Articles Tagged "Tips for Sellers"

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Buy a Home | 7 Posts
Home Improvement | 13 Posts
Homeowners | 3 Posts
Sell a House | 5 Posts
Tuscaloosa, AL | 25 Posts

Here's What A Good Offer On Your House Looks Like

Selling a home to the highest offer may not always be in your best interest. Here's how to tell when an offer is right.

It's exciting when potential buyers appear who are ready to make an offer on the home you've listed among Tuscaloosa homes for sale. But if you're new to this process, you may be unsure about which offer is better than others. Happily, there are ways to assess why one offer is a standout among the competing offers. See what our real estate agents have to say about determining what a good offer on your home might look like. 

  1. The buyer has their financing in order.
    You, the seller, know approximately what you're looking for in the sale price. You will need to see a pre-approval letter on a lender's letterhead that shows the buyer can come up with a loan sufficient to buy your house. If you're looking at a cash offer, you'll want to see proof of funds sufficient to cover the sale price in the form of a bank or investment account statement.
    A cash buy has some advantages — you don't have to wait for a loan to be approved — but you also may be offered less on the sale price because the transaction will probably be concluded more speedily.

  2. The buyer offers a larger earnest money deposit.
    The buyer may offer a larger earnest money deposit, or good-faith deposit, than other potential buyers. The buyer entrusts this money to the seller's brokerage firm in an act of good faith, showing that he is serious about the purchase. Usually, these deposits are 1 to 2 percent of the sale price. Anything beyond that shows the buyer is serious indeed. This money goes toward the down payment if the offer is eventually closed on. But if the buyer breaks the contract, the seller may be able to keep the deposit.

  3. Look for an offer with the least contingencies.
    You can certainly expect buyers to propose contingencies when negotiating a sale; for instance, most buyers will ask for time to make a home inspection — with the sale contingent on any issues found with the house and whether or not repairs can be made before closing on the home. Or, there might be an appraisal contingency. The appraisal should match the agreed-upon price for the home. If it doesn't, the buyer and seller will have to negotiate another price before they can settle.
    It's better for you, the seller, to have fewer chances for the buyer to take leave of the transaction, as anytime a contingency is not satisfied, the buyer may walk away with his earnest money deposit, and you've wasted time on selling your home.

  4. The highest offer is the best offer — or is it?
    Generally, a seller is looking to get the highest offer possible. Indeed, the highest offer might be the best offer. But the high offer might have a probability of not closing for a number of reasons. It could then cost you more in repairs, closing costs, and the like. In this scenario, the highest offer won't be your best offer.

  5. Factor in a closing timeline with the sale.
    Maybe you need a quick turnaround so you can move. In that case, you could find a cash offer for a little less than the asking price very attractive so that you can move quickly. On the other hand, if you need some time to move, you might choose to go with an offer that fits with your timeline, even if it's lower than your asking price. 

There's a lot to know about negotiating the sale of a house. That's why you need a knowledgeable real estate agent you can trust. Contact us today.


Make Your Home Appraisal Ready With These Tips

Ready to sell your home? Here's how you can prepare for your home's appraisal.

Are you thinking about getting your home appraised? Maybe you're thinking of listing it and want to know how much your home is worth. Or, maybe someone is interested in buying your home and wants an appraisal to take to a lender — in which case, you want your home shipshape, so the lender will know your home is worth what you're asking for it.

While you don't necessarily need to get an appraisal before you list your home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you might want to learn a bit about how to prepare for an appraisal before you go for the real deal.

Here are some of the things our real estate agents recommend you do when prepping for an appraisal.

  1. Declutter and clean.
    Chances are, you can go through your house and find plenty to get rid of, either by donating to charity, selling on Facebook Marketplace or Poshmark, or just sending stuff out to the recycle pile. Once you've cleared some clutter, you're ready to clean. Go room by room, cleaning walls, fixtures, baseboards, doorknobs, light switch covers, and blinds (shades or drapes). We presume you're going to stage the home with a minimum of your possessions, so do make sure whatever stays in the home is free of dust and is sparkling clean.

