Archives for February 2018

Checklist when selling your home.

Everything you can do to present your home at its absolute best.

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, it’s important to take a close look at it from the viewpoint of a prospective buyer. Objectively evaluating each area and then making your home “show ready” can have a major pay-off in terms of the offers it will attract and how soon those offers come in.

Prepare For Each and Every Showing

  • Make your home as appealing as possible.
  • Remove dogs or cats to the yard or confine them in one area.
  • Open draperies and curtains and turn on all lights.
  • Play quiet, and low-keyed soft music.
  • Arrange fresh flowers whenever possible; if it is winter, display a color photo of your yard in full bloom.
  • Turn off all television sets.
  • If winter, light a fire in the fireplace.
  • Try to stay in one area of the house when it’s being shown or try not to be home.
  • Let the Weichert Sales Associate who’s showing your home answer any questions or objections.

First impressions count.

The Small Details: With the key steps in mind, take a specific inventory of your home.

Outside

  • Trim, weed and tidy up lawn and garden
  • Clean up pet areas; resod or seed
  • Repair screens, windows and doors
  • Add fresh mulch under shrubs
  • Add potted or hanging flowers to deck or porch

In The Kitchen

  • Clear away extra small appliances
  • Remove stains and items from sink
  • Straighten memo areas and remove papers
  • Clean and deodorize vent or exhaust hood In The Bathroom
  • Clean counters of extra toiletries. Store them out of sight
  • Remove stains and mold from sink, tub or shower
  • Patch, caulk and grout as needed
  • Put out attractive “for-show-only” towels

In The Living and Family Rooms

  • Rearrange furniture for a more spacious feel
  • Remove any extra pieces and store
  • Spot clean carpets or rugs
  • Have neutral paint or wallpaper
  • Accent with fresh flowers
  • Open the shades and drapes to let in light

In The Bedroom

  • Straighten up closets. Box and store clothing, shoes, etc., as necessary
  • Arrange toys to look appealing
  • Add curtains or valances to rooms without them
  • Remove attention-getting posters

In The Basement or Garage

  • Thoroughly clean and deodorize areas where pets sleep or spend time
  • Straighten tools and laundry area
  • Sweep floors; clean up grease spots
  • Get rid of any items you won’t be taking with you

An Amicable Home Solution For A Silver Divorce

An Amicable Home Solution For A Silver Divorce

Sam and Sara have been married for a number of years, and have made the difficult decision to get a divorce. They are both in their 70s, and jointly own their house with a value of $600,000.

Sara wants to stay in the family home; Sam is agreeable but wants to be able to buy a small condominium. However, there is a $200,000 mortgage on the family home, and the current lender is not willing to release Sam from that obligation unless it is paid off in full. The lender’s position is that Sam and Sara both signed the loan documents, and this cannot be changed.

Sara does not have the financial ability to refinance the existing loan, and Sam is concerned that if he puts his name on the refinance for Sara, he will not be able to buy the other property.

This is a very common problem throughout the country. With the divorce rate increasing among seniors (the so-called “silver” divorce), too many couples seeking a divorce either have to sell the family home, or the spouse who will not remain in the property is unable to buy something else.

One possible solution: use a reverse mortgage for both transactions, typically referred to as HECM or Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. The minimum age to obtain such a loan is 62. Lenders use the age of the youngest borrower since their life expectancy is theoretically longer, so both owners must be at least 62 years old. The down payment is calculated using the age of the borrower, but the price of the house and current mortgage interest rates are plugged into the calculation. From talking with lenders, the older the borrower, the less down payment is required. If you are interested in going this route, a reverse mortgage lender will be able to assist you in with all of the details and the financials.

Sara opts for a reverse mortgage. Using a calculator that can be found on the web it appears that Sara can get approximately $286,000 from an authorized lender. The $200,000 mortgage will be paid off, and Sara will be able to live in the house without having to make any more monthly mortgage payments. She will, however, have to pay the real estate tax, maintain proper insurance coverage as well as keep the property in good condition.

In our example, in addition to having the current mortgage paid off, Sara can also get a lump sum of $86,000. In consideration for Sam agreeing to transfer his interest to Sara, she can agree to give him those funds, which he can then use as a down payment on the condo he wants to buy. Sam would be using what is known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase, HECM for Purchase or simply H4P.

Once again, every situation is different, but in general – and depending on Sam’s age at the time he makes the loan application – he will be able to get a reverse mortgage loan of between 47 and 52 percent of the purchase price of the new property. The older you are, the more money you are eligible to get.

There are a few requirements: You must live in the new property; it must be your principal residence. You must go through consumer counseling; the lender – and the government – want to make sure you fully understand what you are pursuing. And you must prove you are financially able to pay the real estate taxes, insurance, general maintenance and upkeep and any applicable community association dues.

If Sam and Sara both qualify for their HECM, Sara will stay in the family home, Sam will have his own condo, and neither will be obligated to pay any mortgage so long as they continue to reside in their respective properties.

A reverse mortgage — or in this case a double reverse — is not for everyone. While it does solve a major problem many divorcing couples have, you must do your homework as soon as you have reached agreement to divorce. Sam and Sara must talk to their financial counselor and to their respective attorneys.

There is a lot of information on the web about the HECM. Do not, however, rely on promises you hear from celebrities hawking the concept on television. Both the Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Trade Commission — as well as AARP — have extensive informative material on the web.

Source: Sellers tips

Showcasing your home to buyers.

  1. Keep it uncluttered.
    It will be neater and look larger. You want to convey a spacious feeling.
  2. Keep it clean.
    This creates the impression that your home has been well cared for. Fresh paint makes rooms look clean and new.
  3. Keep it repaired.
    Fix it before the buyer inquires about it. The need for repairs can make or break a sale.
  4. Keep it neutral.
    Get rid of distracting colors and personal accessories. Neutral colors and simple decor help someone visualize
    their own belongings in a room.
  5. Keep it inviting.
    Make your home memorable! Fresh flowers and fresh clean smells make your house more attractive.
  6. Keep it light and bright.
    Open curtains and drapes to let the sunshine in. Turn on the lights so your rooms come to life.
  7. Showtime!
    Make a final check of every room. Put away any toys, clothes, food or other “left out” items.