Tag Archives: Potomac Real Estate

Relocating to an Unfamiliar Area

Relocating to an Unfamiliar Area? Here’s How to Get Your Bearings

Navigating the new digs.

kasto80 / iStock

Choosing a home in an unfamiliar neighborhood can be nerve-racking, but it’s almost inevitable when moving to a new city—or even across town. There’s a lot at stake: The wrong decision can cost you money and peace of mind.

Here are some tips to guide you in your search.

Mission: Neighborhood reconnaissance

As with any house hunt, you should first figure out your budget and what you would need, want, and like to have in a house and in a neighborhood. But if you’re relocating across the country, your biggest challenge will be doing long-distance recon on your new hometown.

While you can’t gain access to private social networks such as Nextdoor until you verify you have an address in a neighborhood, a little cybersleuthing will reveal insights on day-to-day life and concerns in areas you’re scouting.

Once you know the general area in which you’d like to live, websites such as City-Datacan collect and analyze data from numerous sources to create detailed profiles of U.S. cities, including information from crime rates to weather patterns. Homefacts includes similar information, then drills down further, listing neighborhood statistics such as median home price, homes for sale, and foreclosures.

AreaVibes can help you narrow down a search; after you type a ZIP code or city in which you’d like to live, you can adjust metrics such as amenities, crime, cost of living, and housing prices to compile a list of neighborhoods that match your “livability” needs.

In addition, many regional newspapers or magazines routinely publish online rankings of their best neighborhoods. Listly has lists of five-star New York real estate communitiesand blue chip Massachusetts real estate communities, so it may be worth a search to see whether there is a similar list for an area in which you’re interested.

Speaking of lists, Livability regularly develops city rankings for a range of topics, including small towns, college towns, and overall best places to live.

The Chamber of Commerce in many towns will also provide a guide for people who are relocating. Also, look for news on property taxes in recent years—falling property taxes likely mean that communities have had to cut back on public services.

If you have children, you’ll want to read up on local public schools on GreatSchools.org, as well as determine what day care and after-school activities are nearby. Even if you don’t have children, good schools are a major factor in determining home values in a neighborhood.

No neighborhood is perfectly tranquil, but check CrimeReports.com for crime reports and maps to get a sense of where an area falls on the spectrum. You should also visit theNational Sex Offender registry and FamilyWatchdog.us, which will identify registered sex offenders living in the area. NeighborhoodScout.com will consolidate crime, school, and real estate data in one report, as well as compile lists on safe cities and neighborhoods with good schools.

Draw on a professional’s expertise

If there is one time above all when you’d really benefit from working with a real estate agent with deep knowledge of an area, it’s when moving to a new town.

A knowledgable professional should be able to provide recommendations and compile background information on neighborhoods and homes that fit your needs and price range. Come prepared with a neighborhood or neighborhoods you like, and he or she can give you more information or suggest similar alternatives.

Get down with the locals

monkeybusinessimages / iStock

Once you’ve done the research and found a neighborhood you like, drive by several times during the day and at night. Look for the following:

  • Are there many “for sale” signs on lawns?
  • Are there any abandoned or boarded-up houses in the vicinity?
  • Is there a lot of trash on the sidewalks?
  • Is the neighborhood close to a shopping or business area?
  • How well are neighborhood parks maintained?
  • Is street parking restricted after school and during rush hour?

Also try to attend a few open houses in your neighborhood of choice. It’s a good way to get a feel for local property values, and to walk around the area. If you see residents out and about, try to talk to them to get their perspective on the community.

If you have time, try to get a drink in a local bar or a cafe and talk to people there. Apps like Meetup and AroundMe will help you connect with people in a town that have similar interests, as well as help you find the nearest hot spot.

These will be your potential neighbors, so they will provide valuable impressions on whether you’ll be pleased with where you eventually live.

