Jodi Bakst, Author at
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Q: Should Sellers Get an Inspection Before Selling?

Q: Should Sellers Get an Inspection Before Selling?

I am an advocate for sellers getting a pre-inspection before they sell.


I’ve been practicing real estate for well over 20 years, I list many homes each year, and I am a strong proponent for sellers getting an inspection before they list their house for sale. It allows sellers to choose which repairs they want to make, and decide which ones are minor enough to disregard. In North Carolina, the Offer to Purchase contract is very easy for buyers to terminate, so the more issues you can take off the table, the better. You don’t want buyers to even consider terminating. 


One thing buyers get very uneasy about is significant repairs that need to be mended. It’s all about disclosure; buyers will feel more at ease knowing the home is in good condition. It’s best when we can do the buyer’s due diligence for them. If you get a pre-inspection and it comes out well, buyers may not even get one done themselves. They might just have their inspector check the repairs to ensure they were done properly. If you have a pre-sale inspection, you have more control.


“The more issues you can take off the table, the better.”


As an example, I just had buyers that put a house under contract that did not have a pre-sale inspection. Our inspector came out of the crawl space and said that it was basically a disaster. So my buyers are, understandably, terminating. The seller could have headed that off at the pass; if he knew there were problems in the crawl space, he could have fixed all or most of them, and the buyers would have felt much better about the property. 


If we can be of any help to you at all, whether you have questions or need advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via phone or email. We’re always glad to help. I hope you found this information helpful; I’m going to keep these videos coming.

Q: How Should You Pay Your Mortgage?

Q: How Should You Pay Your Mortgage?

Here’s why I advise paying your mortgage on a bi-weekly basis.


If you’re like most people, you pay your mortgage every month. What would happen if you paid on a bi-weekly basis, though? By this, I mean paying half of your monthly total every two weeks. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, this would result in 26 half-payments rather than 24. Thus, it’s a relatively easy way to make a 13th mortgage payment each year. By making this extra payment, you can save thousands of dollars in interest and reduce your principal much faster. 


“I’m a proponent of the bi-weekly approach or at least trying to make that 13th payment each year if you can.”


For example, let’s say you have a $250,000, 30-year fixed loan at a 4% interest rate. If you made bi-weekly payments, you’d save $30,000 in interest over the life of the loan and pay your mortgage off five years faster. Even if you were in the house for seven years, you’d still save thousands in interest and pay off about $10,000 more in principal, which gives you more equity when you sell. 


Personally, I’m a proponent of the bi-weekly approach, or at least trying to make that 13th payment each year if you can. 


Remember, if you have questions about this or any real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help.

Q: What’s Our Recommended Pricing Strategy?

Here’s why we recommend underpricing your home slightly when selling.


As of July 2020, both new listings and closed sales are down in the Triangle area. However, median and average prices are up. 


Closed sales are down about 11.8% in Chapel Hill and median prices are up 5.7%. The average days on market has gone up to about 42. In Durham, new listings are down 8.3%, and median prices are up about 5.6%. The average time on market for homes here is just 22 days.


“Underpricing brings attention and competition.”


What’s the best strategy for pricing your house in today’s hot seller’s market? With such low inventory in our area, there isn’t a lot for buyers to choose from. Even though we’re in a seller’s market, pushing your price way up can work against you. If buyers think a house is overpriced, they will often walk away. 


They’d rather bid on a home with a fairer price. That’s why we need to underprice your home slightly, knowing that the buyers will come out and start a bidding war. We’ve been seeing houses sell for $30,000 to $40,000 above the list price in some cases. That’s the best advice I can give you today.


If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Q: What Should You Do Before You Sell?

Q: What Should You Do Before You Sell?

Selling your home isn’t easy, but it’s much more simple when you follow these tips. 


If you’re in the market to sell your home, there are seven things that you absolutely must do to accomplish your goals of selling quickly and for the highest price possible:


1. Detach yourself from the home. Start to think of your home as more of a product than a home. It will help you make better decisions when you’re preparing it for the Triangle real estate market.


2. Hire a strong listing agent. They will be able to tell you what you need to do to get ready. They should either have really strong staging skills themselves or work with a professional stager.


3. Maximize your curb appeal. Your curb appeal is a term for how your Triangle home looks when a buyer pulls up to the curb. If there is something off right away, buyers will start to wonder if there are other problems inside the home.


4. Use up-to-date paint colors. Your agent and/or stager should be able to help you pick the right colors that match your home and appeal to the highest amount of buyers possible.


5. Replace your carpet. It’s amazing what new carpet can do to a home in the eyes of buyers.


6. Stage your home for buyers. We don’t live in our home like we would stage our home. When it’s time to sell, you need to stage it to sell because it truly does make a difference.


7. Pricing your home right the first time. When you’re looking at comparable homes that are listed for sale on the Triangle MLS, look at those pictures and compare them to your home. Pricing is an art form, not a science. Pricing right off the bat will make the most difference because that’s when most buyers will see your house.


If you have questions about getting your home ready for sale or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Q: What Costs Do You Pay When You Sell?

Q: What Costs Do You Pay When You Sell?

There are a few costs associated with selling a home that you need to know.


In North Carolina, there are three home selling costs to note:

• The total commission. The commission could be 5% or 6%, and that covers both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.

• The preparation of the deed and the lien waiver. The deed is the legal document that transfers ownership of the property, and the lien waiver is the document that states there are no liens on the property. Those documents are prepared by a lawyer and must be both signed and notarized. The typical cost for that is about $150.

•The revenue stamps. Also called a transfer fee, this cost amounts to $2 per $1,000 of the home’s purchase price. For example, if you bought a $500,000 house, you’d pay $1,000 in revenue stamps at closing.

“When taxes are paid at closing, they come from your proceeds.”

In addition, there are a few other costs to keep in mind, like your taxes. You’ll be responsible for paying your prorated taxes from January 1 through the day of closing. At closing, your account is debited and the buyer’s account is credited. When the tax bill comes out, the buyer pays it in full. 

Remember that when your taxes are paid at closing, they come from your proceeds, not your escrow account; around a month after your loan is closed out, you’ll get a nice, big check in the mail. You’ll also have to pay any costs incurred from preparing your home for sale. You may also choose to have a pre-sale inspection and any repairs associated with that inspection.

If you have questions about any of these home selling costs or selling a home in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you.

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