Tag Archives: home sellers

A Good First Impression

Good First Impression

Good First Impression – OnLINE

You should prepare for your photo shoot as much as you would for an open house or private showing. Work alongside an excellent  local real estate agent , and follow these tips to make sure your home looks its best.

Never list your home online without photos

Today’s buyers get email and text alerts when a new home that matches their criteria hits the market. There is nothing more frustrating than to see the desired address come across as an alert, only for the listing to be incomplete.

Buyers (and agents) will punish you for jumping the gun. Will they go back later and look again, once you have the photos up? Maybe — but maybe not.

You’re adding an extra step for them, and it comes across like you don’t have your ducks in a row. That’s not a great way to start out with your future customer.

Clean, declutter, organize and remove

You should spend a good amount of time preparing for your photo shoot. This means that you fluff the pillows, put toilet seats down, put Fido’s bowl and toys away, and ensure the home  is in impeccable condition.

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A tidy home free of clutter appeals to buyers. Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

People can zoom in, zoom out and play with photos in online listings. They’ll notice everything. If your photos don’t show your home well, it sends a message to the buyer that you don’t care, and that you are not a serious seller.

The buyer is your customer. You have a product for sale. Take the time to present it in the best possible light.

Poor photos won’t cut it

Images that are blurry, poorly lit, or distorted are not going to sell your home.

It’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer who will take high-resolution photos, and even bring extra lighting or equipment to enhance their work. They’ll also take dozens of pictures and work tirelessly to show your home in the right light and from the best angles.

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Well-lit photos show off your home’s assets. Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Don’t skimp on the number of photos

When it comes to photos, the more, the merrier. You want to make it easy on buyers to get comfortable with and learn more about your home.

Not only are the listing photos their initial impression, but they serve to help orient the buyer after the first or second showing. Once they have been through the home in person, they are better able to relate to the floor plan and how it flows. Going back to the listing photos allows them to make connections and dig deeper. Encourage them to do so by posting plenty of photos.

BY BRENDON DESIMONE

Tracy Tkac
Direct – 301-437-8722

Office -202-364-1700
Evers & Co.
Tracy@Eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

Curb Appeal

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Curb Appeal   Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Curb Appeal

Let’s face it, first impressions matter. We care about how we dress for a job interview, and we spent extra time in front of the mirror before that first date. When it comes to selling a home, first impressions matter, too. Its all about curb appeal!

The term “curb appeal” derives from real estate sales and home design. For years, buyers have formed their first impressions of homes while standing in the street or sitting inside the car, just beyond the curb. Before the advent of text messaging and smartphones, a buyer would get a phone call or fax from their agent about a new listing. The initial drive-by would determine whether or not they would go for an actual showing.

To get that buyer in the door, the seller spent hours, even days, seeding new grass and planting flowers, painting their front door, mulching, weeding and cleaning up the yard. If the home didn’t appeal from the curb, buyers moved on to the next house. Curb appeal was always the single most important piece of the home sale puzzle.

Expanded appeal

Today, curb appeal still matters — but it matters differently. Almost every buyer forms their first impression from a home’s online photos.

Instead of driving to your home, buyers will scroll through pictures of both the outside and the inside, before ever stepping foot inside. What’s more, they may never come to see it if they don’t like what they see online.

While the exterior of your home should be high on your priority list, it is most valuable only when the buyer walks up or drives by. But they may not ever get that far.

The interior also needs to show your home in its best possible light, because Web appeal has become the new curb appeal. And if your home doesn’t photograph well — either because you didn’t have it professionally shot, didn’t post high-resolution photos, or you haven’t taken the time to prep it — then curb appeal won’t even make a difference.

What sellers should do

Sellers need to spend ample time preparing the inside of their home and getting great photos, so buyers will form the best possible impression.

The downside for sellers is that they have to work so much harder than they did just 15 years ago. In our ever-more-visual society, buyers make immediate judgments about a home within moments of clicking on the new listing on their smartphone.

