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Do I Have To Pay Taxes When I Sell My Home?

If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, you may be asking yourself how your sale will affect your tax situation. This is a fairly common question since many homeowners want to know whether they’ll have to pay taxes when they sell their homes. Put simply, “It depends.” Read on for more information.

When You Sell A House, Do You Have To Pay Taxes?

The amount of time you lived in your home before you sell it as well as how much profit you make will determine if you have to pay taxes. If you owned and lived in your home for 2 of the 5 years before the sale, up to $250,000 of its profit is tax-free. In the event you’re married and file taxes jointly, this tax-free amount increases to $500,000. This means you’ll only be on the hook for taxes if you make a significant profit on your home sale.

What Is A Capital Gains Tax?

Your stocks, bonds, and home are all considered capital assets. When you sell a capital asset for more than you paid, you may have to pay a capital gains tax to the IRS. The good news is that homes are excluded from capital gains tax, as long as they meet certain criteria including:

  • You’ve owned your home for at least 2 years.
  • You’ve lived in your home for at least 2 years.
  • You haven’t exempted the gains on another home sale in the last 2 years.

As with any law, there are a few exceptions. If you had to move before owning your home for 2 years because of a job change or what the IRS considers an “unforeseen circumstance” like a divorce or natural disaster, you may be excluded from capital gains tax.

Which Home Improvements Count Toward Capital Gains?

You can add the amount of money you spent on improving your home to the initial price of your home to get an adjusted cost and reduce tax capital gains. However, not all home improvements are eligible. You can add the amount of money you spent on things like a roof replacement, deck addition, or basement finish. Unfortunately, ordinary repairs and maintenance don’t count.

How To Calculate Your Capital Gains

To calculate your capital gains, do the following:

  • Take the amount you paid for your house.
  • Add any money you spent on improving it.
  • Add any total costs you incurred with its sale to get its cost basis.
  • Subtract the amount you sell it for from its cost basis.

Let’s say you bought your home for $200,000 6 years ago. You paid $10,000 in taxes and closing costs and also made $40,000 in home improvements. Your “cost basis” amount would be $250,000. You sell your home for $400,000.

To calculate your capital gains, you’d subtract $250,000 from $400,000. Your capital gains would be $150,000. Since you bought your home more than 2 years ago, the $150,000 is yours tax-free.

Capital Gains Tax Rates

So, how much will Uncle Sam take if you have to pay capital gains tax? The new federal tax law considers your income, rather than your tax bracket. Here are the details:

  • 0%:If you’re a single filer earning less than $39,375, married filing jointly earning less than $78,750, or the head of household earning less than $78,750.
  • 15%: If you’re a single filer earning $39,376 – $434,550, married filing jointly earning $78,751 – $488,850, or the head of household earning $52,751 – $461,700.
  • 20%:If you’re a single filer earning more than $434,550, married filing jointly earning more than $488,850, or head of household earning more than $461,700. If you earn above $488,850, 20% is the most you’ll have to pay.

It’s important to note that your state may have its own tax laws on income from capital gains, so it’s a good idea to become familiar with these in addition to the regulations from the IRS.

Do I Have To Claim The Sale On My House On Taxes?

If you do have to pay taxes on your home sale, it won’t be taken out of your transaction immediately like your paycheck withholdings. Instead, you’ll be required to report your profits in the “income” area of your tax return. Make sure to set aside extra money so you can pay the IRS once tax season rolls around.

Have further questions about whether you have to pay taxes for your home sale? Contact us today!

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Buying A House For Sale By Owner Short Sale

A short sale is a special type of real estate transaction that involves the seller’s lender. During a short sale, a lender agrees to accept less than the remaining principal balance on the mortgage loan. In exchange, the lender gets to have a hand in the negotiations and must approve the final terms of the sale.

Short sales can take much longer than a standard real estate transaction but might mean a good deal for you if the lender has the motivation to sell quickly. Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of short sales and For Sale By Owner listings.

What Is A Short Sale?

A short sale occurs when a homeowner sells their property for less money than the balance of their mortgage loan. After the sale, the mortgage lender agrees to forgive the remaining balance on the loan. Mortgage lenders accept short sales only in limited circumstances. During a short sale, the lender controls the terms of the sale instead of the homeowner. The lender must approve the purchase price and any sale terms before you close. Even if you and the owner agree to the terms of a sale, the owner’s lender can still veto the sale.

Most owners who sell their homes through a short sale do so to avoid foreclosure. Foreclosure is a legal process during which a lender attempts to recover their investment by taking control of a property. Homes fall into foreclosure when the property owner falls too far behind on their loan.

Selling a property through a short sale instead of allowing it to go into foreclosure is beneficial for the owner if they plan to buy a new home. If you have a foreclosure on your credit report, you cannot buy a home for at least 7 years. On the other hand, if you sell your home through a short sale, you can buy another home in as little as 4 years. If you’re current on your payments, you can even apply for an FHA loan immediately after your short sale closes. Short sales also do much less damage to your credit score than a foreclosure as long as you stay up to date on payments.

If you’re thinking about buying a short sale home, know that the process isn’t the same as buying a home through a standard sale. You don’t only need to please the seller during a short sale – the lender will need to be happy as well. This means that your sale will likely take a lot more time to close than a standard sale.

Here are the basic steps you’ll take as the buyer in a short sale.

Create A Short Sale Contract

If the property you want to buy is on the market through a short sale, your real estate agent will need to write a sales contract to the lender who owns the homeowner’s mortgage.

Before a lender agrees to a short sale, they need to know that they’re getting a fair price for the property. A sales contract is basically a petition that presents evidence that the price you’re offering for the home is fair. The sales contract also includes the price and terms under which you agree to buy the property. Your agent will gather details on some other homes in the area comparable to the home you want to buy and their purchase prices. The agent will then submit the contract to the lender for their consideration. It can take 30 days or longer to hear back from the lender.

Wait To Hear Back From The Lender

After you submit your contract, you’ll spend a lot of time waiting to hear back from the lender. Remember that lenders only agree to short sales when they think they won’t be able to earn more money through foreclosure. The lender will take this time to do their own market research and consult with property experts to make sure they minimize their losses. They may even prolong responding to you to wait for other offers to roll in.

The lender can respond to a sales contract in a number of ways. They can flat-out reject the offer if they think you’re asking for too many concessions or lowballing them. They can also reject the offer with an outline of what they would accept. Of course, they can also accept the contract.

You cannot proceed with the sale unless the lender accepts it. This can mean multiple rounds of editing your sales contract or changing your terms.

Sign An Affidavit, If Necessary

An affidavit is a document that contains a statement that you swear is true under penalty of the law. Before you close on a short sale, the lender might ask you to sign an affidavit confirming that you and the seller have no prior relationship or agreement. Lenders do this to avoid fraud and collusion between buyers and sellers. Some lenders don’t require them.

If the lender does ask you to sign an affidavit, thoroughly read it before you agree. Never lie on an affidavit – the lender can take you to court if you get caught.

Proceed To Closing

Once your lender agrees to the sale and you sign any necessary paperwork, you can proceed to closing. Closing on a short sale is largely the same as closing on a standard home sale. However, after the sale, 100% of the funds go to the lender. The seller gets to walk away with the remainder of the debt forgiven – and you get to move into your new home.

