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You’re putting your house on the market and the idea is to MAKE money, not spend it.  But there are costs involved when selling a home that you might not anticipate.  Don’t let yourself be blindsided by these unexpected expenses:

  1. Utilities: Keeping your utilities running until closing is a good idea.  Not only does it allow the Realtor to show that the home is fully operational, it also helps prevent other possible issues. For example, during hot, summer months having the A/C on will help to keep the home mold-free.  And of course, you want the utilities on for the buyer’s final walk through.  Your Realtor can help you decide when it is the right day to have the utilities turned off.
     
  2. Renovations & Repairs: Before putting your home on the market, you need to budget for any renovations and/or repairs that will need to be done.  Walls looking drab?  They will need a fresh coat of paint.  Stains on the carpet? You’ll want to give it a good steam cleaning.  There may be a lot of little things that need to be done, or there might be one or two major projects.  Either way, you’ll want to be prepared for the costs involved. Before getting started, do your homework and find out which home improvements get the best return on investment. 6 Home Renovations That Return the Most at Resale
     
  3. Seller Credits to Buyer: If you don’t want to deal with repairs or renovations, it is possible to extend a seller credit to the buyer to compensate for the cost of fixing up the house. These credits are a loan option that allows buyers to finance their closing costs and, thus, purchase the home with less cash down. But be aware that lenders cap the credit amount that a seller can extend to a buyer at 3% to 6% of the total mortgage.
     
  4. Staging Costs: When your house is on the market, you want it to get as much exposure to potential buyers as possible.  You will need to not only stage your home, but digital staging services will be needed as well.  Great pictures and/or videos and descriptions of your home online are one of the most efficient ways to reach potential buyers. You may need to hire a professional home stager as well as someone to take care of the digital staging services.  Costs to do this can range from a couple of hundred dollars to $5,000 or more, depending on what you request. Sellers: The Benefits of Staging Your Home
     
  5. Agent Commissions: Realtors are paid on commission.  They usually get 5 to 6 percent of the home’s sale price.  Generally, commission is split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.  The home seller typically pays the commission fee, and therefore should take that into consideration when determining the asking price.
     
  6. Moving Costs: Make sure you include moving expenses in your budget when selling your house.  Hopefully you will get your asking price and make a nice profit on your home sale, but you should be prepared to cover your moving costs even if the house sells for less than you hope.

So, if you are planning to put your house on the market in 2019, now is the time to start planning for the extra costs involved.  An experienced Realtor like Desi Sowers can assist you in figuring out the right asking price for your home to help cover all your expenses. If you are thinking about buying and/or selling a home in the New River Valley area, contact Desi today at 540-320-1328 and let her assist you with all your real estate needs!

Photo Credit: cepro.com

Selling a Home After Divorce

by Desi Sowers

Moving is in the top 5 of the 10 Most Stressful Life Events. Divorce ranks in the top five as well.   Put those two together and you have a meltdown in the making.  If you and your spouse own a home together and you are divorcing, you are going to have to figure out what you’re going to do about the house.  This can be challenging under the most amicable of situations, and can be devastating when there is bitterness and fighting.

Since your home is likely the greatest asset that you share, selling it is often necessary when parting ways.  Sentimental value may entice one or the other of you to want to keep the home, but financial implications may keep you from doing so.  Understanding how divorce affects the sale of a home is crucial.  The emotional aspect of splitting up your family can sometimes impair your judgement, but making a poor decision regarding your home can have lasting ramifications, long after the divorce is finalized. 

Whether one spouse wants to buy out the other and keep the home or both want to sell and split the equity, selling a house while getting divorced is a rocky road that needs to be navigated intelligently.  When two people are willing to deal with each other in a peaceful, respectful way, it certainly makes the whole process easier. But often this is not the case in these situations.  Division of a home is not simple. 

