The Benefits of Staging Your Farmington Hills MI Home for Sale

The Benefits of Staging Your Farmington Hills MI Home for Sale

  The Benefits of Staging Your Farmington Hills MI Home for Sale

Congratulations. You’ve decided to put your Farmington Hills MI home on the market. In order for your home to sell quickly for the best price, you first need to get buyers interested in it. Home staging is the best way to market your home when you list it for sale. High-quality home staging appeals to buyers because it helps them envision your house as their home. People don’t just buy houses; they buy a story of what their life would be like in a new home. Many home sellers see a great return on their investment in home staging, including faster home sales and higher offers from buyers.

The key to home staging is tapping into a buyer’s psychology. It’s the same concept as packaging a product to make it appeal to a target market. Professional stagers know how to accomplish that while getting the most out of every room. If you are on the fence about whether to stage your Farmington Hills MI home for sale, the following information and staging statistics should help you make your decision:

Impact on buyers

Home staging helps accentuate the home’s best features while creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for buyers. Staging works because it considers the wants and needs of buyers and taps into their emotions when searching for a home. REALTORS® who typically work with home buyers say that many are willing to offer more money for a staged home compared to a home that’s similar but not staged. 81% of buyers say home staging makes it easier to visualize the property as their future home. And among REALTORS® who typically represent buyers, 49% report that most home buyers are impacted by staging.

Staging helps homes stand out and sell faster

The main reasons home staging has become so popular are consumer demand and the rapid increase of buyers searching for homes on the internet. Most buyers first see a home online so photographs matter. If a home looks cluttered for example, buyers may pass on seeing it in person. While there’s some debate as to whether home staging actually ensures higher offers, several studies indicate that staging does sell homes faster. 

A well-staged home allows buyers to better visualize themselves in the space, and also makes them more likely to overlook small issues because they are already picturing themselves living there. A survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. found that staged homes spend half the time on the market than non-staged homes. And a National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey found that the longer homes stay on the market, the further their price drops. One study found that homes staged prior to listing sold 79% faster than those staged sometime after being listed.  

Staging helps maximize space

Maximizing space is key when it comes to staging and selling homes. However, it can seem a little more challenging when working with smaller spaces. Stagers have a lot of amazing tips and tricks that can really transform small spaces such as choosing light colors, sticking with a monochromatic color scheme, selecting the right size furniture, removing or opening curtains to let in more light, avoiding clutter, and not overstuffing shelves, just to name few.

Staging can help potential buyers see the openness of your home instead of focusing on the small square footage. Good staging will give every room a clear purpose, taking the guesswork out of things for buyers. For instance, if your living room is also a playroom, move the toys into the kids’ bedrooms until your home is sold. A professional stager will be able to walk through your home and create a flow that is beneficial to most home buyers.

When buyers can see how a space is used, they are less likely to get hung up on an unusual layout or a small floor plan, increasing their chance of putting in an offer. 

Staging from a seller’s agent perspective

According to the 2019 Profile of Home Staging report by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), from a seller’s agent perspective:

  • Twenty-eight percent of sellers’ agents said they staged all sellers’ homes prior to listing them for sale. Thirteen percent noted that they only staged homes that are difficult to sell. 
  • The most common rooms staged included the living room (93 percent), kitchen (84 percent), master bedroom (78 percent), and the dining room (72 percent). 
  • It was common that sellers’ agents personally offered to stage the home (26 percent). 
  • When staging a home, 22 percent of sellers’ agents reported an increase of one to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes. Seventeen percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between six and 10 percent. 
  • Twenty-eight percent of sellers’ agents stated that there were decreases in the time on the market when the home is staged. 
  • The most common home improvement items agents recommended to sellers were decluttering the home (95 percent), entire home cleaning (89 percent), removing pets during showings (83 percent), and carpet cleaning (78 percent).

Hiring a professional stager or doing it yourself 

Once you decide to stage your home, the question will be whether to do it yourself or hire a staging pro.  Many factors can affect this decision, from the condition of your home to how much time and money you are willing to invest. If you don’t have the time, the know-how, or the desire to stage your home on your own, hiring a professional stager may well be your best option. The biggest benefits of hiring a stager are convenience and assurance that the job will be done right. Plus, if you don’t have an eye for decorating, you may not fully maximize your home’s value, even if you are willing to put in the legwork.

Hiring a professional stager means you don’t have to worry about deciding on all the visual and spatial details that go into impactful home staging. Of course, there is the matter of cost. Most professional stagers charge for a consultation, which can range anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to over a thousand depending on the size of your home. The actual staging fee itself can range anywhere from $500 to $7,000, depending on how many rooms you need to be staged, the amount of work that’s required, and if there are any rental fees for furniture, art, and/or accessories mixed in. 

While home staging may have attained its popularity in higher-priced and vacant listings, it now appears in all segments of the market. As a result, more savvy real estate agents recommend sellers have their homes staged before they list, no matter the price, size, condition, or location.