How Do You Qualify For A Short Sale?

Not everyone can sell their home through a short sale. When a lender allows a short sale, they accept a financial loss. This means that you’ll need to meet strict standards before your lender will allow you to sell your property through a short sale.

To qualify for a short sale, both of the following conditions must be true:

  • You cannot continue to pay for your loan. Lenders only allow short sales when they believe that there is an immediate risk of foreclosure. If you still have money to continue paying on your loan, your lender won’t accept a short sale. You usually need to be so far behind on your payments that there’s no way you can catch up on them before your lender will consider a short sale. You also cannot own any assets that you can sell to get up to date on your loan.

You might also qualify for a short sale if you can prove that you no longer have the income to keep paying on your loan. If you’re up to date on payments but believe you’ll fall behind soon, you can get ahead by writing your lender a hardship letter. A hardship letter explains why you will soon fall behind on your mortgage payment – you may lose your job, for example, or become disabled. Selling your home through a short sale while you’re up to date on payments will allow you to qualify for an FHA loan as soon as your sale closes.

  • The home is worth less than the remaining balance on your loan. Your mortgage loan typically needs to be underwater to qualify for a short sale. If a lender thinks they can get back the full balance of the loan by foreclosing on the loan and selling the property, they’ll reject your short sale.

Do you think that you should sell your home through a short sale? The first step is to contact your lender. Every lender has different standards.

When Does It Make Sense To Do A Short Sale?

The only time when it makes sense to do a short sale is when there’s no way for you to avoid foreclosure. A short sale is almost always preferable to foreclosure. Short sales are more difficult to complete than standard sales. Both you and your buyer will need to jump through a number of procedural “hoops” before the sale can close. This can scare away first-time home buyers and anyone who wants to move into your space as soon as possible.

You also need to remember that the final say on a short sale always goes to your lender. Even if you want to sell your property through a short sale, your lender can veto the decision.

Can I Sell For Sale By Owner On A Short Sale?

Can a homeowner sell their own property without assistance from a real estate agent? The answer to this question is maybe (depending on lender requirements), but it can be difficult.

During a short sale, lenders want to move the property off the market as soon as possible. Every month you miss a mortgage payment, your lender loses more money. This means that most lenders will require a real estate agent to advertise the property on your behalf.

If you want to sell your own property on a short sale, ask your lender about their policies first.

Summary

A short sale is a special type of home sale that involves the seller’s lender. During a short sale, a lender agrees to sell a property for less than the balance on the mortgage. The lender forgives the remaining balance after the sale. Most sellers who list their home on a short sale do so to avoid foreclosure. The lender gets the final say on the terms of the sale and the price in a short sale. Short sales are more involved than standard sales and take much more time to close.

A lender must approve a short sale before it can go through. Not every homeowner can sell their home on a short sale. Most lenders will only approve a short sale if the homeowner is at immediate risk of foreclosure and the loan is underwater. It usually only makes sense to sell your home through a short sale if your only other option is foreclosure. Under most circumstances, you cannot list your home as FSBO on a short sale.

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How To Make Sure You’re Selling Your Home For Market Value

If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, one of your biggest fears may be selling it below value and losing money. You’re likely asking yourself, “How much is my house worth?” Even if you have an idea of your home’s value, there are certain steps you should take to find out exactly what it is. By taking these steps, you can increase your chances of selling your home at (or even above) market value.

Understand What Market Value Means

Contrary to popular belief, market value does not have to do with your monthly mortgage payment, your opinion of your home, or the memories you’ve created there. Market value is the amount of money buyers would be willing to pay for your home. The following factors will likely play a role in your home’s market value:

  • Location: If your home is close to major highways and shopping centers, your value will likely be higher than if it were in a rural area far from everything.
  • Square footage: Of course, the bigger your home is, the more it’s worth. Buyers would expect to pay a higher price for a 3,000-square-foot colonial than a 1,300-square-foot ranch.
  • Updates: Is your home updated or does it need many improvements and upgrades? Buyers will place a higher value on your home if they don’t have to do much to it.
  • School district: If the schools are highly rated in your area, your home is worth more than a comparable home in a less-favorable district.
  • Time of year: Your home will likely sell for more in the summer months than in the middle of the holiday season.
  • Amount of similar homes in the area: If you have one of the only ranches around, your home valuation may be higher than if it were one of the hundreds of colonials for sale.

Remain Objective

There’s no denying that you have a personal attachment to your home. Regardless if you’ve lived there for a few years or decades, you may think it’s worth more than it actually is. It’s important to remain objective and avoid listing your home for what you think it’s worth. Remember, market value is what other people, not you, are willing to pay for your home.

If you estimate your home’s value too high, it may end up sitting on the market for quite some time. This may cause buyers to believe that there’s something wrong with your home and prevent them from even looking at it. This situation may force you to reduce the asking price of your home significantly and even drop it below market value to get people in the door.

Invest In A Pricing Report

A pricing report from a reputable company can help you determine the market value of your home. For Sale By Owner offers Pro Pricing, which includes three comparable homes recently sold in your area, three comparable homes currently on the market, and recommended repairs. Data on the neighborhood, estimated time on the market, and comments by real estate professionals are included as well.

After a pricing professional has visited your home, you can expect to receive the Pro Pricing report in 5 – 7 business days. There is an expedited service that will provide you with a report within 3 business days of your appointment.

Be Strategic About The Asking Price

If you find out that the market value of your home is $205,000, listing it with this exact asking price is not a good idea. Here’s why: Most buyers search for homes using $20,000 or $25,000 increments.

So, if you list your home for $205,000, buyers who are searching for homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range will miss it. If you ask for $200,000 instead of $205,000, more buyers will see your home and you may even be able to start a bidding war to sell your home for above market value.

Get A Pro Pricing Report Today

By knowing your home’s value and listing your home close to that figure, you can set yourself up for success. If you’re getting ready to sell, a Pro Pricing report may be just what you need to sell your home quickly without losing any money. We encourage you to get one today!

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How To Buy A Home For Sale By Owner

Looking at homes is exciting – browsing listings online, visiting open houses, searching for that perfect fit. Assuming you have a buyer’s agent (and you should since it means you have someone watching out for your best interest!) that person is probably working with the seller’s agents to help set up showings and get you the information you need about the property.

But what happens if the house is listed as “For Sale By Owner”? Let’s look into FSBO meaning and how it can affect a buyer.

What Does For Sale By Owner Mean?

The “For Sale By Owner” designation, typically abbreviated to FSBO and pronounced “fizz-bow,” indicates that the seller doesn’t have their own agent. The key FSBO meaning is that they are handling all the details themselves – from setting the price, to staging the home if needed, to overseeing the showings, and then finally, accepting the offers.

There’s no doubt that FSBO can be a daunting process, but it’s one that many sellers undertake, primarily to avoid having to pay a commission to a real estate agent. In most cases, the seller pays the real estate commission, with 6% as the standard that is typically divided between the selling agent and buyer’s agent. Now, with no selling agent, they are saving at least that 3%. And while that may lead you to believe that you’re going to be in for a bargain as a buyer, that isn’t necessarily the case. FSBO meaning might not translate into the seller pricing the house at 3% – 6% lower; instead they might just be hoping to pocket that excess amount in exchange for the work they are doing.

