How To Sell Your Home Faster

July 21st, 2020

According to the Florida Realtors association, there are 10 factors that can affect how quickly your home sells. A quick summary of these factors follow:

1.) PRICE: Proper pricing is key to getting your home sold for maximum dollars and in the desired time frame. One thing that can accelerate the selling process is pricing your home competitively. Overpricing will lead to more time on market, and ultimately, you may end up selling for a lower price anyway. According to Florida Realtors, homes prices at or slightly below market value are almost 50% more likely to sell within 60 days than those priced 12% or more above market value.

2.) CURB APPEAL: Realtors frequently named curb appeal as the number 1 factor affecting the amount of time a home is on the market. Your home’s exterior is the first exposure a potential buyer will have to your home so it is important that the home looks well maintained and landscaped.

3.) LOCATION: You always hear that location is key to selling your home. Without question, it is one of the most important considerations for a buyer when looking for a new home.

4.) LOCAL SCHOOLS: Homes that fall in a good public school district sell faster and at a premium. In one study reviewed by the Florida Realtors, one in five buyers said that they would pay 6-10% above their budget for the right home.

5.) MOVE-IN CONDITION: According to The Wall Street Journal, homes that can be marketed as “move-in” condition sell 12% faster.  If major renovations are not needed, it is still important to take care of any easy fixes that might deter potential buyers such as painting, swapping out outdated light fixtures, installing new hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, fixing loose tiles or tightening leaking faucets.

6.) QUALITY PHOTOS: According to a Redfin study, homes that were marketed with professional photos sold faster in one study, and for $3,400-$11,200 more than homes presented through amateur photos. Professional real estate photos only cost a few hundred dollars and; the cost will be covered by your listing agent in most cases. Prior to images being taken, make sure your home has plenty of light by turning on all lights and letting in as much natural  light as possible.

7.) VIRTUAL TOURS: Especially in the era of COVID-19, adding a virtual tour of your home as a marketing component will help decrease time on market and enhance sales price. A virtual tour will also help qualify potential buyers for in-person viewings.

8.) STAGING: According to a recent study, 48% of recent buyers said having the home staged is extremely, very or somewhat important to their home-buying decision. The Real Estate Staging Association states that staged homes spend 73% less time on market than non-staged homes.

9.) DESIGN FEATURES: Homes with certain features such as farmhouse sinks, subway tile, frameless showers, double sinks, walk-in closets, tankless water heater, stainless appliances, security system and central air sell much faster.

10.) THE RIGHT AGENT: The upside to hiring a professional real estate agent is that they know what it takes to get a home sold quickly in your area. In exchange for a customary 3% commission, they will advise on pricing, handle the marketing and showings, represent you in contract negotiations and coordinate for signing and closing.

I hope that you have found the above to be of value. Should you be looking to buy or sell residential real estate in the greater Ft Lauderdale area and not currently working with a real estate agent, please do not hesitate to let me know. I can be reach at (954) 547-9483 or via email at jkenney10f@gmail.com. Thanks

Jay Kenney

 

Most Common Issues Uncovered During Home Inspections

June 24th, 2020

Issues found during home inspections can be used by the buyer to either negotiate mandatory fixes or a credit to lower the purchase price with the seller. The extent of what should be fixed should be left to the buyer’s agent to negotiate with the seller’s agent. If the requests are reasonable, most sellers will agree to remedy the issues. In some cases, a credit towards the purchase price can be arranged whereby the buyer would receive money to put towards fixing the problem. If the buyer is concerned with an issue or issues found during a home inspection and seller is not willing to fix the problems, the buyer can walk away from the agreement. It should be noted that agreements in Florida allow for the buyer to walk away from an agreement without penalty during the home inspection period which is defined in the agreement.

Most major issues that are included in a home inspection report include the following:

1.) Structural: issues can be seen in the attic or crawlspace. The structural elements of a home are the foundation, crawl space, slab or basement, framing, roof and walls.

2.) Roof: issues can include a roof that is at the end of its life, shingles that have loosened or are broken, exposed nail heads and improper flashing.  A roof that shows signs of deferred maintenance can also signal water damage to the sheathing and rafters.

