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Pros and Cons of Renovating Your House before You Sell

Apr 24, 2018

To renovate or not to renovate. That is the question homeowners are asking themselves in the Maryland location, Virginia location, and Washington DC location before putting their house on the market!

You want to make it attractive to potential buyers, but you don’t want to spend unnecessary expense either. Whether you want to renovate your home before selling, or just put it on the market as-is is a choice that should be considered carefully!

Renovating before you sell PROS

  • Increases market value

Especially if the home you’re trying to sell has been around a while, renovation can give it a more up-to-date look, increasing its value and its attraction to potential buyers.

  • Provides a ready-made home

People searching for a new home have mostly likely seen tens or even hundreds of homes already. A renovation could be just what your home needs to stand out from the crowd. Making a few tasteful renovations can help potential buyers envision themselves living in your home.

  • Decreases reasons to not buy

Potential home buyers may feel overwhelmed by the amount of homes on the market, so, to narrow down their search, they are often critical of the smallest defects. By offering coveted updates, a newly-renovated home has less chance of being dismissed.

Renovating before you sell CONS

  • Time sucking

Renovations take time. If you don’t have time to oversee renovations, or you need to sell your home fast, renovating may not be the best choice.

  • More expensive

Renovating your home can quickly become costly, which may reduce your overall ROI.

  • Takes longer to be market-ready

Even though renovated homes tend to sell faster than non-renovated ones, renovations make it longer before you can put your house on the market. And sometimes that means you have to live in a home-turned-construction-site while the renovations are taking place!

8 Day Home Sale buys houses “as is” for a fair price. If you are looking to sell, talk to us first.

 

 

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Sell Your House FAST with These 6 Tips

Apr 17, 2018
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Perhaps the realtor just put the “For Sale” sign in your front yard this afternoon, or maybe you are just mulling over the idea of selling your house. Either way, consider these 6 timely tips to sell your house…FAST!

  1. Curb appeal. First impressions mean everything to a prospective buyer. Your front yard, including your entryway, is the very first thing a possible buyer is going to see, and it needs to look attractive. Make sure your lawn is mowed and plant fresh flowers around the entryway. Make it look inviting. If you are scratching your head, just ask your neighbors to offer suggestions. They’ve been staring at your house for a long time and those fresh eyes can give you ideas.
  2. Fresh coat of paint. Each room in your house should have a neutral color. Those old, bold colors have got to go. They may look nice to you, but a prospective buyer will have a different view. Paint those rooms with a neutral color and let the buyer’s imagination take over.
  3. Clean. Clean. The new owner won’t want a house that needs carpets cleaned, bathrooms cleaned, etc. They want a house that is ready to be moved right into and they don’t want to imagine 2 weeks of cleaning. Again, ask neighbors over to see where they think the house is dirty and needs cleaning.
  4. Smell the cinnamon! Grab a bunch of air fresheners of exactly the same scent and put one in every room. Cinnamon works well because it reminds people of warm family times. You want to make use of all of the senses.
  5. Big TV. One of the best tips I’ve used through the years is to buy a brand new, big screen TV, leave it in the box, and put a large sign on it: Housewarming gift to the new owner! Put it in the living room, still in the box. This tip will really help to sell your house fast!
  6. 40 days. Tell your realtor you want to sell your house in 40 days. They will recommend a price that will fit your local market. You want to sell your house fast, and 40 days is a fairly common time frame for correctly priced houses.

If you are looking to sell your house fast in the Maryland location, Virginia location, or Washington DC location, contact us.

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Taxes Involved When Selling Your Property

Apr 7, 2018
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Selling your property in the Virginia location, Maryland location, or Washington DC location is already a complicated process without stressing about the taxes you may have to pay.  Depending on the type of property you are selling, your profits may be tax-free.  Let’s take a look at how taxes are structured for property sales.

Primary Residences

If the house you’re selling is your primary residence and you have lived there for more than two years, a portion of the profits that you earn from the sale are tax-free.  If you’re single, you are exempt from paying taxes on home sale profits of up to $250,000.  If you file taxes jointly with your spouse, up to $500,000 is tax-free.  Any profit that exceeds these amounts needs to be reported as a capital gain.