Many sellers decide to go the FSBO route when they feel as though they are in a “hot” market with a desirable property that will almost literally sell itself. In other words, they don’t see the reasoning behind paying someone to do a job that they perceive to be relatively easy. In other cases, the seller is well-versed in real estate transactions and is confident they can handle the details themselves.

How Does FSBO Work For A Buyer With An Agent?

Assuming you have a real estate agent representing you as the buyer, the process won’t be noticeably different. Your agent will ensure you have a prequalification so that you are prepared to submit an offer that shows you have done all your due diligence and are a solid buyer.

Then it’s up to your agent to negotiate their own commission with the seller. Oftentimes a FSBO seller is happy to have at least one agent coming to the table, since your agent will then be responsible for drawing up the contracts and keeping all aspects of the process on schedule. Typically the seller will come to an agreement about how to cover your agent’s commission, but keep in mind that your agent is rightfully likely to only submit an offer that includes compensation for themselves.

You should be aware that many real estate agents might steer clear of FSBO houses for the very reason that they might be leery of having to negotiate their own commission. Another reason is that FSBO homes can be harder to discover. A FSBO house may not be listed on the Multiple Listing Service, which your real estate agent is likely using to find appropriate houses for you.

Therefore, if you are using an agent and don’t want to miss out on any potential properties, you might want to do your own searching for FSBO homes. One might catch your attention as you’re driving through a neighborhood, via an ad on social media or in the listing guide on ForSaleByOwner.com.

How Does FSBO Work For A Buyer Without An Agent?

If you don’t have an agent, then the transaction might be a little more complex as the buyer. That’s because it will be up to you to negotiate and oversee every aspect of the purchase. This includes:

  • Making an offer, also known as a “purchase agreement.” The document should include the price you are offering (tricky in itself since you don’t know how savvy the seller was in setting the price in the first place); and any contingencies, such as whether you need to sell your house first or if your purchase is contingent on the inspection; the proposed dates for closing and possession; and details on your earnest money.
  • Paying your earnest money, which is the money you offer as a “good faith” deposit that you intend to buy the house. It’s intended to buy you time to get your financing and other details secured without worrying that someone else will buy the house from under you. But, remember that if you walk away, this money is theirs, except in certain circumstances, such as a failed house inspection. You should never hand the earnest money over to a seller as there’s nothing to keep them from holding on to it even if the deal falls through legitimately. For your safety, you’ll need to find another third party, such as the title company, when there is not a seller’s agent involved.
  • Scheduling inspections and then negotiating as needed with the seller if there are any issues, whether that’s having them fixed or securing a credit or reduction in the sale price to cover the cost of the repair.
  • Overseeing subsequent work to ensure it’s done satisfactorily.
  • Bringing the appropriate paperwork to the closing.

If there are no agents involved on either side, often buyers and/or sellers use a real estate attorney who can look over the paperwork to make sure it is sound. Or, there are forms available you can use if you feel confident in handling the paperwork yourself.

As you can see, buying a FSBO house isn’t that much different than any other house, particularly if you are using an agent yourself.

Have you ever bought a house that was listed as FSBO? Share any additional tips or advice below.

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8 Things To Look At When Doing Your Final Walk-Through

You’re only a few days away from closing on your forever home. For weeks now you’ve been dreaming about all the things you want to do as soon as you finally move in. However, before you sign the papers at closing, something important needs to happen. You need to complete the final walk-through.

 

What Is A Final Walk-Through?

Final walk-throughs can get overlooked in the whole home buying process. But they serve an important purpose. The final walk-through allows you to inspect the home days before closing to make sure everything is the same as when you agreed to purchase the home. They can also be used to make sure requested repairs were made as promised.

 

When Does A Final Walk-Through Happen?

The final walk-through should be a day or two before the closing. Have your agent schedule the walk-through after the sellers have already moved out. Not only will this give you a better view of the entire house without anything in your way, but there won’t be the risk of movers damaging things after the walk-through is complete.

 

What Should You Do At A Final Walk-Through?

What should you look for when you do your final walk-through? Here are eight of the most important things that deserve your attention.

 

1. Open Windows And Doors

When you enter a room, make sure you open every door and window. Each window should open smoothly and lock without any problems. The doors should swing freely without rubbing as they’re being shut. Also, make sure all interior privacy doors lock properly. Check and make sure each window has a screen and that the window coverings or blinds are in good working order. You’ll also want to step into the garage, opening and closing the garage door, making sure there are no issues.

 

2. Check Walls, Floors And Ceilings

If the sellers have already moved out of the home, pay close attention to every wall as well as the floors and ceiling. Make sure there isn’t any water damage to hardwood floors being covered up by a couch or rug. Plus, now that all the photos, art and mounted televisions are removed, check for any major damage to the walls.

 

3. Pay Close Attention To The Kitchen And Laundry Room

Head to the kitchen and turn on all the appliances. Check and make sure the stove and oven are working properly, as well as the dishwasher. It’s also a good idea to pull out the refrigerator, dishwasher and laundry machines to make sure there are no signs of mold.

 

4. Turn On All The Water Fixtures

While you’re in the kitchen, make sure you turn on the sink to check both the water pressure and the hot water. Next, make your way into the bathrooms to check the sink, shower and toilet. If the home has a sprinkler system, turn it on to test each zone.

 

5. Test HVAC And Electrical System

Even if it’s the middle of the summer, you’re going to want to turn on the heat and make sure it’s operating properly. The same goes for the air conditioning. Turn on every light switch and if you have a voltage tester, check to make sure each outlet has power. Inspect each light and outlet cover, looking for any signs of damage. Finally, double-check the doorbell and security system, if the home includes one.

 

6. Check For Pests

While you’re walking around the basement, look for mice droppings. If you find evidence, there could be a larger issue throughout the home. Also, pay close attention to any dry rot or crumbling beams, as these are signs of termites. You’ll want the sellers to address any of these findings before closing.

 

7. Check Outside The Home

Once you’ve had a chance to thoroughly go through the interior of the home, make your way outside. Pay attention to the roof, gutters, trees and bushes. Make sure everything looks good and there haven’t been any issues since putting in your offer to buy.

 

8. Check The Final Repairs

Finally, start checking off the items that were presented to the sellers in your inspection report. Make sure each of the issues has been addressed and no new damage has occurred.

 

At this point, you’re only days away from closing on your new home. It’s most likely a stressful but exciting time. By completing this final walk-through, you’re going to have peace of mind that your new home is ready and waiting for you to move in.

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Seller’s Guide: Taking Home Tours During Off-Hours

Most buyers begin their search for a new home online. Internet listings provide invaluable information about a home’s layout, design, amenities — even the character of the surrounding neighborhood. The unquestionable stars of the show, however, are your listing photos.

Buyers may want to experience a virtual home tour before they commit to actually visiting a property for further inspection. But, no matter how comprehensive an online listing may be, nothing matches the experience of seeing a home for yourself. So, if you’re selling your home on your own, here are some of the best ways to manage home tours during off-hours.

 

What Is A Home Tour?

There are many different ways to show your home. You can host an open house or offer a lockbox tour that allows the buyer to see the house with their own agent. Another option is to conduct a private home tour, one of the more popular methods for showing your home.