3.) Plumbing: issues can range in severity from a leaking faucet to the plumbing system needing repair or replacement, Leaks that have been active for an extended period of time can result in additional problems such as damage to flooring and mold.

4.) Electrical: issues can be very dangerous so it is important to always consult with a licensed electrician on any electrical issues that are noted in a home inspection report. Such issues could include faulty, outdated out of code wiring or circuit breaker box. Another common issue is a the lack of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets located near water source such as sinks.

5.) Water Damage: can be a serious issue as it can impact all areas of the home and can result in costly repairs.  Water damage can be caused by roofing issues, plumbing leaks or poor exterior drainage.

6.) Heating and Air Conditioning System: issues are very common and can include a heating/cooling system at the end of its lifespan or system that has not been regularly maintained and not running as efficiently as it could.

According to a study of 50K home inspections by RepairPricer.com,  common issues found during a home inspection included:

*54.9% of doors needed adjusting/servicing

*54.8% of faucets and shower heads needed servicing

*54.5% exterior caulking/sealant missing

*53.7% outlet or light switch problems

*48% no circuit breaker (GFCI) protection

*45.1% missing or defective smoke alarms

*45% cosmetic sheetrock cracks or nail pops

*40.5% fixtures and/or bulb problems

*33.9% interior caulking, grout and sealer are missing

*33.9% electrical service panel problems

Hope you have found the above to be of interest. Should you be looking to either buy or sell a residential property in Fort Lauderdale and not currently working with an agent, please do not hesitate to contact me at (954) 547-9483 or email at jkenney10f@gmail.com. Many thanks

Jay Kenney

How To Conduct Property Viewings During COVID-19

May 27th, 2020

As restrictions start to ease around the country and in South Florida, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has established suggested guidelines to help real estate agents conduct their business in the era of COVID-19.  Prior to outlining these guidelines, it is important to note that most brokers are encouraging real estate agents to use virtual showings and limit in-person activity in all other aspects of the transaction as much as possible, even where in-person showings are allowable by state and local order.

Before Conducting In-Person Showings:

*Check state and local executive orders to confirm what is allowable in terms of conducting in-person showings.

*Encourage buyers to narrow their property search through photos, virtual tours, and other technology.

*Consider adopting a policy of asking all buyers for a pre-qualification letter to limit in-person showings only to qualified and serious buyers.

*Consider implementing different precautions for occupied properties versus vacant properties.

*Discuss with a seller the precautions that will be taken when showing their property, and adhere to any specific requirements requested by sellers showing the property.

*Request both the seller and potential buyers to self-disclose whether they have COVID-19 or exhibit any symptoms.

*Be aware of any state and local restrictions on the number of people who may be present at the showing and discourage non-essential parties from attending the showing.

*Be aware of and comply with fair housing obligations related to COVID-19.

*Ask buyers to remain in their vehicle until real estate agent arrives at the property.

*For occupied properties, request that the seller or tenant open all cabinets, closets, window coverings, and to turn on lights before leaving the property.

During In-Person Showings:

*Adhere to social distancing recommendations, and maintain a minimum of 6″ of space between persons at all times.

*Avoid shaking hands with clients.

*Limit the number of persons who may attend a showing, such as only four people total.

*Require all persons entering a property to immediately wash their hands or to use hand sanitizer, remove footwear, and wear a face mask or covering, and gloves.

*Instruct buyers and others touring the home to avoid touching any surfaces in the home including light switches, cabinet and door handles.

*Do not share phones, pens or tablets or other personal property during the showing.

*Comply with any requirements of the seller during the showing.

After Showing Property:

*Wipe down any surfaces touched during the showing.

*Wipe down the key and lockbox, if used, after use.

*Speak with buyers outside of the property or in a ventilated area while maintaining a distance of 6′ or arrange to speak by phone or email.

*Do not provide any paper documents, and instead follow up with any information electronically after you leave the property.

*Use hand sanitizer upon your return to your car.

