The remains of a kitchen house fire.

A house fire is one of the most traumatic things you could endure as a homeowner. Though you and your loved ones may escape safely, you may still suffer major losses in the wake of the blaze.

From the destruction of beloved heirlooms and memories to the very tangible damage done to your property, fire is a cruel element. Life after a house fire is never the same. And staying in your home after a fire might not be the right move for you.

If you’re looking to sell a fire-damaged house, you’ve got a lot of thinking to do first. Here are the key steps you should take.

What Now?

The first thing you should do after the fire is contained is contact your homeowner’s insurance company. Ask to speak with someone who can help you understand your benefits and assist you in figuring out all of your options for moving forward. Your agent can help set you up with temporary lodging and food assistance as well if needed.

You’ll also want to involve a restoration company. Cleaning up soot and ash is one thing, but the water used to put out the flames can do major damage to your home. Water damage needs to be addressed ASAP, so ask your insurance agent to help you find someone right away.

Mr. Fix-It

If you can afford to do it, it might be best for you to make repairs to your home before thinking about selling. Depending upon the extent of the damage, it could be something you can handle on your own or with the help of friends and family. If there is no structural damage, it might only cost a few thousand dollars to repair.

If the damage is more significant or structural, hopefully, your insurance will help cushion the blow and keep the out-of-pocket expenses on the lower end. Repairing the damage the fire caused will make your home easier to sell. It’s highly likely it will help you fetch a higher sale price as well.

Find a Buyer

If you’re not able to make the repairs, whether because of finances, lackluster insurance benefits, or time constraints, that doesn’t mean you can’t still sell your house. Finding the right buyer for a home with fire damage can be tricky, though. The traditional real estate market isn’t usually kind to less-than-perfect homes; chances are it will sit on the market for quite some time before you get any serious interest from potential buyers.

Cash homebuying companies, however, are in a unique spot to rehabilitate damaged properties and are likely your most promising avenue. The industry is rife with scammers, though, so make sure to do your research and find a reputable buyer before engaging further. Look for positive, detailed online reviews, and check in with the Better Business Bureau to verify they’re on the up and up.

Selling a home is almost always an emotional experience, but it’s even more so when you’ve just gone through something as horrific as a fire. When you sell a fire-damaged house, the real benefit is not the money—it’s the peace of mind that comes from putting the fire behind you, moving on, and making a fresh start. If you’re ready to sell your house after a fire, call the Meridian Trust team and get a cash offer today.

A messy living room in a house with problem renters.

They’re weeks (or even months) behind on the rent. They’re trashing your house. They’re disturbing the neighbors. They’re disrespectful, or worse, dangerous. If you’re a landlord, having a problem tenant is probably one of your worst nightmares.

While you can cross your fingers and hope for the best when renting, there is always a chance you’ll run into trouble. There are some essential steps you can take upfront to prevent issues from arising altogether. But if those don’t work and you find yourself stuck in a bad situation, you also have options if you need to sell a rental property with tenants.

Avoiding Problems

1. Background Checks

Don’t rely on first impressions when it comes to selecting a new tenant. Though they might seem lovely, they could be hiding a lot of nastiness behind their smile.

Make sure you require a credit check. Ask for references—and actually call them! Speak with their employer. Do everything you can to make sure you know what kind of person you’re about to allow into your home.

If you don’t, your failure to do your due diligence could end up costing you dearly. If you don’t have the time to handle this yourself, hire someone to do it for you. It’s not a step you can afford to skip.

2. Know the Law

The laws and regulations that govern the landlord-tenant relationship vary widely depending on where you live. It’s incredibly important that you as a landlord be intimately familiar with the laws for your specific municipality.

If you find yourself saddled with a problem tenant, the last thing you want is to find out that you’re doing something illegal that may compromise your position in a disagreement. Florida law covers everything from the landlord’s access to the property to the tenant’s right to withhold rent and more. So read up on it!

