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July 25, 2017

The Top 5 Kitchen Improvements That Will Increase Your Home’s Value

The whole point of home staging is to help sell your home for top dollar. Staging allows you to make your home appealing to the largest number of buyers, as well as making it stand out from other homes for sale. Here are the top five staging tips that can help you take your home from ordinary to extraordinary.

 

Tip #1: Paint the Walls

Freshly painted walls go a long way toward selling a home. Unless you already have neutral-toned walls that were painted within the last two years, you should make this investment. Why paint?

• Makes the home look cleaner, newer, and fresher
• Provides a fresh slate to help buyers visual living in the home
• Offers a neutral background that will fit most buyer’s furnishings and style

Keep in mind that neutral does not have to mean white. Instead, you can use earth tones, gray for urban /modern homes, light blue for bedrooms, and creamy yellow for kitchens.

 

Tip #2: Put Things Where They Belong

You want your buyers to feel like your home has room for everything they do. If they see piles or things shoved into odd places, your home will feel small and cluttered, and buyers will assume there is a lack of adequate storage.

• Make sure things are where they belong. For instance, never put a litter box near food.
• Put all cleaning supplies away.
• Clear off countertops
• Store items that you do not use to create more empty space

 

Tip #3: Think Minimally When It Comes to Furniture

How you live in a home and how you sell a home are two different things. When selling, you will need to get rid of extra furniture, especially large pieces that make the room feel crowded. This may mean that you even store furniture you typically use.

• Bulky furniture like a china cabinet or enclosed TV cabinet
• Extra chairs and leafs in dining and kitchen tables
• Make sure you can easily walk from one area to the next
• Remove large items from line of sight from the doorway of smaller rooms

 

Tip #4: But Not Too Much

Sometimes, sellers get too excited and remove so much that the room no longer feels inviting. Be sure to keep enough furniture and accessories to give buyers an idea of how the room functions.

• Use accessories that feel inviting such as artwork, towels, plants, and candles.
• Accent a focal point in each room, such a fireplace, built in shelves, or simply a long wall in the room perfect for a sofa.
• Add a pop of color with accent pillows or accessories.

 

Tip #5: Don’t Forget The Garage

Many people don’t think about staging the garage because they don’t see it as part of the house. However, a garage should always look like it can hold cars. So, if your garage looks more like a storage unit, clear it out and rent a storage unit if needed.

• Add hooks and shelves to clear up the floor space
• Clean the floor and remove cobwebs
• Make sure the lighting works

If you package your home correctly with home staging, then you are much more likely to sell your home for more money. Get started home staging today.

July 25, 2017

Checklist: Getting Your Home Market Ready

The best thing you can do to help your home sell quickly and for more money is to get your property in top-notch condition before it sells. Most home buyers do not want to buy a home that is going to take a lot of work to move in. Instead, they are looking for something that is move-in ready. This means cleaning up your home and making minor repairs before the house ever goes on the market.

Here is a checklist of things you can do to get your home market ready.

 

Outside

• Your lawn should be in good shape, with no weeds or dead spots
• Keep it mowed throughout the selling process
• Edge driveways and sidewalks
• Sweep driveway and sidewalks throughout the selling process
• Trim trees and shrubs
• Remove dead limbs or bushes
• Clean outside furniture
• Touch up any exterior trim paint
• Paint your front door
• Add flowers for color
• Add a wreath to your front door
• Make your entryway inviting
• Make sure all exterior lighting is clean and functioning
• Paint the mailbox post and add a new mailbox
• Make house numbers visible
• Clean windows and screens
• Recaulk windows if needed
• Clean gutters and downspouts
• Pressure wash siding and roof

Garage

• Remove storage items from the garage. If needed, get a storage unit instead.
• Clean walls and floors. Repaint if necessary.
• Add shelves and hooks to hang larger items
• Clean garage door and windows
• Make sure garage door is in good working order

 

Kitchen

• Remove items from the counter. Either put them away or store them in a storage unit.
• Clean all appliances, counters, and sink
• Fix leaky faucets.
• Replace damaged appliance knobs
• Add new hardware to your cabinets
• Clean tile grout
• Clean the floor
• Add a new backsplash
• Update kitchen cabinets with paint or stain

