Albuquerque Real Estate Blog & Community News

June 7, 2021

Steps for Selling a House

What are the steps for selling a house? If you’ve just started thinking about selling your home, figuring out what to do first can be overwhelming. You probably have a mental list of all the things you need to do before you contact a realtor to start the process. You may be wondering if you should contact a realtor as soon as you start thinking about selling your home or wait till you have your home in tip-top shape, ready to sell.

Is your house ready to sell? Are you ready?

While you are making the decision about whether or not you are ready to sell, you can start the process by getting your house clean, decluttered, and ready for sale. Before you make any major improvements, you should talk to a realtor. Deep cleaning, clearing out your garage, or making minor repairs can be done ahead of time. When you are ready to start the selling process, plan to contact a realtor about 3 months before you plan to sell. If you contact a realtor months before you are actually ready to sell, the market conditions may change. The best approach is to contact a realtor once you’ve committed to selling.

Some things you should ask yourself first are:
Does my house have enough equity? Will I be able to sell it for what I owe or more than what I owe?
If you’re unsure about this, contacting a realtor for a home evaluation can help you determine whether now is the right time or if you should wait.
Are you ready to move?
While the home selling process may take a few months, selling a house can move rather quickly. Do you love your current home? Is your family happy there? Before you make a commitment to sell your house, decide if this is the right time for you and your family. You need to be emotionally and financially prepared to leave your home behind and move out.

What are the most important steps for selling a house?

couple talking to a realtor about selling their house

Start by talking to a realtor

One of the first steps for selling a house is figuring out how much your home is worth. You can use our free property valuation tool to get an estimate of what your home could sell for. Keep in mind this is an estimate. Online tools are useful, but they can’t look inside your home to see what the selling condition of your home is or provide you with expert advice. Before you can really determine what your house could sell for, you should talk to a realtor.

Find out what your house is worth

Our team of experienced real estate brokers knows the New Mexico home market. We will perform a competitive market analysis by comparing your home with similar properties. By reviewing factors including your location, the condition of your home, amenities, and current market conditions, we will provide you with the best competitive price for listing your home.

Get your house ready for sale

couple cleaning their house to prepare for selling it

Once you talk to a realtor, you can start preparing your home for sale. To get the best price for your home, you should take care of any minor repairs. If you have missing tiles, holes in your walls, or carpeting that needs to be cleaned, take care of these issues before you try to sell your home. Sometimes a home can sell in a lived-in condition, but home maintenance issues can be deal-breakers for potential buyers. Your realtor can be your best resource. They can tell what you should do to best prepare your home for sale.

Before your realtor starts showing your home to potential buyers, you want it to look as attractive as possible. This is the time to get your home sparkly clean. Decluttering, cleaning your windows, carpets, or touching up paint will make all the difference when buyers start looking at your home. You might consider hiring a professional cleaning service to really make your home really stand out.

Next steps for selling a house

Market your home to potential buyers

The Bigelow Team will help you with a marketing plan to create excitement and generate buyer interest in your home. They will help you determine your home’s best selling points and create the best marketing plan to sell your house. This includes comprehensive internet marketing through our website, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Google, and more. We will also set up open houses, broker tours, yard signs, property feature sheets, and network with other real estate agents to market your home.

Showing your home

Once your home is listed, your realtor will start setting up showings or open houses to market your home to prospective buyers. A showing is a scheduled one-on-one appointment with a potential buyer to give them a tour of your home. An open house is a scheduled time for any potential buyer to come to look at your home.

couple receiving an offer to buy their house

Receiving offers

One of the next big steps of selling a house is when you start receiving offers. Depending on the location, features of your home, and the current market, you may start receiving offers quickly after your home is shown to buyers. Be prepared to discuss multiple offers with your realtor. Deciding which offer to take involves more than choosing the highest bidder. There are other factors to consider such as the buyer’s financing and the terms of the offer. Once you’ve received an offer, you can accept the offer as is, or make a counteroffer. Your realtor will help you decide which offer you should take and when you should make a counteroffer.

The final steps for selling a house

Accept the offer and prepare for closing

Once you accept the offer, an escrow will be opened and a title policy will be ordered. We work with an outside Transaction Coordinator to handle all the transactional documents involved in completing the sale of your house. The Transaction Coordinator will be in constant communication with you and prepare all the disclosures and reports necessary for closing.

