home selling http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11057/all en-US The 8 Worst Home Sale Horror Stories http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-worst-home-sale-horror-stories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-worst-home-sale-horror-stories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/haunted-house-87828275-small.jpg" alt="haunted house sign" title="haunted house sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever purchased or tried to sell a home, you know it's a process. Credit checks, home inspections, down payments, and more could delay your sale. And after you purchase the home, it's yours for life. So if you missed something during those grueling weeks of closing, it's your problem for life &mdash; or until you try to sell it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a>)</p> <p>Below we've listed eight horror stories of people who fell in love with their home before realizing its dark past.</p> <h2>1. It's Not a Math Problem &mdash; It's a Meth Problem</h2> <p>When Dawn Turner's son purchased a foreclosed home in rural Tennessee, he thought he was getting a steal. But after three years of living in the home, he and his family found out from neighbors the home was considered &quot;unfit for human inhabitation&quot; by local health authorities because the former owner produced methamphetamines in the home. From there, the new homeowners were financially responsible for bringing their home up to code. Dawn now runs <a href="http://methlabhomes.com/">MethLabHomes.com</a> to make sure this doesn't happen to other homeowners.</p> <h2>2. Goldilocks' Family, I Presume?</h2> <p>When a man returned to his home in Miami, he discovered some unwelcome house guests. His home, which he had been renting from a friend for the previous two years and was listed in a short sale, was <a href="http://consumerist.com/2014/07/23/man-returns-from-2-day-vacation-finds-family-living-in-his-home/">filled with a family of strangers</a>. A scammy realtor moved the family in, changed the locks and walked away with $3,600 in profit. Not cool.</p> <h2>3. No Need to Worry About Satanic Murder Pits</h2> <p>A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that home sellers do not have to <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/Pa_home_sellers_dont_have_to_disclose_murders_satanic_rituals.html">disclose if the home was the site of a murder</a>, suicide, or <em>satanic ritual</em>. The ruling came after a homeowner filed suit because her home was the site of a murder/suicide. This is 2014 &mdash; prospective home buyers are advised to use the Internet to find out if someone died in new home. You might have to really dig into some geocities websites to find out about satanic rituals, however.</p> <h2>4. Beware of Blue Powder</h2> <p>Another cringe worthy story comes out of Pennsylvania. When Liz Spikol purchased her home, there was a disclaimer. It simply read, &quot;We have seen a mouse.&quot; After closing months later, Liz started noticing blue dust raining from the ceilings. Turns out, the former homeowners didn't just see one mouse, they saw an entire infestation of mice. After a small leak forced her to open the ceilings, she found dead mice, skeletons and <a href="http://philly.curbed.com/archives/2012/03/29/the-locker-room-stink-of-the-place.php#more">more blue powder</a>. The powder was poison, and the mice were there by the dozens.</p> <h2>5. Free Pet!</h2> <p>During a home inspection in Philadelphia, a home inspector <a href="http://www.today.com/money/home-inspectors-share-horror-stories-6C10213924">found a 15-foot boa constrictor</a> in the crawl space. Apparently the snake had gotten loose years earlier, and the owner thought it was dead. Upside? No mice.</p> <h2>6. Does It Come With a Fort?</h2> <p>In Long Island, real estate agent Mike Litzner of Century 21 American Homes was showing a home to a prospective buyer and <a href="http://realestate.msn.com/october-advice-homebuying-horror-stories-with-problems-like-these-buyers-should-run">found a homeless man with a large fort</a> and lots of alcohol. According to Mike, the potential homeowner asked, &quot;Does he come with the house?&quot;</p> <h2>7. Home Buyer Plagues</h2> <p>Although a <a href="http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/11/08/buying-a-bad-home-what-to-know-in-case-you-buy-a-house-of-hor/">home inspector passed Justin and Kate Treher's home</a>, he missed some problems. For instance, the previous homeowner supposedly installed and tested the sump pump in the basement, and it failed shortly after move in, flooding the basement. Then the lovely sunroom was filled with termites, costing the couple $2,000 in repairs. After the termites were eradicated, they discovered the sunroom was entirely covered in mold &mdash; there was no caulking around the windows to keep the moisture out. Make sure you check for any extra friends, and use more than one home inspector if necessary.</p> <h2>8. Slightly Haunted</h2> <p>When Gregory Leeson listed his Dunmore, PA home for sale, he wanted to be honest. His home was &quot;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/zillow/2013/12/20/for-sale-a-slightly-haunted-home/">slightly haunted</a>.