Bathrooms

• Clean mirrors
• Clean glass
• Clean sinks, toilet, tub, and shower
• Clean all fixtures.
• Clean tile grout
• Replace shower curtain
• Replace bathroom rug
• Add new towels
• Fix faucet leaks
• Recaulk if necessary
• Add luxury items like soaps, candles, and flowers

Closets

• Declutter closets. Store extra clothing, shoes, and other items in a storage unit if necessary.
• Organize clothes and shoes to look neat and orderly
• Space clothes so that closet feels larger
• Door and drawer tracks should move freely

 

Other Areas

• Paint walls in a neutral color
• Fix doors, windows, and cabinets as needed
• Professionally clean carpets and draperies
• Replace light bulbs as needed
• Clean fireplace, including any stains on mantle
• Replace furnace filters
• Remove odors from the home
• Stage each room

If your home is clean and maintained, then it will sell faster. It takes a bit of time, but will be well worth your efforts.

July 25, 2017

Best Tips For Marketing Your Home Online

The marketing of a home for sale has changed significantly over the past 15 years as buyers began using the Internet more and more. In fact, now 97% of home buyers begin their search online rather than in a newspaper or riding through neighborhoods looking at signs. That’s why it is so important that your online marketing is up to par.

Here are some marketing tips to help your home stand out so potential buyers will come see it in person.

Professional Photographs

One of the most important things you need to remember when marketing online is that home buyers want you to back up what you say with photos. In fact, a home for sale with no photos gets far less online traffic online, sometimes being completely ignored.

 However, not just any photograph will do. You’ll want exterior photos that: 

  • Crop out the street
  • Have no cars parked in the driveway
  • Show the house from more than one angle
  • Has even lighting

Plus, you want to be sure that all photos taken outside happen after any landscaping improvements have been completed and the lawn is freshly mowed. No one wants to see a poor photo of your house with an unkempt lawn, bicycles on the front walk, and three cars in the drive.

Your interior photos are just as important. You should have quality photos of each room, but, once again, only after the rooms have been cleaned and staged. Be sure to: 

  • Create as much light as possible by opening blinds and turning on all lights
  • Focus on details of the house such as wooden floors or a fireplace
  • Remove anything that doesn’t feel luxurious, such as a trashcan or litter box

In most cases, the best thing to do is hire a professional photographer to take photos of your house. Many real estate agents include professional photography as part of their marketing package.

Create a Virtual Tour

At one time, virtual tours were for luxury homes only. However, buyers have come to expect the ability to “tour” the house before they ever step foot inside. As part of your online marketing, you need to create a virtual tour with 360 photos or a video.

These tours can be simple or extravagant, with sound, music, or even someone narrating. If possible, craete a video that allows buyers to download or print photos.

Flyers – Online Style

The use of flyers has been around for decades, but with the Internet came the e-flyer. E-flyers are great because they are inexpensive and can hit everyone on your email list. E-flyers should include information about your home, several professional photos, and a way to get more information.

Who should get an e-flyer?

  • Area real estate agents
  • People you know such as friends and family
  • Companies hiring in the area
  • Your agent’s mailing list

 

Social Media and More

Social media is more than just a place to hangout. In fact, Facebook has become very powerful in the marketing arena. You should be sure to share your listing online on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

In addition to social media, make sure that your home is listed with online sites such as:

  • Zillow
  • Trulia
  • com

Keep in mind that these sites all have apps for those looking at your listing on their smartphone. Make sure that your listing looks fabulous on mobile devices, and as always, use a lot of photos.

Make sure that as you market your home, you consider online marketing. By doing so, you’ll reach more potential buyers, leading to a faster and more profitable sale.

July 25, 2017

9 Things Not To Do When Selling Your Home

Selling a home can be complicated and stressful. However, by avoiding these top nine mistakes, you can sell your home for top dollar without the hassles.

 

#1: Don’t Get Emotional

This is easier said than done. You’ve made memories in your home, so it can be very emotionally when trying to sell, especially if someone says something about your home that you don’t like. However, selling your home is a business deal, so it is best to think like a businessperson and try to see your home as a buyer sees it. If you find yourself getting emotional, turn the issue over to your real estate agent.