Award-winning Farmington MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that selling your home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust to get you top dollar. Tom partners with the most talented home stagers and real estate photographers/videographers to showcase your home’s features and help buyers envision your house as their home. 

Tom will create a competitive marketing strategy that exposes your home to the public along with other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, and so on. Your listing will appear on all the most popular real estate sites where buyers spend hours a day looking at such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, REMAX, Redfin, and dozens of others. Your home will also be featured on Tom’s own highly-trafficked website homes2moveyou.com.

As your agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to get your home sold fast for the best price. Feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch by email.

Article sources:

https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/profile-of-home-staging
https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-profile-of-home-staging-03-14-2019.pdf
https://magazine.realtor/home-and-design/feature/article/2020/03/why-staging-matters
http://realestateagentu.com/11-incredible-home-staging-statistics/
https://www.nar.realtor/infographics/profile-of-home-staging-2019
Real Estate Staging Association (RESA): Consumers Guide to Real Estate Staging

Oakland County MI First-time Home Buyers: FHA Loans 101

Oakland County MI First-time Home Buyers: FHA Loans 101

 Oakland County MI First-time Home Buyers: FHA Loans 101

While most people consider homeownership the American dream, many are not able to qualify for a conventional loan, which is a type of mortgage loan that’s not insured or guaranteed by the government. Unlike conventional loans, FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and help to take some of the risk from lenders and place it on the government for higher-risk borrowers. Although the government insures the loans, they are actually offered by FHA-approved mortgage lenders.

The FHA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), offers a wide range of loans to help different groups of people. FHA loans are helpful for Oakland County MI home buyers with limited savings and/or lower credit scores as they allow for down payments as low as 3.5% and a 580 FICO.  These types of loans are not only for first-time home buyers. Repeat buyers can get an FHA loan as long as they use it to buy a primary residence. FHA loans can also be used to refinance your home or for repairs on an older home.  

How FHA Loans Work

The Federal Housing Administration’s flexible underwriting standards allow borrowers who may not have stellar credit, high incomes, and/or cash savings the opportunity to become homeowners. With an FHA loan, borrowers must pay mortgage insurance, which protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. The cost of insuring your loan is generally higher than with conventional mortgages, and you can expect to pay higher mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) each month. Government-guaranteed mortgages are not available on high-priced homes, and you can see the cap in your area using the online tool on HUD’s website.

The differences between an FHA loan and a conventional loan 

When buying a home in Oakland County MI, It’s easier to qualify for an FHA loan than for a conventional loan, which is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. FHA loans require mortgage insurance regardless of the down payment amount, compared to conventional loans where you need mortgage insurance for down payments under 20%. FHA mortgage insurance payments will be the same regardless of your credit score.

FHA loans

  • More rigid property standards
  • Lower credit scores allowed 
  • Somewhat higher down payment needed
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required for down payments of less than 20%

Conventional loans

  • Higher credit score needed (at least 620)
  • Slightly smaller down payments allowed
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required for down payments of less than 20%
  • More liberal property standards

One of the biggest advantages of an FHA loan is that only a 3.5% down payment is required for a home loan purchase (with a minimum 580 credit score). This is a lot less than other conventional types, which will ask anywhere from 5 to 20%. It’s worth noting that If you were to combine the FHA loan with a down payment assistance program, it could potentially mean that you would only need to put 0.5% down.

With an FHA loan, the down payment doesn’t have to come directly from the borrower; It can come from a family member, employer, or charitable organization as a gift. Also, if you prepay your mortgage before a certain amount of time, many conventional lenders will charge a prepayment penalty. With an FHA loan, there is no penalty for prepayment.

FHA loan limits for Oakland County MI in 2021

No matter which type of FHA loan you’re seeking, there will be limits on the mortgage amount. These limits vary by county. Limits for FHA Loans in Oakland County, Michigan range from $356,362 for a 1 living-unit home to $685,400 for 4 living-units.   

The different types of FHA loans

Loan qualification guidelines are fairly similar across the various types of FHA loans available:

  • Fixed-rate loans – Available in fixed-rate terms between 15 and 30 years, FHA mortgages come with a low down payment advantage- one of the lowest on the market.
  • Adjustable-rate loans – An FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) comes with an interest rate that “adjusts” over the loan’s term; generally increasing. Many people are drawn to ARM mortgages because they offer initial rates significantly lower than a fixed-rate product.
  • FHA 245(a) loan – An FHA 245(a) loan packs a fixed rate graduated-payment mortgage, also known as a “growing equity mortgage.” Graduated payment mortgages structure your monthly payment to scheduled increases over the life of your loan. As your loan amortizes, you’ll reach a point in time when your equity starts gaining traction. These mortgages are set up in 30-year terms, but it’s not uncommon to pay off the loan early depending on which graduated plan you choose.
  • FHA energy efficient mortgage – The FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) program is a financing add-on that allows FHA borrowers to roll the cost of approved energy efficiency upgrades into their home loan. Homebuyers commonly use this program to update their home’s windows, HVAC systems, and insulation.
  • FHA loans for mobile homes – It is possible to use an FHA loan to finance a manufactured or mobile home, but finding a lender willing to approve financing may take a few tries.  
  • FHA loans for condos – Many are surprised to find that they can purchase a condo using the FHA loan. Since some condo associations enforce rules regarding property sales and improvements, however, there are some restrictions when it comes to using your FHA loan for a condo.
  • FHA 203(k) – Compared to other types of FHA products, 203(k) loans offer the opportunity for buyers to purchase fixer-uppers while financing additional funds for home repairs and renovations into the mortgage.
  • FHA reverse mortgage (HECM) – FHA Reverse mortgages are used as a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM). This allows a qualified homeowner to receive monthly cash disbursements by liquidating the equity they’ve built up in their home.

