Prepping my townhouse for sale

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The fact that this is the only unit in 90 that is currently for sale is a definite plus. What amazes me is that you don't seem to have any reference points for other units that SOLD. It seems likely that in the last 12-18 mths there would be a few that did sell. Did you ask these 3 realtors for comps? They should have sat down with you and showed you the actual sales of units either in your complex or similar complexes that actually did sell and for how much. That's the only way anyone can come up with a fair price for yours. The fact that you have had no legitimate offers means that either it's priced too high, the realtor is doing a poor job, or both. Is this a full price commission realtor? What's the % commission? Another factor is if the similar units that sold for $210K had much newer kitchens, appliances, tile/hardwood floors, etc, then you can't expect to get the same price for yours. A kitchen from 1988 could still be functionally fine, but it is 18 years old and depending on the style could look dated by now compared to other kitchens.
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Your being willing to live with things, e.g., a kitchen with unusable space that you lived with for six years, has nothing to do with what things a buyer is willing to live with now. I agree that disposing of working appliances is wasteful but, again, that has nothing to do with whether a buyer wants new appliances. You need to let go of the idea that what you were willing to live with has anything to do with what potential buyers want to live with.
For example, to you it's a big deal that you updated the kitchen in 1988. Maybe you saved and planned for a long time to do it, and you were really happy with the change. All of that is meaningless to a buyer. They don't care that it's nicer than it used to be -- they never had to deal with how it used to be. All they care about is whether it compares well to their vision of what they want now. And frankly, a 1988 kitchen with 1988 appliances does not compare very well to most 2006 buyers' visions.
Again, you have only two choices: Give the place today's look, or else give it yesterday's price.
Jo Ann
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JD wrote:

People buying are already stretching they limit. They don't have money to invest in a home they just bought.
I suggest you start by cleaning up. If you are still living there, rent a space and remover anything that is not absolutely necessary. If you are not living there, remove all personal belongings. Clean and do some painting as needed, paint goes a long way towards making a place look good, paint neutral colors, not what you like.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Another option to consider is renting it out. If it has a 1988 kitchen, I don't think you have to worry too much about wear and tear from a tenant. If renting can cover your mortgage, tax, maintenance, you could hold on to it and if all goes well, in another 10 years, it will be worth a lot more.
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I wish I could do that. However, because of our finances, we can't. We've got to sell it and get out of it. We held on to it over a year longer than we should have because of family illnesses and not having the time to deal with things properly. Now we don't have that option.
Besides, I wouldn't want to be a landlord. I just want to get this over with so I can concentrate on our house. I'm tired of being split between 2 places and never seeming to get anything done.
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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Forget what the realtors told you. What did you pay for the property? Are you selling it for more than you paid? If yes, take the offer. Any profit or loss from their suggested price is just a paper thing, not hard cash. Houses sell for what people are willing to pay. Houses that don't sell in a reasonable time are usually overpriced. See what some cosmetics do, but be prepared to take less than the present asking price.
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Be VERY careful if you will have a gain. You MUST have used the home being sold as your primary residences for 2 of the last 3 years, or you will pay capital gains tax.....
consulte a tax pro for details
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Also ask about renting it out. There are all kinds of tax breaks that you can't even imagine. The numbers are not just monthly payments vs rental income. Right now you're basically a landlord without a tenant, so get some rental income! Good luck.
S
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mrsgator88 wrote:

I agree with hallerb regarding the tax issue and hereby retract my rental suggestion. They bought this place decades ago, so it's just about 100% that they have a substantial capital gain. So, they do need to have occupied it as their principal residence for 2 years to avoid the capital gains tax. They qualify for that now, but would lose that by making it a rental.
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Well, they probably still get a year or two to qualify for the deduction, but about the taxes...
First, you only pay capital gains tax on the profit, not the sale amount. Profit is not _just_ the difference between the two sale prices. Any improvements (not maintenance, but improvements) to the house are tax deductible. Did spend a mint on fancy wallpaper 20 years ago? Sorry, not deductible, but...
* Were the windows ever replaced? Bang, that's deductible. * Did you remodel the kitchen? Same thing. * Put a new deck in? Deductible
Considering all the years that property didn't appreciate, its possible that there's less tax involved than we realize. Now, if you make the property rental, here's what you gain:
* Depreciation deduction * ANY expense on that house - any kind of maintenence at all becomes a tax deduction of off the rent. * Do you have heirs beside your wife? If so, at the time of inheritance they'll inherit the house at its Fair Market Value at date of death. Meaning, they can flip it the next day and pay no capital gains tax
I know you think you need the money, but, you've been living without it for this long. At the end of the year, the rental income and deductions should cover the mortgage and taxes. You might find the tenant might want to buy your home after the lease is up, and then you're saving 5-6% on realtor commissions.
Read this: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/mortgages/20040220a1.asp for improvement deductions and this below for general info about how to finagle the living requirements: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/real-estate/20041018a1.asp
And most importantly, discuss this with a practicing CPA to get the straight scoop. People who do this generally come out pretty good in the end.
S
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mrsgator88 wrote:

You can't be serious thinking that there isn't still a large capital gain here. They've owned this property for 24 years and in that time it would be extremely unusual for there not to be a large capital gain, even after they allow for capital improvements made over the years.