*Maintain a detailed log of interactions to enable contact tracing to include names, dates, and locations of interactions as well as a party’s contact information.

It should be noted that these are general guidelines only. It is advisable to consult with legal counsel, public health information, all applicable executive orders, and federal, state and local government and agency guidance.  If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in Fort Lauderdale, please contact me at (954) 547-9483 or via email at jkenney10f@gmail.com.  Thanks and stay safe!

Jay Kenney

 

 

HOW IS COVID-19 IMPACTING THE RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE MARKET?

April 24th, 2020

Thinking of selling your home and wondering what will be the impact of COVID-19 on the market. Well, you are not alone along with others who had planned to buy a new home. With more than 95% of Americans under some form of sheltering in place, many experts are warning that the American economy is heading toward a recession, if it’s not already in one.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production and wholesale-retail sales.” COVID-19 hit the pause button on the American economy mid-March. Though, we may not yet be in a recession by the technical definition of the world today, most believe that history will show we were in one from April to June. Many fear that a recession will mean a repeat of the housing crash that occurred during the recession of 2008-2009.  However, unlike in the 2000s, the housing market in the U.S. enters this recessionary period under-built rather than overbuilt. This means that as the economy rebounds which it will eventually do, housing is set to help lead the way out of recession to economic recovery, Rising home values and stricter lender policies have also meant that homeowners are sitting on historically high home equity.

To further support the housing sector,  the federal government has implemented a moratorium on foreclosure and directed mortgage services to offer leniency on any mortgage backed by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  These are important measures that are designed to prevent a number of foreclosure and keep the bottom from falling out of the housing market, as happened in 2008.  Additionally, the Federal Reserve has implemented two emergency interest rate cuts since the COVID-19 outbreak bringing the yield on Treasury bonds to almost 0%. The higher the price of bonds, the lower the interest payment-called the yield-is relative to price. When bond yields are lower, mortgage rates are lower as well.

This spring selling season will not be as robust as previous ones. However, as the shelter in place orders are lifted and we see a dramatic decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases, many sellers will come off the sidelines and list their properties.  In my view, a strong market will return in the not too distant future and we will not repeat the market crash of the 2000s.

Hope you have find this to be of interest. If you are thinking of buying or selling a property in Fort Lauderdale and not currently working with an agent, please do not hesitate to let me know.  I can be reached at (954) 547-9483 or via email at jkenney10f@gmail.com. Thanks and stay safe!

TIPS FOR SELLERS TO PREPARE A HOME FOR LISTING PHOTOS

March 30th, 2020

Buyers are very visual particularly where everything is viewed on the internet and on multiple devices. Having high quality images of your home should be a key component of any marketing plan designed to sell your home for the highest price within the shortest timeframe.

Research shows using a professional photographer not only helps sell your home faster but for more money.  The cost to hire a professional photographer generally falls within the $150-$200 range depending on the market and number of photos requested. If you are working with a listing agent, it’s likely that the professional photography expense will be covered by your agent as part of the services offered.

It is important to photograph not only the interior but the exterior of the home as well.  Your front yard must have curb appeal so be sure that the lawn has been cut and edged, bushes and shrubs have been trimmed, walkway has been swept and is free of clutter and flowers have been planted. You should also be sure that the windows have been washed and the exterior has been painted, if needed.  The backyard should not be overlooked. Be sure the deck and/or patio is swept, furniture is arranged and all toys, bikes, balls and garden equipment/supplies are out of sight. If you have a pool or hot tub, be sure the it has been skimmed and the water is clean. If your photographer opts to use a drone for the external photography, be sure to notify your neighbors.

