The front yard of a Florida home trashed by bad tenants.

Being a landlord isn’t for the faint of heart. While a vast majority of renters are reasonable and respectful people, there are definitely nightmare tenants out there. Even if you think you’ve vetted them thoroughly, you might end up surprised by the destructive and negligent actions they take on your property.

If you’re dealing with a tenant-trashed rental property, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. How do you handle moving forward? How do you stop the bleeding in terms of the financial loss you’re facing? Could this happen again? There are a few steps you can take to salvage this rotten situation.

1. Eviction Time

If the tenant is still living in your property, it’s time to serve them with an eviction notice. Some landlords are fine drafting this on their own, while others look to an attorney for help. Either way, make sure you’re abiding by the landlord-tenant laws in your state so that you’re protected. Also be aware that this process can be lengthy, and an irate tenant may do more damage to your property once they’re notified that you intend to evict them.

2. Lawyer Up

Once you remove the troublesome tenant, you may want to go about recovering cash for the damage they caused. This means taking your tenant to small claims court to seek compensation. But remember that legal fees will apply, and (if your tenant is truly destitute) there may be no way for you to get any money from them for repairs.

3. File a Claim

If you want to avoid the legal circus, your best bet is often to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance. Your policy should cover damages made by your tenant. Be aware, though, that every time you file a claim, there is a risk your rates rise. (Once you make a claim, the likelihood that you’ll make another increases, making you a bigger insurance liability.)

4. Make the Repairs

If you want to get your rental house back on the market so you can continue generating income from it, repairs will need to be done. No one wants to live in a trashed house.

If the damage is small, you may be able to address it yourself. If all you need is a fresh coat of paint or some new window panes, it may be doable. But if the damage was more severe, you’ll likely need to bring in contractors to mediate things, which will of course incur additional costs.

5. Unload the Property

As the landlord, you have certain rights to your property. Your tenant, however, also have rights. Depending on your state, you may be required to give several days’ notice before you’re able to evict them. You may also be required to give a certain amount of notice before showings. Selling your house for cash to a company that deals with homes in need of repair is the easiest option for selling your house fast without infringing on your tenants’ rights–and without having to run the risk that they’ll scare off potential buyers.

What About a Fixed Term Lease?

Keep in mind that if you have a fixed term lease, you may have to wait for the lease to end before you’ll be able to sell the house and evict the tenant. Make sure you’re keeping track of how much time you have left so that you can be done with it as soon as possible! If you’re in a bind and simply ready to be done, look for an investment company that will be willing to purchase the house while the tenant is still there, adhering to the terms of their lease until it ends. In this case, the investment company will essentially purchase the lease along with the property, which means that you can move on with your life sooner. This method is ideal for many landlords, since it means that you’re going to have income from the house until it sells. Selling the home to your tenant is also an option, and some states may require you to give them first refusal before you put the house on the market.

Secure Tenant Cooperation

If you don’t plan to sell the house with the tenant in residence, the best way to proceed is to gain their cooperation in the process. There are several things you should consider when dealing with your tenant.

  • Explain how the process is going to work. Set out guidelines for when the house can be shown, how much notice you will give, and what condition you’d like the house to be in when you show it. This is, of course, most effective with a cooperative tenant.
  • Offer monetary incentive to help your tenant move on, whether that means returning their deposit in spite of damage to the house or even offering to pay their first month’s rent and deposit on a new residence.
  • Consider a discount on rent for tenants who are cooperative with the showing process. 

For you, your rental property is a source of income. For your tenants, whether good or bad, that property is a home. They may not be eager to move or to accept a new landlord, but most tenants will be willing to work with you in order to help the process proceed more smoothly. By selling your house for cash, especially if you work with an investment company who will keep the tenants on for the duration of your lease, you streamline the process and make it easier for everyone involved.

Cracks in the foundation of a Florida home.

