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How to Sell your Home

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By Tracy Tkac

Washington Homes Group

www.WashingtonHG.com

How to Sell your Home

#10: Price it right
Find out what your home is worth by looking at what homes like yours in your neighborhood have sold for in the previous six months, (that is the criteria an appraiser will use to value your home for the bank for a buyers loan). When sellers “test” the market, many times their home will sit un-sold and become stale on the market. Agents and buyers will think something is wrong with the house or it is undesirable because it hasn’t sold or that it is over-priced. Price it right from the start and you should sell your home for the most money possible.

#9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers open every door and will notice over-stuffed spaces. De-cluttering is something you should do across the board- take the sporting equipment out of the garage; remove that collection of dishes on display and too many kid’s toys.

#8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more attractive and sellable.

#7: Hire the Right Real Estate Agent
Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed, educated and motivated. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to market your house and get it sold!

Se #6: Take Your Pets With You
Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If a realtor has made an appointment to show your house or you’re planning an open house, take your pets with you.

#5: Make Repairs
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Your updates will pay off and get you top dollar. Put a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

#4: De-personalize
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Less stuff means more room.

#3: The kitchen comes first
It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops and floors where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. You may even consider painting the cabinets. Use neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy stainless steel appliances. Be sure to keep the counter tops clear and clean and thin out small appliances from your cabinets.

#2: Always be ready to show

Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

#1: The first impression is the only impression
You never have a second chance to make a first impression. No matter how great the interior of your home is, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with shrubs and flowers. Make sure there are working light

The Evers & Co July 2014 Real Estate Report

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The Evers & Co July 2014 Real Estate Report

 

 

 

Prospective D.C. home buyers will see less competition in the real estate market this August, since many competitive buyers are enjoying the final weeks of summer out of town.

 

 

The July 2014 real estate statistics show that the close-in Metro area experienced a 9% increase in dollar volume of sales over July 2013, a 2% increase in average price and a 16% increase in days on the market, all of which is consistent with a slight decline in the competitiveness of this high-demand market. This means buyers have a rare opportunity to place a bid on a home with much less competition. Buyers should take advantage of this golden opportunity in next few weeks before the market resumes in the fall.

In addition, mortgage rates are still low and there is a greater variety of loans available, which is added good news for buyers.

 

*Statistics are taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information System for these areas: Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia.

Washington, D.C., Tops Forbes 2014 List of America’s Coolest Cities

imagesWashington, D.C., Tops Forbes 2014 List of America’s Coolest Cities

Flooded with politicos and political junkies, Washington, D.C., often comes off as a city steeped in raw ambition. But the nation’s capital deserves to be known for something else: coolness.

While “cool” might not be the first word that comes to mind when contemplating the latest standoff in Congress, D.C. nonetheless has a lot to offer those who call it home. Among its best features: abundant entertainment and recreational options, an ethnically and culturally diverse population, and a big chunk of people age 20 to 34–nearly 30% of the metro area’s population. There’s certainly plenty to do, from visiting the many museums along the National Mall to taking in a Washington Nationals game to simply enjoying the cherry blossoms in springtime.

“D.C. is a high-amenity city. It has its share of cultural arts. It has its share of natural beauty,” says Stuart Gabriel, Director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Add the city’s constantly refreshing population–the metro area has grown by 4.9% since 2010 thanks to net migration alone–and Washington, D.C., holds the perfect formula to land the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Coolest Cities. And by “cool,” we mean cool to live in.

Behind the Numbers
How do you define “cool”? Clearly, one person’s definition–all-night World of Warcraft sessions, say–could be another person’s total dorkdom. We sought to quantify it in terms of cities, partnering with Sperling’s BestPlaces to rank the 60 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions (cities and their surrounding suburbs, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) based on six data points we weighted evenly. (Orlando, unfortunately, had to be excluded due to a problem with its data.)

To compile our list of America’s Coolest Cities, Sperling’s helped us calculate entertainment options per capita in each metro area. This metric essentially measures ways you might spend a Saturday, quantifying the availability of professional and college sports events, zoos and aquariums, golf courses, ski areas, and National parks, among others. It also factors in art and cultural options, measuring the presence of theater and musical performances as well as local museums.

With the help of Sperling’s we also included a “foodie” factor, based on the number of restaurants and bars per capita. We gave preference to cities with a greater percentage of local spots–chain establishments like TGI Fridays tend to be less exciting than home-grown bistros. The “foodie” measure also factors in the number of farmer’s markets, breweries and CSAs per capita.

Next we considered each city’s cultural make-up using Sperling’s Diversity Index, which measures the likelihood of meeting someone of a different race or ethnicity. We think cities with a cultural mix are more interesting in terms of restaurants, shops, and events–as well as simply providing the opportunity to get to know someone whose perspectives may diverge from your own.

Population growth is a big part of our ranking system. Using the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, we factored in the age of a city’s population, favoring places with a large share of people aged 20-34. We looked at overall population growth since 2000, figuring long-term growth indicates people want to live in a place (whether for job opportunities, cost of living, or amenities), and also at how much recent growth was due to net migration (people who relocated there from 2010 to 2013), favoring cities with higher influxes of new people, since this suggests their city is a desirable place to live. We culled this data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Moody’s Analytics.

