5 Tips For Relisting After A Home Sale Falls Through

•November 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It’s tough to start over after your home didn’t sell, especially if you had an offer that ended without a closing. This happens sometimes and for multiple reasons: buyer-financing difficulties, a family emergency, problems found at inspection, or even a low appraisal. If you had backup offers waiting in the wings, lucky you! But if you didn’t, you’ve still got a few options for relisting your home for sale.

1. Continue working with your current agent This option is easy. Just start again — ditch that “pending” status, change it back to “active,” and prepare yourself for another wave of showings. But don’t ditch your agent too fast. They did their job to get you a buyer, after all. “It is not [the agent’s] fault if the buyer falls through,” says Brett Ringelheim, a New York real estate agent with Nest Seekers International. “The issue is how well the listing agent investigated the sale and protected the seller,” says Bruce Ailion, an Atlanta real estate agent and attorney. Sometimes agents know when the offer is a shaky one that might not close. Although they may advise you not to take it, you might anyway. In that scenario, the only time to hold the agent responsible is if they pushed you to take a weak offer and then “allowed 30 to 60 days to pass before it fell apart,” says Ailion. When your home doesn’t even get offers, it’s natural to be frustrated. Your first reaction might be to blame the agent. But you really “shouldn’t change agents for the sake of trying something new,” says Gary Lucido, president of Lucid Realty in Chicago. Here’s a strategy Ailion recommends: “Have a conversation and ask that your listing be terminated.” Give your agent some time (Ailion asks for 24 hours) to fix or address the issue. If you’re still dissatisfied, then consider finding a new agent.

2. End the contract with your agent If you need a change — maybe you believe your agent dropped the ball — you can end the contract. “The seller must give notice to the broker in writing,” says Robert Vinson, head of Vinson Real Estate Group in Los Angeles. Note that you could “have some obligation to pay a portion of the marketing efforts,” adds Vinson. You might need to end your contract by waiting until its term ends, but this isn’t always the case. “You should be able to terminate a contract at any time; no reasonable agent wants to work with an unhappy client,” says Lucido. You would then go through the process of finding a new agent. Maybe you picked a family member or friend the first time, and it didn’t work out. Pick your next agent as you would any other professional. In this case, check references, ask whether they sell in your area, and find out if they have experience with your type of home. Selling a historic house downtown, for example, requires a different set of skills than selling suburban subdivision digs. Also find out how many houses the agent listed last year and, of those, how many actually sold. “Above all, don’t list with the agent who charges the least commission,” says Candace Evans, a Westchester County, NY, real estate broker. “Like most things in life, you really do get what you pay for.”

3. Wait a few days If you need (and want) to sell, you’ll need to relist your home. But you might want to reflect on what happened last time and possibly brainstorm a new strategy beforehand. Expect to put in some extra time, especially if you hired a new agent. Sit down with them, discuss what happened, and find out their ideas for preventing the same situation from happening again, suggests Ringelheim. You’ll probably have more photos taken (professional ones are best), powwow on whether you’ll change the price, and possibly highlight your amenities in a better way, such as improving the curb appeal or emptying cluttered closets.

4. Fix any problems If your deal fell through because the inspection report caused the buyer to run for the hills, you have some decisions to make. “It is important for the seller to get all necessary items fixed,” says John Lyons, a Chicago real estate broker. “Otherwise, the problem will likely happen again with the next buyer.” If you’re unwilling to do this, disclose the problems to potential buyers the next time you enter a pending sale and consider lowering the price.

5. Put your listing on pause If you’d rather not relist during a slow season, you can wait it out for warmer weather and a potentially larger market. “The busy spring market starts right after the Super Bowl and lasts until Memorial Day, and the shorter fall market is between Labor Day and Halloween,” says Evans. November and December are “really bad” times, says Gary Lucido. So if you can afford to postpone the sale, consider waiting for a better time of year. You can, of course, still sell a house during the holiday season — you just might need to work a bit harder. Another reason to wait to relist is to have your home show up again as “new” on the listings. “Depending on your local MLS, you may or may not be able to relist the home within a certain amount of time and have it show up as new,” says Ross Anthony, a San Diego agent with Willis Allen Real Estate. The point is to avoid the dreaded “stale” listing, a home that’s been on the market (and MLS) so long, people begin to wonder what’s wrong with it. “When you relist the home, it should show as a new listing with a fresh batch of marketing photos,” says Anthony. He says that after three to six months, a whole new group of buyers could see your listing with fresh eyes.


5 Surprising Factors That Make Happier Homes

•November 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

1. Green or yellow walls: Could the color of your walls have the power to change your mood? A study from Vrije University in Amsterdam found that yellow and green walls brought about the most feelings of happiness. “Green gives a feeling of comfort and serenity, so it’s an ideal choice for a bedroom, while yellow brings out creativity and playfulness, so you might consider that tone for a playroom,” Victoria Shtainer, a real estate broker for Compass, told realtor.com®.


