5 Simple Tips To Make Your Home Showings Easier

5 Simple Tips To Make Your Home Showings EasierYour real estate agent will likely give you 24 hours’ notice before bringing over interested buyers to see your home. Sometimes eager buyers may request less of an advance, or even ask for a last minute showing.

Since you’re eager to be accommodating, you may agree to consider such requests. Whether you have 24 hours to prepare for a showing or 15 minutes, these tips will make showings easier for your family.

Keep The Family Pet Carrier By The Door

Real estate agents advise not leaving your family pet at home during showings. Make it easy to bring along Fido or Fluffy by keeping their carrier right by the door. You’ll be able to quickly place him in the carrier and carry him out to the car with you.

Use Under-Bed Storage

The one place homebuyers won’t look is under your bed. Equip each bedroom with a large under-bed storage container; get the kind with wheels if possible. When you receive notice of a showing, just place any loose odds and ends, clothing, magazines, etc. into the tote and hide it under the bed. 

Have Extra Laundry Baskets On Hand

Invest in two or three extra laundry baskets and keep them near the door. When you have to leave for a showing, have each family member scour the kitchen and living room for things that are out of place. Fill the baskets and just bring them with you in the car.

Stock The Kitchen With Cleanup Supplies

The kitchen is the biggest challenge with showings. It’s both the place that gets messiest and the room that can sell your home. Get it spotless in a jiffy with popup wipes. Make it a habit to clean the kitchen immediately after meals, including sweeping the floor. Consider using paper plates to dine on while your home is listed. Keep a scented jar candle in the kitchen that you can light to mask odors.

Make The Car Comfortable

Your family will likely take a drive or go to a movie while the house is being shown. Stock it with a few snacks and bottles of water as well as any medication that a family member may need.

These tips will make house showings much easier no matter how large your house is, or how many family members you have. And one day, you just might return to find that you have a great offer on your house!

Your trusted real estate agent is a key partner in your successful home sale! 

Top 5 Ways To Pick A High Quality Real Estate Agent

Top 5 Ways To Pick A High Quality Real Estate AgentYour real estate agent can be the difference between a successful home buy and a bad purchase. Take a look at the characteristics of a good real estate agent and how you should vet your next partner in real estate.

Patience

Does the real estate agent immediately tell you to give up your rights to audit a home for a quicker sale? You may want to move on. The best real estate agents realize how big of a commitment a home is, and they are willing to walk you through the process at whatever pace you are comfortable with.

Localized Knowledge

There are major differences in the buying process between cities. You need a real estate agent with a knowledge of local ordinances, building and zoning laws and culture. This will save you a great deal of money, believe it or not.

Negotiation Skills

You will go through a number of negotiations with opposing parties during the course of buying or selling a house. You can take them on yourself, but they can be difficult considering that you will likely be facing a real estate agent on the other end. It is usually advisable to have a professional with similar experience on your side. Pick a real estate agent who is not afraid to fight for you at the closing table.

Connections

The best deals in any real estate market may not be public knowledge. You may not even be able to get into certain neighborhoods or business districts unless you know somebody. Your agent should be able to help you in this regard. Pick an agent who is established in your marketplace and well connected.

Other Clients’ Experiences

No real estate agent worth his or her salt will have a problem showing you testimonials and reviews of clients that they have served in the past. You may ask to speak to other clients of that real estate agent if you would like to know their experience buying or selling their home.

Sometimes the best indicator of success is the stories of other people who have been in your shoes. Also, look at the ratings, reviews and testimonials of your agent on their website or other review sites. These are great resources to learn about other clients’ experience.

Once again, a high quality real estate professional can make all the difference in your home buying or selling experience.

6 Ways To Find the Right Neighborhood For Your Lifestyle

6 Ways To Find the Right Neighborhood For Your LifestyleChoosing a neighborhood you live in is almost as important as the house you buy. The right neighborhood can make your house feel even more like a home. But how do you find the right neighborhood to shop for your next home?

1. Evaluate Your Own Lifestyle

The first step in finding the right neighborhood is to figure out what you’re really looking for. Do you crave a sense of community, or do you prefer not seeing any other houses when you open your front door? Knowing yourself is the key to identifying what kind of neighborhood you’ll be most happy in.

