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VA and FHA Home Buyers in California… Understanding Benefits, Inspections, Credit, Non-Conforming Limits, & The Home Purchase Process

Buying a home provides the stability of an asset and sense of security for an individuals future. Yes, the “The American Dream” of owning property is rewarding, but it is an expensive & complicated process. Potential buyers wonder “Am I really able to buy a home?”

A VA, FHA or similar HUD type home loan, makes it more affordable for the average American to purchase a home instead of renting. When preparing to apply for a federally insured home loan, not only are there minimum qualifications the borrower must meet, but inspection requirements most homes must pass. Depending on the loan, there are non-conforming loan limits, down payment minimums, benefit qualifications and minimum credit scores the borrower must meet. The first step is for borrower is to find out “Do I qualify for a VA home loan?” or “Do I qualify for a FHA home loan?”

Determine what program benefits you most with your lender & real estate professional.

Sometimes buyers qualify for these loans and begin the process not fully understanding what the rules mean, what the costs are or how to navigate through the options when shopping for a home. Complications occur when buyers do not have experienced professionals guiding them through the purchase process. My clients and I have been fortunate through our transactions. We have also learned many tips through the years on what will and will not pass for a VA or HUD backed home purchase.

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VA Home Loans

VA home loans are a wonderful privilege Active Duty Military & Veterans are entitled to. Having the background of a military spouse, many of my clients have used this government backed program, including myself! The home purchased must be a primary residence. The service member can use their VA entitlement, with 0% down if they adhere to non-conforming loan limits set by their county. In El Dorado County, that is a loan up to $569,250. For many trying to save 5%-20% for a down payment on a $450,000-$550,000 home is nearly impossible. Not having to come up with a large amount of cash for a down payment is a large advantage to the VA borrower.

Another large advantage to a VA guaranteed loan is, the borrower does not pay PMI, Principle Mortgage Insurance, even with a credit score as low as 600. Typical PMI on other mortgages can run a few hundred dollars per month depending on the loan situation, loan amount, property and lender. Our service members take advantage of these benefits, if they can find a home that will pass inspections and be patient through the loan process.

One downfall to a VA loan, besides inspections, is the VA funding fee, which is about 3% of your loan amount. The funding fee can be worked into the loan, but an additional $15,000 to a $500,000 loan is a big chunk of change. Disabled Veterans are exempt from paying the funding fee, even at 0% disability. Speak to your a trusted lender, such as The Mortgage Mentors about getting pre-qualified and your loan options. If you are a Veteran and do not currently have a disability rating, but think you may qualify, apply here. You earned it! Once registered with the Department of Veteran affairs, request your individual certificate of eligibility directly for benefits and entitlement amounts.

The pricing above is based on pricing, May 8, 2020 with the following assumptions:
Single Family Residence, Owner Occupied, Credit Score of 720 Closing near July

FHA & USDA Home Loans

For those who do not qualify for a VA loan, an FHA, HomeReady or USDA loan may be a promising option. The benefits of these loans is a low down payment, usually of 3.5%-5%, favorable interest rates, lower PMI, (principle mortgage insurance) and possibly lower FICO score requirements.

Depending on the County, there will be non-conforming loan limits, property condition requirements, or other loan terms for eligibility. A local lender will know which programs are best. One downfall to an FHA or similar loan is there will be PMI and it can not be cancelled. The only true option to getting out of paying the principle mortgage insurance is refinancing with a conventional loan after the home has gained 20% equity.

The Mortgage Mentors for loan options

Section I & Section II Pest Report Requirements

The most valuable tip I can provide to any VA buyer, is make sure you are only looking at homes that will pass section I & section II pest inspections. Otherwise, have sellers willing to make the repairs. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a home, then finding out there is not way you can buy it because there is $25,000 in pest work. I have seen it happen and it can be very disheartening.

