House hunting can be a fun, yet frustrating experience. While it’s exciting to look for a home of your own, you also have to recognize that sellers are trying to put their homes in the best possible light. By recognizing common phrases, you’ll be better equipped to know which homes should be avoided altogether.
“Pride of Ownership Shows”
At first glance, this phrase implies that the owners have taken good care of the property. However, in most cases, it also means little, if anything, has been updated. You can look forward to decades-old tiling, antique appliances, and more than a few rooms that need a remodel.
“In One of the Hottest Neighborhoods”
If you see a descriptive phrase that uses words like “hot” or “up and coming,” be aware that you’re expectations may fall short of the reality. Often, sellers will use these terms to describe neighborhoods that are expected to take a good turn and attract developers. Typically, these neighborhoods will lack nearby amenities and may only show the promise of improvement.
Even if you are an investor, you might want to stay away from properties with this as a headline. It indicates a property in distress most of the time and suggests you will need to make several updates just to make the property welcoming. If you’re looking for a home, this may not be the best choice for you.
“Offered as Is”
This is another one that would be best avoided. Often, “as is” suggests the owner knows there’s a great deal wrong with the property and he’s hoping to pass his problems onto an ambitious buyer. By the time the needed repairs are complete, you may have spent more money than the home is actually worth.
Think condo, but smaller. If you’re on the market for a single-family home, you’re probably looking for something roomy and something with potential for expansion. You’ll find neither in homes that are marketed with this phrase. These are typically very small homes that won’t suit your needs.
This is a deceptive phrase indicating you’ll probably spending a few weeks just getting the yard presentable. The current owner probably hasn’t put much effort into maintaining the “curb appeal” of the home. Of course, if you love the rest of the home and want to spend the money, you can always hire professional landscapers to do the dirty work for you.
These are some common phrases used in real estate marketing. While you should be wary of them, not every one of them is the kiss of death. Be aware that you may be getting more than you expect, but also keep an open mind. You may end up getting that diamond in the ruff.
Once upon a time, showing your house off to buyers just meant cleaning it. But now, “staging” has become a part of the sales process. Staging means decorating your home to appeal to potential homebuyers—a process that can mean anything from repainting the walls, to buying new furniture or updating old appliances.
Staging is about more than making your home look good—it has to look like what potential homebuyers are interested in. And today, more than 30% of those homebuyers are millennials—people born between 1980 and 2000. So how do home sellers appeal to this new generation? Here are some ideas:
Make it Photogenic
If you want to appeal to millennials, make sure your home has a good online presence. Take clear, attractive photos and make sure all the details about your home are posted on the web. What they find online may very well determine whether millennial homebuyers even want to visit.
Keep it Clean and Simple
Obviously your home should not be dirty when you show it off. But more than that, eliminate clutter. Millennials like homes to look spare and simple, with lots of space for entertaining. Many millennials—and certainly those looking into buying a home—have full-time jobs coupled with busy social lives, so they will want a place that looks easy to maintain and keep clean. Hide knick-knacks, and anything that might make your house look dated: doilies, quilts, lots of fancy china, or heavy or frilly curtains.
Millennials are concerned about the environment; so don’t be surprised if you are asked about your home’s sustainability. Projects such as insulating your home or installing more efficient appliances can help draw in young homebuyers worried about their footprints.
Fashion a Home Office
Creating a home office doesn’t have to be a major project. If you have a guest room or catch-all space in your house, clean it out and stick a desk and chair inside. Many millennials work from home, at least part-time, and want a designated space to work from.
Even if you don’t have the budget to make major renovations, just painting walls can make a huge impact. Wallpaper, especially patterned wallpaper, can make a home seem old-fashioned and cramped. Full-wall mirrors from the 80s are arguably worse. Painting your walls is a good way to modernize. Use light, muted colors to make everything seem modern, spacious, and well-lit.
Think About Location
Are you in walkable distance from a grocery store, coffee shop, or library? If you answered yes, or if you can think of any other choice destinations in reasonable walking distance, make sure to advertise it! You can’t change your location, but it would be a mistake not to promote it.
What’s Wrong With Being a Fixer-Upper?
If your house is a fixer-upper, and fixing it yourself is out of your budget, be honest about it! Many millennials are looking for a move-in ready house, but others would be happy to get a deal and a challenge.
There is no doubt that having a successful real estate photo shoot for a new apartment or home you are trying to sell can be a really tricky situation. Too often photos are dark, from a strange angle, or simply fails to capture the beauty or attractiveness of the home in general.