When each spouse contributed to purchase the home - even if one paid more than the other - you are both going to want your fair share out of it.  Ideally, you will be able to work with an attorney or mediator to come to an agreement out of court, but if you can’t, a judge will decide for you.  This can be a very unpleasant experience for all parties involved.  If both your incomes were factored in the purchase of the house, chances are when you split that in half, neither of you can afford it on your own. If that is the case, the best solution is to sell the home and divide the assets.  There are also Tax Implications that should be considered when you are trying to decide if you should sell before you divorce or after.

Should one of you decide to stay in the home, there are a couple of different ways to make that happen.  First, if you have the financial means to do so, you can take over the mortgage by refinancing.  This means you must qualify for the loan and be able to make the monthly payments on your own.  Your ex-spouse will be completely out of the picture.  Another way is to continue co-owning the property.  Perhaps you have children and want to keep them in their home. While this is the least disruptive option, it is precarious and requires a lot of trust.  It would have to be a very civil and friendly divorce for this to work because both parties will be responsible for the mortgage and upkeep of the house.  The bottom line is that if you plan to stay in the home, you better be sure you can afford it.  It would be prudent to work out a  budget before you make the decision.

With all the financial and emotional issues that get wrapped up in the sale of a home during divorce, it’s crucial that you know what you want prior to meeting with a Realtor. It is best for you to meet with your attorneys for them to guide you through the process of deciding how to split the equity. Once you’ve done that, seek out an experienced Realtor with exceptional communication skills who will gently guide you through the process with as little stress as possible.

If you’re thinking about selling or buying a home in the New River Valley area, contact professional, experienced Realtor Desi Sowers and let her assist you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call today at 540-320-1328!

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

Preparing to Sell - 5 Things You Must Fix Before Listing Your Home

by Desi Sowers

If you want the best price for your house, you may have to do some repairs before selling it. Potential buyers will be willing to spend more for a home that doesn’t need a lot of work.  Here are 5 important things to fix before selling:

     - Exterior - When was the last time the exterior of your house was painted?  Is the paint faded and chipping?  Is wood rotting around the windows?  Is your front door dingy?  First Impressions matter when it comes to selling your home and buyers will get their first impression when they see the outside of your house whether in pictures or in person.  Don’t forget the landscaping.  A well-kept lawn and simple, but clean flower beds will go a long way toward creating an enticing aesthetic for your property.

     - Interior Paint - If the walls are looking a bit shabby and the trim a bit grimy, painting is a quick and easy fix.  The same applies if you went through a crazy color phase a few years back and decorated with hues that might not appeal to everyone.  Choose neutral colors that will allow buyers to focus on the spaces without being distracted. Behr's Paint Color of the Year 2018

     - Kitchen - The kitchen is one of the most important rooms that buyers focus on when looking at a house.  So, if yours is looking run-down you will want to update it.  It will be worth the investment to replace appliances that are on their last legs or putting in a new granite counter.  Or it might be as simple as repainting cabinets and adding shiny, new handles.

     - Bathroom - Nothing turns buyers off faster than an unsightly bathroom.  Sparkling, clean fixtures and a fresh coat of paint will go a long way toward impressing someone searching for their dream home.  Inexpensive touches like a decorative mirror or a lovely picture on the wall will add to the ambiance without breaking the bank.

     - Flooring - If your carpets are stained or thread bare, it is worth your while to replace them.  Otherwise, buyers may ask for a carpet allowance when they make an offer on your house.  The same applies if your vinyl floors are in bad shape.  Hardwoods are always popular, but you may want to consider getting them refinished if they are looking old and scruffy.

It may seem counter intuitive to spend money on repairing or fixing up a house you are getting ready to sell, but at the end of the day, it will not only help you sell your house faster, but you will get a better price for it too.

If you’re thinking about selling or buying a home in the New River Valley area, contact professional, experienced Realtor Desi Sowers and let her assist you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call today at 540-320-1328!

Affordable Home Staging Hacks

by Desi Sowers

Chances are, if you are getting ready to sell your home, you are also preparing to purchase a new home. So, the last thing you want to do is spend more money on your current property.  However, you certainly want to get the best price possible when selling it, and according to the National Association of Realtors, for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400. As you can see, it will pay off in the end to stage your home to entice potential buyers.