Updated from an earlier version by Herbert J. Cohen

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

The Hot (and Not) List of Home Features

The Hot (and Not) List of Home Features

fireplace2

DianaLundin/iStock

The Hot (and Not) List of Home Features

The things we consider to be must-have home features are constantly changing—less than a half-century ago, plush, “can’t see my feet” shag carpeting (in bold colors such as gold, orange, and purple) was all the rage, and kitchen appliances came in coordinating hues. A quarter-century ago there was no HGTV to tell us to knock down a wall to open up the kitchen or swap out bathroom vanities. And just a few years back, tiny homes were just, well, really small homes.

We wondered what home qualities are must-haves right now, what the up-and-comers are, and what’s heading straight for the dustbin of home features history. To find out, our data team dug deep into our millions of listings and sifted out the most commonly used phrases for home features, going back five years.

Voila!  Here are the 20 features that are most often touted in our listings. These are the stuff that home dreams are made of—a mixture of classic favorites and rising stars.

At first glance, the results aren’t too surprising. After all, who doesn’t love fireplaces and wood floors? (Well, other than those who prefer carpet, which is No. 3.)

“Rather than a barometer of trends, those are really adoption cycles,” says Javier Vivas, data analyst at realtor.com®. “It’s more about how long it takes a particular new feature to become prevalent. It’s like car technology: First you see the cutting-edge stuff in luxury cars, then it spreads into the mainstream.”

Listings have gotten ever-more detailed and adorned in recent years, and certain features appear more and more often as selling points. So popularity among listing descriptions is kind of like being listed on the S&P 500—it shows that a feature is no passing trend. For example, granite countertops, once a splurge, are now a go-to feature—they’ve shot up from being mentioned in 8% of listings in 2011 to 13% today.

Got it? Good. Let’s go home shopping! Don’t forget to bring your checkbook.

Fireplace (No. 1)

On a chilly night, nothing competes with snuggling up near a crackling fire—or maybe it’s the hissing, considering that the leading type of fireplace mentioned in 3.2% of our listings is gas. After all, it’s easy to clean and maintain and comes in some cool modern designs. Still, there’s nothing like the charm of a wood-burning fireplace, and its popularity is picking up fast.

And in total, fireplaces—wood-burning, gas, brick, stone, or kiva—are the stars of 23.8% of our listings.

Flooring: Wood (No. 2), carpet (No. 3), and tile (No. 11)

Always popular, the classic elegance of a wood floor continues to gain ground, particularly since last year. Not surprisingly, carpeting’s popularity seems to rise and fall in opposition to wood. It’s made a comeback before, but wood seems to be pulling ahead. In 2015, wood floors appeared in 15% of listing descriptions, 2 percentage points ahead of carpet.

Meanwhile, the tile floor—though never a major contender for the top spot—has slipped from No. 4 in 2011 (when it beat out walk-in closet and open floor plan) to today’s No.10. Still, it will probably hold onto its niche in humid, warm climates such as that of Florida.

Granite counter

realtor.com

Granite countertop

Granite counter (No. 4)

Once a rare luxury, granite has become more affordable and is now practically standard for anyone who gives a hoot about kitchen design. It shot to fame quickly over the past five years, making its slick presence felt in 13% of all listings. For those who think all this trendy granite craziness is on the wane, reports of its death, as Mark Twain might (or might not!) have said, are greatly exaggerated—at least according to our listings data.

Stainless-steel appliances (No. 5)

With their elegant and modern appearance fitting into almost any kitchen design, stainless-steel appliances have made their way into more and more households since the 1990s. “Stainless” is now mentioned in 9% of all listings, almost double its share of five years ago.

Open floor plan (No. 6) vs. formal dining room (No. 8)

A house divided? Not these days. Separate living rooms, dining areas, and kitchens have been edged out by the open floor plan, which knocks down or eliminates walls to create a sense of spaciousness and light.

The open floor plan has seen a rapid increase in popularity, and in 2014 it surpassed the formal dining room for the first time. In 2015, an open floor plan is the fifth most popular feature, representing 8% of listings. The much-debated open kitchen, which encompasses the dining as well as the cooking area, also made it onto the list at No. 9.