With newer, more centralized real estate platforms such as Trulia and Zillow becoming increasingly common for agents across the country, better images are now the norm for home buyers in the digital world. Below are some ways to maximize appeal for any company on the market.
- Make the beds with linens that complement the colors of the room and overall interior.
- Clean the house: get the carpet shampooed, vacuum and mop all hardwood floors to make everything as clean as possible/visually appealing to any homebuyer’s eye.
- Don’t forget to clean the bathrooms!
- Make sure there is maximum natural and in house lighting before anyone comes to view the house or apartment.
- Remove all traces of personalized paraphernalia throughout the home so visitors can envision it as their own.
- Take the time to put away all cleaning supplies in the kitchen.
- Double check the house to see if everything has been put away in an orderly fashion.
The trickier part is definitely getting in touch and figuring out which real estate photographer is the best fit for you. Do bear in mind that photography fees vary according to experience, location and how large the property is. Connecting and meeting with various photographers is the best way to discern which professional you’d like to work with.
After the photos are taken, Chris Palmer the president of PhotoUp takes pride in the editing work his team is crafting. He has recently told the Huffington Post that “We’re the only ones out there doing this transparently, and real estate happens to be our niche. We have a team in the Philippines that work in a Google-like office. It’s a very creative environment. We find great ways to impact the photographers and the communities in which we work.”
Regardless of your profession, if you enjoy working for yourself and want to achieve the American dream of homeownership, use the following tips to when applying for a mortgage:Clean up your Finances
Banks that offer mortgages to self employed consumers will highly scrutinize business financials. This means that your personal and business accounts must be separate and that you’ll need to minimize the amount of deductions you take over the course of 12 months prior to your application.
Make sure you’ve kept good financial records that are ready to be presented to the mortgage broker.
Apply for an Alternative Loan
Standard mortgages are often hard to come by for the self employed millennial, which is why some banks are offering alternative financing.
Similar to the “no doc” loans of a decade ago, alternative loans use different income verification methods for the self employed. This process involves examining 12 months worth of bank statements against the profit and loss statements for the same time period. A cash flow analysis is created to determine suitability for obtaining a mortgage.
The Basics that You’ll Need
Like any other buyer, self employed individuals will need to provide specific requirements to the bank during the mortgage approval process. Those can include:
- Bank statements - Both personal and business, bank statements will show that you have the necessary funds to pay the down payment and initial monthly payment.
- Profit and Loss statement - A profit and loss statement is essential to creating an analysis for mortgage approval.
- Proof of business formation - If your business is formed as an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to provide proof as well.
- Solid credit history - In most cases, self employed consumers will need a credit score of at least 680 to qualify for a mortgage.
- Sizable down payment - Banks often consider self employed people more of a risk for mortgage lending and they’ll require a down payment of around 20 percent.
While obtaining a mortgage as a self employed millennial is difficult, it isn’t impossible. The right amount of research combined with careful planning and record keeping will help make the process much easier.
In the last year or so, Seattle has become a tight seller’s market with a low inventory and a common occurrence of multiple offers per house for sale. Many buyers have described it as an all-out war trying to buy the house they want. Owners who waited out the housing recession are more than willing to engage in a bidding war in an attempt to get the highest offer.
The following are some good real estate tips for both buyers and sellers in the Seattle market. These real estate tips can also be applied to many of the surrounding real estate markets like Tukwila, Renton, Sea-Tac, Burien and more.
1.Decide what you can compromise on. Of the three big factors: condition, location and size, which one isn’t as important as the other two? In most cases, you’ll need to compromise on one of them.
2.Understand what you can actually afford in this market. Because the real estate market is so tough in these areas, agents and sellers look at every detail of competing offers, and larger down payments often win out as many houses are unlikely to appraise at the price being offered.
3.Be patient and don’t give up too soon. Losing the house you thought was perfect can be a crushing disappointment at the time, but it’s important to keep looking. During the time you’re looking, you can also save extra cash for a bigger down payment.
4.Find out what the seller wants. Knowing what constitutes the perfect offer to a seller can be half the battle. In a seller’s market, the buyer cannot make too many demands on an offer and expect to win the house if there are multiples. In some cases, it’s simply the highest, in others, the most cash, and sometimes they just want a quick closing.
1.Price your house competitively. Most properties in this market are getting multiple offers, but if you price your house too high to start, you may not get the right bites.
2. Be clear about what you want and where you won’t compromise. If you need a quick closing or the ability to rent the house for two months from the buyer, make sure to have this communicated so you can get an offer that meets your conditions.
Listings dropped by 10 percent in Seattle’s market in 2016, but demand remained high and is expected to increase in 2017.