Clever Tips to Stage & Sell Your Home When You Have Small Kids

Keeping your home in pristine condition while it’s on the market is one of the biggest challenges that most sellers face. It can be tough to continue to live your daily lives while trying to make your home look like nobody’s been living in it. 

As if that wasn’t hard enough, throw some kids into the mix. The mess of toys, dirty clothes, juice spills, cookie crumbs and muddy footprints can make it seem nearly impossible to stage your home to impress buyers.

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So how can you try to keep your home in decent condition while entertaining showings? Consider the following tips.

Give Yourself at Least a Week to De-Clutter

De-cluttering should be part of the staging process regardless if there are kids around or not. No buyer wants to walk into a home that’s disheveled and disorganized. Before you even list your home and have photos taken, make sure you give yourself enough time to clear it out. Keep a few toys and items that your kids absolutely need to have at their disposal at all times. Everything else should be stowed away.

If you’ve got pink walls, repaint them a neutral color. If there are any stuffed animals on the shelves, put them away. If your kids’ drawings are stuck on your refrigerator door, take them down. It might hurt to make changes like these, but such an effort can go a long way at helping buyers see the true potential of your home without all the kiddie things standing in the way. 

Find a Storage Unit to House All the Kids’ Stuff

You’ve got to put all the kids’ belongings somewhere when you’re de-cluttering. If you’ve got a sizeable garage or attic, perfect. If not, think about securing storage space somewhere else. Whether it’s at your parents’ house or a rental storage room, having ample storage space is a must to keep your kids’ things out of the way while your home is on the market.

One method of storage that’s gaining in popularity are PODS, short for ‘portable on-demand storage’ units. These sit on your driveway, or can even be taken off-site to be stored. This is an affordable option that also offers easy access in case you accidentally stored one of your kids’ favorite toys. 

Designate One Room For the Kids

Instead of letting the kids run rampant all over the house, assign one room in the home that is solely theirs. They probably already have a play room. If that’s the case, stick to that space. Kids are notorious for leaving a trail of mess wherever they go; by keeping them confined to one room in the house, you can significantly cut down on clutter and make your life a lot easier when a buyer books a showing.

Specify a Two-Hour Notice For Showings 

It’s perfectly fine to request a minimum amount of notice for showings. Of course, you don’t want to make it difficult for buyers to see your home, but you also don’t have to deal with last-minute showings either. To give yourself enough time to make sure everything is in its designated place before a buyer walks in, a couple of hours notice should suffice.

Your agent can specify that in your listing so that buyers’ agents are aware that they need to provide some leeway before showing up. Half an hour notice is way too stressful when you’ve got small kids, clutter, feedings, naps, and so on. Make life easier for yourself and request 2 hours notice before appointments.

Keep the Trunk of Your Car or Minivan Empty

If you’re willing to entertain a short-notice showing, having a clear trunk can work wonders at providing you with quick storage to throw all the toys, dirty blankets, sippy cups, and other debris that can quickly accumulate when you’ve got little ones running around. While this isn’t exactly an ideal situation, you just never know when the right buyer comes along that will want to put in an offer on your home. The more people see your home, the more likely you’ll get an interested buyer sooner rather than later.

Come Up With a Plan For Showings

It’s best not to be present during showings, but this is a lot easier said than done when you’ve got kids in tow. Sometimes you might have a few showings booked in one day, which means you’ll have to be out of the house for hours.

In times like these, you need to have a plan to keep the kids entertained. Where will you go? What will you do? Rather than scramble to think of something at the last minute, come up with a list of things to do to spend the time with the kids during showings. From going to the movies, to hitting the mall, to hanging out at a friend’s house, having a list to choose from can help. And if you’ve got infants, make sure you always have a diaper bag packed with all the important things your children need and ready to grab at a moment’s notice.

Selling a house is a stressful endeavor, and when kids are involved, it can be even more maddening. But while you’ll certainly need to take the extra step and make more of an effort to keep your home in decent condition, following the above tips can boost the odds that your home will attract the right buyer and sell in a short amount of time.

5 Extra Costs When Buying a New Construction Home

Buying a house is an expensive endeavor, obviously. But when it comes to big a completely new home from a builder, there are plenty more costs that you’ll be responsible for that you wouldn’t necessarily have to cover with a resale.

Mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, appraisals, legal fees, surveys, land transfer tax, moving costs, and utilities are typical expenses that would have to be paid regardless of the type of home you’re buying. But in addition to these, take into account the following expenses that you’ll need to factor into your overall budget when you buy a newly constructed home.

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1. Fence

If you’re buying a new house, at some point you’ll probably have to fence in your backyard. While some neighbors might agree to leave the space unfenced (usually with very large yards), most new homeowners will likely want to enclose their outdoor space shortly after taking possession.

Depending on the type of fence that all the owners on the block agree to, this can be a pricey expense. The cheapest route is typically chain-link fences, which cost an average of $13 per linear foot. Wood fences are a little more expensive, at $16 per linear foot. If the consensus is to put in aluminum fences, the cost skyrockets to $40. Based on this last figure and 200 feet of aluminum fencing, for example, you’d be spending about $8,000.

2. Landscaping

When you move into a new home, odds are you’ll be greeted with nothing more than a pile of dirt on your property. Your home’s exterior might look great, but the responsibility is all yours when it comes to landscaping. Sure, the builder will likely sod your lot at some point, but beyond that, any landscaping you have in mind will have to be done by you.

Landscaping can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Planting a few bushes and flower beds should be affordable enough, but if you plan on installing interlocking stone pathways, water fountains, spotlights, or other high-end landscaping components, the bill will surely climb pretty quickly.

You can spend as little as a few hundred bucks for a simple design, to as much as tens of thousands of dollars for a much more detailed plan. Of course, the size of your lot will play a key role in the price as well.

In the world of landscaping, it’s generally advised to spend about 10% of your home’s value on your landscaping. Based on a home valued at $250,000, for instance, landscaping would cost around $25,000. Of course, you can choose to spend a lot less (or a lot more) based on your budget and your desires. Just know that you’ll need to set aside a good chunk of change to enhance your new home’s curb appeal.

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3. Window Treatments

Unless you don’t mind a lack of privacy and no shade from the sun’s rays, you’ll need to install window treatments. When you get the keys to your home, the windows will be totally bare. It’s up to you to buy and install window treatments for every window in your new home.

If your windows are standard in size, you can probably find blinds that come in kits at your local home improvement store. These will come with everything needed to install them. But if the windows are not of standard sizes, you might have to have them custom fitted, which can be a lot more expensive. Depending on the quality of the material, blinds can cost anywhere between $4 to $8 per square foot.

If you plan on hanging drapes, you’ll need to buy and install curtain rods on top of the fabric. Curtains can range drastically in cost, from $7 to as much as $1,500 per panel and up, depending on the type and size of the fabric, style, construction quality, and brand name. Curtains made with lower-quality fabrics in stock sizes usually cost between $7 to $20 per panel.

You can always go the affordable route and buy pairs of panels at places like Walmart or Target for anywhere between $15 to $40 per pair. That might sound affordable, but when you multiply that by the number of windows your home has, the price can quickly soar.

4. Major Appliances

Appliances tend to come with resale homes, or are at least part of the negotiations. But when you buy a new home from the builder, appliances most likely won’t come with the deal. You’ll have to buy your refrigerator, oven/stove, dishwasher, microwave, washer, and dryer on your own.

Sometimes home builders may advertise included appliances as part of an incentive to get attention from buyers, but usually, brand new homes don’t come with these expensive items. In that case, you’re looking at spending an average of $5,000 to outfit your home with appliances. 

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5. Light Fixtures

Builders don’t usually leave light bulbs exposed, and will typically outfit new homes with a few light fixtures. But builder-grade fixtures are usually not the nicest looking things, and aren’t exactly the kind you likely would have picked out if you had the option. They also might not necessarily outfit every light socket with a fixture, such as those where wall sconces would go.

For this reason, you’ll have to buy your own lighting, including chandeliers, pendant lamps, sconces, ceiling fans with lights, and lamps. If you want pot lights, you’ll probably have to pay the builder a premium to have them installed. Same goes for any under-cabinet kitchen cabinet lighting.