&quot; Nothing crazy, just the usual: footsteps, knocking, and screams. His listing went viral, and ghost hunters from around the world were knocking on his door. Turns out, he didn't have to be so honest. Pennsylvania law only dictates that home sellers have to list any &quot;material defects that would have a significant adverse impact on the value of the property or an unreasonable risk to the people living in the home.&quot; And since proving you have a ghost is pretty much impossible, it's not required. But your state might be different, so make sure to check with a real estate agent if your home gives you the heebie jeebies.</p> <p><em>What are some of your home buying (or selling) horror stories?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-worst-home-sale-horror-stories">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-real-estate-market-rebound">Wise Bread Reloaded: Real Estate Market Rebound?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-country">10 Most Expensive Zip Codes in the Country</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home buying home inspection home sale horrors home selling Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1199023 at http://www.wisebread.com Wise Bread Reloaded: Real Estate Market Rebound? http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-real-estate-market-rebound <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-real-estate-market-rebound" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-buying-home-81388225-small.jpg" alt="couple buying home" title="couple buying home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This week the National Association of Realtors reported that <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-existing-home-sales-rose-2-4-in-july-1408629764">sales of existing homes rose 2.3%</a> in July, to the the highest they've been in 10 months. Even better? Fewer of those recent sales were for underwater or foreclosed homes. Prices, on the other hand, have moved up more slowly than they did a year ago because more homes are hitting the market, and inventory is healthy, which constrains pricing.</p> <p>Combine all that with continued record low interest rates, and maybe now is a good time to buy.</p> <p>With that in mind, for this week's edition of Reloaded, we've collected some of Wise Bread's best home buying (and selling) articles from the past several years.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-investing-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-you-think?ref=classicwb">Real Estate Investing Is Cheaper and Easier Than You Think</a> &mdash; Guest poster Joshua Dorkin walks us through getting started in real estate investing, both for short term cash flow, and long term value.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-terms?ref=classicwb">21 Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Understand</a> &mdash; From acceptance to title, Miranda Marquit explains the key terms clearly, so the next time you're interviewing an agent, you'll be in the know (or at least sound like it).</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-real-estate-agent?ref=classicwb">How to Choose a Real Estate Agent</a> &mdash; A good agent knows the local market and is skilled at matching your needs and wants with what's available &mdash; so how do you find a good real estate agent? Camilla Cheung explains.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-mistakes-you-can-make-when-selling-your-home?ref=classicwb">Big Mistakes You Can Make When Selling Your Home</a> &mdash; Camilla Cheung again, and this time with some common pitfalls sellers should avoid, like not interviewing enough agents.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-house-in-24-hours?ref=classicwb">How to Sell a Your Home in 24 Hours</a> &mdash; In a hurry to sell? Elizabeth Lang was and she got it done in 24 hours.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-real-estate-market-rebound">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-worst-home-sale-horror-stories">The 8 Worst Home Sale Horror Stories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-country">10 Most Expensive Zip Codes in the Country</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home buying home refinance home selling Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Lars Peterson 1193313 at http://www.wisebread.com Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-4791749-small.jpg" alt="house" title="house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I just finished purchasing my second house. We bought our first four years ago, sold it, and then became &quot;second-time homebuyers.&quot; First-time homebuyers get a lot of attention &mdash; there are numerous articles and tips about being <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-home" target="_blank">a first-time homebuyer</a>. And I read a lot before buying my first house. But second-time homebuyers? There's little advice available. Here are a few things I wish I knew before buying a second house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-fixer-upper" target="_blank">What to Look for in a Fixer-Upper</a>)</p> <h2>1. Buying a Second House Has More Than Twice the Costs</h2> <p>As a first-time homebuyer, you rarely see any money coming out of your pocket towards the actual costs of buying a home (aside from mortgage costs). When you're a first-time homebuyer, you bring a large check for your down payment, but other than those for the mortgage, there aren't a lot of costs. But, when you are selling your first home <em>and</em> buying your second home, you really see how the fees of house purchasing stack up. The biggest chunk is realtor fees. The seller almost always pays both agents' commissions &mdash; usually it's about 6% of the sales price. Plus you have all of the costs associated with the mortgage on your second home.