With regards to the interior, the key rooms to be photographed are the kitchen, living rooms, master bedroom, guest bedrooms and bathrooms.  The kitchen is a key room for buyers. Be sure your kitchen has been cleaned thoroughly and all dishes and pans are out of sight. Also, the kitchen counters should be clear of any small appliances and dish cleaning supplies at the sink as well as any photos or magnets on the refrigerator have been removed. The trash can should be put in the closet for the photo shoot. The living rooms are the common area rooms including dining room, library, TV room or home office.  These rooms should be clean and clutter-free. It is also important that all framed family photos, magazines, toys and other personal items be removed. Buyers must be able to visualize their family living in this space which is why it is important to depersonalize the home. Sellers need to realize that this is no longer their home but an asset to be sold providing the opportunity to move on to their next home. As with the common area rooms, the bedrooms must be cleaned, decluttered and cleared of any personalize items. The bathrooms counters must be clear of any personal toiletries, tooth brushes, hair dryers, etc. Be sure towels are freshly washed and hung straight. Also, put your toilet seat down and all closet doors are closed.

Once all rooms have been prepared, be sure that all lights are turned on prior to photography.  It is important to note that lighting is key when taking photos/video. Photos should also be taken on a sunny day.

I hope you have found the above tips to be helpful. If you are thinking of buying/selling residential real estate in South Florida and not currently working with an agent, please email me a jkenney10f@gmail.com or call me at (954) 547-9483. Many thanks

Jay Kenney

Considerations for Buying a Vacation Property in Florida

February 26th, 2020

If you are thinking of buying a vacation home in Florida, there are several considerations which should be explored prior to determining the one that’s best for your situation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), more buyers are purchasing vacation homes each year. Some are looking for the perfect vacation destination for family and friends to enjoy. Others are looking for a place to build relationships for future retirement while others are interested in using the vacation property as an investment opportunity to be used for rental income.

Once you determine the primary reason for buying a second home, you will need to determine what is the best location that will meet your needs. How close is the property’s proximity to activities that you enjoy?  Is it important to be close to entertainment, restaurants and shopping? If you plan to retire in the future, you should consider proximity to healthcare professionals and services. Finding the best location is often the most challenging part of buying a home.  An experienced real estate agent familiar with the area of interest can be very helpful in guiding you to neighborhoods and properties that meet your needs.

You will need to determine how you plan to pay for the property. Depending on your financial situation, you may decide to buy the second home for cash. Otherwise, financing is the other option. It should be noted that lenders may charge higher interest rates and/or require higher down payments for second homes. Don’t lose sight of what you can actually afford and to live within your budget.

With regards to added costs of ownership, be sure to include all insurance, taxes, utility bills and maintenance costs. Should the location of the second home have a higher risk of natural hazards such as hurricanes and floods; it is recommended that you secure several insurance quotes prior to making any decision to purchase. With regards to general maintenance, a good rule of thumb is to budget about 2% of the home’s value each year for maintenance. It should be noted that with the new tax code, the property taxes on the second home will likely not be tax deductible.  With a $10K State & Local Tax (SALT) limitation, most buyers won’t benefit from any property tax deduction on the second property.

As you get closer to retirement, you will likely consider the possibility of changing your primary residence from your current state to your second home in Florida. Knowing the rules for residing in both your home state and Florida is important as the requirements can vary form state to state. The legal requirement established by the state your leaving and state of Florida must both be satisfied.

To establish your new residence in Florida, you must do the following:

*file a Florida Declaration of Domicile

*if you drive, obtain a Florida’s drivers license and register you vehicle in the state

*register to vote

*notify the state that you are leaving and federal tax officials of your new tax status

*establish a homestead exemption if you purchase a home

*update your estate planning documents to comply with Florida law

Once you determine the location for your second home, it is necessary to qualify specific properties against the criteria that you are looking for in a new home. This would include price, size, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, view and proximity to activities of interest such as water, golf courses, boating, entertainment and restaurants, etc.

As a means to further qualify homes, you will want to know the following:

1.) How long has the home been on the market? If it has been on the market for awhile, why hasn’t it sold? Is the home over-priced compared to recent sales of comparable homes in the neighborhood? Are there known issues with the home that have been identified on the seller’s disclosure form?

2.) How negotiable is the seller on price?

3.) Does the home come furnished? If so, is there a valuation assigned to the furniture? This amount should be paid separately from the purchase price so as not to inflate the value of the home for taxation purposes.

4.) What are the property taxes that you could expect to pay?