This means the home a borrower chooses, should be well cared for. It should not have dry rot, or water leaks and be in good, livable or repairable condition. The home cannot purchase a fixer-upper or need too much work when using a VA or FHA home. The VA, Department of Veteran Affairs, WILL NOT make acceptations on this rule and a clear pest report will need to be provided to the VA lender prior to COE, close of escrow.

Termites For existing Properties. The Mortgagee must confirm that the Property is free of wood destroying insects and organisms. If the appraisal is made subject to inspection by a qualified pest control specialist, the Mortgagee must obtain such inspection and evidence of any required treatment to confirm the Property is free of wood destroying insects and organisms.Soil poisoning is an unacceptable method for treating termites unless the Mortgagee obtains satisfactory assurance that the treatment will not endanger the quality of the water supply.”

SINGLE FAMILY HOUSING POLICY HANDBOOK 4000.1 https://www.allregs.com/tpl/

To ensure a home is up to standards, A clear pest report is required in all Counties of California, and almost all states for VA and HUD loans. This requirement can be waived by the FHA with special exception, if specifically stated in the RPA, Residential Purchase Contract and agreed to by buyer and seller.

Obtaining a Clear Pest Report

Obtaining a pest report isn’t too complicated. You’re real estate agent will have a few recommendations on inspectors. River City Pest & Termite, Pinnacle Pest & Bouye Termite are a few we use in Sacramento and have been happy with. The inspection usually ranges from $200-$300, depending on the size of the home, and will take about 2 hours. When complete, a full report will be provided, showing all the areas requiring attention for the home to be compliant. Here is an example of a report with the types of finding to consider.

Dry rot, water and termites are detrimental to a home. HUD, The Department of Housing Development and the VA want to ensure when they loan on a home, the home is in good condition. This is really done in the best interest of the purchaser, who does not want to get in over their heads with a home that is going to have a significant amount of repairs. A home is already a large commitment, and requires work. Speak to your individual lender & real estate professional prior to making an offer on a property to ensure it will qualify.

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Non-Conforming Limits & Minimum FICO Credit Scores

One more factor to consider when attempting to obtain a non-conventional home loan is the non-conforming limits and minimum FICO scores required. Although a buyer may be able to afford a higher mortgage payment, for VA & FHA in Sacramento County, the lending limit is set at $569,250. This means that if a purchaser in either of these Counties wants to spend more money on a home and go above this limit, the loan becomes “high balance”. The borrower will either need to pay a higher down payment to bring the loan back below required limits. Or they may have the option to pay a higher interest rate and/or more points or fees to protect the lender. In this situation, it maybe more beneficial to switch to a conventional loan that will not have such strict lending guidelines.

  • VA loans – No minimum credit score necessarily…. Most lenders require 620+, some lenders accept 500+.
  • FHA loans – 500 credit score with 10% down, or 3.5% down with a 580 credit score.
  • USDA loans – 640 credit score.
  • Conventional loans – 620 credit score.
  • Conventional 97 loan – 680 credit score.
  • 203k loans – 640 credit score.

You Can Own a Home

Every American has the right to own a home and benefit from the financial security home ownership provides. VA home loans and FHA home loans are outstanding opportunities to making home-ownership more attainable. Each individual situation will have varying degrees of complexity, but with hard work and patience, there is an option for you to work towards. Look through your situation. Plan and be confident, home ownership is in closer reach than you may think. Rely on a lending professional and real estate professional to guide you and determine the best option for each property you want to purchase. No matter what type of loan you get, always get a full home inspection and know what you are buying. If you don’t have a real estate professional, are considering buying a home, have questions or wonder anything about home ownership and your abilities, just ask!

Bianca C. Wittenberg

California Real Estate Broker & Realtor Since 2010

  • California Investment & Residential Property Specialist
  • Sacramento State MBA Entrepreneurship & Global Business
  • Experienced with first time buyers, veterans, sellers, FHA homes, VA, REO & beyond
  • Member of National, California, El Dorado & Sacramento County Association of Realtors
  • Sacramento State MBA Alumni
  • CalDRE#01888974 & #01888974
  • Email me Home@ReallyOwnIt.com

Need a market analysis of your home in California? Just answer a few questions.

