Selling a Home: How to Price It

Posted by A.J. On January 16th

Calculating CostIf you’re selling a home, have you thought about the cost of waiting for it to sell?

If it’s your only home, the cost of waiting is the difference between your current home’s monthly expenses and your new home’s monthly expenses.

If it’s a second home, it’s just the cost of the current home’s expenses.

To make the math easy, let’s say you’re selling a second home with monthly expenses like this:

  • $500 Association Fee or Maintenance
  • $200 Property Taxes
  • $100 Electricity
  • $700 Mortgage Payment (interest portion only)

That means if you keep the house around, the costs add up to $1,500 each month. If you sell it, all those costs drop to $0.

Now let’s say you’re deciding on the sale price of your home without the help of a professional. If you set the price too high, and it takes 5 months to sell, the effect is the same as setting the price $6,000 lower and selling it in 1 month, because 5 minus 1 is 4 months, and 4 months times $1,500 is $6,000. (Not to mention the aggravation you’ll save yourself.)

So what should you do? Get a competitive market analysis (CMA) from someone who knows the market. Getting a CMA doesn’t mean you have to hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home; people who sell by owner can use this information, too.

Whatever you do, don’t just guess!

For Sale By Owner

Photo courtesy Flickr user Images_of_Money

I get asked this question frequently. Usually the reasons people give for wanting to go FSBO (for sale by owner) include:

  • Wanting to save money on the commissions real estate agents charge.
  • Having a bad experience with a real estate agent in the past.
  • Never having used an agent before and not knowing why they need one.
  • Having confidence they can sell it as easily on their own.
  • Not being in a rush to sell, and figuring they can always hire an agent later if it doesn’t work out.

Some of these reasons are based on good evidence, while others are not. I’m currently writing a guide to help sellers decide whether selling by owner is right for them or not.

What reasons have you heard people give when they decide to sell on their own? Let me know!

When Should I Sell My House?

Posted by A.J. On October 28th

Sell House in SandovalBeing right across the street from Sandoval, I bump into quite a few residents there. Now that home prices are on the rise, they all ask me the same question: “Is now the right time to sell my house in Sandoval, or should I wait?”

It’s usually the first question on a seller’s mind, regardless of where they live. Sometimes a seller has the luxury of waiting for the market to move into a favorable position, and sometimes they have to sell their home fast because events in their lives determine their schedule.

In either case, it pays to be educated. First I recommend that people compare their home to similar homes in the area by using a free custom home evaluation.

I also recommend that people read tips about how to sell their homes quickly. Nobody wants their home to sit on the market forever without selling! In order to help, I’ve made free videos and a free book that help homeowners accelerate their home sale.

I hope these resources help you! If you have any questions, be sure to let me know.

What's New in New ConstructionI hope you’ve enjoyed my latest series of blog posts covering what’s new in the world of new construction!

Sometimes when home inventories are low, the best thing to do is build. But how do you know for sure? How do you go about weighing the pros and cons of building your own home in Southwest Florida?

I’ve helped a lot of people through the home buying process. I know the frustrations and fears and how to make things go smoothly. I’ve condensed this knowledge into twelve tips showing you how best to research hiring a builder to build your home:

  1. 7-Year-Old ‘New’ Homes
  2. If Home Inventories Are Low, Consider Building a Home
  3. How Do Home Construction Loans Work?
  4. Vacant Land for Building a Home
  5. Designing Your Dream Home
  6. How Much Does It Cost to Build a Home?
  7. How to Save Money When Building a Home
  8. How to Choose a Home Builder
  9. Do You Need a REALTOR® When Building a Home?
  10. Home Builder Contract Checklist
  11. How 2013 Florida Building Codes Affect You
  12. How Long Does It Take to Build a House?

You can also download them all in one free eBook, What’s New in New Construction: 12 Tips for Building a Home in Southwest Florida Today.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!

12. How Long Does It Take to Build a House?

Posted by A.J. On August 23rd

Generally speaking, the home building process in Southwest Florida is about 4-6 months. There are many factors that can affect the time frame for building a home. From the size of your home to the size of your building crew, to the potential issues that may arise throughout the process, it can be hard to estimate an exact time frame. However, below are the phases that you can typically anticipate as you progress through the process. Most phases are about a week, but some may be 2-3 weeks, while others may be only a few days.

This is the last tip in What’s New in New Construction: 12 Tips for Building a Home in Southwest Florida Today, a free eBook.

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11. How 2013 Florida Building Codes Affect You

Posted by A.J. On August 7th

2013 Florida Building Energy Code

Whether you are building a new home or updating an older home, you and your contractor should be aware of the residential building codes for your state. In Florida, the building codes for windows and air conditioning units are undergoing changes.