If you’re working with a real estate agent, they will set up these home tours for you. But if you’re selling your home without an agent, you will coordinate these tours with each prospective buyer.

 

Benefits Of A Home Tour

Buyers prefer to tour a home so they can get a firsthand idea of what it’s like. The listing pictures are a good start, but nothing will take the place of setting foot in the home. Potential buyers will get a feel for the layout and the condition of the home – not to mention the neighborhood.

While you can do this during an open house, doing a home tour will allow the buyer the additional time to take everything in without the pressure of other buyers.

 

Why Doing Home Tours During Off-Hours Should be High On Your To-Do List

If you’re selling your house, home tours are probably high on your to-do list. While most sellers will hold open houses during the weekend, you may want to consider hosting tours during off-hours to attract more buyers. Doing so will provide your buyers with a different view of their potential purchase. How different, though? More importantly, why does it matter? Consider these four reasons to host home tours during off-hours.

 

Buyers May Get A Better Feel For Traffic In The Area

Traffic is a major quality-of-life issue. A home tour on a Sunday afternoon is not going to give a buyer an accurate idea of how busy the residential streets are around the property, especially during peak hours. Not to mention the traffic they can expect on their commute to and from what might be their new address.

Buyers may want to request a visit during the week, perhaps around 6 p.m. This will allow them to glean a realistic idea of what they will be facing when coming home from work or running evening errands.

 

Experience Location In A Different Way

Taking a home tour on a weekday can reveal what “location” really means. How well-cared-for are the rest of the homes on the block? What makes the neighborhood stand out? What’s a typical morning like? What happens after dark? Buyers should take note of any safety concerns that arise during a visit. Even if a buyer doesn’t schedule a formal home tour, they can always scout out a home’s surroundings.

 

See Light In Different Hours

It might seem negligible, but how light enters and moves through a house is a huge component in making a house feel like home. Knowing the orientation of the home you’re interested in can make a huge difference. Which rooms face east, west, north, and south, and how does that affect how comfortable you feel in different areas of the house? Does the morning sun shine directly onto your pillow? What if the glare from a corner streetlight means you can never open the curtains in the living room? These might not seem to be deal-breakers, but they can be the worst kind of surprises — unpleasant.

As a seller, this is the perfect opportunity to emphasize how the light impacts the feel of your home. For example, if you have amazing sunset views from the living room, it may be wise to host an off-hours showing during dusk. Point out how beautiful the sunset view is in the living room. This will help your buyers envision their evenings in your home.

 

Have a More Personal Experience

A crowded open house is an overwhelming affair. All of the coming and going may interfere with a buyer’s ability to take pictures and notes. Scheduling a home tour during off-hours will give a buyer the chance to have a more relaxed, intimate experience in the home. This is the buyers’ chance to ask questions and perhaps spend extra time in each room.

This also gives a seller the opportunity to highlight the home’s features that make it stand out. As a seller, plan how your potential buyer tours your home so they can really get an idea of why it’s so special.

 

How To Make Your Home Standout During A Home Tour

Now that you understand why it’s important to host home tours during off-hours, you may be wondering how you can make your home stand out during this time. Here are a few suggestions to grab a buyer’s attention.

 

Make Sure The Exterior And Interior Of Your Home Are Presentable

When you host an open house, you may spend hours preparing. But it’s easy to let things slide when you’re hosting an off-hours tour. To assure you’re adequately preparing, make sure the exterior and interior of your home are presentable. Your goal should be to make your home look the way it would if you were hosting a large open house.

For example, if you’re selling your home in the winter, be sure to clean your driveway and all of the walkways right before your buyers arrive. You wouldn’t want any of your potential buyers to get hurt due to an accidental fall.

 

Offer A Warm Welcome

Make all of your buyers feel welcome the moment they arrive at your home. In addition to lighting a candle or baking cookies, there are few other ways to make your space feel inviting. For example, you could extend the courtesy of allowing your guests to keep their shoes on. This simple gesture may help to increase their comfort in your home.

Also, you will want to give them space to look at your house without hovering over them. Let them walk the halls and have conversations without your presence. If you choose to follow them around, it may make them feel uncomfortable.

 

Check The Thermostat

If you’re showing your home early in the morning or after work, you may forget to make sure the thermostat is on a comfortable setting. Letting your home get too cool or too warm may also make your buyers feel uncomfortable. So, make sure the temperature of your home is at a comfortable level prior to your showing.

 

Pay Attention To Lighting

Buyers are there to see every inch of your home. But, it’s impossible to do this if you do not have adequate lighting. So, before they arrive, go through every room of your home and turn the lights on. Also, make sure all of the blinds are drawn to allow natural light in.

However, if you have something you would prefer your buyers to avoid seeing, like your neighbor’s ugly fence, you can leave blinds slightly drawn to avoid drawing attention to it.

 

Create An Inviting Atmosphere

Does your home have a nice fireplace? Or perhaps, your home has a beautiful entryway fountain that sparkles in the sun. Try using these features to create an inviting atmosphere. If you do have a fireplace, turn it on to add warmth and a light glow to the room.

Another way to make your home feel inviting is to have soft music playing in the background. Music can change anyone’s mood, so be sure to pick something light yet uplifting.

Additionally, try providing a few snacks. If you’re selling your home in the winter months, you may want to offer hot cocoa and marshmallows. Providing some creature comforts will help your buyers feel welcome and at home.

 

The Bottom Line

Showing your home is one of the best ways to pique a buyer’s interest. While hosting an open house is a great way to get multiple buyers into your home, an off-hours showing provides a more personal experience. Home tours during off-hours allow potential buyers to experience the home on their own without other distractions. They can ask questions and see your home in a different light.

So, if you’re selling your home without an agent, be sure to offer to host off-hour showings. For more information, check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Sell Your Home For Sale By Owner.

Get the tools and resources you need to sell your home here.

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Things To Consider When Buying Or Selling During Peak Seasons

When it comes to buying or selling a home, timing is everything. In a hot market, everyone involved must be careful. If you’re looking to buy or sell during peak real estate season, keep reading for some valuable advice.

 

What Is A Hot Market?

When the market is “hot,” there are more buyers searching for the perfect home than there are homes available. In a hot market, the low inventory of homes usually causes home prices to go up.

Sellers often feel confident that they can get their home off the market quickly for top dollar, while buyers may feel pressured to buy a home they may regret down the road or give up on their house hunt altogether.

 

Should I Sell My House In A Seller’s Market?

If there’s a seller’s market in your area, selling your house is a great idea. Your house may be on the market for less time and you may receive multiple offers, which could increase your sales price. While selling in a seller’s market is ideal, you still have to be strategic about your strategy as there are no guarantees. With these tips, you’re more likely to sell your house successfully.

Clean Your House

Even though the market is hot, you have to take the time to deep clean your house from top to bottom. Although buyers may overlook the outdated carpet in your living room or old appliances in your kitchen, most of them will not buy a dirty house.

Put Your House On The Market On A Friday

Time after time, Friday proves to be the best day to sell a house. If you can, “go live” late Thursday night so that buyers can easily find your house when they wake up and check the listings on Friday morning. Make sure you have an enticing description along with quality photos.

