Should I Sell My Home?

Are you currently living in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas and wondering if you should sell your home right now?

It seems like a simple question, yet ask 10 people and you will likely get 10 different answers. Within real estate markets there always seems to be so much conflicting information. Plus, everyone thinks they are an expert! Even people who have never owned a home suddenly have profound real estate insights to share. With all the confusion, how do you decide if selling your home is the right move?

Let’s be clear on a fundamental truth, the decision to sell your home is a deeply personal decision. Naturally, factors such as market conditions, equity in the home, and your financial situation are factors to be carefully weighed. Ultimately, you need to do what feels right for you and your family even if the market stars are not aligning perfectly. There are always great reasons to sell your home and we are going to share three of them with you.

You Need More Space

This is one of the most common reasons for selling a home. Single individuals and young families often buy a “starter home”. These tend to be affordable, small homes that fit a first time home buyer budget. Over time, there is a need for more space. A single adult may have more furniture, want room for guests, adopt pets, or get engaged. Young families may need more room for kids that are older and need their own space, to accommodate more children, or to make space for a beloved elderly relative.

“Moving Up” to a bigger house can be exciting. Imagine not having to share a bathroom with the kids or with guests? A bigger home can provide a lot more than more bedrooms and bathrooms. You may gain a garage, a bigger backyard, a finished basement, larger entertainment areas, and…a full sized kitchen with a pantry. Divine, right?

Beyond the changes in daily living, a more spacious home can offer a delightful change of lifestyle. Your new, larger home will likely accommodate guests more comfortably, especially for extended family visits. Instead of cramped dinner parties, you may host events that flow between spacious rooms and outdoor areas. Your new home may even become the family favorite for celebrating holidays!

If the thought of dozens of people walking around your house gives you anxiety, remember, you don’t have to host guests! Whether you invite people into your space or not, a bigger home gives you a lot more space to enjoy. If you are not into having guests, that spare bedroom can become an office or a beautifully appointed library. Your days can be filled with light, air, and silence – all in a spacious home that is all yours.

You Need Less Space

Oh, we can wax poetic about the joys of a dedicated laundry room, but we recognize that not everyone is looking for more space. The opposite may very well be true. You may find yourself at the stage in your life when the big house is more hassle than comfort.

“Downsizing” can be equally as exciting as “upsizing”. There are so many options ahead! Whether it’s a cottage on the beach, a high-rise condo in an urban area, or even a well-appointed apartment in a retirement center, shopping for a smaller home can be an adventure.

If you are truly adventurous, you may even decide to try a Tiny House. These small, portable homes are typically hand-built and can be “parked” on designated lots, backyards, tiny home communities, and more. Providing between 100 to 500 square feet of living space, these homes comes with a crash course in economy of space.

Yet tiny homeowners love it. They can build their house to their own specifications with many features of the home serving double duty. Everything has its spot and there is a designated spot for everything! It’s not for everyone, but those who have adopted the lifestyle often talk about the incredible feeling of freedom that comes with living in a tiny house.

Sea-side living, urban dwelling, senior communities, and tiny homes are all great options for enjoyable housing solutions once you sell your home. Many individuals who downsize report a feeling of “lightness” once they let go of all their “stuff”. Regardless of where you downsize to, take the time to evaluate what needs to go and what keepsakes need to adorn your new, streamlined world.

You Need a Change of Venue

Sometimes it’s not about more space or less space, it’s about different space. If you have spent all your life in quiet country living, maybe you are craving the faster heartbeat of city life. Or conversely, maybe urban life has worn you down and small town life is calling. You need a change and the one thing you can’t take with you is your home (well, unless you own a tiny house!).

Renting your home to tenants may be a reasonable solution, but often a permanent change of venue requires selling your home. The proceeds of the sale may support your move and fund a whole new life. In some circumstances, the financials are a not a factor and selling the home is more a symbolic “letting go” that allows you to fully embrace your new adventure.