</p> <h2>2. You May Not Have to Come Up With Cash</h2> <p>When you buy your first house, you may save for years to come up with a down payment. Then, when it comes to closing, your down payment comes straight from your bank account.</p> <p>I clearly remember how nervous I was about carrying my cashier's check to the closing of my first house. But, if everything works out financially, your second house down payment should come from the proceeds of your first house. Your years of paying your mortgage or otherwise spending money to improve your house should enable you to have a down payment for your second house. Obviously, the housing crash changed this for many people, but if you purchased well before the bubble or after the crash, this is how it should work.</p> <h2>3. Finding a Second House Is Harder Than Finding a First House</h2> <p>Most first-time homebuyers don't know exactly what they want in a home. I didn't care if the house had a two-car garage, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy" target="_blank">was in a good school district</a>, or had a fireplace; there were only a few must-have items on my house checklist.</p> <p>The criteria for my second house, however, was exhaustive.</p> <p>After four years of homeownership I knew what projects I was willing to take on to improve a house, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off" target="_blank">what features are costly to install</a>, and what qualities were absolute musts. With such an extensive list, I was far pickier about the houses I looked at. It required a lot more work and took a lot more time to find our second house than it did the first. (However, because I knew exactly what I wanted, I looked at far fewer houses than the first time around.)</p> <h2>4. You'll Remember a Lot About the Home Buying Process...</h2> <p>Buying a second home is, in a way, easier than buying your first home because you've already been through the process once. When I bought my first house there was a lot I had to learn. I didn't know anything about finding a realtor, getting a mortgage, or attending a closing. All of these processes were brand new and required a lot of mental energy. When the second time came around, I already had at least a basic understanding of what to do next. This made the process less stressful and gave me more time to focus on other things.</p> <h2>5. ...But You Won't Remember Everything</h2> <p>As much as I did remember about buying a home, I certainly didn't remember everything. There are a lot of details that require re-learning (and a fair number of things can change in the real estate and mortgage world in just a few years). So, the realtor you use for your second house is just as important as your realtor was in buying your first home, because you'll still need to be walked through the details of the home buying process. It's critical that you can ask him/her any questions and that there is an open line of communication.</p> <p><em>Have you recently taken stock and considered where you are in your housing process? If you've already purchased a home, what have you learned along the way?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-the-same-house-twice-for-less-than-buying-it-once">Buy the Same House Twice for Less Than Buying It Once</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home">6 Interesting Ways Technology Can Help You Buy a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-a-starter-home-thats-also-a-forever-home">Finding a Starter Home That&#039;s Also a Forever Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-can-you-stay-in-your-home-after-you-stop-paying-the-mortgage">How Long Can You Stay in Your Home After You Stop Paying the Mortgage?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home buying home selling mortgage real estate starter home Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:24:38 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 977909 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Become a Landlord Instead of Selling Your Home? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-a-landlord-instead-of-selling-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-become-a-landlord-instead-of-selling-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4782960605_95dc349f8a_z.jpg" alt="house" title="house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When a job change forced our family to move across the country at short notice, we decided to join the ranks of &quot;<a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204731804574388683272200844.html">accidental landlords</a>&quot; instead of selling our Chicago-area home at a loss. We are so new at being landlords that I don't presume to offer advice on how to be one, but here are the pros and cons my husband and I considered when deciding to rent rather than sell. I also threw in some tips we have picked up along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-real-estate-tax-write-offs">Top 10 Real Estate Tax Write-Offs</a>)</p> <h2>Pros to Becoming a Landlord</h2> <p>These are the advantages that drove us to hold onto our house.