emilikins's Advice

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emilikins wrote:

Should I finish my basement or just rough it in?

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You're not going to get that money back, but it can still impact your time on the market. What's the finished sq ft of your home compared to the average of your neighborhood? Do you have adequate space and bedrooms above grade compared to your neighbors?We are finally under contract (knock that wood), and our main challenge was that we only had 2 bedrooms in a neighborhood that is 3+ (same with garage). So, if our basement was finished with more bedrooms, we would have had a bigger buyer pool, but we wouldn't have got much more for the house (and lost our down payment for the next one). Sold faster and for a bit more, but to us it wasn't worth it. We do have a rough in.Keep the basement CLEAN. One agent suggested we paint the basement floor, though we never got around to it. We did declutter and sweep it. 
September 15 2013
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Sellers or Buyers that are not happy with there agent

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Why we weren't happy with our first realtor:1) Overpriced our listing. Yes, we should've fought harder for a lower price, but we also thought, "Hey, she's the 'expert', right?" And now we are 5 months in with a stale house.2) Did not give advice or stay on top of the market. When it was clear in the feedback that we were overpriced, we had to push for a drop (and any subsequent drops). We asked for a CMA before the price change to try to hit the price right and not just randomly reduce. She refused to do that. Whenever we asked what we should do, she'd just say she'd do whatever we wanted. It's not about want, it's about need. 3) She did not keep her cellphone on her, so she could be difficult to get a hold of. This was distressing when buyers showed up at our door wondering if our house was still for sale, because it was listed as inactive.4) Seemed to think she just had to list the house and wait for someone to come and get it.New agent:1) Communication is worse than the first one, and this is after we stressed how frustrated we were with the previous agent. He's always busy and in meetings and we're passed off to his assistant, who now avoids us because we call her out on big mistakes, like reducing our lot size and square footage and leaving typos in the description and not fixing them. We have no idea what is going on and just get the usual "busy behind the scenes" line we'd get from the previous agent.
August 25 2013
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Doing some work on house we bought, want to be resell minded - Vinyl Plank Flooring

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My sister put in "high-end" vinyl flooring in the kitchen of her very nice custom home, because she was worried about the Great Dane scuffing up the floor. I don't know how it'd go in resale, but she's darn picky, and we actually thought it was hardwood until we touched it. Then we didn't think it was hardwood, but we were surprised it was vinyl!I definitely understand the floor guy's concern with water dripping in from the pool. Not knowing the comparative costs, I'd say, if you plan to be in the house for a long while (10 years instead of 5), go with the vinyl, with it in the back of your head that you might have to switch to hardwood if that's the demand of the market in your neighborhood when it comes time to sell. It'll probably hurt less to swap out in a decade (if necessary) than install now and replace/restore down the road. But this is without estimates.However, even if you have a tough time telling the difference yourself, you won't be able to list hardwood if you don't have it. And some people can't see past that. They don't know why they want hardwood, only that HGTV has told them it's a MUST!
August 20 2013
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How do I share my favorite list?

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WANT! This has been my biggest wish for any/all realty sites: share your favorite list. I don't understand why this option isn't out there. It's not new to the Internet.The individual emailing is annoying both for sender and recipients when you have a whole batch of houses to peruse.
July 30 2013
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Frustrated with our agent!