How to qualify for an FHA loan

Getting prequalified for an HOA loan is a simple and quick process, and can even be done over the phone. Your loan officer will require information about your basic finances, such as debt, income, and assets.  After running these numbers and evaluating them, he/she can tell you an amount you may qualify to borrow. To be eligible for an FHA loan, borrowers must meet the following lending criteria:

  • A FICO score of 500 to 579 with 10 percent down or a FICO score of 580 or higher with 3.5 percent down.
  • Verifiable employment history for the last two years.
  • Income is verifiable through pay stubs, federal tax returns, and bank statements.
  • The loan is used for a primary residence.
  • The property is appraised by an FHA-approved appraiser and meets HUD property guidelines.
  • Your front-end debt ratio (monthly mortgage payments) should not exceed 31% of your gross monthly income.
  • Your back-end debt ratio (mortgage, plus all monthly debt payments) should not exceed 43% of your gross monthly income. (Lenders may allow a ratio of up to 50% in some cases).
  • If you’ve had a bankruptcy, you will need to wait 12 months to two years to apply, or three years after a foreclosure. (Lenders may make exceptions on waiting periods for borrowers with extenuating circumstances).

Your credit score

The minimum credit score for an FHA loan is 500. If your score falls between 500 and 579, you can still qualify for an FHA loan, but you’ll need to make a larger down payment. Again, these are FHA guidelines — individual lenders can opt to require a higher minimum credit score.

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

The FHA requires a DTI of less than 50, meaning that your total monthly debt payments can’t be more than 50% of your pretax income. This includes debts that you aren’t actively paying off.

FHA closing costs

FHA closing costs include the mortgage insurance (MIP), lender and third-party fees, and prepaid items that are due when signing your mortgage paperwork. Here’s the breakdown:

  • FHA mortgage insurance premium (MIP) totals 1.75% of your loan amount, due at closing. You can also finance this charge as a part of your loan. You’ll also find that an additional ongoing FHA MIP of 0.45% to 1.05% is built into your monthly payment. While the rate remains the same for the life of the loan, the premium is adjusted annually based on the remaining principal loan balance.
  • Lender fees typically include an origination fee, underwriting fee, document preparation fee, supplemental loan origination fee (for FHA 203(k) renovation loans only), and interest rate lock fee.
  • You may also decide to buy discount points (a prepaid interest that lowers your loan’s interest rate), which will be listed as a lender fee.
  • Third-party fees include fees for services offered by other providers and could include Title insurance policy premium (for the lender and an option for the buyer to purchase as well), notary fee, credit report fee, Recording fees, appraisal fee, courier fee, attorney fees, and flood certification fee.
  • Prepaid items are fees that are paid in advance, with some shared between buyer and sellers such as tax and insurance escrow deposit, flood and hazard insurance premiums, real estate taxes, and per diem interest.

In summary 

Whether an FHA loan vs a conventional loan is the better choice, when buying a home in Oakland County MI, really depends on the situation as each borrower, financial situation, and home are different. Likewise, each loan has its benefits. An FHA loan is more flexible to obtain, but no matter how large your down payment, you will have to pay mortgage insurance. Whereas, a conventional loan requires a higher credit score and more money down, but doesn’t have as many provisions. You’ll want to speak with your mortgage professional to discuss which loan makes more sense for your individual financial situation and needs.

Partner with award-winning Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Oakland MI for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to both home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust. As your agent, he will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and guide you towards a smooth and successful transaction.   

Whether you are ready to buy a home in Oakland County MI or its time to list your your current property, feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him by email.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

 

 

12 Tips for Getting Your Oakland County MI House Ready to Sell

12 Tips for Getting Your Oakland County MI House Ready to Sell

12 Tips for Getting Your Oakland County MI House Ready to Sell

If you are getting ready to sell your Oakland County MI home, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Selling a home involves a whole lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn or uploading a few interior/exterior photos of your house. Real estate agents are experts when it comes to what makes homes sell. They can do a walkthrough of your home and point out changes you need to make to attract buyers and get the best offers. 