Close of Escrow

The last of the steps of selling a house is the close of escrow. On closing day, you’ll meet with your realtor at the title company to sign all the closing documents. Congratulations. Your house is sold! If you have any questions arise, before or after the close of escrow, we are always available to answer your questions.

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 26, 2021

Should I Sell My House As Is or Fix It Up

Pricing your home when placing your property on the market carries many choices. Should I sell my home as is? Or should I fix up my home to get more money out of it? Depending on the current condition of your home and the circumstances surrounding your reason for selling, there can be a number of factors to consider. If the current condition of your home is not perfect and you really need to move, the question becomes a matter of what you are willing to trade-off. You will need to determine your resources, flexibility, and costs when you consider, "do I fix up my home?" or "do I sell my home as is?"

Typically speaking, agreeing to sell your home "as is" means the buyer agrees to accept the current condition of the property and will not contest or try to negotiate for the seller to make any repairs to the home before closing. Usually selling your home as is means you are compromising on the price of the home. There can be benefits and drawbacks to this approach.

couple asking a realtor if they should sell their house as is or fix it up

When should you sell your home as is?

If time and money up-front are factors for the seller, then selling the home as-is can skip the expense and hassle of making costly repairs to a home before it is sold. Making repairs on a property, depending on whether those repairs are minor or major, can be time-consuming and stressful. Agreeing to "as is" means you can bypass lengthy concessions over the preferences of the buyer. If you want to be rid of the home and move on quickly, selling it "as is" can be the fastest option. This can also be beneficial for people who have inherited property in very poor condition and lack the means to invest in it.

Who buys a home as is?

Both individual buyers and investment companies buy homes "as is." Flippers often make a living off of buying a home at low cost, fixing it up themselves or through trusted contractors, and then turning it over to the market to sell again at a higher cost for profit. Depending on the extent of repairs needed on the home, flippers, cash-buy companies, and buy-and-hold investors can all see a profitable opportunity on a home marketed "sold as is." It can also be an attractive option to someone with a lower income who does not have a large investment for homeownership but does not mind living in a home while they slowly fix it up over time.

woman fixing up her home by painting a staircase

Benefits of fixing up your home

If you have the time and ability to fix up your home before putting it on the market, you will reap the profits yourself instead of passing the profits onto your buyer. You will also attract more buyers because the better condition your home is in, the broader the spectrum of home lenders will be. To qualify for traditional mortgage lending, homes have to be in good enough condition to meet evaluation standards. This means your home will have to be inhabitable and structurally sound during the appraisal process, otherwise, the buyer will need to use alternate sources of financing. Deciding to fix it up yourself will open doors to more potential buyers.

What should you fix up before selling your home?

Major repairs such as a new roof or heating/cooling systems are a lot higher of an investment than minor repairs such as fresh paint or landscape touches. Considerations should be made to which repairs will bring back a return. This depends on the current condition of the home as well as the typical standards of the local housing market. Not all repairs require a high payout. A massive kitchen remodels, for instance, may not be within the scope of what buyers in the area can afford. Whereas, fresh paint on a front patio can often bring the needed curb appeal to send offers in. Sometimes adding a second bath or a legal window to a potential bedroom space can transform the marketability of your home.

front porch of a house

Making the decision to sell as is or fix it up

Ask the experts. Not all sellers can recoup the costs of upgrades made when they fix up their home themselves versus selling their home as is. You should consult with a local New Mexico realtor to discuss the full advantages and disadvantages in your area. A trusted, professional realtor from The Bigelow Team can expertly understand and assess the costs and returns of repairs for marketing your home. 

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 18, 2021

What Should I Look for When Buying a House?

What to look for when buying a house depends on each person's individual needs. While price is the biggest factor when most buyers look at houses, many other factors are at play as well. A specific number of bedrooms and bathrooms are a high-rated need, as well as the location of the home, the safety of the neighborhood, and the condition of the property. Other features buyers look for when buying a house include air conditioning, usable outdoor space, the quality of the school district, and the commute distance.