When you’re looking to sell your home, discovering structural issues can be a huge blow. It’s also pretty easy for these sorts of issues to go unnoticed, as they’re typically much harder to see. But they affect the overall integrity of your home and can be a real headache to mitigate.

In Florida specifically, a number of factors can contribute to structural damage. The tropical weather conditions can lead to both porous soil and excessive moisture within the home itself. Many of the buildings across the state were built decades ago, so the natural aging of materials also comes into play. The abundance of insects in the area can also leave structures vulnerable to damage.

If you’re looking to sell a house with structural issues, you have your work cut out for you, but it’s not impossible. First, you need to evaluate your home and identify the root of the problem. The following are the three most common structural problems found in Florida homes.

1. Cracked Foundations

This is perhaps the mother of all structural issues, as it involves damage to the base upon which your house sits. It’s not unheard of for homeowners to be completely unaware of foundation issues until the time comes for a potential buyer to do inspections.

Once you’re in that situation, you could be on the hook for costly repairs or risk losing the deal. The biggest telltale signs of foundation issues are things like cracks in the walls, spots where the molding doesn’t meet the ceiling, doors that don’t quite fit in their frames, and uneven floors.

2. Compromised Siding

Given Florida’s abundant sunshine and abundant precipitation, homes in this state are very susceptible to siding damage. Whether wood or vinyl, siding can easily sustain cracks from things like scraping tree branches, debris from lawnmowers, and prolonged exposure to sun.

If those cracks aren’t repaired, they’ll allow moisture to leach into the structure of your home. From there, you could be dealing with mold, mildew, termites, and more. Water damage can be very costly to repair and fundamentally challenge the stability of a structure, so examine your siding closely for damage.

3. Damaged Roofs

Much like siding, roofs can take a real beating in Florida’s climate. Near-constant moisture can cause the growth of things like algae and moss. While these might seem like only a cosmetic nuisance, they can lead to a serious breakdown in your shingles.

Excessive heat can also cause buckling and warping. Beyond that, there’s the danger of tropical storms and hurricanes, which bring with them wind, rain, and downed trees. If you see any of these happening with your roof, you’ve got a problem brewing.

If you’ve discovered structural issues with your home, your temptation may be to throw in the towel. Looking down the barrel of tens of thousands of dollars in repairs would make anyone feel hopeless. But don’t count yourself out yet!

There are often buyers willing to invest in a home as-is, despite structural issues. But if you’re not interested in bringing in a realtor and going through the process of listing and showing your home, only to give away a percentage of what you earn on the sale in fees and commissions, then a cash home buying company would be a great fit for you.

The Buy Guys purchase Florida homes in a wide variety of conditions, including those with structural damage. Give our team a call today to get started, and let us help you sell your house with structural issues in less than 30 days, for cash!

There are two words that can instantly strike fear into the heart of any homeowner: water damage. Whether it comes as the result of a busted pipe, a leaky roof, a faulty component in your HVAC system, or even the sometimes-cruel hand of Mother Nature, dealing with water in your home is a monumental headache.

The immediate aftermath of a flood can be an incredibly trying and emotional time for a homeowner. If you find yourself in a position where you need to sell a house with water damage, the intensity can feel even greater. But there are steps you can take to mitigate the stress and set yourself up for success.

When It Rains, It Pours

Water is a powerful force, and it can lay waste to your home in a matter of minutes. In addition to destroying or damaging prized possessions and valuable assets, it can also seriously compromise the stability of your home’s infrastructure. Addressing water damage properly will cost you.

If you’ve started requesting estimates, then you’ll already know this. To fix the problem and get your house back to normal, you’ll be looking not only at pricy repairs to any malfunctioning equipment but also remediation for the damaged parts of your home’s interior (patching holes, replacing carpet and drywall, etc.).

Additionally, you’ll probably also need a deep cleaning. If not addressed immediately—especially in a humid climate like Florida’s—retained water inside your home can result in the growth of severe mold and mildew. In addition to further complicating the repairs process, mold and mildew can prove to be a serious health risk for your family. Exposure can trigger the onset or worsening of conditions such as allergies and asthma.

