Costs to expect when selling your home

Often, when you think about what you’ll make from selling your home, you think mortgage payoff subtracted from the sale price.  However, there are other expenses you will need to consider when selling your home. Here is a brief list of the primary expenses that you need to be aware of.

  • Home Prep:  Prior to putting your home up for sale, you’ll want to be sure it looks its best.  That may mean some landscaping, repairs, and/or face lift efforts like painting or new carpet.  Some of this you can do (depending on your handyman skills), and some you’ll need to hire contractors for.  Either way, this will cost money, but done properly, will equate to you getting more for your home.
  • Services and Fees:  After you’ve finished getting your home ready to list, you then need to consider the fees of marketing and selling.  Depending on who you use as your real estate agent will depend on what you will need to spend on marketing. You’ll want professional pictures and videos taken, and you’ll want your home marketed online on sites beyond the typical real estate sites (i.e., Zillow, brokerage sites, etc.).  I pay for and facilitate those services for my clients, but not all agents do. Once you accept an offer, you need to anticipate your estimated closing costs. The type of costs that are included in this bucket called “closing costs” vary, but they usually include the commission paid to your brokerage (they pay the buyer’s agent out of their commission), and sale prep fees such as deed stamp and administrative fees.
  • Post Sale Costs:  After the sale, you need to also anticipate the costs of getting you to your next home.  Are you moving out of state? Then you’ll need to calculate the costs of all the logistics of getting you there, such as packing, moving and temporary lodging.

Selling a home (and buying a new one), is a project, and a good real estate agent (… ahem…) will also wear the hat of a good project manager for you.  This is something to ask about when talking to prospective agents. The link below is a good article that goes into a bit more detail. Have you had any experience selling a home where you had unanticipated costs?  Chime in below and share your voice of experience!

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Posted on October 1, 2019 at 9:16 am
Jim Smoak | Posted in General Real Estate, Prep To Sell |

Smart kitchen remodeling

A complete kitchen renovation can recover approximately 62% of the remodeling costs when your home is sold.  To help ensure a good return on your kitchen remodel, planning is key. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, allotting six months for planning and not allowing yourself to reduce it is important.  Cutting corners on planning time will often lead to cutting corners on the plan, and that means a direct impact on your remodel. Here are some other guidelines when it comes to the details of the plan.

    • Look at your existing kitchen for what works, what doesn’t, what’s required and what’s desired.  You don’t want a great plan where you forgot the refrigerator because you were too focused on getting the island added!  
  • Take a look at the traffic pattern of your kitchen so you don’t create cramped spaces, which is one of the primary things we look to get rid of in a remodel.
  • Make sure erogonomics are a planning component.  You don’t want to find that the island stops you from opening your fridge door all the way (I’ve seen that, by the way)
  • Choose everything before starting.  You don’t want to find out that your assumptions about cabinet hardware ends up not working, or that your vented hood can’t be vented.

There are other great tips in this article, so check it out.  If you’ve gone through a sizable kitchen remodel, drop a comment below to share your voice of experience!

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Posted on September 23, 2019 at 8:30 am
Jim Smoak | Posted in General Real Estate, Maintenance |

The hurricane is gone; now what?

With Hurricane Dorian effects on the east coast of the United States, there are a number of things homeowners need to consider when it’s time to assess material damage in the wake of a major hurricane.  Here are some great tips from an article I just read.

Your home has sustained damage, now what? Document the damage by taking photos/videos and save all receipts for supplies for repairs. It’s a good idea to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. This can be as simple as covering a hole on the roof or window with a tarp or plywood. Also, contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to get the claims process started.

What’s covered by my insurance policy? Property damage from wind is usually covered under your standard policy. However, flood damage is not. This coverage is normally purchased separately through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer. Renters’ policies only cover the renters’ belongings, whereas the structure is insured by the landlord. Damage to your vehicle from wind and flooding is covered under your auto insurance policy’s optional comprehensive coverage.

What else is covered? Ask your insurance agent, but most insurance policies help cover some costs beyond structural damage or belongings such as the cost to evacuate, temporary housing if your home is uninhabitable from damage sustained during the storm. Also, talk to your employer about lost wages because of missed days of work – many businesses have insurance policies that allow them to pay employees for a set number of missed work days due to mandatory evacuation.

Can FEMA help me? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides assistance once a disaster is declared a federal disaster. To find out if you qualify, visit and enter your address. The site also has information on FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.

How do I avoid being scammed on repairs to my home/property? Beware of door-to-door solicitors. Contact your insurance company before signing contracts for repairs. Only work with licensed and insured contractors and obtain more than one estimate. Get everything in writing, including material and labor costs and a schedule of work to include a completion date. Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until all work is completed. Contact your state’s department of insurance if you think you’re being scammed or to report suspected fraud.

I hope this article helps!  Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

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Posted on September 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm
Jim Smoak | Posted in General Real Estate, Insurance, Maintenance |

Selling A House With Solar Panels

Solar panels are something many buyers are looking for and appraisers make note of when assessing your property, but can add a bit of complexity in the sale of the house depending on local ordinances and whether they panels are owned or leased. Make sure to have your agent mention solar panels in your listing and discuss them in your negotiations with potential buyers. Generally, a house with a solar panel lease can be sold or bought in the following ways: Continue reading

Posted on August 12, 2019 at 1:48 pm
Jim Smoak | Posted in General Real Estate |

Some Home Renovations Can Actually Harm Resale Value

Sometimes home improvements are necessary due to major issues; however, the worst thing a seller can do is make renovations that aren’t supported by the local market.  Here are a few good examples that this article points out.

Over-the-top kitchen remodels costing more than 25% of the home’s value do not generate much of a return when selling your home. If you’re going to add an addition to your home, it is wise to seek professional help with the layout and design to avoid destroying the floorplan/function. Continue reading

Posted on August 12, 2019 at 1:36 pm
Jim Smoak | Posted in General Real Estate |

Construct your dream property or renovate an existing one?

With the aging inventory of homes in the US, this decision is becoming more and more common. Should you build a new home or renovate an existing one? There are many considerations and this article lists 11 questions to get answers to which will help you qualify the best decision for your situation. All 11 questions are good, but here are some of my favs.

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Posted on July 27, 2019 at 12:07 pm
Jim Smoak | Posted in General Real Estate |

Amazon sells a $19,000 DIY tiny-home kit

Are you an empty nester and want to scale down?  The tiny home trend certainly classifies as scaling down!  To date, most tiny homes seem to involve stick built homes from the ground up.  However, Amazon now sells tiny home kits ranging from $6000-65,000.  Amazon!  And many of them are shipped for free!  Do you think a tiny home could be for you?  Continue reading

Posted on July 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm
Jim Smoak | Posted in General Real Estate |