Factors to consider when buying a house

Wants and needs are two very different things when house shopping. Make sure you concentrate on your needs when looking for a house to buy. Minor cosmetic preferences can be easily adjusted later. Focus on the number of bedrooms, not the color of the bedrooms. Your budget is one of the largest factors when buying a house. Getting pre-approved by your lender or using a mortgage payment calculator can help you estimate your budget based on your income, debt and credit history, property taxes, and insurance rates. The second biggest factor to consider when buying a house is the location of the home. Do you need someplace close to work? A house with lots of property? Close to the school district you prefer? Is the neighborhood walkable and safe? The size and features of the home are also vital to consider. Is the home too big to maintain? Is your family growing? Do you need handicap-accessible entrances? An in-law suite? Make a list of your must-haves and keep it in front of you as you look for a house to buy.

looking at living room of a house

Features most buyers look for when buying a house:

Is the house move-in ready? Renovations can be harder than they first appear. Assessing the condition of the property is a key component to consider when buying a house. The age of the home is important. If the home happens to be older, then the condition or status of any renovations is key. Has it been well maintained? How old is the furnace or HVAC system? Is the home's electricity up to date? Are there any plumbing issues? How old is the roof? The last thing you need when buying a house is to be strapped with an unexpected, costly repair.

stop sign

Red Flags to look for

Do the neighbors take good care of their property? What is the crime rate? Are the floors of the house uneven? It could be a sign of a faulty foundation if they are. Forget about how the sellers have arranged their furniture, which will be removed before you move in. Instead, focus on whether you see any signs of mold in the kitchen cabinets or if the home's hot-water tank is more than 20 years old and needs to be replaced.

Things to look for before you pay for a home inspection

While a home inspection will tell you important factors about the condition and reliability of the house you are looking to buy, there are issues you can spot before you go through the trouble. Noticeable cracks in the foundation or water stains from a damaged roof can be things you can look for when buying a house before you pay for a home inspection.

home biuyer looking at garden area

Other things to look for when buying a house:

Picture yourself in the space. Does it have the potential for personal amenities? If gardening is important to you, make sure you have space to accommodate that. What will the commute to work or school be like? Does the home have ample parking? Does the floor plan fit your lifestyle? The space needs to function for you. Assess and optimize your needs as you look for the house you want to buy.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 12, 2021

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Home in Albuquerque?

If you are thinking about purchasing a home, you may be wondering if now is a good time to buy a home in Albuquerque. The housing market in Albuquerque is hot right now. Home sales are moving fast, in part because of record-low interest rates. According to GAAR, the average number of days a home spent on the market has dropped from 33 to 16 days in April. With everything going on in the world, and a fast-moving housing market, some buyers may be hesitant to jump into buying a home right now. But, right now is an excellent time to buy a home in Albuquerque.

Here are four great reasons to buy a home in Albuquerque now!

cityscape of Albuquerque, New Mexico homes

Record-low interest rates

One of the best reasons now is the right time to buy a home in Albuquerque is because of record-low interest rates. This is great news for qualified buyers because lower rates mean you will have a lower monthly mortgage payment and be able to borrow more.

How long will these rates last? While interest rates continue to drop, these rates may not last much longer. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's Chief Economist said, “The low mortgage rate environment has been a boon to the housing market but may not last long as consumer inflation has accelerated at its fastest pace in more than twelve years and may lead to higher mortgage rates in the summer." 

This means that if you’re thinking about buying a home in Albuquerque, the best time is now. If you wait six months or a year to buy, you may end up paying a point or higher in interest rates, which could cost you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your mortgage.

mortgage interest rates dropping

Increasing cost to rent in Albuquerque

If you are renting a house in Albuquerque, you probably know how expensive rent is. Albuquerque has seen some of the largest increases in rent prices in the country. From 2020 to 2021, the average cost to rent went from $937 to $1,014, an increase of 8 percent. If you were to purchase a home right now, your mortgage rate would likely be less than what you are currently paying in rent.

Now is a great time for first-time homebuyers to buy a home as well. If you are renting and have been thinking about buying a home, it’s a really good time to finance your first home as interest rates are at record lows. Some renters have been hesitant to buy a home right now because the Albuquerque market is so competitive. They worry they won’t be able to find a home or will pay higher prices. While it is true, homes are selling quickly, if you wait around for the market to change, you may be missing out on an opportune time to buy your first home.

young family renting a home in Albuquerque

2021 is going to be a wild card year in the housing market

We are living in unprecedented times. This makes the home buying market hard to forecast. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen in the next year. Interest rates will likely go up, which will mean, you will be paying more for your home if you wait to buy. 

