Tips for Selling a Home in the Spring

Early Spring is without question the best time of the year to sell a home. The first two weeks of May correlate with the highest real estate selling prices during the calendar year, so you should target this window of time to list your home if you want to maximize your profit while selling in the warmer weather.

The reason why prices spike during May is the fact that many buyers are starting to look for a home to purchase during the spring. Many buyers don’t want to look at homes during the winter, and those with kids often want to plan their move for after the school year ends. Because of this, the market is saturated. The higher the concentration of potential buyers, the higher your home is inevitably going to sell for, assuming there’s competition.

When it comes to selling a home, there are a few things you should do to prepare the property. Winter is a good time to get your home fully inspected by a professional, which will give you a good idea as to what needs to be repaired. It is unwise to list a home that has damage, so it is critical to address any repairs that need to be taken care of. Not only is it necessary to make any necessary repairs, but you should also think about implementing some strategic renovations to maximize your resale value.

Renovating a home before a sale can put a ton of additional money in your pocket when your home actually sells. Many people are looking for things such as new appliances and granite countertops. The costs that are associated with making these types of renovations pay huge dividends when it comes to the increase in equity your home will experience. Not only are these types of renovations proven to increase equity dramatically, but your home is also going to be a lot more appealing to potential buyers. This is likely going to increase the number of offers you receive on your home, which should lead to your home being sold for a greater amount of money.

Curb appeal is also something that should be on your mind. The better you can make your home appear to the eye, the more interest your home is going to generate. The first impression means a lot, but the interior must live up to expectations, as well.

It is a great idea to hire a professional to stage your home, both inside and out. Having your furniture laid out correctly and obtaining professional photographs will go a long way when it comes to sparking interest from potential buyers who see your online listing.

This article was originally published on jasonCohenPittsburgh.org.

 

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Beginner’s Guide to Property Tax in Pennsylvania

Buying a home may be the biggest investment many people will ever make. In the United States, achieving home ownership represents success and an improved quality of life for many people. Owning a home, or any property, however, comes with the added costs of a mortgage, insurance, maintenance and property taxes.

When calculating the total cost of home ownership, it’s important to account for the expense of property and other local taxes, and to know you are getting the best services for the amount you pay. Property taxes pay for public education, libraries, transportation, road construction and maintenance, emergency services, parks and recreational facilities. While low taxes are appealing, excellent services are also important for maintaining quality of life and preserving real estate values.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania, as in most states, are determined county by county, and include county, municipal, and school district taxes. In Pennsylvania, homeowners are assessed property taxes that range from 1 to 2 percent of the assessed value of their residence, with an average effective tax rate of 1.55%. Tax assessors determine the tax burden for each property by assessing the value of the land and any buildings on the property. Pennsylvania uses a system called the mill levy for calculating property taxes, which assesses $1 in taxes for each $1,000 of property value.

For my full blog, please see http://jasoncohenpittsburgh.org/a-guide-to-property-tax-in-pennsylvania/.

 

Are Digitally Altered Real Estate Photos Always Ethical?

By now, most everyone knows how to “photoshop” a basic photo, using a wide variety of programs. In most cases, doing so is harmless and can even result in more stunning photos. In other cases, however, digitally manipulating photos can cause scandal and even ruin to some. A new trend is on the rise in real estate which can run from the harmless and helpful to the costly and potentially downright fraudulent.

Photos and videos have long been a basic staple in online real estate listings, including 360-degree tours. While ordinarily, these can be incredibly helpful to home buyers, many of these images are now being digitally manipulated. In one sense, digital manipulation can be no different than staging a home in the first place. A professional photographer might help make a somewhat less-than-spectacular pool appear to be a crown jewel in a backyard oasis. Photographing your house at the peak of spring when the trees are in full blossom is preferable to the dead of winter when the grass is brown and the trees look dead and lifeless, but isn’t inherently misleading.

A number of virtual staging services are on the rise, however, that could create a problem…

Please see my blog at http://jasoncohenpittsburgh.org/danger-in-the-rise-of-digitally-altered-real-estate-photos/ for my full article.

REI Strategies for the Hands-Off Investor

Investing in real estate doesn’t have to be a dirty job. Here are three strategies to help hands-off investors make money from real estate.

Real Estate Notes

A real estate note is a type of promissory note such as a mortgage or deed of trust, which is secured by a real estate asset like a house. The borrower promises to repay the lender a certain portion of the debt at regularly scheduled intervals. While the original lender may be an individual note investor, usually the first lender is an institution such as a bank. Individual note investors also can purchase existing notes from banks, hedge funds, or other individual investors.

One way investors make money from real estate notes is to collect the debt payments with interest. Existing real estate notes are classified as performing or nonperforming. A performing note means the borrower is current on the note payments. With a nonperforming note, the borrower usually is at least 90 days behind in payments. A hands-off investor who is buying an existing note should purchase a performing note. Nonperforming notes are labor-intensive.

For more on publicly traded real estate investment trusts and utilizing property managers, see my full blog at http://jasoncohenpittsburgh.net/real-estate-investment-strategies-for-the-hands-off-investor/.