision.
What a lot of people who put their house on the market don’t
realize, is that when you look at comps, you need to compare apples
to apples and oranges to oranges. That means that even though you
may be neighbors, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a pool
and finished basement isn’t comparable to your three-bedroom,
one-bathroom house with an unfinished basement. In fact, a house
six blocks away may be a better comp if it is a similar age and
size with a similar number of rooms.
Your agent has the tools to present you with the best comps
in your area, and once they do, you can decide on the best price
together. They get their information from the MLS database, looking
at all the properties in a given area that have been listed “for
sale,” are pending or have already sold.
A number of factors go into a comp to justify a listing
price, including being located in the same neighborhood and school
district. Additional factors include the street, similar housing
features and size. If two houses are similar in these areas, then a
comp can be used to provide a current estimated value of your home.
When it comes to working with comps, the best one would be
from a home that’s the same age, on the same street, with the same
number of rooms and one that closed in the last 90 days. However,
it’s important to keep in mind that things don’t always work out
this way, and comps are sometimes taken from “close” properties or
sales from further back. Both can be detrimental when it comes to
establishing a true value.
When presented with the comps, take some time to look at what
features are common among all of them so that you can begin to get
an idea as to what people in your area are looking for in a home.
Are houses with Energy Star appliances selling? Maybe updated
bathrooms are big. Perhaps those with gardens are going strong.
Reviewing the comps can provide a lot of insight about sales in
Your agent will most likely have seen many of these houses up
close if they work regularly in the neighborhood and their
expertise will provide them with an understanding in regard to what
works best and sells fastest. Listen to their advice.
In the end, it’s important to keep in mind that if a house on
your block sold for $400,000 last week and another close by sold
for close to the same amount a month earlier, that doesn’t mean
that your house will automatically be valued the same.
For more information about comps, contact our office today.