Owners Selling a Home – First Steps to Follow: Privately or Professionally Selling Property Means Fixing, Upgrading

Moving is not an easy assignment. Besides the emotional toll it takes on everyone, one also has to deal with the home one is vacating as it will demand a great deal of attention before getting a good price.

Home Selling Advice: First Steps

A good question to start with is, “What work should be done by a professional, and what can the sellers do by themselves?” Deciding which repairs can be undertaken by the homeowner, and which need professional work is important. Sharing the work by having some of the burden borne by professionals will help a lot. The cost will be higher of course, but the emotional cost the seller feels at this time is extreme, and one less headache offers a positive step.

Preparations that can be done by either the professional or the home owner:

  • Carpet cleaning
  • Painting of walls
  • Concrete driveway repairs
  • Window cleaning
  • Dry wall patching
  • Wall paper fix ups
  • Wood cabinetry varnishing or painting
  • Grout work

For Professionals Only:

It is suggested that these jobs be done by a professional:

  • Carpet replacement
  • Electricity faults that need mending
  • Roofing
  • Air conditioner and or furnace repair or replacement.
  • Window repairs of locks and screens

Selling a House Checklist

An honest assessment of home repairs that need to be done is essential. Make a list, room by room, of issues that are obvious; for example, a dripping tap in the bathroom, a leak in the roof in the laundry room, a light switch that has never worked.

Follow up this check list by going room to room. Examine all the features from the ceiling to the floor in the following way, noting what action needs to be taken:

  • Celing:check paintwork, fans, cobweb removal
  • Mid wall: remove picture hooks, nails, patch holes
  • Light switches: Clean, replace, test
  • Millwork: beading, decoration and walls need dusting, painting
  • Floor: cracks, cleaning, carpeting
  • Doors: oiled, painted, easy to open and close
  • Door handles: on cabinets and doors
  • Cupboards/Cabinets: clean, straighten or replace bent shelves,
  • Bathrooms: grout, toilets, showers must be cleaned and face the new buyers in their best condition. A dirty bathroom is a turn-off to most new home searchers.
  • Patio: Ceilings, floors, brickwork, outside light fittings, switches, power points to clean and be repaired

Selling a Home Fast

Helpful advice is to get the home and property into perfect working condition as soon as possible and ready for the first interested home searcher. Staging the house, which means decorating a house for a sale, is worth the effort. The following website, one among many offer some suggestions in this regard.

Realtor.org offers links and suggestions about staging a home.

After the Sale and Moving Out

When vacating the house, ensure that every item personally owned is removed. Remember that nobody wants other people’s old stuff, so don’t leave anything in closets, storerooms or on the patio even if the item could be useful for someone else. Keep it yourself, or dispose of the item appropriately.

As daunting as it may be to get a home sold, this simple list will organize some of the steps to help get the house or apartment into good order. Hopefully a very good price will be agreed upon and the property can be left standing proudly, waiting for its new owner.

Getting a Mortgage with Bad Credit: How to Get Approval from Poor Credit Mortgage Lenders

Refinancing with bad credit is undoubtedly more difficult, but it needn’t be an insurmountable obstacle. Those who have missed and made late payments on past/existing credit agreements will find that lenders will have reported this to all three major credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). This makes securing finance or remortgaging far more difficult. Getting a mortgage with bad credit can prove difficult, but there are ways to get around this problem.

Getting a Mortgage with Bad Credit

In order to get approval, it is important to establish the criteria that poor credit mortgage lenders will want to satisfy. The best way of achieving this objective is by understanding that financial institutions are seeking to protect their balance sheets by ensuring that each borrower is in a position to maintain their repayments. In the event of default, they want to be able to recover their money through mortgage repossession. This means that the level of home equity needs to be sufficient to cover the loans secured on the property.

Poor Credit Mortgage Lenders Require a Stable Employment History

The longer the applicant has been in the same job, the more likely they are to receive approval for an adverse credit mortgage deal. Those in temporary employment or who are still in their probationary period are unlikely to get their application for refinancing approved. The application will either be immediately declined or, in the best case scenario, the cost of borrowing money will be extremely high.

Income to Debt Ratio

All poor credit mortgage lenders will want to see that a potential customer has a sustainable level of debt relative to their income. The higher the borrower’s debt, the more likely they are to default on a bad credit mortgage. This is because they have less scope to pay their bills in the event of a change of personal circumstances. Those who have an income to debt ratio of less than 36% are more likely to get approval for a bad credit mortgage deal.