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Ouch - 6 months!As a fellow frustrated seller, I can empathize, but there is some good advice in here from other agents, too, along with some seller blaming. Our first open house was nearly a disaster, because even though we had discussed and set the date with our agent 2 weeks in advanced, it didn't get posted as such until Thursday, and it wasn't updated on all the sites our listing was on. The second open house went better, advertisingwise, but we had about the same handful of looky-loos who really had no interest (as expected), so most of our feedback was "needs more bedrooms." But we also had private showings with similar feedback. Yes, if you want more bedrooms, why the heck would you see this house?! We're not hiding them!You said you're priced appropriately, but you might want to revisit that. Ours was priced, at our agent's insistence, too high and after almost 4 months of pushing for price drops on our end, we are finally in the appropriate area - but now our house is stale and we'll need to drop MORE. You've had more showings than us in a shorter time, btw.After talking with your agent about your grievances, if she doesn't address them, then definitely talk to her manager. You might also see if you can get a list of the agents that showed your house and contact them to see if you can get any feedback. They might not remember what their buyer's thought, but they MIGHT remember your house (they see a lot of houses) and be willing to give you some feedback. We tried talking with our agent, and now she's even less communicative before and we're interviewing new ones. 
July 25 2013
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What kind of a return do you get on finishing your basement (if any)?

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Our basement is unfinished with a rough-in for a bathroom and is a walkout with full windows (not egress). However, all agents we've spoken to said it's not worth it to finish the basement, even though adding another bedroom would open up another pool of buyers. Their bottom line was that we'd sell faster (once it was complete) and for a little more, but not enough to make it worth it for us.Of course, this can vary by market.
July 23 2013
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Is there a time limit for an agent's right to commission for someone they brought to the property

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An example: On our contract, there is a 180 day period past expiration UNLESS we list with a new agent. So, if we had a previous looker approach us after we expired and hadn't relisted yet, how I understand the wording in our contract, is that our former agent would be compensated (because it was her marketing, etc., that got the buyer's initial attention). But if we list with someone new, they get the goods, because they got the deal done (and it could be argued that Agent A couldn't get an offer in, but Agent B could, so Agent A has no claim).
July 23 2013
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Anyone go from Realtor to FSBO?

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We interviewed 5 agents before our initial list, and we've got 4 lined up to talk to this week. Our agent doesn't seem at all bothered that we said we will not be renewing with her. Haymount, how'd you wind up only spending $400? I've been trying to figure out how much FSBO might run us, and it's definitely more than $400!
July 22 2013
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Anyone go from Realtor to FSBO?

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@Vince - We had a FSBO go up two blocks over, on for a couple of weeks, and now it's off-market (don't know if it sold or what). I'm debating about bugging them. It's nice to see you're taking the canceled listing with a smile! =)@MLS4owners - Yes, I am concerned about listing scams out there. Our homebuilder has MLS access, so if we do decide FSBO, maybe he'll let us list for a fee (and rent a lockbox, too). I wouldn't ask someone to list us for free, because I know they have to pay for that access, so why should I expect to get it for free?
July 21 2013
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Anyone go from Realtor to FSBO?

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@wetdawg - Thanks for the blog link!@Kina - Yeah, we're definitely going to have to itemize out the cost of a lockbox for showings, professional looking signs, MLS fee, etc. There are agents who will work the negotiation and paperwork for 1%, which is great option, otherwise we should find a good real estate lawyer. I don't think we'll particularly do BETTER than a top agent on marketing and selling (limited resources and experience, plus no backroom connections), but at this point when we ask for specifics of what has been done to market the house or follow-up on buyer leads, we've gotten a cheery "Oh, I'm doing things you probably haven't thought of!" and asking, "Great! Tell us!" we get silence. So, I don't think there is $6k worth of work going on (her take after the split). Of course, by the time we factor in buyers agent %, negotiation fees (lawyer or agent), MLS and advertising costs, we might be getting pretty close to our $12k estimate of closing costs. Most likely still cheaper, but is it worth it becomes the ultimate question.Seller blame:- I should've been more forceful in my belief she was buying the listing, but the hubby liked the price and figured her years of experience won over the numbers- I should've pushed to end the contract sooner, when other big red flags flared up, but now we're so close to its expiration, we'll just let it goWe did stage the house and keep it constantly show-ready and NEVER turned down a request, even for 8 p.m. on a Friday night, so we are used to that inconvenience. But the auto showing service was nice. I'll miss that, if we go FSBO. 
July 21 2013
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