There are many reasons why you may want to change realtors. Here are some tips that’ll help ensure a civil split.
Hiring a listing agent to sell your home usually involves signing a contract with them. Typically, it’ll state that upon the purchase of your home, the agent will get a commission, possibly even if they were fired. The best thing to do if there’s friction between you and your agent is to contact the brokerage and explain the situation. They may agree to let you out of the contract or propose a way to resolve the situation amicably.
Buyers’ agents don’t usually require their clients to sign legally binding agreements, making it somewhat easier to part ways. However, it’s always better to be upfront and let the agent know before you hire someone else. This also gives them the opportunity to address your concerns and to salvage the relationship, which may be valuable if they’ve already put time and effort into helping you.
If you signed a buyer representation agreement with them, however, you’ll need to break the contract before you do anything else.
Even when done amicably, changing agents may involve a lot of work. The best thing to do is to select a good realtor from the get-go.
4 things that can lower the value of your home
Even if you don’t intend to sell your home anytime soon, you’d probably like it to eventually be worth more than you paid for it. While some factors are out of your control, there are decisions you can make as a home¬owner that will either boost or lower the value of your property. If you want to increase the value of your home, here are four things you should avoid.
1. Poorly executed renovations
If you want to expand the kitchen, redo the bathroom or build a deck in the backyard, it’s best to hire an experienced professional. While it might cost less in the short term, a do-it-yourself renovation can significantly decrease the value of your property, especially if the workmanship doesn’t comply with regulations.
2. A lack of maintenance
Whether you fail to replace the roof, upgrade the plumbing or perform other upkeep as needed, neglect can seriously influence how much buyers are willing to pay for your home. Plus, if you wait to complete necessary repairs, they’re likely to become more expensive.
3. Too much carpeting
Carpets retain smells and can trap particles such as dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens. They’re also difficult to clean, and they wear out over time. Additionally, since removing this type of floor covering is time-consuming and expensive, its presence may deter potential buyers.
4. A dated bathroom or kitchen
Home decor trends change over time, which can leave certain rooms looking like they’re trapped in another decade. If all the fixtures in your bathroom are turquoise, or your kitchen cabinet doors are too ornate, potential buyers may try to lower the price so they can afford to update the space.
To find out how you can maximize the value of your home before putting it on the market, consult a local real estate agent.
Pandemic-inspired renovation ideas and how to make them work
If being stuck at home during the pandemic has given you the urge to renovate, you’re not alone. Here are some tips and ideas to help you upgrade your living space.
Home upgrades are set to ramp up in 2021. According to a survey by porch.com, nearly 60 percent of Americans admitted that spending more time inside during the pandemic inspired them to renovate their home. Here are some of the latest trends you may want to get in on:
1. Making homes more hygienic. Since porcelain only absorbs 0.1 percent of bacteria, many homeowners are using this material for their countertops and floors. Additionally, touchless faucets and smart soap dispensers have become increasingly popular.
2. Enhancing outdoor spaces. When public spaces were shut down, many homeowners focused their attention on upgrading their backyards. Screened porches, gazebos, decks, pools, and hot tubs are now all the rage as people look for new ways to make the most of spending time at home.
3. Creating multipurpose rooms. For many people, working from home made it necessary to rearrange one or more rooms to serve as an office, school, gym, or studio. Designing a multifunctional room is a great way to make the most of your living space.
4. Letting in more natural light. Pandemic lockdowns inspired homeowners to bring the outdoors inside with windows and skylights. Natural light not only makes a space brighter but can also boost your mood and productivity.
Remodeling during the pandemic
Before starting your renovation project, it’s a good idea to get quotes from several contractors. Since the price of building materials has skyrocketed due to a limit in supplies, shopping around for the right contractor can help you stay within your budget. In addition, you may want to find out if they offer a price adjustment clause in their contract to recoup any increased costs.
As with any renovation, planning for delays and unexpected bumps in the road is a must. Before starting your upgrade, make sure you have all the necessary building permits and licenses. You should also sign an agreement with your contractor that outlines mandatory deadlines. This will help keep the project on track.
Additionally, you should consider when you plan on starting your renovation project. For example, since materials and contractors may be more available in the fall or winter, your project could get completed faster during this time of the year.
Lastly, if you want to minimize costs, look into receiving reimbursements from the energy efficiency assistance programs in your area. An online search will help you find out how to apply and take advantage of these savings.
Ask the Expert
Home prices have been rising fast. Should I apply for a preapproval that’s more than I think I need?
There’s no question we’re in a hot market right now that shows few signs of cooling off. However, the fundamental rule still applies when it comes to getting a mortgage: Stay within budget.
