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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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 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.Read More
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.Read More
If you are looking for a house in Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC, either to inhabit or as an investment, you might have heard the term “short sale” before. It can seem confusing, but in reality, it is an incredibly simple real estate term to understand and could save you thousands on your next property purchase.
In the real estate industry, a short sale is basically when the proceeds of a property sale aren’t enough to cover the balance remaining on the property’s mortgage loan. To put it simply, the seller of the property owes more to the mortgage lender (the bank) than what they are selling it for.
For the seller to do this, the bank must agree to discount the loan balance which is essentially agreeing to take less money than what is initially owed. The owner will have to prove they are dealing with financial hardships before the lender will accept a real estate short sale. It will have severe consequences on the seller’s credit.
Why Would a Lender Accept a Short Sale?
It is worth asking since any lender in their right mind would want only to accept the amount of money owed to them and nothing less, right? In reality, if a house is foreclosed upon by the lender, they must still list the home on the market and sometimes wait months or years to sell the home.
Foreclosure is expensive for all parties, and most lenders would rather go through with a short sale, cut their losses, and avoid the hassle of reselling the property themselves altogether.
Pros and Cons Buying a Short Sale
Short sales are not necessarily better deals than regularly listed homes. For example, if someone bought a house at the height of the market and went underwater, their loan amount could be way more than the house is worth. Short sale houses are also sold “as is”. This means you could be left holding the bag on issues. Banks are also notoriously difficult to deal with when buying a short sale as they are effectively losing money. All that said, the right short sale can be a great buy.Read More