Jill Finkelstein - Compass



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 2/21/2021

Image by Sue Smith from Shutterstock

House owners frequently remodel, upgrade, or otherwise make changes in their homes for which they do not secure a permit. While some changes do not require permitting, others do. The challenge comes when you attempt to sell the home. You may run into a problem when a buyer makes an offer on such a property, and their inspector discovers unpermitted changes. Their mortgage lender may be unwilling to give them a loan until you remedy the permit issue.

Additionally, since building codes often change from year to year and certainly from decade to decade, and the property may have changed hands more than once before it came to you. Even if the upgrade occurred before you purchased it, you might be the one responsible for fixing it with your municipality.

What can you do? When you believe your home has unpermitted construction, learn as much as you can about it:

  • When did installation take place? Before you took ownership of the house? After? 

  • What is the construction? A pergola? A sunroom? That necessary second bathroom?

  • In the year or era of construction, was a permit required? Is there a permit in place of which you're not aware?

  • Can it be grandfathered?

What is “Grandfathering”?

The term “grandfather clause” refers to an exception to a code, restriction, or legal requirement. It allows anything already done legally “at the time” to continue even if a new limitation would not allow it. Regarding unpermitted home upgrades, if the construction was before the change in the code, check to see if the code requires retroactive compliance. In that case, exceptions typically pose a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property and need remediation. When code changes do not require retroactive compliance, knowing the date of the construction puts you in the clear.

Retroactive Permitting

When you discover retrofits, additions, upgrades, or renovations in your home, search city or county records for a permit. Ask for help to see if that type of work in the year(s) of its completion required one. If it needed a permit, and you do not find one in place, either request a retroactive authorization or plan to sell your home "as is" to a willing buyer. Municipalities often have methods in place to offer retroactive permits. Check to determine the total cost of the permitting process. In addition to the permit fee, you may have to pay fines, inspections, and other fees. Any modifications required because of the permitting process become your responsibility. When the total cost of obtaining retroactive permits and related fees and construction costs is higher than the return on your investment, consider the “as is” process.

Selling Your Home "As Is"

When you choose to sell your property "as is," you no longer need to disclose to the municipal building department that you may have unpermitted construction. Until you are sure you want to request a retroactive permit, do not disclose information when you communicate with building code offices that might trigger an inspection. 

In the selling process, however, fully disclose to your real estate agent all items you know about for certain. That is, tell them about additions or upgrades you installed while in ownership. Make sure a sale is not delayed or falls through because a lender requires a permit. Have an appropriate "as is" clause written into the sales contract. 

Confer with your real estate agent to determine if seeking a permit is in your best interested when selling with unpermitted additions.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 1/3/2021

Ready to sell your condo? As a first-time condo seller, it sometimes can be tough to streamline the process of finding interested property buyers and getting the best price for your residence.

Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of selling your condo.

Here are three tips that every first-time condo seller needs to know.

1. Check Out the Prices of Comparable Condos

When you price your condo, it is important to set realistic expectations from the get-go. And if you ask too much for your property, it may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time.

On the other hand, an informed condo seller will have real estate market data that he or she can use to gain an advantage over the competition.

How does your condo stack up against similar properties? Perform an in-depth assessment of the competition, and you'll be able to price your condo accordingly.

Check out the prices of recently sold and currently available condos. By doing so, you can better understand how to price your condo competitively.

Also, spend some time performing assorted condo interior and exterior repairs before you add your property to the real estate market. This will allow you to boost your condo's appearance both inside and out and make your property an appealing choice to condo buyers.

2. Conduct a Property Appraisal

Hire a property appraiser to inspect your condo. That way, you can receive expert insights into your condo's strengths and weaknesses.

During a condo evaluation, a property appraiser will review all aspects of a property. He or she then will provide you with an in-depth report that you can use to understand potential problem areas with your condo.

A property appraisal is a valuable learning opportunity, and you should try to make the most of it.

Choose a property appraiser with condo experience. This professional will be able to take a close look at your condo and help you prioritize potential repairs.

In addition, review a property appraiser's findings closely. This information will help you determine the best ways to enhance your condo and ensure it can stand out from the competition.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to selling your condo, it is always a good idea to work with a real estate agent.

Hiring a real estate agent with condo experience is a must, particularly for a first-time condo seller. This real estate professional will teach you about the ins and outs of the housing market and help you promote your condo to the right groups of property buyers.

A real estate agent will set up condo showings and open houses and negotiate with condo buyers on your behalf. Plus, he or she will offer honest, unbiased condo selling recommendations to help you get the best price for your property.

Don't leave anything to chance as you get ready to sell your condo. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can accelerate the process of selling your condo.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 12/13/2020

Selling your house should be a quick, seamless task. Yet the home selling journey varies based on a number of factors, including the condition of a seller's residence and the current state of the housing market. And if you fail to plan ahead for the home selling journey, you may struggle to achieve your desired results.