Don’t Choose A Certain Time To Select An Offer

If you state that you’ll review all offers on a certain day at a certain time, you’ll miss out on some buyers. Not only do buyers not want to wait to find out if their offer has been accepted, many buyers may be turned off by it, as they want to avoid multiple offers.

 

How Do You Buy A House In A Seller’s Market?

If you want to buy a house in a seller’s market, realize that time is of the essence. Since there’s low inventory and plenty of buyers, a nice home can attract a lot of interest. So, if you see a home you like, act quickly before another buyer snatches it up. Here are some other tips that can increase your chances of landing the house you want in a seller’s market.

Avoid A Lowball Offer

Multiple offers are quite common in a seller’s market, meaning you cannot offer less than the listing price if you like a home. If you’re really interested in a house, you may have to offer more than the amount the seller is asking in order to get it.

Put More Money In Earnest

The larger your earnest money deposit is, the more attractive your offer may be to as seller because it’ll position you as a serious buyer. Remember that you’re going to pay it at closing anyway, so a hefty amount won’t do you any harm.

Don’t Ask For Repairs Or Renovations

If you ask the sellers to repaint the kitchen, replace the carpeting, or change the laundry room sink, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. A seller’s market is not the time to ask for repairs or renovations because if you do, the seller may accept the offer of another, less picky buyer instead.

Be Flexible With The Buyer Possession Date

Rather than stating that you want to move in on the same day you close, inform the seller that you’re flexible with your move-in date. This can give them more time to pack and prepare for their move, so they may be more likely to choose your offer over a less flexible offer.

 

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, buying or selling in a hot market can be tricky. The good news is that it can work to your advantage, as long as you follow our tips above. If you’d like to sell your home in a hot market on your own, ForSaleByOwner.com has a variety of resources to help.

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Can FSBOs List On The MLS?

Much like the famous “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” quandary, for sale by owner sellers must contemplate a philosophical question of their own: If a house is for sale and no one sees the listing, will it ever sell?

The answer to that question, obviously, is a resounding “no.” Proper marketing of your FSBO home is vital to getting it sold, and a big part of that depends on the visibility of your listing.

Typically, real estate listings go on the multiple listing service, which is sort of the holy grail of home listing databases. As a FSBO seller who wants their for-sale home to be just as competitive as those being represented by a licensed real estate agent, you might be wondering if you can get your listing on your area’s MLS, and if so, how to do it.

Read on to learn about the options for FSBO sellers.

What Is An MLS?

A multiple listing service is a database that real estate agents in a specific area use to showcase the homes they are selling to other real estate agents, who then use the MLS to find potential homes for their purchasing clients.

If the MLS sounds a lot like the home listing websites (like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com) that are so popular nowadays, that’s because it is. MLS databases have been around a lot longer (before the internet, the listings were printed in books and sent around to cooperating brokers) and were one way for real estate professionals to keep each other in the know about available inventory.

MLS databases are only available to real estate professionals, and contain more information than what you’ll see on those public-facing listing sites, including seller contact information or the commission percentage a seller is offering the buyer’s agent.

Flat Fee MLS Service

Some licensed real estate brokers offer a service called a flat fee MLS listing, where they’ll work with you to list your house on the MLS for a one-time fee. A flat fee MLS listing is really the only way you’ll get your FSBO home onto the MLS, short of becoming a licensed real estate agent and paying for membership yourself.

Flat fee MLS listings tend to be a pretty good deal for FSBO sellers, since they’re able to get their listings into the database that the majority of buyer’s agents are using to find houses for their clients without having to pay a listing agent commission. Plus, when you’re on the MLS, your listing will automatically be pulled into all the major public-facing listing sites, getting you maximum exposure to both real estate agents and their buyers.

If you’re interested in a flat fee MLS listing, look for brokers in your area that offer this service and do some research to learn about what they offer. Often, brokers will offer multiple flat fee packages at different price points, so you can decide if all you want is an MLS listing with a few pictures, or a more thorough MLS listing plus help with some of the more technical and legal aspects of home selling.

In general, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars for an MLS listing through a broker, though costs can vary depending on what services they provide. You may be able to find very cheap flat fee MLS listing for around $100 that offer shorter-term listings that limit the number of photos you can use to just a few, or services that cost upwards of $1,000 where the broker handles many of the responsibilities they would in a traditional real estate transaction.

Alternatives to the MLS

If you don’t want to pay to have your house listed on the local MLS, you’ll need to come up with a plan for how you’re going to market your house so that potential buyers see it.

Certain online listing sites, like Zillow, allow FSBO sellers to upload their listings directly to their databases. Since browsing for homes online has become so popular with prospective buyers, this greatly increases the visibility your home will get compared to FSBO homes of the past, when a yard sign and an ad in the local newspaper was the standard for FSBO advertising.

You might also consider other online marketplaces, such as Craigslist, to advertise your home.

Of course, to get in front of an audience that is specifically seeking FSBO homes, you can easily upload your listing onto forsalebyowner.com. When you choose our Independent package, you’ll get a free, customizable listing on forsalebyowner.com, an unlimited number of listing photos, tools to help price your home and access to purchase all necessary legal forms.

What Should FSBO Sellers Do?

Listing your FSBO home on your area’s MLS for a flat fee can end up saving you a significant amount of money, depending on how much you sell your house for and how much you would have paid in commission if you’d worked with an agent.

On the other hand, if you aren’t willing to spend the money for a flat fee MLS listing and are dedicated to doing a true FSBO sale and saving as much money as you possibly can, it is possible to get buyers’ eyes on your home without having it listed on the MLS. It may just require more work on your part.

Ultimately, it comes down to how much marketing you’re willing to do yourself, and how effective you think that marketing will be. Those who are more concerned about having an easy time selling might find a flat fee listing service to be worth it, while those whose goal it is to save the most money might be less inclined to go that route.

If you’re ready to get your FSBO home on the market but think you might need some personalized guidance, our Partner package matches you with your own dedicated Home Listing Coordinator who can help you throughout the experience. Check out our page for more information, or give us a call at 888-FOR-SALE.

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Which Decor Style Should You Stage Your Home?

There is no denying that staging your home can increase the odds that it sells quickly and for a higher price. However, staging a home can be a lot of work and lead to a lot of questions and decisions.

One major decision is what decor style to use. You want to select a style that will appeal to as many buyers as possible. While there are home decor trends that are popular across the board, decorating styles really vary regionally.

While you probably don’t want to buy all new furniture, it is possible to stage your home to sell with a few key pieces. The most important part of staging a house is clearing out as much excess as possible. Remove any bulky furniture, clutter, personal items or small decor pieces. Make the home look as large as possible with minimal, but well-placed, items.

Another thing that works for all of these styles is white walls. Clearing out your home and painting the walls white will give the space a new, fresh look. Starting with a blank slate makes it easier to add a few specific accessories to help achieve the look of a specific décor style. Plus, white walls are pretty universally accepted by buyers.

Online magazine Real Simple shared a study that accumulated the most popular home decor style in each state, based off of Google search history. Here are tips for staging your home with each of those styles.

Shabby Chic

Shabby chic farmhouse decorated dining room.

Most Popular In: Alabama, Maryland, Massachusetts, West Virginia

What Is Shabby Chic?