Make sure you are prepared for the logistics involved in selling your home to move away. You will need to decide whether to stay in the home until it’s sold or to go ahead with the move and leave the home vacant to sell. Both are viable options that require planning and patience.

If you stay in the home, you will likely need to stage it for sale. Be prepared to have buyers viewing the home and to accommodate open house events. If you move, you need to ensure you can financially maintain two residences and that you have excellent communication with your real estate team. Either way, remember the sales process is only temporary and eventually you will be fully rooted in your new home.

Embrace the Sale

Regardless of your reasons for selling your home, relocating can be immensely exciting. Not only do you gain a new place to live, you will likely have a new job, meet new neighbors, and build new friendships. New places can bring wonderful new experiences and introduce you to exciting new cultural vibes – enjoy it!

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Is A Mortgage?

How Do I Set The Price On My House?

 

While this video simplifies things to help you remember when selling your Fort Myers or Cape Coral house, your aim is to get the best price AND terms in your market during the period you’re selling.

Market conditions, interest rates and competition all matter.

The price you want, and the price a buyer will pay are framed by those complex conditions so pricing isn’t completely predictable.

Other factors include:

  • How your home compares to other homes for the same buyers
  • The inventory of homes and the level of buyer demand

Your needs also affect negotiations – for example, if you must sell quickly – but the final price will be determined by the market not by your needs.

Buyers look at the same comparables and market conditions and they want to pay as little as possible while meeting their needs.

Remember that the price isn’t the entire deal – repairs, closing, points, appliances and other factors can all change the value you finally receive. Listen to your broker, stay informed, be patient if you can and make your best reasonable, unemotional decisions.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to learn more about Why Using a Realtor may be a great consideration when selling your home.

Why Use A REALTOR®

 

A state license is required to sell real estate. But roughly half of those licensed take the additional step of becoming a REALTOR®.

As we show you in this video, only members of the National Association of Realtors – NAR – are entitled to use that registered trademark and call themselves a REALTOR®.

As members, they adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and have access to classes, seminars and certification. Their aim is to be experts in their community aware of real estate trends and local and neighborhood issues. They apply that expertise to help buyers and sellers succeed.

You can find a certified REALTOR® in Fort Myers or Cape Coral by looking in local sources, asking around or searching here: http://www.realtor.com/realestateagents

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to learn more about How Do I Make A Home Ready To Sell?.

6 Selling Mistakes

 

If you’re selling a home in the Fort Myers, Cape Coral or surrounding areas, don’t do these things – take some notes from the video!

1. Don’t Sell Before The House Is Ready.

If it doesn’t present well, it won’t sell well.

2. Don’t Over-Improve

People buy houses in neighborhoods.

If yours is so “improved” that it sticks out you’re hurting your chances at selling.

3. Hire Wrong

Make your agent choice for business reasons.

Personal relationships matter, but experience and expertise will determine financial success in your sale.

4. Don’t Hide Anything

Covering up or ‘failing to mention’ real problems doesn’t work.

State disclosure laws are strict and you can be sued after the sale for anything that should have been made clear.

5. Don’t Rush

You should know about your mortgage, including pre-payment penalties your market conditions and trends and your options for your next home before jumping on the market.

6. Don’t Get Too Emotional

Your attachment to your house and your own financial needs don’t really matter in the transaction.

If you can’t set them aside the sale won’t go as you’d like it to.

Remember – it was your home but to the buyer it’s as a house.

At Title Junction we care about helping you succeed with your real estate goals. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to see How You Should Prepare The Inside For An Open House.

 

How Should I Prepare The Inside For An Open House?

 

For many homes and markets, professional help from someone in “staging” makes good financial sense.  Like this video says, check your staging options first.

If you are doing it yourself, here are 5 key tips.

One – Depersonalize.

You want the buyer to envision this house being their home?

Remove the things that make it YOUR home – photos, awards, collections, and STUFF.

Two – MOVE the stuff.

It’s tempting to shove things in closets and attics but your prospective buyer will see a much smaller house if those spaces are full.

Move it to a storage space or a friend’s garage.

