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May 28, 2016

4 Warning Signs of Roof Leaks – And How To Avoid Them

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A leaking roof can cause thousands of dollars of damage to a house. When not repaired promptly, roof leaks can create structural problems as well as cosmetic ones, and roof leaks also significantly reduce the selling price of a home.

If you notice any of these warning signs in your home or roof, be sure to repair them or contact a professional roofing company promptly, to avoid more serious damage:

  • Spots or stains on ceilings. Water leaking in through a roof will eventually make itself known through spots on ceilings (and sometimes upper parts of walls). Never ignore ceiling spots, because they may indicate serious damage in parts of the house you cannot see.
  • Curling, warping, or buckling shingles. Damaged shingles or roofing tiles provide a place for water and condensation to enter the roof. Sometimes, damaged shingles and tiles are the cause of the leak, but they may also indicate a separate problem, like inadequate attic ventilation.
  • Indoor mold. Mold thrives in damp environments. The presence of mold inside a house often indicates either a leaking roof or other water-related damage, such as broken pipes or foundation problems.
  • Clogged gutters. Not all blocked gutters are signs of a roof leak, but if the clog is caused by shingle granules or other roofing materials, the clog may signal a loss of roof integrity—or a leak. Clean your gutters regularly, and call a professional roofing company if you notice roofing material in the gutter or drain.

What should you do if you discover one or more of these leak-related problems?

Call a professional roofing company promptly and arrange for a roof inspection. Many times, homeowners put off roofing repairs and maintenance because they believe—mistakenly—that there isn’t a problem until they notice a leak inside the house. Unfortunately, by the time enough water seeps inside to create a noticeable stain, the leak may have caused significant damage to roofing, insulation, ceiling beams and other major structural components of the home.

Contacting a professional at the first sign of potential problems can significantly reduce the cost of repairs, and may help you avoid a costly roof replacement. Remember: big problems often begin as little ones, and minor leaks don’t “heal” themselves. Time can easily turn a small repair into a costly renovation.

Paying attention to your roof, walls, and ceilings can alert you to potential problems and help you keep your home leak-free.

May 21, 2016

April 2016 Housing Sales and Market Update For Washington, D.C. & Surrounding Area

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4 Brothers Buy Houses is proud to share this update on current Washington D.C. area housing sales and market conditions.*

In April, D.C. Area Median Housing Prices Reached a Ten-Year High:

In April, the median overall home sale price in Washington D.C. and the surrounding area was $419,250, which represents the highest April median sale price in a decade..

Home sale prices increased in all D.C. area counties, with median sale prices an average of 5% higher than March 2016 sales figures.

Regional Housing Sales, Inventory,& Listings Increased Slightly in April 2016:

According to figures published by RBIntel.com:

4,678 home sales closed successfully in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in April 2016, and half of those houses were on the market 14 days or less – a 30-day increase in average days-on-market since February 2016.

6,647 homes were listed as “sale pending” at the end of April, an increase of more than 7% over April 2015 and an increase over the numbers for in both February and March of 2016.

These figures reflect sale increases in all residential housing types, including condominiums, townhouses, and single-family detached homes.

8,809 new sales listings were reported in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties last month, only a 1% gain over last year but still the highest total number of new monthly listings since April 2010.Significant increases in new listings often result in a drop in area sales prices, since more inventory on the market means more buyer choice, but the April median sales price increase suggests that the market remains strong for sellers, at least so far.

Average “Days on Market” Fell Significantly in April 2016.

In February 2016, the median days-on-market for listed homes was 44 days; that number dropped to only 14 average days-on-market in April, which suggests the market for well-priced homes is healthy and inventory is moving (when the price is right).

During April, the slowest regional market was Prince George’s County (April median days-on-market: 25), and Alexandria City and Washington D.C. shared the lowest median DOM last month—in both cities, average days-on-market was only 10.

Sales numbers vary from county to county, and even among neighborhoods, and the speed and success of a housing sale is dependent on many factors, from listing price to home condition and comparable listings in the area. Your personal experience may vary, but knowing the average numbers is still helpful when making plans to sell your home, either through a realtor or to an investor.

May 14, 2016

How to Prepare Your Home For an Open House

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Whether you list your home for sale with a real estate agent or “For Sale By Owner,” you’re likely to hold an open house (and often, more than one) in hopes of attracting potential buyers. However, a successful open house requires more than merely turning on lights and opening doors. Proper preparation, and a little extra effort, often makes the difference between a sale and an empty open house.

