Donna Coakley McGowan's Blog
Let's face it – clutter can be a problem, particularly for those who intend to sell a home in the foreseeable future. But if you allocate time and resources to remove clutter from your home now, you may reap the benefits of your efforts during the home selling cycle.
Ultimately, there are many reasons for a home seller to eliminate clutter before he or she lists a residence, and these include:
1. You can help a homebuyer envision what life may be like as the owner of your house.
Oftentimes, homebuyers want to picture what life may be like if they purchase a particular residence. Yet a home that is filled with antiques, decorations and other items may make it tough for a homebuyer to do just that.
If you remove clutter from your residence, however, you can make it simple for a buyer to see your home's full potential. As a result, a buyer may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether your residence is the right choice.
2. You can earn extra cash.
Although your house may be loaded with a wide range of personal belongings, you don't necessarily have to throw these items away. In fact, you can always sell excess items to simultaneously remove clutter from your house and earn extra cash.
It may be a good idea to host a yard sale before you list your house. This will enable you to sell excess items as well as inform neighbors about your upcoming plans to add your residence to the real estate market.
Of course, you can sell excess items online as well. Or, you may be able to donate assorted items to local charities.
3. You may speed up the home selling process.
The home selling process may prove to be long and complicated, especially if a house is overloaded with clutter. Thankfully, removing clutter may make it easy for you to stir up lots of interest from potential buyers as soon as your residence becomes available.
A clutter-free residence is more likely to be clean and tidy in comparison to other houses. Thus, when buyers enter a clutter-free residence for the first time, they may fall in love with this house right away. And if a clutter-free home makes a positive first impression on a buyer, a seller soon may receive a competitive offer to purchase his or her house.
If you're searching for help as you try to remove clutter from your residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer plenty of assistance throughout the home selling journey.
Typically, a real estate agent will help you list your house and promote it to potential buyers. Plus, if you need help as you get your home ready for the housing market, a real estate agent will make it simple to prepare your residence and ensure it makes a positive impression on buyers.
Eliminate clutter from your house, and you may increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.
In a nutshell, if you have owned a home for five years and lived in it for at least two out of five years, or if you’ve owned the house for two years and lived in it the entire time, a single person has a $250,000 tax exemption. If you are married, as a couple, you have a $500,000 exemption. Any gains over those amounts are taxable. You should always discuss the sale of your home with a tax attorney, especially if you used the house for business or rented it out, as you may not be able to take the exemption on homes used for business or as a rental.
Figuring the Tax
Before you can estimate how much tax you might owe, you need to calculate the cost basis for the property. Figure the tax by completing these steps:
Figure the Cost Basis
Add the price you paid for the property to the cost of any significant improvements. Subtract any casualty and theft losses, closing costs you paid when you bought the house and allowable depreciation. You might be able to subtract some closing costs. If you inherited the property, the initial investment is the fair market value on the date of the death of the person who willed the house to you.
For gifted properties, if there is a gain, you use the donor’s adjusted basis in the cost basis equation. If there is a loss, the cost basis is the fair market value on the date you received the property as a gift or the donor’s adjusted basis, whichever is less.
Figure the Capital Gain
Once you have the cost basis, subtract it from the sale price of the house. For example, if you paid $500,000 for your home and you are now selling it for $1,000,000, you have a capital gain of $500,000. If you are single, you will pay tax on $250,000. If you are married, the exclusion is $500,000, which wipes out the $500,000 profit.
Reducing the Tax Owed
You may be able to use the Section 1031 exchange if you are selling a home used for business or that was rented out as long as you buy another house for business or to rent out. The new purchase cannot be for personal use and the exchange must be for “like-kind.”
The regulations for a Section 1031 exchange are limited and may be confusing. Always retain a tax lawyer or accountant to help you with your taxes, especially if you are buying and selling an investment property. If you are selling a million dollar plus home and you use it as your personal residence, you should still contact a tax lawyer. Depending on your finances, the tax lawyer may be able to help you avoid some of the tax.
Whether you're planning on selling your home in the near future or just enhancing it now for your own enjoyment, your kitchen is a great place to focus some of your attention.
If your kitchen is dreary, disorganized, and grungy, then several aspects of your life could be negatively impacted.
One surefire way to start your day on a sour note is to be "greeted" first thing in the morning by stacks of unwashed dishes, dirty cookware, and spills! Sound familiar? It happens to everyone occasionally, but it becomes a major issue when it occurs on a regular basis. Messy kitchens can not only leave you feel frustrated and irritable, but they can be a contributing factor to family squabbles.
Here's a related scenario that's worth avoiding at almost all costs: Leaning your arm on a dirty counter and realizing you're now wearing last night's tomato sauce or Cabernet on your work clothes! We won't even go into that sinking feeling you get when an important document, research paper, or business report gets placed on a wet counter top!