Maybe the water damage to your home is especially extensive. Or perhaps it has just been left unaddressed because you were overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. In these cases, you may find yourself needing to vacate the home in order to have repairs done safely and effectively. So you can go ahead and add the cost of alternative accommodations to your rapidly growing bill as well.

1. Minimize the Damage

Floods can happen quickly and with very little warning. As soon as you are able to access your property, you’ll need to work fast to contain the damage in any way you can. The quicker you address these issues, the better chance you have of preventing a total loss.

Begin by contacting your insurer to inform them of your claim so they can send an adjuster your way. Then move on to cataloging any and all damage.

Take photos and make extensive notes. Don’t throw anything away, though—your insurance company may require visual evidence of damaged items before they will honor your policy.

Attack water damage in the walls by removing damaged drywall or sheetrock immediately. Running fans and dehumidifiers throughout the house will also help dry things out.

Remember, mold can grow in just 48 hours, so time is of the essence when it comes to removing water from your home. It’s not impossible to sell a house with flooding damage, but it will be a lot more difficult to sell if it’s also full of mold.  

2. Get A Repair Estimate

Once you’ve gotten the situation under control and hopefully cleaned well enough to prevent mold and mildew growth, it’s time to get the big picture on the damage that’s been done. This isn’t a necessary step in selling your house, of course, but it will certainly put buyers’ minds at ease to know that a licensed professional has evaluated the property.

Whether you plan to fix the issues or not, having an inspector lay out in detail what needs to be done will be a huge help. You may even want to get a few different opinions so that you can present a fully fleshed-out plan to any potential buyers. Hopefully, they’ll be comforted by knowing what to expect financially.

3. Fix It Up

From here, you may choose to do some repairs before selling your home. If you have experience with things like drywall or sheetrock, it may be cost-effective for you to handle those things yourself. Or perhaps you have it in your budget to hire a contractor for those tasks.

Making smaller improvements—as well as cosmetic things like putting fresh, neutral paint on the walls and polishing the floors—could greatly improve your home’s selling price. If your issues are larger or more structural, though, be aware that remediation may set you back a pretty penny, which you might find isn’t worth it in the end.

4. Sell As-Is

So what if you don’t have insurance or the time or money to do repairs? If you need to sell a house with water damage quickly, you always have the option to sell the house as-is. Buyers understand that houses in this condition will be in need of some work.

There is always a market for fixer-uppers, and many buyers aren’t scared away by flood damage, provided that they feel they got a good enough deal on the property. You could go the traditional route with a real estate agent, but be aware that your home may sit on the market for a while (which can negatively impact the eventual selling price), and you’ll be on the hook for fees and commissions after the sale.

Going with a cash homebuying company, however, removes both the time and cost concerns of the traditional marketplace. The Buy Guys have worked with hundreds of individuals when they needed to sell a house with flooding issues. We’re here to help you sell your water-damaged home quickly and easily. Call us today to learn more!

US dollars on a table with tax papers and a pair of reading glasses.

Inheriting a house can be incredibly overwhelming. While it’s wonderful to know that someone you cared for trusted you enough to appoint you the caretaker of their home after their passing, it can also be a big financial strain.

There are a number of tax implications that come into play when you inherit a house. And they will vary drastically depending upon what you do next. Let’s break down the types of taxes you may be required to pay when you receive or attempt to sell an inherited house.

1. Estate Tax

This tax is thankfully one that most people don’t have to worry about. The current federal minimum for the estate tax to be levied is $11.8 million. In other words, the deceased’s entire estate (including all real estate, cash, and assets like stocks or bonds) has to add up to more than $11.8 million before the federal government will tax it.

A dozen states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) plus the District of Columbia, however, do levy their own taxes on estates as well. The threshold for these is much lower than the federal minimum, but it still floats somewhere around $1 million.