That's true, but it's a long time to wait to get out of paying capital gains, which they are already free and clear of if they sell it now.

Extremely unlikely that 6% commission or rental income is going to offset having to pay capital gains. Plus she has the headaches of being a landlord. They can do the math, but I'm betting they would have to pay tax on minimum of $75K, more likely $100K, so what's the point as opposed to being done with it now, like she wants?

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Try again... that's two out of the last *five* years...
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Now this is some real bad advice. What they paid for it decades ago has no bearing on what a fair price for it is now. If I came over and offered you $100 more than you paid for your house 20 years ago, would you sell it? If their real estate agent has done a bad job marketing it and no fair offers have been forthcoming, doesn't mean they should give it away.
What they need to look at is sales in the last year of similar properties. And that is what's missing in this whole thread. They live in a complex of 90 units. There has been zippo said about what other units in the recent past have SOLD for. When I brought this up before, the answer was none are for sale now. They need to find out when units were sold and for how much. First for this complex, then for any similar complexs in the area. This ain't rocket science.
Any profit

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On Mon 08 May 2006 04:56:53p, Thus Spake Zarathustra, or was it Edwin Pawlowski?

He's deaf, Ed. But he's awfully good at moaning.
--

Wayne Boatwright
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a. I'm female. b. I'm not moaning. I'm being realistic about our finances. We do NOT have 10k to put into doing kitchen upgrades. We have maxed out our budget. That's realistic c,. If I have to accept a lower price, so be it. But we have no more $ to do anything with.
It's not moaning, m'dear. It's realism And we have to deal with it. As soon as our contract is up with the current realtor, I am changing. I've already talked to one and she agrees the marketing the 1st one has been doing is wrong. Yes, I've both houses 2x. No, I've never sold one. I depended on our agent. I was wrong.
But I nor my husband are made of $. We're doing the best we can with what we have. We lived in the house for 22 years and will most likely live in our present one (built in 74) for that long as well.
Wayne Boatwright wrote:

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JD wrote:

I agree that it doesn't make any sense to spend $10K on upgrades. I'd much rather buy a place for $10K less and make the upgrades I want. That way it suites my tastes, not someone elses. I've seen many articles and reports of how much one can expect to get back for kitchen upgrades, bath upgrades, swimming pools, the whole list. Almost all of them are negative. The only one I can recall adding more in resale value than the cost was adding a second bath to a house that has only one.
I would make some less expensive changes, if they will help. Like if the carpet can be improved by cleaning, get it done. If painting some rooms will help, I'd do that. I would ask some people you know for their honest opinions, as they may have a fresh perspective. If the place is furnished, but the furniture is older and doesn't help, it may be better to take it out and leave it empty. At least that way the place looks bigger.
Some simple things can make a big difference. I recently went to an open house down the street. The house was probably 25 years old and was built in an area that was dark because there were so many trees surrounding the house. The forest virtually came up to the back of the place. The owner of the real estate agency was there herself showing the place. It was dark as could be inside and she didn't have the sense to open all the blinds and turn on the lights. That simple change could have made a big diff. Anyone that walked in was left with the impression that it was cold, dark and dreary.
Wayne Boatwright wrote:

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Maybe she was hoping that in the bad light, nobody would notice the bloodstains.
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So what?

Are you getting what I mentioned to explain to your agent an escrow account for the remakes of the house. Set your price on those that are in your immediate area. You need comparatives and your local market will dictate that.

You have said this already, give us a break... How will you pay for things like appraisal, warranty, closing, YAWN.

Let me AX you a serious question. Why does the agent that sold your newer/current home of two years to you; not get consideration for the job now? Can it be you are being....whatever?

I really don't want to hear it. Two years ago I had eight (8) mortgages. Today I have one after this morning's closing.
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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A. I was referred to as a guy. I'm not, thank you very much. B. I understood perfectly. However, things have to be paid for before you get to escrow. $ doesn't simply materialze out of thin air, particularly when you don't have it. C. A home warrenty, IF we're asked for one, is around 500. That we can manage. Closing $ comes out of the monies collected at closing, if memory serves me. Preparation of a deed is <400 around here D. I thought the word was ASK (to inquire), not AX, which is a variation of a sharp instrument, last I looked. E. I didn't go to the agent I had before because I wasn't happy with them. We didn't use a 'buyer's agent' cause we stumbled across our current home and the same agent's company also represented the seller. We love the house, but not the agent. F. As for the song and dance re: 8 mortgages, fine. I have 3 right now and only want 1. That''s ALL we can afford.
You see, most people don't have bundles of $ to throw around. We're doing the best we can with what we have and we have to contend with that.
. Again, it's called realism. Most people that I know of don't have 10s of thousands of $ to drop into redoing a house for sal
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On Tue 09 May 2006 03:55:34p, Thus Spake Zarathustra, or was it JD?

So what is your point exactly, and what are you asking here? There's nothing that anyone here can offer you. You have a house you need to unload. So get with the program and unload it.
Zeesh!
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Wayne Boatwright @@
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