Walk-in closet

realtor.com

Walk-in closet

Walk-in closet (No. 7)

In a time of over-the-top “glam rooms” dedicated to, um, getting ready, the walk-in closet is another feature that has seemingly gone from luxe to a near necessity. Stashing all your clothes in a shallow closet with hangers crammed together and no shelves? How primitive! It’s no wonder 7% of home listings mention walk-in closets as a big selling point.

Chef’s kitchen

realtor.com

Gourmet kitchen

Chef’s kitchen (No. 16) vs. open kitchen (No. 10)

The kitchen used to be all business—a place to churn out meals, nothing more. Again, we’ll point the finger at TV—not just HGTV, but also the Food Network—for fueling homeowners’ desire for a kitchen worthy of a chef, featuring a center island, a large stove/oven with hood, and granite or marble counters (see No. 3).

And it’s not just for cooking, but also for hanging out while you prepare the meal—especially if you have an open kitchen, touted in 5.7% of listings. We’ll also point out that five of the top 20 home features are kitchen-related.

Garden tub

realtor.com

Mesa, AZ

Garden tub (No. 20)

No, a garden tub is not set amid the lovely and fragrant rose beds so you can bathe in the open air (and get bitten by insects). The term generally refers to a wider and deeper bathtub that usually has steps but no jets. Nice! Providing a relaxing soaking experience with less cost and cleaning difficulty, the garden tub has gained popularity over the years, but it’s still a niche feature.

———

We’ve talked about features that have made their way into the mainstream, but we also saw a couple that are clearly on their way out:

House with vinyl siding

realtor.com

House with vinyl siding

Vinyl siding

Vinyl siding was once one of the most popular cladding choices, because it’s affordable, long-lasting, and virtually maintenance-free. But over the years it’s become something of a gauche punch line in some quarters. It’s no wonder its lead has slipped substantially in recent years, while fiber cement is gaining ground, according to PlasticsNews.com.

Oak and cherry cabinets

The last time honey oak cabinets were trending, Monica-gate was a thing, Will Smith was the prince of Bel-Air, and Y2K loomed as the biggest threat the world faced. Yes, the ’90s were particularly friendly to oak cabinetry and cherry wasn’t far behind, popularitywise, but those days are long past. Today you’ll be hard-pressed to find either in listings or in new home construction. But maple cabinets? Welcome to the future!

By
Yuqing Pan, Realtor.com

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

The Right Kitchen Island

The Right Kitchen Island

There are few better workhorses than the right kitchen island. It’s beautiful, simple, and full of storage possibilities. Offering features from scratchproof counters for chopping to hooks, rods, and bins for stowing, the kitchen island is an invaluable addition to any home.

Best of all, there’s an island option for every style and budget. Here are a few of the best.

Sink space

If you’re looking for a creative sink solution, consider installing it in the kitchen island. This setup provides a central spot to wash your hands, drain pasta, scrub dishes or rinse produce.

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Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Tucked away

Kitchen islands usually evoke visions of huge, solid, and largely immobile countertops reserved for spacious kitchens. However, tiny islands are slowly gaining momentum and becoming popular for their mobility, slim size, and ease of access.

Take a look at islands on casters, which can be positioned where they’re most needed, then tucked in a corner or underneath a counter when not in use.

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Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Sit and stay

Kitchen islands are great for creating an extra sitting area, especially if your kitchen or dining room lacks the space for an actual table.

Choose an extra-long kitchen island with overhang to allow for a few bar stools or tall chairs. Add some festive placemats and a few dining accessories to create a unique tablescape, and clear it all away when you need some extra workspace.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Careful cubbies

One of the best ways kitchen islands add to a space is by providing unique storage options. In a room so full of doors and hardware, adding small baskets, hooks, and rods can be a fun way to stow your utensils, linens, or knickknacks. Even better, you can switch out the textures and finishes to match your favorite seasonal decor.

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Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

While kitchen islands are most often used as giant cutting boards, they’ve come full circle in design and function, and have proven to be a great way to add substance and style to any kitchen design. Take a look at your space, define your personal style, and determine your needs to find your perfect island oasis.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

BY KERRIE KELLY

http://www.zillow.com/blog/how-to-pick-the-right-kitchen-island-187598/

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

Buying a Home This Fall?