</p> <p><strong>Avoid Selling at a Loss</strong></p> <p>By holding onto a property during a down market, you give yourself the chance to sell for a better price in the future. Of course, there are no guarantees &mdash; we could end up selling for even less in a year or five years.</p> <p><strong>Collect Extra Cash</strong></p> <p>The housing collapse has <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/home-front/2012/04/27/rents-rise-while-home-prices-fall">pushed rents higher in many markets</a>, since more families who are unable to buy houses are competing for rental units. In our case, we were able to charge enough rent to cover our mortgage, taxes, insurance and management fee, with a few hundred dollars left over to build a maintenance reserve fund.</p> <p><strong>Build Equity</strong></p> <p>Besides the extra cash each month, every rent payment we receive pays our mortgage, which means that when we do sell, we will have more equity in the house than we do now.</p> <p><strong>Save Time and Money Upfront</strong></p> <p>The time and money we spent fixing up our home to rent it out was less than what we would have spent to market it for sale. Since my husband moved to our new location to start working three months before the kids and I joined him,&nbsp;I had to handle most of our move single-handedly. Maintaining the home in &quot;selling&quot; condition would have been tough.</p> <p><strong>Avoid Risk of a Long Marketing Period</strong></p> <p>We avoided the risk of having our house sit empty for months or a year while waiting for it to sell. Paying two mortgages during that time with no rental income would have been a real strain on our budget.</p> <p><strong>Avoid Paying Commission</strong></p> <p>We avoided having to pay a 5% real estate agent commission at this time. If a current or future tenant likes the home, there may be the opportunity to sell without involving a real estate agent.</p> <p><strong>Postpone Saying Good-Bye</strong></p> <p>We did not have to say goodbye to our beloved home permanently when we moved out &mdash; if a job brings us back to our old town, we could return.</p> <p><strong>Store for Free</strong></p> <p>We were able to store some items in the crawl space of our rental home instead of moving or disposing of everything we own.</p> <h2>Cons to Becoming a Landlord</h2> <p>There are serious potential downsides that you would want to thoroughly investigating before making the leap into landlordhood.</p> <p><strong>Your Capital Is Tied Up</strong></p> <p>Until we sell the home, we can't get back the equity we sank into it. This forced us to borrow more than we would have for our new home, resulting in higher monthly payments and less cash on hand to repair and update the new home.</p> <p><strong>Getting a&nbsp;New Mortgage May Be Difficult</strong></p> <p>Because we still owed money on our old home, it was harder to get a mortgage for a new home. Different lenders have different criteria, but we were required to hold 30% equity in the old home &mdash; and had to pay for an updated appraisal to prove it. We also needed to secure a lease and security deposit early in the escrow process when we bought our new home, even though this was more than a month before the lease on our new home was to begin. If we had failed to get a renter in place in time, we may not have been able to close on our new home and may have even lost the chance to buy it.</p> <p><strong>There Are Transition Costs</strong></p> <p>Although it may not have been as much as we would have spent to prep for a sale, we still had to pay to fix up our house somewhat: we&nbsp;painted, had one area of flooring refinished, did repairs, and paid for cleaning before our tenants moved in. We spent more than the first month's rent on all this. Keep in mind that tenants may want you to fix problems that never bothered you when you lived in the house &mdash; and local laws may require you to comply.</p> <p><strong>You Will Feel Stress</strong></p> <p>We opted to find our own tenant instead of outsourcing this job to an agent or our property manager. This added a lot of stress to the months before our move. Advertising, showing the house and screening tenants took a lot of time. The stress didn't end there &mdash; there is always the worry about whether something will break in our old house, or whether there will be any problem with the tenants.</p> <p><strong>You Will Feel Emotional Weirdness</strong></p> <p>My 2-year-old keeps asking why someone else is living in our old house, and he's not the only one having trouble with the concept. When you sell a home you make a clean break, but it's another thing entirely to have to field a tenant's request to change a paint job that you <em>just</em> paid for, or to remove the window treatments you sewed by hand.</p> <p><strong>Some of the Costs May Be a Surprise</strong></p> <p>Bankrate.com lists <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/4-hidden-costs-of-being-a-landlord-1.aspx">four hidden costs of being a landlord</a>, including potentially higher insurance and tax costs, and of course maintenance. If your rental property is an older home, like ours is, you must take potential maintenance costs even more seriously.</p> <p><strong>Rent Money Is Taxable Income</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong>I didn't really think of the rent money we collected as income, since most of it goes to pay the mortgage and escrow payments on our old house. But of course, <a href="http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc414.html">it is income</a>, and we will have to pay taxes on it at the end of the year.