2. Inheritance Tax

This tax is collected only at the state level. It has stipulations, and its application varies from state to state. As of 2018, six states collect an inheritance tax: Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The tax rate in each of these states is different and may be anywhere from one percent to 20 percent of the value of the house or other assets you’ve inherited.

There are exemptions, of course, and again, this tax is often not levied on those heirs whose inheritance is valued below $2 million. There are also allowances depending on your relationship to the deceased. No taxes are applied when a spouse inherits a property in one of these states, and of the six listed, only Nebraska and Pennsylvania collect taxes on property that’s passed from a parent to their child or grandchild.

3. Property Tax

When you become the owner of an inherited home, you will, of course, become responsible for the property taxes owed. You’ll keep paying these as long as you own the house. Depending on the location of the inherited home, this could mean having a significant new bill on your plate.

Whenever someone inherits a home (just like if they bought one), the property is reassessed at the current market value to determine what taxes should be paid on it. While many states do cap how much property taxes can rise from year to year, there is a decent chance this reassessment could bring an increased tax burden compared to what your loved one was paying before their passing.

Some states do allow for exclusions for spouses and children or grandchildren. But to receive this often involves reapplying for exemption programs, which can be labor-intensive and cost you quite a bit of time and energy.

4. Capital Gains Tax

Selling any asset for more than you paid for it can trigger capital gains taxes. But what if you didn’t pay for it, but rather inherited it? Unfortunately, you can still be on the hook for taxes if you inherited a house and want to sell it.

What Is Capital Gains Tax?

There is often a false assumption that the capital gains tax only applies to rich people, but in reality, the things many of us own (car, big screen TV, stocks and bonds, home) all count as capital assets. If you ever sell those things for more than you paid to acquire them, you may be facing a tax burden.

This tax comes into play often in real estate transactions. If you bought a home for $100,000 years ago, but the area has become a hot spot and you’re now able to sell it for $400,000, that $300,000 in profit you made will be subject to taxation. Thankfully, there are ways to qualify for exemptions so that you’re not penalized for the entirety of the gain.

Capital gains tax on inherited property behaves a little differently though. Since you didn’t purchase the home in the first place, the calculation for profit is done on what is called a “stepped-up basis.”

Say your Aunt Marge bought the home for $75,000 back in 1950, but you’re able to sell it for $250,000. Instead of being taxed on the full $175,000 difference, you’ll only be taxed on the difference between the sale price and the fair market value at the time of her death.

In order to find out the stepped-up basis of the home, you’ll need to have it appraised as soon as possible after the owner’s death. This will give you an idea of what you’re working with and whether it’s a good idea to hold on to the house or to go ahead and sell it.

What Are the 2019 Rates?

Tax rates change slightly every year based on inflation and other political factors. For the 2019 tax year, the tax percentages on capital gains range from zero percent to 20 percent, depending on the amount of profit you made from the sale.

If you’re single, you won’t be taxed on any gains under $39,375. If you make between $39,376 and $434,550, your rate will be 15 percent. Over $434,551 and you’ll be charged a 20 percent rate.

If you’re married, those thresholds increase, and anything under $78,750 will be exempt. $75,751 to $488,850 will be at a 15 percent rate, and anything over $488,851 will be at 20 percent.

How Can I Avoid It?

Receiving bequeathed property from a loved one, while a beautiful gesture, can be very stressful. You can avoid the capital gains tax by making the home your primary residence for two years, thus qualifying you for the homeowner’s exemption on any gains under $250,000 (if you’re single) or $500,000 (if you’re married).

But if you already have an established home, moving into the house may not be an option. It could be in another neighborhood, city, or even state. It might be too small for your family’s needs, and you may have no interest in maintaining it and renting it out. (Landlord life isn’t for everyone!)

Stay, Rent, or Sell?

When inheriting a property, you have a few options. You can:

  • Move into the home and make it your primary residence.
  • Rent the home out.
  • Sell the home.

