Imad Massabni's Blog
It’s not uncommon for homebuyers to discover that the land they purchased may not be entirely their own. Another party may have gained a legal right to use or traverse your property. Easements and right-of-ways can be established by a number of mechanisms and go unnoticed, particularly in undeveloped parcels or when the previous owners were absent.
When homeowners discover someone else holds sway over part of your property, the first-blush reaction is often about loss of value. You paid for full ownership and the easement will likely diminish your resale value. But homebuyers would be wise to proceed with caution because the cost of defending against a claim or creating hostilities with a neighbor could prove emotionally taxing.
What is an Easement or Right-of-Way?
The common law practice of easements has its roots in the free flow of water and the ability to cross a community member’s land in olden times. This practice accounted for the lack of roadways and the need to traverse tracts of land. Although this is a somewhat outdated concept, long-standing easements exist. If you are considering purchasing a property that involves an easement, it’s important to understand that you still own the pathway to the other parcel. But you may never be able to utilize it actively.
For all practical purposes, a right-of-way is a type of easement that has been formalized. Landowners generally agree to record the easement in a deed or other legally-binding agreement. Thoroughly researched land records are likely to uncover these easements. This is why having a property deed vetted before purchasing a property remains standard practice. But a worrisome mechanism known as “adverse possession” may put new homeowners in a legal bind because the existence of an easement may go unknown.
What Homebuyers Need to Know About Adverse Possession
Adverse possession is often associated with the term “squatters rights.” That colloquial term came out of people living on unused land and gaining ownership by establishing their presence over time. Today, people more often gain adverse possession rights by using part of a property for access or travel.
If, for instance, a neighbor routinely drives over an undeveloped part of your property to get to theirs, they could be gaining a right to that portion. On undeveloped land, hunters, hikers, and other outdoors enthusiasts may walk a path across your land. Over time, they can establish a right that prevents you from enclosing the land or developing that section. While defending against an adverse possession lawsuit can be emotionally draining, there may be a silver lining. The courts usually apply a rigorous four-part standard that few squatters meet. These include the following.
- Hostile: This involves issues such as the user not knowing the land was owned by another or using it due to a mistake about where the property lines were located.
- Actual Possession: The claimant must have been physically present on the land.
- Open and Notorious: This standard looks at whether the trespasser used the land in a fashion that was obvious to the owner.
- Exclusive and Continuous: This tends to be the standard that upends claims. The trespasser must have physically used the land without interruption.
Hiring an attorney and mounting a defense of your property can be an exhausting ordeal. It’s one of the last things any homeowner wants to go through. That’s why conducting your due diligence about easements and right-of-ways remains as crucial as taking out title insurance when you buy a home.
An open house can have a significant impact on the property selling journey. As such, it is important for a property seller to allocate time and resources to prepare for an open house. If a seller plans for an open house, he or she may be able to boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable property selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three things that every seller needs to know about open houses.
1. There is no shortage of open houses held on weekends in cities and towns nationwide.
Many open house events are held throughout the year in cities and towns across the country. These events commonly take place on weekends and enable sellers to showcase their residences to dozens of prospective buyers at the same time.
Ultimately, it is important to find ways to differentiate a home from the competition. If a seller can promote his or her residence to the right groups of potential buyers, this individual may be able to convince buyers to attend one open house over another.
2. An open house gives a seller a great opportunity to make a positive first impression on buyers.
As a seller, it is paramount to embrace the opportunity to connect with buyers. An open house allows a seller to do just that, as it ensures this individual can provide buyers with a stress-free opportunity to view his or her residence.
When it comes to getting ready for an open house, it generally is a good idea to clean both inside and out. Also, a seller should perform home repairs and remove home clutter. Because with a neat, tidy residence, a seller can make it easy for buyers to envision what life may be like if they decide to purchase a particular residence.
3. Every open house provides a seller with a valuable learning experience.
Regardless of how much a seller prepares for an open house, there is no telling how this event will turn out. However, a seller who sets realistic expectations for an open house can plan accordingly.
In the worst-case scenario, no buyers will attend an open house. If this happens, there is no need to worry. In fact, a seller can learn from the experience and use it to find new ways to promote his or her residence to prospective buyers going forward.
For those who need help selling a home, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you get your residence ready for an open house, a real estate agent will offer tips and guidance so you can achieve the optimal property selling results. Perhaps best of all, if you ever have concerns or questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to address them at any time.
Streamline the home selling process – hire a real estate agent today, and you can receive comprehensive assistance as you navigate each stage of the property selling journey.
There is a lot to think about when you know you’re ready to sell your home. The best approach is to take things step-by-step in order to get everything right.
Make Necessary Repairs
Before you even decide to put a “for sale” sign out front, you’ll want to address the problems in your home that you know about. If the roof needs to be replaced, or you know you need a new refrigerator, you should tend to those things as soon as possible. While these items can be an expense for you, completing these things before the sale of the home will increase the value of the home and save you some aggravation when it comes time for the home inspection.
