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5 tips for selecting the best offer

Take emotion out of it and remain flexible

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negotiations, gay news, Washington Blade

Negotiations can take time, but stay calm and remember it’s a business decision.

You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale. You’ve staged it properly, kept it spick-and-span, kept beds made and clothes out of site. Buyers came through on private tours and via open house events. And now, you have an offer, or several! No matter the number of offers in hand, you’ll need to review each one carefully. Every offer has its strengths and drawbacks. There rarely is a perfect offer, but there is usually at least one that is a great option with which to work. Here are five tips that can assist you as you evaluate.

1. Know the process. When you receive an offer you can accept it, reject it outright, or you can work to negotiate some of the terms so the offer is more favorable to your needs. Keep in mind that all offers are negotiable. If you get an offer that meets your needs, you don’t have to negotiate. But, when you receive an offer that is less than satisfactory, keep in mind that may not be the final answer from the buyer. Negotiate! Returning a response offer asking for modified terms is called a counteroffer. Once the potential purchaser receives your counter, they then have the same right: accept, reject, or negotiate back. This can go on for a couple of rounds. I recently finished a negotiation period that lasted four days. In the end, we came to terms that were agreeable to both parties. Negotiations can take time and you need to be prepared not to get the last word. The goal is to reach terms acceptable to both parties.

2. Don’t take it personally. When you get into the negotiations, it can be tempting to reject a counter outright. I recently had a client say, “They didn’t counter with what I expected, so I don’t want to negotiate further.” That’s a missed opportunity. Just because your first counter didn’t get the response you wanted, it doesn’t mean you can’t find agreeable terms. Being “right,” or getting the last word, in a negotiation process should not be your goal. Selling your home can be emotional. But truly it is a business transaction. If you can set your emotions aside and treat it as a business deal, you will have a much better process and outcome.

3. Think about your bottom line. In advance of reviewing any offer, have a heart-to-heart with yourself and your agent to decide what terms are most important to you. If closing by a certain date is important, you may need to be flexible on price, or vice versa. Decide what you can, and will, be flexible on so that when the times come to negotiate you are prepared.

4. Review every term. Some sellers immediately zero in on the price. They ignore all of the other terms of the offer. They see the price and let that guide their decision. You have to evaluate all of the terms of every offer—not just price. Yes, the offered purchase price is important, but so are the other terms. Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes adequate? Is there a lender pre-approval or pre-qualification letter included? Are they asking for a home inspection and multiple repairs? Do they want a home warranty, too? With each term of the offer you need to ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I be flexible on this point to reach the ultimate goal of selling my house?

5. Think outside the box. Receiving an offer with unacceptable terms can open the door to creativity. Talk with your agent and see if they can discover what is important to the buyer. With that information in hand, is there is a way to structure the deal to meet both of your needs? Perhaps the buyer needs to move quickly, for example, but you have nowhere to go. Maybe a bit of a higher price would give you the cash you need to rent temporary housing until you close on your new place.

The most important things to remember while reviewing offers is to remove your emotions, think in terms of a business deal, and remain flexible.

 

Sherri Anne Green is an award-winning Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage having earned the prestigious International Sterling Society Award. Focusing on custom, data-driven marketing and client service, she provides impeccable, high-touch service tailored to her clients’ unique situation. She can be reached via phone or text at 202-798-1288,  [email protected], on Facebook, or on Instagram.

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Real Estate

Summer means time for annual maintenance

‘Gonna turn this house around somehow’

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Spring and summer mean it’s time to freshen up your landscaping and curb appeal.

It’s almost summer! The last days of school are here, people are getting ready to wear their swimsuits again, and suddenly BBQ sauce is front and center on all the aisles at the grocery store. What does that mean for all the homeowners out there? It means a bit of yearly maintenance.  

