Not much time, right? But that’s how long you have to catch a buyer’s attention when selling a home. So, you’ve got to make those seconds count from the moment a prospective buyer arrives on your property.
It’s not just about selling your home quickly. It’s also about fetching the highest price possible.
Properties that look nice and smell nice inevitably sell for more money than comparable homes with cluttered closets, dishes in the sink and dandelions speckling the front lawn. So, how do you get your home ready for a potential buyer? Here are some tips that will help you make a good first impression.
Let’s start with the outside:
Now for the inside:
Does that help? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call.
Ready to buy your first home? Your first step is to visit a mortgage lender to see how much house you can afford. But be prepared for the paperwork that comes with it. Here are the documents you’ll be asked to provide as part of the loan application process:
Rental payment history. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll need to provide proof that you paid your rent on time. Your lender can tell you how to document this payment history.
Tax returns. You will likely be asked for two or three years of tax returns with all the attached schedules and documents.
Paychecks, W-2s and other income documentation. Start with at least a month’s worth of paychecks, plus W-2 forms for you and your spouse. Do you have income from other sources? Include documentation for any freelance work, self-employment income and child support payments as well.
Account information. Your lender will want to see checking and savings account statements for at least one month. You may be asked for any other account statements as well to document your down payment funds and money you have set aside in savings.
Remember, the more quickly you respond to requests for documentation, the more quickly your loan application can be processed!
Ever wonder which things can affect your credit score the most when you’re applying for a mortgage loan? Here are some of the top factors that can dramatically lower anyone’s score:
Everyone’s situation is different, and how long these credit-score drops remain in effect vary. The key to rebuilding your credit is to pay your bills on time and avoid using all of the credit that’s available to you.
Although a “perfect” credit score can be over 800, remember that to get the best deal on your next mortgage, you’ll need a score of around 720 to 780. Want to learn more about your credit score? Read this article.
Landlords take note: Effective this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has implemented new rules that determine whether upgrades to an investment property can be deducted in a single year on your tax filing or depreciated over many years.
How can you tell the difference? Your accountant or tax adviser likely will take a look at these guidelines:
The BAR test:
Improvements must be depreciated and fall into three general categories – betterment, adaptation and restoration, also known as BAR. Factors to evaluate include the condition of a property before and after damage occurred in a storm or other weather event, and the time period that elapsed between fixes to normal wear and tear.
Betterments include upgrades that address a material condition or defect, those that expand or extend the property, and those that increase the property’s strength or quality.
Adaptations are changes intended to turn the property into a new or different use from when the property was placed into service.
Restorations include replacements of substantial structural parts or major components, like-new rebuilding of property whose economic useful life has ended and conversion of property in disrepair to “ordinarily efficient operating condition”
The Unit of Property test:
The IRS divides properties into nine units of property, also know as UOPs. On one hand, repairs to the entire building and structural components likely will constitute a deduction. On the other hand, repairs to building systems such as plumbing and electricity likely will need to be depreciated. Confused? You aren’t alone. The new rules are creating a lot of confusion. This is definitely one area that you’ll want to consult a tax professional!
You’ve poured a great deal of time, energy and money into your investment home. The carpet is new, the bathroom has been redone and the yard is immaculate. So how do you begin identifying tenants who will be a good fit for your property?
Be clear up front. If you’ve got specific requirements—for example, the tenant can only have one pet or must be willing to sign a one-year lease—make sure those are clear in ads and Internet listings. This will save you time of showing the property to unqualified candidates. In the event that you must deny an application, you must make sure you’re comply with the federal Fair Housing Act.
Ask questions. Among the best questions to ask prospective tenants are “How did you find out about this property?”, “When are you moving?” and “How many cars do you have?” These kinds of questions gauge the person’s level of interest in the property; signal times when you’ll need to educate prospective tenants about property rules and responsibilities; and help you identify flaws in the property that need to be overcome before others take the official tour.
Verify income and employment. Assuming that first visit goes well, you want to be sure that the prospective tenant is able to compensate you for your investment with a timely rent check. In general, tenants should have a combined gross income of three times the monthly rent, though you can set your own formula as needed. Also determine whether you’ll permit co-signers on an as-needed basis.
Moreover, request documentation to ensure the prospective tenant has a reliable income, and verify that he or she can pay security deposits and other advance payments such as one or two months’ rent in order to move in.
Check out references. It’s always a good ideas to get landlord references, and in many cases it’s also helpful to get an alternative tenant contact form—a document with information such as the prospective tenant’s name, current address, email, some form of ID and a handful of other details.
The bottom line is that landlords must treat prospective tenants with the utmost respect, be knowledgeable of laws prohibiting discrimination and ask the right questions to find the best tenants for a particular investment property. When all of those factors come together, the process is rewarding for everyone.