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Setting Incentives For Buyers: 13 Options Sellers Should Consider

In most parts of the country, the strong seller’s market we’ve been experiencing for several years is softening — which means that as a seller, it might not be as easy to find a qualified buyer for your home as you’d hoped. If you’re in a situation where you really need to sell sooner rather than later, don’t panic; there are still plenty of options you can leverage if you want to grab buyers’ attention and get them through the front door to take a look … and hopefully all the way to the closing table.

Before you give up on your home sale, consider some of these potential buyer incentives that might move the needle for you. Several of them could be possibilities for you, and at least one could be the clincher that gets an offer submitted sooner rather than later.

Include furniture or window coverings

Buyers will have been warned by their mortgage broker that they really shouldn’t make any big purchases before they sit down at the closing table to transfer ownership of the house, but there are a lot of things that any buyer is going to need when moving into a new place, especially one that’s bigger — furniture and window coverings among them. Those happen to be two relatively pricey areas, so if there’s any furniture you’re willing to leave behind, or you’re not attached to the blinds or curtains in your home, offer to include them in the sales price of the home.

Window coverings might be easier to part with than furniture because they’re typically made to fit the home, so they don’t transfer as easily, but don’t underestimate the power of offering your guest room furniture or a sofa or two, especially if you know buyers are moving up from a smaller place. It might take them months after the sale closes to be able to afford furnishing the house the way they’d prefer, and if you can give them a jump-start there, it could sway them toward your house over another similar property that’s not going to include any furniture.

Buy down their interest rate

Buyers have the option at closing to buy down the interest rate that their lender has offered them. This means paying more upfront on the loan (a percentage of the home’s total sales price) but a lower monthly mortgage payment over the years, which is enticing to any buyer, but especially buyers who might not have the best credit — and therefore might not have secured an optimal rate — or buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment and will be paying mortgage insurance on the loan over its lifetime.

If you can afford to buy down the buyer’s interest rate, this can be an incentive with wide appeal. Although mortgage rates are nowhere near historic highs that we’ve seen in past years, they’ve been creeping up from the near-historic lows where they lingered for almost a decade, and buyers who can buy down their rate right now will feel like they didn’t miss out on the good times while they lasted.

Pay for closing costs

Closing costs encompass between 2% and 5% of the home’s total sales value, which can be a hefty burden for buyers — but if you’ve got a lot of equity in your home, or the sales value has significantly increased since you bought it, then you might be able to afford to pay for closing costs fairly easily, and this can really make a big difference to the qualified buyers looking at your home as one of many possibilities. There are plenty of options within closing costs in terms of offering an incentive, too; you don’t necessarily need to pay for all of them, but letting the buyer’s agent know that you’re willing to take on the title fees and homeowner’s title insurance, for example, can whet a buyer’s appetite to make an offer and close a deal.

Even if paying for closing costs in their entirety just isn’t in the cards for you, there’s a lot of wiggle room in closing costs — especially around the title company’s fees. The buyer is going to choose a lender, of course, but if you as the seller have control over which title company to use, you can shop around and opt for one that has comparatively affordable fees, and then relay that information to the buyer’s agent.

Offer extra commission for the buyer’s agent

Sometimes the best way to incentivize a buyer is to incentivize the buyer’s agent — and an increased commission or a buyer’s agent bonus might just do the trick. You can either advertise that the commission rate for the buyer’s agent is half a percentage point or even a full percentage point higher than the local norm, or you can offer a straight cash bonus of a few thousand dollars to get the buyer’s agent’s attention.

This type of incentive can work to a seller’s advantage in a few different ways: Not only will the buyer’s agent likely be more interested in touting the benefits of your home in particular, but they might also notice it in a listing search when it otherwise might fall through the cracks, either because it’s already been on the market for a while or for another reason. This is an incentive to be careful with, of course — if an unethical agent is offered a bonus and doesn’t disclose the offer to buyers, and they find out at the closing table, there could be a big problem — but as long as the buyer’s agent is clear about what’s going on, most buyers are happy to see their hardworking agent get a little extra for closing a sale.

Give a credit for expedited closing

So far, we’ve covered several situations where a buyer’s circumstances might make an incentive more enticing — but sellers have needs, too, and one of them usually revolves around the timeline of the sale. There are always circumstances where it would be much better for a seller to offload the listing sooner rather than later, and the good news is that there are also opportunities to offer incentives contingent on the timing of the sale, giving the sellers what they need (a quick sale) and buyers what they want (a little something extra on top of a new home).

The expedited closing credit could be a cash bonus, or buying down the interest rate, or any number of other options, but the key here is that the seller makes the incentive part of a quid quo pro: We get to the closing table and hand over ownership by this date, and the buyer gets the incentive. An incentive like this can cut down on the back-and-forth between buyer and seller during the closing process and can really motivate the buyers to solve any issues quickly and creatively.

Warranties are golden

First-time buyers especially might feel understandably nervous about taking on the responsibility of owning a home — after all, if something breaks or is damaged in a rental property, it’s the landlord’s job to fix it (and pay for it). Offering buyers a warranty for the appliances in the home or some of the systems, like heating or air conditioning or even plumbing, can open up your house to a wider pool of buyers who are feeling a little bit anxious about what could go wrong.

If you already have a warranty on some of these items, it could be as simple as figuring out how to transfer ownership; if not, talk to your listing agent about how much it might cost to secure a warranty for the buyers. Warranties are usually a lot less expensive than you might think, and the peace of mind that they bring to the buyer can work wonders for your sales process.

Pay some HOA dues

If your home is in an area with a homeowners association (HOA), another incentive you might be able to offer buyers is prepaid dues for a period of time — up to you how far into the future you want to go, but six months can provide buyers a decent cushion for getting caught up with finances after a home purchase, and a full year can be a real draw depending on how expensive the dues are and what the HOA includes.

Make sure any buyers are aware that your largesse won’t last forever; they’ll be on the hook to pay the HOA themselves once those prepaid dues run out, but in the meantime, you’ve got them covered, and it’ll be a little bit of extra money each month that they can use on furnishings or to fix up the house to their liking.

Prepay property taxes

Like HOA dues, property taxes are a part of homeownership that might take first-time buyers especially by surprise. As a homeowner, you already know that your mortgage payment includes not only the principal on your loan and the loan interest, but also homeowners insurance and taxes. If you can alleviate the burden of one of those items (and property taxes is usually the easiest one to handle), that can be an inviting incentive for buyers, either by lowering their monthly payments initially, or by starting them off in their new home with a larger-than-expected escrow balance and giving them a little bit of breathing room in that regards. Talk to your listing agent about how much it might cost to prepay property taxes for buyers; if you can take care of taxes for the year, it will certainly help attract more buyers to take a look at your home and consider whether it might be a good fit for them and their lifestyle.