Shabby chic is a style where furniture and home accessories are either older and worn or distressed to get the look of an antique. Homes decorated with a shabby chic style often feature a lot of pastel colors, vintage items and layered pieces.

Incorporate The Style:

In order to achieve a shabby chic look, you will first want to select a soft, vintage-inspired color palette with a white base. Think light, bright colors such as mint green, light pink, baby blue or pale yellow.

You will want to feature furniture that has a distressed finish. This might mean chipped paint, worn wood or a glaze over paint to give an antique look.  Accessorize with vintage items and layered textures like thick woven rugs or blankets. Focus on creating a soft, feminine feeling in your space to really achieve this look.

Your shabby chic decor should be inviting and make potential buyers feel right at home.

Industrial

 

Bedroom with brick walls and neutral decor.

Most Popular In: Alaska, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Wyoming

What Is Industrial Home Decor?

Industrial style is a modern look that is popular across the country. Think of an open, loft-style warehouse. Stripped-back rooms without extra fuss, featuring reclaimed materials such as brick, raw wood and exposed concrete, are pillars of the industrial look.

Incorporate The Style:

The most important aspect of an industrial style home is a neutral color palette. Instead of bringing in bold colors, focus on interesting textures. If you want to bring in some color, do it through bold, modern artwork on the walls.

Be sure to clear out any unnecessary clutter – an industrial space should feel very clean and open. Any pieces of furniture or decor in your home should be simple and useful.

Metal can be used in art or furniture for a very unique look. Avoid fabric-covered furniture pieced and instead focus on wooden furniture. Most modern industrial furniture will have straight lines and square edges – avoid any rounded lines. One piece of furniture that would check all of these boxes is an industrial pipe bench, with iron pipe legs and a wooden seat.

An easy way to bring an industrial look into a space is with the lighting – metal pendants are very popular at most hardware or lighting stores and can really change the look of your space. Since these industrial lights have become super popular, they are often a budget-friendly update option, as well.

French Country

French country style living room. 

Most Popular In: Arizona

What Is French Country Style?

French country style homes immediately transform you into the French countryside. This aesthetic is a combination of ornate and over the top while remaining very traditional. French elegance is combined with a rustic feel for a beautiful, comfortable result. Think refined elegance in every piece of furniture and decor.

Incorporate The Style:

First, make sure that your home feels bright and inviting. Focus on light and neutral colors, with small amounts of bolder color brought in as small accent pieces. Clearing out extra furnishings and pulling back any heavy drapes will help give your space an instant bright feeling.

In addition to pops of color, pops of patterns are a fun way to bring in the more ornate French style. Play with botanical prints in your space. You can bring in florals through fabric, art, wallpaper or accessories. Pair the floral prints with natural materials, such as jute, wood and stone, to keep them from looking too elegant.

Try to bring in lots of curved edges for a soft, feminine feel – avoid furniture with sleek, straight lines and soften anything that feels modern with linens and fabric. Pillows can go a long way in adding a French country look without replacing all the furniture in a room.

Hollywood Regency

Hollywood regency style living room with green walls and pink furniture. 

Most Popular In: California

What Is Hollywood Regency Style?

Hollywood regency style is reminiscent of the glamorous homes of old-timey movie stars in southern California. This look features bold color, metallic accents and lots of glam.

Incorporate The Style:

To add a Hollywood regency feel to your home, first focus on adding the feel of luxury and glamour. Rich fabrics with velvet or metallic finishes are a great way to bring in that high-end feeling without replacing everything that you own.

Bring in lots of bold color – think pink, turquoise, yellow, and even black and white. Just pick two to three of those colors to really feature in your space. Bold color blocking can make a huge impact in any size space if you’re going to need to paint the walls before selling, anyway. Layering colors, textures, and patterns helps to achieve that opulent luxurious look.

Don’t forget the metallic accents. In addition to gold accessories and shining art, add large mirrors. The mirrors act as a metallic accent and also bring in that old-fashioned glamourous aesthetic. If you really want to get the Hollywood regency style, an ornate chandelier is a must.

Let the colors and textures be the stars and focus on furniture with straight, clean lines. You don’t want any pieces with a rustic or raw feel. Whether painted or stained, a glossy finish is a must.

Asian Zen

Asian zen-style bathroom.

Most Popular In: Colorado

What is Asian Zen Style?

Asian Zen style is focused on minimalism and is therefore a wonderful option for staging your home. A Zen home should feel “at one with nature” and be calming and welcoming.

Incorporate The Style:

The general idea of Zen is a simple life. So, to really get a Zen-looking home, you need to pare down and remove any excess clutter or decor. Think minimalism to an extreme and pack anything extra away.

As far as what you leave behind, focus on pieces made from natural materials – raw wood and stone. Keep the color palette very simple and accessorize minimally with plants and other natural items.

An important part of Zen living is having free energy. This means that you need to have open, unrestricted space. Removing excess furniture and decor will help achieve this aesthetic. Also remove any extra window coverings to allow light to flow through the space.

Your home should not have any ornate details or bold accessories. There shouldn’t be anything distracting that draws too much attention. Remember, you want the space to feel restful and natural in order to really get a Zen effect.

Vintage

 Small kitchen with young family making lunch.

 

Most Popular In: Connecticut, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont

What Is Vintage Style?

Vintage home decor is a cozy, nostalgic way of decorating. It is warm and inviting and therefore would be a great way to stage your home and make potential buyers feel instantly comfortable in your space.

Vintage pieces are more than 20 years old and less than 100 years old. They are often quirky, unique or unusual.

Incorporate The Style:

Remove anything that seems specifically new or recent. You want to feature furniture and decor pieces that feel like they are from a different time. While things don’t all need to precisely match, try to stick within one decade or style of vintage pieces for optimal cohesiveness.

As far as a color scheme goes, stick with softer colors with gray undertones. Bring in lots of creamy whites and pick one or two colors, such as mint green, pink or light blue for your accents.

Vintage furniture is easy to find secondhand, but it might not be in the greatest of shape. For staging purposes, you can worry less about function and instead focus on making sure that the furniture photographs well. Paint thrifted finds with a creamy white or your selected accent colors for an easy update.

Transitional

Transitional-style living room. 

Most Popular In: Washington, D.C.

What Is Transitional Style?

Transitional style is a mixture between traditional and contemporary decor styles. It features simple but sophisticated pieces with clean lines and neutral color palettes.

Incorporate The Style:

While traditional decor features dark, heavy, ornate furniture, transitional style generally features a lighter, fresher look. You still want to feature pieces with traditional lines – lots of straight lines with curves on places like sofa arms – but focus on light, contemporary colors. Creamy white, taupe and gray are all great colors to use.

An important part of transitional style is decorating very minimally with accessories. Clear out most of your décor and only leave a few favorite pieces out. For the most impact, don’t decorate with anything smaller than a cantaloupe and avoid pieces with ornate details.

In the few accessories and furniture pieces that you do bring into your space, think of a tone-on-tone monochromatic look with texture to add contrast. Pair a leather chair with a chenille pillow and a glass lamp, all in a creamy white, to get this transitional look.

Bohemian

Bohemian living room.

Most Popular In: Delaware

What Is Bohemian Style?

Bohemian style is a colorful, eclectic way of decorating. It’s bright and full of colors and patterns – often bringing in materials and decor pieces from a variety of international influences.

