Jill Finkelstein - Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Town and Country Real Estate



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/15/2018

If you intend to sell a home, it helps to allocate time and resources to produce an effective property listing. Ultimately, a house listing can help a property seller make a positive first impression on potential buyers. And if a listing is informative and engaging, it may lead a buyer to set up a house showing.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a house listing that hits the mark with prospective buyers.

1. Analyze the Buyer's Perspective

Think about why a buyer may pursue your house over all other available properties. Then, you can put together a home listing that accounts for the buyer's perspective.

As a home seller, your goal is to stir up interest from as many potential buyers as you can. If you assess the buyer's perspective closely, you can craft a home listing that accounts for key factors that distinguish your residence from other properties. And as a result, your home listing may help you make your house an attractive choice to dozens of prospective buyers.

2. Provide Accurate Home Information

Although you may be tempted to stretch the truth when you craft your home listing, there is no reason to do so. Because if you try to hide home problems from buyers, you may put a property sale in jeopardy down the line.

On the other hand, if you include accurate home information in your listing, you can help a buyer make an informed decision about your house. And if a buyer finds your home may match his or her expectations, this individual could set up a showing to take an in-depth look at your residence.

3. Include High-Resolution Photos of Your Home

High-resolution photos that show off the beauty of your kitchen, bedrooms and other areas of your house are must-haves in your property listing. In some instances, you may be able to capture spectacular images of your home with your camera or smartphone. Or, you can hire a professional real estate photographer to take pictures of your home for a property listing.

Clearly, there are many things you can do to transform an ordinary house listing into an exceptional one. And if you work with a real estate agent, you can get expert help as you prepare a home listing and perform other house selling tasks.

A real estate agent understands how to sell a residence and is happy to share his or her housing market insights with you. This housing market professional can help you promote your home to prospective buyers, review any offers to purchase your residence and much more. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations to ensure you can maximize your house sale earnings.

Prioritize your home listing Ė you'll be glad you did. If you devote the necessary time and resources to craft a listing that highlights your home's features, you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a successful property selling experience.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/8/2018

Home appraisals are an important part of the buying and selling process. Lenders use appraisals to make sure that the home is worth what the borrower is paying. A homeís appraisal value is based on a number of factors, all of which weíll discuss in this post.

Whether youíre a buyer, seller, or are just learning about the process of buying a home so youíll be better equipped in the future, this article is for you.

How is a home appraisal different from an inspection?

While home appraisals and inspections are performed by licensed or certified professionals, they have to different functions. An inspection ensures the safety of a home, as well as whether or not it will need repairs in the immediate or near future.

Appraisals, on the other hand, aim to value a home based on its property value, the size of the property, and the location of the property. The condition of the home is a factor in valuing a home, which is why some people confused appraisals with inspections.

Who pays for appraisals?

Like most closing costs, a home appraisal is a burden that falls on the buyer. Typically, the lender you choose will work with will actually order the appraisal. The cost, which usually amounts to a few hundred dollars, can be added to your closing fees. You can find the cost for an appraisal listed on the Closing Disclosure document provided by your chosen lender.

Which factors determine the homeís value?

To appraise the house itself, appraisers will look at the condition of the home. Theyíll also weigh the features of the home in their valuation--things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for example.

However, the two key characteristics of a home that contribute to its value are its age and size.

Which external factors contribute to the homeís value?

As you might suspect, the location of your home matters greatly when it comes to appraisals. Homes are appraised based off of average prices for their neighborhood and region.

Other location factors include how accessible the home is, if itís located on a waterfront, and whether it has desirable views.

When does a home get appraised?

While your experience may vary based on your specific circumstances, most appraisals occur after a buyer has signed a purchase contract. One this is done, the lender will take the steps necessary to order and process the appraisal.

How long is the home appraisal process?

Once the buyer has signed a purchase contract, the appraisal is usually completed and processed within 7 days. The appraisal report will be sent to the lender. This report contains the appraised value of the home. Buyers are entitled to a copy of this report, and should keep one for their own records.




Tags: Buying a home   appraisal  
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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/1/2018

Many hopeful homebuyers seek to save money by buying a fixer-upper and doing most of the renovations themselves. This is a proven method for those who have a knack for home improvement and arenít afraid to get their hands dirty.

However, estimating the cost of a remodel can be difficult. There are many costs you may not be aware of, and others that are easy to go over budget on.

In this article, weíre going to talk about the cost of an average remodel, and some lesser-known costs that you might be forgetting to factor into your budget.

Average remodeling costs

As you might guess, the cost of a remodel can vary greatly. Things like the size of the home, the number of rooms youíre remodeling, and the type of repairs youíll be making all factor into the equation.

Some repairs can be quite costly. Septic system replacements can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the type of system you need. And, if youíre buying an old home, youíll need to look out for expensive fixes like asbestos removal and foundation damage.

According to one report, most Americans spent between $17,000 and $61,000 on their remodel, with the average renovation cost being around $37,000.

If youíre hiring a contractor for the bulk of your remodel, expect them to charge between 10% and 15% of the total cost.

Lesser known costs of a home renovation

Remodeling a home isnít as simple as looking up a contractor and telling them to give you the bill once itís finished, and thatís probably a good thing because odds are you would be shocked by the cost.

First, youíll pay a contractor to do a walkthrough and estimate costs. Next, youíll need to get any permits that are required for your renovations.