5.) With condominiums, you will want to determine the condition of not only the unit but the building. How old is the building? With older buildings, inquire about any planned major capital improvements projects that may result in future assessments in addition to the regular maintenance fees.

Hope you have found the above to be of interest. Should you have any questions about finding your second home in South Florida and not currently working with a real estate agent, please contact me at (954) 547-9483 or via email at jkenney10f@gmail.com.  Thanks

 

Tax Benefits of Buying a Home in 2020

January 21st, 2020

Thinking a buying a home then you will want to know the current tax benefits that would be available to you.  The following will outline the key deductions that are tax-deductible when you own a home:

MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION: One of the main tax deductions is the mortgage interest deduction which allows you to deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage. If you own a home and don’t have a mortgage greater than $750K, as a single filer or married couple, you can deduct the interest you pay on the loan. For married couple filing separately, the limit is $375K. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) reduced the limit from $1M to $750K and restricted interest that can be deducted from a home equity line of credit. Prior to TCJA, you could deduct interest on a mortgage up to $1M plus a HELOC up to $100K with no restriction on how the $100K was to be used. With the TCJA, you are only allowed to deduct HELOC interest provided it does not exceed the new $750K limit and its use is restricted to home improvements.  However, if you bought your home on or before 12/15/2017, the mortgage interest deduction limit is $1M for single filers and married couple filing jointly and $500K for married couples filing separately.

STATE AND LOCAL TAXES DEDUCTION: Another one of the tax benefits of buying a home is the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) which includes property taxes. The deductible amount is limited to $10K for single filers and married couples filing jointly and $5K for married copies filing separately. With the passage of TCJA, the standard deduction is higher than it used to be which means more individuals are taking the standard deduction. Tax returns that included a Schedule A in 2018 made up just 10.1% of total returns representing a reduction from almost 30% the previous year. The 2019 standard deduction amounts are as follows:

*Single or Married Filing Separately: $12,200

*Married Filing Jointly: $24,400

*Head of Household: $18,350

If the deductions you qualify for as a homeowner are expected to be higher than the standard deduction amount that applies to your filing status, then it would make sense for you to itemize your deductions. Otherwise, taking the standard deduction is the way to go.

MORTGAGE POINTS DEDUCTION:  The tax benefits of home ownership include the ability to deduct mortgage points you paid at closing when you purchased the home. One mortgage point is equal to 1% of your loan amount. You generally deduct points over the life of your loan rather than in the year you paid them. However, there is an exception to this rule provided you meet criteria determined by the IRS to include the following:

*Mortgage is secured by your main home.

*Points did not cost more than what is generally charged locally.

*Points weren’t paid in place of other closing costs

You should refer to the IRS for more information on the criteria that you will need to meet to fully deduct mortgage points in the year that you paid them.

HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION: If you work from home, you may qualify for the home office deduction. To qualify, you must use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes. You can claim the deduction by determining the percentage of your home used for business or deduct $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet, for the business use of your home.  You can get a maximum deduction of $1,500. It should be noted that there are very tight restrictions on expensing your home office.

In addition to the above, it is important to note that you will receive a tax benefit after selling your home. If you sell your home at a profit, your capital gains are tax-free up to $250K if you are a single filer and up to $500K if you are married filing jointly. To qualify, you must have lived in and used the home as your primary residence for at least two out of the five years before the sale date.

Hope you have found this information to be useful. If you are considering buying or selling a home in South Florida and not currently working with a Realtor, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. I can be reached via email at jkenney10f@gmail.com or cell (954-547-9483). Thanks very much!

Jay Kenney

What Buyers Need to Know About the Home Closing

December 17th, 2019

Home closing is the last step in the home buying process. This is where the buyer will sign off on the deal and transfer the balance of the funds due for distribution to the seller. The deed will be recorded and the home ownership will be transferred from the seller to the buyer. If the home is financed, the buyer will also sign the mortgage note. In Florida, the closing is handled by a neutral third-party agent such as a title company or real estate attorney.

