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Negotiation - A Guide for Home Sellers and Home Buyers

by The Hat Team


It seems that negotiation has become a lost art in the world of real estate, and that’s unfortunate because the truth of the matter is, if you don’t ask…you don’t get. While sellers want the highest price and buyers want the best deal, they must meet somewhere in the middle for the deal to close. Negotiation is a crucial part of selling or buying a home because it is the largest asset people own and there is a lot of money at stake. Here is a simple guide for what sellers and buyers might ask for in real estate negotiations:

  • Price

Negotiating the best price means different things for sellers and buyers.  The seller wants the highest price and the buyer wants to pay as little as possible.  For a successful transaction, they must compromise and come up with a price that is acceptable to both.

  • Closing Costs

Prepaid closing costs are paid by buyers for their mortgage.  These are funds that the mortgage lender holds in escrow for expenses like taxes and insurance.  A buyer may ask a seller to cover some or all their closing costs either with a flat dollar amount or up to a percentage of what’s an allowable contribution for a lender.  If a buyer asks the seller to do this, they are likely going to pay a higher asking price. What is Escrow and Why is it Needed?

  • Closing Date

Sometimes sellers want to get out of a home quickly because they need the money from that house they are selling to put toward a new real estate purchase.  The closing date will also affect the buyer’s monthly cash-flow because when a buyer closes on a house, they skip the next month’s mortgage payment, therefore they may want to negotiate to close at the beginning of a month.

  • Financing Contingencies

When there is a financing contingency in place for a real estate transaction, it can tie up a seller’s property for a required 30 to 60 days.  For this reason, many sellers prefer buyers coming to the table with cash offers. If you are competing with cash buyers, you can shorten the closing timeline substantially by getting pre-approved for a home loan prior to making an offer.   Mortgage preapproval shows that your finances are in order and you can afford the home.  5 Things You Need to Be Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

  • Home Warranty

As a buyer, you can request a home warranty.  As a seller, you can offer one.      This home protection plan covers things like appliances and systems such as the hot water heater or air conditioning, in the event they need repair or replacement.

  • Leaseback

The moving process is stressful and labor intensive.  Sometimes a seller will need extra time to get into their new home.  When this happens, buyers can offer a zero-cost rent-back for 30 to 90 days to persuade the seller to accept their offer over others. 

  • Home Repairs

With a home that needs a lot of updating there comes ample opportunity for negotiation. Buyers need to consider the cost of bringing the home up to current standards and use the estimate of that cost to request a lower asking price.  The seller, on the other hand, can specify that the house is being sold “as is” and not offer any repairs.

  • Appraisal Contingency

A seller can push for a buyer to waive the appraisal contingency. However, if for some reason the appraisal falls short of the expected amount, buyers need to be prepared for the amount they might have to pay should the bank only be willing to lend them money based on the appraised value. How an Appraisal Contingency Can Protect You

  • Furniture

Personal property such as patio furniture, window treatments and chandeliers is all up for grabs. The buyer can ask for these things to be included in the contract.  Sellers need to determine what they are willing to leave behind.  And any exclusions need to be specifically listed in the contract as well.

  • Appliances

Depending on the market, sellers don’t always leave every appliance for the buyer.  They may include the dishwasher, stove and built in microwave in the contract but not the refrigerator, washer and dryer.  Sometimes they don’t want to give everything away up front so that they can use these as items for negotiation.

  • Inspection

When buyers waive inspection, they often find themselves with "buyer's remorse", but they can try to shorten the time frame for inspection, from ten days to five.

  • Condo/Co-op Assessments

These are fees that are used to maintain common areas in a community. If there is an open assessment, it can become a negotiation between the buyer and seller as to who will pay for it.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

3218 Lexington Road: Terrific Cloverdale Tudor-Style Home!

by The Hat Team

3218 Lexington Road, Montgomery, Al 36106

MLS# 450189

3 Bedrooms | 1 Bathroom | 1,406 sqft | Cloverdale

This Cloverdale charmer oozes character. Tudor-style brick home boasts large living room with barrel ceiling, tiled fireplace, hardwood floors, and beautiful french doors leading to a cool, relaxing screened porch. The kitchen has hard tile floors and a beautiful original built-in china cabinet. Three bedrooms and bath all off wide central hallway. Great covered side porch for grilling or entertaining, as well as a huge fenced back yard with landscaped beds and soaring trees. 