The cost of light fixtures ranges considerably, but on average, you can be looking at spending in the hundreds or even the thousands of dollars to outfit your home with the light fixtures you desire. Remember that if you won’t be installing them yourself, you’ll have to tack on an extra few hundred to pay for labor.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of perks that come with buying a new house. Since everything is brand new, there’s no wear and tear to have to worry about, and any repairs will be almost non-existent during the first few years. You’ll be given a blank canvas upon which to add your own finishing touches according to your specific tastes, instead of having to deal with what the previous owners put in. You’re also given the chance to choose your own layout that meets your needs.

But along with all the benefits comes the downfall of having to fork over a lot of money to cover all of these added expenses. Make sure you’ve factored them all into your budget to make sure you’re not in over your head when you agree to buy a brand new house.

Will Britain’s Bail-Out From the EU Affect Mortgage Interest Rates in the US?

Americans have been enjoying historically low mortgage interest rates for years now, making financing a home more affordable. But how much longer can the rates continue to scrape the bottom?

The Fed  already made plans in December 2015 to increase the interest rates, which will impact the rates you could be paying on your mortgage in the near future. But what’s happening outside of American soil also has an effect on our mortgage rates. Global economies, such as those in China and Greece, have been up in arms over the recent past.

And with news that the UK will be breaking away from the European Union, markets all over the world – including here in the US – will most likely be affected in some way.

Brexit was unexpected, and caused stock markets all over the world to plummet. The Dow Jones tanked 600 points immediately following the vote, and S&P 500 futures were down 3.2%. The German index dropped 10%, and France’s index plummeted about 7%.

The question is, what is Brexit’s effect on mortgage rates in the US?

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US Mortgage Rates Drop to 3-Year Lows Following Historic Brexit Vote

After Brits voted to separate the UK from the EU, mortgage rates nosedived right along with global stock markets. Rates dropped 0.125% the day after Brexit’s vote stunned the world, and are now on their way to hitting all-new lows as 30-year fixed rates drop under 3.5%.

Sounds good for American homebuyers, but what’s the link between Brexit and US mortgage rates?

The ambiguity swirling around global stock investments is pushing investors to seek out safe-haven investments, and US mortgage bonds are fitting the bill. These bonds are considered to be some of the safest across the globe because they’re made up of US mortgages that are only approved with rigorous lending requirements.

After the housing crash of 2008, lenders tightened their boot straps and made lending requirements much more stringent in an effort to avoid another disaster. As such, borrowers are now making sure their finances are in good order and their credit scores are beefed up in order to get approved for a mortgage.

Such strict underwriting practices have helped to ensure that mortgage defaults stay low. The national delinquency rate on first mortgages in May this year was approximately 0.63%, down six basis points in comparison to the month before. It was the third month in a row that the default rate on first mortgages decreased. The national default rate on first mortgages in April was approximately 0.69%, down eight basis points as compared to March.

Such stability has prompted an increasing number of investors to sell off their riskier global stocks in favor of safer US mortgage bonds. As mortgage bond prices increase on heavier purchasing, the yields (or rates) of these bonds plummet. Even the smallest decrease in mortgage interest rates can mean huge savings for the average homeowner.

Let’s say you’ve currently got a $250,000 home loan. If your rate dipped just 0.25% from 3.75% to 3.5%, you could be paying $35 less per month towards your mortgage, or roughly $420 a year. Over the life of your mortgage, that tiny decrease in your interest rate can save you $12,664.

What’s in Store For Mortgage Rates in the Near Future?

Whether mortgage rates will continue to decline or will start to increase is up for debate. When rates are affected by political unrest, their future movements can be rather tough to predict.

Some experts anticipate a gradual increase in mortgage rates as the sting of Brexit alleviates over time. But there’s also a growing belief that low rates are here to stay, at least over the short-term.

Whatever the case may be, economic and political chaos across the pond has a big impact on what happens on home soil. In response to Brexit, the Federal Reserve has decided to hold off on increasing interest rates as an effort to stave off any increased risk of a US recession.

Such conflicting sentiments point to unpredictability in the movement of mortgage rate over the next few months. If the current drop meets your specific financial goals, then it might be a good idea to speak with your lender about refinancing at a lower rate. Just keep in mind that there may be penalties to pay for cutting your current mortgage short.

What Do Your Property Taxes Dollars Go Towards?

If you’re like many other property owners, you likely cringe when you get your property tax assessment in the mail. But as annoying as it may be to have to open your wallet to pay these pesky taxes, they do actually serve an important purpose.