Buying a Home This Fall?

autumn-homes

DenisTangneyJr/iStock

Buying a Home This Fall?

Spring might be the most popular time to buy a home, but there’s a real case to be made for fall: It’s cooler, so you’ll have less competition at the open houses. Because it’s considered the off-season, you’re more likely to get (or make) a deal. And, with the season’s variable weather, you can get a good idea of what the home’s like in hot and cool times alike.

After all, you’re buying a home that will fit your needs in every season—even if you can only scope it out during one.

That means you need to look for things “that aren’t as noticeable in the fall as they might be in the winter or summer months,” says Realtor® Andrea Davitt of Lauer Realty Group in Madison, WI.

Want to make sure that amazing autumnal escape continues to be fantastic year-round? Keep these six things in mind.

1. Check out the air conditioner

First: Does the place even have an air conditioner? This might be easy to spot if you’re house hunting during unseasonably warm temps. But if the weather’s already turned, heed this: The air might be cool now, but it won’t be forever. And with summer nine (long!) months away, it’s easy to forget to check.

If the home does have AC, you’ll want to give the unit a thorough inspection. Your inspector will likely examine the system to make sure it’s functioning, but it never hurts to run a few tests yourself—or even call an HVAC specialist.

Davitt recommends first checking to see if the AC’s filter has been recently changed. Then try turning down the thermostat and see if the unit runs. Meanwhile, make sure air is blowing through all the vents—it’s better to find blockages now, with time to fix them, than at the beginning of summer when sweat’s starting to pool. Check out the outdoor condenser, listening for any strange sounds, and make sure the condensation line in the evaporator coil—likely found in the furnace—is flowing smoothly. Last, examine the ductwork, looking for any rusting or poor fittings.

2. How’s the drainage?

Gutters are the obvious thing to check, Davitt says. In the interlude between the rainy and snowy seasons, don’t forget to check the drainage. In the yard, look for areas where water is accumulating in small puddles, which could indicate a leak in buried pipes or grading problems that need to be addressed before the rainy season.

If it looks like the sewer might be clogged, bring out a professional sewer inspector to do a camera inspection of the line. That can reveal problems that could cause a backup—as well as a world’s worth of annoyances later. Better to know before you buy.

3. Note the surroundings

What’s nearby? Look across the street, behind you, and next door. Are there bulldozers and cranes? Empty lots awaiting brand spankin’ new homes? Ask your neighbors about seasonal street construction nearby—there’s nothing worse than having a peaceful, quiet home all winter until work begins with a literal bang in the spring.

Double up on the investigative work if you’re near a large intersection, or if your home is directly connected to a major road. Going door to door is not only a good way to meet your future neighbors—it’s also a novel way to find out what seasonal surprises lay ahead.

4. Look for slopes

How steep is your driveway? Sure, it’s easy to navigate now—but will it be when it’s covered in ice?

A less-than-ideal driveway shouldn’t automatically disqualify a home, but it’s better to know in advance if late-winter parking is going to be a challenge.

Similarly, Davitt recommends checking out the landscaping’s pitch around your new home’s exterior. Are there any steep hills that might cause water runoff and flooding? What about the area around your basement? If land slopes toward your basement, it could indicate potential flooding.

5. Check out standing water

At the end of the summer, we’re all just happy that the mosquitoes have died or moved on to bother poor souls elsewhere. But they’ll be back—and you should know in advance where they’ll be hanging out.

“We’ll look for anything that holds standing water,” Davitt says.

Most of these are movable: trash cans, buckets, birdbaths. But if your home is located on a lake or small pond, there’s not a whole lot you can do besides prepare yourself mentally and invest in bug spray and citronella.

If you’re buying in fall or winter, when bugs are hiding, keep in mind the potential ramifications of living on the water.

6. Examine the windows

If the windows in your potential home are older (or don’t even open), you’ll want to replace them immediately—otherwise you risk wasting energy or even breaking them in a freeze.

