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Fixer-Uppers: Wise InvestmentOr Money Pit? Would you spend $650,000 for a beachfront home with sagging shutters, no landscaping, peeling paint, old appliances, outdated wallpaper and a generally drab exterior? On paper, the house sounds less-than-desirable -- okay, it sounds hideous. But before you answer, consider that this potential fixer-upper is located in California just steps from the Pacific. Drab as it may be, could this home sparkle one day? With a coat of paint, some "sweat" equity, and thorough revamping inside and out could this property be an investment gem? All homes are different, but there are
Mortgage RatesU.S. daily averages as of April 30, 2001:
30 yr. fixed: 6.81%15 yr. fixed: 6.33%1 yr. adj: 6.02%30 yr. jumbo: 7.18%
Get today's rates
certain criteria which can help you spot a fixer-upper with good potential. Here are a few basic questions to ask: What needs to be changed? There are some homes which are structurally
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Which Repairs Should You Make Before the Sale? If you're preparing to place your home on the market, it's inevitable that you'll need a couple of minor repairs and slight improvements before that "For Sale" sign can be driven into the front yard. Practical projects like a fresh coat of paint require little time or money but can make your home more attractive -- and more attractive homes are likely to sell faster and for more money. But what if an item needs repair, something which doesn't jeopardize anyone's health or safety -- a problem of the "out of sight, out of mind" variety. Should you simply disclose it and leave the buyer to deal with the problem? Or should you fix it before placing your home on the market? Before making any decisions, consider that repairing the problem could result in a higher sales price. It's sweet music to any buyer's ears to hear the terms "new" or "just replaced" as they walk through a home. Think of it this way: A move-up buyer or transferee has a good idea of what it takes to operate a home. The goal here is to move in with the fewest costs and
Five Keys To Successful Negotiation Whether you're a buyer or a seller you want to succeed in the realty marketplace. That's natural and reasonable, but what are the steps you need to triumph? Negotiation is a complex matter and all transactions are unique. Both sides -- buyer and seller -- want to feel that the outcome favors them, or at least represents a fair balance of interests. In the usual case there is a bit of bluff, some give-and-take, and neither party gets everything they want. So how do you develop a strong bargaining position, one which will help you get the most from a transaction? Experience shows there are five basic keys which will determine who wins at the negotiating table. 1. What Does The Market Say? At various times we're in a "buyers" market, a "sellers" market, or a market where supply and demand are roughly equal. If possible, you want to be in the market at a time when it favors your position as a buyer or seller. Because all properties are unique -- it is possible to buck general trends and have more leverage than the marketplace would seem to allow. For instance, if you have a property in a desirable neighborhood with few sales, you may be able to get a better deal than elsewhere. Or, if you're a buyer who can quickly close, that might be an important negotiating chip when dealing with an owner who just got a new job 500 miles
Dining Rooms Are Back, Say New Home Builders If you hardly ever use your living room but you would like a larger dining area for parties or those big family gatherings, you're not alone. The National Association of Home Builders surveyed homebuyers last year to find out what they wanted in new homes. According to their survey, "more than a third of prospective homebuyers were willing to buy a home without a living room in order to have more space for other rooms." However, when it came to dining rooms, "nearly four-fifths of respondents in NAHB's survey rated dining rooms as desirable or essential features in new homes." In the NAHB's words, dining rooms "appear to be making a comeback." Dave Bradstreet, Director of Architecture for Pulte Homes' Midwest region, says, "for the most part, dining rooms never went away -- especially with bread and butter plans." However, Bradstreet says people are viewing them differently these days. He finds that in the smaller square footage plans, "dining rooms have become kind of a flex space." Bradstreet notes that
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