4 Ways to Save When Selling Your Home
Selling your home can be a thrilling and very lucrative experience. But for the first-time home seller, it can also be nerve-wracking and deflating.nbsp;
Thats because selling the largest investment of your life can be counterintuitively expensive. Getting your home ready to be scrutinized by strangers takes a lot of cash and elbow grease.
As the saying goes, it takes money to make money.
However, there are some easy ways to cut down on your front-end expenses to make your home sale more profitable. Lets look at five of the best.
Stage Your House Yourself
Professional home staging is expensive. The average cost of staging a home is just over 1,000, and renting furniture can add more. Thats the bad news. The good news is, you can do a lot of home staging yourself.
At base, the art of home staging is simply making a home as appealing as possible to prospective buyers; theres a reason that real estate agents say that people buy with their eyes. You want to show your home in the best possible light, and help buyers envision the potential of your living space. Thats easier for a trained, objective expert to do, but you can get a great result if you follow a few general rules.
If you hired a professional stager, theyd likely deep clean your home before they staged it, so start with that. Clean the floors, walls, windows, appliances and trim; if your home needs a lot of work, hiring a professional cleaning crew might be a good investment.
Next, consider that the key to a beautiful photo or film is the lighting. Remove all window coverings, like blinds or drapes, to admit natural light.nbsp;
Now consider your furniture. If its out-of-date or in poor condition, put it in storage or throw it out. Even if your furniture is up-to-date and in great condition, keep in mind that having too much furniture crammed into a space is just as bad as not having any at all. You want to have enough furniture in your home to make it warm and inviting, but keep enough open space so that prospective buyers can project their own tastes onto the home.
The less is more rule definitely applies here; above all, make sure your home doesnt look cluttered.
A pre-sale inspection can save you money and a lot of potential stress. If you wait until the buyers inspection to discover problems with the house, that could mean choosing between a price reduction, or paying for a list of repairs on the buyers timeline.nbsp;
The average cost of a pre-sale inspection is just over 300, and covers everything from the roof, foundation, plumbing, HVAC systems, the chimney and fireplace, and exterior features of the home like sidewalks.nbsp;
Discovering problems with your home ahead of time allows you to perform repairs at your own pace, shopping around for the best contractor rates, instead of having them done in a panic.nbsp;
Its also a great marketing advantage. Telling prospective buyers that your home has undergone a pre-sale inspection, followed by repairs and remediation, encourages them to bid with confidence.
Low Cost Repairs
Even if your home doesnt require any major repairs, freshening it up a little can pay huge benefits when it hits the market. And were not talking about a new roof or an in-ground pool; some of the most effective repairs are also some of the cheapest.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
A new paint job can make a home look warmer, cleaner, and brighter; its also a job that can be done in a weekend, for the cost of paint, some drop cloths, and a few rollers.
If you decide to paint the interior of your home before you put it on the market, choose your colors carefully. Though white may seem like the obvious choice, it can seem harsh and institutional, and shows dirt easily. Opt for a softer, off-white tone for more aesthetically pleasing walls.nbsp;
White does work for ceilings, though. Painting the ceiling a lighter color than the walls makes the ceilings seem higher, which makes the entire room seem larger. Just remember to invest in high-quality paint; the smoother, more uniform texture makes a big difference.
Carpets can take a beating in a busy, family home, and worn or stained carpets can make a hugely negative impression on prospective buyers. But a lot of staining, matting, and apparent wear can be cured by a thorough cleaning.
Even if your carpet still looks good, it might have a faint odor that youve become nose-blind to, so a deep cleaning is always a good idea.
The easiest way to thoroughly clean your carpets is to rent a steam cleaner. Make sure you follow the directions, and dont use too much cleaning solution, which can leave unsightly residue. Afterwards, opening windows and using fans can speed up the drying process.nbsp;
Fixing the Roof
A new roof isnt exactly low cost, considering it can be the single most expensive home repair of all, but if you do have roof problems, its better to deal with it before you put your home on the market, rather than let it become an issue down the road.
In 2017, the U.S. Census found that Americans spent an average of 6,800 to replace their roofs. Considering that 50 of that cost is labor, you could assume that the materials for replacing your roof cost about 3,400.nbsp;
If its a >
List with a Flat Rate Agent via Referral Network
One of the biggest single expenses of selling your home is the commission, which traditionally comes to 6 of the final sale price, split between the listing agent and the buyers agent. For the median American home valued at just under 230,000, that comes to about 13,800.nbsp;
Selling with a flat fee agent from a referral network ensures that youre working with a pre-vetted, top agent, unlike if you worked with an in-house agent from a discount brokerage, and gets you a full-service experience for a low, flat fee, instead of a big chunk of your profits. That can save you thousands of dollars in commission, and youll be sacrificing nothing on the service end.