Typically, the closing is scheduled 30-60 days from the date that the offer is accepted. Financed deals generally take longer than all cash deals. The closing date is mutually agreed upon by the buyer and seller and is included in the agreement. However, the date can change for a number of reasons provided the new date is mutually agreed upon by both parties. It is the buyer’s right to choose the title company which assumes responsibility for conducting a title search of the property, ensuring that all paperwork is properly prepared and signed along with the receipt and distribution of funds. The fee for the title company is included in the closing costs.

As the buyer who has opted to finance the purchase, there are two documents that the buyer will have to review prior to the closing. They are the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. Both explain the loan terms, interest rate and other costs associated with the loan (taxes, recording fees, etc.). The Loan Estimate is provided to the buyer no more than three days after the loan application. No later than three days before closing, the lender will provide the buyer with a Closing Disclosure which will very similar to the Loan Estimate. The Closing Disclosure shows, line by line, each expense as well as which party is to pay what amount.  It will outline information about the mortgage loan and the specific amount that the buyer will need to bring to closing to cover the closing costs.

At least 24 hours prior to the closing, be sure to do a walk-through of the home with your real estate agent who will set this up with the seller’s agent. This is to ensure that the previous owner has vacated the property and left the home in the condition as agreed upon in the contract. If the home inspection revealed issues which the seller agreed to remedy, the buyer will want to make sure that those repairs have been made.

The buyer who will be accompanied by their agent will need to bring the following items to the closing:

*Photo ID: buying a home requires proof that you are who you say you are.  A driver’s license or current passport will suffice.

*Proof of Homeowners Insurance: Lenders require homeowners insurance before issuing a mortgage. The buyer should bring proof that the premium has been paid through the first year. This will most likely have been already verified but bring a copy of payment in the event that the question does come up.

*Certified or Cashier’s Check for the balance of the funds due. Personal checks are not accepted. If buyer opts to use a wire transfer, it is important to note that there has been an increase in wire fraud in real estate transactions. The buyer should verbally confirm all wire instructions with the appropriate parties to ensure that the funds are being wired to the proper accounts.

The closing should take no more than 30 minutes. With financing, there are more papers related to the loan for the buyer to sign. Take the time to understand each document that you are signing. The title agent who is handling the closing will explain the purpose of the documents that the buyer will be signing. Be sure to ask questions if clarification is required.

Hope that you have found the above to be of value. Should you have any questions or are looking to buy/sell residential real estate in South Florida and not currently working with a real estate agent, please email me at jkenney10f@gmail.com or call (954) 547-9483. Many thanks and Happy Holidays!

Jay Kenney

 

 

Home Closing Checklist for Sellers

November 18th, 2019

Once your home is under contract, you need to get organized for the closing which is the legal transfer of your property’s title and final stage of the selling process.  Prior to closing, you need to ensure that everything that remains to be done as outlined in the agreement is completed so the buyer cannot exercise any option to walk away from the agreement. It is important to be aware of all the deadlines in the contract and are able to meet them.

One of these items could be a house inspection which allows the buyer at their expense to conduct an inspection of the property within a mutually agreed upon number of days from the contract execution. If the buyer asks for any repairs as a result of the home inspection, you will need to review this request with your listing agent. Your response could be to agree to make all the repairs, negotiate to only do a few or not make any at all. In making this determination, you should take into consideration the extent and cost of the repairs along with the price paid for the property. The buyer does have the option to walk away from the agreement during this inspection period so you want to do what is fair and in the best interest of working towards a successful closing.

In preparing for the closing, you will want to do the following:

*Clean the entire home including inside drawers and closets.

*Close utility accounts and have them shut off at the end of day of the closing. Have your listing agent confirm with buyer’s agent that the power will be shut off on the day of closing.

*Cancel your home owner’s insurance policy or have it switched to your new address. It is important that this not become effective until after the title has been formally transferred.

*Turn off shut-off valves to water.

*Pull together all keys, alarm codes, any fobs and/or garage door openers and leave them where your buyer can find them in the home or have your listing agent bring them to closing to hand them to the new buyer with an explanation of what is what.