  2. Spruce up the landscape.
    Beyond a good mowing, edging, and trimming of shrubbery, perform a painstaking cleanup of the property. Take out dead trees; have ragged, broken limbs trimmed and hauled away; rake up and bag dead leaves. Cut back weeds or perennial stalks left from previous years. Check the driveways and walkways; sweep them clean and get rid of any trash. Add mulch in flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs so it will look neat. Remove toys or any clutter; you can leave lawn furniture but it should be clean and in good repair.

  3. Repair damage.
    Walk around your home and assess everything with a critical eye. Repair cracks in walls, broken floor tiles, stained carpet, leaks in the ceiling, or damaged gutters. Your home should be in good repair prior to the appraisal.

  4. Safety equipment should be working properly.
    This includes fire and smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and home security alarms. Smoke and CO alarms are inexpensive to install but if you don't have a home security system, it may be a bit of an investment. However, you can probably find a reasonably priced (under $1000) system with sensors and cameras that will boost your appraisal.

  5. Replace dated materials.
    Some materials in your home may look like yesteryear's trend. Replace flooring with snazzy laminate or tile; redo the countertop with natural stone, granite, or quartz. Aim for a modern look with neutral, sedate materials.

  6. Make a list of improvements you've done.
    List any improvements you've made to your home so you can inform your appraiser. Include such redos and additions as gutters, siding, new roof, new appliances, and the like. Improvements will have a positive impact on your appraisal.

A word of caution here: most appraisals are for a buyer's lender. The lender will want to know if the home is worth the asking price. Chances are, that lender will not be interested in an appraisal done by the seller, who of course has every reason to get the highest appraisal possible. So don't dash out and get an appraisal with the notion that a potential buyer will heed the results. In fact, it's usually the buyer who orders the appraisal, and it is likely to come farther along in the negotiations.

Want to know more about appraisals? Contact us today.


Proven Strategies For Selling Your Home At A Great Price

Hoping to get the best price from your home sale? Here are some tips that never fail.

Everyone wants to sell their home for a great price, so what steps can you take to make your property stand out from the competition? Fortunately, there's plenty that you can do to make sure that your home catches the eye of buyers for all of the right reasons and ultimately maximize the offers that you receive for your listing. Our real estate agents are experts on selling homes, and we've got some proven strategies to help you sell your home at a great price.

  • Start by Cleaning and Decluttering
    If you want your home to stand out from other Tuscaloosa homes for sale, start by making sure that it looks its absolute best. Before you welcome any potential buyers, invest some elbow grease or hire a professional cleaning service to clean your home from top to bottom. Just as importantly, take this opportunity to clear out clutter, which will boost your home's appeal and has the added advantage of lightening your load when it's time to move.

  • Present a Blank Canvas for Buyers
    One of the reasons that it's important to clear out clutter is that you want to present a relatively blank canvas to buyers so they can imagine what their own lives would be like in the home. You can add to this effect by depersonalizing the home and removing things like photos and other personal items. Last but not least, consider a professional staging service to make the home look as inviting as possible.

  • Consider Curb Appeal
    You want buyers to be impressed before they even walk in the door, which is why curb appeal is such an important consideration when selling your home. Make sure your yard is clean, your lawn is in good shape, and the area around your front door is looking its best. Give your curb appeal a boost with some fresh landscaping, or by planting some colorful, attractive new plants in your garden.

  • Be Proactive About Maintenance Issues
    It may seem tempting to leave any little maintenance issues with the home for the next owner to handle, but this can actually be counterproductive when it comes to getting the best price for your home. Proactively addressing any issues gives buyers one less reason to negotiate for a lower price.

  • Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
    Your choice of real estate agent is one of the most important decisions that you'll make when selling your home. Make sure that you choose an agent who knows your market and how to promote your property to generate maximum interest from buyers. Do your research, and choose an agent who aligns with your needs.