Make repairs — or offer credit for them

It’s more than likely that the inspector is going to find something that needs to be replaced or tweaked on your home — in fact, it’s almost inevitable. Who’s going to pay for any necessary repairs? Or what if the buyers request repairs that aren’t necessarily backed by an inspection report but that seem to be important to the buyers nonetheless?

You probably already have relationships with a local electrician, plumber, general contractor, and other professionals whom you’ve trusted before with your home, and it can help expedite your sale and make buyers more amenable in other areas if you let them know upfront that you’re willing to handle necessary repairs. (One cautionary note: You may want to define pretty clearly what you mean by “necessary” so you don’t wind up fielding wild requests, such as “we’d really like a kitchen/bathroom remodel before we buy” — buyers aren’t always reasonable or realistic, so it might be up to you to set boundaries for them.)

Leverage your own profession

Depending on what you do for a living, you might be able to offer buyers an incentive that has little or nothing to do with the house itself, but that might nonetheless be enticing enough for them to consider making an offer. Let’s say you’re a lawyer who specializes in divorce and you happen to know that your buyer is going through a trial separation — would it make sense for you to offer a certain number of hours of your time to that buyer? Or if you own a local restaurant, can you throw in some vouchers or gift cards for free meals to ease the transition from one place to another?

This might not work for every seller, but you might be surprised by how many buyers could use a decent marketing consultant, accountant, tree surgeon, landscaper, or any number of other professional services. Think about what you can bring to the table and consult your agent about what they think might work nicely for you.

Arrange to make the move easier

Nobody actually enjoys moving, especially if you’re packing up and transferring an entire household from one place to another. Is it possible for you to offer an incentive in terms of helping the buyer hire a moving company or rent a truck for the move? Could you secure the services of an all-purpose helper who can assist with unpacking, or a cleaner who can tidy up after the unpacking is mostly over with? What about renting a facility for the buyer in case the timing is a little off and they have to put some or most of their possessions in storage until closing? Even if it’s something as small as ordering them dinner for a week while they get settled in, offering to help with the move can instill a sense of goodwill in your buyers and possibly get you a deal closed.

Reduce your asking price

This typically isn’t the option that sellers are leaning toward, but if your house has been sitting on the market for more than 30 days and you haven’t had any serious offers, it might be time to consider the fact that you may have overpriced it for the current market. Think about the listing conversation you had with your agent before you put the house on the market and ask them for their opinion — then really listen to what they have to say.

Yes, it’s possible that the house two streets over sold for over asking price within a week, but it’s also possible that house had a fully remodeled kitchen and a much better view from the back patio than yours does. See if your agent can do some research into what different buyers did after they looked at your house — studying which properties they ended up buying and how they measure up to yours can really help attune you to the realities of the market you’re in right now. It’s hard to accept the reality that your house might not be the very best one in the neighborhood, but the market doesn’t lie.

Think outside the box 

A buyer’s incentive doesn’t necessarily have to involve the house itself. Maybe you have a friend who’s a travel agent you can ask about vacation packages — you might be surprised by how affordable some packages can be (less than $1,000 but valued at $1,500 or more), and throwing a trip to Maui or Miami for your buyers might be just the nudge they need to make an offer on your house instead of another. Other options could include season tickets to a local sports team, a country club membership, even a subscription to a dinner service.

Is Spring Truly The Best Time To Sell Your House?

Conventional wisdom states that the very best time of year to sell a home is in the springtime — but conventional wisdom doesn’t apply to every home sale, or even every real estate market. If you’re thinking about selling your home and you have some flexibility in terms of timing, then you’ll want to carefully consider every season before you blindly decide to list your house in the spring just because some nationwide research indicates that spring is a good time to sell.

Although spring tends to be a popular time of year in general to list a home, the best timing for you is going to involve a number of factors and will also rely heavily on your real estate market. If you live in a region where summer is absurdly hot or humid, for example, then winter might make more sense — especially in states like Arizona or Florida, where “snowbirds” come to visit or live in the winter months. Or if your home is in a winter resort town where skiing and other winter sports are popular, then winter might be the best time of year to list a property.

There are advantages and disadvantages to listing a home in any season, and they’re going to differ slightly (or vastly) depending on where you live, but here are some general pros and cons to keep in mind when you’re laying out a timeline for selling your house.

Advantages to selling in the spring

Your home might have better curb appeal

Between ultra-green grass and blooming flowers, the springtime can be especially kind to the curb appeal of your house, helping it look it’s very best to potential buyers. And if you live in a climate with springtime showers, then you might not need to do much upkeep to keep that grass green and those flowers popping.

Homes will typically sell faster and for more money

In many markets, spring is the time of year when homes tend to fly off the shelves (so to speak) and sell for higher prices. This is a season when buyers with children are motivated to find a place and start the closing process so they can spend the summer getting settled, and even though there are usually more homes on the market in the springtime, there’s a commensurate increase in buyers hoping to move, so some markets see more bidding wars and competition among buyers in the springtime.

Tax refunds are available to buyers

If buyers filed their taxes on time, then they will have those funds available in the springtime to play with — whether they’re using a tax return for a down payment or hoping to make some repair or renovations to the home they buy. That said, this can also work as a disadvantage if buyers in your market have to pay additional taxes instead of receiving a refund; they might not be as focused on home shopping when there are (big) bills to pay.

The weather is more conducive to looking at houses

After Daylight Savings starts, there’s usually more time after work to go look at houses for buyers while the sun is still up, and warmer weather can also help inspire them to get out and shop for homes.

Moving is easier

Spring is one of the easier times of year to move a household, and buyers are definitely considering that when they figure out their own timelines for buying. Almost nobody wants to move when there is snow on the ground, so the more cooperative weather can be a benefit when the time comes to shlep boxes and furniture from one home to the next.

Buyers with kids can close after school lets out

Families who are hoping to buy tend to pick springtime as the best time to look at homes because they can get the closing process started in time to conclude just after the school year is over, which won’t disrupt school for the kids and will also give them some time to get settled into their new abode before the school year starts anew.

More homes for sale in most markets means more people looking to buy

It’s hard to say which came first — the homes for sale or the buyers seeking a new place to live, but whatever the case, you’ll tend to see more homes for sale and more buyers shopping in the springtime.