Washington, D.C., is one of six East Coast cities that make the top 20 of our list of America’s Coolest Cities. Perhaps not surprisingly, California one-upped the entire East Coast. A whopping eight Golden State metro areas make our list: San Francisco, 5th; San Diego, 6th; Riverside, 8th; Oakland, 12th; Sacramento, 14th; Los Angeles and San Jose tied for 16th place; and Santa Ana, 20th. They all boast large young adult populations and relatively high levels of cultural diversity.

“We’ve entered an era now where certain cities are magnets for young, innovative, productive workers,” says Dennis Hoffman, professor of economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.  ”It’s having this magnetism that a number of the rest of us in places that are not on this list are trying to aspire to: the Salt Lakes, the Phoenixes, the pretty much anywhere in Middle America.”

The other Washington contributes the N0. 2 metro area on our list: Seattle. With its abundant outdoors attractions, Seattle came in behind only Los Angeles and New York City (both cities have a greater number of sports teams) in terms of recreational options. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, residents in their 20s and early 30s make up about 29% of the metro area’s population–an increase by 6.3 percentage points from 2000.

Seattle also scored highly thanks to its foodie culture: the crunchy city has a relatively high preponderance of farmer’s markets, breweries, & CSAs per capita, compared to other metro areas, and 81.6% of its restaurants are local rather than chains. Seattle could have edged out D.C. for the number one spot were it not for its fairly low diversity: 72.7% of the metro area is white, 13% Asian, and 5% black.

The cities on our list fall into one of two categories: established, wealthier cities and up-and-coming places where low costs of living, outdoor attractions, and strong economies have attracted young adults who can’t (or prefer not to) afford to live in those more established areas. Perhaps not surprisingly, many of America’s most expensive cities also made the cut: San Francisco ranked 5th, Boston 9th, New York took 11th and San Jose 16th. Up-and-coming, more affordable metros on our list include Austin (No. 3), San Antonio, Texas (No. 15), Raleigh, N.C. (No. 18).

Full Disclosure What You Need To Tell Buyers About Your Home

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Full Disclosure: What You Need To Tell Buyers About Your Home

Whether you have owned your home for a few years or a few decades, you know its quirks, best features and flaws. When you morph from homeowner to home seller you need to be aware that your experience with your home is something you may have to share with potential buyers.

Most buyers opt to have a home inspection before they finalize their purchase, but you as the seller must also follow state and federal regulations regarding disclosure of known facts about your property’s condition.

As a seller you may feel uncomfortable revealing problems in your home that could discourage potential buyers, but it’s best to be open about issues before your home goes under contract. A home inspector is likely to find problems and the buyers will be less favorably inclined to negotiate with you if they feel you have withheld information. If a flaw is found after the sale is complete and the buyers have reason to believe you were aware of the problem, you could face a lawsuit.

Federal disclosure Rules

The majority of disclosure issues are handled by state regulations, but federal laws apply to one area: lead paint. If your home was built prior to 1978, it may contain lead paint. Your home must be checked for lead paint and a disclosure form completed unless your home was built after 1978.

State Disclosure Rules

State regulations vary and often change, so rely on Tracy Tkac and Lindy Gelb at Washington Homes Group to be up-to-date on disclosure requirements for your area. Some states allow sellers to complete a disclosure form listing information about their home, or a disclaimer form that says the sellers don’t have any information about issues in the property.

In some areas you need to disclose what you know about natural hazards such as whether your home is in a flood zone or in an area known for earthquakes; other required disclosures can involve pollution issues, prospective zoning changes or the fact that a home is located within a historic district.

Another issue that sometimes causes problems is when a home has been a crime scene or if someone died on the property. Sellers may not want to disclose this for fear of stigmatizing the property, but if the buyers find out later they can sue if they believe the property’s history will hurt its resale value.

Sellers should be aware that some issues are particularly important, such as previous problems with mold; the foundation; termites; and electrical, plumbing or roof issues. If you have made repairs to your property, it’s usually best to disclose the information when you list your home for sale, even if local regulations don’t require you to do so.

Impact of Disclosure

Most sellers are aware of the benefit of letting prospective buyers know about positive features of their home such as new appliances or a new roof, but there can also be a benefit in disclosing defects in your home. Any issue that you have addressed during the years in your home can provide proof that you’ve kept up with maintenance. You may want to provide a binder with receipts and insurance claim information to show buyers what work has been done on your home.

If there’s an ongoing problem that buyers will need to handle, it’s better for them to hear about it from you so you can negotiate about when repairs must be made and who will pay for them. In fact, if you have a particular concern about your home, you may want to hire a home inspector yourself to get to the details before you put your property on the market.

For more information and the home selling process, call Tracy Tkac 301-437-8722

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5 Myths and 5 Truths About Selling Your Home

5 Myths and 5 Truths About Selling Your Home

5 tips for showing your home for sale
Washington Homes Group
www.washingtonhg.com
AUTHOR:

Seems everyone has advice to offer about the real estate market. Unfortunately, not all that unsolicited information is true.

