What is a CMA and Why Do I Need One?
CMA is real estate shorthand for “Comparative Market Analysis”. A CMA is a report prepared by a Real Estate agent providing date comparing your property to similar properties in the marketplace. The CMA process takes place before your home is listed for sale. This is a good assessment of what your house could potentially sell for.

CMAs are not only for prospective sellers. Buyers should consider requesting a CMA for properties they are seriously looking at to determine whether the asking price is a true reflection of the current market. Owners who are upgrading or remodeling can benefit from a CMA when it’s used to see if the intended changes will “over-improve” their property compared to others in the neighborhood.

What is a Lockbox?
A lockbox is a universal metal container for your house key that is hung on the front door and can only be opened by a special key carried by licensed Real Estate Agents. It provides access when the owner is away, thus assuring full exposure to prospective buyers.

Should we Redecorate?
The big problem in major redecorating arises because it is very difficult to anticipate the tastes of potential buyers. It is best to stick to fresh paint in neutral colors and present a sparkling clean house without the redecorating expense. A staging walk-thru with a professional stager who is up on the current decorating trends, can help you see what needs to be upgraded, redecorated or remodeled.

Is it Possible to Over-Improve?
Yes. Your landscaping may be divine. You may have the only cabana and swimming pool in the neighborhood, but it may be difficult to sell a $670,000 home in an area of $600,000 homes. Consult your listing agent to determine if added improvements means added marketability.

Are “Fixing-up Expenses” Tax Deductible?
Yes. You can reduce your taxable capital gain by “fixing up”, but only under strict guidelines. Check with your tax consultant for details. Many states now require that sellers provide buyers with either a residential property disclosure or a disclaimer statement.

Is it Best to Turn Down the First Offer?
In any transaction, it’s normal for the seller to wonder “Could I have gotten more?” and for the buyer to wonder “Should I have paid less?”. When your reasonably-priced house is put up for sale, the very first lookers may make an offer to buy. That doesn’t mean that you’ve priced your home too low. It means qualified buyers and their brokers have been looking-and waiting-for the right house to come on the market at just the right price. Your listing broker will advise you on all offers.

Does the Sale of a Condominium or a Property within a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) Require any Special Action?
The purchase offer for a condo sale or Home Owner’s Association property will contain, in compliance with the law, a requirement that the seller furnish the buyer with certain disclosure information and documents. Ask about condo and Home Owner’s Association resale procedures in your area.

Do Buyers Ever Offer More Than The Listing Price?

Rarely, but they do offer “above list” sometimes if they believe it makes their offer more acceptable than other competing offers. For the protection of all parties, it is best to include a separate statement signed by the buyers, indicating the buyer’s awareness of the list price and their reasons for the higher offer.

What Do You Do if The Property Doesn’t Sell?

The first step is to go over carefully with the listing agent why the property has not sold. Usually price and property condition are the key. Study and analyze what has sold in your area and at what price. Then relist the house after adjusting for shortcomings. Another option is to withdraw from the market and rent the property until the market improves, or simultaneously offer for sale or rent.

If a Buyer Forfeits the Deposit, who Gets the Money?
If the buyers fail to make full settlement, the deposited earnest money may be forfeited only after a release is signed by all parties.

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Bruce & Tanya and Associates               
RE/MAX Executives                                        
8442 Old Keene Mill Road
Springfield VA 22152
Office: (703) 239-2525
Fax: (703) 239-1551
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