  • Be Smart When Setting a Price
    Pricing is a huge factor, both in terms of generating interest and ensuring that you ultimately get the best possible offers from buyers. This is one area where your real estate agent can really help, and setting the right price can go a long way toward achieving your goals when selling your home.

  • Maintain Perspective Throughout the Process
    There's no doubt that selling a home can be an emotional process, but sometimes emotion can get in the way of getting a great price. Try to maintain perspective, be objective, and lean on your real estate agent for advice throughout the process.

Searching for the right real estate agent to help you sell your home? Our experienced, local team is here to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Tuscaloosa, AL area.


5 Home Upgrades You Can Make Even on a Budget

Home Upgrades on Budget

If you're looking to upgrade your home, you'll want to look into projects that can be done on a budget. That way, for a minimal investment, you'll make a big impact that will improve the look or function of your home. Especially, if you are getting ready to list! 

Our real estate agents suggest the following 5 upgrades you can make even on a budget:

  1. Give your kitchen cabinets a makeover
    Your kitchen cabinets make a big impact on the room's overall appearance, and if they're too dark or scuffed, they can make your kitchen look dark and dingy. Replacing them can be expensive, but cleaning and painting your cabinets can give them a whole new appearance. This project can be completed in just a weekend. You'll need a cleaner, sandpaper, paint, a paintbrush, and some effort, but the results will be striking. And while you're at it, swap out your cabinet handles for a further style boost.

  2. Add some curb appeal
    The front of your house sets the tone for your entire home since it's the first thing you'll see as you come and go. Give your home's curb appeal a boost by painting the door, either to refresh what you already have or to add a bolder pop of color. Replacing the door's hardware, adding some containers of plants as well as hanging baskets, and creating a cozy seating area can further upgrade your curb appeal. If you'd like to take it a step further, you can also replace your porch's outdoor lighting fixtures.

  3. Use paint to renew old flooring
    Flooring can set the tone for an entire room, but if it's not in your budget to replace it, you might be able to paint it. Old vinyl or laminate flooring can be painted by applying flooring enamel and topping it with an acrylic sealer. Checkerboard or other geometric designs are popular choices for this type of project and can transform outdated flooring into a stylish asset.

  4. Add crown molding
    Crown molding creates a transition between the top of the wall and the ceiling and adds a finished, polished look to your home. You can buy crown molding at home improvement stores in lengths of up to 16 feet and easily install it yourself. This one upgrade can help take your home's interior from basic to interesting.

  5. Install a programmable thermostat
    Programmable thermostats are quite inexpensive, and they make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. Installing one will let you program your heating or air conditioning to be turned on and off according to your set schedule so you can wake up or come home to a comfortable house. You'll also save energy since you can set the thermostat to run less when no one's home and then boost or lower the temperature shortly before you arrive back home.

Contact us at Hamner Real Estate to learn more about Tuscaloosa homes for sale and the upgrades that you can make for a minimal investment. Our experienced real estate agents would love to help!


Agent vs. REALTOR®: How They're Different

Agent VS Realtor

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®? This is one of the most common questions our team fields from prospective clients. While both help clients buy and sell homes, some differences are worth noting as you start your search for a new home or to ask one of our real estate agents to sell your current property.

Whether a REALTOR® or real estate agent, both are required to obtain and maintain state licensure to purchase, sell, or rent a property. Each state has a different curriculum and requirements in this regard. States such as Alabama require 60 hours of formal education, while states like California require 135 hours or more. This coursework covers all the ins and outs of the real estate industry that agents need to know to represent their clients properly. 

REALTORS® take their training a step further. Members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) belong to an organization that has trained agents across the country since 1908. NAR training includes a heavy focus on ethics, and everyone who earns the title of REALTOR® is required to adhere to the organization's code of ethics. The bottom line is Realtors® maintain a high degree of professionalism, strives to protect their client's rights and best interests, and adhere to the "golden rule" in everything they do. 