Here are some top industry tips to prepare for a successful open house:

  1. Clean and De-Clutter Thoroughly (Including Closets and Cabinets).Dirt and clutter make houses far less attractive to potential buyers. Your house will never get a second chance to make a sparkling first impression, so make sure it’s clean and organized when buyers come to call.
  1. Hire a Gardening Service. Fresh-mowed lawns and weed-free gardens make a good impression. Consider hiring a gardener while your house is on the market, to ensure great curb appeal for open houses (and for people driving by).
  1. Repair Obvious Damage. Leaking faucets, broken doors, and other obvious signs of damage turn potential buyers off, preventing a sale or reducing the offer price.
  1. Stage Your Home For Maximum Effect. “Staging”means arranging the furnishings in a home to show off the space to best advantage. Whether you use your existing belongings or hire a professional to stage your home for sale, staging can improve the appearance—and sale price—of your home.
  1. Remove Displays of Personal, Political, & Religious Items.When Buyers tour an open house, they try to imagine themselves in the space—calling it home, and living there. Many buyers have trouble looking past the sellers’ personal items, including religious and political displays with which the buyers may not agree. This isn’t a criticism of your personal taste or beliefs; it’s a documented reality of the home selling market.
  1. Vacate the Premises, & Take Your Pets.Obviously, if your house is For Sale By Owner, someone has to stay and oversee the open house, but all unnecessary family members (and all household pets) should leave for the duration of the open house.
  1. Secure Valuable Items in Safes or Safe Deposit Boxes. Don’t leave valuable items, like jewelry or laptop computers, on display or in easily accessible locations. Thieves do visit open houses, and even vigilant real estate agents can’t always prevent a theft. Lock valuable items in safes or remove them from the premises before the open house begins.

While these tips can’t guarantee a sale—and they aren’t the only things smart sellers do to prepare for an open house—following them can help you avoid the worst open house mistakes, and give your home the best possible chance of finding a buyer at your open house.

May 7, 2016

How to List Your Home “For Sale By Owner”

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Skipping the real estate agent and listing your home “For Sale By Owner” can save you thousands of dollars in real estate commissions. Many homeowners list and sell their houses directly to buyers, and though the process does require extra work on the seller-owner’s part, many people consider the savings worth the extra effort.

While you should always consider all the available options, and consult a licensed attorney before undertaking any legal obligation—including selling a house–on your own, here are some tips to make the “FSBO” process easier and more likely to yield a successful, profitable sale:

  1. Research the Market & Price Your House to Sell.Investors and real estate agents, as well as buyers, look for well-priced homes, meaning houses whose listing price is comparable to similar homes on the market (or recently sold) in the area. Before you set a price for your home, investigate recent sales and sale prices for nearby houses of similar size and condition.
  1. Stage Your Home For Maximum Appeal.“Staging”means decorating a home—inside and out—to show off its positive qualities (and minimize any negatives). Planting flowers, cleaning and de-cluttering indoor spaces, and renting or arranging existing furniture in decorative ways can make your house more attractive to buyers.
  1. Invest in Effective Advertising.Buyers can’t buy a home they can’t find! Write effective listing ads that use key words and phrases like “Excellent Schools,” “Large Yard,” and “Priced Below Market,” and place your ads in the real estate section of your local paper, on real estate listing websites, or on the MLS—the service real estate agents use to identify homes for sale.
  1. Create Professional-Looking Flyers.Create an information sheet with professional photographs of your home (inside and out) and other relevant information, including the listing price, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, and any other special features potential buyers might find of interest. When people visit your home, at open houses or by appointment, offer a copy of the flyer to take with them when they go.
  1. Hire a Lawyer to Help With Contracts& Paperwork.Selling a home will require you to complete and sign a number of important legal documents, including (but not limited to) the sales contract. Hiring a lawyer will cost some money, but also helps protect you against mistakes in the legal part of the home sale process.

Although these tips can’t guarantee a problem-free sale (or that your home will sell at all), homeowners who treat their FSBO listing in a professional manner generally have more success at selling houses quickly and at an appropriate price.

If selling your house “for sale by owner” seems like too much trouble, and you don’t want to go through the hassle of hiring a real estate agent to list your home, you can also consider selling directly to an investor, which normally takes less time, and far less effort, than either a FSBO or the traditional listing process. 4 Brothers Buy Houses will purchase your home in any condition, won’t ask for credits or costly repairs, and can normally close a sale in less than two weeks. Click here for more information, or to request a free quote today.