Tag Archives: lower burrell realtor

Home Projects & Ideas that will Increase Home Value

The real estate market is still very competitive for sellers. Sellers are in stiff competition more than ever with their home on the inside and out. A few home improvement projects will impact buyers. Sellers going to have to spend a little time (and cash) but it will be well worth it.

  1. Painting – take the opportunity to brighten up rooms and get rid of those scratches and finger prints and smudges. Use neutral tones. Your buyer is most likely not going to like that red wall (or even the wall paper) . Wall paper is an instant repair list item and instant work. I recently removed a wall paper border in a small bathroom and it was a thorn in my side. Freshen up paint on the outside and especially the front door. It is the first thing the buyers see. I have had buyers that pull up to a house and refuse to go in because the front is not appealing.
  2. Landscaping – trim the grass, get rid of any weeds, keep the shrubs under control. Low maintenance will be easier on you and the buyers eyes.
  3. De-clutter – Clean and de-clutter your home. By doing this, of course, makes it neat but also low stress and makes the home seem cleaner. Get rid of personal photos. Some buyers have a hard time envisioning the homes as theirs with personal photographs around the house. Remove furniture and items that take up a lot of space. Rent a storage unit if you have to. Remember buyers are evaluating the space. This week I showed a home that was from another era. Oh, maybe 20-25 years ago. There was stuff in every nook and cranny, plants, knick knacks, etc. . . The whole thing was rather chaotic. The buyer had no interest in the home, even though it was a good bones home. He could not get passed all the personal items and taste specific décor. The house really needed a make-over.
  4. Minor repairs – Buyers see the details and they can tell when you have a very clean house and all details are taken care of that the other working parts are most like taken care of the same way. Fix the handle on the drawer or that missing little piece of molding, or that stain spot.
  5. Staging – talk to your agent about staging. A job well done in this area can set you apart from all the other homes in your neighborhood.

Using Homebuyer Tax Credit for Down Payment

Buyers have inquired, and articles have been written about the possibility of using the first time homebuyer tax credit, or at least part of the funds, for a down payment on the purchase of home.  I had written previously about this opportunity..

The key to having funds be used for a down payment was finding someone who would fund this amount because it would really have to be a loan. Well, I actually saw this happen.  I recently had a closing in October, where the buyer for my sold listing actually did use the tax credit for the down payment.  The transaction contained seller’s assist (where the seller pays part of the closing fees) and the balance due after that was around $4k. PHFA (Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency) backed the balance due amount. The buyer’s have 12 months to pay the approximately $4K amount back as an interest free loan. The funds to pay back would come after filing their taxes in the spring.  What we were told at the closing is, if they chose not to pay it off it would become a loan and would be a lien against the property.

What I did find out at the closing was the PHFA had run out of funds at the point of this closing so we were not likely to see funding again in the near future from PHFA. It was a great deal for the buyer because with the seller assist, VA backed funding, and the tax credit funds for the down payment, the cash due at closing from the buyer was “Zero dollars”.   This is extremely rare but apparently it does happen. The interesting thing was the buyer even had a credit due them at closing but due to the loan rules the buyer was not able to get any money in their pocket after the transaction so it had to go onto the principle of their loan.

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Photo Copyright 2007, Amy S Myers

Tax Credit Extension Signed into Law by President

Great News! It is official. The President has sign the homebuyer tax credit extension to law. Activity has already picked up in the area this week.

“Obama Signs Extended Tax Credit into Law”-Â Expected to contribute approximately $22 billion to the economy, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan measure this week extending the $8,000 home buyer tax credit to April 30, 2010″. . . . .

More people are now eligible to take advantage of the law, which includes a $6,500 tax credit for buyers who are current home owners and have lived in their home for five of the past eight years.”Â

“Which Properties Are Eligible? Â – The 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.

How Much Will the Credit Be?  – The maximum allowable credit for home buyers is $8,000. Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by two factors:

1) The price of the home—the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000.

2) The buyer’s income—single buyers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000—may receive the maximum tax credit.” – Quoted from Realtor.org

Additional details on the tax credit

Here is a helpful chart on the new home buyer tax credit changes. You will be able to compare the first home buyer tax credit plan that expires November 30, 2009 and the new plan that starts December 1, 2009. Chart supplied by the NAR (National Association of Realtors)

Additional info from CNN.com

“The bill also made more homeowners eligible to claim the credit on their taxes. First-time buyers — those who have not owned a home in the past three years — still qualify for an $8,000 rebate. But now people who want to trade up can also qualify. Those who have owned and occupied a residence for at least five years out of the past eight can claim a $6,500 tax credit if they close on a purchase by the end of June.

“The new version of the tax credit has the potential to stimulate the housing market even more than the old version due to the fact that more people will qualify under the new rules,” said Gibran Nicholas, chairman of the CMPS Institute, an organization that certifies mortgage bankers and brokers.  “

Interesting Sightings . . .

As a real estate agent, I really enjoy looking at homes. As you may have read from previous posts, there have been some rather outlandish things and ancient items and decor. Today, I was out with a buyer looking at multi-unit properties. The first one we went to was curious and intriguing. There were two sides, and on each side was an upper and lower apartment. One of the up stairs had the bath out in the hallway – not inside the locked apartment. We later found out when speaking to the owner that the home used to be a hotel about 100 years ago. There were old original stair cases on both sides that were in excellent condition with ornate detail in the woodwork. There were fireplaces in most of the rooms. Each room had been a keeping room in the hotel which was mainly used by guests for the opera house next door.  Since the owner happen to be there, she took us through and told us many stories about the house and the neighborhood being that it was in her family for years. She even told us where the secret cubbie holes where, that her dad had made as a child. The original hotel had four stair cases instead of the two that were currently there. Additional staircases made the traffic flow smoothly. Below is a photo of a stove that was in one of the apartments.

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The next home we viewed had a rather strange pipe coming out of the house. This duplex had a room on the third floor and there was a sink in it. There was no toilet and no tub – just the sink. Now even stranger, the sink drained out the side of the house and connected into the drain pipe from the rain gutter.  If anyone has any idea what they were thinking, I would be interested.

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