3. Know Your Options

While you should always go into a new tenant relationship in the spirit of good faith and optimism, you should also be prepared in case things go south. Don’t wait until you have a bad tenant on your hands to start researching your options for dealing with them. At that point, they’ll have the upper hand, and you’ll be scrambling to find a solution. Learn everything you can now, and hope against hope that you’ll never have to use it!

Getting Out

If things do fall apart, you may find yourself backed into a corner by a nightmare tenant. If you’re fed up with their excuses and ready to take action, you have two main options for how to move forward.

1. Bring In an Attorney

If you’re hoping to start eviction proceedings, you’ll need to retain legal counsel and eventually take your tenant to small claims court. Hopefully, you have an airtight lease in place and have been documenting any interactions with the tenant. If not, things could drag out.

The eviction process can take a while and end up costing quite a bit, no matter how well you’ve prepared. Expect to pay legal fees and be out months of rent on your property, not to mention any costs incurred in repairing damages the tenants caused.

2. Sell for Cash

If you’re fed up with the headache of it all, know that you can sell a house with tenants. You’ll want to consult local laws first to make sure you’re giving ample notice, but there is nothing to prohibit you from selling a property you own.

While selling through traditional channels may have been an option with agreeable tenants, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get problem tenants to agree to things like open houses and keeping the house in good shape for regular viewings. If you need to sell a rental property with tenants who are less-than-stellar, your best bet is probably to sell to a cash home buying company.

If you’re looking to sell a house with tenants, Meridian Trust can help. We’ve purchased thousands of rental properties in Florida and will work directly with you to close in less than 30 days. Call our team today to learn more.

No one ever intends to get behind on their bills. But life happens, and it’s easier than you might realize to find yourself in over your head. If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage right now, you’re not alone! According to federal reserve data, 3.68 percent of mortgages (or one in every 27) are in default.

The threat of foreclosure is, unfortunately, an immediately looming nightmare for many homeowners. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of the possible loss of the home you’ve worked so hard for, but you have options, including selling your house for cash! Below are five possible paths you can take to stop foreclosure.

1. Repayment Plan

The absolute first thing you want to do if you can’t pay your mortgage is reach out to your lender. The sooner you loop them into the process, the better your chances to stop foreclosure. Communicating with them about the extenuating circumstances of your financial situation will ensure they have all the information they need to work with you on keeping your home.

If you’re already a few months behind on payments, a repayment plan may help you catch up and prevent the initiation of foreclosure proceedings. Obviously, this option will require that you pay more each month than your normal mortgage payment so that you can catch up. If you’re not able to come up with the extra cash, there are other avenues you can explore.

2. Short Sale

If you know that catching up with overdue payments or continuing to make your monthly payments isn’t in the cards, a short sale may be your best bet. In this scenario, you would be selling your home for less than what you owe the lender. If your home has not appreciated in value since you purchased it, it’s likely that you won’t make enough on the sale to pay your mortgage in full.

Depending on the laws where you live, your lender might be able to come after you for the remainder of what you owe after a short sale, so make sure to do your research before going in this direction. You could also ask the lender to agree in writing before the sale to waive any remaining balance so that you’re not on the hook for it.

3. Update Terms

If you are determined to keep your home but simply can’t make your current monthly payment, you may want to discuss restructuring the terms of your loan with the lender. This is an especially good option if your financial situation is short-term or you know there is relief on the horizon (e.g., you’re starting a new job soon, you’re due an inheritance, or you’re selling a second home or other major asset like property, a car, or a boat).

Be aware that redefining your loan terms will almost always come with an extension of your payment timeline. If you were set to pay off your mortgage in 15 years at your original rate, you could be looking at tacking five to 10 years onto that if you adjust your payments down significantly. You will also end up paying more over the life of the loan, due to compounding interest.