Sellers only have one chance to make a good impression. The home still needs to look good from the curb — but to get the buyers there in person, it needs to look great on the Web.

BRENDON DESIMONE- Zillow

 

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

What home sellers can expect in the market this year

 What home sellers can expect in the market this year

  • BY ILYCE R. GLINK AND SAMUEL J. TAMKIN

 

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A year ago, we saw far fewer “For Sale” signs. And this year, there are even fewer.

The surprising thing about the real estate market is its resiliency. It never fails to surprise how decisively a market turns. When it’s time, it’s time. And it’s clear to us that 2014 is looking very good for real estate.

Here is an overview of what home sellers can expect in the market this year.There are a few troubled spots on the horizon: Mortgage interest rates are at least one percentage point higher than they were a year ago. And home prices are higher. That means homes are less affordable than they were, particularly since incomes haven’t risen, in real terms, in years.

That’s good news, and not so good news for sellers. It’s great that home prices are rising. In part, homes that were in foreclosure or listed as short sales, have closed and now prices are rising again. But rising interest rates (depending on how high they go) mean fewer buyers can afford to pay those higher prices.

At the end of 2011, mortgage interest rates reached 3.7 percent, before falling back. In 2012, mortgage interest rates were about 3.3 percent on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. We ended the year with mortgage interest rates around 3.5 percent for a 30-year fixed rate loan. In 2013, we ended at 4.3 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. (If you’re wondering, we think these rates are still great from a historical perspective.)

The Federal Reserve has indicated it will now pull back its monthly spend of $85 billion in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities, which it did to keep interest rates at historic lows through 2015, or when the employment rate falls to 6.5 percent. The economy is improving. Third quarter 2013 GDP numbers were revised upward to 4.1 percent. The economy hasn’t grown that fast in years.

So, with low inventory, still low mortgage interest rates, and modestly rising prices, here’s what you need to do to get your home in selling shape for 2014:

• Overcome any possible objections a buyer would have.

Buyers are always looking for a reason not to purchase your house. Your job as a seller is to eliminate any potential objections that would stand in the way for a buyer to make an offer.

If you really want to sell quickly, you’ll work hard to exceed the buyer’s expectation of your home as well. If your home is competitively priced, and your home’s condition exceeds a buyer’s expectations based on other homes in the neighborhood, you’ll get an offer — even if it isn’t the offer you want.

• Get your home into selling shape.

Cleaning your home is a must. After that, you should consider hiring a stager to give your home the television-worthy polish so many buyers expect today. (Yes, they want your home to look like something they’d see on HGTV.) Assess what other sort of work needs to be done, such as fixing things that don’t work, touching up paint, or cleaning or replacing your carpets.

Decide if you need to update your landscaping, and paint, clean or tuck point your home’s exterior. And if you’re selling in January, clear out the holiday decorations as quickly as possible.

• Invite at least three agents to create a comparative marketing analysis (CMA).

Often, sellers simply call the agent who sold them their home to list it. While you may wind up hiring that person, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you invite a couple of other agents in from different firms. That’s because each will bring different ideas to the table about how much your house is worth and what kind of marketing plan will work. They’ll all have different experiences to draw on and have different buyers in mind who may want to make a quick offer.

• Understand what it will take to sell your home.

If you live in an area littered with foreclosures, you may have to meet that price point in order to sell. Is it worth it? Probably not, but you’ll have to really evaluate price and timing in order to get the most for your property. If homes have begun to appreciate, you might be pleasantly surprised. Again, a CMA will be incredibly helpful.

• Be realistic about the market.

Find out what types of properties are selling in your area and how many days they’re sitting on the market. Accept the reality of your local market and make sure you price your home realistically.

Don’t blame your broker if you don’t get three offers over your list price within 24 hours of putting your home on the market. Sellers who set sky-high (or even pretty high) prices could wait months or years for an offer (one of my neighbors has been trying to sell his overpriced home for years) and may wind up with the same price they would have had if they’d priced their home correctly the first time — or a lot less.