Some people will hire a Home Staging Professional to get the job done.  While it might seem easier than doing it yourself, it is not the only way to get that SOLD sign planted in your front yard.  There are some simple, yet effective home-staging hacks that you can do that won’t break your budget:

  • Roll Out a Welcome Mat - Sounds simple, right?  It is!  First impressions mean everything when selling your home.  Also, prospective buyers tend to linger by the front door before the real estate agent opens the home for viewing, so an inviting entrance is crucial. A new welcome mat can cost as little as $15.  Purchase a modern mat that compliments the style of your home.  To further enhance the entryway, add a little green with some fresh plants.  An enticing entrance will make buyers want to see more!
  • Mount Mirrors in Strategic Spots - Every home has spaces like a dim hallway or small space that lacks natural light.  To spruce up these areas, hang a few mirrors.  They add extra light to rooms that look dark, and Make Your Space Look Bigger.  They will pack an extra punch if placed next to or directly across from a window because they will pull in more sun.  For a more decorative look, create a collage of several mini mirrors in different shapes and sizes rather than just slapping one large mirror on the wall. You can find inexpensive mirrors at craft stores and discount home stores.
  • Set Tables and Serving Areas for Entertaining - A home filled with friends, food and laughter is a happy one!  Paint a picture of what entertaining in your home will be like for potential buyers.  Keep it simple, but aesthetically pleasing. Lay out cloth napkins, wine glasses and solid plates in the dining room. Use matching mugs and bowls in the kitchen to produce the feel of family meals.
  • Replace Personal Photos with Art Work - Over the years, you have turned your house into a home by decorating with family portraits and personal mementos.  But potential buyers are going to want to be able to envision themselves living there and that is hard to do with your family members present in the form of pictures in every room.  So, get a head start on packing up your house by putting your pictures away and replacing them with art work that compliments the style of the home.  You can find inexpensive art at discount stores or you can print beautiful landscape photos to put in frames.
  • Make the Bathroom Look Elegant with White Linens - Spruce up your bathroom with crisp, fresh, all-white linens.  White towels, bath mats, and shower curtains give the room an instant update.  They inspire the feeling of a luxury spa without spending a lot of money.  Take it a step further by including some Spa-Like Displays.  Simple additions like an orchid, candles and special soaps will go a long way.
  • Arrange Decorative Scenes - Decorative displays can give a cozy, lived-in ambience to a house.  Assembling classy vignettes of colorful vases, lanterns, books, plants, baskets, and other items atop dressers, counters and bookshelves will make a house feel more like a home. Group items in odd numbers and in varying heights and shapes while keeping them in the same color family. You will be amazed at what you can find to use in your house, but if you need to buy some things, you can mix in inexpensive pieces from craft and discount stores.  Done properly, these displays will have people feeling like they are looking at rooms right out of home décor magazines…and that appeals to prospective buyers.

If you are preparing to put your home on the market, you don’t have to do it alone!  Professional Realtor Desi Sowers can help you get your house staged and sold in no time!  Call her today at 540-320-1328!

Photo Credit: realtor.com

Listing Your House this Summer? Keep These Tips in Mind!

by Desi Sowers

Spring is flying by and soon summer will be upon us.  Summer is not the most popular time to sell a house for several reasons: people are going on vacation, kids are out of school, and warm weather activities keep you busy.  But sometimes the timing cannot be helped.  Life happens and circumstances may require that you move during the sunny season.  If that is the case, here are some tips for attracting buyers during the summer months:

 

  • CURB APPEAL

Make a great first impression with curb appeal. Mow your lawn twice a week. Grass grows faster this time of year and needs mowing more often.Try mowing diagonally every other time to add dimension to your lawn.Make sure bushes are trimmed and plant flowers.Keep your porch, sidewalk and driveway swept and create a warm and inviting entryway to your home. 20 Ways to Add Curb Appeal

  • DECORATE WITH SUMMER ACCENTS

Utilize calming colors such as blues and greens to decorate the interior of your home.If you have dark-colored accent pillows and throw rugs replace them with brighter, summer hues. Keep it simple.You don’t have to spend a lot of money; something as basic as an inexpensive blanket draped over a chair can give a room a soothing vibe.