Three – Warm it up.

Baking bread or cookies

adding fresh flowers

and colorful pillows and throws

are touches used by professional stagers to make a place warm without your stuff.

Four – Light it up!

  • Light sells homes.
  • Clean windows, inside and out.
  • Light bulbs all working and curtains open or even gone.

Five – Go Away.

Don’t hover – leave.

Pack for a day trip and have your realtor tell you when to return

Buyers won’t envision themselves buying if you’re around.

Depersonalize and move stuff out;

Warm it up and light it up.

Then leave and let your realtor do their job.

At Title Junction we care about helping you succeed with your real estate goals. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to see How You Should Prepare The Outside For An Open House.

How Should I Prepare The Outside For An Open House?

 

Thinking of selling your a home in the Cape Coral, Fort Myers or surrounding area? Remember to leave a great first impression from the outside to inspire a prospective buyer to see what is on the inside!

Professional “staging” may include the exterior, but if you’re doing it all yourself, try the five things outlined in this video.

1 – Landscape & lawn.

That’s the first impression; make it a good one.

Mow, prune, edge and get rid of junk!

2 – Paint And Clean!

You don’t have to do the whole house, but the front door and lintels should either be painted or cleaned.

3 – Leaks & Repairs

Small visible problems can become large mental objections and change how someone feels about your house.

Fix ‘em beforehand.

4 – Pets

Some people have allergies and concerns.

Time for Fido to visit a friend.

You weren’t including him with the house anyway.

5 – Get Fresh Eyes

Have your realtor or a friend who’s willing to be candid tell you what you missed. Or pay a staging professional for a report.

We don’t really see familiar things well – so let them be your ‘test buyer’ so you can present the best first impression to the real ones.

At Title Junction we care about helping you succeed with your real estate goals. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to see How To Prepare For An Internet Showing.

 

For Sale By Owner – Going it alone The Closing – Part III

After all the nuts and bolts have been completed and ironed out, it’s time to get to the closing table. For most it’s a sigh of relief that their Cape Coral or Fort Myers For Sale by Owner is actually closing.

The closing

If you’ve done all your homework along the way, “the closing” — the day you sign on the dotted line and the deed is transferred from seller to buyer — should be relatively easy. So then, just a few more things to wrap up to get to the table.

Do a final walk-through inspection of the home. This should be done with buyer and seller and it can be completed a few days before closing up to the morning of closing. If you have worked together closely there should be no outstanding problems. You will want to make sure that seller has removed all items and left what they said they would and any repairs that may have been agreed upon are completed.

When you go to closing — at your title company’s office — take your time to review over your closing statement. Ensure that you completely understand it and that you were only charged what you were supposed to be charged. Sometimes the buyers lender will attend, which is always a plus for the buyer.

As a seller you will not want to cancel homeowner’s insurance until the deed of sale is recorded. You own that home until you don’t  — including all the liability. Ask your title agent if you have any further questions before you leave the closing table.

Congratulations — one of you is proud new homeowner and the other is moving on!

For Sale By Owner – Going it alone The Nuts and Bolts– Part II

Last time we left off with the offer and negotiations. Once the deal has been made all parties can move on to doing the homework. In any Fort Myers or Cape Coral For Sale by Owner transaction all parties need to work together.

So now the real work begins and there are lots of people involved to accomplish the task.

Nuts and Bolts

Who do we need to hire and what do they all do?

You will want to start calling in the pros. Most people think when they sell a home themselves that they will do everything themselves — from marketing to closing — and save accordingly! Be ready to bring in some professionals when needed, though.   As you weed through the contract and contingencies there will be the “crew” that you will need to call in. The inspector, the surveyor, the insurance agent, the title insurance company, the appraiser , the lender and the list could go on.

While all of these are needed it can be a simple process. This is where the buyer and the seller will need to work together to get these items done. The seller will need to be flexible to allow for buyers people to access the home to do inspections and or repairs. And of course the buyer will need to be courteous of the seller and their time.