The more prep work you do ahead of time, the better. This serves the dual purpose of helping you move quickly when needed, as well as acting with a cool head. Before you even start looking at homes, figure out your finances and calculate how much you can and want to spend on a mortgage. Remember to factor in insurance, taxes, and a rainy day fund for repairs.
Then you’ll apply for your preapproval. This is the bank’s letter attesting to how much you can afford.
A quick note about preapproval versus prequalification letters: The prequalification is typically based upon self-reported information, while the preapproval involves the bank checking your credit score and verifying bank and income records. Although some institutions may use the terms interchangeably, the preapproval generally carries more weight — and in a hot market, this can give you an edge when making offers. Remember that neither is final, however. Your loan will go through a final round of verifications and include an appraisal and inspection before it becomes official.
Back to how much you should apply for. A common rule of thumb says to keep your mortgage payment — including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance — at or below 28 percent of your gross monthly income, and your total debt service below 36 percent.
When you stick to this formula, you make things easy on yourself. Now you’ve got a definitive number in mind, and you can shop for houses that fit your budget rather than the other way around.
How to successfully transform a fixer-upper
Are you thinking about buying a fixer-upper? If so, you should know the process can have many steps, and that encountering unforeseen issues is fairly common. Here are some tips to help make your renovation a success.
Inspect the property beforehand
As with any home, you’ll want to look for signs of water damage, cracks in the foundation, and other potential problems before you finalize your offer. Hire an inspector to ensure nothing is overlooked. A major renovation could prove quite costly if the home isn’t structurally sound.
Know when to hire professionals
If you’re handy, you might be tempted to take on as many renovation tasks as possible to reduce your expenses. However, when it comes to electrical, heating, and plumbing jobs, it’s best to leave the work to the experts. This will prevent you from making costly mistakes and ensure the job’s done safely.
Look for affordable alternatives
Although you don’t want to skimp on structural materials, there are plenty of ways to cut costs on features that are largely esthetic. For example, consider affordable flooring and countertop options that mimic more expensive materials. You can also rely on paint to create accent walls or repurpose old kitchen cabinets.
Finally, remember to put some thought into the decor. New furniture and decorative accessories can add the perfect finishing touches to a freshly renovated home. Consider hiring an interior designer to help you create a cohesive space.
5 questions to ask before buying a condo
Are you in the market for a condo? Before you make an offer on a property, be sure to get answers to these crucial questions from either your real estate agent, ow¬ners in the building, or the condominium association.
1. What are the main complaints?
Ask to look over the minutes from recent board meetings to find out what issues have been raised and whether they were resolved. Additionally, consider speaking with residents in the building to find out how complaints have been handled in the past.
2. What storage space is available?
In addition to closet space within the unit, find out if each owner has access to a locker in the basement or an outdoor shed. This is a particularly important question to ask if you have bikes, skis, or other large equipment that you don’t want to keep inside.
3. What does the insurance cover?
Be sure to get a copy of the building’s condo corporation insurance policy so you know what’s included. This will help you determine whether you need additional insurance for your unit and what type.
4. What are the rules of the building?
Every condo has its own set of regulations that re¬sidents must respect. This may include rules about owning a pet, planting a flower garden, or renting out your unit. Make sure these rules don’t clash with your needs and lifestyle.
5. What do condo fees get spent on?
In addition to knowing the amount you’ll have to pay every month, it’s important to know what the money collected is spent on. This will give you an idea of how well the common areas of the building are maintained and whether the board has an emergency fund.
Remember, your real estate agent can help you navigate this process, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Virginia’s hot summer housing market shows signs of cooling
According to the June 2021 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, while June sales numbers were strong, several signs point to a slowing of the housing market over the second half of the year. A cooling in the market will help ease the frenzy that has led to bidding wars and major price escalation all across the state.
There were 16,393 home sales in Virginia in June 2021, which is a 24.4% increase over June 2020. Sales were up 15.9% between May and June. The median home sales price statewide was $372,500 in June, up 17.1% from a year ago, a gain of $54,500. While the housing market delivered these high numbers in June, the number of homes available for sale is also increasing.
Most markets across Virginia are seeing expanding inventories, and some markets are seeing a slowdown in buyer activity. At the end of June 2021, there were 19,346 active listings statewide, which is 17.9% lower than the level at the end of June 2020. However, the number of month-end active listings increased by 7.5% between May and June.
In recent months, a lot of the expanding inventory has been driven by more listings of condominiums and townhomes, particularly in Northern Virginia. However, more single-family homes are coming onto the market, and it is expected that overall inventories will be greater over the summer and into the fall in most markets in Virginia.
“It remains a seller’s market, although buyers likely will find less competition and more options this summer and into the fall,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD. “Inventory will remain tight, and demand will stay strong, but the pace of home sales activity and the increase in prices should begin to return to a more normal state throughout the rest of the year and into 2022.”
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full June 2021 Home Sales Report.