2. Are There Children In The Picture?

If you have kids now or are planning to have some in the future, that will impact your choice of neighborhoods. You’ll want your children to have neighborhood friends. You’ll also want to know your kids are safe playing outside. Look for neighborhoods where families reside. Ask your real estate agent about the quality of local schools.

3. Would You Prefer A Single Family Home Or A Townhouse?

Different neighborhoods have different housing types. You can often do a process of elimination by pre-determining what kind of home you’re looking for. This is something that your real estate agent can do for you.

4. What Will Your Commute Look Like?

You’ll be going to work everyday. That will significantly impact your daily lifestyle. Pin your work address on a map. Then draw a ring around it that represents the distance you’re willing to commute. Neighborhoods within that circle will be candidates.

5. Are You Looking For Nightlife?

If you want to be able to walk out your door and land at a cafe, bookstore, shopping center, bar or someplace else, then your neighborhood will need to reflect that desire. Avoid buying in an area where everything is a 20-minute drive. Your real estate agent will be able to apprise you of neighborhood culture so you’ll have a better idea of where to buy.

6. What Do You Miss Most?

Is your current neighborhood lacking something, such as bike trails, a park or community events? Seek these out when you go home shopping so your life feels more complete when you move.

These six tips will help you find the best neighborhood for the way you want to live. Remember, your real estate agent is knowledgeable about the various neighborhoods in their service area. Use your agent as a valuable resource while you search for that perfect home.

 

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper Or Move-In Ready Home?

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper Or Move-In Ready HomeThere’s a lot to be said for buying a move-in ready home. All you have to do is put your things away and start living your life. On the other hand, buying a fixer upper has its advantages, too. You can get a great bargain on a fixer upper home. So which one should you choose?

Here are some things to consider.

You Can Easily Afford To Buy What You Want

If money is no object, then a move-in ready home is the best choice. You’ll be able to get exactly the home you want with little or no effort decorating it the way you want. If you’re the kind of person who can hire an interior decorator, then you’ll likely want to spend time decorating, not reconstructing.

You Like A Challenge

If you think of owning a home as an adventure rather than a convenience, consider buying a fixer upper. You’ll have lots of interesting challenges, like figuring out where to buy those non-standard replacement windows, how to reinforce a floor for a tile installation and much more.

You’re Older And Just Want To Settle Down

Renovating a fixer upper requires energy and strength. If you’re older or you tire easily, buying a move-in ready home might be a better strategy. A fixer upper might be too much to handle if you attempt all the work without professional help.

Money Is Tight

If you feel you would be strapped financially to buy a move-in ready home with all the bells and whistles, consider a fixer upper. You’ll be able to easily handle the mortgage payment. You’ll be able to renovate on your own schedule, according to when you can afford new building materials.

You’re Looking For An Investment

If you’re looking to get fast equity out of your home purchase, a fixer upper is definitely a smart move. Once you complete the renovations you could refinance on the higher value and bank the profits.

As you can see, fixer uppers and move in ready homes are both good values, depending on your own situation. Hopefully this list of pros and cons will help you make the right choice for your lifestyle.

Call your trusted real estate professional to go over the options of fixer-upper properties and move-in ready homes available in your local market. They are always the best avenue to find your perfect new home fit.

How To Keep Your Pets Safe During Your Home Sale

How To Keep Your Pets Safe During Your Home SaleIf you have pet, you probably wonder what you can do to keep them safe after you decide to put your home up for sale. With all the disruption going on during a home sale, it’s all too easy for pets to get lost, frightened or even injured. Learn how to keep your beloved pets safe during your home sale.

Provide An Oasis During Repair Work

Most home sellers make a few repairs before allowing agents to show the home for sale. In some cases, repairs can be extensive, leading to a lot of construction materials, tools and strange new items in the home. This can be frightening for pets as they watch their once familiar setting undergo changes.

Make sure your pet has someplace to get away. They should have their own oasis where everything is still the same. It may be their doghouse, a spot in the corner in your bedroom, or a basement, as long as they can escape to familiar surroundings.