Investment Properties

The sale of an investment property you own, such as a rental home or apartments, could mean a chunk of your profits will be lost to taxes.  Capital gains tax applies to the profit earned from the sale of a property that is not your primary residence.  The IRS allows investors to take the profit earned from the sale of one property and re-invest it without having to pay tax on it.  Investors can also offset the profit against losses in other areas to avoid paying so much in taxes, or you could avoid it completely by living in the home for two years prior to its sale.  The fine print in all of these instances is important to take note of.

Summary

When filing taxes, homeowners can exclude up to $500,000 of their profits if they’re married.  Investors can pair their profits with losses in other areas, or re-invest the money earned to avoid the high capital gains tax.  Whatever your circumstances, be sure to talk to an expert to fully understand the tax policies and how you will fit into them when selling your property.

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How to Sell a Vacant Lot

Mar 28, 2018
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While selling a home can be a challenge in any market, selling a vacant lot or piece of land in the Virginia location, Maryland location, or Washington DC location can be even more difficult.  With a vacant lot, you can’t showcase a beautiful home, and the buyers are different. For these reasons, different aspects like size, location, zoning, and the neighborhood are much more important. Choosing the best method to sell can also be tricky. Here are our tips for selling land without a home.

Know What the Buyers Want

Since you can’t have an open house, your land needs to look its absolute best. Buyers will want to know about the size, condition, zoning, and location of your property. Each buyer will have a different plan for the plot of land they purchase so keep that in mind too.

List on an MLS?

Multiple listings services are tried and true tools used by sellers and buyers alike. They are the go-to tool for many real estate agents and are a great way to sell a home. Selling land, on the other hand, can be a little trickier. Like we mentioned, you can’t post any pictures of gorgeous kitchens or spacious living rooms when all you have is a vacant lot. The MLS might not always garner you the most money and you’ll have to pay a listing agent.

Close Fast and Easy with an Investor

If you want to sell your land fast, you should consider contacting investors in the area. Chances are there is a speculative investor in your area willing to buy your land now. If your land is in a prime neighborhood, your odds of selling quickly increase. Keep in mind, that investors typically offer low prices on the land they buy because they want to flip it or have other plans. On the plus side, they usually won’t require any financing, however.

Whichever method you choose to sell your land, patience is important. If the land is in a great location, you’ll have more success, but if you price your property right, buyers are sure to come.

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Everything You Need to Know About Homeowners Associations

Mar 20, 2018
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If you’re in the market to buy a condo, freestanding home, or townhouse in a shared community, chances are the areas are maintained by a homeowners’ association.  What are homeowners’ associations and how will they affect your life? Here are the things you need to know.

What is a Homeowners’ Association?

A homeowners’ association helps ensure that shared living communities look their best and everything functions smoothly. This could mean maintaining the neighborhood pool, tennis courts, landscaping, security gates, garbage collection, etc. Communities can’t expect individual homeowners to fix the pool pump when it breaks so the homeowner’s association will take care of the problems should they arise.

Who pays for their services?

These repairs and services aren’t free, so the community pulls together to pitch in. Homeowners’ association fees are typically monthly or annually, and the price that you would pay depends on the size of your home in the neighborhood. A family of six in a large home will probably use the shared facilities more than the single person in a small studio apartment, so the rates are adjusted accordingly.

How are they organized and what are the rules?

Homeowners’ associations have a board made up of homeowners in the community. These board members are elected by other homeowners in the community, and they make all decisions related to the community. Most associations typically hold regular meetings to discuss important issues or decisions and all homeowners are welcome to voice their opinions.

Each community will have its own set of rules or “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” that homeowners will sign and agree to once they move in. These rules can stipulate anything from the size of your mailbox, the type of dogs you’re allowed to have, and more. Associations put these rules in place to make sure the community runs smoothly and is consistent.