Required House Deposit for an Adverse Credit Mortgage

An adverse credit mortgage is far more likely if the borrower is able to provide a house deposit of 20% of greater. This is because the poor credit mortgage lender needs to be able tor recover their money should the borrower default on the arrangement.

How to Get a Bad Credit Mortgage

Whilst getting a mortgage with bad credit is undoubtedly more difficult, it is possible to increase the likelihood of approval. Those who are able to demonstrate a stable employment history, have a house deposit of upwards of 20% and an income to debt ratio of under 36% are far more likely to be approved. Don’t make too many applications for credit as each search will show on a credit report for a period of 12 months.

What Homebuyers Hate about your House

This can happen the moment her car drives up to the front of the house. While you may not be able to rectify issues with the neighborhood, address your house’s negative features before the potential buyer arrives.

Improve the Curb Appeal

While yard ornaments can dress up the front yard, some potential buyers perceive yard ornaments as tacky and a distraction. It is not necessary for the prospective buyer to appreciate your decorating ability; you simply do not want to turn off the buyer before he enters the house.


If you sincerely believe your ornaments add to the property, seek a second opinion from another person, such as your real estate agent. If they recommend you remove the ornaments, follow the advice and do not take offense. If you are not sure the person feels comfortable giving an honest opinion, remove the ornaments.

Prospective buyers do not appreciate the weeds and trash in the front yard or the dying bushes. They especially hate the pet droppings you failed to pick up. Freshly mowed green lawn welcomes the prospective buyer, while brown, dying and shaggy grass is a turn off. Instead of visualizing the possibilities of the front yard, they will simply see work.

It only takes a few minutes to wash the front door, removing smudges and fingerprints. Many buyers will never remember the front door, in spite of the fact this is typically where they first enter the house. The exception to this is if the door is especially attractive and dramatic, or if it is filthy. Entering a home through a dirty and neglected front door sets a poor tone for the showing.

Odor is a Major Turn Off

If the buyer hates the smell of your house, they will inevitably hate your house. Remove the smoke, pet and cooking odors. Since the person living in the home rarely notices the unpleasant odor, you might want to proceed as if it does smell badly, and take steps to improve the condition. Go lightly on strong smelling cleaning products, as those can trigger a negative reaction.

The buyer hates what you have done with the place. Sellers take offense at the fact the buyers may hate their décor, or the clutter of knickknacks and family pictures on display. Yet, if you really want to sell your property as quickly as possible, do not alienate potential buyers just because they are not capable of seeing beyond your stuff. Pack up the pictures and clutter. After all, you will be moving the stuff after you sale.

The buyers really hate the old car, RV and boat parked in your back yard. You know you plan to move the junk before escrow closes, but all buyers can think about is the hassle of hauling that junk away after they purchase your house. Remove all the old junk from your yard and house.

While not every potential buyer will love your house, it will take longer to find one that does, if your house gives a poor first impression.

Must Know Tips for Purchasing Bank Owned Homes

Real estate is local except when it comes to bank owned homes where it suddenly becomes national. This is because the lenders selling these homes are neither aware nor concerned with local nuances, instead opting for standardized addenda designed to amend the purchase contract into one appropriate across multiple states.

Differences still remain from state to state but these tips generally will smooth the way for those who wish to buy a lender owned property:

Know the Local Market

Market conditions vary wildly not just from state to state but from city to city. In many areas and at many price points, bank owned homes are selling in a matter of a few days at full list price or higher. Knowing the state of the local real estate market up front is the key to knowing how quickly a purchase offer need be made and at what price.

Recognize Price Has Meaning

Depending on the condition of the property, what seems like a bargain soon came become quite pricey once the additional costs of even cosmetic items such as new paint and flooring is added to the list price. Buyers need to recognize up front that homes priced below comparable properties likely are priced lower for specific reasons.

Understand the Lenders’ Motivation

While it’s true lenders don’t want to carry real estate owned – REOs – on their books, it’s also true that they are not willing to give homes away for pennies on the dollar regardless of the local cocktail party chatter. Lenders generally only will sell at close to market value, or what they perceive as market value, even if this means they reject offers at price points now that they would be happy to accept later. Illogical, but true.

Bank Owned Home Sales are As Is

Purchases of bank owned homes are nearly universally as is sales – what a buyer sees at the time a purchase offer is written is what they get at the close. Some lenders will make repairs required by the buyers’ lender in the case of FHA or VA loans but not all, leaving many foreclosed homes ineligible for those types of financing.