REALTORS® can see flaws you are oblivious to because you see them every day or you simply don’t view them as flaws. They can also help you determine which feedback from potential buyers you should act on after you put your home on the market to improve its chances of selling. Anyone who’s determined to sell their own home should hire a professional cleaning service to give it a deep cleaning before putting it on the market. Sellers should also consider hiring a home stager to assess the current condition and market appeal of the home.  

Here are a few tips to help you get ready to sell your Oakland County MI home fast and for top dollar:

1). Find a qualified Oakland County MI real estate agent

You might be tempted to avoid a real estate agent, save the commission, and just sell your home on your own, also known as “for sale by owner” (FSBO). However, in most cases, the risks of going it alone outweigh the benefits. Risks include having fewer potential buyers, not knowing how to negotiate like a pro, not having enough free time to market your home, and not having the expertise to navigate all of the legal and regulatory requirements that come with selling a property.  

Oakland County MI Real estate agents who have worked with many home sellers can identify the to-do’s that sellers typically overlook. There’s also the fact that professional real estate agents network know other REALTORS®. Often times an agent will post their listing on social media, and because of their network of real estate agents, it reaches the right audience who in turn shares that information with the buyers they are working with. 

Do some research to find a REALTOR® in Oakland County MI with knowledge of the local market and make sure the agent you choose is a good fit. You want an agent you are going to feel comfortable working with and one you can trust to sell your home fast and for top dollar. When interviewing a listing agent, be sure to ask about their experience in your neighborhood, connections to potential buyers, and social media expertise.

The Realtor® you choose should be able to give you a comprehensive plan for how they are going to sell your home. Don’t be afraid to speak with a few agents before picking one to work with.

2). Research your local housing market

First and foremost, make sure to do your homework on the value of your home. Start by researching the local housing market through Realtor.com. Take a look at comparable sales in your neighborhood to figure out the appropriate listing price for your home. Pay attention to the various comps’ square footage, features, and location. 

Finally, think about how they compare to your home. For example, your neighbor’s home may have sold for $1 million, but if your home is considerably smaller, you’ll most likely need to list your house for less. Of course, a reputable real estate agent should be able to assist with finding comps and determining the right listing price for your house.

3). Amp up your home’s curb appeal  

Curb appeal is both an art and a science. And since it’s a buyer’s first impression of your home, it can be absolutely essential for getting your home sold. Curb appeal will improve how your home looks to buyers as they pull up and park or drive by. That includes your driveway to the potted plants on your porch to the welcome mat at your front door. 

By investing in some relatively easy fixes such as replacing an old mailbox, planting colorful flowers, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, sprucing up lawn furniture with some new cushions, and repainting your front door, the outside of your house will encourage prospective buyers to take the next step and arrange for a tour inside. 

There is also the stuff you don’t necessarily want prospective buyers to see such as garbage cans,  recycling containers, compost bins, jumbled hoses, garden tools, bicycles, and toys strewn all over the lawn. You want to be sure the outside of your home is neat and tidy because it says  ‘well-maintained’ to potential buyers. 

If you’re not sure how to improve your home’s curb appeal, ask your Oakland County MI real estate agent for advice on how others in your area have improved the exterior of their homes before selling.   

4). Depersonalize your home  

Depersonalizing it is an important step when preparing your house for sale. Your home is likely filled with many personal items that are unique, special, and important to you and your family. However, to prepare your house to sell, you’ll want to remove your personality so that potential buyers can visualize themselves actually living in the space. 

Make it as easy as possible for them by removing personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make the home less appealing to the general public. Dozens of antique plates, figurines, ball caps, or beer bottles lining shelves are distracting, especially in online photos. Get those things packed away. The added benefit of depersonalizing is that it’s a good start to decluttering. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of happily living in the space.  

5). Declutter every area of your home

Before you can successfully show off your house to anyone (or even take listing photos) you need to ensure you have a home that people would want to live in. When getting your house ready to show, less is definitely more. And since potential buyers like to see everything, that means no area of your home (not even your utility closet) is off-limits from the gaze of a serious house hunter.  

Clean off countertops, windowsills, tables, shelving, and all other visible areas. Next, you will want to tackle behind closed doors, closets, drawers, and cupboards. Take your excess stuff and donate it, or pack it up to be stored somewhere else. Not only will clearing the clutter help make your house look more appealing to potential buyers, but it will also help you once you’ve accepted an offer and it’s time to pack up and move to your new abode.  

6). Give your home a deep clean   

When selling your Oakland County MI home, it’s important to keep everything clean and tidy. You never know when a buyer might want to schedule a last-minute tour. First impressions mean everything, so don’t let dirty floors, dusty surfaces, and dingy carpet make a bad one on a potential buyer. Before listing your home, you want every square inch to shine, from the baseboards to the corners of your ceilings and everywhere in between.  

This means wiping down surfaces, cleaning toilets, mopping floors, washing windows, dusting ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, and rafters, cleaning rugs, etc. Remember to take special care with the bathrooms, making sure the tile, counters, toilet, shower, and floors shine. Whether you do the cleaning yourself or hire a professional house cleaning service, you want your home is pristine clean at all times, especially for those last-minute showings.