2. Short commutes: Home owners prefer a shorter drive to work while long commutes have been shown to hamper contentment levels with home ownership. A study from the Office for National Statistics shows that commutes under 15 minutes make happier home owners, while over 15 minutes, commuters start to get anxious. For commutes that stretch over an hour, home owners say they’re depressed.

3. Cleanliness: Clutter creates stress, according to the UCLS Center on Everyday Lives and Families. Its study found that a “higher density” of objects in a home caused women especially to see increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Men, on the other hand, in the study did not tend to show any physical reactions from clutter. “Clutter definitely costs you both emotionally and financially,” says Dana Korey, a professional organizer. “If your rent is $2,000 a month and half of your home is filled with nonusable space, then it is effectively costing you $1,000 a month. One short-term solution is to pack this stuff into boxes and pay to have them put into storage. That way when you see the actual dollar amount every month that the clutter is costing you, you are likely to take action and unload.”

4. Pay off more of your home. Paying down a home loan can also increase home owners’ moods. Home owners without mortgages have the happiest homes, according to the Halifax Happiest Home Report.

5. Get friendly with the neighbors. “Relationships with neighbors” also creates a sense of well-being with home ownership, according to the Halifax Happiest Home Report. “I’d recommend that people make it part of their routine to cultivate a sense of neighborhood,” says Grant Brenner, co-author of “Irrelationship: How We Use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide From Intimacy.” “This is missing nowadays, especially in large urban centers where people tend to isolate from one another.”


5 Tips For Reducing The Amount Of “Stuff” You Need To Move To Your New Home

•November 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Switching houses? Then now is the perfect time to finally go through all the clutter and make some tough decisions about what needs to move and what needs to go away.

There is no point in waiting until after a move to go through the junk lying around, as tempting as it may be, so here are five ways to decide what should find a new home before a move.

Start With A Trip To The Dump

Before starting the move, grab some garbage bags and do a sweep of the house, making sure to toss out anything that needs to go to the dump. This will clear up the home of anything unnecessary and makes it easier to throw out some items when there’s no decision making pressure.

Decide What Furniture Will Be Replaced In Advance

A new home often means new furniture. By deciding in advance which items will be purchased new, homeowners can prepare to either sell or give away their older furniture before they move. Saving space and cutting down one extra step after moving in.

Sell Or Donate What You Don’t Need

Holiday decorations are the perfect example of items that are only taken out once a year and tend to be replaced before they are ever reused. There are probably similar boxes or shelves in every home filled with items that will never be used again but are still held onto.

Now Is A Good Time To Go Through The Closet

Clothes are not looked at as seriously as other objects when clearing space because they can easily fold down or be tucked away. It’s simpler for most people to just throw all their clothes in a box or travel bag before moving, but this is the perfect time to finally go through and donate anything that doesn’t fit or is never worn.

Be Patient With Children

It is hard for kids to part with their toys, even ones they haven’t used in years. These are part of their identity and telling them what they need to throw out can impact them emotionally and make a move that much harder. Sit down with the children and have a long talk about moving and donating items to see if they are ready to go through their things.

Thinking about buying a new home? The service of a real estate professional can go a long way in finding you the home of your dreams in the budget you are looking for.

How to Discuss Repairs or Defects with a Seller

•November 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

When it comes to selling a home, it is a common belief that once the offer is accepted, there is nothing else to be negotiated. However, issues and obstacles that can arise during the home inspection can be a cause for discussion with the seller. Whether you’re currently searching for houses or your offer has already been accepted and you’re preparing for the next step, here are some tips in the event that the home inspection isn’t up to par.

Be Cautious About What You Say

Without a doubt, anything that you discuss with the real estate agent regarding the property you’re looking at is going to be addressed with the seller. Instead of telling the agent everything is fine and dandy, maintain a poker face with any deficiencies in the home so you can assess them after the inspection. While a seller may think they have you on the line if all seems fine during the inspection, maintaining your peace and negotiating after the fact may end up providing a better post-inspection deal for you.

Decide What Deficiencies Are Most Important

Before negotiating any repairs or defects with the seller and how this can benefit you, ensure you prioritize what deficiencies must be fixed and what you can live without. There may be leaks and small dings in cupboards that may not be much of an issue, whereas damage in a hardwood floor that you don’t want to renovate may serve as a deal breaker. Deciding what is most important will ensure that the seller knows you’re really interested, and it will likely convince them that the fixes will make for a successful sale.

Request A Credit For Repairs

If a seller knows you’re interested in a home, you may be able to get a little bit of leeway in terms of what you can negotiate following the inspection. Instead of expecting them to deal with the hurdles of home repair, ask the seller to consider a credit so that you can ensure the repairs are completed on your own. This will not only enable you to have the repairs completed the way you would like them done, it may also make the moving process a smoother transition for all of you.