If you are buying a home in the Washington DC location, Virginia location, Maryland location, or Baltimore location. It is worth researching the rules of any homeowners association for a prospective property.

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5 Tips to Help You Pick the Best Home Insurance Policy

Mar 11, 2018

Buying your first home in the Washington DC location, Virginia location, Baltimore location, or Maryland location can be one of the most emotional and substantial investments you’ll ever make. For this reason alone, you want to make sure that your investment is protected should the unexpected ever happen. Navigating the homeowner’s insurance market can be tricky at first, but with these five tips in mind, finding the right provider and policy for you is easier than ever!

Look for Ratings and Reviews

You read reviews and ratings before you buy a new pair of shoes, so why not read reviews for your new insurance policy? You want to look at how the company stacks up against other providers in your area, along with its history of paying claims and meeting its obligations to customers.

Find Discounts

If you install risk mitigating devices such as storm shutters, burglar alarms, and weather safety systems, many homeowner’s insurance companies will offer discounts on your premium! The companies hope that they never have to pay a claim so if you can make your home less risky, they’ll reward you.

Insure for Actual Value

It might seem logical to insure your house for the market value, but the market has up’s and down’s periodically, and the last thing you want to do is file a claim in a down period. Instead, insure your home for its replacement value which includes the costs to repair or rebuild the entire home.

Ask About Previous Repairs

Before or shortly after buying the home, ask the seller for a history of repairs or damages the home has endured. You want to know the home inside and out so you’re prepared should a previous repair become an issue again.

Understand Your Policy

We know that homeowner’s insurance policies aren’t the most riveting things to read, but you should have a solid understanding of your coverages. If you have any questions, make sure to ask your agent, so you know what’s covered and what’s not.

As always at 8 Day Home Sale, if you are looking to sell your house, we buy houses for cash. Head over to our home page to get an offer.

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What is a Co-op Property?

Feb 26, 2018
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When looking to buy a property that’s a part of a larger building, you might often see the term “co-op property.” While co-ops are similar to condos in some regards, there are a few distinct differences between the two.

You Can’t Technically Own a Co-op

“Co-op” is short for cooperative, which basically brings the concept of teamwork to homeownership. When you buy a co-op, you aren’t technically buying the property itself. Instead, you purchase shares in the corporation that owns the property and the bigger the co-op home, the more shares that you own.

The number of shares that you own doesn’t mean that you have more deciding power over other co-op owners in the building. However, the number of shares that you do own will affect the maintenance fees, your taxes, and some other financial aspects. Each co-op owner typically has roughly the same influence on the maintenance and direction that the company takes and the residents will vote on every decision that affects the property.

Additionally, some residents can have a seat on the board and will work to carry out the group’s decisions.

Where Are Co-ops?

You can find co-op properties largely on the east coast of the U.S. in the big cities like New York and Washington, DC. There aren’t many in Maryland or Virginia. According to a New York Times report, 75% of Manhattan’s housing is comprised of co-op properties, many of which carry the Trump name or other prominent brands.

Advantages of Co-ops

If you want to live at a specific address overlooking a landmark in New York City or Philadelphia for instance, you won’t have much choice in the type of housing you’ll have. Typically, properties in these areas are almost entirely co-ops. Also, living in a co-op property means that most of your neighbors are friendly and will pay their bills on time because of the strict application process which goes far in ensuring the building is properly maintained.

Co-ops are usually more “bang for your buck” than condos in that you receive more space for less money since many people are scared off by the ownership structure.

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What to Look for When Choosing a Rental Property

Feb 15, 2018
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Are you interested in purchasing property to rent to others in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Baltimore? Whether this is your first time investing in rental property or if you have some experience, there are a few characteristics you should take into account when considering a property to make sure that you are getting the most for your investment.

Location

The area and neighborhood where the property is should play a crucial role in your decision process. The area will significantly affect the rent prices, the type of tenants that you will attract, and potentially your vacancy rate.