Keep Routines

Pets are creatures of habit. They can easily become disoriented or frightened when their routine is disrupted, as is so often the case during a home sale. Meals may be sporadic, food and water dishes may get moved around the room, and regular walk times can be overlooked.

To keep your pets safe from stress, try to keep their routines as unchanged as possible, including small things like those quiet moments when they like to sit on your lap at the end of the day or during your morning coffee.

Take Them With You During Showings

Your real estate agent advises that you and your family leave the home during showings. But you should bring your pets with you, too. Leaving pets behind in the garage, barn, basement or behind a closed door really isn’t a great idea. Curious homebuyers could inadvertently come upon your pet, giving both parties a shock. A startled pet might even run off or lash out.

Instead, keep a pet carrier in the car for use when you and your family have to leave for showings. You’ll keep the whole family together and your homebuyers can freely explore your entire property.

These pet safety tips will ensure that your pet will get through the home sale process as smoothly as possible. It’s really just a matter of providing a little oasis, maintaining routines, and avoiding buyer and pet interactions.

Your trusted real estate agent can offer advice about pets and other important criteria for a successful house showing. Be sure to make contact as soon as you are thinking about putting your home on the market.

How To Stage A House For A Faster Sale At A Higher Price

How To Stage A House For A Faster Sale At A Higher Price“Staging” a house means to prepare it for sale in ways that make it more attractive to potential buyers. Homeowners can do much of this staging work themselves and should get suggestions from their real estate agent. They can also hire a professional to do the staging work for them.

Value-Added Staging

A study of 4,200 sold homes, conducted by Home Staging Resource (HSR), found that 85% of the staged homes sold for 6% to 25% more than a home that was not staged.

Forbes reports that 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. This is 87% faster when compared to the time it takes, on average, to sell a home that is not staged.

An average home sells for 10% to 20% less than the asking price. It may be even more beneficial to stage a home that would otherwise have to sell as a “fixer-upper.” When listing a home, which is in disrepair, the asking price must be at a steep discount from the market value of a similar home that is in a better condition. This steep discount may be reduced by staging the home properly.

The general rule-of-thumb is that every $100 dollar invested in staging may return up to $400 in a higher sales price.

Staging Priorities

The National Association of REALTORS® published the 2017 Profile of Home Staging, which says the staging priorities are:

  • Declutter: Decluttering a home creates more open space that makes the home look bigger. Remove at least half of the items in the home and two-thirds of the stuff in the closets. De-personalize the home by removing photos, kid toys, items for pets, etc.
  • Cleaning: The entire house needs to be immaculately clean, inside and out, to the level of a five-star hotel.
  • Carpet Cleaning/Replacement: Carpet needs to look and smell like new or it should be replaced.
  • No Pets or Children: Do not have children or pets in the home, when showing it to potential buyers.
  • Renovations: Repairs, re-painting, and re-decorating should be done tastefully and by using neutral colors that appeal to most people.
  • Rooms: Priority staging concentrates on these rooms, in this order: 1) Living Room; 2) Kitchen; 3) Master Bedroom and Bath, and 4) Dining Room.
  • Vacant Home: A vacant home will probably sell much easier when staged using rented furniture.

Conclusion

Staging a home for sale makes perfect sense and is worth the investment of time, energy, and money. The benefits are that the home usually sells for a better price, probably sells more quickly, and the investment in staging usually makes a profit for the home seller. Consult your trusted real estate professional for guidance in selling your home quickly for a great price.

5 Strategies Millennials Can Use To Buy Homes

5 Strategies Millennials Can Use To Buy HomesMillennials face numerous challenges when buying their first homes. 55% of young adults between 25 and 34 years old don’t own homes as compared to 80% in 1967, according to data from the Census Bureau. 

Buying a home is tough with the $1.4 trillion student loan debt, growing childcare expenses and rising rental costs. However, hope is not lost. Millennials can realize the quintessential dream of owning a home. 

Millennials can employ several strategies to plan for home ownership without selling their kidneys. Here are five ways to do just that. 

