With Terry Story, 29-year veteran Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams in Boca Raton, FL
Best Days For House Closings
Steve kicks off Real Estate Round-Up by asking Terry what days of the week are the best and the worst for house closings.
Terry suggests skipping Monday and Friday and preferably closing Tuesday through Thursday.
If you close on a Friday and the sale doesn’t get funded, the seller won’t let you move in over the weekend. So you’re going to have to wait till Monday.
If you close on a Monday, the title company may have to send completed documents by the preceding Friday. Friday is the worst day for title companies because everybody wants house closings scheduled for Fridays.
When you schedule a closing, you only know your time slot after the lender gets the package to the title company. If you close at 4:30 pm, the funding won’t come through until the next day.
So schedule your house closings for Tuesday through Thursday, to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Scheduling Gone Awry
Terry relates the story of a first-time home buyer who had a closing scheduled for 8:30 am and planned for the painting contractor to come at 9:15 am. That was unrealistic because closing takes at least an hour. Additionally, funding can take hours.
So the contractors got to the house at 9:15 am, before the sale had closed. The contractors could not go in because the house technically did not belong to the buyer.
It’s always best to schedule your contractors for the day after house closings. This way, the house is yours, and you can do what you want with it.
Inexpensive House Makeover For A Sale
Moving on, Terry talks of inexpensive ways to prep your house so it looks good to prospective buyers.
She suggests simple things, like putting new covers on your furniture. Add new toss pillows, paddle fans, and light fixtures, and a new coat of paint always helps. Terry recommends neutral shades such as a white gray, to give the home a clean, fresh look.
Kitchens are a key selling point with homes. Kitchen makeovers can be expensive, so Terry suggests painting the cabinets and only re-doing the countertops if they look old and beaten-up.
With countertops, though, your choice may not match the buyer’s preference, so think carefully about what is in vogue.
The key is to not spend too much money on the house makeover. Do enough to make it presentable.
If the makeover is for your own enjoyment, focus on the rooms you spend the most time in. And give them a basic do-over with new accessories, lamps, etc., to freshen it up.
Challenges In Negotiating Contracts
Home sale negotiations are always a little tricky. The buyer may want the seller to leave a few things behind, but the seller may not want to. There’s give and take.
For instance, what personal property can a buyer force a seller to leave behind in the deal? Terry says that as a rule of thumb, anything attached to the walls is considered a built-in and remains with the property. These items include the cooking range, refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer and dryer. Additionally, light fixtures, ceiling fans, drapes, and window treatments stay with the house for the most part.
So if you’re a seller, and your drapes match your bedspread and you plan to take them, make sure you exclude them from the contract. There are always gray areas. For instance, a second refrigerator, or an expensive range, may not always stay.
Buyers should not assume things. Make a list, and check what stays, and what goes. If there is an “(s)” next to an item such as a refrigerator, or you really want something to stay, speak up and ask about what’s included.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital. Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s time for Real Estate Round-Up. And this is the time every single week we get together with noted real estate agent Terry Story. Terry is a 29-year veteran at Keller Williams located in Boca Raton, Florida. Welcome back to the show, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.
Steve Pomeranz: Off-air, we were talking about closing dates. What day of the week is best or worst and what are the other problems that you’ve seen happen on closing dates?
Terry Story: Those are my favorite. Okay, you always want to try to schedule any day except Monday or Friday. You really want to go Tuesday through Thursday.
Steve Pomeranz: What can happen if you close on a Friday?
Terry Story: Close on a Friday and it doesn’t get funded, seller’s not letting you move in, so now you’re going to wait till Monday.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.
Terry Story: Close on Monday, there’s a possibility that the title company has to get everything over to them on Friday.
Friday’s the worst day for title companies because everybody wants to close on a Friday. Just don’t. Schedule Tuesday through Thursday [LAUGH]. Your closing will run smoother, the agents will be happier, the title company will be happier, lenders will be happier.
Steve Pomeranz: Alright, you were telling me a story too about how the buyer asked their painters and others to come on the day of closing to the house.
Terry Story: Yeah, and here’s another thing. When you schedule the day of closing, you don’t know what time you’re going to be closing and that’s all dependent on when the lender gets the package over to the title company and what time slots are available. And they’re not going to schedule it until they get that package.
So, you don’t know if you’re closing at 8: 30 in the morning or 4:30 in the afternoon. And if you close at 4:30 in the afternoon, chances are great you’re not funding till the next day. That’s why you really want to avoid the Monday through Friday, Monday, and Friday closings.
So having said that, I’ll give you a story. I had a closing that transpired at 8: 30 in the morning. They scheduled the popcorn removal guy, the paint guy for 9:15.
Steve Pomeranz: Yes.
Terry Story: That’s very unrealistic.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, very naive.
Terry Story: Very naive. It takes at least an hour to close, number one.
Number two, it can take hours for it to actually fund. So in this particular case, the painters are at the house knocking on the door. The owner happened to be there because they had already pre-signed, and now they’re furious. These guys are trying to get in-
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.
Terry Story: There’s liability issues, who technically owns the house? You don’t own a house until it’s funded. So they took a big risk, they should’ve just scheduled the popcorn
Steve Pomeranz: For another day.
Terry Story: For the next day.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, another day. Yes. So these are common sense things, but if you’re inexperienced-
Terry Story: Correct.