*Forward your mail and change your address at the post office within the required time frame established by the post office to make such changes.

*Notify all creditors, subscription services and others of your change of address with the effective date for the new address.

*Pull together all the appliance manuals, service contracts, warranties, etc. and leave them for the new buyer.

The details of the closing with regards to the escrow agent, date and location will be spelled out in the agreement. Prior to the closing date, escrow will order the preliminary title report including any payoff balances from your lender and property tax information. You will also receive a Settlement Statement that outlines the financial responsibilities of the buyer and seller. Be sure to review the statement for accuracy and report any mistakes to the escrow agent.

On the day of the closing, both parties will sign all paperwork required for the closing of your home and the buyer will arrange to have the required proceeds wired to the established escrow account. However, it is very common today for the seller to sign the paperwork in advance of the closing date leaving only the buyer to sign the paperwork on the day of the closing.

Once all paperwork has been signed and the money has made its way to your account from escrow, the title of your home has formally transferred and you no longer own the home.  Be sure to keep all your closing documents in a safe place so you can access them, if needed.

Hope you found the above to be of interest. If you have any questions or are looking to buy or sell residential real estate in South Florida and not currently working with an agent, please do not hesitate to contact me at (954) 547-9483 or via email at jkenney10f@gmail.com.  Thanks

Jay Kenney

BENEFITS OF STAGING A HOUSE FOR SALE

October 23rd, 2019

When selling your home, the goal is to sell it in the shortest time frame for the highest price based upon current market conditions. You are more likely to increase your chances for success if you stage your home prior to listing. Staging a home involves strategically arranging furniture and furnishings to make a house look its best for the purpose of selling. This could  involve removing some furniture and belongings to enhance the space or possibly removing all furniture and renting furniture so house will show well. Staging a house helps buyers see themselves living in the house. According to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey, 49% of buyers’ agents believe staging affects most buyers’ view of a home. And 77% of them say it’s easier for people to visualize a staged home as their own.

As a seller, it is important that you look at your house from a buyer’s perspective. If you stage your home properly, it will give buyers the impression of a well-maintained home which will appeal to buyers. Additionally, if you stage your home prior to listing, you’ll have an easier time justifying the price. In that same NAR survey referenced above, 29% of sellers’ agents said that the sales price for staged homes were between 1%-5% higher than unstaged homes  Staged homes sell faster too-39% of sellers’ agents reported that staging a home reduces the number of days on the market that it takes to sell the home.  According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes which are staged sell 73% faster, on average, than non-staged homes.

In most market, there is an imbalance between housing supply and demand with more inventory than buyers. This creates a buyer’s market which makes it more difficult to sell a house. In such situations, you can either price the house below the competition or make it seem like a nicer house giving the appearance of a better value.  One of the goals of staging is to make the home appear move-in-ready which will result in a quicker sale. The art of home staging has much to do with space which involves removing clutter and arranging furniture in a way that maximizes usable space within the house. This can be accomplished by “de-personalizing” the house and decorating in a way that appeals to most buyers. You want buyers to see the house as a good fit for their family. Removing clutter and de-personalizing also give the impression that the home is larger that it actually is.

The cost to stage a home varies, but experts estimate the cost to be from $400-$700 per room in addition to a monthly rental fee of $500-$600 per room for furniture and furnishings. Full-service professional home staging will cost in the $4K range.  The most common rooms that are generally staged include the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and the dining room.

It is important that the exterior of the home be in keeping with the staging that you have done in the interior. Buyers first impression of the house will be when they pull up to the home. Staging doesn’t just occur on the inside. It happens on the outside as well. By creating a positive “curb appeal”, buyers will be in a more positive frame of mind before they even walk through the front door. Enhancing the curb appeal of a home involves landscaping, trimming bushes, planting flowers, power washing front entrance way and walkway.

If you are serious about selling your home in a competitive market, you need to emotionally detach from your home and look upon it as an asset to be sold. You need to commit to transforming your home into a place that potential buyers can easily picture as their home. Staging can go a long way to achieving your goals of selling within the shortest time frame and for the highest price.

 



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