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Peel-And-Stick Countertops and Other Band-Aid Fixes for Your Home
Band-Aid solutions" are considered quick fixes; They might not provide an ideal or permanent solution in the way that a kitchen renovation would but theyre designed to be done faster and be easier to accomplishand easier on the wallet.nbsp;
Whether youre getting ready for company and want your home to look its best without making a huge commitment or are looking to sell your home and want it to show nicely for small-dollars, there are a few ways to go.
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is great for trend-lovers who dont want to commit to a specific look for decadesor who fear having to take the dreaded permanent wall covering down someday.nbsp;Graphic patterns,nbsp;florals, evennbsp;faux wood grainnbsp;can create a focal point or transform a room.nbsp;
Peel-and-stick works for backsplashes, too, and its not just for renters looking to add some >
Get the look ofnbsp;Carrera marble, make your kitchen look like its been draped in >
There are a number of other ways to dress up your backsplash without turning it into an expensive project.nbsp;The Sprucenbsp;has a rundown of several options including an eye-poppingnbsp;herringbone backsplashnbsp;that was created using a Sharpie oil-based paint marker and removable tile stickers.nbsp;
A floating floor, which is a floor that goes in over another floor, is a higher-maintenance endeavor than throwing some peel-and-stick materials up on the wall, but its still far easier to accomplish than most other flooring options. And, if you have some skill and the desire to DIY, you might be able to do it on your own, and really affordably.
The floating process was originally invented for laminate flooring, saidnbsp;Networx. In fact, a major reason why laminate floors have become so wildly popular is that theyre simple enough to install as a weekend warrior DIY project.
However, both natural hardwood and engineered wood floor planksnot to mention cork, ceramic tiles, and vinylare now also widely available in floating versions which the aspiring home handy person can easily assemble.
Heres something you may not have thought of: peel-and-stick countertops, which use a PVC vinyl base that can make your home look more updated at a fraction of the cost. While they might not be best for high-traffic areas because of their durability or lack thereof, these countertops can serve as a low-cost, temporary lipstick makeover in spaces that you either dont own, dont use often, or cant afford to rehabnbsp;just yet,nbsp;saidnbsp;HomeAdvisor.
Thisnbsp;faux countertopnbsp;from EZ FAUX DECOR looks like marble and claims to be heat and waterproof, scratch- and tear-resistant with a smooth surface that is environmentally safe, easy to remove with no sticky residue.
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What Does â€˜Fully Amortizedâ€™ Mean?
Mortgage loans come in most shapes and sizes such as different interest rates, loan terms and others. One term you may have heard of is fully amortized. Its sort of a mouthful but its an important feature of most loans today. A fully amortized loan is one where the loan is eventually paid off at a predetermined period of time while making regular monthly payments. This is in contrast to so-called interest only loans or negative amortization loans. Neither of which is hard to find in todays lending environment.
That used to not be the case. In fact, there was a period not too long ago where interest only loans were all the rage. Negative amortization, or neg-am was also a financing option. How do those loans work? An interest only loan is fairly easy to figure out. An interest only loan is one where only the interest on the loan is paid each month. This of course results in the loan balance never being paid down unless the borrower makes an extra payment each month towards the loan balance.nbsp;
Because in the monthly payment where both principal and interest are paid, an interest only loan will logically have a lower monthly payment. The downside? Unless the borrower actively pays down the loan balance, not only will the original loan be untouched but when it comes time to sell the home, its possible the selling costs associated with the transaction mean the borrower has to come to the closing table with money instead of receiving proceeds from the sale.
A neg-am loan is a bit more complicated. A neg-am is opposite a fully amortized loan. Instead of the loan balance being paid down each month, it could actually grow. It amortizes in the opposite direction. If the borrower fails to make a fully indexed payment which includes both principal and interest, the unpaid portion gets added back to the loan amount. This means the loan balance would be higher than when originally issued. This takes an interest only loan to an enti>
Both of these two loan types contributed to the mortgage and housing collapse in the late 2000s. Loan balances grew instead of getting smaller. Borrowers who tried to flip a property using these loans soon discovered some programs were no longer available. Programs such as not having to provide verification of employment or so-called sub-prime loans designed for people with damaged credit. This contribution to the financial collapse caused the federal government to issue new guidelines. These guidelines required loans to be fully amortized. No more interest only or neg-am. There were and still are a few loan programs that offer interest only, but neg-am loans are no longer around. The introduction of the fully amortized feature provided a safer lending environment and contributed to the financial recovery in June of 2009.
When you first speak to your loan officer about a new mortgage, all the features of the available loan programs will be provided. But a stated or neg-am loans wont be one of them.
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