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Should You Renovate And Remodel? Or Sell it as Is?
Several years ago, the real estate market was so hot that no matter what some sellers did—either putting money into renovations or simply listing it “as is”—they sold their home without any problem at all. Very often a seller was able to sell their home within the first few days it was listed and sold it without a home inspection.
Unfortunately for sellers, those days are long gone.
Today, the big question is this: Should you make renovations to your home before you put it on the market or should you list it at a lower initial price and not spend the money for upgrades? Although there’s no simple answer (even most experts disagree), each option has its benefits. Yet, when all is said and done, a compromise between the two options is probably the best bet.
Yes! You should renovate before putting your home on the market. If your home is definitely in need of upgrades, spending the money makes sense. If you are considering any major renovations, you’ll want to have your real estate agent provide you with information about houses in your area in to determine what the norm is (number of bathrooms, kitchen types, average age of homes, etc.). If your home is “inferior” to other homes on the market in your neighborhood, take the plunge and complete any needed upgrades. However, be careful that you don’t go overboard. If your renovations are over the top, your home may end up being too pricey for your neighborhood.
No! Instead of making upgrades, list your home at a lower price. In many cases, you might not be able to recoup your remodeling costs when it comes time to sell your home. Also, if you’re worried about your house sitting on the market longer than you want it to, you may be better off if you forgo any major renovations and instead concentrate on listing your home at a much more competitive price. This doesn’t mean that you need to underprice your home, however. You just need to price it according to what the current market will bear—and according to the current value of your house in its current condition. Once again, your real estate agent can help you in this area.
The smart thing for you to do may be a combination of remodeling and lowering your list price. Making smaller upgrades to your house—to bring it in line with similar houses in your area—is usually a good idea if there’s a discrepancy between your home and other homes. Also, you should always do minor cosmetic upgrades such as painting, carpet cleaning and landscaping before putting your home on the market. In terms of your list price, make sure you list your home at a fair and competitive price—whether or not you make any renovations.
Staying the Course: Don't Lose
Your Loan Approval
Congratulations! After months of improving your credit and keeping a close eye on your finances, you were approved for a mortgage. You can finally relax, right?
Not so fast.
The time between approval and closing is still critical because any changes to your financial status and credit situation could result in losing your loan approval. To help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, you’ll need to continue to monitor your finances and not make any changes to what allowed you to be approved in the first place.
Here are six things to avoid following your loan approval:
1) Making any major purchases. Major purchases—such as a new car or new furniture—can drastically change your financial situation and, ultimately, your loan approval status. A sudden drop in your bank account balance or an increase in your debt-to-income ratio may be a red flag to your lender.
2) Changing your job status. Similarly, a change in your income could be cause for you to lose your loan approval. Although a termination may be out of your control, there are other things you can control such as quitting your job, changing jobs or taking on a new position that is commission-based.
3) Moving around large sums of money. Not only should you not move large amounts of money between bank accounts (such as transfers from checking accounts to savings accounts, etc.), but you should also not make any changes to investment accounts. Any changes in balances or contribution amounts will change the information on your loan application—after the fact.
4) Opening new lines of credit. Much like avoiding major purchases, you should also avoid opening new lines of credit, namely credit card accounts. Since available credit is a factor in the loan approval process, getting a new credit card—even one with a low credit limit—is not a good idea.
5) Accepting cash gifts. Accepting a cash gift to be used as a down payment is fine—as long as you have the proper documentation (such as a gift letter) to back it up. Without it, a cash gift might be perceived as a suspicious spike in your bank account balance.
6) Being late on any payments. Although this should go without saying, paying your bills on time is important, even after you’re approved for a mortgage. You’ll need to continue to make all of your payments on time and be extra vigilant about any late payments. If you can, pay your bills early.
Even if you haven’t been approved for a loan yet, these six “don’ts” can help you get approved. In the end, keep in mind that getting—and keeping—a loan approval can be hard work.
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