There are several things that you can do to simplify the house selling journey. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the home selling process.

1. Craft a Home Selling Strategy

A home selling strategy is pivotal for any property seller, at any time. If you know what it takes to sell your residence, you can take the necessary steps to ensure success at each stage of the house selling journey.

Think about why a buyer may want to purchase your residence and craft your house selling strategy accordingly. Because if you understand the buyer's perspective, you may discover unique ways to help your house stand out from the competition. As a result, you could boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.

2. Establish a Competitive Initial Asking Price

The initial asking price for your home can make a world of difference. If you set an initial asking price that is too high, for example, buyers likely will shy away from your home. On the other hand, if your initial asking price is too low, you risk selling yourself short during the property selling journey.

Analyze the prices of available houses that are similar to your own in your city or town. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to look at the prices of recently sold homes in your area. Once you review this housing market data, you'll be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – navigating the home selling journey on your own may prove to be difficult. As such, a real estate agent is a must-have, particularly for a home seller who is unsure about how to navigate the property selling journey. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive assistance at each stage of the home selling cycle.

A real estate agent will help you craft an effective property selling strategy and determine the optimal initial asking price for your residence. He or she also will showcase your residence to prospective buyers, help you review offers to purchase your home and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns as you navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent is available to respond to them.

When it comes to selling a home, it is important to do whatever you can to keep things simple. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can move closer to selling your home and maximizing your house sale earnings.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/22/2020

Selling a house should be a fast, simple process. Unfortunately, potential pitfalls may arise that make it tough to achieve the best-possible home selling results.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for the home selling journey.

Now, let's look at three steps that every home seller should take before listing a house.

1. Evaluate the Real Estate Market

The housing market fluctuates week to week. Thus, a real estate market that favors sellers one week may favor buyers the following week, or vice-versa.

A home seller should examine real estate market data closely. By doing so, this seller can analyze housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. This housing market information will allow you to see how long homes were listed before they sold and help you set realistic expectations for the home selling journey.

Also, examine the prices of local residences that are comparable to your own. With this housing market data, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for your house.

2. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal

Don't wait to conduct a home inspection and appraisal. If you perform these assessments before you list your house, you can gain valuable home insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your house both inside and out. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that you can use to prioritize assorted home repairs and upgrades.

Meanwhile, a home appraisal can help you determine the present value of your house. The appraisal will be conducted by a property expert who will examine your house, as well as review myriad data about homes in your neighborhood and the local real estate market. Next, this property expert will provide a property valuation that can help you determine how to price your residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with selling a house. Fortunately, this housing market professional also knows how to identify and address these challenges early in the home selling process, increasing the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. He or she then will help you put together a strategy to sell your home quickly and maximize your earnings.

When it comes to promoting a residence to potential buyers, a real estate agent knows exactly what to do too. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing that hits the mark with the right buyers. Plus, a real estate agent will host open house events and home showings to provide buyers with plenty of opportunities to view your house.

Want to list your house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can boost your chances of a terrific home selling experience.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/15/2020

If this is your first home sale, you might be wondering about what your requirements are in terms of home inspections. A vital step in the closing process, professional home inspections are typically included in real estate contracts as a contingency (the sale is dependent upon their completion).

But, are there any situations in which a seller would get a home inspection?

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about why sellers might want to get their home inspection and how it could be useful to the home sale process overall.

To diagnose problems with your home

When you’re deciding on the asking price of your home, you’ll want to take into account all of the things that could potentially drive that price down. Inspectors will look for a number of issues in your home, which can save you from any surprises when a potential buyer orders their inspection of your home.

The further along in the home sale process when you discover an expensive repair that needs to be made, the more complicated it makes your home sale.

So, if you’re in any doubt about whether your home will need repairs now or in the near future, ordering an inspection could be a safe option.

What do inspectors look for?

When inspecting your home, a licensed professional will look at several things:

  • Exterior components of your home, such as cracks or broken seals on exterior surfaces, garage door function and safety, and so on.

  • The structural integrity of your home; checking your foundation for dangerous cracks where moisture can enter and cause damage in the form of mold or breaks in the foundation.

  • The roof of your home will be checked for things like broken or loose shingles or nearby tree branches that could damage your home or nearby power lines in a storm.

  • The HVAC system will be tested to make sure it’s running properly and efficiently and also that vents are clean and clear of debris.

  • Interior components of your home will be checked for safety and damage from things like pests and water damage.

Will the seller still order an inspection if my home just had one?

An inspection contingency is built into almost all real estate contracts to protect the interests of the buyer and seller alike.

In most circumstances, a buyer will want to get their own inspection performed. After all, they don’t know who you went to for an inspection and whether they were licensed in your state.

The bottom line

Ultimately, if you’re planning on selling your home in the near future and aren’t sure if your home may have any underlying issues, it’s usually a good idea to get an inspection to make sure you can plan for any repairs or inform potential buyers of any issues with your home.




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Jill Finkelstein