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Seller Resources - Articles

Should I add on or buy a bigger home?    

You should consider these questions before making a choice between adding on to your existing home, upgrading your condo verses moving up in the market to a larger house or condo complex.

* How much money is available, either from cash reserves or through a home improvement loan, to remodel the current house or condo?
* How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a second floor or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level? What about the condo association requirements if expanding to another unit?
* What do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
* How much equity already exists in the property?  Will you be overbuilt for the subdivision or the complex?
* Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy housing needs?

Ultimately, the decision should be based on individual needs, the extent of work involved and what will add the most value.  Don't forget to contact Andrea Simon to help inform you of your options.

What do all of those real estate acronyms in the ads mean?
If you find yourself stumbling over weird acronyms in a real estate listing, don't be alarmed as this is common. There is method to the madness of this shorthand (which is mostly adopted by sellers to save money in advertising charges). Here are some abbreviations and the meaning of each, taken from a recent newspaper classified section:
* assum. fin. -- assumable financing
* bdrm -- bedroom (bathrooms may say bath or "bth")
* dk -- deck (waterfront dock is usually abbreviated "wtrfrnt dk")
* gar -- garage (detached garage is usually abbreviated "det gar")
* fab pentrm -- fabulous pentroom, a room on top, underneath the roof, that sometimes has views
* FDR -- formal dining room (not the former president)
* frplc, fpw, FP -- fireplace
* grmet kit -- gourmet kitchen
* HDW, HWF, Hdwd -- hardwood floors
* HVAC -- air conditioning unit
* In-law suite -- potential for a separate apartment. Sometimes, local zoning codes restrict rentals of such units so be sure the conversion is legal first.
* large E-2 plan -- this is one of several floor plans available in a specific building
* lsd pkg. -- leased parking area, may come with an additional cost... not usually found in our local Brevard County FL market.
* lo dues -- find out just how low these homeowner's dues are, and in comparison to what?  (usually homeowner and condo associations are abbreviated "HOA" but they are not the same when it comes to a contract).
* nr bst schls -- near the best schools (Brevard county agents my put "A-Rated" schools which is based on the state school board rating for possible extra funding.
* pvt -- private
* pwdr rm -- powder room, or half-bath
* upr- upper floor
* vw, vu, vws, vus -- view(s)
* Wow! -- better check this one out.

Resources:
* "Real Estate's Ambiguous Language You Oughtta Understand," Glennon H. Neubauer, Ethos Group Publishing, Diamond Bar, CA; 1993.

How long do bankruptcies and foreclosures stay on a credit report?
Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on a credit report for seven to 10 years. Some lenders will consider an borrower earlier if they have reestablished good credit.  The newest addition is Short Sales.  The circumstances surrounding the short sale or bankruptcy can also influence a lender's decision. For example, if you went through a bankruptcy because your employer had financial difficulties, a lender may be more sympathetic. If, however, you went through a short sale bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, the lender probably will be less inclined to be flexible.

What are some tips on negotiation?
The online buyer is more knowledgeable than most sellers know.  They typically have been viewing homes online for weeks, months and sometimes years prior to making an offer.  Remember, the listing price is what you as the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what the buyer will pay.  If we have multiple offers it can change negotiations and prices can go beyond the asking price.  Before selecting a Realtor to help you price your home or condo, check to see how many closings the agent made over the last several years. 

The agent should provide a sold listing link on their website.  If not, they may not have the experience you need in negotiating an contract with a buyer.  Buyers check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood such as Zillow to see how you as the seller has priced your property compared to area sales.
Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating at all. 

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?
Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.  In FL, the seller can negotiate any offer at any time it is presented.  It is not a first come first serve state.  Also, the seller can require highest and best (usually abbreviated as H&B) from all buyers and select the offer they like the most.

How do I prepare my house or condo for sale?
First and foremost, put it in the best condition possible but not necessarily making complete renovations.  That means taking care of any major repairs that could deter a buyer (such as replacing any broken windows or replacing a leaky roof) if you can afford it.  If a lot of issues you may decide to market it as needing TLC (tender loving care) or a fixer-upper to attract the investor buyers.  But know that you may receive extremely low offers since investors want to be paid for the hassle of improvements by offering a lower than market price. 

Next, work on your home's curb appeal. Make sure your landscape is pristine and green. Mow the grass, clean up any debris and weed the garden beds. Plant a few annual flowers near the entrance or in pots to be placed by the door if you are living in your home.  If a condo unit make sure you have an inviting entry free to clutter and the lights on during showings.  If a Other quick fixes that don't cost a lot of money but can help you get top dollar for your home:

  • Clean the windows, screens and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking.
  • Be sure that the doorbell works and welcome mat is clean and not worn.
  • Clean and freshen up rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. Make sure that bathrooms and kitchens are spotless.  Paint is cheap but be sure not to over spray on the baseboards or ceilings since buyers will see re-painting as another cost to incur.
  • Organize closets and pack up clothes and accessories you don't need so it looks spacious and neat.  Nothing is worse than a bunch of items falling on the head of the potential buyer.... yes this happened to one of our buyers... they did not buy the house.

  • Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Replace leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure inside the appliances and refrigerator is clean and neat.
  • Eliminate the source of any bad smells, such as the kitty box. Use air freshener or bake a batch of cookies before your open house to ensure that the house smells inviting.  Caution about candles since left unattended can cause a fire.  Invest in a couple of vases of fresh flowers to place around the house.
  • Andrea and Mark Simon
    Andrea and Mark Simon
    Realtors