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Is there Mortgage Relief for Homeowners During COVID-19?

The year 2020 has challenged the world with a health pandemic that has changed the dynamics of our everyday lives. As we adjust, many homeowners are wondering “are there options to protect my home while experiencing a reduction of income?” The answer is Yes! To be proactive in providing relief to Americans during the Coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed the CARES act in March 2020. The act protects renters and property owners for a minimum of 60 days from eviction or foreclosure and provides 60 day freezes on mortgages.

The sad reality is, many residents have lost their employment or have a job currently at risk. Families who relied on dual incomes to be paycheck to paycheck, are now down to only one spouse working, maybe with reduced hours. Residence are stressed wondering how they will keep up with obligations. With the US unemployment rate hitting 4.4% in March 2020 and “Bank of America economists predict employers will cut between 16 million and 20 million jobs, with the unemployment rate peaking at 15.6% between now and June 2020“, this relief package will be one avenue of optimism for citizens.

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Minimum 60 Day Freeze on Mortgages

The first effect of the CARE Act is creating a concurrent agreement to the 60 day freeze for homeowners with federally backed mortgages. The Freeze means the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will: “Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process; and Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single-family properties.”foreclosure and eviction moratorium

The agencies who will participate are The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Some providing additional alternative disaster relief options depending on the service provider.

This assistance is not automatic. Consumers must contact their loan servicer to express hardship and request assistance. Those with mortgages owned by private lenders may not be included in this relief. However, most states and banks have established a relief plan for those homeowners as well. Here in California, Governor Gavin Newsom in reached a deal with a number of big banks to provide affected homeowners with a 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments and suspend foreclosures. 

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Forbearance Option

For longer term assistance, the second option provided to homeowners under the CARE Act is Forbearance. This gives homeowners who are experiencing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19, the option to request up to 180 days of forbearance on their mortgage. The forbearance allows them to pause or reduce mortgage payments, but it’s not loan forgiveness. If after six months, you’re still experiencing financial difficulties, the homeowner can request up to another 180 days of forbearance. At this time, all foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended.

Will a Forbearance or Freeze Affect my Credit?

No. There will be no negative reporting to the credit bureaus for customers enrolled in temporary assistance, therefore a Freeze or Forbearances will not affect your credit. In addition, all foreclosures and evictions have been paused. It is important to understand, Forbearance is not forgiveness and banks will renegotiate repayment terms at the end of the agreement. Once regular work is sustained, you can make arrangements to to make incremental repayment portions to your regular payment. Another option maybe to add the missed payments to the rear of the loan. If you have trouble catching up at the end of this temporary relief period and still need assistance, you can work with your provider for additional options to keep your home. It is my assumptions more programs will become available as more are affected.

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How do I get Help as a Homeowner Affected by COVID-19

Contact your mortgage company (who you send your monthly mortgage payments to) as soon as possible. Let them know about your current circumstances. Below we have provided a list of major loan providers with the programs they are offering. Many of them have easy online applications that take less than 10 minutes. The contact information of your mortgage service provider should also be listed on your monthly mortgage statement. Many of my clients have successfully applied and been approved for programs already. They are able to get through this situation more comfortably knowing more resources are available food and necessities.

Link for some Mortgage Providers Offering COVID-19 Assistance

Bianca C. Wittenberg

California Real Estate Broker & Realtor Since 2010

  • California Investment & Residential Property Specialist
  • Sacramento Real Estate Broker and Realtor Since 2010
  • Sacramento State MBA Entrepreneurship & Global Business
  • Experienced with first time buyers, veterans, sellers, FHA homes, VA, REO & beyond.

Need a market analysis of your home in California? Just answer a few questions.