There are certain deficiencies that can show up during the home inspection, so it’s important to consider how re-negotiation can benefit both the buyer and the seller. If you’re curious about home inspections and other aspects of purchasing a home, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for more information.

Add Some Romance to the Master Bedroom!!

•November 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

What does that entail? Contemporary finishes, soft neutral color palettes, more pillows, and no strong patterns, the survey finds as the top preferences.

Home owners are being drawn toward shades of white, cream, gray, and blue for their updated master bedrooms.

Also, more than a quarter of home owners are opting not to include a strong pattern in the décor of the master bedroom (27 percent). However, some owners will use floral and geometric prints (21 percent and 17 percent, respectively).

The more pillows, the merrier, the survey finds. Sixty-seven percent of home owners who are updating their bedding say that decorative pillows are a top update. On average, home owners say they’ll accessorize with four decorative pillows, and 40 percent will have five or more decorative pillows. What’s more, of the home owners replacing their beds, one in five are choosing a platform style. (See an example at Houzz.) Another top accessory choice for decorating master bedrooms is adding mirrors.

More home owners are making their traditional bedrooms into more contemporary-styled spaces. Forty-five percent of home owners say they’re redecorated bedrooms are contemporary, modern, or transitional, according to the survey.

Houzz survey

In their own words, renovators say the master bedroom must be “stylish and beautiful” (73 percent) and “feel like a sanctuary” (54 percent). Home owners also say they’re looking for a room that promotes quality of sleep, comfortable, and easy to clean.

For some home owners, they also want to add square footage. One in five home owners say that through their renovations they are increasing the room’s size, and more than half of those are focusing on their closets to add square footage.

These additions certainly are coming at extra costs. Twenty-six percent of the 1,500 home owners surveyed say they plan to spend $10,000 or more on master bedroom renovations, while one in five are spending $5,000 or more on decorating projects.

Smell to Sell

•September 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Open site here

9 Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes

•March 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Watch out for the common tax-filing errors, and you’ll get a maximum return without raising any red flags with the IRS. As you calculate your tax returns, be careful not to commit any of these nine home-related tax mistakes, which tax pros say are especially common and can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep.

Sin #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes

You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014. But that’s irrelevant to the feds. Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date is on your tax bill.

Sin #2: Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid

If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill. Your lender will adjust the amount every year or so to realign the two. For example, your tax bill might be $1,200, but your lender may have collected $1,100 or $1,300 in escrow over the year. Deduct only $1,200 or the amount of property taxes noted on the Form 1098 that your lender sends. If you don’t receive Form 1098, contact the agency that collects property tax to find out how much you paid.

Sin #3: Deducting points paid to refinance

Deduct points you paid your lender to secure your mortgage in full for the year you bought your home. However, when you refinance, you must deduct points over the life of your new loan.

For example, if you paid $2,000 in points to refinance into a 15-year mortgage, your tax deduction is $2,000 divided by 15 years, or $133 per year.

Sin #4: Misjudging the home office tax deduction

The deduction is complicated, often doesn’t amount to much of a deduction, has to be recaptured if you turn a profit when you sell your home, and can pique the IRS’s interest in your return.

But there’s good news. There’s a new simplified home office deduction option if you don’t want to claim actual costs. If you’re eligible, you can deduct $5 per square foot up to 300 feet of office space, or up to $1,500 per year.

Sin #5: Failing to repay the first-time homebuyer tax credit

If you used the original home buyer tax credit in 2008, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years.

If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then within 36 months you sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, you also have to pay back the credit.

The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

Sin #6: Failing to track home-related expenses

If the IRS comes a-knockin’, don’t be scrambling to compile your records. File or scan and store home office and home improvement expense receipts and other home-related documents as you go.

Sin #7: Forgetting to keep track of capital gains

If you sold your main home last year, don’t forget to pay capital gains taxes on any profit. You can typically exclude $250,000 of any profits from taxes (or $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly).

So if your cost basis for your home is $100,000 (what you paid for it plus any improvements) and you sold it for $400,000, your capital gains are $300,000. If you’re single, you owe taxes on $50,000 of gains.

However, there are minimum time limits for holding property to take advantage of the exclusions, and other details. Consult IRS Publication 523. And high-income earners could get hit with an additional tax.

Sin #8: Filing incorrectly for energy tax credits

If you made any eligible improvements in 2014, such as installing energy-efficient windows and doors, you may be able to take a 10% tax credit (up to $500; with some systems your cap is even lower than $500). But keep in mind, it’s a lifetime credit. If you claimed the credit in any recent years, you’re done.

Installing a solar electric, solar water heater, geothermal, or small wind energy system can also make you eligible to take the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit.
To claim the deduction, you have to use the complicated Form 5695, which can mean cross-checking with half a dozen other IRS forms. Read the instructions carefully.

Sin #9: Claiming too much for the mortgage interest tax deduction

Taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest on home acquisition debt up to $1 million, plus they can also deduct up to $100,000 in home equity debt.

This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.