Develop A Realistic Budget 

Now is a great time to examine your finances and create a budget for a house you can really afford. Lenders may be able to approve you for a larger loan amount than what you thought possible. Therefore, it’s imperative to be realistic when deciding on the amount of home mortgage payment you can afford comfortably per month.   

Make Sacrifices 

Not long ago, someone said (and probably regretted) Millennials can’t save enough to buy homes because they are spend extravagantly. Well, saving thousands of dollars for down payment isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. And there are many low to no down payment programs available if you check with your trusted mortgage professional first.

You may have to sacrifice and cut unnecessary expenditures such as buying new outfits and even getting a new car. Living minimally can help pad your personal savings to propel you into owning a house. 

Consider The Suburbs 

Although it’s vital to stay near family and a lively social location, consider purchasing a house in a suburban area, where houses are typically more affordable. Plus, if you have pets they will love the larger lots and yards giving them space to play.

You can choose a less populated state where you will probably have a higher chance of affording a home. Although this may not be ideal, if owning your own place tops your list, then location will not stand in the way. 

Use State And Federal Programs 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) gives home buyers the chance to purchase houses with a very low down payment. This lower amount is quite attainable if you save toward this goal.  Some states also offer supplemental programs beyond the FHA program. Find out whether you can access extra grants and subsidies. 

Get Your Hustle In Gear 

Although most millennials struggle with unemployment, if you have one job, look for other ways to make extra dollars. You may consider driving for rideshare services, freelance gigs and running errands for people as a way to temporarily boost your earning potential.

Owning a place to call home is great. Like anyone else millennials can buy homes. Talk to a home finance expert and your trusted real estate agent for more information on how you can make your best investment. 

5 Tips To Price Your Home To Sell For Top Dollar

5 Tips To Price Your Home To Sell For Top DollarMany home sellers are confused about how to price their home to sell. It’s definitely challenging to try and find that sweet spot between pricing it low enough so it flies off the market without undercutting the home’s value. Emotions play into the decision, too. If the seller has a lot of sweat equity in the home, or the property is the only place the children have ever called home, owners may tend to place a higher value on the house.

Here’s how to correctly price a home to sell in any market.

Rely On Your Real Estate Agent

Your Realtor is an expert in all matters related to home buying and selling. They have a vested interest in selling your home within a reasonable time frame. As such, they provide a valuable, objective perspective that you should closely pay attention to in order to correctly price your home to sell.

Look At Comps In Your Neighborhood

One thing that your real estate agent does is analyze the comparable properties in your neighborhood. Remember, what a home sells for in a nearby city doesn’t impact how to price your home in a neighborhood far removed. Your prospective buyers will also compare your home’s price to others they could buy in the same neighborhood.

Consider Special Features

Don’t discount special features that your home has, such as built-in shelving units, out buildings, a home movie theater, etc. These give you an advantage in that you can safely set your price a little higher than comparable homes without those features. Be sure your real estate agent mentions them on your MLS listing so buyers understand the higher asking price.

Be Prepared To Make Price Adjustments

Remember that you might have to come down from your asking price, so keep that in mind when you and your real estate agent set that number. Don’t expect that you’ll get exactly what you’re asking for unless you’re in a high demand area. When you give yourself some margin, you gain negotiating power you can use to make a sale happen.

Consider Your Own Finances

Pricing your home to sell is only one factor to consider. The larger equation takes your entire financial picture into account. Figure out how much you owe, how much commission you’ll pay and any sales concessions, if any, you’d be willing to offer a prospective buyer. This due diligence ensures you’ll be satisfied with the outcome after all the money has changed hands.

Pricing your home to sell correctly is a critical part of making the transaction happen. Remember that your real estate agent is the best judge of the best price point, but you can always point out the reasons why you’d like it higher or lower.

 

 

 

 

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows to 20-Month Low

Case-Shiller Home Price Growth Slows to 20-Month LowHome price growth slowed to its lowest rate in 20 months according to the 20-City Home Price Index issued by Case-Shiller. After years of dismal readings, Las Vegas, Nevada led the cities included in the index.

Top three cities for August included Las Vegas, Nevada where year-over-year home prices grew by 13.90 percent. San Francisco, California saw home prices increase by 10.60 percent year-over-year and Seattle, Washington home prices rose by 9.60 percent year-over-year. August’s 20-City Home Price Index overall reading fell below six percent for the first time in a year.