You’re not just throwing money at Uncle Sam; instead, you’re contributing to the greater good of your neighborhood and surrounding communities.

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So, what exactly does your property tax money cover?

 

Public Schools

Your property taxes go toward a few different things, not just one. Public schools depend on tax dollars to be developed and to remain in operation.

This component of property taxes is typically the biggest item on just about every property tax bill; in fact, it generally accounts for more than half of it. And in areas with a large student demographic or top-rated schools, this number can be even higher. You can bet that along with highly-appraised schools come higher property values.

While public schools get plenty of their funds from the government, the biggest supply typically comes from local homeowners in the area.

Local Public Safety Departments

A big part of your tax dollars go towards paying public safety officers, including uniformed police, 9-1-1 support personnel, firefighters, paramedics, and anyone else involved in keeping the public safe. Property tax money also covers the costs associated with keeping these individuals working and on the road, including police and fire stations, and vehicles and trucks.

If any additional personnel need to be hired, or if any more cars or stations need to be added, city and municipal governments will typically have to hike property taxes to make it happen.

Public Roads and Parks

Nobody likes to drive on roads full of potholes or stroll through parks full of debris and overgrown weeds. The municipal government hires people to take care of roads, sidewalks and parks, and it’s the homeowners that flip the bill through property taxes. Such maintenance includes traffic light repairs, paving roads, filling potholes, removing snow, and other improvements.

Municipal and County-Level Operations

In order for municipalities and counties to be able to carry out their day-to-day operations, they need money. And the majority of that funding comes from property tax revenues. How the money is split up between the municipality and county is often apparent, but in may other cases, it’s not.

In some areas, money may be fully collected by one entity, then divided appropriately. For instance, you might pay your municipality for allocations on one single bill, after which the apportioned money is then sent over to the county.

How Are Property Taxes Calculated?

The amount that you pay towards your property taxes will depend on the market value of your home, as well as the pre-determined assessment rate. This rate is a percentage that will vary from one jurisdiction to another. In order to come up with your property tax obligation, the value of your property is multiplied by the assessment rate. 

Whether you pay these taxes directly to the tax department or pay them through your mortgage lender, you’ll get a copy of the bill at least once each year. Make sure you take them time to look over the bill and see exactly how the money is allocated so you can get a good idea of where your hard-earned dollar is going.

Municipalities, counties, and school districts depend on property taxes to support their budgets. Without adequate funds, there wouldn’t be enough money in the pot to take care of the schools, streets, parks, and public safety officers. The more money a local government needs, the higher your property tax bill will go to meet the demands.

Baby Boomers: Just As Likely to Upsize as Downsize?

Baby boomers who are approaching or have already entered their retirement years have traditionally been known to downsize. Not having as much property to take care of and minimizing the number of stairs that have to be climbed are generally the traits that tend to change once the Golden Years arrive.

But such a trend appears to be switching gears. According to a survey conducted by The Demand Institute, baby boomers aren’t focusing so much on downsizing and on all the features that may have once been sought out by the aging population.

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For years, condos and other multi-family housing have predominantly been targeted by retirees, but this number appears to be dwindling. No longer is it necessarily the norm for retirees to trade in their larger homes for a condo in Florida or Arizona. An increasing number of retirees are now open to staying put in their own homes, or are even looking to upsize.

Sixty-three percent of the 4,000+ baby boomers polled in the survey indicated that they planned on either staying where they are, or even upsizing to a larger property. Many are even willing to take out a mortgage to make that happen, and are confident that they’ll be able to qualify for a new one despite the stringent lending criteria these days.

In fact, baby boomers of today have more mortgage debt compared to earlier generations at the same phase of life. The median outstanding balance on their mortgages spiked 142% since the early 1990s. As of 2013, the median outstanding mortgage balance for baby boomers is $118,000, compared to $48,743 back in 1992.

The other 37% who want to move don’t necessarily want to downsize. Over half of baby boomers claimed that they want at least the same size house they’re living in now, if not larger, whenever the day comes to move. Just under half said they plan on spending the same amount of money – if not more – when purchasing their next property.

Approximately 46% of baby boomers plan on upsizing. Many of these people never got around to buying their permanent home when the housing market crashed. Some of them are still renting, and are finally looking to put their names on title.