The buyer will need to make sure they have a closing checklist so they can schedule their time for lender requirements. And the seller a timeline to close so they can move on.

For all of this to come together smoothly, you will want to choose a local, reputable title insurance company. They will handle the escrow (good faith) deposit and act as a neutral party for funds. They will be very helpful is assisting the seller and buyer in getting to the closing table and keep you informed of what is going on.

Between the buyer and seller finalizing the sale of the house, many things have to happen — some taken care of by the buyer, some by a third party and some by the seller. Make sure you’ve hired a title insurance company to handle your closing for you — someone who will take care of several requirements, such as a survey and title search, as well as provide the proof of a marketable title and deed.

And then we can get to the closing table.

Part III – coming soon!

For Sale By Owner – Going it Alone (Offer and Negotiations – Part I)

Go on, admit it, you’ve thought about selling your home yourself, instead of hiring a real estate agent? If so, you’re not alone — especially these days. More and more homeowners are planting “for sale by owner” signs in their front yards.

One of the biggest reasons is the savings on real estate commissions – 6% being the standard commission amount. The next biggest reason is control, many people like to make their own decisions.  No one knows the home like the seller, they know it inside and out!

While there are many ways to go about the Cape Coral and Fort Myers For Sale By Owner route, here are a few tips on how to proceed once a seller already has a buyer.

Offer and Negotiations

Someone wants to make an offer on your home. Now what?

First, make sure your buyer can buy it. Simple, right?  You want a buyer who can afford your home, before signing anything ask for proof of funds or a pre-approval letter from their mortgage contact.  You don’t want to waste time with unqualified buyers, so recruit a mortgage officer to meet with potential buyers. The officer can preapprove or prequalify the buyer — potentially saving you time and aggravation — while drumming up business.

The offer stage is one of the most important points in the whole For Sale By Owner process

You are going to want to brush up on how to negotiate to get the outcome you want.

Be ready for some buyer expectation that you’re going to provide a bargain, let’s face it, you are doing this yourself and saving a lot of money! A deal is made when everyone will feel as though they’ve won.

It is also very important where the offer presentation will occur. Think about it, it’s a business conversation, you may want to recommend that the buyer present the offer at a coffee shop or even at a title company, however the best would be at your home, at the kitchen table – not sitting by the pool or on the sofa – it’s going to be one more opportunity to sell the property.

So now you and your buyer have settled on a price.

Now, a rule of thumb when selling your home yourself: Put every last thing in writing. Including the offer from the buyer, any counteroffers, the final agreed-upon price, and of course contingencies -making sure all parties sign off.

Remember this is not the end, there are many nuts and bolts that need to be put together.

Part II – coming soon!

What to expect from your Cape Coral or Fort Myers title insurance company

There are many expectations that we have of people we do business with. Here we outline what you should expect from your Cape Coral or Fort Myers title insurance company. A title company should not be looked at like you are going to McDonald’s for lunch. They are working for you on your real estate transaction.

The duties of a title company include:

Serving as a neutral party.  – Title agents and employees should not be taking sides as to protect a seller over a buyer. They work for the whole transaction in a neutral fashion.

Receiving authorization for escrow monies. – This can be done through a contract for a purchase. One party will designate the title company to hold escrow from the buyer (usually the seller).

Following instructions precisely and in a timely manner. – The seller, buyer, real estate agents and lender all have some instructions that will pertain to closing. It is important for the title company to work with these given to have a smooth transaction.

Paying bills as authorized. – A title company will be given invoices to pay through a closing. They will advise if this is able to be done or not.

Provide an accounting for the transaction. – All fees that will need to be collected or disbursed and paid will need to be shown on a settlement statement (HUD1).

Disbursing of funds. – It is most important that the funds be disbursed according to the settlement statement.

Transferring title and recording liens. – A title company should be sure that all documents are processed correctly in the correct county for transferring of property.

If you are ever unsure about a process, you should get a second opinion. Although you may be tied to the title company you are using, you should know what is expected from the one you use.