Category Archives for "Selling Your Home"

View Of Downtown Lakeland from Lake Mirror
Jun 24

Estate Sales 101

By Brittany Graham | Lakeland Life , Selling Your Home

Since it's the busy season for garage and estate sales, and you're probably seeing ads and flyers for them everywhere, we thought we would go over the basics of estate sales! If you are interested in setting up an estate sale, contact us! We have great community contacts that would love to discuss the process for your unique sale!

estate sales ad

Why have an estate sale?

Estate sales are commonly held when the entire contents of a home needs to be liquidated quickly. Typically, though not always, estate sales present a good option when someone passes away and their heirs either do not want or do not have space for an entire home’s worth of belongings. In some cases of a death in the family, the deceased’s will may mandate an estate sale or the sale is required to pay debts on behalf of an estate. Sometimes, an estate sale is the best option when you’re looking to relocate/downsize or in cases of divorce, foreclosure, or court-ordered liquidation.

What’s the difference between an estate sale and a garage sale?

The clearest difference between an estate sale and a garage sale is the amount of items for sale. Obviously, if you host a garage sale, attendees are not going to arrive expecting every single thing in your home to be on offer. With an estate sale, typically ALL the contents of a home are available for sale because that’s the whole goal - to clear out the house completely.

"I think this may be a good option for me - how do I go about having an estate sale?"

We would strongly suggest contracting a professional company to manage an estate sale. The logistics of the sale can get overwhelming, from sorting/clearing, pricing, and negotiating. A professional service will typically work for a percentage of the profit from the sale, so it’s in both of your best interests to maximize the amount of revenue. They will also advertise the sale to get the best buyers there, based on their experience with selling the kinds of items in your home. On a more personal level, a professional company is also not going to experience the sentimentality you may when liquidating the home and in many cases, avoiding that emotional burden is worth their fees alone.

Obviously, your mileage may vary when contracting a professional service and there may be room for judgment. For example, if you sale includes highly-specific items, sets of antiques, etc., it may be worth contacting a professional broker for those specific items to assess the best way to liquidate. For the bulk of home goods and furniture however, an estate sale management company is likely experience enough with the market to get the best price for your inventory.

Lake mirror home equity
Jun 01

Home Equity 101

By Brittany Graham | Buying a Home , Real Estate News & Tools , Selling Your Home

Hi all! Today we’re going to start a series of blog posts getting back to basics! We realize that real estate can be confusing when you’re not a Realtor – heck, we even get cases that challenge our problem solving skills! We thought it might be a good idea to, at least once in awhile, answer the most common questions we hear. Two things before we get started:

  • We are not lawyers and none of this constitutes legal advice! Please consult a real estate attorney if you have any legal questions. Phew, now the *official* disclaimer is out of the way!
  • We’re addressing some FAQs here, but we are ALWAYS happy to talk in person! Whether you’re ready to sell right now or just want to have a conversation, please don’t hesitate to connect with us so we can answer these questions with respect to your specific situation.

What exactly is home equity?

Good question! Simply put, home equity is the market value of your home minus the total of any liens against it. In non-Realtor-speak, it’s the amount your home is worth minus what you owe. Make sense? For example, let’s say the fair market value of your home is $250,000 and you still owe $200,000 on your mortgage loan. The difference between the two, in this case $50,000 is what you have in equity. It’s the real property value of your home to you.

How do I get home equity?

Better question! Home equity is an awesome thing to build and there are a few ways to go about it! The first is to put a down payment on your home when you purchase it. If you purchase a home for $250,000 and immediately put $50,000 down on it, you now have $50,000 in home equity (leaving closing costs and other fees out of the equation for the moment).

Another way to build home equity is to pay against the principal of your mortgage. Let’s say you’re paying an extra $1,000 per month on your mortgage payment. A percentage of that will go toward paying down the principal balance of the mortgage faster, so you’ll build home equity faster.

As the fair market value of your home increases, like we’ve seen in recent years with rising property values, the home equity of your loan increases similarly. If you can sell your home that you purchased for $250,000 at $300,000 – boom, $50,000 more in equity.

A riskier way of building home equity is through renovation. Let’s say you spend $20,000 on a kitchen renovation that increases the market value of your home by $25,000. Excellent! You’ve earned $25,000 of equity and profited $5,000. The flip side (get it?) of the renovation strategy is that there are a number of scenarios where you don’t build as much equity as the cost of your reno – if you over-renovate for the neighborhood, spend money on something that doesn’t traditionally get as much back (we’re looking at you, swimming pools), or renovate to your specific taste without considering a buyer’s perspective, you may lose money on your renovation.

This is all great! So home equity only increases, right?

Unfortunately, no. While homeownership is one of the most stable investments, as we’ve all seen, it’s not without a certain amount of risk. When you’re riding the market to build equity, it’s just as possible that home values decrease than increase. If that happens, you’re losing equity. If you get locked into a mortgage with an unfavorable rate or repeatedly refinance, you could lose equity even as you make timely payments. These are obviously situations to be avoided, so it’s important to work with a Realtor and a mortgage lender you trust to steer you away from these possibilities.

Why does it matter? What is equity doing for me anyway?

Home equity is, by definition, not liquid (when you can repeatedly buy and sell and investment without affecting its price). For that reason, it’s important to consider how you might make that equity work for you. Home equity management is the process by which you invest the equity in your home, usually through loans then further investments, with liquid assets. Yes, all of this takes a lot of math, careful planning, and a certain amount of risk, but it’s how you can put the equity in your home to work for you.

Phew, that was a lot!

We know it is. While we handle scores of buy/sell transactions every year, the average person only moves 11.3 times in their entire life (as of 2015) and obviously not all of those involve buying and/or selling a home.

It’s our job to know how to navigate the real estate world and our privilege to assist you in the process! Connect with us today – via text, phone, or social media – so we can talk about how to figure out your home’s fair market value and how much equity you likely have in your home. Even better, we can talk about listing your home now while the market is favorable to maximizing equity and putting it to work for you in your next home!