How to sell or buy real estate without losing your mind
Selling or buying real estate can come with a lot of headaches. Those headaches can quickly turn into a real migraine once you start thinking about the laundry list of “To-Do’s”. I’m dedicated to guiding you through how to sell or buy real estate without losing your mind.
It IS a lot of work to get top dollar when selling. Knowing where to start can be super overwhelming if you don't do this every day... But we do. The truth is that overwhelm does not need to be apart of the process. I want to completely eliminate the overwhelm and frustration of selling your property and/or buying your new home. Let’s create a plan that will help you save thousands of dollars and eliminate the headache of reaching your goal.
Three steps to eliminating overwhelm:
1- Analyze your goals
2- Create a custom strategy
3- Execute and see results
Analyze your goals
No one knows your circumstances better than you. What is it that you want? Ideally, where will you be once this transaction is done? Why are you wanting to make this move? How will you know which property is THE property? The general market affects the value of your real estate investment and your specific goals should be taken into consideration too.
Understanding and writing down your needs and wants is the best way to assure you stay on track. There are a lot of questions to ask when selling and buying a new home so knowing how to filter through the questions to find which will actually move the needle is important.
Honestly assess your answers to these questions and use your answers to create a clear path forward in Step 2. If it’s difficult for you to answer those questions then I would suggest speaking to a licensed agent that you trust.
Create a custom strategy
Once you know what your overall goals are, how will you get there? What is your next action item? First and foremost, find a real estate professional you can trust to guide. A custom timeline that is created around your specific goals will give you the leverage to get what you want, where you want, and for the price you want. Here are some key prompts to creating your strategy:
After you have your strategy, this is where it gets real. Your agent will use the road map you designed in Step 2 to start curating properties to present to you. Once you have chosen a property on which to make an offer, your agent should go to bat for you to get you the home. Once an offer is accepted, they will walk with you through the paperwork.
Your real estate agent should be your advocate so working with someone you trust who can help guide you is so important.
All the best,
P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!
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Misunderstanding how time works in real estate can cost BIG!
One hour late and you could lose your earnest money AND the property. How time works during a real estate transaction is different than how time works in our day to day lives so I’m breaking it down in bite-sized pieces and a fun pop-quiz.
Any period of time starts on the day following the event commencing the period.
Time periods of 5 days or less do not include weekends or legal holidays.
Time periods of more than 5 days include weekends and legal holidays.
Time periods end at 9:00 pm on the last day of the specified period.
If the last day of the time period is on a weekend or a legal holiday, it moves to the next day that is not a weekend or legal holiday.
Time periods are not delayed by a missing legal description; time periods begin from the date of mutual acceptance.
Since we all love a good story, let’s look at how these rules apply to our friends John & Jane’s homebuying experience.
On Friday, January 3rd, John, and Jane submitted an offer on their dream home. It was accepted the same day! Their timeline was tight since they only had 5 days to conduct their inspection, so they were eager to get started. The inspection was done on Thursday the 11th and we gave our response back to the seller on Friday the 12th.
Using the rules listed above see if you can answer these three questions:
When was day one of the time period?
Did John and Jane give their inspection response to the seller within the allotted time period?
When was the latest time and day they could have given their response back to the seller?
So, you’re buying a home for the first time. Congratulations! You’d probably like to find a way to maximize your cash on hand after forking over the down payment funds and closing fees, right? I get it. It can be a shock to even the most prepared among us to see that savings account balance drop. I mean you probably spent years squirreling away every spare penny to purchase a home. If you’re wondering how to start to rebuild that account balance quickly, getting your deposit back from your rental home can be a great start!
First the not-so-great news: you cannot assume that you will receive back every deposit you paid at move-in. But there are some ways to ensure you get as much back as possible. The biggest source of information regarding all of these tips will be your actual lease or retail agreement, so have it handy as you read and let’s get going.
Here are some keys to getting your deposit back:
Understand your deposits.
When you signed your rental agreement, you agreed to certain terms and conditions, and you handed over various fees and deposits. Some of these might be refundable and some might not be. Read through your lease to remind yourself what deposits you paid, and which of those payments are eligible for refund. Here are some common deposits you may have paid:
Last month’s rent
I cannot speak to the terms of your specific lease, but pet deposits, for instance, are generally nonrefundable; damage and security deposits, on the other hand, generally are--if specific conditions are met. Which leads me to my other tips…
Give proper notice.
Your lease should tell you the required minimum timeline and proper procedures you must follow when you move. Different jurisdictions have varying rules about the amount of time required to give notice, so I won’t speak to those here.