Incorporate The Style:

Your best bet for decorating your home in a bohemian style is to start with a neutral base. Your walls, ceilings, floors and major furniture pieces should have simple lines and neutral color schemes. Then, bring in the bohemian feel with tons of layered, colorful accessories.

Linens and pillows are an important part of bohemian style. Colorful cushions, throws and fabrics should be layered to the point that it almost feels excessive. Focus on deep jewel tones for maximum impact.

Accessory-wise, look for pieces that have a distressed or multicultural feel. Your ultimate goal should be for your decor to feel as if it was collected over time by a very interesting, well-traveled person. This will help to create that intriguing bohemian aesthetic.

Plants are a very bohemian way to accessorize any room. You can hang plants from the ceiling, place pots on tabletops or shelves or even place large plants in baskets on the floor. If your home doesn’t get much light or you are not going to be home much during showings, consider using faux plants instead of live plants. You can also hang floating rope shelves to get texture and the right color palette, then put plants and items on there.

Coastal

 

Coastal living room with blue and white furniture.

Most Popular In: Florida, South Carolina

What Is Coastal Style?

Coastal style should make you feel like you are at a cottage at the beach. However, don’t make the mistake of decorating with jars of seashells or wreaths made from flip-flops. Steer away from anything too outright nautical and instead stick with decor that just has a coastal edge to it.

Incorporate The Style:

An important part of coastal style is the color scheme – you want to focus on white, blues and natural tones. Definitely remove anything from your space that is red, yellow, or orange or has warm undertones. You will also want to remove or refinish any furniture with a dark or glossy finish on it. Accent with pieces that are raw or whitewashed wood, jute or crisp white.

Rattan, bamboo, straw and seagrass accessories can instantly give a room a coastal feel. Fabric materials should be breezy, such as white linen, and curtain panels should be sheer or pulled aside to allow maximum light to enter the home. In general, coastal style should feel very inviting and comfortable. Layer lots of pillows and throw blankets – in your simple color palette – for a welcoming feel.

While you want to skip the anchor prints and baskets of seashells, one place to be literal with the ocean is in your art. A large seascape painting can make a huge impact and instantly transport visitors to the beach. Stick with a simple frame and let the art be the star. You can quickly paint a seascape on a large canvas and hang it for staging without having to spend hundreds of dollars to buy art.

Rustic

Rustic kitchen with wood accents.

Most Popular In: Georgia, Iowa, Indiana

What Is Rustic Style?

Rustic style is about bringing nature indoors and features materials that reflect the outdoors. Raw wood and stone are the stars of this look.

Incorporate The Style:

Add raw wood tones wherever possible. This could be on furniture as a tabletop, in the form of beams or planks on the ceiling, or in accessories and decor. Other than the wood tones, furniture and accessories should be in muted, neutral tones.

Rustic accessories should not be small or delicate – you want to decorate with chunky, masculine pieces. For fabrics, bring in thick, nubby textures in neutral colors or with bold patterns, like a buffalo check. Matte black metal tones are an easy go-to for hardware and light fixtures.

An easy way to add a rustic feel to a space is by adding woven baskets. The baskets could hide personal items or even be empty for the purpose of staging, but they are an excellent way to add texture to a space. You can get baskets shaped like bowls, trays or vases, but don’t go with any basket smaller than a dinner plate.

Minimalist

Sleek, modern living room.

Most Popular In: Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island

What Is Minimalist Style?

The general concept of minimalist style decor is to keep it simple. Remove any excess and pare down your home to only the essentials, very similar to Asian Zen style. This is an excellent style for staging your home to sell. Eliminating excess will make your home feel cleaner and more open, and help potential buyers picture themselves and their belongings in the space.

Incorporate The Style:

The most important thing that you can do to stage your home in the minimalist style is to get rid of any excess. Take a look in each room and remove anything that is unnecessary. It is OK to leave white space and blank walls. This will help make your space feel lighter and more open.

As far as color schemes go, minimalist homes will unsurprisingly have minimal color schemes. Light-colored neutrals are your best bet for all furniture and accessories. If you want to have a colorful piece, make it a focal point and surround it with white space.

Minimalist furniture should have clean lines and be made from simple materials. You don’t want anything ornate. Patterns can actually work with this style, but they should be large-scale and feature colors that blend in well with your existing color palette.

Modern Country

Modern country-style dining room.

Most Popular In: Idaho

What Is Modern Country Style?

Modern country takes the traditional country style and brings it into the current era. This means a combination of comfortable, country decor with more clean lines and modern color combinations.

Incorporate The Style:

If your home is already decorated in a country style, modernize it by cleaning up excess clutter and decor items. Modern country style is going to have a more minimalist feel compared to classic country, with all things having a practical purpose in the space.

One great thing about modern country style is that mismatched furniture and decor really work well. So, you can shop secondhand and not worry about getting things that make a complete set. Focus on pieces with similar but not matching lines and materials. You can always tie them together with a coat of creamy white chalk paint.

In general, modern country style features a neutral color palette with pops of color. Choose a warm color, such as red, burnt orange or golden yellow as your accent and bring it into the space in multiple places. Pillows, blankets and accessories are the easiest way to bring in color.

Victorian

Formal Victorian dining room.

Most Popular In: Maine

What Is Victorian Style?

Victorian style is a unique, ornate style from another time. It is a style that is best suited to homes whose outsides match this style already. It might be awkward to try to make a new construction or ’80s ranch home look Victorian. But, if you have a historical home, decorating in this way could highlight the home’s features.

Incorporate The Style:

Victorian style is the opposite of modern decor. You want to focus on ornate, detailed antique furniture. Linens and window treatments should be heavy and made from thick fabric. Furniture should be oversized and lots of antique knickknacks should be everywhere.

As far as a color palette goes, Victorian style features rich jewel tones and dark, shiny wood finishes. Consider reds, purples, greens and blues, all in deep shades.

Ornate molding, stained glass and any similar details should be highlighted and allowed to shine. Fireplaces, sconces, chandeliers and lots of candlesticks are the best way to bring light into this otherwise dark-style home.

To decorate your walls, you should add oil paintings or large mirrors with ornate, gold frames. Accessorize floors with deep colored rugs and add velvet pillows where appropriate. The entire home should feel warm and extravagant.

Mid-Century Modern

Midcentury modern office and living room space. 

Most Popular In: Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia

What Is Midcentury Modern Style?

Midcentury modern style is the style of home decor that was popular in the 1950s. It features clean lines, geometric shapes and tapered legs on furniture for a vintage take on the modern look.

Incorporate The Style:

Midcentury modern has been a really trendy look in the past few years, so it is actually easy to find replica furniture for sale at many major retailers. Of course, it is always great if you can find authentic vintage pieces, but for the purpose of staging your home, it shouldn’t make much of a difference.

Focus on pieces that are solid wood, with a midtone stain, straight, boxy bodies and short, tapered legs. Upholstered furniture should have straight lines with curved corners and tight upholstery.

There are a few color schemes that are iconically midcentury modern – combinations of brown and orange, teal, white, chartreuse and gray, and pink and brown are all classic options. Pick one of these color schemes for your accent pieces to accompany solid wood furniture.