There are seventeen articles that REALTORS® promise to adhere to at all times. These include:

  • The interests of buyers and sellers are paramount, and all parties shall be treated honestly and with respect.
  • REALTORS® will not exaggerate, misrepresent, or conceal material facts regarding real property.
  • Cooperate with other brokers and real estate agents to preserve the best interests of clients.
  • Disclose whether they are a principal in a real estate deal.
  • Inform the seller of all commissions and fees, and not to accept fees or commissions from 3rd parties without the consent of the seller.
  • Maintain separate accounts for agent and client funds. 
  • Provide equal treatment to all clients, regardless of race, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.
  • Strive to ensure that all written documents are as easy to understand as possible, to answer all client questions, and to provide all parties copies of signed documents. 
  • Refuse to offer or provide services beyond their skills and experience for which they are unqualified to provide.

REALTORS® must maintain their membership certification through the payment of annual dues and online refresher courses. And, REALTORS® can lose their certification if they violate the organization's code of ethics. The bottom line is that when you work with a REALTOR®, you can rest assured that you are working with someone who is always going to represent your interests above their own. 

Does this mean that it is always better to work with a REALTOR® than a real estate agent? Not necessarily. Experience still counts, and there are many highly skilled real estate agents and real estate brokers who specialize in rental properties, commercial properties, etc. The same is true for REALTORS®, and while the title is worth noting, you still want someone who has the knowledge, skills, and experience that are best related to your needs.  

We invite you to contact us to discuss the many beautiful Tuscaloosa homes for sale this spring. Our team of REALTORS® is always ready to answer your questions and demonstrate the reasons why our team is renowned throughout the state for the superior service we provide clients. 


Where You Should Put Your Remodeling Dollars?

Remodeling Dollars

Many sellers ask our real estate agents how to make their homes stand out from other Tuscaloosa homes for sale. If you're selling soon, a little remodeling can go a long way. You'll want to concentrate on remodeling projects that buyers want but still offer you a decent boost in resale value. These tips will help you make the most of your remodeling dollar.

  • Go for inexpensive and mid-range projects.
    They can still make a big difference, and you'll get more of your costs back on these. Because some big remodeling projects can be so expensive, you won't make your money back on them in the short term. Those kinds of projects aren't good candidates if you're going to remodel simply to help sell your home.
  • Make the kitchen and bathrooms top priority.
    These are the rooms buyers pay attention to, so making them look at least reasonably updated and inviting is essential. Buyers also know full remodels in these areas can be costly. If buyers see they can at least live with what's there, and they won't need to remodel immediately, that can give you an edge.
  • A surface remodel can be a better option.
    If most of the house is fine, but one area is likely to make buyers run, try a surface remodel. Do some less expensive swaps to save money instead of a full scale remodel project. For example, refinish a bathtub instead of replacing it, opt for vinyl plank instead of wood plank flooring, or paint a vanity and replace the hardware to get an updated look without gutting the entire space.  
  • Spend the money where buyers can see it.
    Paint and flooring take up the most space in a room, so updating here is always worth the money. And updating something major that's still working safely, such as a water heater or furnace, will cost way more and you'll recoup much less.
  • Refresh cabinets instead of replacing them.
    This can easily become a big chunk of the remodeling budget. If the cabinets are structurally sound, there are a few different and less expensive ways to update them. Paint or stain, refacing, swapping a solid door for one with a glass insert, and updating the hardware can change the look for less money.
  • Update hardware and light fixtures throughout the home.
    It may not sound like much, but all those door handles, hinges, drawer pulls, and builder-grade light fixtures throughout your home may be making a bad impression. Because they're everywhere in your home, this little change can make a big difference.
  • Update with buyers' tastes in mind.
    That doesn't necessarily mean everything has to be the latest trend, but it should offer wide appeal. Get rid of anything that is dated or likely to evoke strong dislike among buyers.

Updating your house before you sell is sure to turn the heads of potential buyers. Making good use of your remodeling dollars can help your house sell faster and for the right price. Contact us today to get started.

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