There's no solution that works flawlessly every time, but establishing consistent habits, routines, and family responsibilities is a great starting point. While it may be a bit of hassle to keep reminding your kids to clean up after themselves and put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, it's usually worth it when you know you're not going to have to wake up to a messy kitchen!
Other ways to ensure your kitchen is an inspiring place, rather than a depressing one, is to remove clutter from counter tops and tables, keep windows clean and unobstructed, and make sure artificial lighting is adequate in dining and food preparation areas. Replacing old, heavy window treatments and installing recessed lighting with dimmer switches can also enhance the look and feel of your kitchen.
Besides doing a partial or complete remodel of your kitchen -- which many homeowners need to do at least once -- there are a lot of small, more affordable touches that can make your kitchen a more inviting and enjoyable place to spend time. Colorful wall art, a bowl of fresh fruit, a flower arrangement, and the use of citrus-scented cleaners are a few simple touches that can set the stage for a cleaner, more cheerful living space.
Painting or re-staining kitchen cabinets may be more of a cumbersome job than you're willing to tackle, but it can dramatically freshen up the appearance of your kitchen. For some homeowners, cabinet refacing is an economical choice that is relatively simple and budget friendly.
Cleaning and organizing your pantry, kitchen cabinets, and refrigerator is also a good way to weed out expired grocery products and take inventory of what needs to be replaced. When ingredients and food supplies are easy to find, mealtime tends to be more relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.
Home staging is one of the most tried-and-true methods of selling your home faster. It can also help you increase the purchase price of your home by between one and five percent.
However, working with a professional home stager--while a good investment--is not always in everyone’s budget.
The good news is, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to stage your home that will give visitors a good first impression, make for great photos for your online listing, and hopefully help speed up your home sale.
In today’s post, we’re going to break down six of the most effective and inexpensive home staging tips to help you sell your home faster.
1. Declutter everything
Cleaning out your home is one of the best ways to make it appear more spacious and welcoming. It gives you the chance to start packing items you won’t need until you move into your new home, and it opens up space to use a few choice decorations around the home.
For things like cabinets and closets, remove all of the items you won’t need until you move. A closet that is half-full will look much larger for guests viewing your home.
2. Clean carpets and polish wooden furniture
Carpets, flooring, and furniture make up a large percent of the visible space in your home. Leaving these items dirty or worn when selling your home is missing out on a huge opportunity to make your home look up-to-date and well-maintained.
You can rent a carpet cleaner for as little as $20, and a gallon of wood polish costs around $15, making these two items a solid investment for staging your home.
3. Paint with bright colors
When we paint our homes we usually choose colors that we like, rather than ones that appeal to the largest number of people. And although that’s a great thing while you own a home, it can be detrimental when it comes time to sell. Repainting dark walls in bright, neutral tones will make the room feel larger and well-lit.
4. Paint the front door while you’re at it
A freshly painted, bright colored front door can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home stand out amongst your neighbors. It is a cheap way to quickly freshen up the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal.
5. Purchase a new welcome mat and mailbox
Welcome mats tend to get a lot of use and wear down. Similarly, mailboxes often get dented and faded over the years.
These two items can be excellent accents to improve the curb appeal of your home. Choose colors that match the overall color scheme of your home to establish a sense of continuity.
6. Rearrange furniture to allow foot traffic
When someone comes to view your home, you’ll want to sure they have ease of access to each part of the house. Rearrange the furniture in your kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms to make it easy to tour the home.
If possible, it helps to maintain a flexible deadline as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a tight deadline in place, you risk making a rash homebuying decision. And as a result, you may pay too much to acquire a home. Perhaps even worse, you risk purchasing a house that fails to match your expectations.
As you prepare to kick off your homebuying quest, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the homebuying journey.
1. Prepare Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, you should put together property buying criteria. That way, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to acquire your dream residence.
To establish homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside. For instance, if you want a home close to parks and other family-friendly attractions, you should hone your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a house that offers quick, easy access to family members, you should search for a home near these relatives.
Consider the features you want to find in your dream home, too. If you make a list of home must-haves, you can focus exclusively on houses that have the features you require.
2. Establish a Budget
Usually, it is beneficial to begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can search for houses that won't force you to exceed your budget.
To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble performing a successful home search.
A real estate agent is devoted to homebuyers' success, and as such, will do what it takes to help you achieve your desired results. For instance, if you want to buy an affordable house in a small town, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Or, if you want to purchase a home near your office in the city, a real estate agent will craft a custom homebuying plan so you can accomplish your goal.
Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent will respond to them – without exception.
Want to enjoy a fast, stress-free homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.