4. Deed-in-Lieu

If you simply can’t keep your home anymore, but you’re not able to go through the sale process, you can undertake a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This essentially means that you sign the deed to your home over to your lender and walk away.

Much like a short sale, you need to protect yourself from the lender so they can’t come back to you asking for additional cash after they have possession of your home. Get it in writing! Your lender may also have a program that helps with relocation costs for owners who sign over their deeds, so be sure to ask.

5. Sell for Cash

All the options above have pros and cons. But if none of them work for your situation and you want to stop foreclosure, your best bet may be to sell your home to a cash homebuyer. You can satisfy the terms of your loan and walk away without the stain of foreclosure on your credit score. There are no closing costs, listing fees or commissions to consider, and the process is much faster than a traditional sale with a realtor.

We know it can be an overwhelming and upsetting situation when you can’t afford your mortgage. The easiest option for you may be to move on from an ugly situation by selling your home for cash. Meridian Trust purchase homes all over Florida and our experienced staff is ready to make you a cash offer today.

If you are planning to list your Florida home for sale soon (or are currently trying to sell your home), you’ve likely noticed the abundance of advertising out there for cash homebuyers. Whether on TV, in print, or on roadside signs, phrases like “We Buy Homes Fast!” are everywhere these days.

Selling your home can be an emotionally and physically taxing task. There are dozens of decisions to be made at every turn regarding how you handle the sale. So how do you know if the cash homebuyer route is right for you? Just like any other method, there are pros and cons.

The Good

Cash Offer

The most obvious upside of working with a cash homebuyer is that you’ll receive a cash offer for your home. It will be transparent and straightforward.

No waiting to see if the bank will finance your buyer. No need to worry about the possibly harmful effects of an unfairly low appraisal. No going through the hassle of deducting realtor fees and commissions from your final sale price. What you see on the offer sheet is what goes in your pocket!

Ease and Speed

With so few hands in the pot, selling to a cash homebuyer is markedly faster than selling via the traditional real estate route. You won’t have to deal with realtors, banks or lenders, home inspectors, appraisers etc. It’s often just you and the company rep, one-on-one.

Selling via a realtor can take months or even years depending on the condition and location of your home. If you’d prefer to sell your home quickly and be done with it—or you’re in a situation where you absolutely have to sell quickly—cash homebuyers can be a great alternative.

As Is

Before selling on the traditional market, most homeowners will need to do some work to their home. Whether it’s updating rooms that might feel dated to buyers (typically bathrooms and/or kitchens) or repairing damaged items (leaks, electrical or plumbing issues, foundation cracks etc.), a realtor will want the home in tip-top shape to maximize your asking price.

Unfortunately, you often won’t see much return on that investment; you may spend thousands of dollars to update a room, only to see your home sell for under market value. Cash homebuyers, however, aren’t worried about those things. They gladly buy your home as is, saving you money on potentially costly repairs.

The Bad

Value Proposition

Selling to a cash homebuying company is unlikely to net you the full market value of your home. Investors are taking a chance by buying your home as is, and the lack of costs to you (such as commissions and fees) will be factored into their offer.

Remember, too, that you’re being handed cash, oftent days or weeks after your initial contact. That convenience and speed will cost you.

Seller Beware

There are a lot of honest, reputable homebuying companies across the United States. Unfortunately, there are also some very shady ones. The industry is rife with abuse, and if you’re not careful, you could easily be taken for a ride.

Just as you would with any business you’re considering patronizing, do your research! Make sure to investigate the company before turning over any of your information and to read reviews. Look for BBB ratings and positive reviews from real customers.

Keep an eye on your credit score and accounts, and be very wary of any company that requires upfront application fees. Cash homebuyers can be lifesavers—especially if you’re in a bind—but remember first and foremost to protect yourself and your property.

Meridian Trust is Florida’s number one home buyer, with more than 10,000 houses purchased. In most cases, our team can close on your home quickly with no extra fees, no closing costs, and no waiting. To find out more about selling your house for cash to Meridian Trust, contact our team today.