Don’t forget about the small details as you look at what needs to be done on your property. Does the doorbell ring? Are the lightbulbs all working? These small details are just as important as the big stuff.
Find A Real Estate Agent
Finding a real estate agent isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. You want an agent who understands your needs and is an expert in your particular market. You can check with your family and friends to see if they have a particular agent who they recommend. Also, you might check out reviews online to help you discover an agent. Do you have a particular agency in mind? Give them a call and they can set you up with one of their agents. Many agents will be happy to provide a number of references of recent sales if you inquire.
Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed
If your home won’t be on social media, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. You’ll need lots of good photos and maybe even a video tour of your home. You should definitely be sure that your home is being marketed on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few social networks. These networks even offer paid ads to help you reach the right buyers. Talk with your realtor to see what the plan for marketing your home sale is.
Prepare For Home Showings
While you still might need to live in your home while you’re selling it, you want the property to be presentable. Start at the curb of your home and work your way to the inside. The property should look presentable from the moment buyers pull up to the house. The lawn should be mowed, the landscaping should be trimmed, and the inside of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. This will seal the deal on the sale of your property after all of the other hard work has been done.
If you intend to list your house in the weeks or months to come, it usually pays to assess real estate market data. In fact, there are many reasons why you should conduct housing market data analysis, and these include:
1. You can learn about the ins and outs of the real estate market.
Let's face it – navigating the home selling process can be difficult, regardless of whether you've sold houses in the past or plan to list a home for the first time. Fortunately, housing market data can help you better understand the real estate sector, increasing the likelihood that you'll make informed decisions at each stage of the home selling journey.
Remember, evaluating the prices of available houses in your area, finding out how long these residences have been listed and reviewing other pertinent housing market data can make a world of difference. If you use this information to understand the current state of the real estate market, you can boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.
2. You can determine a competitive price for your house.
What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's current value. Luckily, you can analyze real estate market data to find out how your house stacks up against the competition and price your residence appropriately.
Look at the prices of local residences that are similar to your own – you'll be glad you did. If you study this pricing data closely, you can narrow the price range for your house. Then, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your house.
3. You can reduce the risk of encountering home selling pitfalls.
Want to avoid setting an initial home asking price that is too high or too low? Or, do you want to ensure that your house is buyer-ready from the moment that you add it to the real estate market? If you evaluate housing market data, you can obtain the insights that you need to avoid potential problems during the home selling journey.
Lastly, if you need extra help as you prepare to sell your house, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide you with a wealth of real estate market data and offer expert home selling recommendations. That way, you can optimize the value of all of the housing market data at your disposal.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive assistance that a real estate agent offers as the home selling journey progresses, either. A real estate agent will help you list your house, promote it to the right groups of buyers and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent will gladly respond to them.
Take a data-driven approach to selling your house – perform real estate market data analysis, and you can gain the home selling insights that you need to succeed.
While home ownership can be a very satisfying and rewarding experience, it does bring with it a new set of responsibilities and demands. Whether you're buying a brand new home or a fixer-upper, several things will have a major impact on your lifestyle.
One of them is the need is to personally handle or manage your own repairs, decorating, and home improvements. In many cases, you can (and should) hire a professional to do the actual work, but there are a lot of projects you can do more cost-effectively on your own.
The first one that comes to mind is interior painting. If you want to keep your home looking fresh, well maintained, and visually appealing, repainting your walls and ceilings every few years is a necessity. How often you need to break out the paint brushes, rollers, and drop cloths depends on several factors. For example, some rooms are subjected to more wear and tear than others. Bedroom walls, hallways, and bathrooms often seem to need the most attention, but kitchens, family rooms, and other areas of the home are usually not far behind.
If you've been noticing that one or more of your rooms are starting to look scuffed, faded, or dull, then it may be time to roll up your sleeves and give those walls a fresh coat of paint! It always makes a dramatic difference in the look and feel of that room, and it typically can be completed in less than a day -- especially if you team up with an energetic spouse, friend, or family member. If you're focused and organized, a room-painting project can often be completed by lunchtime. (Depending on who's providing the help, however, you might be expected to provide lunch!)
When procrastination is a problem, taking small steps will often help you gather momentum and keep moving forward on your painting project. An easy, but necessary first step is to pick out and bring home an assortment of color samples from your local hardware or paint store. Holding them up to your walls and seeing whether they complement existing furniture, flooring, and decorating schemes will help you choose a color you'll be satisfied with.
If you're not ready to tackle the project right away, you can still purchase the paint, rollers, and other supplies. Assuming you're not going to postpone the project indefinitely, you'll be a lot more likely to get started in the near future if the supplies are already in the house. You'll be streamlining the process and nudging yourself to get the job done soon by purchasing the painting supplies and having them close at hand.
While motivating yourself to do projects around the house may sometimes seem to be the biggest hurdle to clear, starting small and gaining momentum as you go is often an effective way to keep your home looking its best at all times!