A Guide to Home-Selling During Spring

by The Hat Team


Spring is a great time to sell a house.  In fact, per a Zillow study, homes listed between May 1 through May 15 sold, on average, around 18.5 days faster than homes not listed during this period.  Add this to the fact that the largest number of buyers are actively searching for homes in the months of April, May and June and you will see that getting your property on the market this time of year is a must!  This is especially true right now because interest rates are still relatively low.  Here are some tips that will help your house stand out among the plethora of homes that get put on the market in spring:

  • Wash windows inside and out and polish all mirrors.  A little bit of sparkle goes a long way in impressing potential buyers.
     
  • Rake the yard and trim back bushes.  Your yard is the first thing people will see. Dead leaves and debris do not paint a pretty picture.  In addition, you want as much natural light as possible flooding through your windows, so make sure bushes aren’t blocking the rays. Budget-Friendly Home Staging Tips to Maximize Curb Appeal
     
  • Mow the yard diagonally and edge along the driveway and sidewalks.  Mowing diagonally makes yards look larger. And edging shows that you give attention to small details. 
     
  • Plant yellow flowers.  Yellow tulips and daffodils promote feelings of happiness and contentment.
     
  • Clean window treatments and open windows.  It will be worth your while to take down your drapes, curtains and blinds to clean them and give them a crisp, fresh look.  Weather permitting, opening windows lets the fresh air in and gives the whole house the feeling of spring.
     
  • Have fresh, fragrant flowers in the house.  Artful home-staging brings color and pleasant aromas indoors. Flowers for Home Staging
     
  • Polish floors to a high gloss.  Make those floors shine!  Refinish them if necessary.
     
  • Use light colors. Even if you must spend a little to replace items, towels, linens, throws and sofa pillows are inexpensive accents that will pay off.  Use soft, spring colors such as yellows, pinks, pale blues and lavenders to light up a room.
     
  • Spruce up your entryway. This is the part of your home where buyers will get their first impression.  Make it a good one!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500!

2335 Woodlawn Street: Perfect Starter Home!

by The Hat Team

2335 Woodlawn Street, Montgomery, Al 36106

MLS# 450303

2 Bedrooms | 1 Bathroom | 1,076 sqft | Woodlawn Estates

Whether you are looking for a sweet first home or a great income producing investment, this little gem might be for you! Located on a quiet street corner just off convenient Carter Hill Road, this well cared for home has hardwood floors, good sized rooms, and great layout. Relax on the side deck or rear patio, and enjoy a fenced in back yard for pets. Minimal utilities make this an affordable option for first time home buyers or someone who wants minimal maintenance. Property has recently rented for $750/month so it would cash flow nicely! 

3710 Royal Crest Drive, Montgomery, Al 36109

MLS # 449913

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,548 sqft | Dalraida

This one of a kind Dalraida property sits atop a knoll on a 3/4 acre lot perched at the quiet end of a cul-de-sac. Located in the prized Dalraida Elementary School district, this newly renovated home could be your own personal Shangri-La! Built in 1993, she has just undergone a major facelift including fresh paint, all new flooring, new bathrooms and new kitchen! The open floorplan features a greatroom with trey ceiling and fireplace, and a large eat-in kitchen with space for large family sized table! Split plan puts master bedroom on one end of the home and two guest rooms/bath on the opposite for privacy. New master bath features a big walk-in shower and two walk-in closets. Cozy covered rear patio overlooks scenic lot and affords lots of privacy. Call your favorite agent to see this gem...before someone beats you to it! 

Making an Offer on a Home - Tips for Success

by The Hat Team


You’ve found the perfect home, and now it’s time to make an offer.  This is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It requires some thought and strategy. It’s vital that you plan carefully and have your finances in order prior to making an offer on a home.  Here are some things to consider when you are preparing to make an offer:

  1. GATHER INFORMATION - While your Realtor can assist you in deciding on an offer price, it’s important that you understand what you are getting into. This is likely the largest financial investment you will make, so you need to know what is going on. Take advantage of your Realtor’s expertise and learn about the Current Market so that you will be aware of what’s going on in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something that you don’t understand.
     