However, if you are still under lease and you want to move early (commonly called “breaking a lease”) you will probably be responsible for paying for the remainder of that lease. You will need to discuss the specifics of your situation with your landlord.
If your lease is still active, you should make note of when it will expire. Also note if and how it renews or converts automatically to a month-to-month contract. If you are already in this month-to-month status, you will still need to adhere to the requirements for timely and proper notice, but you may have a little more flexibility in timing your move
The bottom line is that if you move out without proper notice or you break your lease, you risk not getting your deposits back. So know the terms of your lease and follow it to maximize your deposit refunds.
Honestly access the current condition.
A good rule of renting is to behave like a Girl Scout and “leave it better than you found it.” By better I mean leave the property cleaner and better maintained than you received it, with minimal to no new damage. Of course, normal wear and tear of a rental home is expected. For instance, foot traffic will wear down carpet, corners of cabinets and walls will get minor dings, and the shine and sheen of flooring will fade over time.
However, if there is more than wear and tear, you will need to either repair it or pay for the repairs out of your deposit. For minor issues, you might be better off to take care of them yourself; however, you should look at your lease before embarking on any repairs--there may be restrictions on what, if any repairs, you are allowed to do on your own as a tenant.
One of the most important documents when you are a renter, second only to your actual lease, is your Move-in Walk Through form. Hopefully you have that, since it should itemize (and have pictures of) any damage that existed in the property when you moved in, and proves that you are not responsible for it. This includes appliances like the refrigerator and microwave. Use this document to make sure you are not putting time and energy into repairs that are not your problem. Knowledge is power!
Clean it up.
If possible, try to build in a day or two at the end of your rental period before you hand over the keys to do a deep clean and complete yard clean up. Seriously, this elbow grease will pay off when it comes to getting back more of your deposit. Scrub or wipe every surface in the entire house, wipe down and/or degrease all appliances, wash hand prints and smudges from the walls, clean the windows and window tracks--I mean do a full-on, top-to-bottom cleaning. Making the place sparkle is one of the easiest ways (well, maybe not easy, but you know what I mean) and often overlooked tricks to getting your deposit back.
One note regarding cleaning: check your lease. There is likely some sort of stipulation regarding carpet cleaning. You may be required to pay for the service to be performed before you turn over the keys, or you may have paid a nonrefundable fee for the property manager to facilitate the move-out cleaning. Also look for mentions of requirements to clean the exterior windows, gutters, etc. Make sure you do everything required, or you can say goodbye to at least a portion of your deposit.
Show up for the move out inspection.
Not everyone does this, but you are entitled to attend. Request an appointment with your property manager to accompany them on the move-out inspection when you hand over your keys. That way if there are any questions about the condition of the property and whether or not you will be charged for specific issues, you can discuss those issues on the spot. But please be respectful. Most property managers are not there for a shake down, so to speak. They know that things happen, and if you are polite, have been a good tenant, and have done the other items on this list already, they may show some grace on the small stuff.
Bonus Pro Tip
Your refundable deposits will probably not be handed to you in exchange for the keys. The property manager or landlord has to do the move out inspection, compare the move-out to the move-in, and get bids for any needed repairs. That takes some time--and just like guidelines for giving notice, different cities, counties, or states have varying rules for how much time a landlord has to return money owed to you. And don’t forget to make sure to give them the best address for them to send the refund to you once it’s ready!
Not all of us have security deposits to lean on but if you have a lease and paid deposits at move in, I’d encourage you to look closely at what steps you need to take to get your deposit.
We've all been there before. Overwhelmed by all the Things. Maybe it's a tackling a big project at work, prepping for your partner's 40th surprise birthday party, or planning to help your parent's downsize from their long-term home. Maybe it's all of those at once! So what do we turn to when we need to make sure we don't miss a step when everything seems to matter? Checklists.
Checklists are my favorite memory trick.
Okay, maybe I shouldn't consider checklists to be a part of my memory...but I have found that using checklists keeps me on track so much better than relying on myself alone. A well flushed-out checklist for any task is priceless. I can ditch the checklists once the items have become habits, but with growing humans in my house I’m learning that all of us can benefit from a good ol’ fashioned list.
With Americans moving an average of 11 times throughout their lifetime, I figure a mover's checklist is nice to have around when the time comes.
You'll notice that my Mover's Checklist includes instructions on how to use my Listing Care Package. If you are selling your current place while prepping for your next move, this care package is an absolute must for you. Contact me today to get one in your hands and start you on the path to a stress free sale!