</p> <p><strong>The Tenants Could Trash Your House</strong></p> <p>Most leases call for only one month's rent as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">deposit</a>, and a few hundred dollars extra for a pet. If you have owned a home, you know that it is all too easy to do more than a few hundred dollar's worth of damage. As soon as we decided to become landlords, it seemed everyone we knew had a tenant horror story: flooded bathrooms, cracked tiles, stained carpeting and holes in walls. With this in mind, we screen our tenants carefully &mdash; but you never know.</p> <p><strong>The Tenants Could Leave or Fail to Pay</strong></p> <p>This is the one that really keeps me up nights. Tenant law varies wildly by location, but our manager warned us that if our tenants failed to pay or left before their lease was up, it would be very tough for us to recover that money in court.</p> <p><strong>You Could Have to Pay Capital Gains Tax When You Sell</strong></p> <p>If you have not lived in the property for two of the past five years when you sell it, you could face capital gains tax on any profit. Of course, at this point, we'd feel lucky to <em>have</em> any profit or even break even selling our property.</p> <p><strong>Real Estate Prices Could Decline Farther</strong></p> <p>There's no guarantee that we'll get a better price for our home by holding it a few years. We may end up getting even less.</p> <h2>Tips for Renting Your House</h2> <p>Here are the lessons we've learned &mdash; some the hard way.</p> <p><strong>Hire a Property Manager, Especially If You Are Moving Far Away</strong></p> <p>Once we secured excellent tenants, I wondered if we really needed a property manager since I didn't anticipate problems. I'm so glad we went ahead and hired our manager. Many little things came up between our departure for our cross-country move and the tenants' move-in, mostly due to our own rushed moving job, and it was a relief to have the manager on-site to help tie up the loose ends.</p> <p><strong>Screen Potential Tenants Thoroughly, but Talk With Them as Well</strong></p> <p>One thing I learned when showing our house is that many people in the market to rent a home right now have been through financial difficulties, and have short sales, bankruptcies or foreclosures on their records. You should know the applicant's financial history, but according to the experience of our property manager, you don't have to automatically reject people because of past trouble. Find out the circumstances, and ask for a co-signer or other precautions if necessary. From our manager's experience and everything else we have read, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-great-job-references">good references</a> from previous landlords and employers go a long way toward making up for past credit problems.</p> <p><strong>Remember: Until You Have a Signed Lease, You Don't Have a Tenant</strong></p> <p>We had a couple of false starts where people said they were interested in renting our place, but then changed their minds or delayed signing the lease. I learned that if you want to get a place rented, you should keep advertising it and scheduling showings until the lease is signed and the security deposit is in your bank account.</p> <p><strong>Talk With Your Neighbors About the Impending Change at Your Home</strong></p> <p>I have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-a-rude-neighbor">great neighbors</a> at our old place, and I know that they will let me know if anything is amiss at our property.&nbsp;I also went out of my way to keep them informed that we were going to be renting, and even introduced them to the renters on the day that we signed the lease. After all, living next to a rental house could be a cause for concern for them, both for their lifestyle and their property value. In addition, great neighbors can be a selling point for potential tenants and future purchasers, so you want them smiling and waving when you show the house.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-a-landlord-instead-of-selling-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing become a landlord home selling renting Thu, 12 Jul 2012 10:24:16 +0000 Carrie Kirby 939801 at http://www.wisebread.com Home Improvements That Pay Off http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-improvements-that-pay-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_improvement.jpg" alt="Woman painting a wall" title="Woman painting a wall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a homeowner, I'm often mulling over various improvement projects. A key consideration for many people who want to spruce up their homes, but think they may be moving in the foreseeable future, is what the payback is on particular upgrades. For instance, if there's something that's going to make your home look nicer and add back most of the value you put into the job, why not do it? Conversely, if there's very little residual value from your project, perhaps it should go lower on the list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-tips-to-sell-any-home-fast">Five Tips to Sell Any Home Fast</a>)</p> <p>To help sort out the various options (and perhaps give you some new ideas), the most comprehensive resource I've seen is the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2010/costvsvalue/national.aspx">Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report</a>. The report compares the average cost for 35 popular updates and then estimates how much of that upfront cost those projects retain at resale. While the methodology to arrive at these calculations may be tough to validate in today's volatile housing market, I believe the estimates to at least be directionally correct and helpful in sorting options.