Wednesday, August 20, 2014
An Easy Way to Make More Money Selling Your HomeIf you’ve ever sold a home, you know it takes money to make it happen. You’ve got to fix and freshen it up to attract buyers. Then there are closing costs. And moving brings its own set of expenses.
But perhaps the biggest chunk that comes out of your pocket is the real estate agent commission, which traditionally runs around 6%. For the typical “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) home—which sold for $184,000 last year—that’s a little more than $11,000. Ouch!
With that kind of cash, it’s no wonder that many sellers fly solo in an effort to save a few bucks. But is it worth it?
Would You Rather Save $5,500 or Make $46,000?Your home is a big investment, and you want to make the most of it. Keeping the agent commission all to yourself seems like an easy way to do that. The problem is you’re leaving even more money on the table by opting out of a pro.
How much more?
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the typical home sold by an agent last year fetched $230,000. That’s a $46,000 difference!
But wait . . . there’s more! Selling your home on your own doesn’t necessarily mean an agent-free transaction. You still owe it to the buyer’s agent to pay their commission. After all, they worked hard to get their buyer into your home. If they get 3% of the sale, you can cut your $11,000 in savings in half, leaving you $5,500.
The numbers alone paint a pretty compelling picture. But let’s explore two reasons smart sellers go pro.
There’s Power in NumbersIf you want to sell your home, you’ve got to go where the buyers are. A recent NAR report found that 88% of buyers used a real estate agent to purchase their home in 2013.
Last we checked, yards signs don’t exactly have their finger on the pulse of the market. Think about how many people drive by your home on a given day. Then stack that up against an agent’s pool of buyers. There’s no comparison!
With a real estate agent, you get instant access to thousands of potential buyers through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). A true pro has a proactive plan for exposing your home to as many buyers as possible and works with you to ensure your home gives a great first impression.
There’s No Substitute for ExperienceLet’s set the sugarcoating aside and cut to the chase. Going it alone guarantees one thing: You’ll make mistakes. Some will be small—but some will come with zeroes on the end. You’ve worked too hard to let that happen!
Research shows FSBO sellers struggle most with paperwork, pricing and preparing their home for the sale. A real estate agent can help you with all of those things (and more!) and will advise you based on experience, not emotion.
Here are just a few ways a pro makes selling your home a cinch:
—Advising you on home repairs or updates
—Pricing your home based on the latest market data
—Actively marketing your home to buyers
—Scheduling showings with potential buyers
—Negotiating to get the best price on your home
—Handling all the required paperworkLook at it this way: A top-notch agent sold more homes last week than you’ll probably sell in your lifetime. They eat, drink and sleep real estate. Doesn’t it stand to reason that they can help you achieve the most gain with the least pain?
Don’t Give Up Big Bucks Just to Save a FewCan you save money by going FSBO? Maybe. But you lose out on so much more! Do yourself a favor and partner with a high-performance pro who knows what it takes to get top dollar for your home in the least amount of time.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
As a seller, you have a lot more control in pleasing buyers than you think. If you start the selling process by learning what buyers really want, you can prepare your home to come as close to their dreams as possible.
Here are the five biggest turn-ons for homebuyers and what you can do to please buyers.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Your home should sell to the buyer from the curb. That's how important curb appeal is. Your buyer should be so impressed, so charmed, so delighted that they want to leap out of the car and run inside.
Start with sweeping the drive, walkway, and porch or entry of dirt and debris. Get rid of leggy bushes, wilted flowers and broken tree limbs. Plant fresh flowers in the front garden or in containers at the entry.
Power-wash the exterior and hand-wash the windows. Touch up paint around the windows, if needed. Paint the front door a fresh, modern color. Replace the door hardware and porch sconces.
The number one reason why people buy homes is to have more room. Whether they're moving from an apartment or moving up from the home they have, they want to have plenty of space to do the things they enjoy.
If you have a large home, you're golden, but that doesn't mean you've got it made. You can ruin a buyer's first impression with too much clutter, so make sure to keep your home picked up so your buyer can see your home's features clearly and easily.
What if you don't have a lot of space? Plan to do some storing and staging. Rent a storage unit and put away all out of season clothes, toys, and home decorations and accessories. Clean off all tables and countertops so you have only the minimum of things your need to operate your home. Empty closets of anything that is "stored" and move it to the storage unit. The small expense you'll pay in storage fees you'll more than make back from your buyer's offer.
There's a reason why first-time buyers and singles tend to buy older homes - they're more affordable than buying new. So unless your buyer is a building contractor, chances are they want a home that's as updated as possible.