  2. GET PRE-APPROVED - Before you make an offer, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.  Not only will this help you determine how much you can spend on a home, it will also make you appeal to the seller because they will know that you have already been financially vetted and you can afford the home.  That means the sale is less likely to fall through. How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Home Loan
     
  3. TURN ON THE CHARM - People can get very sentimental when it comes to selling their homes.  Being friendly and showing a seller how much you love their home can sometimes influence them to choose you over other prospective buyers. Write a letter letting them know the reasons why their home will be the perfect home for you and your family. 
     
  4. DON’T MAKE AN INSULTING OFFER - While everyone wants to get the best deal possible, a lowball offer is risky. You might end up offending the seller and creating a situation where they just say no and are unwilling to negotiate.  This one reason why it’s important for you to understand the market value of the home. Allow your Realtor to guide you in deciding what a reasonable offer is.  You can still offer lower than the asking price and leave room for negotiation.
     
  5. NEGOTIATE OTHER THINGS BESIDES MONEY - Not all real estate negotiations involve the home price.  You can ask for things like a home warranty, home improvements to be made, closing costs, and new appliances.  If the seller will only accept the asking price, but is willing to negotiate other terms, you can still come out with a great deal on your new home. 5 Things to Negotiate When You Buy Your First House
     
  6. TRY TO BE FLEXIBLE - Things may come up that require some flexibility on your part. For example, the seller might need continue living in the home for a month or two while they look for a new home. Your willingness to rent the home to them for that time period could make you stand out over other buyers.

Making an offer on a home is not just about the money; it’s also about appealing to the seller while at the same time doing what is right for you. It can be complicated, but it is worth it when the right house comes along!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

3333 Cloverdale Road: Delightful Cloverdale Idlewild Home!

by The Hat Team

3333 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery Al 36106

MLS# 449921

3 Bedrooms | 1.5 Bathrooms | 2,700 sqft | Cloverdale Idlewild

Great location in Cloverdale Idlewild just a block from the park and just in time for the Spring Concert Series! This home has a partially finished basement, a detached garage and a workshop with a garage door. No other house in the neighborhood can claim that! The basement is perfect for an office, den, playroom or just great storage space. Other features include a large tiled sun room, a huge dining room with double doors to the living room, breakfast room and hard wood floors. The kitchen has a retro feel and has a pass through to a bar in the third bedroom that you have to check out. Shower could be added to half bath using the hall closet. 

Cringe-Worthy Home Décor Trends

by The Hat Team


If you are preparing to sell an older home, you might have some cringe-worthy home décor that needs to be updated to get the best price for your home, especially if you are a selling a starter home.  Buyers looking in the starter home category are looking for move-in ready homes that won’t require a lot of money to fix up.  If you have any of these home décor styles that have fallen out of favor in your home, you may want to makes some changes before putting your house on the market:

  1. Shag Carpeting

If you still have shag carpeting in your house, it’s way past time to bid it adieu.Shag style rugs hit their peak during the 60s and 70s.Back then, wall to wall carpeting was still relatively new and people were excited to incorporate the deep piled rugs into their home décor. But as early as the 1980s it was already considered dated and passe’. So, if you still have it in your house buyers will likely not be impressed. Cheap Flooring Ideas: 8 of the Cheapest Flooring Options with Style

  1. Wall Paneling

Another 1970s staple was wood wall paneling. With exaggerated wood grain and fake wood knots, they made dark rooms darker and gave a truly dated appearance. You don’t have to remove it though. There are many ways to update wood paneling for a lighter, more modern aesthetic. An Easy and Cheap Way to Update Wood Wall Paneling

  1. Green & Gold Appliances

If you still have “avocado” and “mustard” colored appliances, congratulations!Because they have lasted a LONG time!But seriously?It’s time to let them go.They might be deal breakers for buyers who can’t afford to buy a house and immediately replace appliances.

  1. Country Kitchens

The 1980s brought with it an influx of “country” décor.Think cornflower blue, ducks and geese, ribbons and bows.Wall paper border embellished with cute little farm animals frolicking in flowering fields accented by dark wood cabinets was quite popular.But now it is dated and buyers probably won’t be thrilled with the idea of having to live with it if they couldn’t afford to change it right away.