</p> <h2>The Best-ROI Home Improvement Projects</h2> <p>The study lists the following as among the best projects from a return-on-investment standpoint.</p> <h3>Steel Entry Door Replacement</h3> <p>The study reveals that you can actually have a positive ROI on this one, with 102% recouped on a $1,200 door. While it may not sound like the sexiest home improvement project, first impressions are lasting, right? The front door is the first thing people see upon entering your house, and most builder-grade doors aren't as nice as newer models you can upgrade to now.</p> <h3>Wooden Deck</h3> <p>With an average installation price of $11,000, the study estimates that at resale, you can achieve a 73% payback. Not too shabby considering you'll get a lot of use out of a deck anyway.</p> <h3>Minor Kitchen Remodel</h3> <p>This is the one I always hear about (from my wife!). We actually ended up upgrading our kitchen and beat the $22,000 price tag by installing our own cabinets. This is another project that ranks high on the list with a 73% recoup ratio.</p> <h3>Windows and Siding</h3> <p>Replacing the windows or siding yields returns over 70% as well.</p> <h2>Poor-ROI Projects</h2> <p>Projects that didn't rank very high on the list and lost about half their value at resale included following additions and changes to the home:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/penny-pinching-ways-to-pimp-your-garage">Garage</a> addition</li> <li>Bathroom addition</li> <li>Sunroom addition</li> <li>Backup power generator</li> <li>Roofing replacement</li> </ul> <p>Since we're staying in our home for the long-term, we don't rank the recoup value as high as some people might, but it's always in the back of my mind. After all, even if we don't plan on moving, maybe I can use this list to help talk my wife out of the next big project she has in mind!</p> <p><em>What has your experience been with home improvement upgrades? Do you feel these recoup rates are accurate?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-bathroom-look-awesome-for-under-100">How to Make Your Bathroom Look Awesome for Under $100</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Real Estate and Housing home improvement home selling roi Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:36:11 +0000 Darwins Money 640439 at http://www.wisebread.com FSBO: How to Sell Your Home on Your Own http://www.wisebread.com/fsbo-how-to-sell-your-home-on-your-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fsbo-how-to-sell-your-home-on-your-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/FSBO.jpg" alt="FSBO sign" title="FSBO sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For Sale By Owner, also known as FSBO, has become very popular in recent years. Selling your own home doesn't have to be the death trap many real estate agents would have you believe, but you DO have to be willing to do the legwork yourself.</p> <p>Your most important goal in a FSBO sale needs to be to reach potential buyers. If you think of everything you do to sell your home in that light, you will be much more likely to succeed. That being said, here are the basics you need to accomplish in order to sell your own home.</p> <h3>Prepare Your Home for Sale</h3> <p>Before you can even think of selling your home, you need to get it looking as good as possible. This means:</p> <ul> <li>Making all necessary repairs</li> <li>Cleaning your house from top to bottom, inside and out</li> <li>Staging your home to make it look like a model home</li> </ul> <p>Now, doing repairs doesn't mean you need to do a complete remodel. In fact, in most cases it is recommended that you don't, as the improvements usually don't generate that big of an increase in the final selling price. However, a new coat of paint, steam-cleaning the carpets, and fixing that pesky dripping faucet all add to how well your home appeals to potential buyers.</p> <p>Properly staging your home is also very important. Be sure to get rid of all the unnecessary knick knacks and furniture. Rent a storage unit, and pare down your furniture and belongings to the necessities. Think of how a model home looks &mdash; idealized, without the everyday clutter of real life. That's what potential buyers want to see!</p> <h3>Plan Your Marketing Strategy</h3> <p>Proper marketing is perhaps the most important part of selling your own home. If potential buyers don't know your home is available, it won't sell. It's as simple as that. Furthermore, the more buyers see your listing, the greater your chances of selling, so it is imperative that you market your home via as many channels as possible.</p> <p><strong>1. Get an MLS listing number. </strong>This is the first and most important thing to do, as it will enable buyers to find your home via conventional methods, such as Realtor.com.</p> <p><strong>2. Hire a photographer or take professional-looking pictures.