7). Repaint the walls to neutral colors

You might love that purple accent wall in your foyer, but if a potential buyer isn’t into purple, it could be a turnoff. According to Home Advisor, the best paint colors for selling your home are neutral colors and earthy tones. This means warm beige, light gray, off-white verging on yellow and white.

Ask yourself these questions while selecting paint colors: 

  • Does it feel warm and inviting?
  • Does it feel cold or boring?
  • Can you see the previous color underneath?

Fortunately, there are many neutral colors that make your home feel warm. For example, try greige, which is a warm shade of gray that’s closer to beige than it is to blue. Neutral colors are also versatile. You can place any color couch into a white living room wall and any color table and chairs to a beige kitchen interior. For your kitchen, choose light blue or gray paint. 

Research shows that homes with this color kitchen sold for almost $2,000 more than homes with white-walled kitchens, according to Home Advisor. If you’re looking for a professional paint job, you might need to know the cost to hire a painter to see what works with your budget. The average cost to paint a house is between $960 and $2,750.  Also, when you paint your home’s whole interior the same neutral tone, you save money because you can buy in bulk.

Keep in mind that during an open house, homebuyers can more easily imagine their decor in a neutral room than a chartreuse room they would have to repaint.  You want to help buyers picture themselves in the house because if they don’t feel at home, they’ll probably look at other real estate options.

8). Make sure big-ticket items are in working condition

Unless you are selling your home in as-is condition or to a buyer who is planning to gut it, you will want to make sure any big-ticket items are in good working condition. Consider getting a home inspection done to help guide you where you should spend money or be able to factor that into the price and be aware of any big issues during negotiations. 

If you take care of the improvements, you may be able to ask a higher price for the home, covering the cost of the upgrades with your list price and making it attractive to a broader group of buyers. Tackling problem areas now will also help you avoid post-inspection price reductions. 

These are the most common big-ticket items, including some that buyers and their inspectors could flag as safety issues:

  • Replacing the roof
  • Updating the electrical panel
  • Installing a new water heater
  • Addressing termite, mold, or water damage
  • Repairing pipes, sewer connection, or septic system
  • Updating the HVAC system

9). Fix and repair everything and anything that needs it

Along with big-ticket items, make sure anything and everything that needs to be fixed (locks, hardware, cracks in the walls, scuff marks, missing light bulbs, loose handles, squeaky doors, etc.) has been taken care of before listing your home. Otherwise, It may make buyers think your home hasn’t been well taken care of and stop to think what else could be wrong with it.

Beyond any critical updates, think about the following easy things to do before selling your house. Many of these items can be tackled over a weekend before putting your house on the market.

  • Caulking in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Improving lighting by adding fixtures or replacing bulbs
  • Having the carpets professionally cleaned
  • Paint touch-ups 
  • Painting the baseboards

Selling almost any home can be tricky, but selling a home with lots of little problems and small repair needs can be downright difficult. With a home that is fixed up and move-in ready, you’re more likely to see more interest in your home and may even see multiple offers. 

10). Give your home the sniff test  

As you get your Oakland County MI home ready to sell, keep in mind that the visual appeal of your home is not the only thing to be considered. Foul odors, even slight ones, can be a deal-breaker, and the problem is that you might not even notice them.

Overwhelming odors can be off-putting to buyers at best, and leave a negative impression, at worst. You want to make sure that your house passes the sniff-test. 

Here are the places in your home that typically need attention:

  • Closets. Odors tend to build up in closets because they stay closed.
  • Bathrooms. Besides the obvious odors, mildew on surfaces and towels can be either subtle or strong.
  • Bedrooms. Dirty clothes, bed linens, carpet, and musty drapes can cause odors.
  • Kitchens. Onions, garlic, and strong spices can linger in the air from last night’s dinner. Garbage disposals and kitchen trash cans can also add unpleasant odors to the mix. 
  • Basements. Basements often not have the same airflow that the main floor rooms have, and musty odors can build up.
  • Pet smells. It is common to get used to pet smells and forget that buyers will immediately notice the lingering smell of pets.
  • Trash receptacles. Probably the worst odor culprit of them all.

To solve those unpleasant odors in your home, natural solutions like baking soda are the best, which absorbs the odors from the air. You can use absorbent air fresheners in closets to absorb stale odors in the air and place them inside gym shoes that can build up odors. Use a dehumidifier in the basement to keep that musty smell away and also open windows periodically to get fresh air circulating throughout the space.

If you’re going to use strong-smelling cleaners like bleach, make sure to clean the night before so the odors are not overpowering to potential buyers. Be sure to place pet beds and items outside or in a garage before a showing, and keep a neutralizing spray on hand to spray on furniture, carpets, or any place where your pet has been. Take the trash out before a showing. It’s a good idea to remove all trash receptacles. 

We often get used to the odors in our living spaces so it helps to have a friend or family member that does not live with us (and who will be brutally honest) to give the home the sniff test.  

