Our Real Estate Blog
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If your house is already on the market, you're probably familiar with the hectic process of getting it in presentable condition for the next showing.
Since there are so many things to remember, it can be helpful to create a "pre-showing checklist" you can refer to whenever you need it. Your reliance on the list will probably diminish over time, but it can be a good way to become more organized, focused, and efficient.
Even the simple action of writing down your priorities will make an impression on your mind and help reinforce your memory of what needs to be done prior to a showing or open house. Here are a few tips for staying on track, simplifying the process, and remembering important tasks that are all-too-easy to forget.
Stay One Step Ahead of Dust
Ideally, every room in your house should be dusted at least once a week, but that chore often tends to get postponed, overlooked, or just plain avoided! The problem with not dusting on a regular basis is that it tends to accumulate and get worse. What often occurs to home sellers is the sudden realization -- typically, just before walking out the door prior to a scheduled house showing -- that there's a thick layer of dust on your window blinds, baseboards, or book shelves.
If you're literally minutes away from a real estate agent showing up at your front door with clients, it's generally too late to do anything about the dust accumulations. However, if you've tackled those issues a day or two before they're walking up your front pathway, you can put your mind at ease that you've conquered the "grunge factor"! If you happen to have a housekeeper handling those details, it might pay to casually remind them to do an extra-thorough job on those dusty, grungy areas.
If you have kids (and even if you don't), dirt, finger prints, and hand smudges can often be found around light switches, cabinets, and door areas. While that might be the last thing you think about when preparing your home for a showing, it could be one of the first things potential buyers notice. Although perfection is an unrealistic standard to aspire to, "the devil is in the details!" In other words, it can be the small, easily overlooked details that undermine your chances for making a great impression on prospective buyers.
A Word About Mouse Traps
Whether you live in a mansion or a bungalow, nearly all homeowners occasionally have problems with mice sneaking into their basement, garage, or attic. Sometimes the little critters even find their way into your main living area (eek!). That's why it makes sense to set up a few mouse traps in areas where mice are most likely to enter. Mouse traps come in a variety of designs, some of which are better for homes with pets, children, or squeamish adults!
When it comes to preparing for a house showing, it's always a good idea to check mousetraps for "victims" that may have sprung your devices. Ideally, mousetraps shouldn't be placed in conspicuous spots, but you definitely don't want buyers to see dead mice anywhere in your house. Granted, live ones are worse, but -- in either case -- any infestation (or the perception of one) could be a deal breaker!
“Short sales” may have one of the most deceiving names in real estate. Any client who is undertaking the purchase of a short sale property will ask, “Why is this taking so long?” Short sales generally happen due to lapsed payments on a mortgage. In the short sale, the owners take a loss on the property, but it saves them from being foreclosed on by the bank. Many of these sales are circumstantial by divorce, or a sudden change in job. The seller asks the bank to take less money than the amount owed on the house in a short sale transaction.
If You’re Buying A Short Sale Property
If you have made an offer and the seller accepts it, your dealings are far from over in a short sale. The seller’s bank needs to approve the sale. Since the bank is losing money in the deal, this is where the hold up can be in the entire transaction.
The First Step
The seller’s bank must review the short sale package first. The seller needs to submit a complete picture of their finances to the lender. The seller’s credit score will also be reviewed. A bank would not approve a short sale if, let’s say, the seller happened to have a lot of extra cash just sitting in a bank account. The lender needs to protect themselves.
The listing agent should be on top of all of the paperwork that should be done in order to have the transaction approved. As a buyer, you’ll appreciate a good short sale listing agent.
Make Sure Everything Is In Order
There’s a lot of paperwork to sign in order to get a house. There’s even more paperwork to sign in order to secure the purchase of a short sale. If just one page of the documents are missing or one signature is left unsigned, the entire process can be slowed down even more. As a buyer, you should confirm that all the required documents have been signed and received.
Another problem that can occur is that documents quickly become outdated. Bank and other financial statements are a good example of this. By the time paperwork is ready to go through the lender, last month’s bank statement could be completely outdated. The lender will then need an updated statement, holding up the process even more. The seller and agent need to be ready for these circumstances. The faster the lender is responded to, the smoother the process will go.
Remember You’re Working With Two Banks
When you’re purchasing a home that’s a short sale, you’ll need to deal with two banks- your lender and the bank handling the short sale. Be mindful of the timelines that each bank has. If you aren’t, you could be approved hours too late to buy the property, leaving you and the seller to start from scratch.
Buying a short sale is risky because there is always a greater chance the sale will fall through or succumb to foreclosure due to some kind of circumstances beyond the buyer or the seller’s control. If you have the right realtors on both sides of the table, the process of buying a short sale should go as smoothly as can be expected.