But if winter is coming quickly, there might not be time. In those cases, Davitt recommends putting plastic over the windows until you’re in a position to replace them.

Will you need storm windows? Find out in advance.

“If you’ve only lived in an apartment, you don’t know you have to change out your screens,” Davitt says.

That can be an added expense and stressor, and one that’s better to know in advance.

Don’t let fall’s peaceful, chilly weather lull you into a false sense of security. When you’re buying a home, examine everything that can go wrong—even if the rainy winter or spring seem far away.

By
Jamie Wiebe Realtor.com

 

11053371_383914575115047_8548886157930102220_nTracy Tkac Evers & Co Real Estate 301-437-8722

 

Pricing Your Home To Sell

Pricing Your Home To Sell

For The Most Money Possible In The Shortest Time Frame

      GetMedia-46

 

By Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co.

www.washingtonhg.com

 

The single most important factor to consider when selling a house is pricing the house correctly; it’s choosing the right list price: how much your house is worth. Over pricing the house will cause it to sit on the market and lose the freshness of the home’s appeal after the first two to three weeks of showings. After a month on the market, demand and interest can wane and after that a listing can become stale to potential buyers. It is a tough concept, because no one wants to chance leaving money on the table, but pricing the home just below fair market value will often cause a seller to receive multiple offers, which will then drive up the price to market price or above. Pricing is all about supply and demand. It’s part art and part science. Beware of the realtor that advises a list price way above the range of sold home prices in your neighborhood, choosing to list with that agent may be setting you up for the delay or even failure to sell your home.

 

Pricing your home to sell may not be as simple as you think. Looking at what similar homes in your immediate neighborhood that have sold for in the past 6 months to a year will give you some, but not all of the data you will need to calculate the list price. It is important to compare apples to apples when looking at the comparable recently sold homes. Compare and consider not just how many bedrooms or bathrooms, but also is the basement finished, is the yard nicely landscaped, how many garage spaces are offered? Look at homes’ sizes (square feet), style, condition and if updates and renovations have been done. A good real estate professional will format all of the information for you and help you to make the comparisons to come to the right listing price that will get you the most money possible for your home sale.

 

Using a real estate professional can save you money in the end by helping in pricing your home to sell quickly and for the best sale price. A good agent will assess what improvements should be made prior to putting your house on the market. Many times the first step is to de-clutter; when selling your home, the less-is-more concept is the way to go. Your agent should be honest and direct in telling you what needs painting and repair or replacing before making your listing “active on the market”. You only have one chance to make a good impression, and that goes for the list price and your homes presentation.

 

Inviting Bedrooms

Inviting Bedrooms

Once upon a time, the big bedroom investment was a complete set of furniture that matched identically in style and details. This style, says designers surveyed in the latest is decidedly out this season. The designers shared what’s popular for master bedrooms for the year to come and what designs make inviting bedrooms .

In: Coordinated furniture

Source

Approach the bedroom like you would a living room, finding furniture that coordinates, but doesn’t necessarily match exactly.

In: Rustic, or raw wood and natural details

in - rustic wood

One of the biggest trend surprises this season is the amount of raw or natural wood — especially in pine finishes, said designer Vanessa DeLeon.

Designer Jamie Beckwith echoed DeLeon, naming “very organic materials, and rustic, lots of wood materials and mid century design” as strong fall trends.

The layer of textures — a rustic wood headboard contrasting against silky sheets and woven blankets — is what creates today’s bedroom retreat.

In: Neutral, warm colors

in - neutral warm colors

One of the biggest “outs” in the bedroom?

“Highly patterned bedding in the master bedroom, especially anything that comes as a “bed in a bag,” said designer Kerrie Kelly.

Rather, go for a layered, luxe look of neutrals, specifically “warm tones that are enveloping,” says designer Garrison Hullinger.

And while a “bed in a bag” may be an affordable option for a room, bedding is probably one of the areas of a master bedroom that should be splurged on.

“Since we spend at about one-third of our lives in bed,” said designer Melissa Klebanoff, “I encourage my clients to purchase the best mattress, the finest pillows and the best bedding they can buy.”