 

#2: Don’t Sell It On Your Own

Speaking of real estate agents, it is a good idea to have one. They can help you get the best price for your home at a faster pace than if you tried to do it alone. They can also help keep your emotions in check, negotiate the best deal, and keep the paperwork in order. An agent helps a difficult process go more smoothly.

 

#3: Don’t Be Unrealistic About Your Home’s Value

Setting a realistic asking price on your home is key to getting it sold quickly. Listen to your agent who will have done the comparable market analysis and will know the best asking price. If you don’t listen and price too high, your home will sit on the market for too long. If you price too low, you will leave money sitting on the table.

 

#4: Don’t Think Your Asking Price Will Be the Selling Price

The asking price of your home is where the bidding starts. However, the selling price is typically something else and will require good negotiating skills.

 

#5: Don’t Limit Your Online Photos

Did you know that 95% of buyers begin their search online? Studies have shown that good photos, and plenty of them, help potential buyers choose your home to go on the “must see list.” Your photos should be professionally shot and should show each room, as well as points of interest like a fireplace, deck, or large laundry area.

 

#6: Don’t Hide Problems

Problems with your home will be noticed when a buyer orders an inspection. Finding out about known problems during an inspection can often derail a deal. It is better to disclose the issue, or better yet, fix it before putting the home on the market.

 

#7: Don’t Forget to Stage

Cleaning and staging your home for sale is the best way to sell your home quickly and for more money. This includes things like shampooing carpets, painting walls, eliminating clutter, removing bulky furniture, and making each room have a purpose.

 

#8: Don’t Keep Saying No

It is important that you have your home available to show to potential buyers as often as possible. Limiting the hours of showing will limit the number of people who see your home. Do your best to say yes to every showing, or, at the very least, offer a large window of opportunity for showings that include morning, afternoon, and evening hour blocks of time.

 

#9: Don’t Waste Your Time With Unqualified Buyers

Be sure that your agent only shows your home to those with a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. There is no need to waste time showing your home to people who will not be able to buy the home.

Although selling a home can be stressful, following these ten tips can make it much easier. Doing so will go a long way toward helping you sell your house faster and for more money.

July 25, 2017

5 Tips for Increasing Your Appraisal

If you are selling your home, then you will want your home to appraise for the highest possible price. Here are five things you can do before you sell in order to increase your appraisal.

 

#1 Clean, Clean, Clean

If you’ve heard that appraisers are not to look at how clean your home is, you are right. However, appraisers are people, and people make snap judgments. If your home is dirty, they are more likely to see your home as older and less fit for sale.

So, although cleanliness is not supposed to be a factor, it can lead to a lower appraisal price. Be sure to clean your home thoroughly and get rid of clutter. One of the most important things you can do is to eliminate any odors.

 

#2 Repairs and Updates

Make sure your home is in good repair. It is a fact that homes in better repair have higher appraisals than homes that are not. When it comes to making the repairs, be sure that you:

  • Get the proper permits before starting. Work done without the proper permits can lower the value of your home.
  • Keep all paperwork showing any remodeling or updates
  • Let the appraiser know of upgrades you’ve completed such as kitchen, bath, lighting, electrical, roof, and HVAC.

Improvements and repairs can help increase the value of your home.

 

  

#3 The Outside Counts, Too

Just as with the inside, making your exterior shine will also make a difference. However, in the case of the exterior, the Appraisal Institute states that a well-maintained yard should increase the value of the home.

Be sure to:

  • Trim trees and shrubbery
  • Touch up paint
  • Add mulch
  • Mow the lawn
  • Power wash the siding

The more curb appeal your home has, the higher the appraisal will be.

  

 

#4 Do Your Research

Your appraiser will look at comps in your area to help arrive at the appraised value of your home. However, sometimes the comps used can be faulty. For instance, a home could have sold to an investor or be part of a divorce settlement selling for a lower than normal price. Since this is the case, it is beneficial for you to find comps that adequately reflect your home’s value, as well as explain why some comps should not be used.

Good appraisers are always happy to get this kind of information because it helps them determine the true market value of your home.

 

#5 Neighborhood Knowledge

An appraiser may not be aware of neighborhood amenities that can affect the price of your home. Be sure that you let them know about the neighborhood, including anything new coming to town. This can include such things as:

  • Schools
  • Stores and restaurants
  • Museums and parks
  • New roads and transportation

If you follow these five steps, you can increase the value of your home before your appraisal. For some people, this increase can be significant. Don’t take chances – follow these tips today.