Do you have Real Estate questions??? Ask

Home@ReallyOwnIt.com

Own It Real Estate

CalDRE#01527420

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The Rules of a 1031 Exchange in California Real Estate

By Bianca C. Wittenberg

California Real Estate Broker Since 2010

The collecting of real estate assets is a rewarding adventure. The ultimate goal is to buy, and keep or upgrade real estate assets to build a larger real estate portfolio. When you no longer have a regular income, with proper planning your asset portfolio can be paid off, providing the ability to retire comfortably. In an effort to help investors achieve this goal, the government offers the right to do a 1031 exchange when selling one “like kind” property for another. The exchange provides certain tax relief benefits and allows property owners more flexibility when trying to upgrade their properties.

What is the purpose of a 1031 exchange?

The purpose of an exchange is being able to upgrade an investment without having to pay capital gains tax on profits immediately during the sale. Instead, one may want to participate in a 1031 exchange, deferring tax liability. This helps investors, who typically will not be acquiring “cash” from the transaction, avoid large tax liabilities.  The capital gains tax only has to be paid if a property, previously involved in an exchange, is sold for profits and is not participating in a further exchange.

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How do I begin a 1031 exchange?

First step is to contact your realtor to get a valuation of your investment, then decide on an exchange plan of action. At that time, hire a third party “qualified intermediary” such as Exeter1031 or Exchange Resources to help facilitate the transaction. Title companies such as Placer Title Company can also help make all arrangements with an exchanger. The seller will need enter into an “exchange agreement” with their intermediary, then prepare to sell their downleg property with their realtor. The qualified intermediary will stay connected to the seller as a neutral third party throughout the process and ensure each transaction is closed and recorded properly for the exchange. Here are some resources provided by Mark Turok at Exeter1031:

How long do you have to complete a 1031 exchange?

A seller has 45 calendar days from when their downleg property closes escrow to identify a new property. Initially, a seller must initiate intent to complete a 1031 exchange when selling the downleg property. The seller cannot receive cash during the transaction like a typical sale or reinvestment to qualify for the benefit, the 1031 must be an exchange.

The seller can choose up to 3 properties as potential upleg properties during the process. These properties are identified by their legal description and address, signed by the purchasers and provided to the third party “qualified intermediary” assisting with the exchange. If the purchaser wishes to choose from more than 3 properties, the total value of all upleg properties must not exceed 200% the value the downleg property, these rules get complicated and it is risky. Consult your real estate professional at the time of transaction and ensure you follow each rule or you may be subject to a taxable “boot” or the full tax amount due immediately. The upleg property must close escrow within 180 days of the downleg property closing escrow.

1031 Real Estate Exchange Process

Is there a limit to how many times one person or entity can exchange properties?

There is no limit to the number of exchanges that can be done. An exchanger can continue transferring properties until they pass and never pay capital gains. They can then can gift the property to the heirs. Their heirs will have to pay estate taxes, however, will not need to pay the income tax on the deferred profits from the 1031 exchange(s).  The heir(s) will be subject to income tax if they sell the property, that tax will be based on the difference in value for the property at time of death and sale. Consult your tax attorney to make the best financial decision on transferring or gifting your property involved with an exchange when planning the transfer. Ensure the proper type of estate trust is set in place for your individual situation.

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What types properties are eligible for a 1031 exchange?

All real property that is used for trade, business or to generate income can be exchanged under Section 1031, as long as it is not a principal residence or property that is personal use property for self or family. If the property is rented to family, it must be at fair market value. One investment property can be exchanged for any other type of investment. Example, an apartment complex can be exchanged for a shopping center or a duplex be exchanged for a commercial building. They do not need to be the same type of investment property, just a property producing income.

The Benefit of Investing in Opportunity Zones

Does the value of the new upleg property need to be higher than the downleg property disposed of?

Yes! There is no need for a tax advantage on gains made if there is a loss or no profit made. If an investment property is sold and a new investment property with a lower market value is purchased in its place, the transaction is not eligible for an exchange. The equity held in the upleg property must be greater than the equity in the downleg property.

Can I exchange my primary home?