11). Consider professional home staging

Consider getting your home staged by a professional home stager. Home staging is a method of decorating meant to highlight your house’s most impressive assets and help buyers imagine themselves living there.  Home stagers will evaluate the current condition and belongings in your home and determine what elements to add or take out that might raise the bar. 

According to a staging report by the National Association of Realtors, 49% of buyers’ agents believe that home staging has an effect on how a buyer views the home, with 77% saying that it makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their own. On the seller’s agent side, 21% said that home staging increases the value of a home between 6% and 10%, and 39% note that it greatly decreases the total amount of time a home is on the market. 

With so much to gain, it makes sense for sellers to stage their home, and fortunately, many of the best staging tips don’t require spending a lot of money. Professional stages know the real estate market, and what sells, so it’s important to take their advice and not take offense when they make big changes. Their job is to help drum up interest from potential buyers, which is always good news to the seller.

12). Hire a professional photographer

In 2021, everyone is looking at images and videos online to make decisions. Professional real estate photography and real estate video tours can help sell your home faster. Given that many potential buyers search for homes online, it’s crucial to include high quality, professional photos in your online listing. 

According to a recent study, professional real estate photography can earn you between $1,000 and $100,000 more on your final sales price. In addition, better quality photos can also increase the number of people clicking on your listing. This means that simply updating your listing with professional photos can potentially double the attention your home gets from potential buyers. 

Professional photographers understand the essential elements that make up quality home images. Furnished rooms and spectacularly staged photos attract homebuyers by helping them envision their new life in your home. Few pictures are automatically perfect. Instead, they require careful post-production editing to enhance the final product.

Before putting your home on the market, hire a professional photographer to snap photos or create an impressive video tour of your clean and staged abode. Your Oakland County MI real estate agent should be able to help with finding a professional real estate photographer, so be sure to ask who they use when interviewing real estate agents to work with.

Partner with award-winning Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted Oakland County MI REALTOR® in Oakland County MI for the past 20 years- offering his guidance and expertise to home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that selling your home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust to get you top dollar.

Tom employs the latest technology to get your home in front of as many buyers as possible. He also partners with the most talented home stagers and real estate photographers/videographers to ensure that your home’s features are optimally showcased.

Tom will create a competitive marketing strategy that exposes your home to the public along with other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, and so on. Your listing will appear on all the most popular real estate sites where buyers spend hours a day looking at such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, REMAX, Redfin, and dozens of others. Your home will also be featured on Tom’s own highly-trafficked website homes2moveyou.com.

As your agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to get your home sold fast for the best price. Feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him by email.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578

Key Real Estate Roles When Buying or Selling a Farmington Hills MI Home

Key Real Estate Roles When Buying or Selling a Farmington Hills MI Home

Key Real Estate Roles When Buying or Selling a Farmington Hills MI Home

There are many types of professionals that work within the real estate industry. Knowing the key real estate roles and what they offer can be very helpful if you’re looking to buy a home in Farmington Hills MI or sell your existing property. In this article, we are going to discuss the similarities and differences of the different real estate roles, including real estate agents, brokers, REALTORS®, listing agents, and buyers’ agents, and how they each can bring value to a transaction: 

What Is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is an industry professional who serves as the facilitator of real estate transactions. Agents are licensed salespersons and cannot work independently. Real estate agents work for brokers or agencies and are normally paid on a commission basis, which is a percentage of the sale price of a property. The employing broker is responsible for a real estate agents’ actions and requirements for a real estate salesperson license vary from state to state.

Real estate agents are ultimately responsible for bringing buyers and sellers together and for carrying offers and counteroffers between each party along with any queries they may have. An agent will work with another agent once an offer is accepted, guide clients through the process of filling out paperwork, and make sure their clients are aware of any requirements to complete the sale, such as home inspections, moving, and important dates like the closing.  

What is a real estate broker?

A real estate broker is a step above a real estate agent. A broker typically will have more training and subject-matter education than an agent (but not always) and will typically handle some of the more technical aspects of a real estate transaction. A broker can work independently or hire real estate agents to work under them.

Brokers who work with buyers normally look for properties that match the criteria set forth by their clients, conduct negotiations, prepare offers, and help the buyers with any other issues leading up to the closing date. Sellers’ brokers determine market values of their clients’ properties, list and show properties, communicate with sellers about offers, and assist in the offer process. A broker associate is a real estate broker who works for another real estate broker or a brokerage firm.

Although brokers can work for themselves, they may choose to join a larger real estate network. Some pay a flat fee to the employing broker and some earn a percentage of each transaction. Brokers receive a commission once a sale is completed.  The listing agreement or contract generally outlines how much of a percentage of the sale will go to the broker.

What is a REALTOR®?

Not all real estate agents or real estate brokers are REALTORS®. Although the word “realtor” is commonly confused with that of “real estate agent,” the designation is open to a variety of professions within the real estate industry. A REALTOR® can include residential and commercial real estate agents, brokers, property managers, appraisers, and other real estate professionals.