</strong> The majority of people start looking for homes online, so good photography is the second most important part of a good marketing strategy. Take pictures of all the rooms and include several 360-degree spins. Pictures should be taken when your home is clean and staged, and in bright lighting &mdash; blinds open and all the lights on. Avoid anything &quot;ugly&quot; in the pictures (no trash cans, open toilets, or streets or sidewalks in the exterior shots) and pretty things up with some flower arrangements. Remember, buyers are looking for their dream house, so make your home look as idyllic as possible!</p> <p><strong>3. Write a solid listing.</strong> A poorly written listing is a red flag to potential buyers that you don't know what you're doing. If you're not sure how to write a good listing, browse through some agents' listings to get an idea of how it's done.</p> <p><strong>4. Put up signs.</strong> Some HOAs do prohibit everything except window signs, but always put a sign in the yard if you can &mdash; two signs if yours is a corner lot &mdash; with your phone number so that potential buyers can call and set up a showing. Also be sure to design an attractive flyer, with several pictures, the price, and a bulleted list of the home's best features, and put the flyers in a plastic tube affixed to your sign.</p> <p><strong>5. Advertise.</strong> You are saving a lot of money by not paying an agent 6 percent, so be sure to put some of that money into decent advertising! Run your ads in all the major and neighborhood papers in your area, as well as on websites such as Craigslist.</p> <p><strong>6. Use direct mail.</strong> Small, colorful postcards aren't expensive to make or mail, and are an attractive way to showcase your home to potential buyers. Plus, if the recipients you mail to aren't interested, they might know someone who would be. A postcard can easily be stuck on the fridge or given to a friend.</p> <p><strong>7. Start a website.</strong> One of the biggest cons of not using an agent is not having a website, since most buyers these days do a great deal of their home search online. Having a website allows you to better showcase your photos and virtual tour. It also enables you to include your URL on your flyers and postcards, ads, and your MLS listing. Google Analytics offers you free website stats so that you can track where your visitors come from, and focus your marketing push on the most effective channels.</p> <p>Lots of homeowners decide to list their homes as For Sale By Owner in order to save money &mdash; and granted a 6 percent commission is a lot of money to save &mdash; but don't make the mistake of thinking that FSBO is free. You still need to spend some money on good marketing, because if you don't, your home won't generate the interest you need to get worthwhile offers.</p> <h3>Set a Price</h3> <p>Price is another very important factor in how quickly your home sells. Many homeowners who are selling their own homes think that they can set a price, and if they don't get enough interest, simply lower it. Not true! The first two weeks after you first list your home for sale are crucial, as that is when the interest will be the highest. If you don't price the home appropriately from the very beginning, you will lose potential buyers.</p> <p>The best way to price your home is to find out what other, comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for in the last three to six months. Calculate price per finished square foot, and look for upward or downward trends during that time. You are better off setting a competitive price and selling your home quickly, than setting too high of a price and lowering it later on.</p> <h3>Set Yourself Up for Success</h3> <p>A great deal of FSBO homes don't sell, and the homeowner ends up listing with an agent after all. This isn't because For Sale By Owner is a bad idea, but because most sellers don't set themselves up for success.</p> <p>Because the first two weeks are so critical, it is important to get all your ducks in a row <em>before</em> listing your home for sale. Plan ahead so that the website will launch, the ads will run, and the direct mail postcards will all be sent out at the same time as the listing goes live. That means repairs have to be done, pictures have to be taken, and local papers have to be contacted all well in advance of when you plan to list your home. You have one shot at making a grand entrance into the real estate market &mdash; make it count, and make FSBO work for you!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Jason Kay. Jason has sold two homes on his own in the last five years. He started <a href="http://freehomeownerlistings.com/">FreeHomeOwnerListings.com</a> to provide an affordable online location to advertise your FSBO home for sale.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.freehomeownerlistings.com/for-sale-by-owner-reviews.php">For Sale By Owner Site Reviews</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.freehomeownerlistings.com/">List Your Home for Sale</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.easystoragesearch.com/pods-promo-code.html">Save on Portable Storage with a Pods Promo Code</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-kay">Jason Kay</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fsbo-how-to-sell-your-home-on-your-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-house-suck-heres-how-to-sell-it-anyway">Does Your House Suck? Here&#039;s How to Sell It Anyway</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-things-that-lower-the-value-of-a-home">10 Surprising Things That Lower the Value of a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects">Boost Your Home&#039;s Value With These 5 Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home sale home selling Tue, 27 Jul 2010 14:00:07 +0000 Jason Kay 189616 at http://www.wisebread.com Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers? http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/appraisal.