You may not be interested in putting in a new kitchen in order to sell your home, but you can do a few things to make buyers happy. Replace the most dated features - countertops, cabinet pulls, or appliances.
Bathrooms are so personal that they can easily turn buyers off. Invest in new towels, bathmats and a shower curtain. Throw out slimy soaps and limp ragged bath sponges. Replace with liquid shower and bath products. You can take all the new stuff with you to the next home.
Painting is expected by buyers, but don't repaint the same colors that you chose 10 years ago. Pick an updated neutral like a warm grey instead of beige. Be sure to choose a color that will complement the architecture and flooring in your home.
Keep in mind that the typical home purchased in 2013 was 1,860 square feet and built in 1996, so homebuyers aren't expecting your home to be a mansion, nor do they expect it to be new, but they do expect to see pride of ownership. The more tweaks, updates and repairs that you perform, the more confident your buyers will be that they're choosing the right home.
Written by Blanche Evans
Monday, April 7, 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
I am so excited to announce that I have accepted a position as an Agent with Arive Homes. They are a quality home builder in Utah County and I'm honored to be a part of their team. I will still be taking care of buyers and sellers also, so don't hesitate to contact me for any of your real estate needs!
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Time for a change. With spring officially here, the change of season will hopefully lead to a change of direction for the housing market, as the harsh winter weather contributed to several disappointing reports.
February Existing Home Sales fell by 0.4 percent from January to 4.60 million units on an annualized basis. While this number was in line with estimates, it was 7.1 percent below the 4.95 million units registered in February 2013. The National Association of Realtors cited the unusually harsh winter weather, tightening of credit, and higher home prices as the cause behind the stagnant sales data.
The harsh weather was also blamed for the weak Housing Starts reading for February, which came in at 907,000, making this the third straight monthly decline. In addition, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index came in at 47 for March. Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view conditions as poor, rather than good. On a positive note, Building Permits, which are a sign of future construction, surged by 7.5 percent to 1.018 million. It will be important to see if readings improve once the weather becomes milder around the nation.
In other news to note, weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose by 5,000 in the latest week to 320,000. Claims continue to hover near lows seen in November, as the labor markets work through the post-recession malaise. The 4-week moving average, which irons out seasonal abnormalities, came in at 327,000, the lowest level since the end of November.
What does this mean for home loan rates? Despite some weaker than expected economic reports, the Fed announced more tapering to its Bond buying program. Beginning in April, the Fed will purchase $30 billion in Treasuries and $25 billion in Mortgage Bonds (the type of Bonds on which home loan rates are based) to help stimulate the economy and housing market. This is down from the original $85 billion per month that the Fed had been purchasing. We will be watching closely to see how this decision impacts the markets and home loan rates as we head further into spring.
The bottom line is that now remains a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance, as home loan rates remain attractive compared to historical levels.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Here are the common tax mistakes homeowners need to be careful to avoid:
- Deducting the wrong year for property taxes. You deduct for the year in which you pay them. In Utah we pay in November, so this isn’t really an issue here.
- Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid. Generally your lender collects more than you pay, so be careful to claim the correct amount.
- Deducting points paid to refinance. This is done over the life of the loan, not up front like a purchase.
- Misjudging the home office deduction. You will definitely want to use a tax professional to make sure you do this one right.
- Failing to repay the first-time home buyer tax credit. You must pay back 1/15th a year over 15 years if you used it and are still in your home.
- Failing to track home related expenses. Always keep records of anything you plan to claim or deduct.
- Forgetting to keep track of capital gains. Remember if you sold your home, you have to pay taxes on any gains over $500,000 if you are married and $250,000 if you are single.
- Filing incorrectly for the energy tax credit. Again, you will need records and probably use a tax professional.
Mortgage Interest DeductionOne of the neatest deductions itemizing homeowners can take advantage of is the Mortgage Interest Deduction, which you claim on Schedule A. To get the Mortgage Interest Deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home — and your home can even be a house trailer or boat, as long as you can sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet.
Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million — or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately — is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home.
If you take on another mortgage (including a second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit) to improve your home or to buy or build a second home, that counts towards the $1 million limit.
If you use loans secured by your home for other things — like sending your kid to college — you can still deduct the interest on loans up $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) because your home secures the loan.
PMI and FHA Mortgage Insurance PremiumsYou can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance as mortgage interest on Schedule A — meaning you must itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later.