In: Modern, statement lighting

Source: Luke Hanson

Forget basic can lights. The fall, consider adding elaborate overhead lighting in the bedroom spaces.

“All types of chandeliers, hanging fixtures and ceiling lights grace the master bedroom, often defying our ideas about height and scale,” said Klebanoff.

It’s not just statement lighting, but great lighting in general that will set the tone of a bedroom.

“Lighting may be the hardest working—and most underrated—element of your master bedroom’s design,” said Kelly. “All the fabric, color and furniture in the world sit flat and lifeless without the appropriate lighting. An ideal lighting scheme starts with natural light and supplements with ambient, task, and accent lighting.”

In: Sitting rooms, added functions

in - seating area

“I’m getting a lot of requests for reading nooks and seating areas in the master bedroom,” said DeLeon. “Clients love being able to have a bedroom that is multipurpose.”

Even small rooms can include this function with furniture that allows for work or relaxation. Kelly suggests finding a nightstand that offers hidden storage or pullout trays to serve as spots for books and drinks.

Despite all the room trends, ultimately a master bedroom should reflect the person or people spending time there.

“Getting the room to look and function as they desire is critical,” said Klebanoff. “Thus my clients are asked to think long term about their design choices.”

HOME IMPROVEMENT / STORY / BY ON 25 SEP 2014

Why Use A Real Estate Agent?

Why Use A Real Estate Agent? The road to homeownership can be bumpy, and it’s often filled with unexpected turns and detours. That’s why it makes sense to have a real estate pro help guide the way.

According to the National Association of Realtors 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 88 percent of buyers purchase their homes through real estate agents or brokers. That reliance on real estate professionals has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.

While real estate websites and mobile apps can help you identify houses you may be interested in, an experienced agent does much more.

Real estate agents:

1. Guide. Before you tour your first home, your agent will take time to learn more about your wants, needs, preferences, budget and motivation. A good real estate agent will help you narrow your search and identify your priorities.

2. Educate. You should expect your agent to provide data on the local home market and comparable sales. The home-buying process can be complicated. A good agent will explain the steps involved – in a manner that makes them understandable – and provide counsel along the way.

3. Network. An agent who is familiar with your target neighborhoods will often know about homes that are for sale – even before they’re officially listed. Experienced agents tend to know other agents in the area and have good working relationships with them; this can lead to smooth transactions. Your agent may also be able to refer you to trusted professionals including lenders, home inspectors and contractors.

4. Advocate. When you work with a buyer’s agent, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. That means you have an expert who is looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who’s contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. If you find yourself in a situation where the same agent represents both the buyer and seller, things can get trickier, advises Scottsdale, Arizona-based real estate agent Dru Bloomfield.

“A lot of people think they’ll get a lower price by going straight to the listing agent, but that’s always not true,” she says. “If I was representing both the buyer and seller, I’d be hard-pressed to take a low-ball offer to the seller. But, as a buyer’s agent I’d do it, because I have no emotional ties or fiduciary responsibility to the seller. Buyers should work with an agent who can fully represent them.”

5. Negotiate. Your agent will handle the details of the negotiation process, including the preparation of all necessary offer and counteroffer forms. Once your inspection is done, the agent can also help you negotiate for repairs. Even the most reasonable consumers can become distraught when battling over repair requests; an agent can do “the ask” without becoming overly emotional.

6. Manage minutia. The paperwork that goes along with a real estate transaction can be exhaustive. If you forget to initial a clause or check a box, all those documents will need to be resubmitted. A good real estate agent understands the associated deadlines and details and can help you navigate these complex documents.

7. Look out. Any number of pitfalls can kill a deal as it inches toward closing; perhaps the title of the house isn’t clear, the lender hasn’t met the financing deadline or the seller has failed to disclose a plumbing problem. An experienced real estate agent knows to watch for trouble before it’s too late, and can skillfully deal with challenges as they arise.

Professional real estate agents do so much more than drive clients around to look at homes. Find an agent you trust and with whom you feel comfortable working; you’re sure to benefit from their experience, knowledge of the local market and negotiation skills.