  • BRING THE LIGHT INSIDE

If you have heavy drapes, remove them. They make a room look smaller.Pull blinds all the way up.Use tie backs to open lighter curtains.The only time you should leave blinds/curtains closed is if there is an undesirable element on the other side of the window such as your neighbor’s trash can…but even then, keep them slightly open to allow light into the room.

  • HAVE FLEXIBLE SHOWING HOURS

Showing your home while still living there is challenging, but the more flexible you are, the more people will look at your house.

  • SPARKLE AND SHINE

Metals give a “summery” feel.It doesn’t matter which ones; gold or silver, brass or pewter.Mix and match them using vases, picture frames, mirrors, utensils, goblets, hanging planters etc.Decorating with Metals

  • OFFER SUMMER BEVERAGES AND SNACKS

Fill your kitchen sink with ice and have chilled drinks available for visitors.Have a few light snacks for them to enjoy.Have bowls filled with citrus fruits to brighten up your kitchen and give it a sunny feel.

  • CREATE GOOD SMELLS NATURALLY

There are a lot of ways to bring summer scents indoors. Pleasant, fresh aromas will make your home feel inviting and comfortable. Bring the Scents of Summer into Your Home

  • CONTROL THE INDOOR TEMPERATURE

If you are one to be stingy with the air conditioning, now the time to stop.It will be worth the tiny increase in your electric bill to have your home be at a comfortable temperature for visitors.There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy, warm house when it is hot outside.

If you’re ready to put your house on the market this summer, experienced Realtor Desi Sowers can help you get it listed and sold for the best possible price.  Give her a call at 540-320-1328 and enjoy the excellent service that Desi and her Team of Professionals provide!

Photo Credit: cornishcrabbers.org

Showing Your Home to Potential Buyers: Tips for Success

by Desi Sowers

When potential buyers come to look at your home, it’s vital that they feel like it could be theirs.  Here are some tips for showing your house that will help engage buyers emotionally and leave them feeling like they have found their future home.

  1. MAKE THEM FEEL WELCOME

The buyer may be a guest in your home, but don’t make them feel like an intruder.The idea is for them to be able to imagine it as their own.Leave the house while they are looking so that they can speak freely and comfortably about what they are seeing.Let them take their time. If they feel rushed they won’t have a positive experience.Leave a bowl of candy or small treats near the front door with a short note thanking them for coming to see your home.

  1. CHECK THE TEMPERATURE

If it is hot outside, turn on the AC. Set the temperature a couple of degrees cooler than usual so that it runs consistently and isn’t kicking on and off while people are looking. The same applies with heat when it is cold outside (set temp a couple of degrees warmer than usual).You want them to be comfortable in your house so that they will linger as long as possible.

  1. CREATE A MOOD

You want potential buyers to get good vibes from your house the minute they walk through the door.When weather appropriate, light a fire in the fireplace.Set your dining table in a way that is appealing.Have soft music playing.Create and ambiance that is irresistible!

  1. BE CAREFUL WITH SCENTS

Some people are very sensitive to certain smells, so don’t spray the air or use plug in deodorizers.Avoid burning strongly scented candles for the same reason.If weather permits, open the windows (unless it is too noisy outdoors).Most people enjoy the smell of freshly baked cookies, but if you are going to bake, make sure you leave some treats out for the visitors so they aren’t disappointed! The 50 Best Cookie Recipes in the World

  1. MAKE IT VISUALLY PLEASING

Open window coverings to let in natural light.Display appealing seasonal photos in prominent places. If your yard isn’t looking so fabulous, keep window blinds partially closed so that buyers aren’t distracted by what’s outside while looking at the interior of the home.Keep pets and pet paraphernalia out of sight.