July 25, 2017

5 Home Improvement Projects That Return the Most Value

If you are getting ready to sell your home, you might be wondering if you should remodel first. The answer is yes and no. Definitely fix things that are broken and consider home improvements that bring you value to your home. However, some projects are not necessary and will cause you to throw away your money. 

Here are five home improvement projects that provide the best return on investment.

 

 #1 Minor Bathroom Improvements

In a minor bathroom remodel, you will want to replace the following:

  • Tub
  • Tile surround
  • Flooring
  • Toilet
  • Sink
  • Vanity
  • Fixtures

The average cost of this minor remodel is $10,500. According to studies, you will get a 102% return on investment.

Other minor bathroom changes include:

  • Re-caulking the tub/shower
  • Reglaze the tub rather than replace it
  • Fresh paint
  • New shower door

 

#2 Landscaping Improvements 

What you do to improve the curb appeal of your home will come back at a 100% return on investment. The average seller spends about $5,000 on landscaping improvements and sells their home for $5,000 more.

Of course, what you do will depend on your home, what is already done, and what your yard needs to stand out from the crowd. However, here are some suggestions:

  • Sod the yard
  • Add a splash of color with plants
  • Add bushes and plants of varying heights for visual impact
  • Trimming and pruning
  • Add a focal point such as a walkway or fountain

 

#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel

Although not quite as valuable as a minor bathroom remodel, a minor kitchen remodel does give you a 98.5% return at sale. Most minor kitchen remodels cost around $15,000, since the changes are cosmetic and not about floor plan changes.

Some things to consider when doing a minor kitchen remodel are: 

  • Reface cabinets
  • Replace stove, sink, and fixtures
  • Add laminate countertops for lower-end homes and stone or glass for upper-end ones
  • Change flooring
  • Add recessed lights
  • Change the backsplash
  • Add a splash of color with décor

 

#4  Entryway and More

Making improvements to your front entry, vinyl siding, and exterior paint will bring you a 95.5% return on investment. Consider doing the following:

  • Replace old vinyl
  • Paint wood siding
  • Paint front door and trim
  • Remove old awnings
  • Replace damaged railings
  • Add a pergola with columns.

 

#5 Add a Deck, Patio, or Porch

Outdoor space is becoming more popular, which is why adding a deck, patio, or porch offers an 83% return in the South but a 100%  return out west. If you already have an outdoor space, you may want to enlarge it or improve it.

  • Add decorative planters
  • Add a gate
  • Increase outdoor lighting
  • Make railings safe
  • Hide the HVAC unit with a trellis

By sticking to this list, you’ll be able to make the improvements on your home that buyers want to see. And, you’ll be able to do it without taking a big loss at the time of the sale.

July 25, 2017

4 Tips For Getting Top Dollar For Your Home

If you are like most people, you want to sell your house fast and at top dollar. Why shouldn’t you? These four tips will help you do just that, even in a tough market.

 

Tip #1: Get the Right Agent

Not all real estate listing agents are the same. You will want to find one that is full-time, aggressive, knows the market and is willing to do more research if necessary, and is enthusiastic about your particular house or area.

Be sure your agent:

• Has a marketing plan that includes the use of the Internet, social media, fliers, open houses, and professional photos
• Is an expert in your area.
• Has trong background and good references
• Sells their listed homes below the average number of days and without having to reduce the price
• Is known for their strong communication
• Embraces technology
• Is personable and will be friendly with those viewing your house
• Is flexible and is available throughout the day and evening for showings

Tip #2: Price Your Home Correctly

Setting the right price for your home is more important than anything else you will do when you decide to sell. If you set it too low, you will lose money. If you set it too high, you will not sell quickly. The longer a house sits on a market, the less desirable it becomes, thus causing you to have to drastically reduce the price, once again losing money.

Before you set your price, take a look at your competition. The best way to do this is to hire a great real estate agent who understands the market in your area. They will do a complete comparative market analysis (CMA) that includes comparatives of homes similar to your own that have recently sold. Then the trick is being strategic about the pricing so that your home becomes the best value in the price range.