A seller cannot exchange their primary residence. The purpose of the exchange is to reduce the tax liability from “business income” that is not yet realized. A primary residence is not used to produce income. Should a person decide to convert a primary residence to an investment and become eligible for exchange, they must not live in the property for 2 years and claim the investment. If a property purchased as part of a 1031 exchange wants to be converted to a primary residence, it must be owner occupied for 2 years and owned for a minimum of 5 years. Again, these rules get sticky. Consult your real estate professional and tax professional when making these decisions to see what is most advantageous for you.

Can I purchase my upleg property, before the downleg property sells?

Yes, but this turns it into a “reverse purchase” and not a 1031 exchange. A reverse purchase becomes much more complex and it is difficult to obtain the same tax advantage. A reverse purchase also becomes more costly. Consult a tax attorney or qualified intermediary prior to making the decision on your purchase or sale.  

How do I notify the IRS

When the transaction is completed and transfer done, you will file a internal revenue Form 8842 in the next tax year. You should consult with your tax professional and ensure the proper methods are used throughout the process for your individual situation. A 1031 exchange may not always be the most tax advantage option, consult your personal tax consultant prior to conduction your residential sale and purchase plans.

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Definitions:

“Like kind” property – Real estate “income” property for a real estate “income” property. IRS definition

“Downleg” – Property being sold by an investor, during a 1031 exchange, for a new property.

“Upleg” – New property purchased or identified to be purchased, as the replacement property, in a 1031 exchange.

Taxable “boot” – If there is an non-qualifying taxable portion of a transaction involved in a 1031 exchange, that portion will be subject to capital gains tax. This can include purchasing a non-qualifying property in exchange, taking cash out or applying for mortgage assistance.

Qualified Intermediary” – Is a third party qualified to help in conducting a 1031 exchange, can be affiliated with the title and/or escrow company. They must have access to a trust account to deposit funds and must not be related to the transaction. A real estate broker can assist in the exchange, if they are not assisting in the sale or purchase. It is advised to get a contract with your intermediary prior to listing. Your real estate agent professional can help you make arrangements with this person.

Bianca C. Wittenberg

California Real Estate Broker & Realtor Since 2010

  • California Investment & Residential Property Specialist
  • Sacramento Real Estate Broker and Realtor Since 2010
  • Sacramento State MBA Entrepreneurship & Global Business
  • Experienced with first time buyers, veterans, sellers, FHA homes, VA, REO & beyond.

Do you have Real Estate questions??? Ask me!

Home@ReallyOwnIt.com

Own It Real Estate

CalDRE#01527420

www.ReallyOwnIt.com

 Rules of the 1031 from the IRS, tax code 
 “(a)Nonrecognition of gain or loss from exchanges solely in kind
 (1)In general
 No gain or loss shall be recognized on the exchange of real property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment if such real property is exchanged solely for real property of like kind which is to be held either for productive use in a trade or business or for investment.
 (2)Exception for real property held for sale
 This subsection shall not apply to any exchange of real property held primarily for sale.
 (3)Requirement that property be identified and that exchange be completed not more than 180 days after transfer of exchanged property For purposes of this subsection, any property received by the taxpayer shall be treated as property which is not like-kind property if—
 (A)
 such property is not identified as property to be received in the exchange on or before the day which is 45 days after the date on which the taxpayer transfers the property relinquished in the exchange, or
 (B)such property is received after the earlier of—
 (i)
 the day which is 180 days after the date on which the taxpayer transfers the property relinquished in the exchange, or
 (ii)
 the due date (determined with regard to extension) for the transferor’s return of the tax imposed by this chapter for the taxable year in which the transfer of the relinquished property occurs.”
 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/1031 

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Understanding Contingency Periods

By Bianca C. Wittenberg

California Real Estate Broker Since 2010

The property purchase process is complicated. A typical single-family residence purchase takes 30-45 days, involves over 15 professionals and is generally the largest purchase a consumer will ever make. To protect the consumer, Contingency periods are agreed to between the buyer and seller in paragraph 14 of the Purchase Agreement (CAR form PA). These periods provide the buyer time to complete due diligence inspections of the property, including completing lending requirements. The buyer does have the right to waive any and all contingencies if they choose. It is not advised to waive these rights and a buyer should consult with their real estate professional prior to signing any waivers.