 LIGHT IT UP

Turn on every light in the house…even the closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with extra lighting.  A spot light on the floor behind a piece of furniture is a great idea for brightening up a room with few windows. 

Contact Desi Sowers at 540-320-1328 or Email Desi today for assistance in selling your home!

Photo Credit: outreachmagazine.com

Worth it or Not? Open House Anxiety

by Desi Sowers

Home owners and Realtors often debate whether having an open house is beneficial or not.  Some sellers will insist that having an open house is the best way to sell their home, while others will want nothing to do with having potential buyers traipse through their home.  Real estate professionals have different views on this topic as well.  Some swear by open houses and feel they are critical to sales, while others never hold them and some just have them occasionally.

So, the question remains…if you are selling your home, should you hold an open house?  Here is a list of pros and cons to help you make that decision:

Pros to holding an open house:

  • Attract buyers who may not know how to start the home buying process. Purchasing a home is a process that many people are not familiar with, especially first-time home buyers.  People new to home buying will need a significant amount of guidance and advice.  A positive that may result from having an open house is the possibility of a buyer who doesn’t know where to start coming to see your home.  You may also get the attention of potential buyers who just happen to drive by and see the sign for the open house. 
  • Additional exposure.  One of the most important jobs of a Realtor representing sellers, is making sure their clients’ home is getting ample exposure.  Open houses can give extra exposure through promotional advertising such as street signs, newspaper ads and internet ads.
  • Allows buyers to look at house without feeling pressured.   With the laid-back atmosphere of an open house, prospective buyers will feel more comfortable looking around with little to no pressure from the Realtor or seller.  An interested buyer might want time to analyze the home in detail without someone looking over their shoulder.  It also provides the buyer time to look at specific details of the home that will help them decide if it is the right house for them.

Cons to holding an open house:

  • Slim chance of a sale.  The truth is that a very small percentage of homes sell as a result of open houses.  Honestly, the person that benefits most is the realtor.  Open houses provide the realtor with potential clients.  Private showings of your home are much more likely to result in a buyer than open houses.
  • Unqualified buyers.  One of the first steps in the home buying process is obtaining a Mortgage Pre-Approval. Getting a mortgage pre-approval is essential for knowing what you can afford when buying a home.  At an open house, you may find many people walking through your home who can’t afford it.  It is a waste of time for you and your realtor to have people looking at your home when they cannot afford to possibly purchase it.
  • Nosy neighbors and Looky Loos. Open houses often attract inquisitive neighbors who simply want to see your house and compare it to their own.  They also might just want to see how you have your home decorated.  Looky loos are people who go to open houses with no intention of buying a home.  They just like to look!

The pros and cons of having an open house should be carefully considered before deciding whether to have one. With today’s technology and social media, there are a lot of other ways for people to see your home, but with the right Realtor holding the open house, it can still be the best way to impress potential buyers. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, contact Desi Sowers and let her explain how an open house can be beneficial for you.  Call her today at 540-320-1328!

Preparing Your Home to Sell this Spring

by Desi Sowers

Spring is the optimum time to sell a house.  In fact, according to a 2016 Zillow Study, homes listed between May 1 through May 15 sold, on average, around 18.5 days faster than homes not listed during this period.  Add this to the fact that the largest number of buyers are actively searching for homes in the months of April, May and June and you will see that getting a property on the market this time of year is a must! What Sellers Can Expect in 2018 is for the market to still be in their favor if the price is right. With inventory low and buyers competing for homes, sellers have the opportunity to get the best price possible for their homes.  Here are some tips that will help improve the odds of your house standing out among the plethora of homes that get put on the market in spring:

- Wash windows inside and out and polish all mirrors.  A little bit of sparkle goes a long way in impressing potential buyers

- Rake the yard and trim back bushes. Curb appeal is the first thing people will notice. Dead leaves and debris do not paint a pretty picture.  In addition, you want a much natural light as possible flooding through your windows, so make sure bushes aren’t blocking the rays.