Development Opportunities

Referencing the location, what changes will the area experience in the coming years? If there is significant development planned around the property including shopping centers, apartment complexes, and business parks, it is a good sign and can have positive impacts on the property’s value over time.

Nearby Schools

If you are in the market for family-sized rental properties, the quality of the local schools should play a significant role in your decision-making process. Having quality schools close to your property will significantly improve its value in many ways besides price. For instance, families will be willing to stay longer if their kids are enrolled in a school they like which helps you reduce your vacancy rates.

Work that Needs to Be Done

When looking at rental properties, you should perform an adequate evaluation of the condition of the home. If you aren’t very experienced, you can hire someone to take a look at the property to make sure that you know what you are buying. If the home needs extensive work and you don’t have the skills or desire to fix it, it’s best to pass and find a property that is in better condition.

Property Taxes

Property taxes will vary from area to area, and because you are hoping to generate income from the rental property, you need to know how much you’ll be losing to taxes. Visit the local assessment office to see the property tax rates for the area so you can accurately include it in your revenue estimates.

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How Much Money to Put Down on a House — Is More Always Better?

Feb 1, 2018

As a rule of thumb, many experts will recommend that you put down 20% or more when buying a new home. The reason they cite is that this huge sum paid before the mortgage will show lenders that you are a trustworthy borrower serious about paying off the home yielding a lower interest rate.

Is 20% still the tried-and-true standard or is it possible to buy a home with a smaller down payment? Here are the pros and cons of each option.

The Pros of Putting Down 20%

When you put down 20%, you’re more likely to secure a loan from reputable lenders with a lower interest rate. By putting down 20%, the lender then knows that in the worst-case scenario, they only need to recoup 80% of the home’s value should the borrower fail to pay the loan back. Since you’ve paid more up front, your monthly mortgage payment will be smaller.

Why Less Can Sometimes Be More

Usually, the minimum that you must put down to secure a 30-year mortgage is 3.5%. This is quite a bit less than 20% and will save you some money up front before the mortgage starts. By putting down less initially, you will be able to move into your new home sooner than later without having to spend months or years trying to scrape together the funds for a traditional 20% down payment.

You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to secure a mortgage loan, however, the more you put down up front, the less you’ll have to pay over time. Consider both of the options carefully, and do your research and crunch the numbers before signing any paperwork.

If you’d like to talk about selling your house in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington DC so you can buy another one, head over to our Contact page.

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How the New Tax Cuts May Affect Homeowners

Jan 18, 2018
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With Congress passing their new tax overhaul bill in late 2017, many Americans are wondering how it will affect them individually. The overhaul stretches far and wide and will likely impact every single American in one way or another. Let’s take a look at a few key points of the bill and how they will affect homeowners.

Changes in Property Tax Deductions

With the new plan, U.S. taxpayers and homeowners won’t be able to completely deduct local and state property taxes in addition to income or sales tax. The new plan allows individuals a $10,000 deduction to go towards state and local income along with property taxes or sales taxes.

This means that homeowners that live in a high-tax state might see an increase in their tax bill because they lost the deductions they had been able to take advantage of before.

You Won’t Need to Itemize as Many Things

The new Tax Cuts bill nearly doubles the standard deduction you can take from $6,350 to $12,000, which virtually eliminates the need to itemize mortgage interest and property tax bills if they fall below the $12,000 threshold.

Also, if you file jointly, the standard deduction increases to $24,000, meaning that most housing expenses won’t even come close to the threshold providing more tax savings for the future.

A Possible Benefit for Home Buyers

Many predict that home prices might temporarily drop in parts of the country once the new tax plan goes into effect. They believe demand may decrease because of the new stipulations added to the sale of primary residences. Before the plan, homeowners could deduct up to $500,000 for couples for the gross income made from a home sale.

The new plan stipulates that you must live in the home as your primary residence for five of the last eight years. Experts think this would reduce demand momentarily resulting in a small drop in home prices so if you’re in the market to buy a new home, this could be your opportunity to save some money.

Here’s a useful tool for determining how the tax cuts affect your tax bracket.

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