 

Tip #3: Time Your Sale

When it comes to selling a home, timing can be crucial. Potential home buyers are abundant in the spring and the beginning of the summer due to the warmer weather, the longer periods of daylight, tax refund checks that can be used as a deposit, and the fact that the school year is coming to a close. All of these factors motivate those wishing to relocate to start looking.

The more buyers that are available, the more likely you are to sell your house quickly and for a high price. In fact, a home seller can often name their price during this time of year.

 

Tip #4: Make It Easy to Learn About Your House

There is nothing worse than a buyer wanting to know more about your house and not being able to find out what they want to know. If a buyer can’t find out specifics, they are very likely to move on to a house that provided the information easily.

More than 80% of consumers begin their home search on the Internet. Therefore, having a devoted website or page is essential. The website or page that details your home should be chock full of photos. This will be your best shot at getting someone to come see your home in person.

In addition to online information, be sure that those people driving by can learn more about your house. Most agents will provide a canister for your signage that can be filled with fliers about your home. Though you won’t be able to include as many photos, be sure to include as much information as possible, including where to learn more.

If you follow these 4 tips, you are sure to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. Good luck and happy selling!

July 25, 2017

4 Reasons You Shouldn't 'Pawn' Your Home To an Investor

So, you are thinking about selling your home but wonder if it would be better to just sell to an investor. You are not alone. However, in most cases, selling to an investor is bad for you and bad for your neighborhood. Here are four reasons your shouldn’t sell your home to an investor and use a real estate agent instead.

 

#1 You’ll Get Less Money

Real estate investors are not going to pay your top dollar for your home. In fact, an investor’s sole purpose is to find a home to buy for far below market value. Once they have your home, they will either flip it for much more than they paid, or rent it, creating a big return on their investment through positive cash flow.

The investor comes to you understanding the power of their money, as well as the risk they are taking. So, if you are:

? Selling as-is

? Need to sell immediately, OR

? Don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of the selling process

 

…then an investor will swoop in and offer you cash in hopes that you will take the deal, so they can make the money that you didn’t make.

#2 Reduce Other Seller’s Ability to Sell

The next reason has little to do with you, but a lot to do with others in your community. When selling a home, a real estate agent will create a comparative market analysis (CMA) to help determine the best selling price for a home. If you sell a home to an investor for less than the home was worth, everyone in your neighborhood that is trying to sell a home will pay for that decision because their CMA will be lower.

Here’s how the CMA works. The agent looks at comparable homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood. Then they average the selling prices of those homes to come up with the “right” selling price for the seller’s home. Every time an investment home is in the mix, the average is lower, thus depressing community sale’s prices.

#3 No License Required

When you sell your home through a real estate agent, you know that they have the license and knowledge needed to sell your home lawfully. You do not know the same thing with an investor because there is no license needed to be a real estate investor. Can you imagine getting to closing, only to find out that the deal wasn’t put together right? Or, worse yet, thinking you’ve sold the house only to find out that you are still responsible for the home because the closing was not handled in a legal manner? Although you may think this is unlikely, investor deals are far more likely to fall through than those created by a licensed agent.

#4 Scams Abound

Finally, although you may think you are dealing with an investor, you could actually be dealing with a scam artist. You could easily find yourself out of a chunk of money or signing over your property without ever getting paid.

Although you may have issues that require a fast sale, always deal with a licensed real estate agent rather than an investor. They can help you find a buyer that can satisfy your needs without getting hurt in the process.

July 25, 2017

Why Winter Is a Good Time To Sell Your Home

When is the best time to sell a house? If you said late spring and early summer, then you've been listening to all the right real estate TV shows...or have you? Although spring and summer are the traditional home selling months, there are several good reasons to consider selling your home in the winter. Let's look at a few.

 

Your Buyer Doesn't Care About the School Calendar

Many people suggest that homes sell better in the spring and summer so that parents can move before the start of a new school year. However, not all home buyers have children and not all home buyers with children care about the school calendar.

Your buyer won't care about the school calendar if they are:

  • Retired
  • Newly married / first-time buyers without children or with very young children
  • Families that don't follow the traditional school calendar such as year round school or homeschool

Your Home Is Worth More Than Neighboring Homes

For homes that are valued more than 20% of surrounding homes, selling when everyone else is selling is not a good strategy. During this time, there will be many homes on the market. Buyers will automatically shift toward homes that are lower in price, leaving your higher-value home on the market with few lookers. Plus, people with higher incomes often go on vacation during the summer months.