Misinformation can waste your time and cost you money. When it comes time to list your home, you’ll need to do your research so you can separate fact from fiction. Real estate agents participating inZillow’s 2014 Home-Selling Season Survey identified five top real estate myths; the debunking of them should put you on the fast-track to selling your property:

Myth No. 1: I need to redo my kitchen and bathroom before selling.

Truth: While kitchens and bathrooms can increase the value of a home, you won’t get a large return on investment if you do a major renovation just before selling.

Minor renovations, on the other hand, may help you sell your home for a higher price. New countertops or new appliances may be just the kind of bait you need to reel in a buyer. Check out comparable listings in your neighborhood and see what work you need to do to compete in the market.

Myth No. 2: The outside of my home isn’t as important as the inside.

Truth: Home buyers often make snap judgments, often based simply on a home’s exterior. Therefore, curb appeal is very important.

“A lot of buyers I work with have done some preliminary online searches or they’ve driven by properties before they even enlist my services,” says Bic DeCaro, a real estate agent Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, VA. “If a property looks bad, if the yard is cluttered or the driveway is all broken up, there’s a chance they won’t ever enter the house – they’ll just keep driving.”

Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal

The great news is that it doesn’t cost a bundle to make some big changes to your home’s exterior appearance. Start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges and clearing away any clutter. Then, for less than $50, you could put up new house numbers, paint the front door, plant some flowers or install a new, more stylish porch light.

Myth No. 3: If my house is clean, I don’t need to stage my home.

Truth: Clean and tidy is a good first step, but as more and more home sellers across the country have enlisted the services of professional home stagers, the bar has risen. It’s not enough anymore to toss dirty laundry in the closet and sweep the front steps.

Stagers strive to make homes appeal to a broad range of tastes. They can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. A stager might, for example, recommend removing blinds from a window that has a great view or replacing a double bed with a twin to make a bedroom look bigger. It’s common for stagers to de-clutter and depersonalize homes by putting furniture and family photos into storage. Or, if you’ve already moved out, a stager can move in furniture to give potential buyers a sense of how rooms might be used.

You don’t have to hire a professional stager. But if you don’t, you better be ready to use some of their tactics to get your home ready for sale.

If staging is a trend where you live, an unstaged house will pale when compared to others on the market. And if staging is not yet something buyers in your area are used to seeing, your results will be even more impressive.

Myth No. 4: Granite and stainless steel appliances are no longer “in.”

Truth: The majority of home shoppers still want granite counters and stainless steel appliances.Quartz, marble and concrete counters also have wide appeal.

granite_398 w valentino st meridian id

Granite countertops are still highly desirable.

“Most shoppers just want to steer away from anything that looks dated,” says Dru Bloomfield, a real estate agent with the Realty ONE Group in Scottsdale, AZ. “When you a design a space, you need to decide: ‘Am I doing this for myself or for resale?’ If you’re not planning to move anytime soon, you can decorate any way you like. If it’s likely your house will be going on the market within the next couple years, stick to elements that have mass appeal: neutral paint and tile colors, matching appliances or top-of-the line appliances.
“I recently sold a house where the kitchen had been remodeled 12 years ago and everybody thought it had just been done because the owners had chosen timeless elements: dark maple cabinets, granite counters and stainless appliances.”

Myth No. 5: Home shoppers can look past paint colors they don’t like.

Truth: Moving is a lot of work and, while many home buyers realize they could take on the task of painting walls, they simply don’t want to.

That’s why one of the most important things you can do to update your home is to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint. Neutral colors also help a property standout in online photographs – which is where most potential buyers will get their first impression of your property.

Hiring a professional to paint the interior of a 2,000 square-foot house likely will cost $3,000 to $6,000, depending upon labor costs in your region. You could buy the paint and do the job yourself for $300 to $500. Either way, if a fresh coat of paint helps your home stand out in a crowded market, it’s probably a worthwhile investment.

Home Prices Increase

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Daniel Acker

A “For Sale” sign stands outside a home in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. S&P says the average price in the largest U.S. cities in November was up 13.7 percent from a year earlier.

Broadcast/Web Reporter-Washington Business Journal
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November home prices in the 20 biggest U.S. cities posted the biggest year-over-year gain since February 2006, according to the new S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

The monthly report, which trails more recent housing data from December, says the average price in the largest cities in November was up 13.7 percent from a year earlier. However, prices dipped from October to November, falling an average of 0.1 percent, the first month-over-month decline in a year.

“Combined with low inflation, home owners are enjoying real appreciation and rising equity values,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “While housing will make further contributions to the economy in 2014, the pace of price gains is likely to slow during the year.”

The annual price gain in the Washington-area market in November was 7.8 percent, with prices slipping an average of 0.3 percent from the previous month.

Las Vegas saw the largest annual increase in home values, up 27.3 percent from November 2012, followed by a 23.2 percent gain in San Francisco.