TODAY | December 08, 2012
>>> this morning on "today's" open house , facing your real estate pitfalls from remodelling to refinancing, buying, selling, and paying for a home can be complicated. hear to help answer your questions is "today" real estate contributor barbara corcoran.
>> good morning, lester.
>> you want to get right to the questions?
>> why not. let's have them.
>> we have on skype right now laura from illinois. what's your question?
>> hi. my question is my husband and i own our three-story town home and it suits us fine right now, but we would ultimately-like a single family home . we bought our home at the peak of the market and as such have very little equity. we know that single family home prices are now relatively low and will continue to increase over the next few years, likely at a faster rate than our town home . our question is should we cut our losses now and buy a single family home , or should we wait one, two, three, four years when we will hopefully have more equity?
>> laura , obviously i think you already have the answer to the question. i think you're planning on moving and you're planning on moving soon, so it makes no sense whatsoever to hold on to the town home . in your neck of the woods, prices on single family homes in oak park are going up 3% in the last nine months. the town homes have remained flat. so you have nothing to win by waiti ining and selling your town home later and everything to gain by getting out there quickly before prices on single family homes go up even higher.
>> laura , thanks for your question. we have an e-mail question from courtney in rockford, minnesota. she asks we are just now removing our house from the market after six months of no success. we are trying to decide whether or not we try again in a year or just focus on renovations for a while and see what the market does. if we go with the renovations, what are some affordable ways we can make our home really stand out?
>> first off, you must realize that making the smart renovations is what really counts. six months is a long time to be frustrated. i think we have some pictures of the home. first off, you should paint the trim and the garage doors a soft beige to match the brown of the roof. it would look a heck of a lot better. you should steam clean the driveway, get rid of that bad grass area that looks like it's worn, put new sod. you should replace those upper windows with new windows, get rid of those sliders. very cheap improvement, makes a heck of a difference in the value of the house . inside, let's have a look at the inside of your house . way too many stuff around. you have to get yourself a bunch of big boxes and shove that stuff in the box and store it. people can't see through clutter even though they think they can. wash the windows, change the bulbs, make the house look brighter. if you do have about $50,000 you'd like to invest in that kitchen, you will get about $75,000 back in you renovate it.
>> all right, some specific advice there.
>> she's a brave lady to show us her house .
>> you gave her some good information. let's get a viewer phone call . nancy in new jersey. what's your question for barbara ?
>> i have a two-bedroom ranch in rural northern new jersey set up for horses or farm animals . i've had the house on the market for four years now and had a couple contracts fall through because of banking issues. i've tried using realtors, selling it on my own, using an mls listing service and also local advertising. but i did one of the things you say not to do. i constantly dropped the price. what do i do now?
>> well, first off, forgive yourself for making a mistake. everybody does, so who cares? here's the problem with your house . it's a two-bedroom. in your area, almost every home has a three and four bedroom, and the two-bedroom homes are selling for roughly $100,000, 50% less than your price. and the three and four bedroom homes eventuallying for almost $200,000, so can you put in another bedroom somehow in that house ? if not, you're going to have to drop your price, because nobody really wants a two-bedroom house . and you pay dearly for having a lack of that third and fourth bedroom.
>> nancy, thanks for your question. i did want to get this next one in because it's an interesting question. it comes from vanessa in raleigh, north carolina . i wanted to ask you about your thoughts on renting the own. are you for or against it? what are the key items to look at when getting to rent to own situations?
>> you're almost always overcharged for rent. so find out if the rent is appropriate for the area. secondly, you usually lose that option to buy if you're even a day late on your rent payment, is you want to read your contract very carefully. and last, you want to make sure you have locked in the sale price. otherwise it's useless and you also want to lock in what rent increases are so you know what to expect and you have a fair shot at making that house your own.
>> eyes wide open . barbara , great to see you. thanks very much.