Abstract or geometric art is an easy way to make a major mid-century modern impact. Pick a piece that complements your color scheme and leave most of the rest of the room neutral to really allow the bold art to shine.

Art Deco

Art Deco-style living room.

Most Popular In: Nebraska, Nevada

What Is Art Deco Style?

Art deco style is an aesthetic that comes out of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. It was a glamorous and luxurious look – think of the “Great Gatsby” as your inspiration.

Incorporate The Style:

Art deco furniture should be angular without curved lines. Common materials include shiny silver metals, glass, chrome, lacquered wood and mirrors.

Don’t be afraid to include pattern in your home! Animal prints are very art deco. Repeating geometric patterns were also very popular for upholstery and wallpaper. Accessories should be sculptural and feel very geometric in their shapes.

Bring in a glam feel with lots of metallics and mirrored finishes. Hardware, faucets and light fixtures should all be shiny and gold or silver in color for a real art deco feel. Complement those finishes with bold accent colors – red, yellow, green or blue could all contrast well with chrome and black and white neutrals.

Urban Modern

Urban modern apartment.

 

Most Popular In: New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin

What Is Urban Modern Style?

Urban modern style is a combination of contemporary, modern and industrial styles and is very popular in big cities. It tends to be light and airy, though not as stark as industrial or modern styles. Adding a contemporary flair brings comfort and warmth to modern spaces.

Incorporate The Style:

The first step to creating this soothing and welcoming space is the color palette. Stay away from stark whites and instead combine creamy white, beige and grey tones for a layered look.

Urban modern furniture should have crisp, straight, modern lines, but they can be softened up a bit with light upholstery or darker-stained wood. Natural-colored throws and blankets help to further soften modern pieces and give them a more comfortable feeling.

Keep the accessories rather minimal, but great ideas for accenting your space are plants (live or faux) and books. These pieces will feel practical and modern while still making a space feel lived in and loved.

To keep your home interesting to potential buyers, you might consider one statement piece per room. This could be bold art, an interesting chandelier or a piece of painted furniture. While the pieces should be different from room to room, keep them cohesive with a common color scheme.

Traditional

Traditional living room.

Most Popular In: South Dakota

What Is Traditional Style?

Traditional style is popular for decorating a home because it is warm and welcoming. It should feature warm, rich colors and textures and feel both elegant and inviting.

Incorporate The Style:

Traditional furniture is heavy and a bit oversized. It fills a room, and upholstered pieces are often deep and comfortable looking. They should have a casual, yet elegant feeling to them. There should not be a lot of ornate details, but instead simple details like curved arms and nailhead trim.

Traditional style will have a simple neutral color palette. Accent colors should be deep and warm – rusty orange, forest green, and burgundy are good examples. Whites should not be stark white but instead creamy beige.

Arrange your furniture and accessories symmetrically so the space feels very calm. Everything should feel like it matches and coordinates. You don’t want anything distracting or busy in the space.

Eclectic

Eclectic vintage-style living room.

Most Popular In: Washington

What Is Eclectic Style?

Eclectic style is going to be colorful and busy and pair looks together that might not be exactly the same style. This look is very collected-over-time and features loved pieces regardless of their era, color, or trend.

Incorporate The Style:

The key to an eclectic home is contrast. Pair an antique upholstered chair with a new sleek glass coffee table, for example. This contrast highlights the unique beauty of each piece. Don’t be afraid to bring in multiple patterns right next to each other – just make sure they coordinate with their color schemes.

One popular aspect of eclectic homes is a large gallery wall. You can put a gallery wall anywhere – even going up the stairs! To keep it from looking too eclectic, pick either matching frames (all white, for example) or art with a similar color scheme, such as all black and white photos. Just be sure to put generic photos in the gallery wall for staging instead of family photos.

The most difficult part of decorating with an eclectic style is keeping a room from looking too busy. The best way to master this is by picking a consistent color palette and sticking to it throughout your home. Pick one accent color and pair it with neutral colors to keep a space from feeling overwhelming.

Another great way to simplify an eclectic home is by keeping the walls simple. Avoid bold colors or patterns on the wall and instead bring them in through accessories. Especially when staging a home, bold walls might scare off potential buyers.

Staging your home can be a really stressful process. By knowing what style of home decor is most popular in your area, you are taking one step of the guesswork out of it.

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What To Know About Selling Your House To An Investor

You’ve likely seen signs around your neighborhood that say things like, “We pay CASH for houses” or “Sell your house QUICK.” If you call the phone number listed on these signs, you’ll get connected to an investor.

An investor may also reach out if you’ve put your house on the market and they’re interested in buying it. So, what exactly is an investor and what can you do to protect yourself if you decide to sell your home to them? Read on to find out.

What Does A Home Investor Do?

Home investors are individuals or companies that purchase homes with the intent to make money. After buying a home, home investors may rent out the home for a steady income, renovate the home and sell it for a profit, or hold the home and sell at a later date when the market picks up.

How Do Investors Differ From Traditional Buyers?

A traditional buyer is someone who is interested in your home because they think it’s a great place for their family to live in or vacation at. When they make an offer, the offer will be based on how much they value your home and what they believe the fair market value is.

If they are very serious about your home and the market is hot, they may even make an offer that is above market value. A traditional buyer believes your home will benefit themselves and their family and is not typically thinking about how they can make money off the house.

Home investors aren’t picturing themselves and their families in your home. Instead, they’re thinking about how they can buy your home at the cheapest price possible so they can eventually profit from it.

Why Sell Your Home To An Investor?

The most noteworthy benefit of selling to an investor is that you can quickly get your home off the market without any hassles. Since an investor will likely buy your home in its as-is condition, you won’t have to worry about replacing the roof, fixing the furnace or repairing the leaky faucet that you’ve watched drip for the last 5 years.

Other benefits of selling your home to an investor include a quicker close and little risk of the deal falling through due to lack of funds from the buyer. Most investors will purchase homes in cash so once you agree on a purchase price, it usually only takes about 2 weeks to close the sale. It can take a few months to sell your house to a traditional buyer who’s taking out a mortgage.

What Should You Be Wary Of When Selling To An Investor?

When you sell your home to an investor, you get an all cash deal and quick close without having to make any repairs. So, what’s the catch? The reality is that the investor is buying your home to make money so they’ll almost always attempt to buy it at below market value.

In addition, investor scams are quite common. Before selling your home to an investor, research the individual or company online, read reviews, check with your local Better Business Bureau and consult your real estate agent to find out more about the investor.

What Happens When You Sell Your House For A Profit?

If you sell your home for more than you owe on your mortgage, you’ll make a profit. However, keep in mind that you may not keep the entire amount. If you’ve used a real estate agent, you can expect to dish out a commission that will likely be between 5% to 6% of the sale price.

You’ll also likely have to pay some closing costs unless, of course, the investor has agreed to take care of all of them. If you do have to pay closing costs, they’ll be between 1% to 3% of the purchase price. Also, don’t forget about remaining property taxes, which you may owe as well.

Closing Thoughts

If you have a home that needs some serious TLC or are looking to make a quick sale and are okay with getting below market value, you may consider selling to an investor. In the event you have a nice home in a highly desirable location and you don’t mind it sitting on the market for a bit so you can find the right buyer at the right price, you may be better off selling to a conventional buyer.