Summer maintenance checklist:

  • Check gutters and clean downspouts. The summer storms can knock a lot of branches and leaves around.
  • Have the HVAC serviced if you haven’t already.  A good rule of thumb is after winter, and again after summer. 
  • It’s time to trim back bushes and trees away from power lines. 
  • Wash windows and replace the window screens.
  • Reverse the ceiling fans so that it pushes the cool air downward.  You want them to spin counter-clockwise.
  • Clean the garbage disposal and the dishwasher.  You can add a cup or two of vinegar to the dishwasher and run a low wash cycle.  
  • Clean baseboards.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – replace batteries as needed.
  • Check outdoor hoses and appliance hoses – refrigerators, dishwashers, etc. for any leaks or cracks.  
  • Freshen up your yard, porch or deck spaces. A quick trip to a hardware or a garden center can help you liven up any outdoor space and get it ready for entertaining.  Don’t forget the citronella candles and bug spray.
  • Power wash decks and driveways.
  • Clean and scrub any grills. Check any hoses and connections for gas grills.  
  • Get a dehumidifier for any musty basement spaces, clean it up and plug it in.
  • Check seals on washers and dryers, and wipe down with an all-purpose cleaner.

Spending a little time and energy on your home – one of the biggest investments you will make, can help you to improve its resale value and optimize the enjoyment of your purchase.  Spring and summer can also be time to tackle those larger projects such as cleaning out a garage, a closet, or a spare bedroom.  

As someone who just moved after 10 years in the same building last year, I can speak to the level of freedom one feels after taking old appliances to Goodwill, finally selling that table or those chairs online, and hauling out bags and bags of trash. Do yourself a favor and clean it all up. You will be so happy you did when it’s finally done, and it can give you a sense of new beginnings.  

How might you use that extra space after you clean it up? Who knows, there’s only one way to find out. Need a little motivation to get all these projects done?  Don’t forget to find your favorite summer playlist, or even put on a Gay Pride Playlist. You could even recreate your favorite scene from “Saltburn” and dance around naked in your newly cleaned home when you are done. 

Joseph Hudson is a referral agent with Metro Referrals. Reach him at [email protected] or 703-587-0597.

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Real Estate

What property should I purchase if I’m not sure how long I’ll be in D.C.?

Row homes, English basements and more options abound

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D.C. offers an array of properties no matter how long you plan to live here.

Great question! If you are looking at real estate as an investment – two great property types to look at would be a smaller row home and also a row home that has an English basement. Some property types that you might want to stay away from would be a condo or a co-op unit. Let’s take a look at why these properties would be good and bad:

Smaller Row Home

Row homes are a great investment for many reasons. You can often find smaller two-bedroom row homes in the same price point as those of a two-bedroom condo, which might be seen as a “condo alternative” and afford you much more freedom. There are no condo associations or home owner associations that you must belong to so this keeps your monthly carrying costs on the lower end and you are allowed to make more independent decisions. For example, if you wanted to paint the house purple – in most cases you would be allowed to. If you wanted to change the color of the front door or put shutters on the windows – you would be allowed to. This is usually not the case with condo or co-ops. 

When it comes to the rental market – similarly renters like the independence of privacy in a home and not being among many other people. The luxury of perhaps direct off-street parking, outdoor space or even just more space at the same rental amount that a two bedroom condo rent would be – this is more appealing for a renter and would likely rent faster than that of a condo or co-op. For this model – you would obviously need to move out before you could take advantage of the investment of this type of real estate.

A row home with an English basement 

With this type of real estate you can immediately begin receiving income after your purchase. You can occupy the upstairs of the row home, which is usually the larger portion of the home, or you could even occupy the basement, which is usually the 1-2 bedroom smaller portion of the home and receive rental income for the other half of the home. This can be in the way of a yearly traditional tenant or in the manner of short-term rentals (check with the most recent STR policies within the District). With this model, you stand to make even more of a return on your investment upon your move out of the home as you can rent the entire home or you can rent the top unit and basement unit independently to gross a larger amount of income. It is important to note that it is never advised to purchase a row home unless you can fully afford it WITHOUT the idea of accepting additional rental income to offset the mortgage cost.

These two options listed above are the most typical found within the District because they are fee simple, standalone pieces of real estate and are not within a condo association, HOA, or a co-op with governing documents that tell you what you can and cannot do which makes row homes an attractive type of real estate for a long-term hold.