When do Contingency Periods Begin?

The contingency timeline begins the day the seller and buyer come to terms during a Purchase contract negotiation. Typically, an agent or Transaction Coordinator will layout a timeline ensuring all parties stay on task. A buyer may waive their right to certain or all contingencies depending on their purchase motives. It is advised to speak to a Realtor before waiving any contingencies.

During the contingency periods, agents hire the home inspection, roof inspection, pest inspection, hazard reports, appraisal and other special contractors to investigate and value the property. This is all done typically at the cost of the buyer. If the buyer is not satisfied with inspections, they can cancel the purchase contract with a Cancellation of Contract (CAR form CC) and request the return of their deposit since terms were not met.

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17 Days for Buyer to Complete all Investigations & Review Disclosures

The buyer typically has 17 days to complete all inspections of the property with contractors of their choice. At the same time, they are to review all seller disclosures required to be provided within 7 days of coming to terms. The buyer must have at minimum 5 days to review all seller produced reports.  The buyer and seller can agree to a shorter number of days for contingencies or extend this period of time, depending on circumstance.

When the buyer is not satisfied with reports about the property within the contingency period, they have the right to submit a “Request for Repairs” or another addendum request to the seller and sellers’ agents. If the seller does not or cannot comply, the buyer has the right to cancel.

Once the buyer is satisfied with inspections and reports provided or has come to terms with repairs done by the seller after inspections, they sign “Contingency Removal #1” (CAR form CR#1). This means they have accepted the condition of the property and waive their right to cancelling due to property condition.

17 Days Appraisal Contingency and Removal

Buyers who are obtaining financing for the purchase of their property will need an appraisal of value as required by their lender. Typical contract terms will allow 17 days for appraisal valuation & sign off. Lenders will order the appraisal within 2-3 days of the purchase agreement date. The average turn around time for obtaining an appraisal report back is 8-10 days. VA & FHA loans will be more complex and average a 10-12 day turn around. A rush appraisal can be ordered if a buyer would like to reduce the number of days in the purchase contract. Speak to your lending professional about these options.

If the appraisal value comes in at or above contract price, the buyer will remove the loan contingency with “Contingency Removal #2” (CAR form CR#2).

If the appraisal comes in low, the buyer has the option to:

  1. Request sellers to reduce purchase price. If they come to terms, then buyer signs the contingency removal.
  2. Come up with cash for the difference between appraised value and agreed purchase price and sign contingency removal.
  3. Cancel the purchase agreement without signing a removal of contingencies.

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21 Days Loan Contingency and Removal

If the buyers is financing the purchase of their property, the lending process will take time. The loan contingency is set in place with 21 days in the purchase contract to protect the buyer if they cannot obtain financing. Typically, once the value is verified with appraisal, the loan will go through final underwriting. If the buyer’s lender advises all terms are clear with underwriting, the buyers real estate agent can advise the buyer to sign off on the final loan contingency removal. At this point the buyer signs “Contingency Removal #3” (CAR CR#3), Removing all contingencies and agreeing to complete the property purchase.

If the buyer is unable to qualify for their loan due to circumstances out of their control and within contract terms, they may submit a Cancellation of Contract (CAR form CC). The lender will need to provide the reason for the buyer not qualifying and escrow will be instructed to return the deposit.

Less Common Contingencies

If the buyers is purchasing a distressed, Real Estate Owned (REO) or Short Sale, Contingency timelines may be set in place until 3rd party approval is received. These terms can be anywhere from 45-120 days. Consult a Real Estate professional to guide you properly through the process.

