Blog :: 01-2014

Should You Judge a "Book" by it's Cover?

When you meet someone you're initial judgment is made on their appearance. But once you get to know them, you realize that their personality is a much better indicator of who they are and how your relationship will proceed, or not.

Same holds true when house hunting. When a buyer walks into a home they're initially wowed by the aesthetic features: granite counters, stainless steel appliances, updated baths and trending colors. Is this criteria what makes this the right house to buy? All of those things are nice but really, most important are "the bones" of the home.

furnace

refridge 2 The bones consist of structural and mechanical items that make a house run and are usually the most expensive to replace or repair - the furnace, the roof, the septic, the windows and the list goes on.

You can think of these things in terms of baking. The more quality the ingredients you use the better the end result. You can dress up even the driest most awful tasting creation with a good icing job. It's nice to get it all when buying a house but don't overlook a home that may not have all the pretty window dressing but is in solid condition. Would you rather replace a furnace or paint a living room?

Ready, Set, Sell: How to Get Your Home Ready for Market

preparation meets opportunity

You’ve made the decision. It’s time to put your home on the market. You’re ready to sign the listing agreement, but that’s only the beginning. Of course you want to maximize your selling price and your profit. And you don’t want to invest a fortune in the process. Here are ten simple, cost-effective steps you can take immediately to show off your home at its very best.

  1. Visualize. Look at your home as though you were seeing it for the first time. Better still, look at it like a prospective buyer would. As a buyer, what would you like to see? Start making a checklist outside first, then move inside, and then look at structural issues. Just remember that throughout the selling process, you need to forget it’s YOUR house and instead visualize what the buyer wants.
  2. Compare. Look around your neighborhood. How does your home stack up with others in the immediate vicinity? Are there other homes for sale? If so, how do you look next to the competition? You need to compete on price, of course, but you also need to compete with appearance. That means doing something creative to set yourself apart. Do all the front doors look ho-hum? Paint yours red. Make sure your home’s most appealing features are clearly visible.
  3. Repair. Starting at the front of the house, look for cracks in the sidewalk and driveway. Check the foundation, the patio, and the stairs. If it’s loose, tighten it. If it’s sagging, prop it up. If it’s broken, fix it. Make sure all your doors open and close easily and with a minimum of noise.
  4. Wash. Before you invest a lot of money in an outside paint job, do a power wash. Just getting rid of the accumulation of dust and dirt will give your home a face lift. Hose down the roof and clean the gutters too. And then clean your windows, inside and out, until they sparkle.
  5. Plant. Depending on the season, add flowers or seasonal color to your landscape and keep your lawn mowed and your shrubbery trimmed. You can also put some colorful pots by the front door and around the deck or patio.
  6. De-clutter. Moving to the inside of the home, remove at least 50% of everything that’s visible. Start with kitchen and bathroom counters. Even if there are tools and utensils you use every day, put them in containers you can access easily but keep them out of sight. A bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter looks great. A bowl of fruit plus a coffeemaker, a toaster, etc. looks like-clutter. And remove those family photos, grocery lists, and kid art from your refrigerator.
  7. Store. Here’s a secret you should know: if your rooms and closets are full of “stuff,†prospective buyers will think there’s not enough space for them. Pack away everything you can, including linens, pots and pans, kids’ toys, books, and office supplies. Make your closets, cupboards and shelves look half empty. You want the rooms to look more spacious.
  8. Sell. Have a garage sale to get rid of unwanted items and use the money you make to buy some cosmetic upgrades, like new faucets or fluffy bathroom towels. Or splurge on a family day at the movies when your Realtor is having an open house.
  9. Paint. Your daughter’s Goth black or Barbie pink bedroom may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but buyers think in neutral. A few gallons of paint are a small investment that will pay big dividends. Stay away from stark white-it’s cold and uninviting. A pale taupe or light, warm beige will fit almost anyone’s color taste.
  10. Accessorize. You can add some attractive but inexpensive touches with new hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, a polished brass knob and knocker on the front door, or a new mailbox. Think about lighting too. Make sure there are no burned-out bulbs anywhere and keep fluorescents off and soft lights on whenever the house is being shown. Ditch the artificial flowers and invest in seasonal potted plants and fresh flowers.

That’s it-you’re ready for the photographer and your first open house. Of course you’ll want to adapt these suggestions to your own home and market area, but with a reasonable investment of time, energy, and a little money, you’ll turn your home into a showplace and your listing into a sale.

Adapted from Winning Agent

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    Why 2013 Might Be Housing's Best Year Ever...What Will 2014 Have In Store?

    2014 Ticker

    After nearly a decade of disaster that reached levels of despair not seen since the Great Depression, 2013 was more than a turnaround year. Within its short life, it changed housing from a liability to an asset so favorable that it had the power to take the rest of the nation's economy along for its ride upward.

    In some ways, it changed the housing economy for years to come. Like a human life, its true place in history won't be known until it is gone and some time has passed, but it will be hard to argue with the hard numbers achieved in 2013.

    Through the third quarter of 2013, more than 3 million homeowners returned to positive equity and homeowner equity increased by $33 billion. Some 7.1 million homes, or 14.5 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the second quarter of 2013. This figure is down from 9.6 million homes, or 19.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, at the end of the first quarter of 2013, according to CoreLogic.

    Stamford's story shows that on average, single family home values increased by 4% over 2012. Currently, we are extremely low on inventory up to $800,000, and at "more normal levels" from $800,000 to $1,500,000. Right now, buyers are definitely on the "hunt" and even with mortgage rates expected to increase in 2014, they are hovering around 4.5 percent.

    Bottom Line ... Low Inventory + Low Mortgage Rates = A Good Time To Sell!

    Was 2013 a good year for you? What are you hoping 2014 will bring? Here's wishing that the year to come brings you even better returns than the year past.

    Adopted from an article in RISMedia