Disadvantages to selling in the spring

There’s more competition

Increased housing inventory for sale can be both a blessing and a curse for sellers and buyers alike. Buyers who feel like they have a lot of choices might not be very interested in your house in particular — especially if there are no standout features that make your home a must-see (or must-bid) item. Doing your best to play up any unique features of your home can help offset this disadvantage, but there might not be any!

Weather can be fickle

Depending on where you live, spring weather might not be all that gentle. Thunderstorms and heavy rain can put a literal damper on buyers’ willingness to get out and look at homes for sale, and if you live in an area prone to hail, it can do a real number on your flowers (not to mention your roof).

Other events might make tours difficult

Spring tends to be a popular time of year for not only repairs and renovations, but also events clustered on a handful of weekends — for example, Memorial Day cookouts or graduation parties. That can make it tough on sellers who are scheduling open houses and tours when the street parking is truncated by neighbors’ activities.

Sellers with kids might have to move before school is out

With all the attention paid to buyers’ needs, it’s easy to overlook your own needs when it comes to moving after a home sale. If you have kids in school and your home happens to sell and close before the school year is out, that could mean a big, hairy session of moving your family out of your home while school is still in session — and you’ll have to figure out how you’re going to facilitate the end of that school year for your kids, whether it means renting a house in the district while your kids finish up, or negotiating an early finish (and possibly some last-minute work for your kids) with teachers.

Advantages to selling in the summer

The weather is on your side

Days reach their peak length in this hemisphere in the summertime, which means buyers are going to have even more daylight hours to squeeze in home tours after work or on weekends. And in many parts of the country, there might be less precipitation in the summer than other times of the year, which means there’s less of a chance that your open house will get rained out.

School is out

If your house is particularly family-friendly, selling in the summer can be advantageous because buyers don’t have to deal with picking kids up from school; it’s usually a lot easier for them to schedule home tours (with kids in tow) in the summer months than most other times of the year.

Buyers with kids will want to close ASAP

Another perk of selling in the summertime — especially in an area with a lauded school district — is that buyers with kids are going to want to close before the school year starts, which incentivizes them to make decisions quickly and possibly pay more for the right home for their families.

You can use the spring market data to price your home

It’s never easy to price your house for sale; the process is a balancing act between pricing the house low enough to entice the largest possible pool of buyers and close relatively quickly, but also high enough that you feel confident you didn’t leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table when you set a price. Because the springtime tends to be such a popular time of year to list homes, when you list your house in the summertime, you can use information from those spring sales to come up with the best possible price.

Disadvantages to selling in the summer

Competition is still fierce

Springtime might be the most popular time of year in most markets, but summertime is still a pretty active time of year for home sales, and you’ll be facing the challenges that come with heavy competition, especially if your house doesn’t particularly stand out from its peers.

Buyers might take vacation time instead of looking for homes

A lot of people like to travel and visit relatives in the summertime, so summertime is a prime time of year for distractions from shopping for a house — vacations can definitely interfere with home sales timelines for both buyers and sellers.

More homes for sale and later hours mean more lookie-loos

Have you ever met someone who makes a hobby out of visiting open houses with absolutely no intention of buying? The longer days and warmer weather combined with the number of homes for sale all mean that the lookie-loos in your area might be crowding your open house, giving you that particular false sense of hope that comes with lots of visits but zero offers.

The weather might not work in your favor

Although summer tends to be one of the nicer times of the year in many markets, in some areas, the heat can be downright prohibitive for home shopping and sales. In parts of the country where people travel to access warmer weather in the wintertime, for example, summers can be brutally hot, and you might not have the best luck listing your home in June, July, or August.

Kids are out of school and you’ll have to handle them

If you’ve got kids, then summertime can be a tough time of year to list a house because your kids are most likely out of school, and keeping your house ready to show to prospective buyers might be especially challenging. Also, you probably won’t want your kids rambling around your yard or in the pool, if you have one, leaving toys and games strewn everywhere, so wrangling your young ones around home showings could give you a mild to moderate headache.

It might be harder to find high-quality help

Real estate agents tend to be busy in the spring and summertime, and summer is also a prime season for home renovations and repairs. So if you’re counting on hiring help to get your house into sales shape and you want to use a real estate agent, it could be more difficult to find qualified, high-quality help in the summer than during other times of the year.

You’ll have to keep the yard looking pristine

Maintaining curb appeal can be more difficult in the summer than in the springtime — you might need to water your lawn more frequently to keep that grass looking green, for example, and if you live in a region where that’s not a factor, then mowing the lawn regularly might be an issue for you.

Advantages to selling in the autumn

Serious buyers will be eager to close a deal before the holidays

There aren’t as many buyers in the autumn as you’ll find in the spring or summertime, but the good news is that the buyers who are looking for homes in the autumn tend to be pretty serious about locking down a place to live as soon as possible, especially if the holidays are looming.

There’s less competition for high-quality help

Both real estate agents and general contractors are usually not nearly as busy in the fall as they are in the summertime or even the springtime, so if you need a major renovation done or want to make sure your agent is spending plenty of time working your home sale, autumn might be a good option for you.

Fall foliage can enhance curb appeal

In some parts of the country, fall can be a magical time of year when the full beauty of the variety of foliage in your yard is on complete display. If you live in an area known for the fall colors, consider listing your home during the time of year when you might be seeing lots of tourists come through town to peek at the leaves.

Disadvantages to selling in the autumn

Families might not be able to buy if kids are in school

When your home is particularly appealing to families, fall can be a tough time of year to sell. Most families with school-aged children are not going to be interested in moving at the beginning of the school year, so those buyers are going to be eliminated from the pool of possibilities.

You’ll have to keep up with the foliage

Fall colors are beautiful, no doubt — but they also don’t last forever. In a matter of weeks, trees are bare and lawns are littered with leaves, so you’ve got a relatively small window of time when your home will be on peak autumnal display before it all starts to go downhill.

Once more, the weather

The autumn can be a mild time of year in some climates, but in other areas, snow might already be falling, and shorter, grayer days aren’t always conducive to buyers getting out and shopping for homes.

Advantages to selling in the winter

Holiday lights can make your house shine

Almost nothing makes a house feel like home in the same way that perfectly placed holiday lights can accomplish. Hang some tasteful lights outside the house and you can perk up your curb appeal noticeably. (Obviously, this might not work as well in January or February.)