When looking at types of properties that you might want to stay away from – condos and co-ops come to mind and I say this with a caveat. You can surely purchase these types of real estate but must first understand the in’s and out’s of their governing documents. Condos are bound by the governing condominium documents which will tell you for how long your lease must be, a minimum of lease days, you can only rent after you have lived in the residence for a number of years, likely will stipulate no transient housing – which means no short term rentals. It could also quite possibly say that you can only rent for a specific amount of time and lastly it will also stipulate that only a specific amount of people can rent at one time in order to stay below the regulated lending requirements set forth by Fannie and Freddie Mac. Similarly, Co-ops are even more strict – they can tell you that you are just not able to rent at all or if you can you can only do so for a specific number of years and then you are required to sell or return back to the unit as your primary residence. 

As you can see, when it comes to condos and co-ops there are more specific and stringent bylaws that owners must agree to and follow that limit or even outlaw your ability to rent your piece of real estate. When you purchase a row home – there are no regulations on what you can and cannot do regarding rentals (outside of the short-term regulations within the District).

When looking for a piece of real estate in the District it is important to think through how long you could possibly wish to hold onto this property and what the future holds. If you think this is a long-term hold then you might consider a row home option – again, you can find a smaller two-bedroom row home that amounts to that price similar to a two-bedroom condo and would afford you a more flexible lifestyle. It’s important to work with a real estate agent to ensure that they guide you in this process and help answer any questions you might have. It’s also always advised to speak directly to a short-term rental specialist should you wish to go down that route as they will truly understand the in’s and out’s of that marketplace.

All in all, there are specific property types that work for everyone and within the District we have a plethora of options for everyone.

Justin Noble is a Realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty licensed in D.C., Maryland, and Delaware for your DMV and Delaware beach needs. Specializing in first-time homebuyers, development and new construction as well as estate sales, Justin provides white glove service at every price point. Reach him at 202-503-4243,  [email protected] or BurnsandNoble.com.

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Real Estate

The rise of virtual home tours

Adapting to changing consumer preferences in spring real estate

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Looking for a home? Virtual tours hold special benefits for queer buyers.

In today’s dynamic real estate market, the spring season brings not only blooming flowers but also a surge of activity as buyers and sellers alike prepare to make their moves. However, in recent years, there’s been a notable shift in how consumers prefer to explore potential homes: the rise of virtual tours. 

For the LGBTQ community, these virtual experiences offer more than just convenience; they provide accessibility, safety, and inclusivity in the home buying process. 

Gone are the days of spending weekends driving from one open house to another – unless that’s your thing of course, only to find that the property doesn’t quite match expectations. With virtual tours, you can explore every corner of a home from the comfort of your own space – find something interesting? Schedule a showing with any LGBTQ Realtor at GayRealEstate.com.

This is particularly significant for LGBTQ individuals, who may face unique challenges or concerns when attending in-person showings. Whether it’s the ability to discreetly view properties without fear of discrimination or the convenience of touring homes located in LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods across the country, virtual tours offer a sense of empowerment and control in the home buying process.

Moreover, virtual tours cater to the diverse needs of the LGBTQ community. For couples or families with busy schedules or those living in different cities or states, these digital walkthroughs provide a convenient way to view properties together without the need for extensive travel. Additionally, for individuals who may be exploring their gender identity or transitioning, virtual tours offer a low-pressure environment to explore potential living spaces without the added stress of in-person interactions.

At GayRealEstate.com, we understand the importance of adapting to changing consumer preferences and leveraging technology to better serve our community. That’s why our agents offer an extensive selection of virtual tours for LGBTQ individuals and allies alike – visit our website, choose an agent and within minutes you’ll have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) via their website.

From cozy condominiums in bustling urban centers to sprawling estates in picturesque suburbs, virtual tours showcase a wide range of properties tailored to diverse tastes and lifestyles.

In addition to virtual tours, GayRealEstate.com provides comprehensive resources and support to guide LGBTQ buyers and sellers through every step of the real estate journey. Our network of LGBTQ-friendly agents is committed to providing personalized service, advocacy, and representation to ensure that all individuals feel respected, valued, and empowered throughout the process. Plus, we are happy to provide a free relocation kit to any city in the USA or Canada if you are a home buyer.

As we embrace the spring season and all the opportunities it brings in the real estate market, let’s also celebrate the power of virtual tours to revolutionize the way we find and experience our future homes. Whether you’re searching for your first apartment, forever home, or investment property, GayRealEstate.com is here to help you navigate the exciting world of real estate with confidence, pride, and inclusivity.

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at [email protected].

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