Steve Pomeranz: You may not realize-
Terry Story: And these were first time home buyers.
Steve Pomeranz: So as a good agent will help you in this area.
Terry Story: I tried to tell them [LAUGH], they just didn’t listen.
Steve Pomeranz: They didn’t listen to you. Well, you can’t force them to listen to you.
All right, so let’s say I’m ready to sell a house and I want to figure out inexpensive ways to refresh my home, get it ready for sale. What are some of the things I should do?
Terry Story: First of all, depending on how long ago you updated the house, a lot of simple things, like your furniture.
Sometimes just putting new covers on the furniture, new toss pillows, hardware, paddle fans, light fixtures. These are all very simple, relatively inexpensive because what you’re trying to create is a feeling. When somebody walks into the home, how does it feel? Everybody seems to want the new modern home but that’s not realistic.
But if you have certain features to the house that look like that and feel like that, it’ll make it more appealing to a potential buyer.
Steve Pomeranz: And slapping on a new coat of paint.
Terry Story: Absolutely, it smells good, it’s neutral, it’s clean. You want that clean, fresh look.
Steve Pomeranz: And you want everything to be, what is that? Eggshell?
Terry Story: Eggshell white. [CROSSTALK] Navajo white.
Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH]
Terry Story: Yeah, realtor beige and something white.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, And it could be kind of costly to have someone come in. But if your place is of a reasonable size maybe you can paint it yourself and get that done.
Terry Story: Sure, sure, and the new color right now is gray, a white gray.
Steve Pomeranz: The wall color?
Terry Story: Wall color.
Steve Pomeranz: White-gray, okay.
Terry Story: Now that may change in two years.
Steve Pomeranz: What kind of shades of gray?
Terry Story: What shades of gray?
Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH] So what about a kitchen remodel?
We are not talking about the big to do, just a kind of a moderate range kitchen remodel which would be countertops.
Terry Story: Right, well, one of the articles you and I were reading suggested to do a remodel, not put in a new kitchen, was 21,000. I don’t know, it wouldn’t be my kitchen, that seems really high.
We’re talking about faucets, knobs, and if you have countertops that are really old and beat-up, I would consider just changing assuming that the cabinets are still in good presentable shape. You can also paint cabinets depending on the quality-
Steve Pomeranz: That’s right.
Terry Story: Of the wood that they are.
Steve Pomeranz: I think doing countertops is dangerous because you really need to know what’s popular. And the material seems to change-
Terry Story: Yeah.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s beyond me to really pay attention and understand this.
Terry Story: I don’t know that I would necessarily do that for selling the house-
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.
Terry Story: If you’re looking to refresh it for yourself-
Steve Pomeranz: Okay.
Terry Story: That might be a little bit of a different story.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay. But, the key is too, you don’t want to spend too much money and you don’t want to upgrade every inch of the house-
Terry Story: No, you can’t.
Steve Pomeranz: That’s not necessary.
Terry Story: That’s right.
Steve Pomeranz: You’re just trying to represent or to present a reasonable show to the buyer and by doing so, they can get a sense of whether this is emotionally good for them.
Terry Story: Sure, and if you’re doing it for yourself, just pick your favorite room that you spend the most time in and maybe get some accent pillows or accessories, new accessories, new lamps, what have you.
Steve Pomeranz: Freshen it up.
Terry Story: Freshen it up.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay, I want to ask you this question because these are some of the difficulties or challenges that people run into when they’re negotiating a contract. So here’s a question. What personal property can a buyer force a seller to leave behind in the deal?
Terry Story: Well, it’s always in the contract. And I know the contracts that we use, there’s a lot of built-in items like range, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, dryer. As a rule of thumb, anything attached to the walls is considered a built-in and remains with the property, light fixtures, paddle fans.
We get into a lot of gray areas and a lot of people just assume things. For example, I had a situation, this is very common, the refrigerator in the garage if you have a second garage. Our contracts show refrigerator with an S-
Steve Pomeranz: In a parenthesis.
Terry Story: In parenthesis, so it can be interpreted as refrigerators.
But, there’s kitchens that have multiple refrigerators, and that was the intent when they wrote refrigerators, not necessarily the garage refrigerator. I had a situation where there was a commercial grade refrigerator in there worth thousands of dollars. And the buyer assumed that it went with the house, that creates a lot of problems.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, some of those refrigerators are built in, too.
Terry Story: [LAUGH] Yeah.
Steve Pomeranz: That adds another element to it, right?
Terry Story: Right. Yeah, sure.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, that’s a good point. I mean, if you have a refrigerator in your garage, is that really part and it doesn’t seem like it is to me. So bring it up in the negotiation.
Terry Story: Bring it up.
Steve Pomeranz: I remember buying a house where the seller wanted to take sconces.
Terry Story: Yep.
Steve Pomeranz: That’s like, take them. But it was already written in the contract.
Terry Story: Yeah, and drapes, okay? That’s another thing. Drapes, window treatments, stay with the house for the most part.
So if you’re a seller and your drapes are matching your bedspread and you plan to take that with you, make sure you exclude that from the contract.
Steve Pomeranz: Thanks, Terry. Terry is with us once again. She’s a 29-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton Florida.
And she can be found at terrystory.com. Thanks, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.