Joel Margolis' Blog
There's a misconception many home sellers have that may be causing them to miss out on opportunities to have their house sell more quickly. Perhaps you're among them.
If you believe your home does not need to be staged, neatly organized, and thoroughly cleaned well in advance of the first scheduled showing, then you're overlooking one crucial step in the marketing process: having professional quality photographs taken of your home -- inside and out -- and posted online to make your listing more enticing!
Unless you happen to be an exceptionally good photographer with professional equipment, you probably won't be able to get the optimal results needed to show off your home and attract buyers. Not only will those photographs be the first impression of your home that many buyers are exposed to, but it may end up being the only impression they come away with. If prospects don't like what they see online, there's no chance they'll move on to the next step, which would be scheduling an in-person visit. That's why it's so important that the photos your agent uploads to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) depict your home in the most favorable way.
Online photographs can work either for or against you, depending on the quality of the photos and the condition of your home and property. Ideally, you should have photos taken of virtually every nook and cranny of your home -- with the exception of areas you want to underplay. Only the best ones would be used, of course. Views of your front yard, backyard, and sometimes even an aerial view can help give buyers the perspective they're looking for.
The good news is that most real estate agents work with one or more professional photographers who make it their business to take photos that are properly lit, effectively cropped, and well composed. Experienced real estate photographers can quickly identify the most advantageous angles from which to take photos, capturing the best view of your rooms, your yard, and other property highlights.
While they might occasionally make a few adjustments to the placement of furniture, pillows, or other decor, their main objective is to snap photos that will inspire prospective buyers to envision the beauty, the charm, and the many possibilities of your home. In addition to making sure the photos are crystal clear, well lit, and visually appealing, photographers also aim to make your home look as spacious and welcoming as possible. While they can't perform miracles, a talented photographer will typically find creative ways to bring out the best qualities in any home.
Your real estate agent can also give you valuable tips on enhancing your property's curb appeal, minimizing clutter, and adding simple touches -- both inside and out -- to maximize the warmth and appeal of your home for sale.
Zombie properties are homes that have been visibly abandoned but actual ownership has not. The term became popular in the housing industry during the 2007-08 housing crisis when people being unable to make their mortgage payments reached a catastrophic point.
According to ATTOM Data Solutions, a firm that tracks different types of real estate data, zombie properties made up about 3% of all foreclosures in the U.S. in October 2019. These homes can be a good buy, but there are some challenges you should be aware of before signing on the dotted line.
How Does a Property Become Classified as a Zombie Property?
A zombie property occurs when a homeowner is told they are being foreclosed upon, and they leave their home believing they must immediately vacate. The zombie scenario arises when a bank either abandons or inadvertently never completes the foreclosure process, and the house is left in limbo with no one caring for the property.
Zombie properties can be very lucrative investments because they are often able to be purchased at rock-bottom rates. The problem is there are some risks involved with buying this type of property because they’ve essentially been abandoned for often long periods of time which sets the condition for many unfortunate events to occur.
Homes Have Been Trashed
In many foreclosure situations, a home is already left in poor condition. In many cases, the homeowner couldn’t financially keep up with upkeep, or they’ve purposely destroyed the home before they left. Any of these problems or others are further exasperated in zombie situations because there is a high probability more destruction has been heaped up upon the original neglect or damage.
Squatters May Have Created Uninhabitable Conditions
Once a house is recognized as a zombie property, squatters or vandals often decide the property is fair game. They might simply come inside to be destructive, or they may use it for their own purposes.
Additionally, if vandals or squatters leave doors or windows open, animals, including feral cats might have taken up residence.
Locating The Title Holder
Once a homeowner has abandoned a property, they can be difficult to locate. Some may have gone off the grid or others have no clue they are still listed on the property deed. The name of the previous occupant who owned the home will need to be removed from the title so this will be a legal detail to address before a purchase can move forward.
Purchasing a zombie property can be a very lucrative investment, but it’s essential to carefully evaluate the condition of the property before deciding to buy it. You might find the effort and expense involved in bringing it up to be habitable might be more than it’s worth.
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