When they do take the plunge, however, they won’t exactly be spending a pretty penny, considering their average net worth of $40,000: $180,000 is the median price they’re looking to pay for their next home. The median square footage of their current homes is 1,200, which many are looking to expand on.

On the other hand, it’s the more affluent baby boomer demographic that is looking to downsize. These are the people who have already bought and lived in their dream homes (on average of 2,000 square feet), and are now looking for something that requires a lot less maintenance.

Approximately 54% of baby boomers are classified in this “downsizing” category. The median price for the next home they plan on buying will be higher: about $200,000 as opposed to $180,000.

According to a survey conducted by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies along with the AARP, not all baby boomers are necessarily moving to warmer climates or city cores. Instead, we’re seeing a larger number of baby boomers staying put where they are. Many are choosing to move to the suburbs, but it won’t necessarily be very far from where they currently reside.

Only a third of older adults surveyed had plans to move out of state to warmer destinations, while over half plan to move within a 30-mile radius of their current homes.

The landscape is certainly changing when it comes to baby boomers and their lifestyle choices. How much their housing decisions will affect the rest of the real estate market will depend on how fast they decide to finally retire.

5 Reasons to Relocate to California

No other state in the US is more mesmerizing and dream-catching than the coveted state of California. Sunny days, yummy foods, a diverse culture, and a laid-back lifestyle make California the land of opportunity. 

In California, people are more focused on being successful, not stressed out. Healthy, not hectic. Content, not chaotic. While there are certainly other states across this beautiful country that make for a wonderful home, there’s something magical about California that can’t be ignored.

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Here are 5 reasons to pack your bags and move out west.

1. The Weather

Sure, this one’s a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons why people continue to flock to this west coast state. Californians have the distinct benefit of being able to experience all four seasons, without having to be exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperatures and weather conditions.

While someone from Green Bay might live in a parka for at least 6 months out of the year, residents in California know nothing of freezing temperatures. Even in the middle of winter, all you’ll likely need is a sweater. In fact, it typically only snows in the mountains.

Temperatures range from anywhere in the 50’s in the winter to the upper 80’s in the summer, so enjoying the outdoors all year round is a reality. 

2. The Job Opportunities

The state of California is outpacing the rest of the country in job growth. Since April 2015, the Golden State has added 450,200 jobs. Employment in California jumped by 2.8% over the last 12 months, compared with the national rate of 1.9%.

The strength of employment isn’t limited to one sector, either, which is very important for sustainability. In addition, job growth isn’t just reserved for one geographical section. From top to bottom, California’s job opportunities are evenly spread.

Despite the fact that California can be an expensive place to start a business in comparison to other states, there are also a lot more customers here who are eager to spend their money on products and services.

3. The Lifestyle

Since the weather in California is pleasant year-round, enjoying the outdoors is never off the table. Even cold weather in California would be considered comfortable by someone living in the northern parts of the country. That means outdoor activities are always an option, no matter what season you happen to be in. With a climate and landscape that literally suits just about everyone, life in California truly is one that is brimming with positivity.

Many people look to California to follow their dreams, start anew, and create a lifestyle that most people would consider to be ideal. The endless opportunities – whether you’re a striving actor or want to develop the next big app – means California has it all.

Night clubs, outdoor concerts, film festivals, a plethora of dining, special sporting events . . . the list can literally go on for days. There’s always something to do in California that makes the lifestyle in this state a rich one.

4. The Beaches

Where else can you live that gives you the opportunity to have the ocean as your backyard? There are literately hundreds of miles of gorgeous sandy beaches available for you to relish. Whether you’re a sun worshipper, surfer, or simply love to sit back and enjoy the marvel of the mighty waters, there’s no shortage of beaches in California.

Take a drive from San Fran down to San Diego, and you’ll come across a myriad of beaches, each with their own unique characteristics. From the quiet and picturesque, to the vibrant and people-filled, you’ve got your pick of the litter of beaches in the Golden State.

5. The Attitude

People just seem to be laid-back in California. Perhaps it’s all that time spent outdoors that keeps everyone feeling more connected to Mother Nature, and helps to relieve any built-up stress that the daily grind can inflict.

It’s not uncommon for people to go to work in their Birkenstocks, or do yoga in the park on their lunch breaks. The casual attitude resonates in almost all areas of daily living, where people are more likely to have a “live-and-let-live” type of attitude that you rarely see anywhere else in the country.