Snow can mask landscaping imperfections

Your mileage will vary according to how much snow you tend to get in the winter months, but if you have a patchy lawn or other landscaping eyesores that you want to hide, there’s almost a no better way to mask them than by blanketing everything in a pristine swath of pure snow.

Serious buyers only!

There are fewer buyers in the wintertime than in the spring and summer — or even the fall — but those buyers tend to be seriously motivated to complete sales, especially if they’re hoping to start a new job or beat the competition that emerges in the springtime.

Lower competition from other homes

With fewer homes on the market, your house has a better chance of standing out from the crowds, so listing in the wintertime can give you an edge if it tends to be a slower time of year in your area and if there aren’t that many suitable houses available for the buyers who are incentivized to move right away.

Real estate agents will hustle for you

Lots of real estate agents experience their slowest time of year in the winter, and that means they’ll have more time to spend marketing your house, and they might be more motivated to close a sale before the end of the year so they can add it to their annual roster of accomplishments.

Disadvantages to selling in the winter

The holidays can interfere

Whether or not you celebrate winter holidays, the fact remains that a lot of people to celebrate them, and that might be a big disadvantage; buyers will be distracted by the holidays and might not have as much time to devote to shopping for a house.

Fewer daylight hours and possible inclement weather

There’s a lot less daylight in the wintertime than in the summer in most parts of the country, and if your area experiences snow, then these can be considerable deterrents to getting buyers out and about to see your home in particular. Plus, it’ll be up to you to keep those driveways and outside pathways clear of snow if that’s a factor in your market.

The moving process can be tough

Winter is arguably the very worst time of year to pack up and move a household from one property to another, between the holidays and the weather, and buyers who don’t absolutely have to find a house right away will probably be more inclined to wait until spring as a result.

Renovations or repairs might be difficult

If your house requires a renovation in one room or even just a few smaller repairs, it can be difficult to book them in the wintertime, when it might be harder for contractors to physically travel to your home, transporting tools and materials with them.

Other factors to consider

Besides seasonality, there are a number of other factors you’ll want to take into account before you decide when to list your house.

How is job growth?

It’s better to list your home when jobs are growing in your market than when they tend to be declining. If a big company is opening an office close to your house, or a major employer just shut its doors, both of those events can have a big impact on how long your home could linger on the market and how much you might be able to get for the place.

What are mortgage rates doing?

After years of mortgage rates at near-historic lows, buyers are paying more attention when mortgage rates are rising (or falling). Depending on what mortgage rates are doing, this could be an advantage or disadvantage to you — rising rates might prevent buyers from considering shopping right now, but they could also spur buyers to lock in their sale before rates get even higher, and falling rates can have similar either-or effects on buyer motivation.

Are your finances in order?

Just like buyers, sellers will want to make sure that they’re in good financial shape before entering a home sales transaction. Will you be able to buy (or rent) a place after your house sells? Are you caught up on property taxes? It may be wise to make sure your financial picture looks as good as possible before listing, even if it means you might need to skip the “ideal” sales season in your area.

Is life throwing curveballs at you?

Divorce, death, job loss — life isn’t always full of good news, and sometimes an unforeseen event could mean that you need to get out of your house as quickly as possible. There’s no shame in having to sell quickly, but it can definitely affect your ability to choose which season you want to list your home.

How quickly do you want (or need) to sell?

Maybe you’ve got all the time in the world to wait for the perfect offer to come along, or maybe you really need to make sure you’re in your new home by a certain date. Whatever the case, your own timeline is just as important as any buyer’s timeline, and if you know you’re going to need to sell quickly, you should time your sale and price your home accordingly.

There’s no one-size-fits-all correct answer for the “best” time of year to list a home. The best time of year is going to depend on your market, the house in question, and your own needs as a seller. If you aren’t sure whether you should list today or wait for a more opportune time, consult with a real estate agent and ask their expert opinion on how to get the best result for you and your household.
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Everything Sellers Should Know About All-Cash Offers

Selling your house can be a very stressful experience for homeowners. It can be emotionally challenging to make repairs or upgrades to a house that you’re about to hand over to a buyer; you often need to keep the home in pristine condition for marketing and showings; and even if you find a buyer who’s perfect for your place and everything seems to be going swimmingly, a last-minute loan problem can derail your deal and send you back to the beginning — through no fault of your own.

It’s no wonder that many homeowners would prefer to work with an all-cash buyer when selling their house. The sales process with an all-cash buyer is almost always smoother and more convenient for the seller, with no loan contingencies that might cause a sale to fall through, and the seller usually doesn’t have to make any repairs to their house before transferring ownership to the buyer.

But there are also some drawbacks to working with all-cash buyers, and some additional factors you need to take into consideration before you decide to go this route. Weigh all the pros and all the cons, and the extra due diligence you might need to do, and then make an educated decision about your own situation.

The pros of working with all-cash buyers

Faster closing time

One big benefit of working with an all-cash buyer is that the closing process is likely to be much faster (and smoother) than working with a buyer whose purchase is financed. Getting a mortgage loan fully approved and deployed usually takes about 30 days, and there’s a lot that can go wrong in those 30 days that could cause the buyer to drop out of the transaction and send sellers back to the listing market to find another buyer.

A mortgage loan almost always requires two procedures that a cash buyer can choose to waive: the inspection and the appraisal. Many cash buyers will still ask for an inspection in order to get a full sense of what might need to be repaired in the home, but it’s not uncommon for them to agree to tackle minor repairs, letting the seller off the hook for those.

Appraisals are required in a financed deal so that the lender knows that the home is worth the amount of money that the buyer is paying for it (and the amount of money that the lender is loaning the buyer); if the all-cash buyer and the seller have agreed on a price, though, an appraisal really isn’t necessary. Bypassing the appraisal (and sometimes the inspection) can also help to shorten the closing timeline; an all-cash deal can usually close in about two weeks.

You can sell as-is

About three-quarters of all-cash buyers are investors, which means they’re intending to fix the homes that they buy and either flip them (sell them for more than they paid) or rent them out. Those investors usually have their own parameters and preferences for the appliances, flooring, systems, and other features of the house that typically need to be repaired or upgraded for a financed seller. An investor will want to tackle those repairs and renovations themselves to get everything done to their standards and specifications — that means the seller doesn’t have to worry about it at all.

If your home is outdated or needs minor repairs here and there — adding up to a significant amount — and there are financial or other reasons why you’d prefer not to handle those repairs yourself, then working with an all-cash buyer might be an option you want to consider.