What if the Buyer is not Ready Sign Off on Contingencies

The buyer is not obligated to remove contingencies if they are not satisfied with purchase terms. At that time, they can send an “Extension of Time” (CAR for ETA) to the seller or wait for the seller to produce a “Notice to Perform” (CAR for NBP). If the buyer does not perform within 2 days, the seller may cancel. The purchase of Real Estate is a very large transaction, there are many moving parts, many people and complications occur. It important to be prepared to handle each situation as it presents itself. Speak with your Real Estate professional and decided when and if it is the right time to remove contingencies.

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Bianca C. Wittenberg

-California Investment & Residential Property Specialist
-Sacramento Real Estate Broker Since 2010
-MBA Entrepreneurship & Global Business

Do you have Real Estate questions???

Ask me!
Home@ReallyOwnIt.com

Own It Real Estate

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Make Your Property More Attractive for Homebuyers

Ensure a Good First Impression

Homebuyers make up their minds about a property in the first few minutes. Make sure your home makes that vital first impression. New paint does wonders. Make sure the front yard is flawless with manicured lawns and attractive foliage. Add a hanging basket or some flower pots at the door. The front door is also critical, make sure the hardware is presentable.

Make them Feel Welcome

Don’t forget buying a home is in many ways an emotional decision, so it’s important to give buyers that warm and fuzzy feeling! Keep the temperature in the home at a comfortable level. Light some candles in the bathrooms and make sure it smells nice and clean. Have fresh flowers around the house.

But don’t make it too personal

Make them feel welcome, but don’t go too far. Too much personality, for example in the form of personal possessions and family photos makes it hard for buyers to visualize living in the space.

Clear out the Clutter

Make sure your property is clutter-free for all your viewings. This will make your home look and feel bigger, and the buyers will be able to imagine how they could make the space their own. Make sure that there is a clean, logical flow through the home by getting rid of all excess furniture. Less is more.

Improve Lighting

This is another way to make your home seem more spacious. Open all your curtains and flood the space with natural light. Make sure the darker rooms are also lit. Invest in some light fixtures and fittings, and place them strategically to illuminate even the gloomiest of areas.

Decorate to Sell That House

Slap on a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color to give it that blank canvas look but do not be too sterile. Have some contrast in the trim as well as the ceiling. Neutral colors make properties appear lighter and brighter, so take advantage of this inexpensive and easy option. You may also add color with decorative window coverings, rugs, and towels.

Clean Up Your Act

Your home should be spotless. Make sure the beds are made and the countertops are free of clutter. The dishes should be put away and nothing should be scattered on the floor. Don’t forget to tidy your garden too: Cut the shrubs back, sweep the patio, and wipe down the backyard furniture.

Those Minor Repairs You Put Off

It is easy to forget things such as broken doorknobs, cracked tiles, holes in walls and damaged but buyers will notice them first thing as they are walking around your home.

Maximize Your Space

The golden rule of selling is to make your space look and feel bigger and better than what your competitors have to offer. We’ve already mentioned that lighting your home, both naturally and artificially, can maximize your assets, but getting rid of bulky furniture can also be a great way of making the most of what you have. Large pieces of furniture make a space feel smaller, so put these items into storage and dress your home with more compact pieces.

Don’t Forget Your Floors

Make the investment of improving and investing in those floors. Worn carpets and damaged vinyl floors need to be replaced, and wooden floors especially should undergo some maintenance. This is not chap by any means, but the prospect of selling your home for the best possible price will likely outweigh the cost.

Remove Pets During Showings

You do not need to remind the potential buyer that the previous owner kept pets.

Try to remove your pets from your home when you are showing the home. Having a pet in the house or yard can create complications for your agent while trying to show the house, and puts your pet at risk of accidentally getting out during the showing. There are also liability issues to deal with as well. They may react differently to stranger and it may cause them stress. All pet-related damage should be repaired prior to showing the home. Make sure to also remove all odors and stains. New visitors will notice smells when they come to view the house. This is not something you want to happen. Have your carpet and floors professionally cleaned or replaced. Pick up any messes in the backyard and have any sod replaced and other damage repaired.

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