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On May 1st a new set of home appraisal rules called the Home Valuation Code of Conduct&nbsp; was put into effect by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to distance realtors and mortgage brokers from appraisers. This was put in place because during the housing bubble appraisal fraud was rampant and <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/local/325743_appraiser31.html">some appraisers felt pressured by realtors and brokers to hit the desired numbers</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; How is this affecting consumers?</p> <p> The biggest change in the Code is that loan officers, mortgage brokers, or real estate agents can no longer have any role in choosing appraisers.&nbsp; The lender is responsible for choosing the appraiser and following the Code if they want to sell the mortgage to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.&nbsp; The lender could also accept an appraisal prepared for another lender if the other lender also followed the Code.</p> <p>As a result of the new rule&nbsp; some lenders are outsourcing the selection of appraisers to appraisal management companies, and some say that this is increasing appraisal fees for consumers because these companies take a cut of an appraiser's fee.&nbsp; The appraiser has to increase his or her price accordingly to recoup the loss. Another critism is that these appraisal-management companies do not always choose local appraisers that know an area well.&nbsp; As a result some appraisals may be inaccurate.</p> <p>Right now the National Association of Realtors does not like this rule very much and their chief economist Lawrence Yun <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/local/407533_appraisal25.html ">said the following:</a>&quot;In the past month, stories of appraisal problems have been snowballing from across the country with many contracts falling through at the last moment.&quot;&nbsp;&nbsp; The NAR also sent legislators letters protesting this rule and it is also suggesting that regulators put an 18 months hold on the rule.&nbsp; </p> <p>Bill Garber, the Director of Government and External Relations at the Appraisal Institute <a href="http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/ano/current.aspx?volume=10&amp;numbr=11/12#7651">issued the following response</a> to the NAR's complaints, &quot;In a typical real estate transaction [such as a buyer seeking a loan], our clients are the lenders. Appraisers provide lenders with information that protects them from making questionable loans and investments and helps them minimize risk. However, that should not suggest a bias toward lower valuation. Appraisers reflect the market, and sometimes, the markets don.t act like we want them to or hope they will. Nonetheless, competent and professional appraisers understand this and develop credible estimates of value that ultimately ensure that lenders loan the proper amount, buyers don't pay too much and sellers get a fair price.&quot;</p> <p> I think Bill Garber's response is right on the spot and&nbsp; lower appraisals are simply reflecting the market now.&nbsp; It is beneficial for consumers to get lower prices on homes, but I have also heard anecdotal stories of faulty appraisals where information such school districts and home size were wrong.&nbsp; It is very frustrating for&nbsp; home buyers and sellers when a low&nbsp; appraisal stops the loan process.&nbsp; If I were a home buyer in that situation I would probably check the appraisal report for errors first, because any factual errors can be reported to the lender.&nbsp; If the report seems to contain no errors then I would attempt to negotiate the price to be at the appraisal because I would not want to pay too much. I do not think that a low appraisal is the death of every single real estate transaction as long as everyone involved are willing to compromise.</p> <p>In conclusion, I think it is a good thing if an honest and accurate appraisal shows you that you are willing paying too much for something.&nbsp; I think the new code does have some problems because it adds a layer of bureaucracy and pricing through appraisal management companies.&nbsp; However, this new process does remove a lot of bias in appraisals because it is a lot less likely that the appraiser chosen has a previous relationship with the real estate agent or mortgage broker involved in the deal.&nbsp; I am hoping that this reduces appraisal fraud by a great margin, and I think that is good for everyone involved in a real estate transaction.<br /> <em><strong><br /> What do you think of this new code?&nbsp; Have you faced difficulties in your real estate transactions lately due to appraisal issues?</strong></em><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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