There will be fewer (or no) contingencies

In a financed sale, buyers — and lenders — might request all kinds of contingencies that sellers will have to accommodate. The biggest one is the financing contingency: If the financing doesn’t clear for whatever reason, then the sale will be canceled. There’s also the appraisal contingency, which stipulates that if the home appraises at a lower price than the sales price, you’ll have to ask another appraiser’s opinion (and pay for the appraisal) or negotiate a new sales price that more closely reflects the appraisal price.

Other contingencies might put the burden of paying for repairs or closing costs on the seller. All-cash sales don’t include financing or appraisal contingencies, and other contingencies are usually easier to negotiate for all-cash sales.

The sale is more likely to close

When the buyer doesn’t need to rely on a lender to secure financing to buy a property, there’s a higher likelihood that the sale will reach the closing table without any snags. There are all kinds of reasons why a lender would pull out of the sale, leaving a buyer high and dry, but if buyers aren’t using a lender at all, then all of those possible roadblocks are removed. This can be a powerful incentive for sellers to accept an all-cash offer, despite the drawbacks (which we’ll cover below) — sometimes it’s preferable to have an almost-guaranteed sale and get the whole process over with.

The cons of working with all-cash buyers

Most all-cash buyers are investors

If you’ve got a strong emotional attachment to your home — and many homeowners do! — then you might not be all that excited to sell it to an investor instead of a private buyer, and most all-cash buyers (about three-quarters of them) are investors. Instead of moving into your house and living there, investors will either be making all those minor repairs and upgrades that will help them get a higher price, then re-listing and selling your house for a profit, or they’ll be renting the house out.

Either way, if you made memories (such as raising pets or kids) in the property and were hoping to pass it along to a buyer who will treasure it the same way you do, then working with an all-cash investor buyer might give you pause.

You might not get full price

The all-cash investor buyers who want to fix and flip your home have one goal in mind: They want to make a profit on the sale, which means that they’ll need to sell it for more than they paid for it and more than they spent to fix it. One of the best ways to do that is to pay under market value for your home, so if you are hoping to get a relatively high market price per square foot for the place, then an all-cash buyer is very unlikely to offer that. Some all-cash buyers will only offer around the amount of money you still owe on your mortgage, which could be significantly less than you could capture on the open market.

Scams can happen

To be clear, most all-cash buyers operate ethically and above-board — but there’s no licensing needed to become a real estate investor, and there are some all-cash buyers who aim to take advantage of sellers who are in a desperate situation. When you start talking to all-cash buyers, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence and look up the company through the Better Business Bureau, paying close attention to any complaints.

One big red flag is an all-cash buyer that wants the seller to pay an application fee; if an all-cash buyer asks you to pay a fee like that, be warned that it’s very likely this buyer is trying to take you for a ride.

Other things to consider when working with all-cash buyers

You’ll need to verify proof of funds

The term “all-cash” is at least slightly misleading — the buyer isn’t going to show up at closing with a suitcase full of money. Instead, they’ll write a cashier’s check or transfer the money to your account as the seller, so before you accept the offer or go under contract, it’s perfectly reasonable to verify the proof of funds. This basically means you’ll take a look at official financial documentation (such as bank account records) to ensure that the all-cash buyer actually is good for the sales price.

If you’re not sure how this works, talk to a real estate professional or title representative about what’s involved and how to go about verifying proof of funds.

Do some research

As noted above, not every all-cash buyer is an ethical operator, so it’s up to you to do some research on the buyer and make sure that the person or entity on the other side of the table is above-board. Spend some time looking at online reviews (if available), ask for references, and do your best to ascertain how trustworthy the buyer is before signing anything that binds you to an agreement.

You’ll still need a title company

An all-cash real estate deal can potentially eliminate some of the traditional roles involved in selling a house, but one that you should still expect to work with is the title company. There will still be paperwork involved to officially transfer ownership of the property, and the all-cash buyer will want to make sure that any liens on the house (second mortgages or home equity loans, for example) are documented and handled appropriately.

You may have options you haven’t explored

If you’re in a financial or life situation that is driving your desire to sell — and sell quickly — be aware that you might have options beyond selling to an all-cash buyer. In markets or neighborhoods with high rent prices, for example, you might be able to make some basic repairs to your home and then rent it out, paying for the mortgage and generating some extra income every month on top of that.

In some markets where home sales prices are growing or strong and stable, you might be able to work out a delayed payment deal with some general contractors; they’ll get paid for the work after your home sells (for full price) on the open market. Accepting an all-cash offer for less is almost never your only option, so try to explore all the possibilities before you decide to go that route.

Forgoing an agent can be a mistake

You don’t necessarily need to work with a real estate agent in an all-cash home sale scenario, and there are plenty of sellers who decide not to use an agent. The choice is entirely yours but think about the potential ramifications before you decide to go it alone.

Many all-cash buyers do multiple real estate deals in a year, and they intimately understand the intricacies of the process. If you don’t have the same level of experience and you’re not working with a qualified professional who’s protecting your interests, then how can you be sure you’re doing the right thing and getting the best possible deal for your household? An agent’s top priority is to represent their clients to the very best of their ability, and if you’re trying to save money by eliminating the agent’s commission, you could very well be losing money in the long run.

Some homeowners think working with an all-cash buyer is the best possible way to sell their home, but it really depends on the situation. Every deal is different! Make sure you fully understand the pros and cons of all-cash deals before committing yourself (and your biggest asset) in writing.
US Map

Buying A House In Another State: A Guide

There are plenty of good reasons why you might want to buy a house in a different state from your current location — and thankfully, modern technology makes it possible to shop for a home and work hand-in-hand with trusted professionals who can make the process easier for you. Whether you’re going to be living in the house full-time and want to have the purchase handled before you move, you’d like to find a vacation home in one of your favorite places to visit, or you are hoping to invest your money in real estate somewhere you don’t actually live, you’re not alone!

Plenty of people are buying homes from across the country these days, and you can make it work for you if you understand what’s involved and make sure you’re working with people you trust to help you make big decisions. To be successful in your remote purchase, make sure you’re covering these basics.

Know why you want to buy remotely

It’s absolutely fine to have more than one reason for buying a home in a different state — for example, perhaps you want a vacation home that you can also rent out short-term when you’re not staying there to help cover the mortgage, so you’re looking for both a second home and an investment property. But you need to think long and hard about your primary reason for buying a house in a state where you don’t currently live full-time well before you start shopping because your primary reason should help you determine what will (and won’t) work for you.