By the way, the 2013 tax season is the last for which you can claim this deduction unless Congress renews it retroactively, which may happen, but is uncertain.
What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized down payment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately).
If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, your deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 ($500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) that your adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return). So, if you make $110,000 or more, you lose 100% of this deduction (10% x 10 = 100%).
Besides private mortgage insurance, there’s government insurance from FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service. Some of those premiums are paid at closing and deducting them is complicated. A tax adviser or tax software program can help you calculate this deduction. Also, the rules vary between the agencies.
Prepaid Interest DeductionPrepaid Interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is 100% deductible in the year you paid them along with other mortgage interest.
If you refinance your mortgage and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are also deductible in the same year.
But if you refinance to get a better rate and term or to use the money for something other than home improvements, such as college tuition, you’ll need to deduct the points over the term of the loan. Say you refi for a 10-year term and pay $3,000 in points. You can deduct $300 per year for 10 years.
So what happens if you refi again down the road?
Example: Three years after your first refi, you refinance again. Using the $3,000 in points scenario above, you’ll have deducted $900 ($300 x 3 years) so far. That leaves $2,400, which you can deduct in full the year you complete your second refi. If you paid points for the new loan, the process starts again; you can deduct the points over the term of the loan.
Home mortgage interest and points are reported on IRS Form 1098. You enter the combined amount on line 10 of Schedule A. If your 1098 form doesn’t indicate the points you paid, you should be able to confirm the amount by consulting your HUD-1 settlement sheet. Then you record that amount on line 12 of Schedule A.
Energy Tax CreditThe Energy Tax Credit of up to a lifetime $500 had expired in 2011. But the Feds extended it for 2012 and 2013. If you upgraded one of the following systems this year, it’s an opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability: If you get the $500 credit, you pay $500 less in taxes.
Some of the eligible products and systems are capped even lower than $500. New windows are capped at $200 — and not per window, but overall. Read about the fine print in order to claim your energy tax credit.
- Determine if the system is eligible. Go to Energy Star’s website for detailed descriptions of what’s covered. And talk to your vendor.
- The product or system must have been installed, not just contracted for, in the tax year you’ll be claiming it.
- Save system receipts and manufacturer certifications. You’ll need them if the IRS asks for proof.
- File IRS Form 5695 with the rest of your tax forms.
Property Tax DeductionYou can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay. If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement.
If you bought a house this year, check your HUD-1 Settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too.
By Chris Nichols
Monday, March 17, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Even though Utah is still experiencing a strong seller's market, it's still important to do a few basic things to be ready for those buyers!
The following article by By Ross Boissoneau gives us all some really great tips:
10 Inexpensive Ways to Sell Your House for More
1. All the world’s a stage
Staging a home is just about making it more like an uncluttered luxury hotel suite and less like your family’s home. Do it on the inside and outside and your home will probably sell faster and for more. A good Realtor® will walk you through the staging process.
2. Find the right professional
Sometimes you forget the obvious: The best, smartest thing a homeowner can do is find the right real estate agent for them. There are all kinds of pros out there, with all kinds of approaches and personalities. So how do you find the perfect fit? The easiest ways are also free:
- Get referrals. Obviously, the easiest step is simply to ask friends and family. Ask questions!
- Go online. If those first two options aren’t working for you, search sites like RealEstateAgent.com and Realtor.com. When you find a few agents you might like, check them out online before contacting them. Are their websites professional-looking and inviting? Do they promote their properties well? Then call them. If the conversation goes well, set up a meeting. But remember, you have to feel comfortable, because this individual is helping you sell your most expensive possession.
- Look up the licensing. States will have boards that license and discipline real estate agents in those states, says Phipps. Check with your state's regulatory body to find out if the person is licensed and if there have been any disciplinary actions or complaints.
- Research how long the agent has been in business. You can often find out how long the agent has been selling real estate from the state licensing authority. Or, you can just ask the agent. "If they haven't been in business five years, they're learning on you and that's not good," says Robert Irwin, author of "Tips & Traps When Buying a Home." (Kari has been in the business for 13 years!)
3. Clean and de-clutter
Cleaning is obvious – we shouldn’t even have to mention that a dirty kitchen or bathroom will cost you customers. But clutter is another matter. Step back and try to look at your home the way someone else would for the very first time.
And what about the garage? If you use it to store everything but your car, clean it out so a prospective buyer can imagine pulling their own vehicle in there. (Although they’ll probably do just like you and use it for storage.)
