Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West

Posted by Kathy Foran on 8/30/2015

Is your house a listing loser? Have you been on and off the market for years? There are many factors that influence whether a house sells or not. While most people will point directly to price, that may not be the only reason why a home sits on the multiple listing service without showings or offers and ends up on the expired list. Here are just a few of the reasons why homes don't sell: 1. Price The most common reason and usually the biggest factor is price.  Often a home is priced too high because sellers have unrealistic ideas about what their home is worth. Other sellers insist on basing the price of their home on their own personal financial situation and not the market. Even if a seller is willing to adjust the price of a home after listing it too high, it is the original asking price that matters. Pricing a home competitively will ultimately yield a higher sale price. 2. Location, location, location It is true location matters. Even the nicest house cannot always overcome a bad location. Homes that are on busy roads, close to high tension wires, power plants, waste-treatment facilities or other objectionable locations will struggle to sell. The only way properties in undesirable locations sell is when the seller understands that the asking price is significantly lower than similar homes in prime locations. 3. Having the nicest home in the neighborhood It may feel good to have the largest or nicest home in the neighborhood but buyers won't appreciate that. Buyers are not only paying for the home but also what is around it. If your home offers much more than other homes in your neighborhood you will have a tough sale. 4. The decor A home should appeal to almost everyone. So if your home has loud wallpaper, brightly colored walls, or an outdated kitchen it will be a turn-off. Most buyers won't be able to look beyond the 1970s kitchen and see the good qualities a home has to offer. 5. A dysfunctional floor plan The addition you added on may be your pride and joy but when the buyer looks at it they see it as a barrier to a sale. Many homeowners add additions or change the floor plan of their home to suit them. They were not thinking that it might not be okay for a future buyer to walk though a bedroom to get to the family room addition. This sometimes applies to older homes as well, smaller rooms and lack of storage does not top a buyer's wish lists. 6. Too many repairs If the home needs a lot of repairs, the buyer sees a money pit. Today's buyer is much more reluctant to take on a lot of renovations. 7. Bad Marketing This can be the agent's fault as much as the seller's fault. Are there agents who could do a better job marketing a home? Of course there is. Often times, the agent is limited by the seller's willingness to help. Agents that are forced to show photos of messy, outdated homes on MLS are not starting off on the best foot. There is only a small percentage of buyers who are able to see past the mess and cosmetic issues. 8. Unavailability Sellers sometimes do not make their home available for showings and this can hurt the sale of the home. Buyers have tight schedules and often want to view homes at inconvenient times. Sellers must try to accommodate as many showings as possible. You never know who the buyer will be or when they will want to look at the home.

Posted by Kathy Foran on 7/12/2015

A common question for sellers is if they will owe capital gains tax when they sell their home. The answer to that question: it depends. The capital gains tax law known as the Taxpayer Relief Act went into effect in 1997 but there is still a lot confusion over who pays what and why. If you sell your home you will not have to pay capital gains tax if:

  • You are selling your personal residence.
  • You have $250,000 in profit or less if you are single and $500,000 if married.
  • You have lived in your home for two of the last five years.
  • The home is not an investment property.
The capital gains exclusion can be used as many times as you like as long as it meets all of the above criteria. If you are going to make more than $250,000/$500,000 in profit you will be taxed at a 20% capital gains tax rate on the amount over the $250,000/$500,000 threshold. There are exceptions to the rule. You may be eligible for a tax break if:
  • You need to sell your home because a change in health.
  • You need to sell your home because of a long distance relocation.
  • You are in the armed services and moved to fulfill your service commitments.
Your individual tax situation may be different, so make sure to consult a qualified tax accountant or attorney.  

Posted by Kathy Foran on 6/14/2015

If foreclosure is looming you may feel helpless. It is possible to still sell your home and avoid foreclosure. You must sell it quickly and that is not always easy. Here are some tips to get aggressive, and get your home sold fast. Price it right! Don't try to squeak out the extra dollar price the home aggressively among the competition. This often means pricing the house low. You are trying to sell the home as fast as possible so every last dollar isn't worth it at this point. Make sure to get real about what your home is worth. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) will outline properties similar to yours that have that recently sold, are pending and are currently on the market. Some experts suggest going 10% below that last sold price in your neighborhood. Communicate with your lender. You will need to get the go ahead from your lender on how low you can go. If you owe more than your home is worth complete a short sale application with your lender. Ask your lender to give you some indication of how low a sale price they will accept. Selling your home quickly and avoiding the black mark of foreclosure on your credit report is the goal. It may be hard to accept thousands less than what you paid for your home but you will be better off in the long run.

Posted by Kathy Foran on 3/22/2015

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and we often focus so much on the photos of our home that we put little emphasis on the words that are used in Words are powerful and because the multiple listing service limits the amount of words that can be used in a listing it is important to make them count. Here are some words and phrases to bring in the buyers: Create an emotion: Buyers buy on emotion so be sure to tell them what it is like to live in the home. Paint a picture of sitting by the fire or entertaining in the open floor plan. Use specifics: Don't just say new or updated. If the kitchen boasts high-end appliances tell the potential buyer the brand name. Describe the shelves and racks in the walk-in closets or the brand name replacement windows. Highlight location: Is the home blocks away from stores, transportation or can you see the beach from the bedroom window? If so, tell the buyer exactly how close it is to desirable amenities and community resources. Update the listing: Change up the wording if the house has been on the market for a while. Try highlighting some different features. Don't forget to remove the comments about the Open House or how the listing "won't last". The words that describe your home can be just as important as the pictures so make sure that you use every character allowed to highlight the features and bring in the buyers.  

Posted by Kathy Foran on 8/24/2014

A house needs to be sold three times when it is on the market. First it needs to be sold to other agents so they will want to show and sell the home. Second it needs to be sold to buyers and lastly to the appraiser. Even if the buyer is willing to pay a certain price for a home they usually need a mortgage. That means it is actually the bank who is buying the home. The bank wants to protect their investment so they do an appraisal. When the appraisal comes back low or as an under-appraisal deals can fall apart. If you are a seller or a buyer you need to know how to protect yourself from short appraisals? Here are some suggestions from Bankrate.com for buyers and sellers. If you're a buyer: -- Tell your lender to find an appraiser who comes from your county, or perhaps a neighboring county. -- Request that the appraiser have a residential appraiser certification and a professional designation. Examples include the Appraisal Institute's senior residential appraiser, or SRA, or member of the Appraisal Institute, or MAI, designations. -- Meet the appraiser when he or she inspects the home and share your knowledge of recent short sales and foreclosures that might skew the comps. "Many appraisers are just pulling up data out of MLS (Multiple Listing Service) or off the deed at the courthouse and not checking it out," Sellers says. "Most good appraisers will appreciate the information." And yes, you can speak with your appraiser; the prohibition only applies to your lender. If you're a seller: --·Get an appraisal before you list a home. Search for a qualified appraiser in your area on the Appraisal Institute website. -- Use the appraisal to set a realistic listing price for your home. -- Give a copy of your pre-listing appraisal to the buyer's appraiser. The more professional appraisers will understand that you're just trying to add more data and another perspective. -- Question a low appraisal. There's always a chance the appraiser or a supervisor will take into account new or overlooked information.