Renting a property you own can have great benefits. If you’re in a tough financial spot, it could allow you to move into a smaller, cheaper home and satisfy your mortgage obligations without sinking further into debt. Provided you charge an adequate amount, those monthly rent payments can be a lifesaver!

One of the biggest risks you take when renting out your home, however, is the simple fact that you won’t be living in it anymore. Nobody is going to love and care for your home like you would, of course, and the vast majority of the time, tenants are respectful. But when they’re not, it can be hellish.

Dealing with bad tenants—whether they’re negligent and destructive to the home itself, combatant, or delinquent on their rent—can make your job as a landlord incredibly challenging. If you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation, there are a few steps you can take to make things right, including selling your home fast for cash.

1. Stay Calm

First, breathe. When you have a bad experience with a tenant, your knee-jerk reaction may be to blow up at them. But that will only make things worse. Approach the conversation with a cool head, and you may be able to nip the problem in the bud before it blooms into something uncontrollable.

It could be a simple misunderstanding, but if you come at your tenant full of blustering rage, you’ve likely made an enemy for good. Sleep on it if you need to, and remember to act professionally and tactfully in all your interactions with them.

2. Document Everything

It’s a lot easier to support your point in an argument when you have proof. Keep a detailed written record of all interactions with your tenants, as well as all repairs. Describe any damage thoroughly, and beyond that, take photos and videos to support your accounts.

You always want to hope a landlord/tenant situation won’t end up in court or mediation, but if it does, make sure you have all your bases covered. Being thorough up-front means protecting yourself in the long run.

3. Stick to Your Guns

Say what you mean and mean what you say. If your tenants are causing issues, and you give them a directive that they ignore with no ramifications, they’re going to assume they can walk all over you. It’s fine to extend them a courtesy every now and again, but if you continually let them test their boundaries, they’re going to assume they can do whatever they want.

Establish firm guidelines for how things will be done. If they’re not met, there must be a consequence. You don’t have to be cruel, but establishing your authority and your expectations up-front eliminates grey areas.

4. Foster a Relationship

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, right? If you feel like you’re getting off on the wrong foot with a tenant, the best bet is often to kill them with kindness. Instead of getting angry and dropping the hammer, try to relate to your tenant and speak with them on a human level.

Most people don’t want to engage in acrimonious relationships with their landlord. Usually, such situations arise from constant conflicts that are handled improperly. If you take the time to get to know your tenant and try to foster a good relationship, you may see those issues melt away.

5. Delegate

Sometimes you just need to remove yourself from the equation. It may be that you’re too close to the situation and find you take every small issue as a major offense because you don’t like your tenant on a personal level. In this instance, it might be time to bring in a mercenary.

Hiring a property manager is an added cost, yes, but if it relieves you of the burden of handling your tenant one-on-one, it may be worth it. Look for someone with documented experience and good reviews, who is a master at mediation and de-escalation, and let them do the dirty work for you.

6. Show Them the Door

There may be times when you simply can’t win. If you’ve reached that point with your tenant, it’s time to ask them to leave.

Eviction proceedings are long and arduous. Writing a simple Notice to Vacate may be all it takes. Give them the chance to leave on their own before you take more serious legal action—you may be pleasantly surprised by their response.

7. Sell

Maybe this is the first bad tenant you’ve had. Maybe it’s just the most recent in a long line of them. Or perhaps you’ve realized you’re just really not cut out for being a landlord and it’s not something you want to keep doing. If you can’t put up with your bad tenants for one more minute, one of your best options could be selling your home.

If you’re ready to part with your home and you don’t feel like enduring the long, expensive process of selling with an agent, contact Meridian Trust today for your cash home offer. We buy homes all over Florida, and our experienced team is ready to help you sell your home quickly and close the book on bad tenants for good!

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