4. Maximize your home’s curb appeal
Mow the lawn. Trim the shrubs. Buy a new welcome mat. Add a hanging plant next to your entrance, or some large terra-cotta pots filled with colorful blooms. This is crucial - online pictures of your front door will likely be the introduction to prospective buyers.
5. Ask a friend
Ask a friend or your real estate agent to come in and give an honest assessment of your home. Having someone objective look at what you see every day can yield results regarding items or spaces you as a homeowner have become blind to.
6. Create rooms
Substituting one room’s use for another is a cheap way to transform a three-bedroom home with a den into a four-bedroom home. If it doesn’t have a closet, add an armoire. Or maybe your home has a formal dining room that’s never used. Add doors if it doesn’t have them and a freestanding wardrobe – and you’ve got an instant main floor master bedroom.
Nothing can instantly transform a room like a new coat of paint. That’s especially true if you’re going from something dark and dingy (and scratched and dirty) to something light, bright, and white. Painting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to change and improve a room’s appearance. Anyone can do it. I know, because I have. A bedroom upstairs and the kitchen and dining room in my main house, and two bedrooms in my parents’ home. HUGE difference.
8. Bring the outdoors in and take the indoors out
Plant the decorative plants not just in the ground around the deck, but inside. Furnish your seating areas outside with things you would normally find indoors, like soft cushions. Bridging the inside and the outdoors expands the feel of your home.
9. Add storage
New homebuyers are always looking for storage space. Maximize what you have by adding a closet storage system, incorporating shelves, two-tiered hangers, and the like. Storage doesn’t have to be deep to be useful. Open up a space between studs and walls, install shelving, and you’ve got the perfect place for a series of small shelves to store CDs and DVDs.
10. Lights, camera, action!
Ceiling fixtures tend to get hung, then forgotten, which means they look dated before long. Inexpensive replacements from a home improvement store can brighten up the interior and make a room look more current.
Remember, a buyer has some specific needs and desires in mind: neighborhood, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. But beyond that, buying a home is an emotional decision. Welcoming someone to your home – hopefully their new home – means keeping things bright, clean, uncluttered, and friendly. ~
Realtor consultations are free. It costs you nothing to sit down with me and ask questions. I want my sellers (and buyers!) to be informed about and comfortable with the entire process so don't hesitate to give me a call!
Kari Dye: 801-376-8404801-376-8404
Friday, March 14, 2014
Hello Friends, Family, Clients and Colleagues,
After 13 amazing years with Century 21-All Pros in American Fork, I have decided to move to an office closer to my home in Spanish Fork. I am forever indebted to Jerry Edwards and all of the agents at Century 21 for everything they taught me and they will be forever friends.
I am moving to Prudential Elite Real Estate and am excited to start a new adventure there. I have many friends and clients in Salt Lake County and in North Utah County and I will be continuing to service those areas, as well as the South part of Utah County, so please don't hesitate to contact me with any of your real estate needs.
Please change my email address in your address books to firstname.lastname@example.org . You can still find me at my facebook page listed below.
Your friendship and your business mean so much to me and I hope you will all keep in touch!
Kari Dye , MBA, Realtor (801)376-8404
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
"Our Navajo veterans have fought on the frontlines for the protection of Navajo sovereignty and our way of life. Utilizing funding from the Navajo Veterans Trust Fund to build them new homes is the least we can do for them," Shelly said during the signing ceremony on Tuesday in his office in Window Rock, Ariz.
In September, the Navajo Nation Council approved legislation to divide the mandatory funds set aside for the Navajo Nation Veterans Trust Fund.
Each year, 4 percent of the tribe’s projected revenue is transferred into the Veterans Trust Fund.
The 4 percent will now be divided by sending 2 percent to the trust fund and 2 percent to the veterans affairs department through fiscal year 2017.
The veterans affairs department is using its amount to construct at least 15 homes and provide minor home renovations for veterans in each of the tribe’s five agencies.
Shelly signed the bill into law on Sept. 13, and the contract to receive construction materials from Home Depot was submitted for the tribe’s review process by the veterans affairs department on Dec. 23. After it completed the review process, it was submitted to president’s office last week for his signature.
The $1.9 million contract will provide housing material for 75 homes through Dec. 30, 2014. The homes will be energy efficient one-, two- or three-bedrooms houses and will be 700, 900 or 1,100 square feet.
David Nez, who heads the veterans affairs department, attended the signing ceremony along with Joseph Lucero, a pro account sales associate with Farmington’s Home Depot, and Tim Goodluck, a senior planner with the veterans affairs department.
By: Noel Lyn Smith