If you’re planning on moving to the home full-time soon or eventually, then your needs are going to be very different than if you only plan on visiting the house once a year for vacation. You might want more square footage in a house that’s going to be your full-time residence than in a house you’re only staying in for a week or two every year, and you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of room and storage space for all the belongings you want to keep. It might not matter so much if a vacation home or a short-term rental doesn’t have great internet access — the whole idea is to get away from the world, after all — but a lack of connectivity could be a big problem for a full-time residence or even long-term rental.

Consider how much time you plan on spending at your new home if any, and work on your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves from there. This will be useful when you start actually looking at properties to buy: You’ll be able to easily eliminate homes that don’t meet all the criteria on your must-have list, and you can prioritize which homes you like best based on how well they meet your nice-to-have criteria.

Research, research, research

You might have a general idea of where you want to buy a house — maybe you’ve always wanted to own a home in the mountains, on the beach, or in your favorite city to visit. But you’ll need to get much more specific than that before you start seriously looking for a house and start the purchasing process. What metro area or rural area will you be considering for your out-of-state home? How well do you know that area and its neighborhoods or small towns? If you want to buy remotely in a place where you used to live, or somewhere you’ve visited regularly for years, you’ll be in a decent position to make some decisions, but if you’re not very familiar (or at all familiar) with the areas where you want to shop, then you’re going to have to start doing some heavy research into the specific locations that will work best for you.

Investors who want to buy a long-term rental and rent it out are going to want to consider not only crime rates and home appreciation in the possible neighborhoods and metros for buying a house, but also school ratings and commute times so they can attract the widest possible pool of well-qualified renters to their property. Vacation-home and short-term-rental buyers are also going to want to think seriously about crime rates; homes that sit vacant for some or most of the year are prime targets for burglary and vandalism, which is not something you want to deal with remotely. And of course, if you’re going to be living in the house and working in the area, you’ll want to know how close you are to work and how convenient (or inconvenient) it will be to shop for groceries, among other factors.

Spend some time reading local publications (if they exist) and digging into the information available online about the general areas where you might want to buy. Keep in mind, though, that the internet isn’t going to be able to tell you everything: You’re going to want to talk to some actual humans about what you’re learning at some point …

Get some resident opinions

Do you know anybody who lives in the area where you want to buy? This can be a huge asset when you’re trying to purchase a home in a different state. And the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to know someone in the area already; you can craft relationships from out-of-state with knowledgeable people and ask them every lingering question you have about your future home purchase.

Get onto Facebook and see if the region or neighborhood has a group created, then join it. You might want to lurk for a little bit to make sure it’s the kind of environment where people will welcome (and answer) your questions, but this can be a good place to start. If there isn’t a Facebook group, try to find property managers, general contractors — even landscapers and house-cleaners can be great resources for giving you details on which streets tend to be more dangerous than others, what you’ll want to keep an eye out for in terms of potential structural problems or damage in the houses you’re considering, and the best places to walk dogs or playgrounds for kids.

Decide on a neighborhood

When you feel confident that your research has answered every question you have about the pros and cons of each possible market, town, or neighborhood, it’s time to start narrowing down your choices to two or three (at most). Targeting your search is a smart thing to do, at least at the beginning; you can feel confident that the homes you’re looking at online meet some of your basic standards — your must-have list — and if you don’t find the right place in your narrowed set of two or three targeted areas, then you can always expand your horizons later on.

Choosing a specific neighborhood or region also has the advantage of allowing you to do some really deep digging on the average homes — their size, their price, their lot size, their amenities, and so on. You’ll need to know about how much you want to aim to spend before you start talking to a mortgage lender, and it’s much easier to do this kind of research on a small set of locations instead of an entire metropolitan area at one time; if most of the houses that seem appropriate to you are out of your reach financially, then that’s a signal that you might need to reconfigure your location options.

Pre-approval still matters

When you’re buying a house remotely, you probably want the process to move along as quickly as possible, and you want to seem competitive with any local buyers. This means you really should get pre-approved by a mortgage lender before you start shopping in earnest. Securing a pre-approval can be time-consuming because you have to submit so much documentation about your finances, your income, and any expenses, but sellers know that buyers with pre-approvals are both serious about buying and actually have the means to purchase a house for the price they’re offering.

A lender who operates in both your state and the state where you’re hoping to buy might be a good choice for you because the lender should, in theory, be familiar with both areas; that said, there are some parts of the country where property anomalies make it beneficial to consider a local lender instead. For example, if you’re looking at homes in a resort area in the mountains, a local lender will have already encountered any potential issues with construction materials, septic systems, and so on.

Securing the mortgage could be more challenging

Even if this is a home purchase that you’re intending to make your primary residence, be aware that getting a mortgage to buy a house in another state can require jumping through even more hoops than normal. For example, if you’re relocating and are moving from a city where your employer has its main office to a location with a satellite office — or if you’re planning to work remotely for your employer — then your mortgage lender is going to want proof that you’ll still have a steady income after you move, and will want verification of what that income amount is going to be. This means you might need to get a certified letter or notice from your employer to provide to your lender.

Purchasing a vacation home or second home is also more challenging than buying a primary residence; your down payment requirement could very well be higher, and it’s possible that you might not get as low a mortgage interest rate as you anticipated. Make sure your finances can accommodate these potential snags, and do your best to get everything cleared up mortgage-wise on the front end so that you don’t end up having to untangle a mess from several states away during the closing process, which is absolutely nobody’s idea of fun.

Hire a local agent

It might or might not be beneficial to hire a local lender, but it’s absolutely critical that you find a local real estate agent — preferably one who has specific knowledge about the neighborhood or area where you want to buy. Some remote buyers decide to work with the listing agent for the property they want to buy, and although this is possible, it’s usually not a good idea. A real estate agent represents you and your interests, putting your needs first, and an agent who’s representing both sides in a deal isn’t going to be able to advocate very well for you if push comes to shove.

Local agents will have worked deals in the area before, giving them an idea of what to expect in terms of potential snags or issues; having your own local agent on your side gives you the protection of a trusted, knowledgeable advisor. Some agents even specialize in helping remote buyers purchase homes in their state. Ask any local contacts you’ve cultivated to recommend a good real estate agent, or you can even ask the listing agent to recommend agents who they think do a stellar job representing clients.