Moving in can be a good option if the home is fully paid off and you could use a break from paying rent on your own place. Owning and living in the home, however, does mean you’re on the hook for property taxes and utilities, plus any upkeep. It also may not be an option if the house you inherit is located in a different geographical area than your current job and you’re unwilling or unable to move.

Renting could be a good fit if you already own your own home or you live in a different town or state than the house you’ve inherited. The funds generated from renting the home could offset the cost of upkeep and any tax or mortgage payments. Some people aren’t cut out to be landlords, though, and you’ll run the risk of tenants damaging the home or falling behind on payments.

Selling an inherited home is often the best available route for an heir. As mentioned above, consider how the capital gains tax will affect you before jumping into selling, but if you’re not prepared to live in the home or manage renting it out for the foreseeable future, selling it and getting it off your plate is usually the easiest solution.

The Buy Guys have worked with a number of sellers after they inherited a property. We work exclusively with individuals and can close on your property in just 30 days. If you’ve recently inherited a house and want to sell it, please call us today.

A sold house sign.

If you receive code violations about your property but you do not have the funds to repair the violations or pay fines and interest that accrue daily, you might be thinking, “I need to sell my house fast before anything else goes wrong.” A big concern for homeowners, when faced with violations, is that buyers will not consider a property that does not comply with local codes and will try to drive the price down.

If you are wondering if you can sell your home without revealing the violations to the buyer, the answer is “no.” The law requires you to reveal all building code violations. If you fail to do so, you may be responsible for any financial loss the buyer accrues due to the violations.

First Step after You Receive Code Violations

Contact a local realtor who can help you address the violations. Code violations can be confusing and seeking professional help will help you resolve issues quicker. The realtor can schedule an appointment with the violation code officer to discuss the details of non-compliance. Most realtors have experience negotiating with code officers to sanction down the violations and get your house in compliance before selling.

Determine Which Violations Are Worth Repairing

There are six common code violations that homeowners encounter. Some code violations are just a matter of cosmetics and you can comply with them for little cash output. Some of these violations include mowing the lawn, landscaping the property to improve the appearance, draining an unused pool, removing asbestos, or scraping and painting peeling paint. Repairing these types of violations could increase your home’s value and attract potential buyers.

Other common home code violations include:

  • Electrical errors
  • Missing or broken fire alarms
  • Windows in dangerous locations
  • Missing expansion tank for water heater
  • Not having handrails installed on railings

Arbitrate a Deal with the Buyer to Pay for Repairs

After disclosing the violations to potential buyers, especially serious violations, such as, fire hazards, electrical violations, structural damage or zoning issues, some of them might be willing to repair code violations themselves. If this is the case, they will negotiate for a lower purchase price. Most buyers considering this option, hire a contractor to inspect your home to determine if repairing the code violations are worth their while. Building codes change all the time and buyers want to make sure that the house does not have structural violations that will be a headache for years to come.

Sell Your House As-Is to an Investor

In many cases, buyers would rather not invest money to repair a house with multiple code violations. If all else fails, you can contact a real estate investor who will buy your house as-is, which saves you all the money needed to bring your house up to code. In fact, you can forgo selling your house through a realtor and find an investor who will pay cash for your house, ending the code violation nightmare. According to the National Association of Realtors, cash sales made up 23 percent of home sales in January 2017, increasing from 21 percent in December. Of these sales, investors bought 15 percent of the properties and fifty-nine percent of the investors paid cash. So, this option could be your best bet if you need cash fast.

When making your decision to sell your home for cash, consider these other benefits. With a cash sale to professional homebuyers and investors, you do not pay realtor commissions, inspection fees or closing costs. This gives you cash-in-hand to help relieve your financial burdens or use the cash for relocating.

If you reside in Florida or Georgia and need help selling your property, we can help find an investor for your situation, no matter what the condition of your home or code violations incurred. Contact us to find out what you can do about selling your house fast. If you are a real estate investor looking for properties for cash sales, we can find home investments that fit your needs, as well.