Summer selling tips

A couple weeks back I wrote about how to save money by cooling your home.  I’m sure those of you choosing to sell right now would appreciate some tips on selling in the summer months.  While it seems like the housing market is at a standstill, there are plenty of buyers out there now who need to purchase a home.  I just read an article that lots of buyers now are cash buyers, which is good for people selling rentable units, as a lot of these buyers are investors.

1. Keep it cool.  Make sure the air conditioning is on in your home, even if you’re gone – actually, especially if you’re gone.  If the outside air is 75 degrees or higher, I recommending turning on the air.  You don’t have to make it feel like a meat cooler, but make sure it’s cool enough in there so your potential buyers aren’t sweating the second they walk through the door.  If there’s no air conditioning, make sure to put fans in there to circulate the air and open windows.

2. Stage your balcony if you have one.  Make sure you have some colorful flowers and a comfortable place to sit.  A balcony is extremely inviting and not only does it make the balcony look spacious by adding furniture, but it adds to the living space, making the entire unit seem more spacious.

3. Stage the inside.  It’s really hard these days to show a vacant unit.  They seem a lot smaller and lifeless.  You can stage it without spending a fortune by picking up furniture at garage sales or on Craigslist.  You don’t need to furnish it to the nines.  Just enough to put a bed in a bedroom to see how that fits, a dining room table in a dining room, etc.  It really will make the place look bigger.  It’ll be worth the investment.

4. If you live in attached housing, get FHA certified.  This is something that your condo association will need to do, not you individually.  It makes it much more attractive to buyers who use FHA financing, and that represents about 30% or more of buyers these days.  

5. Spread the word.  And this isn’t just for summer.  Yes, it’s your Realtor’s job to market the listing.  But you never know who you might run in to that is looking to move or knows someone looking.  Post ads on your social networking sites, let your colleagues at work know, tell people at church.  

A few more great tips can be found in this article.

Any more tips you can offer those trying to sell in the summer?  I’d love to hear your suggestions.  Please leave me a comment or visit me online.

Save money and keep cool

Summer is upon us.  And here in Chicagoland, we’ve already hit days in the high 90s.  So we’re all going to want to stay cool in our homes.  And we’d like to do that spending as little money as possible.  So here are some tips on saving money while keeping your house cool.

1.  If you can stand it, use a ceiling fan.  This circulates the air in an effort to keep you cool.  Just remember that ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.  So if you’re not going to be in the room, turn it off.  And make sure that it’s circulating air downward.

2. Keep your thermostat programmed to save money.  If you’re home and you can stand it, keep it around 78 degrees.  You can turn it up when you’re away.  For every degree over 80, you save 2-3%.

3. Leave at least 90% of the air vents open in your home.  You can create a pressure imbalance by leaving more than 10% closed.  It reduces the effectiveness of the cooling system by doing that.

4. Replace disposable dirty air filters at least once a month and clean permanent ones just as often.  If your air filter is dirty, it causes the air conditioner to work harder, raising your electric bills.

5. If you can avoid it, don’t use the oven during the day.  Instead, use a microwave, slow cooker, or toaster oven.  The heat caused by the oven makes the air conditioner work harder to cool the house.  And use appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine early in the morning or at night, when energy costs go down.

6. Keep the sun out.  If the sun doesn’t get in, the house won’t be as warm to begin with.  Use sunscreens and good blinds/shades in rooms you’re not in.  Close the curtains on south and west-facing windows during the day.  White blinds and drapes do the best at reflecting heat away from the house.  

I’d love to hear your tips for saving money by keeping your house cool.  Please leave me a comment or visit me online.

In great reversal, Bank of America foreclosed upon

Now this is irony.  I read this article, and I just had to share it.  A homeowner has foreclosed on Bank of America.  Yes, that’s right.  They foreclosed on the bank, not the other way around.

So here’s what happened.  A couple in Naples, Florida bought a home with cash (no mortgage) in 2009.  In 2010, Bank of America began foreclosure proceedings against them.  This was Bank of America’s mistake, of course.  This couple, the Nyerges, hired an attorney to help defend them against this foreclosure, and then Bank of America realized their mistake and dropped it.

Well, it’s great that it’s been dropped, but the Nyerges are out $2,534 in legal fees.  So they’ve requested that Bank of America cover the cost multiple times over the phone and in writing.  They finally get a judge to order that Bank of America pay the fees.  When they still haven’t gotten their check after five months of more calls and letters, they obtained an order of foreclosure against the bank.

Their attorney “then reported to a local branch of the bank with sheriff’s deputies, who he instructed to remove cash from the tellers’ drawers, furniture, computers and other property.  Approximately one hour later, the Naples News reports, the bank manager produced a check for $5,772.88 to satisfy  fees and additional costs.”

 ”I talked to branch managers, I called anyone who would listen to me,” the couple told the Naples News. “And I wrote a certified letter to the president (of the bank). No response, nothing.”

Can you imagine what the bankers thought when they showed up to work that morning?  I think this is great.  The banks are so quick to foreclose on properties, yet when it comes to them paying a fee (a very small fee comparatively) for something they didn’t pay, it ends up that they can’t do it.   So I can only imagine how many foreclosures that are taking place behind the scenes are incorrect because of paperwork errors.  

Reading this article just puts a smile on my face.  I’m glad that it turned out for the best for everybody in this situation, but it’s fun to see the bank get a taste of its own medicine.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your comments.  Please be sure to visit me online.