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Tough Talk for Sellers

Tough Talk for Sellers  

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By Tracy Tkac

 Clean It Up: It can be hard to see that your home needs de-cluttering or painting when you live in it day after day. Ask for help in getting an honest opinion from your real estate professional about what needs to be done to prepare your home for sale.  A good agent will be honest, even though it can be a tough talk for sellers. Don’t be offended when you are told; the front door needs painting and the kids winter sporting equipment needs to be stored. The more you can do to present your home in the best possible way before it goes on the market, the better the outcome.

Price it right: It’s natural to be emotionally attached to your home, especially if you’ve lived there a long time. But allowing this affection to obscure the realities of the home’s market value is a serious mistake. Pricing the property in the range of what comparable homes in the area have sold for, even if the price point is less than what you think your home is worth will result in selling your home and getting the most money for the sale.  Scout the competition; sellers might price a home too high because they’re simply unaware of the dynamics of their real-estate market. To sell your home, it’s essential to have a firm grasp on the conditions in your area. Sellers should study the pricing trends and sales data in their local market. Overpricing a home because of an emotional attachment only makes selling it that much more difficult.

Leave: It’s important for sellers to be away from the home during open houses (and take your pets with you). If a seller remains at home during an open house, buyers will be distracted from really looking at the house and come away with uneasy feeling, and that is the feeling they will associate with the house. Trust that you have prepped the house for sale and your agent will represent your interests well.

Be Objective: Don’t take negotiations personally. Buyers may demand concessions such as price reductions or help with closing costs, it’s important that sellers consider the terms just another part of a business transaction. Even if you think a buyer’s offer is offensive or absurd, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Your goal is to sell your home, counter-offer every offer that is presented to you.

Tough Talk for Sellers 

Sell your Chevy Chase or Bethesda Home

Get Ready, Get Set, Sell Your Home!

Now is the time to get ready.

If you’re considering selling your home in 2014, the time for action is- NOW!

By Tracy Tkac

www.WashingtonHG.com

Why Now? Because buyers are already on the hunt.  

GetMedia-1

The Internet is the new curb appeal
Last month will likely be remembered for record breaking cold temperatures, polar vortexes, lots of snow, and horrible traffic jams. All the while when home buyers were sitting home inside and trying to stay warm, they were looking at houses for sale on the Internet.

If you’re considering selling, now is the time to sell your Chevy Chase or Bethesda home. If your home is not yet online, then every day you’re missing out on thousands (or even millions) of potential buyers viewing your home.

Even more incentive for buyers
Spring is coming, and that is certainly driving a lot of the interest in homes currently listed for sale. But there are other factors at play.

Mortgage rates have declined over the past month and are currently trending back toward 4% for traditionally structured, well qualified loans. This is a significant development for buyers, as interest rates are a huge driver of home affordability.

For example, a traditional 30 year, $600,00 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $2,700. If rates declined to 4.25%, the payment would change to $2,550.

For borrowers on the edge of qualifying for a mortgage, that $150 per month savings could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not.

For buyers, the time is now!
Buy low and sell high, right? For buyers, the time to buy low is quickly ending, creating a sense of urgency to buy now before prices rise too high or interest rates return to more historically normal levels.

Get ReadyGo!
The spring selling season will be in full swing sooner than you think. Rates are low, there is urgency to buy now, and buyers are already coming out of their winter slumber. If you’re planning to sell you home in 2014, you need to be ready now. Don’t miss out on the perfect, well-qualified buyer because you waited a moment too long and Sell Your Bethesda Home!

 

Guidelines for Selling Your House

 Guidelines for Selling Your House

Preparation and timing can help you get the best price for your home.

Consult the large real estate sites, like Realtor.com,Zillow.com and HomeGain.com to see how similar homes are priced in your neighborhood. Many newspapers also list the selling and asking prices of recent sales, plus how long the houses were on the market. Note the prices for your neighborhood during the last several months.

Check how sales were running, say, a year ago, so you get an idea of whether the market is heating up, cooling down, or staying put for guidelines for selling your house . This exercise should give you a sense of what your home is worth.