 Home Inspections are Critical

While lenders won’t make repairs to bank owned properties, it’s still vitally important for buyers to have a professional home inspection conducted to determine the home’s true condition. An up-front cost of a couple hundred dollars can save thousands in repair bills later.

While the basics of the transaction on a bank owned purchase are similar to buying a traditional resale home, there are distinct differences that can cost the unprepared buyer time and money. Buyers should take care to check with a local real estate professional who can guide them through the slightly more complicated bank owned purchase process.

The Pros and Cons of Equity Release Plans: Is Releasing the Cash Tied up in Your Home a Good or Bad Idea?

The following post is a guest post from Houston, Texas area real estate developer and entrepreneur Tracy Suttles. Tracy can be best contacted for questions, comments and concerns on Twitter at @tracydsuttles.

There are a number of different types of Equity Release Plans, but they all basically allow people over the age of 55 to release some of the cash tied up in their homes. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this?

The Advantages of Equity Release Schemes

The money raised can be used by older people for anything they want by could otherwise not afford. They may opt for home improvements, a dream holiday, or a new car. Some decide to help their family in their lifetime, rather than leaving them a house many years down the line. Others simply use the extra cash to give themselves a better standard of living.

Individuals continue to own their own homes, except with a Home Reversion Plan, where they exchange the ownership of the property. They can still move home, at least within the UK, taking the plan with them. They can, if they wish, protect a proportion of the property, guaranteeing that something is left for their heirs.

The Disadvantages of Equity Release Plans

By releasing funds which would otherwise remain in the property until an individual’s death, an Equity Release Scheme will reduce the size of a person’s estate and therefore the amount that can be left to their children or other beneficiaries. Since many people want to pass their houses on to their heirs, the plans should be considered carefully if this is the situation.

Additional funds made available by equity release may affect an individual’s entitlement to means-tested state benefits. Therefore anyone who is receiving any kind of top-up benefits above and beyond the state pension should take advice as to whether an Equity Release Plan is the best option for them.

While all Equity Release Schemes allow the individual to move house, this is only within England and Wales. Scotland has some different regulations, and if someone decides to move abroad, the plan would need to be repaid. Therefore these plans are perhaps only suitable for those whose lives are reasonably settled. While this probably applies to most older and retired people, it is not the case with everyone.

Therefore, while Equity Release Schemes can be a good idea for many older people, they are not suitable for everyone. Anyone considering this option as a means of raising cash in retirement should think carefully and take expert advice before going forward.

How to Choose a Mortgage Broker: Mortgage Fee, Mortgage Payments & Mortgage Comparison Service

A mortgage broker helps to reduce mortgage payments for first-time buyers, those with bad credit and people that simply aren’t clued-up financially. Mortgage brokers are able to trawl the entire mortgage market to identify the best mortgage deal. Mortgage brokers charge a mortgage fee of about 1% of the loan value, but the service offered can make the difference between acceptance and rejection.

Tied Agent Vs Independent Mortgage Broker

Many people make the assumption that the mortgage broker at their bank is independent when this normally isn’t the case. Most mortgage brokers that work for retail banks are tied agents. This means that they are only able to offer the products provided by that bank and nothing else. A mortgage broker that is a tied agent provides only a restricted mortgage comparison service.

It may cost more, but always utilise the services of an independent mortgage broker. They will be able to trawl the entire market and find the mortgage deal that will reduce mortgage costs by the most. A mortgage broker will also advise a first-time buyer or someone seeking a remortgage whether a discounted mortgage, fixed-rate mortgage or tracker mortgage is best for them.

Finding a Trustworthy Independent Mortgage Broker

Talk to friends, family and use forums to help identify a quality independent mortgage broker. The majority of mortgage brokers are excellent and have saved their clients hundreds of millions of pounds. It is, however, always necessary to be aware that there are bad mortgage brokers.

Just as a good mortgage broker can save someone money, a bad one can be detrimental. There are a number of instances where good credit customers have been sold bad credit mortgages. The allure of commission is normally the reason why this happens.

The Loan Company were fined £31,500 by the Financial Services Authority for giving inconsistent information to clients and not properly checking that monthly repayments could be afforded. Next Generation Mortgages were fined £10,500 for not explaining the risks of subprime mortgages to clients.

Utilising the services of an independent mortgage broker can be of considerable benefit to first time buyers, busy professionals and those with bad credit. Borrowers that have good credit or who understand the remortgage market may wish to use an online comparison service to reduce mortgage payments and minimise mortgage fees.