Albuquerque is a great place to buy a home. It’s the largest city in New Mexico, with affordable real estate, a good job market, and a great place to live. People from all over the country are moving to the Albuquerque area. According to Synthia Jarmillo, Economic Development Director of the City of Albuquerque, “Our city is becoming a top choice, not only for businesses, but for all people looking for a healthy and robust quality of life.”

Albuquerque Homes are selling fast

If you want to purchase a home with a low-interest mortgage, the best time to start searching for a home is now. Homes are selling quickly, so the sooner you start the process of buying a home, the better. If you are thinking about buying a home, and want to wait until prices drop, you may be disappointed. Although the market is competitive, a fast-moving market means that you can get into a home quickly. The sooner you act, the better chance you will have of purchasing a home while interest rates are still low.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 7, 2021

Home Inspection Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may not know what to expect during a home inspection. A home inspection is the best way to know the condition of your home before you buy it. A home inspection protects you as the buyer from any unexpected issues with your home or property. While a home inspection is generally not required when buying a home, it is in the buyer’s best interest to have a home inspection before committing to purchasing a home.

home for sale

When does the home inspection take place?

Once you find a home you love and make an offer on it, you want to start thinking about a home inspection. If the seller accepts your offer, your realtor will help you with a purchase agreement. Your purchase agreement should include a contingency clause that allows you to back out of the offer, ask for repairs, or renegotiate the price to compensate for repairs. 

When you make an offer on a home, you are making the offer based on the knowledge you have prior to a home inspection. If you are not a licensed contractor or home inspector, you (and the seller) may be unaware of damage that isn’t visible during a walk-through of the home.

home inspector doing a home inspection for a first-time home buyer

Home inspection tips for first-time home buyers

Once you are ready to proceed with a home inspection there are some things you should know as a first-time buyer. You don’t want to purchase your home and realize later that you missed issues or that you have more repairs than you anticipated.

Don’t be tempted to waive the home inspection

You may be tempted to skip the home inspection. There are a few reasons why home buyers sometimes consider waiving a home inspection. There are over 28 million Americans planning to buy a home in the next year, according to NerdWallet. But, the supply of available homes for sale is currently around 10.4 million units. In almost every area of the country, it is a seller’s market. Because of the competition for buyers, many home buyers are waiving contingencies like a home inspection. This comes with some serious risks. While it may be frustrating trying to buy a home with such fierce competition, there are other options for making your offer stand out than waiving the home inspection. Having a fully pre-approved mortgage or a large down payment can make your offer the strongest.

Don’t expect the home to be perfect

A home inspection is intended to inform you of any issues with your home and property. Many homes have some issues that show up on a home inspection report. A home inspector’s job is to inform you of the home’s condition. Their inspection should give you an idea of the age and condition of the home’s roof, plumbing, electrical systems, the exterior and interior. It will also let you know if the home has had water damage, repairs done to it, and the state of the grounds and property. Your realtor can help you evaluate which repairs are minor issues and which issues are deal-breakers.

first-time home buyer signing purchase agreement

Attend the home inspection and ask questions

Your realtor will recommend that you are present for the home inspection. Even though you will receive a report, it’s best that you participate in the home inspection. Talk to the home inspector about the issues you are concerned about. The average home inspection takes 2 or 3 hours. When the inspection is completed, the home inspection will go over his findings with you. You can ask the inspector about his thoughts on how much repairs will cost you or if you should be concerned about anything before you agree to the purchase agreement. Some inspectors will not discuss the costs of repairs, but most can give you some guidance on what repairs are difficult and which issues you shouldn’t really worry about. Don’t be afraid to straight out ask your home inspector, “would you buy this house?”

Don’t be afraid to ask “stupid questions”

One of the best home inspection tips for first-time home buyers is to ask questions! Your home inspector should be a resource for you. While the inspector is doing his inspection, it’s okay to follow him around the home and property and ask questions as you see things. They have experience that you don’t have and know that first-time buyers may not be as knowledgeable about what to look for in a home inspection. Ask as many questions as you can. This is your opportunity to learn everything you can about your home. Once the inspection is done, if you still have questions, you should be able to call your home inspector later to explain your report.

Posted in Buying a Home