“REALTOR®” is a title that means the individual belongs to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), is bound by an extensive code of ethics, is an expert in their field, and pays annual dues.  REALTORS® are expected to be honest and transparent with their clients, avoid exaggeration and misrepresentation, and always conduct business with their clients’ best interest in mind.  

What Is a listing agent?

A listing agent can be a real estate broker or a real estate agent. Listing agents owe a fiduciary responsibility to the seller under a listing agreement and must protect that interest. In other words, the agent must put your interests first.  Listing agents have a comprehensive understanding of how the real estate market works and how to market and price a property effectively. 

Their responsibilities include listing the property on various listing services; negotiating prices, contingencies, and conditions on behalf of the seller; scheduling showings, pricing and advertising the property; property, and help with the closing paperwork.

Most listing agents require sellers to sign exclusive selling agreements. By doing so, the agent secures a commission for his or her brokerage upon closing. The brokerage then shares a portion of the commission with the agent. 

What is a buyer’s agent?

A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional who guides a buyer through the process of purchasing a home. A buyer’s agent has a legal obligation to protect the interests of the buyer and work to ensure they are getting the best deal possible. Although there are some real estate agents who specialize in working with buyers, most agents work as either a buyer’s agent or listing agent, depending on the specific transaction. 

A buyer’s agent is responsible for acting as a resource for their clients by guiding them through each step of the home buying process. They find listings for the buyer, schedule showings, negotiate with the listing agent, recommend other real estate professionals such as real estate attorneys, inspectors, etc.; and guide and advise the buyer through closing.

Typically, it’s the seller who pays the commission for both the buyer’s agent and listing agent. If buyers are unable to find a home to purchase, the buyer’s agent doesn’t get paid.

The takeaway

Whether you are buying a home in Farmington Hills MI or it’s time to list your property, knowing the types of real estate professionals can help you make informed decisions. For example, when you hire a real estate agent, you may also want to dig into the real estate broker’s reputation, since that’s who the agent works for.

You may also prefer to work with a REALTOR® since they are held to a high ethical standard. Regardless of the type of real estate professional you work with, make sure they are experienced, knowledgeable, skilled, appropriately licensed, and have a stellar reputation.

Partner with award-winning Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Farmington Hills MI for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust. As your agent, he will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to ensure the best results possible. 

Feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him by email.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

Selling Your Farmington Hills MI Home? Avoid These Mistakes

Selling Your Farmington Hills MI Home? Avoid These Mistakes

Selling Your Farmington Hills MI Home? Avoid These Mistakes 

Selling your Farmington Hills MI home can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging, especially if it’s your very first time. With no experience and a complex, emotional transaction on your hands, it’s easy for first-time home sellers to make mistakes. However, with a little know-how, you can avoid many of these pitfalls. Read on to find out how to sell your house while getting the highest market price within a reasonable time frame – and without losing your mind.

Not keeping your emotions in check

Once you decide to sell your Farmington Hills home, start thinking of the transaction from a purely financial perspective. That way you can distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling it. While your home is full of sentimentality and memories for you, a potential buyer will be looking at it quite differently.

Try to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and examine the house’s attributes and imperfections. If you can remember that you are selling a piece of property as well as an image and a lifestyle, you’ll be more likely to put in the extra effort of staging and doing some minor remodeling to get top dollar for your home.

An agent can also help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyers and eliminating those who only want to look at your property but have no real intention of making an offer. It may be hard to believe right now, but you’ll soon become just as attached to your new home as you were to your old one.

Not hiring a Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® 

An experienced real estate agent can help you at every stage of the home selling process. They are better-qualified to set the right price for the homes they list, better-equipped to market those homes, and likely to find a buyer in a shorter period of time than if you try to sell on your own. Marketing exposes your property to the public as well as to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service, other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, and so on.

In many markets, a substantial portion of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Real estate agents often use these cooperative relationships to benefit their clients. In addition, an agent will know when, where, and how to advertise, which medium, format, and frequency will work best for your home and your market.  Without an agent, you are the one responsible for showing the house and negotiating the sale with the buyer’s agent, which can be time-consuming, stressful, and emotional for a lot of people.

Not setting the right price  

The selling process generally begins with a determination of a reasonable asking price. One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when selling your Farmington Hills MI is overpricing it. A higher list price will not translate to more money in your wallet. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® reported in 2020 that sellers typically sold their homes for 99% of the listing price while 38% reduced the asking price at least once.

Listing your home above market value can cause it to linger on the market and make buyers wonder why it hasn’t sold. Buyers see comparable homes in your area online every day and they know how long a house typically lasts on the market. Don’t worry too much about setting a price that’s on the low side, because in theory this will generate multiple offers and bid the price up to the home’s actual market value.

Underpricing your home can actually be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing, and you can always refuse an offer that’s too low. Your real estate agent can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in your local market as well as the price, financing, terms, and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in marketing your home and selling it at the best price. Often, your agent can also recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. 

