Q: Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?
A: According to experts, sellers do not have to disclose other offers
Q: Should I add on or buy a bigger home?
A: Consider these questions before making a choice between adding on to an existing home or moving up in the market to a bigger house:
* How much money is available, either from cash reserves or through a home improvement loan, to remodel the current house?
* How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a second floor or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level?
* What do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
* How much equity already exists in the property?
* Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy housing needs?
Ultimately, the decision should be based on individual needs, the extent of work involved and what will add the most value.
Q: What are some tips on negotiation?
A: The more you know about a seller's motivation, the stronger a negotiating position you are in. For example, seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Other so-called "motivated sellers" include people going through a divorce or who have already purchased another home.
Remember, that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller's asking price stacks up.
Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating at all.
Q: How do I prepare the house for sale?
A: Making your home look as nice as possible may seem obvious. Apparently, it's not, because many sellers don't do much beyond vacuuming the living room rug and maybe cleaning the ring off the bathtub, says George Devine, in "For Sale by Owner," Nolo Press, Berkeley, Calif.; 1993. Short of spending a lot of money, Devine offers several steps people can take to make their home show better:
* "Real Estate's Ambiguous Language You Oughtta Understand," Glennon H. Neubauer, Ethos Group Publishing, Diamond Bar, CA; 1993.