Selling in the winter means that your home will have far less competition. Those looking to buy will be more likely to see it as a real option.

 

You are Selling a Condo or Townhouse

Those buying a condo or townhouse are often looking for amenities that have nothing to do with the seasons. For instance, they are looking for things like:

  • Good transportation
  • Walkability
  • Restaurants
  • Night life

Typically, those looking for these kinds of amenities look for homes throughout the year, rather than just in the spring.

 

You Are Looking for A Serious Buyer

Springtime is known for selling homes. This brings out people to look that aren't even considering buying a home. On the other hand, someone looking at your home during November is someone that is actually looking to find a home.

Keep in mind that jobs can change any time of the year. When this happens, a buyer will be looking – no matter what the season.

 

You Want Less Competition

During the winter, there are fewer sellers, mostly because they believe that the best time to sell a home is during the spring and summer. Because there are fewer homes on the market, a buyer interested in your home is not as likely to have a multitude of other homes on the short list. This will make it more likely for your home to be “the” home.

 

You Want To Save Money

If you need to make some home repairs or improvements before selling, then winter is the perfect time to do it. Contractors are less busy and can get to you faster. In fact, many will also work more cheaply during the winter months.

Additionally, moving into your new home after the sale will be cheaper. You'll find that moving company's charge less during the winter months.

Although spring and summer are traditionally known as the best months to sell a home, that is not always the case. Understanding what your buyer is seeking will help you sell your home no matter what the season.

Posted in Sellers
July 25, 2017

Top 5 Staging Tips to Sell your Home for Top Dollar

The whole point of home staging is to help sell your home for top dollar. Staging allows you to make your home appealing to the largest number of buyers, as well as making it stand out from other homes for sale. Here are the top five staging tips that can help you take your home from ordinary to extraordinary.

 

Tip #1: Paint the Walls

Freshly painted walls go a long way toward selling a home. Unless you already have neutral-toned walls that were painted within the last two years, you should make this investment. Why paint?

• Makes the home look cleaner, newer, and fresher
• Provides a fresh slate to help buyers visual living in the home
• Offers a neutral background that will fit most buyer’s furnishings and style

Keep in mind that neutral does not have to mean white. Instead, you can use earth tones, gray for urban /modern homes, light blue for bedrooms, and creamy yellow for kitchens.

 

Tip #2: Put Things Where They Belong

You want your buyers to feel like your home has room for everything they do. If they see piles or things shoved into odd places, your home will feel small and cluttered, and buyers will assume there is a lack of adequate storage.

• Make sure things are where they belong. For instance, never put a litter box near food.
• Put all cleaning supplies away.
• Clear off countertops
• Store items that you do not use to create more empty space

 

Tip #3: Think Minimally When It Comes to Furniture

How you live in a home and how you sell a home are two different things. When selling, you will need to get rid of extra furniture, especially large pieces that make the room feel crowded. This may mean that you even store furniture you typically use.

• Bulky furniture like a china cabinet or enclosed TV cabinet
• Extra chairs and leafs in dining and kitchen tables
• Make sure you can easily walk from one area to the next
• Remove large items from line of sight from the doorway of smaller rooms

 

Tip #4: But Not Too Much

Sometimes, sellers get too excited and remove so much that the room no longer feels inviting. Be sure to keep enough furniture and accessories to give buyers an idea of how the room functions.

• Use accessories that feel inviting such as artwork, towels, plants, and candles.
• Accent a focal point in each room, such a fireplace, built in shelves, or simply a long wall in the room perfect for a sofa.
• Add a pop of color with accent pillows or accessories.

 

Tip #5: Don’t Forget The Garage

Many people don’t think about staging the garage because they don’t see it as part of the house. However, a garage should always look like it can hold cars. So, if your garage looks more like a storage unit, clear it out and rent a storage unit if needed.

• Add hooks and shelves to clear up the floor space
• Clean the floor and remove cobwebs
• Make sure the lighting works

If you package your home correctly with home staging, then you are much more likely to sell your home for more money. Get started home staging today.