Not being willing to negotiate on the asking price  

Any smart homebuyer will negotiate, and if you want to complete the sale, you may have to as well. Most sellers want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers but still leaving some wiggle room for negotiations. The buyer then feels like they are getting good value while allowing you to get the amount of money you need out of the sale.

Be prepared to receive multiple offers if your home is priced right and don’t ignore any offers, even if it seems too low. Negotiate by making a counteroffer. Don’t be afraid to make a full-price counter offer if your price is competitive and it’s backed up by comparable sales. Whether you end up with more or less than your asking price will likely depend on whether you are in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and how well you have prepared your home to sell.

Your agent can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position and also help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

Not investing in quality listing photos  

Since most buyers look for homes online these days, and many of those homes have photos, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have quality visuals of your home. If you do a good job, it will set your listing apart and help generate extra interest. Good photos should be crisp and clear and taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available. They should showcase your home’s best assets. Consider using a wide-angle lens if possible—this allows you to give potential buyers a better idea of what entire rooms look like.

Ideally, hire a professional real estate photographer to get top quality results instead of just letting your agent take snapshots on a phone. And don’t just stop at photos. Consider adding a video tour or 360-degree view to further enhance your listing. This can be easily done with any smartphone. You can certainly entice more potential buyers into walking through your doors for showings. You may even get more offers if you give them an introductory walk-through of your property. 

Not disclosing problems with your property

You really can’t get away with hiding problems with your property because they will get uncovered during the buyer’s inspection. Basically, you have three options to deal with any issues: fix the problem ahead of time, price the property below market value to account for it, or list the property at a normal price and offer a credit for the issue. Not fixing the problem ahead of time, however, could eliminate a number of potential buyers who are looking for a turnkey home.

Having your home inspected before listing it is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises once the home is under contract. Many states have disclosure rules and some require sellers to disclose known problems about their homes if buyers ask directly, while others require that sellers must voluntarily disclose certain issues.

Not preparing your Farmington Hills MI home for sale

Sellers who do not clean and prepare their homes for sale will have a harder time getting them sold fast for the best price. You want your home to be in the best condition possible. Take care of major defects like broken windows or a leaky roof that could discourage buyers.  If you haven’t attended to minor issues, such as a dripping faucet or broken doorknob, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has other, more expensive issues that haven’t been addressed either.  Anything that’s obviously broken gives potential buyers a reason to submit a lower offer.

Thoroughly cleaning, decluttering, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and getting rid of any odors (litter box) will help you make a great impression on buyers. In addition, you might consider hiring a professional to stage your home for showings or ask your real estate agent for help or ideas. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are staged before going on the market sell 73% faster, on average, than their non-staged counterparts.

Virtual staging apps such as Ro0omy, VisualStager, BoxBrownie allow you to stage a home digitally, then use the photos in your listings or other marketing material. Remember, you only get one chance, and sometimes only three seconds or so to make a great first impression, so make it count.  

Not estimating your costs to sell

Depending on the price range of the home, be ready to spend 9% – 10% of the sale price on selling costs, including the real estate agent commission and closing costs. Be sure to budget ahead of time for the additional costs involved with selling your home so that you will be ready when the time comes to close the deal. The main types of fees to plan for include:

  • Staging and prep fees (anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple of thousand dollars)
  • Real estate agent commissions (5.8% national average)
  • Inspections and repairs (varies)
  • Closing fees (1% – 3% of the sale price)
    • Title fees
    • Transfer or excise taxes
    • Escrow fees
    • Reconveyance fee
    • Recording fees
    • Prorated property taxes
  • Seller concessions (2% – 6%)
  • Overlap costs (1% – 2%)
  • Moving and relocation costs (varies)
  • Mortgage payoff (varies)

Your real estate agent deals with transactions every day and will be able to give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs.

Not selling to qualified buyers  

It’s more than reasonable to expect a buyer to bring a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender or proof of funds(POF) for cash purchases to show that they have the money to buy the home. Signing a contract with a buyer may be contingent on the sale of their own property, which may put you in a serious bind if you need to close by a particular date. An unconditional offer is when the buyer does not place any conditions on their offer. This is often preferred by sellers as it is an easier option and the sale can proceed quickly.

The takeaway

Selling your home will likely be one of the biggest transactions of your lifetime. An experienced Farmington Hills MI REALTOR like Tom Gilliam can get broader exposure for your property, help you negotiate a better deal, dedicate time to your sale, and prevent your emotions from sabotaging it. An agent brings expertise to a complex transaction with many potential financial and legal pitfalls.  

Partner with award-winning Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Farmington Hills MI for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to home buyers and sellers. He understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust. As your agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to ensure a smooth transaction and the best results possible. 

Tom works hard for his clients and provides the kind of knowledge, skills, commitment, and personalized service you need and deserve when buying or selling a home. Get the process started today by reaching out to Tom Gilliam directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

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