Walk through a house at least once before making an offer

This might not be possible depending on your own availability, but if you can, do your best to walk through any home you’re seriously considering buying before you make an offer. Photos, video tours, and even Facetime walk-throughs are certainly valuable and can tell you a lot about a property, but there’s also a lot you could be missing if you don’t visit in person. What’s that weird smell in the bedroom, and can it be eliminated? Why do the floors slope like that in the hallway? You don’t want to discover that you can hear traffic from a nearby highway and that it keeps you awake at night after you move in.

If you can’t visit the house in person, make sure that someone you trust — a friend or a family member who knows you well — can do so in your stead. Real estate agents are fantastic resources, but if you just met yours, it’s usually best to find someone who’s familiar with your preferences and quirks and can apply what they know to the property you’re considering and give you an educated opinion about whether or not it would work for you.

Try to be there in person for the inspection

Maybe you couldn’t make the pre-purchase walk-through, but one time when you really should try your very hardest to be present at the house during the closing process is for the inspection. The inspector is going to look at all the major systems in the house, check the appliances, open and close windows and doors, look for signs of damage or structural problems — and it’s really in your best interests to be there in person so you can ask questions and request additional information or clarification around any fixes the inspector recommends or issues raised at the inspection. If it’s absolutely impossible for you to make the inspection in person, ask your agent to attend and video chats with you while the inspection is taking place so that you can make sure you’re fully apprised of any possible problems with the house before the sale closes.

…And consider additional inspections

Inspection requirements vary from state to state. Some states require pest inspections, for example, while others consider pest inspections optional. You might also want to get radon testing done if you’re buying in a state where that’s a factor, and there are a number of other inspections that might not be required to close, but that you might want to get anyway — especially if you haven’t seen the house in person yet, or if you know you aren’t going to be living there.

If something happens to your investment rental in between tenants while it’s sitting vacant, and that something is a result of a problem that could have been uncovered in an optional inspection, you’ll be kicking yourself for not seeing it sooner; a little extra money spent at this stage of the process could mean a lot saved down the road, so it’s well worth it to be as thorough as possible with the inspection process.

Consider a title agency with a national presence

You don’t actually have to be present for the closing, but working with a title company that at least has offices in your state and the state where you’re buying can really help expedite processes and make the closing smoother for everyone, including the seller. You can drop off a cashier’s check in person, for example, and not have to worry about wire fraud or tens of thousands of dollars potentially getting lost in the mail. Talk to your agent and to the seller about reliable title companies that will be convenient for all sides and see if you can find one that meets everyone’s needs.

Find a trustworthy property manager

If you’re going to be moving into the home yourself, then you obviously don’t need a property manager, but if the home is going to be an investment property or vacation rental, then you’ll need someone to look after it while you’re away. Your real estate agent probably has some recommendations for people who are reliable, trustworthy property managers, and this way you can make sure that the lawn is mowed, plumbing or electrical problems are promptly resolved, and the place is always ready for you when you show up for vacation or just to drop in and see how things are going.

Buying a house in another state might seem daunting, but it’s far from impossible. Make sure you know why you want to make this leap and do your best to enlist the best possible professional support on all sides, and you’ll be able to achieve your dream of real estate investment or homeownership — even from afar.
Home Consstruction

11 Things To Do When Selling A Fixer-Upper

In most markets, it’s customary for sellers to work on their home until it’s in top condition before listing it for sale. But sometimes sellers need to offload their home without making those cosmetic touch-ups — or major repairs — for one reason or another. There’s no shame in selling a house as-is, but when you have a fixer-upper on your hands that you need to sell, you should be aware of how to do it in a way that nets you the best dollar amount possible while avoiding lingering on the market (unless that’s your plan, of course).

When you need to sell a fixer-upper and you can’t do the fixing-up yourself, here’s what you need to know and do to achieve the very best result for your personal scenario.

Thoroughly assess the situation

The term “fixer-upper” applies to a wide range of homes that can vary significantly from one another. Maybe your fixer-upper is simply dated — it hasn’t been modernized at all and still sports appliances and flooring from decades ago, and you don’t have the energy or money to update it before the sale. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe there are serious problems with the basic attributes of your home; it might need a new roof, have serious electrical or plumbing issues, or there might be a problem with the foundation.

Before you make a plan for how to sell your house, you’ll need to do a full investigation and take inventory of where you are and what needs to be done before the house is considered to be in sales-worthy condition. That does not mean you’re going to have to do that work yourself, but you’ll need to be able to answer buyers’ questions and decide what you could conceivably tackle to get the best possible price for your place.

It’s also a good idea to spend some time pricing the repairs that you’d need to make in order to get the house in tip-top shape. Again, this doesn’t mean you’ll do those repairs (or pay for them) yourself, but you might have some alternatives before you list the house entirely as-is, and knowing the price range for repairs that you’re facing is going to help you make some decisions about how to proceed.

Do your research before deciding to sell as-is

Once you have determined how much money it would cost to get your house in perfect sales-worthy condition, think about whether it might be worth your time to pay for those repairs and upgrades yourself. You don’t necessarily have to have a five-figure or six-figure savings account in order to make those repairs happen in a timely manner, either — there are refinancing programs and ways to tap into your home’s equity that might make all the difference in the final sale.

For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers a refinance program called the 203(k) that includes money for certain repairs or renovations to the house. If you’re only selling because you can’t keep up with the repairs and would otherwise want to keep the home for yourself, but you have substantial equity in the property or have paid off the mortgage entirely, then this could be a good option for you. There are benefits and drawbacks to working with the FHA or other lenders — with the FHA, one benefit is the ability to provide a very low down payment, but you’d have to pay mortgage insurance, which would be a drawback.

Another possibility for homeowners with significant home equity would be a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. You can use these loans to pay off bills or for renovations or repairs that would otherwise be too expensive to tackle. Spend some time researching your options and reading through the fine print. Even if you don’t want to stay in the house yourself and you know it’s time to sell, taking out a loan or refinancing in order to tackle the most critical repairs might be all it takes to get your house in pristine condition and net you top dollar on the open market. If you can pay everything off and still make a profit, then it might be well worth your time to consider financing the repairs yourself before you sell.

Work with an experienced agent

Just like any other profession, some real estate agents are better than others, and many agents specialize in one area of real estate. Selling a fixer-upper is not a good time to work with an inexperienced agent who has never sold an as-is property before — even if that agent is your neighbor’s son or your spouse’s cousin or someone else with a personal connection to your household. You’ll want to work with someone who’s familiar with the challenges involved in selling a fixer-upper and has a realistic, reasonable plan to meet and exceed those challenges.