In this real estate market, one of the worst things you can do is overprice your home from the start. The more realistic you are, the better off you’ll be.

• Rent if you can’t sell and buy at the same time.

We don’t recommend putting in an offer on another property until you have some serious interest in your current property or unless you have enough cash to cover the expenses of both properties for six to 12 months.

It’s fine to start researching other neighborhoods, but if you’re not sure what you want to do, consider renting on a short-term or month-to-month lease. While a double move is a pain, and does have some added costs, it’s a lot cheaper than carrying two mortgages for two years.

• Read all documents thoroughly before you sign them.

Why would someone sign a legal document he or she hasn’t read? I’m not sure, but home sellers do it every day. If you’re going to sell (or buy) in the coming year, promise yourself that you’ll take the time to read and understand the listing contract, offer to purchase and loan documents for your next purchase.

(If you’re taking back a loan for the home buyer, have an attorney prepare the documents so you are sure to be protected.) Unless you’ve got cash to spare, a mistake in these documents and the warranties they contain could seriously affect your finances.

• Don’t be greedy.

One big mistake many sellers make is to get a little greedy, particularly if the first offer is above the minimum acceptable price you’ve set. Then the negotiation becomes a game of how much you can get.

Remember, a successful sale means everyone walks away feeling happy. If you get so greedy that the buyer walks away, you’ve let the deal get the best of you. Resolve to be reasonable and you’ll end up shaking hands with the buyer at the closing. You should also know that there aren’t unlimited buyers out there, and if you lose one it might take you quite some time to find another.

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.

New Year, New Design Trends

New Year, New Design Trends

DATE:JANUARY 3, 2014 | CATEGORY:HOME IMPROVEMENT | AUTHOR:

If you’ve been thinking about renovating your home in the New Year, you’ve likely been to Zillow Digsfor inspiration, and you may even be aware of some of the hottest design trends for 2014:

Design by Urrutia Design

Kitchen

Looking to add a dose of sophistication to your kitchen? A little sass to your traditional-looking space? Some flair? According to Zillow Digs Home Design Trend Report for 2014, here’s what will be popular with homeowners next year: kitchens featuring black countertopsopen shelves or glass-front cabinets (You can put your best dinnerware on display.) and darker paint tones (like black, deep brown, dark red and rich copper). See some of the most popular kitchen photos on Zillow Digs. There, you can browse hundreds of thousands of interiors and exteriors, organized by space, style, cost and color.

Soothing bedroom color

Master bedroom

Think: warm, welcoming, and inviting, as a more contemporary, casual look in the bedroom will take precedence in 2014. It’s all about harmony and ease – a look made possible with the right mix of textures and other elements. As for color – which brings the room together – 2014 colors will focus on a more neutral look. Among the top choices: gray, a multifaceted color which can go both rustic and contemporary in vibe; and blue. Subtle and soothing is the name of the game! As for the all-important closets, that boutique-like feel is currently in style, and will continue to be in 2014, complete with compartmentalized storage, shoe walls, vanity areas and other focal points.

Open bathrooms

Bathroom

Large showers with multiple shower heads, frameless shower enclosures, glass tiles (for a glossy, sparkling look that can make the space seem larger than it is), heated floors and towel racks, and custom storage solutions (for that uncluttered, spa-like appearance) are among the top remodeling trends you can expect to see more of in 2014, particularly as homeowners look to embellish the ‘shower experience’ rather than the tub experience. According to a Home Improvement Trend and Spending Survey, Zillow Digs users want open and light bathrooms. And without shower curtains, you can take advantage of the free wall space to showcase those aforementioned glass tiles.

vintage office furniture

Home office

With the line between work and home continuing to blur, homeowners not only want a quiet, clean space where they can productively work on their projects after hours, but they also want this space to do double duty. Giving up a guest bedroom to put in this new office? Chances are, you’ll still want the room to have guest capabilities (think: Murphy bed). Several top designers also say that vintage furniture is “in,” as are hues of gray or brown, which have a soothing, non-distracting effect.