The 2013 Florida Building Code (FBC) is now in the initial stages of development for an implementation in March 2014.

The FBC is essentially starting from scratch. They are throwing out the previous version with accumulated state amendments, and are starting with a clean slate with no amendments aside from those separately mandated by other state laws.

The 2013 Florida Building Energy Code development starts with the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code as a foundation. This includes certain U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) values for windows.

The current code was recently updated in 2012, which included the following updates:

Air Infiltration
Blower door test to ≤7 ACH or checklist for inspection
Recessed lights shall be IC‐rated and labeled to meet ASTM E 283

Prescriptive compliance: Max. 20% CFA; U‐factor ≤0.65; SHGC ≤0.30
Performance compliance: Max. weighted average SHGC 0.50 except if 4’ overhang

Air Conditioning
Ducts must be inside conditioned space and tested by BERS Rater
Equipment efficiencies and duct sealing
Programmable thermostat required for forced air systems

Must have 50% high efficacy lamps

10. Home Builder Contract Checklist

Posted by A.J. On July 24th

Before hiring a contractor to build your home, all agreements should be put into writing. This is something that your REALTOR® can help with as well.

Make sure the written contract with your builder includes all of the following elements:

  • The contractor’s full name, address, telephone number, and professional license number
  • A detailed description of the work to be done. Specify the materials to be used: quality, quantity, weight, color, size, brand name, etc.
  • The starting and completion dates
  • The labor cost and the material charges
  • Information on how and when you must pay
  • Any warranties and guarantees of workmanship
  • The method for debris and material removal when the job is complete
  • A “right to cancel” clause. This gives you time (3 days is the standard) after you have signed the contract to change your mind. The clause should also describe what happens if unexpected problems occur after the work is begun.

This is the tenth tip in What’s New in New Construction: 12 Tips for Building a Home in Southwest Florida Today, a free eBook.

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AJ AckermanAs a buyer, you should always have representation, even if it is for a newly-built home. A REALTOR® will have your interests and concerns covered, and can also help guide you through the process, negotiate price, and deal with pushy salespeople.

It does not cost you, as a buyer, to have a REALTOR®. The sellers pay a commission to sell their home, and this includes a new home builder. This way, you have someone looking out for your best interests. A REALTOR® knows more about all aspects of buying a home than the average home buyer, so you want to ensure that you have an expert working for you.

This is the ninth tip in What’s New in New Construction: 12 Tips for Building a Home in Southwest Florida Today, a free eBook.

Your REALTOR® can help you tour model homes of various builders. In addition to physically going to model homes, at Ackerman & Associates we will also soon be providing you with a way to virtually tour hundreds of homes, by multiple builders, all from our office. We will have numerous touch screens available for you to browse homes by various builders and find the style that is the perfect fit for you.

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8. How to Choose a Home Builder

Posted by A.J. On June 26th

Home BuilderDon’t buy a home. Buy a home builder.

A responsible builder understands that he or she has a reputation to protect, constructs homes that live up to promises, and remains available should issues arise. More than a few builders, however, take your money, throw together a house that starts falling apart on day one, and then stop returning phone calls.

This is the eighth tip in What’s New in New Construction: 12 Tips for Building a Home in Southwest Florida Today, a free eBook.

The lesson is: don’t buy a house. Buy a builder. The builder should be focused on building a relationship with you, and effectively communicating with you throughout the process. This communication is absolutely essential.

Before deciding on a builder, consider talking to:

  • Other owners who live in the development you’re considering.
  • Homeowner association. If the development is run by a homeowner association, talk to the association members and the board of directors. If nothing has been built yet, talk to owners in a recently completed development by the same builder.
  • County planning or building department staff who deal with local developers. (Ask your questions positively, for example: “Does (company name) finish their projects on time, with few complaints?” These types of questions will probably be answered honestly and candidly. However, something like “Is it true (company name) is a nightmare to work with?” might make the person hesitant to share information.
  • Real estate agents who have worked in the area for a long time.
  • The state or local licensing or consumer protection agency that oversees contractors.
  • The local Better Business Bureau. Ask whether any complaints have been filed against the developer.

Is Your Home Ready to Sell?

Posted by Jillian Dohack On June 13th

I have been in all aspects of real estate, from selling and designing to now working for a title company in Fort Myers, FL. What I’ve found is that when it’s time to sell one’s house, many people simply don’t know where to begin.

Is Your Home Ready to Sell

Not only do you need to hire a real estate professional and choose a title company etc. but you also need to make your home ready to sell.

If you turn any popular home network on cable TV you’ll find a program on real estate more specifically staging or decorating your home to sell.

I certainly don’t feel one needs to go out and spend tons of money in order to sell their home, but certainly needs to understand the importance of preparing your home to be ready to sell. Here are a few things you can do to attract more buyers.

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