  1. Pastel Bathrooms

Back in the 1950s pastels became de rigueur for bathrooms across the country. Bathed in floor to ceiling pink, powder blue, or mint green, they looked like confections fit for Barbie’s dream house.While it might be a large undertaking, you may want to consider a bathroom update to get a more interest from buyers and a bigger profit on the sale of your home in the long run. But if your home is what you'd call "contemporary" or Mid-Century modern, leave that pastel bathroom alone because your buyer will love it!  

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

3313 Boxwood Drive: One of a Kind Home in Mcgehee Estates

by The Hat Team

3313 Boxwood Drive, Montgomery Al 36111

MLS# 445689

5 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | 2 Half Bathrooms | 5,218 sqft | Mcgehee Estates

Play VisualTour

 

Incredible Mid-Century contemporary modern...nestled in the heart of sought after Mcgehee Estates...marbled floored foyer and front hall...floating stairwell and custom chandelier greet you as you enter... living, dining on rear of home are flooded with light, have commanding view of property and feature a fireplace with gas logs....and bookcases.....updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, honed marble counter tops, marble backslash.... casual dining at rear of kitchen opens to floor to ceiling windows, view of manicured back yard...Big walk in pantry utility room with lots of built in storage.....massive separate den is on front of home which could easily be a home theater...den also features a huge storage closet and lots of built ins along with a built in counter cafe area. off the entry is an updated half bath, wet bar with ice maker and five extra storage closets... private office with built ins also on main level...massive main bedroom on 1st floor features spectacular view of backyard. en suite bath features vanity area, double sinks, jetted tub and walk in shower...upstairs can be accessed by the main or private rear staircase... there are four good sized bedrooms and two full baths both updated in 2012....bonus/ office room also on upper level...plantation shutters and wired sound system throughout the home....other features include a large landscaped lot with mature trees...an irrigation system on a well, new hot water heater 2017, a water circulatory system (providing hot water for days), detached storage building, front and rear parking pads and an electric gate.

Starter Home - A Guide for First-Time Homebuyers

by The Hat Team


Purchasing your first home is a huge milestone…and not one that should be taken lightly.  It’s a big commitment and you want to make sure you get it right.  It’s important that you educate yourself before you begin the home buying process so that you can find the right property and procure the financing for it. 

Here are some things you should know as a first-time homebuyer:

  1. PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE HOME BUYING PROCESS

Entering the home buying process for the first time might feel a little overwhelming. You will have a lot of questions, but don’t worry, there will be people who will guide you through.The first thing to do is to find an . Your Realtor will assist you in finding your starter home, making an offer, and negotiating with sellers. Another person you should meet with prior to starting your home search is a mortgage lender. Your mortgage banker will help you complete your loan application along with determining the amount you qualify for. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an important step that will set you on the right course for buying your first home. 3 Essential Reasons to Get a Mortgage Preapproval

  1. STARTING YOUR HOME SEARCH

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying in relation to real estate. It exists for a reason. Because location is one of the most important aspects in choosing a home.The first thing you must do when searching for your starter home is determine the area you want to live in.You should take many things into consideration when making this decision. Do you want city, suburban, or country living?What is the reputation of the school system?Are there shopping, dining and entertainment activities nearby?The answers to these questions aren’t just important for you when you’re living there, but may also have an impact on resale value. Remember, this is your starter home; not necessarily your forever home. So, you should take resale value into consideration when choosing the location. Once you’ve determined WHERE you want to look, you can create a list of what you’re looking for in a home.You may have to compromise on some things, but going into your search knowing what you want will make things less confusing. Home Buying Wish List

  1. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

When buying your starter home, there may be some expenses that you didn’t anticipate.  Don’t risk being blindsided by unexpected expenses.  Do your research and make sure you know what you are getting into.  Here are some costs you may not have thought of:

  • Closing costs
  • Home inspection
  • Moving expenses
  • Setting up your new house

Remember that your Realtor and Mortgage Banker are there to answer questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of their expertise!

If you are considering the purchase of your starter home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 3234-834-1500!

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