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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Why You Need to Test for Radon Gas

Having the radon level tested in a home is a very important step in the real estate process that can actually save lives.

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Radon gas is something that’s around us all the time and could impact the real estate process. This is because it can become concentrated in places like basements, where it is typically tested for. So what does this mean for you?

Radon gas exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. This is a topic that comes up a lot in the real estate process because it’s a standard contingency in our area. Thankfully, there are a few ways to identify and deal with it.

Whether you’re on the buyer or seller side of a real estate transaction, you are likely to go through the radon testing process. 

In most cases, this involves having an inspector come to the house to place a test that will read radon levels for 48 hours. After that time, it will give you an average reading from which you can determine whether or not there is a problem that needs to be dealt with. 

Specifically, you will look whether the test is above or below the 4.0 EPA action level. If the test comes in above this level, however, it doesn’t mean that you will be unable to buy or sell the house. 

The radon level can be reduced through a very standard process which will leave the home safe.

The radon level can be reduced through a very standard process which will leave the home safe. Usually at this point a contractor who consistently, if not exclusively, does radon work will come out to the property and install a system that pulls air from below the house in order to prevent radon from concentrating. 

Thankfully the process is neither complex nor is it cost prohibitive—usually costing in the $850 to $1,000 price range.  

If you are a buyer and this device is installed by the seller in the property you’re purchasing, the process will be as simple as periodically checking the device’s u-shaped dial to make sure it is working properly and that your house is protected.

If you want any more information or have any other questions on this topic, feel free to contact by giving us a call or sending us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Should You Accept a Contingent Offer on Your Home?

A lot of buyers in today’s market need to sell their home first before they can buy another. As a seller, should you accept that contingent offer?

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What if a buyer makes an offer on your house and they still have a house to sell? 

I often get a call from an agent who says, “Great news! I took my clients by your listing and they love the house. They want to put a contract in.” 

When I ask when they will send in the contract, the other shoe drops. The agent says, “Well, they have a house that they have to sell first before they can buy your client's house. Would your seller consider accepting a contract that’s contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home?” 

If you’re the seller in this situation, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your agent to see what your best course of action is. 
In many cases, a contingent offer is not worth the risk.
First of all, what are the risks involved with a contingent offer? If you are in a market where your house should sell at or below the average days on market, do you want to take your house off the market for this offer? You may lose the opportunity to find a better buyer over the next two weeks, and you may even miss out on a multiple offer situation. 

In most cases, accepting the offer is simply not worth the risk. 

So, is there ever a time when it makes sense to accept a contingent offer? Shouldn’t you just ask the buyer to come back once their home is under contract? 

There are a few instances where you may want to accept a contingent offer. For example, let’s say you have a very unique property, like a farm. You need the right type of person to jump in and run that farm. If that buyer has a house to sell, we’ll research the home. If we believe that their home will sell, it may make sense to pull your farm off the market and accept that contingent contract. 

Another example would be if you expect your home to take longer than the average time on the market to sell. You have more leverage with the contingent buyer. You can accept their offer but only on the terms that work best for you. 

Of course, it’s also important to consider the buyer’s perspective. In today’s market, a lot of buyers have to sell their homes in order to move up and buy something else. In that case, what can you do? 

If you have to be a contingent buyer, make sure that you get your house on the market and have a good idea of what homes are available for you to purchase. Then, once your home is under contract, you can make on offer that is contingent on your house making it to closing, which is a bit stronger than the typical contingent offer. 

Whether you are buying or selling a home, if you have any questions about contingent offers, just give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Keys to Staging Your Home While Still Living in It

Staging your home for the market involves depersonalizing, decluttering, neutralizing, and three other key points to remember.

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If you need to stage your home to prepare it for the market while you’re still living in it, there are four main points you need to remember to maximize its value. First, you need to depersonalize, declutter, and neutralize. These three things are at the core of what it means to stage and get your house ready. The reason why you depersonalize and take down family portraits, kids’ trophies and other personal items is that we want the person who walks into your home to envision themselves living there. Your home is a place where you have created memories, but when the time comes to sell we need the buyer to be able to make that same connection and feel like it is a place where they will make their own family memories. When you declutter and neutralize, you’re making sure you’re not distracting buyers with bold colors or too many things in your house so they can focus on the things that make your house great. Second, work to make sure each room has a purpose. Oftentimes there are rooms in a house that are sparsely used or used for a purpose the average buyer is unlikely to copy. For example, many homeowners use their formal living room as a kids’ play room. Think about repurposing this room as a 2nd living area or an office – these are uses buyers are likely to see value in and can envision using it in a similar way. If you can show value in each room and present it as a place buyers can see themselves using we are likely to get a higher return on the square footage.
Depersonalizing, decluttering, and neutralizing are at the core of what it means to stage your house.
Third, remember throughout this process that the objective is to move. This means you’ll have to pack up and move your things. If you have too much furniture or other items that have collected over the years, box them up and take them away before marketing your home. It can be a good idea to rent a storage unit during the marketing period so you can hang on to your belongings while allowing your home to show its best.

Fourth, enlist some professional help. I’m preparing homes to go on the market every day but when it’s time to sell my home I will hire one of our professional stagers to walk through to give me an objective opinion and advice on how to present it best. Because we live in our homes we can become blind to some things that need attention. Stagers are experts in design. We know how we want our listings to look when everything's said and done, but they know how to get us there. A stager can give you a task list of things to do and give you practical advice on things like furniture placement and color choices. Appealing to the largest number of buyers is critical to getting your home sold for top dollar.  Professional staging is the first step toward making sure you’re ready to present your home to potential buyers.

If you have any questions about how to get your home ready for sale, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.