- Mow the yard diagonally and edge along the driveway and sidewalks.  Mowing diagonally makes yards look larger. And edging shows that you give attention to small details. 

- Plant yellow flowers.  Yellow tulips and daffodils promote feelings of happiness and contentment.

Clean window treatments and open windows.  It will be worth your while to take down your drapes, curtains and blinds to clean them and give them a crisp, fresh look.  Weather permitting, opening windows lets the fresh air in and gives the whole house the feeling of spring.

- Have fresh, fragrant flowers in the house.  Artful home-staging brings color and pleasant aromas indoors.

Polish floors to a high gloss.  Make those floors shine!  Refinish them if necessary.

- Use light colors. Even if you must spend a little to replace items, towels, linens, throws and sofa pillows are inexpensive accents that will pay off.  In soft, spring colors such as yellows, pinks, pale blues and lavenders, they will light up a room.

- Spruce up your entryway.  This is the part of your home where buyers will get their first impression.  Make it a good one!

Contact Desi Sowers at 540-320-1328 and let her help you get your house listed and ready to sell this spring!

Photo Credit: realtor.com​

Putting Your House on the Market During the Holidays

by Desi Sowers

The idea of putting your home on the market during the holiday season may seem overwhelming at first, but it turns out there are several good reasons to do so. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to get your house sold before the end of the year!

  1. If people are looking for a home during the holiday season, chances are they are serious buyers.
  2. Serious buyers have fewer properties to look at during this time of year, which means less competition and more money for you!
  3. Since the number of listings will increase dramatically in January, that means more competition and less money for you.
  4. Who doesn’t love a home delightfully decorated for the holidays?  Homes show better when festively dressed up!
  5. Buyers may have more time to look at houses during their holiday breaks.
  6. Some people want to buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.
  7. If you sell now, it may provide an opportunity for you to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money. This will allow you to sell high and buy low.

Tips for Selling a Home During the Holidays

If you would like to talk more about selling your home, give me a call at 540-320-1328 or visit my website to discover your new home!

Staging Your Home with Young Children

by Desi Sowers

You have placed your house on the market and now it’s time for potential buyers to come and look at it. Keeping it clean, tidy and ready to show can be challenging in the best of circumstances, but even more so when you have young children.  Here are a few staging tips for keeping your house ready for last minute showings while making it attractive to buyers at the same time:

  1. Begin by removing any excess toys and clutter.  Cumbersome toys like play kitchens and picnic tables take up a lot of space and can made a room look crowded and smaller than it is - so it’s a good idea to put these in storage while you are trying to sell.
     
  2. Allow your children to pick out a few favorite toys that can be easily stored in attractive containers when showing the house.  Choose an option that makes tidying up quick and easy.  Store all other toys out of sight.
     
  3. Potential buyers like to be able to see the house as they would have it. So, remove kids’ art work from the refrigerator and convert the playroom into a multi-purpose room. For example, you can stage the playroom as an office by adding a desk and chair, or as a den by adding a small sofa.  That will make the room more appealing to buyers without children.
     
  4. Consider a fresh coat of paint, especially if you have colorful rooms that were painted to appeal to your little ones.  Not only will the new paint cover finger-prints and marks on the walls, but choosing neutral colors for all the rooms will help sell your home more quickly and easily.
     
  5. Don’t forget that the outside of your house is the first thing potential buyers see.  Keep outdoor toys to a minimum and make sure they are stored neatly.  You never know when buyers might be driving by and you don’t want a bunch of toys to create and eye-sore that makes them hesitate to look at your home.

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Decluttering-101

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Lunch-Logistics-Organizing-Your-Kitchen-for-Back-to-School-Lunches

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Packing-it-Up-and-Moving-it-Out

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Photo of Desi Sowers,  Associate Broker,  Real Estate
Desi Sowers, Associate Broker,
Certified Residential Specialist at REMAX 8
1344 N. Main Street
Blacksburg VA 24060
Phone: (540) 320-1328

Each Office Independently Owned and Operated