Selecting an agent

You may decide that you can sell your home without an agent. It’s an attractive thought, since you would save the 6% of the selling price that a broker typically collects. But balance that against the work involved in advertising a house and being available at all hours to show it.

If you do decide to work through an agent, ask for referrals from friends or check the Web and local newspapers for advertisements. Don’t simply accept any recommendation. Make an appointment with an agent and interview him or her for the job.

Evaluate the person as though you were a buyer: Is he or she professional and personable? Does he say the right things to make you want to see the home? Also, since the agent will likely be able to advise you on a selling price, how well does his or her price jibe with the homework you did on your own? Don’t be fooled by an agent who is merely flattering you with an inflated price. Go by what you already know about your house and the current housing market.

Ask whether he or she will be the agent actually showing the house. Some brokers have specialists whose main duty is to win the listing. Then another of the broker’s agents takes over.

The lowdown on commissions

Once you find an agent you like, you have to formally sign a listing agreement. This is a contract, laying out the specifics of your arrangement, including how long you will let the agent represent your home and what the compensation will be.

Many agents prefer an exclusive listing, meaning you agree to pay a commission regardless of whether the agent is actually responsible for finding the seller. You should commit for no longer than three months (one month, in a hot market). In case you find the agent lacking in enthusiasm, you don’t want to be locked into a bad situation.

When you discuss the listing agreement, discuss other issues as well. For instance, if there are certain times when you want the house off-limits for walk-throughs, let the agent know.

Also, consider negotiating the commission. If your house is expensive, an agent might not flinch if you suggest 4 or 5% instead of the usual 6. Conversely, if you know it’s a buyer’s market, consider offering the incentive of a higher commission if the agent can land you a sale within 5% of your asking price.

After you’ve signed a listing agreement, you may want to give your lawyer a call to notify him or her that you’re selling your house and will need help reviewing bids and contracts. If you don’t want to pay for a lawyer, your agent should also be able to guide you through this process.

Getting ready for an open house

Whether you sell on your own or work with an agent, you’ll want to spruce up your house before it goes on the market.

Take an objective look at it: Is it cluttered? A little worn and tired? Consider a new paint job. Tidy up. Move unneeded furniture into the attic, basement or rented storage. Remove some of your personal items, like family pictures and knickknacks. Mow the lawn. Plant flowers, if it’s the right season. These seemingly insignificant details can add many thousands of dollars to your eventual sales price.

If you’re no good at this kind of thing, consider hiring a home “stager,” someone with experience preparing homes for showings. Their fees can be more than offset by quicker sales and higher selling prices.

Speaking of which, you’ll need to settle on an asking price. In doing so, forget what you originally paid for the house, how much you’ve spent on renovations or remodeling, and even how much money you need to move on to your next home. When it comes to pricing your property, the only yardstick that matters is what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood now — which may be more, or less, than you sank into it.

Your research will already have given you a good idea of how the market is faring. Your agent should also provide you with comparable sales and discuss why your house should be priced higher or lower.

Timing is the key

Also note how long the homes were on the market. If you’re in a seller’s market, with listings moving in a week or two, think about adding a premium to the asking price.

In a buyer’s market, it’s especially important to get the price right. The critical selling time is within the first month after your home hits the market. If the price is too high, you’ll turn off potential buyers and agents and then have a hard time attracting them back, even if you lower your sights later.

When you receive a bid via your agent ask for guidance in how to respond. This will depend on how you priced the house, what the housing market is in your area and your urgency to sell or wait for a better price.

Make sure your lawyer or agent reviews the contingency clauses included with the bid. For example, it’s generally not a good idea to agree to sell your home with the contingency that the buyer must first sell his or her own home.

Also make sure that all the buyer’s contingencies are restricted within specific amounts of time. For instance, if the deal is contingent upon the home passing an inspection, then the inspection must occur within a week to 10 days of an accepted bid. The same is true of the closing date: Make the buyer commit to a reasonable date, usually 45 to 60 days from acceptance.