Talk to friends and neighbors who have sold fixer-uppers about recommended real estate agents; general contractors also probably have some sense of which agents have successfully sold as-is properties and how effective those agents can be. If you don’t have any personal recommendations, make sure you ask agents you’re interviewing whether they’ve sold a fixer-upper before, what condition the homes were in, and how they were able to help the seller get the best possible results.

Consider the pool of possible buyers

The buyers who might possibly be interested in your house might seem smaller when you’re selling a fixer-upper instead of a house in peak condition — but this might or might not be true at all, depending on the market where you live. You very well might find some traditional buyers who are specifically seeking a house they can remodel top-to-bottom, but investors and contractors can also be solid possible buyers when you’re selling a house as-is.

Once you’ve found an experienced agent, spend some time brainstorming your list of possible buyers for your home, and think about the pros and cons of working with each. Investors might be able to pay all cash for your house, and there might be several of them looking at homes in your area; conversely, traditional buyers with dreams of fixing up a house to their exact specifications aren’t exactly thick on the ground in most markets, so if you’re hoping to sell to someone like that, be aware that it might take longer to find those buyers and your home will be sitting on the market in the meantime.

Highlight the location’s benefits …

Maybe your house is in a stellar school district, or it’s located near one of the most interesting and prominent landmarks in the area. Perhaps it’s within easy walking distance of a popular sports team’s playing field or arena, or near a trailhead.

Buyers might be specifically looking at homes in your neighborhood because they know about those perks and amenities, but don’t assume that every buyer is going to be completely familiar with all of the benefits that come with living in a house located where your house is. Spell out all of the features that the neighborhood and location have to offer to buyers and make sure they’re prominent, so buyers can fully understand why buying a fixer-upper in this area, in particular, could be a fantastic decision.

… And promote the home’s standout features

Even if your house needs work, it’s likely that there are a few features you can highlight for buyers that might sway them to make an offer. Maybe it’s original hardwood floors that are still in good condition, a larger-than-usual lot, a gorgeous garden or backyard, or a quaint original kitchen that still has all its original appliances — sometimes a drawback like a kitchen that hasn’t been modernized will be seen as a benefit to the right buyers with a sense of nostalgia!

Talk to your agent about the things that entice buyers to make offers in your area and figure out which of those features your home has, especially unusual or unique ones that will excite potential buyers. Then make sure those features are highlighted in any listing photos and written descriptions of your house to get full mileage out of them.

Spit and polish goes a long way

Even if you can’t make major repairs to the house, there’s a lot you can do to make it appear presentable and attractive to buyers. One way you can make a home appeal more to buyers that’s cheap and relatively easy is to clean it within an inch of its life. Get rid of any piles of trash or broken appliances or cars that you might have been hoping to fix — if you’re convinced those things might still be salvageable, that’s fine, but you need to find somewhere to store them that isn’t your fixer-upper while you figure out how to repair them.

Clean the windows and walls inside, get rid of any corner cobwebs, scrub the floors, and polish up the kitchen appliances until they shine. If the biggest problem with your bathroom is the fact that the sinks don’t drain well, see what you can do to remove those clogs and freshen up the pipes so that stagnant-water smell is eliminated. A clean home that needs a little bit of work will be more appealing to many buyers than a newer, updated home that’s cluttered and dusty, so do your best to get the place as clean as you can.

Make as many small fixes as possible

You don’t need to put a new roof on the place, or do the equivalent to the plumbing or electrical systems, but if it’s at all possible for you to make some minor repairs in the house — or have someone else do it — that will definitely help you net the highest possible sales price for your fixer-upper. Can you repair leaky pipes and paint over any water stains? Replace a torn screen or two?

Refer to your list of necessary repairs that you made when you assessed the issues with the house, then determine what it’s reasonable and realistic for you to handle yourself or what you can afford to pay someone else to do. The more presentable you can make the house for buyers, the more offers you’ll get for more money, so it’s absolutely worth your time to tackle even the little things (especially the little things) before you list it for sale.

Enhance curb appeal

Some buyers will be willing to overlook some relatively major issues inside a house if the outside looks cute as a button, so think about what you can do to enhance your home’s curb appeal. Water and mow the lawn, plant some flowers, hang wind chimes on the porch and put a rocking chair or two out on display, and maybe even purchase some solar lights for the path or driveway — they’re cheaper than ever and provide quite a bit of additional appeal, especially if the buyer is looking at your home in the evening.

Even if you can’t invest in landscaping for your yard or home, if the shrubs and trees are trimmed, the grass is green and mowed, and there are pots of flowers here and there, it all goes a long way toward making your fixer-upper appear less shabby and more like a lived-in, well-loved home.

Price competitively

This is probably the most important step on the list, and it’s smart to get an experienced agent’s opinion about what, exactly, “competitively” means in your market. You might already be aware that you’re not going to get the same price for your house that a fully renovated neighbor’s house was able to net — and if you’re not aware or you’re in denial, now is the time to accept reality.

Investors will want to make sure they can net a profit when they flip or rent the house after they’ve factored in the sales price and the cost of any updates or upgrades. And even traditional buyers seeking a fixer-upper on purpose are not going to want to pay full price for an as-is home; they’ll need to save some of their money for materials to make repairs, or to pay a contractor themselves. Talk to your agent about what you can realistically expect to get for your house, and if you really need it to sell quickly and you aren’t willing to wait for a buyer who’s excited to repair your house and thinks it’s perfect, then make sure you’re also discussing timing — you might need to shave a few more dollars off that sales price to get the house under contract sooner rather than later.

Be upfront about necessary work

Remember, there’s probably going to be an inspection involved in this sales process at some point, and if the buyer discovers that you’ve been misleading — intentionally or otherwise — about the amount of work needed to get the home into top condition, they would be well within their rights to terminate the sale and send you back to the open market. Be as upfront as possible about the work that this property is going to require, and if the buyer asks a question and you don’t know the answer, be honest! It might even be worth the time and money to hire an inspector before you list the house so that you can provide buyers with the report and they can see for themselves what might be involved in terms of repairs, but even if you don’t do that, resist the temptation to paint your fixer-upper in glowing terms; you might lose a buyer that way who otherwise would have been happy to snatch up the deal you’re offering.

If you’re in a situation where you need to sell a fixer-upper, don’t get discouraged before you get going. Secure the help of an experienced real estate agent who can give you a realistic idea of the price you could get and help connect you with contractors, inspectors, and other professionals; do what you can on your own to enhance your home’s appeal; and stay confident that you’ll be able to sell the house for the price you need to the right buyer.
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