With so many wonderful traits that make California an amazing place to live, it’s no wonder that Americans from all parts of the US continue to set their sights here.

How to Make Sure You’re Getting a Fair Deal on a Flipped House

Many homebuyers are looking for a turn-key property that’s move-in ready. Buying a home with little to do to it is very attractive, especially for the millennial demographic.

But many of these newly renovated homes are being sold by investors who gutted the home in an effort to make a profit off of buyers. In 2015, the average gross profit on flipped homes was $55,000.

In many cases, flippers will just make simple cosmetic changes to make the home look newer and more up-to-date. A fresh coat of paint, sanded and re-stained hardwood floors, and refaced kitchen cabinets can go a long way in improving the esthetics of a home. In other cases, structural changes and major renovations are tackled, which is a good thing, but only if these jobs are done properly.

House flippers are in the business to make a quick buck, but that doesn’t mean you have to overfeed their wallets, nor fall for the dreaded “money pit.”.

Here are some ways to make sure you’re getting a good deal on a good home.

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Identify a Flipped House

If you want to make sure you’re getting a decent deal on a home purchase, you want to know if the home is being flipped in the first place. There are a few telltale signs that you’re looking at a flipped house. A vacant home that’s been professionally staged is one sign, as is brand new landscaping. Other common signs of a flipped home include the presence of trendy yet cheap finishes, as well as the installation of new laminate floors.

Other than these physical features, you’ll also be able to identify a flipped home by looking at the property records. Your real estate agent will be a big help in this department. Checking the previous listings on the home will show you how long the seller owned the home, and what the previous sale price was. If the property was purchased less than a year ago, it’s probably an investment for the seller.

Pay Close Attention to Details

Cosmetic updates might look nice, but who knows what they’re potentially covering up. Don’t just assume that because the place looks good, the guts are in perfect condition.

Don’t be afraid to root around in the home to see if there is anything questionable being covered up. Look under sinks at the plumbing and check for any wet pipes or mineral buildup. Check out the foundation to see if there are any structural defects that have not been addressed, such as sticky doors and windows, slanting floors and walls, or major cracks in the foundation.

Identify if any of the work was done on the cheap and rushed through. Nice finishes may seem legitimate, but they could just be steering your attention away from any sloppy work. Signs of shady workmanship can include gaps between tiles, electrical outlet plates that aren’t flush with the wall, or baseboards that don’t completely meet at the corners.

Find Out if the Work Was Done With Permits

Just about every type of work being done in a home needs to be done with a building permit in order for it to be deemed legal. If the listing claims that everything in the home is ’new,’ you’ll want to see the paperwork to support the fact that the work was done with permits.

If no documents can be shown, you might be asking for trouble. If any of the work was done without a permit, it could be unsafe. And if the house doesn’t meet code, you might even have a tough time getting financing or home insurance.

Order a Home Inspection

Never skip a home inspection. Even if the home seems brand new, it’s still not a good idea to forego this crucial step. While you may have done your due diligence to check out all the details of the home, professional home inspectors have the training and experience to find issues that you may have missed. They’ll check the quality of the contractor’s work, and will be able to tell if any corners were cut.

It’s worth paying a few hundred bucks for some peace of mind.

Assess the Home’s Fair Market Value

This is again where a qualified real estate agent is an invaluable part of your team. Sure, today’s homebuyers tend to be very well-informed, but there are some details involved in determining the market value of a flipped home, and therefore coming up with a fair price.

While the previous sale price is an important factor to look at, don’t place too much emphasis on it. Flippers are obviously in the business to make money, but it’s tough to pinpoint exactly what their margins are just by finding out how much they paid for their properties. You’ll need to factor in how much the renovations cost, the closing costs, and if the property has appreciated in value since that last sale.

Your real estate agent will be able to pull a list of comparable homes in the area that were recently sold, and have many of the same features that the property in question has. The sale price of comparable homes in the current market will help you figure out if you’re getting a good deal or not. A realistic assessment of the prices of other flipped homes in the area is necessary.

Buying a flipped home can turn out to be a good deal for both you and the flipper. But, as always, due diligence on your part is necessary. Taking a few steps before signing on the dotted line could land you a great house at a fair price.