If you plan on doing the renovations yourself, there are a few costs youíll need to consider. First, understand that you likely wonít be able to take advantage of all of the discounts that contractors can, meaning your building materials may be more expensive than expected. Similarly, the cost of tools for the project adds up quickly. And, when you make mistakes--we all do, weíre only human--youíll be paying for it out of pocket.

Knowing your long term goals

An important consideration for a remodel is to look toward the future. Do you want to sell your home within the next few years? If so, you might consider going with less expensive materials--such as generic kitchen cabinets rather than custom-built--to save money while still increasing the value of the home.

However, if you plan on being in this home for decades or more, it may be worth the extra money now to make sure you are happy with your home for years to come.

Remodeling a home can be a memorable and rewarding endeavor. You get the chance to take a house that you see potential in and make it truly your own. Now that you know the costs, youíll be better prepared for planning your home renovation.




Tags: Remodel   renovations   budget  
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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 6/24/2018

A home showing may prove to be a life-changing event, and for good reason. If a homebuyer attends a showing and likes what he or she sees, it may be only a matter of time before this individual submits an offer to acquire a residence. As such, it is important to prepare for a home showing to ensure a buyer can fully evaluate a house and determine whether it is the ideal choice.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why homebuyers should put together a list of questions prior to a home showing, and these reasons include:

1. You can attend a home showing with a strategy in place.

A home listing usually includes information about a house's age and condition. However, few homebuyers are willing to submit an offer on a house based on a listing alone. But if you use a home listing to prepare questions before a showing, you can attend a showing with a plan in place to pursue your dream residence.

Oftentimes, it helps to prepare a list of general questions about a home. You then can review this list in conjunction with a home listing and determine which questions are answered in the listing itself. If you find assorted questions are still unanswered in the listing, you should not hesitate to find answers to these questions when you attend a showing.

2. You can gain deep insights into a house's condition.

Preparing a list of questions prior to a home showing may enable you to gain the insights that you need to make the best-possible decision about a house. And in most instances, you can never prepare too many questions to ensure that you can make an informed decision about a house.

Remember, buying a house is a major decision. If you put together a list of questions before a home showing, you can help take the guesswork out of deciding whether to submit an offer on a home.

3. You may be able to speed up the homebuying process.

The homebuying cycle may prove to be long and complicated, particularly for a homebuyer who is uncertain about how to proceed. With a list of questions in hand, you can attend a home showing and gain expert insights right away. Meanwhile, these insights can help you decide whether a house is right for you.

As you get ready for a home showing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent is happy to help you craft a list of questions prior to a home showing. Also, this housing market professional can keep you up to date about houses that match your homebuying criteria, help you submit offers on homes and much more.

When it comes to home showings, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. If you prepare a list of questions prior to your next showing, you should have no trouble evaluating a house.




Tags: Buying a home   showing  
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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 6/17/2018

Shopping for a home is an exciting time for any hopeful homeowner. After weeks of scouring listings looking for the perfect home in the ideal location for you and your family, it can seem like youíve found the needle in the haystack.

When itís time to go visit that home, itís easy to put on rose-colored lenses and overlook issues that should, at the very least, be taken into consideration when it comes to deciding whether or not you should make a bid on the home and how much you should offer.

Todayís post is all about preparing you for that first viewing. Weíll give you tips on what to look out for and how to factor these things into your equation when it comes to making an offer.

Check the listing for omissions

Even if a home looks perfect on paper (or on its website listing), itís still quite likely that there are things youíll want to know about before considering an offer. A home listing should attempt to address several questions you might have. But ultimately, itís main goal is to attract interest in the home.

So, what type of things should be in the listing that the seller might leave out?

  • Poor street conditions, heavy traffic, and blind driveways are all things that will factor into your decision but most likely wonít be mentioned in a listing

  • Odors of any kind can be off-putting and difficult to remove. Some homeowners may not even know that their home has an offensive odor if theyíve become used to it.

  • Room omissions. If the home is listed as having two bathrooms but there are only photos of one, this could be a sign that there are problems with the second bathroom that the seller doesnít want you to see quite yet.

Top dollar home repairs

A professional home inspection will be able to give you an idea of the kind of money youíll need to spend on renovations in the coming years. But why wait? When touring a home, ask questions about the last time important renovations and repairs were made.

Roofs, septic systems, and electrical work are just a few of the things that are expensive to repair or replace. If the previous homeowner has a small family or lives alone and you plan on moving in with a houseful of kids, you might find that your impact on the septic and electrical systems of the home are too much for the house to handle. Youíll want to take this into account before considering a bid on the home.

Utility costs

The cost of heating a home in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer can be hefty if the home isnít properly sealed and weatherproofed. Ask the current homeowner what they spend per month on utilities to get an idea of what you might be spending.

Then, take a look at the windows and doors. Cracks, malfunctioning locks, and worn weatherstripping are all signs that the home will need some work to be energy-efficient.

Donít ignore the little things

Small fixes may not seem like a big deal when viewing a home. They can even deceive you into thinking that youíre getting a good deal by buying a fixer-upper for a price thatís lower than the market average.

However, itís important to keep in mind that small fixes around the house are a sign that bigger problems are also being neglected. Donít be too quick to assume the house will be a good deal before getting it professionally inspected.




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