Cooling Home Price Growth Helps Balance Housing Markets

Cooling home prices have been forecast for months, but August’s reading indicated that home prices have peaked and that current home price growth rates may ease pressure on overheated real estate markets, where high home prices, limited inventories of homes for sale and rising mortgage rates have limited buying opportunities. Home price growth remained above current rates of wage growth and inflation, but slower appreciation of home values will help balance the housing market from an extreme sellers’ market to more moderate market conditions.

Rising Mortgage Rates Not Sole Cause of Easing Home Prices

Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan recently said that rising mortgage rates were not the only cause of slowing growth of home prices. Mr. Kaplan said that multiple factors including rising building costs, labor shortages and rising mortgage rates combined to ease record demand for home; Mr. Kaplan said that the Fed is closely monitoring the economy and housing markets and mentioned that he had previously forecast slower housing markets as 2019 approaches.

Recent stock market sell-offs boosted the 10-year Treasury note price, but this momentum appears to be settling. Fixed mortgage rates are connected to yields on 10-year Treasury notes. Yields rise as note prices decline. Mortgage rates rise as the 10-year Treasury yield rises. While nothing is set in stone, this situation indicates that mortgage rates could continue to rise.

Rising mortgage rates and strict mortgage lending requirements have barred home buyers concerned with affordability and less than perfect credit profiles. As prospective home buyers abandon their home searches, demand for homes should ease and may further reduce gains in home prices.

If you are interested in buying a new property or selling your current property, contact your trusted real estate agent to discuss market specifics in your area.

4 Reasons To Buy Or Sell A Home This Winter

4 Reasons To Buy Or Sell A Home This WinterThe winter real estate market tends to be significantly different from other seasons. Buyers and sellers alike are often driven by different reasons than at other times of the year. That can be a win-win for both motivated buyers and sellers in the right climate.

Many homeowners list their property during spring and early summer hoping to maximize their return on investment during the competitive seasons. Families with school-aged children tend to be highly motivated buyers because they prefer not to take a child out of school mid-term.

Given the nationwide housing shortage, those seasons were hot seller’s market with Millennials scooping up listings quickly at or near asking price. But since the dog days of summer, the housing industry has changed substantially.

These are four meat-and-potatoes reasons to buy or sell property this winter.

  • Inventory Shortage: During the first six months of 2018, the national housing shortage stood at a 20-year worst. That was great news for sellers who enjoyed higher prices and fewer days on the market. It wasn’t great for buyers who were in heated competition for homes. A shortage is expected during the winter months. That could be good news for sellers. But there is likely to be less competition, and that may allow buyers a little wiggle room in negotiations.
  • Interest Rates: The Fed announced that interest rates would inch up in four increments by the end of 2018. While that may seem like bad news, it could be helpful for motivated buyers and sellers this winter. The rate increases will likely result in listing prices leveling off, and that could help buyers from being priced out of the market. The Fed also announced that rates would likely increase further by the end of 2019, which should motivate people to buy sooner rather than later. Simply put, the winter market forecast looks hot.
  • Tax Cuts: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped many Americans keep more of their own money and ratchet up the economy. A recent announcement from the White House says a middle-class tax cut of 10 percent is expected to be pushed through Congress. Rates may eek up but keeping another 10 percent of your money can provide a great deal of mortgage bandwidth.
  • Employment Opportunities: As mentioned above, spring and summer markets are often driven by family considerations. The winter market tends to be driven by others. One of the key reasons buyers and sellers relocate during the winter is driven by jobs. It is common for large and mid-sized companies to hire for the first of the year. Given the tremendous opportunities in this robust economy, higher salaries and dream jobs may present themselves. This winter could be a carpe diem homes market.

Although winter housing markets may have been sluggish in some years, it’s been a long time since everyday Americans were immersed in a thriving economy. With unemployment at a near 50-year low and wages rising, this winter could be a winner for buyers and sellers.

Whether you are buying or selling, your trusted real estate agent is available to help you navigate the market any time of the year in your area.