Tag Archive for housing market

Fall Remodeling? A Quick Guide

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As temperatures cool down, and we prepare for a season of shorter, darker days, it’s time to think about the inside of your home – how to make it as glorious on gloomy days as it was during the brilliant sunshine of summer. Oh good: Projects!
But wait. Don’t let the excitement of improving your home get in the way of proper planning. Rushing your project list can lead to unnecessary spending and less-than-thrilling final results. Here’s what you need to consider before picking up a hammer or swiping a credit card:
  • Decide on your budget and schedule. You’ll need to know exactly how much money you have available for your remodeling projects and how much time you want to dedicate to it. You absolutely need to have these figures decided before starting anything!
  • Make a list of what needs to be done and what would be nice to have done. It may turn out that your budget and schedule can only accommodate half your needs, or maybe you’ll find you have the time and money to cover your needs and at least one “want.” Look at your list, prioritize and decide which projects to tackle now.
  • Don’t let Pinterest get the better of you; just like a celebrity hairstyle, what looks good in a photo might not work for your space (or your head.) Be realistic about what can be achieved in your home, based on its current “bones” and your budget.
  • For financial reasons, it can be tempting to try to Do It Yourself. But unless you’re extra handy, turn to the experts to make your project dreams come true. An experienced, reputable contractor will find any flaws in your plans, make suggestions and produce a final product that not only looks good, but is secure, safe and strong.

Landscape for Summer Outdoor Fun and Profit

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It’s hard to put a value on landscaping projects. A study by realestate.com indicates the return on investment for landscaping and/or man-made garden architecture can be as high as 150%, while others suggest a more reasonable 15% to 20%.

The bottom line, however, is that everyone wants a front yard with curb appeal and a secondary living space in the back. And while it may increase the value of your home, it also improves your quality of life. Particularly for those in cooler climates, summer is short, and a landscaped outdoors can be, well, priceless.

That said, landscaping can prove a very costly proposition indeed. The generally recommended figure for a landscaping budget is 10% of your home’s value, although that varies according to your local area. The majority of projects reported in a study of landscaping by houzz.com cost from $1,000 to $5,000 for minor planting or mulching, and $50,000 or more for “complete overhauls.”

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Remember, time is also money, and even small projects can take longer than you think. According to the Houzz survey, smaller projects averaged approximately three months of planning and three months of work to complete. Having spent time and money on landscaping, there are ways to reduce future costs:

  • Lawn care alone can cost upwards of $100 a month, so do as much of the maintenance as possible yourself.
  • Construct decks, stairs, and pergolas of maintenance-free materials such as composite decking.
  • Artificial grass can be a big expense up front, but it saves on maintenance (mainly the cost of water) in the long run.
  • Consider using recycled bricks instead of expensive rocks in your landscaping plan.
  • Perennials are a great choice, as they reduce the need to buy new plants every year.
  • Edible gardens can be lovely as well as a good source of delicious vegetables and herbs.

Now, step away from the lawn mower, take a break, and enjoy your newly landscaped property.

Should You Sell Your Home Yourself?

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Despite the prevalence of online tools that can facilitate DIY sales, fewer Americans are choosing to pursue the approach of “for sale by owner” when it comes to selling their homes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “for sale by owner” sales represented only 8 percent of the total 5.25 million real estate transactions in 2015. Why? An economy in recovery, a challenging real estate market, and strict laws and regulations could all have Americans looking for security and peace of mind when it comes to selling their homes.
The “for sale by owner” approach does have perks. Private sellers can set their own price. They deal with the buyer directly. In the end, they keep the proceeds instead of paying a commission to a Realtor. However, those very same perks have significant drawbacks.
Setting your own price means missing out on the expertise that a real estate agent has when it comes to pricing a home to sell and encouraging multiple bids. You don’t have the know-how that comes with dozens of successful sales. It’s easier for buyers (and their agents) to undercut private sellers, and it’s difficult for sellers to remain neutral about their own property.
Private sellers also miss out on the strategies and industry knowledge provided by an experienced agent. A real estate agent knows how to market a home properly, how to work with other agents, and how to fulfill the obligations and respect the laws of the real estate industry. It’s very easy for private sellers to misstep, costing themselves time and money.
As a seller, you want every advantage available. That means having an agent by your side. You can find an authorized Guidance Realty Homes agent to help sell your home and advise you on selling your home at GuidanceRealtyHomes.com.

How to Stage Your Home To Sell Quickly At Top Prices

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“Home staging” was coined by Barb Schwarz back in the early ’70s, and the concept has become well known as “house fluffing,” “dressing to sell,” and “home presentation”.

The focus of staging is to make a home more marketable by creating the most appealing home to the greatest number of prospective buyers. It should be impersonal enough not to infringe on a buyer’s own sense of style.

Decorating is optional. Staging, on the other hand, is essential – that is if you want to sell your house for the most possible money in the shortest amount of time.

You can make at least 3 percent more with home staging. In some areas, that number can go as high as 50 percent! Statistics also show that homes that had not sold in an average of four and a half months after listing sold within a week of being staged by a professional. Homes staged before listing were under contract more than twice as fast as comparable homes that had not been professionally staged. Following the techniques in this guide will maximize your equity while reducing the market time for your home.

  1. Be sure that your home is staged before you or your Realtor take photos for the web. Over 70% of all new apartment/home searches are started on the Internet. It is imperative that the property looks good in the photos so that it can attract as many people as possible to see the real thing.
  1. You should not have one person look at your house until it has been staged completely. It should not go through the broker walkthrough, open houses, or anything. Stage first!
  1. Home staging works for all properties regardless of the price point because home staging is about preparing your home for a faster and more profitable sale and marketing your property to the most potential buyers for its target audience. A home stager who has staged homes ranging from $100,000 to $10 million has had the same result — the homes sell faster and for top dollar compared with the competitors within their price range.
  1. Do not offer money towards painting or installing new carpeting. Remember, if you are not willing to do it, your buyer is not likely to either.
  1. You need to be willing to change paint colors. Paint is very inexpensive and gives you a big bang for your buck. Although a bit labor-intensive, painting is not expensive and gives your home a new, fresh, clean look. There are certain universally accepted colors and these should be used when repainting your home. Yellow or shades of gold are warm and inviting. You should also accent with yellow. The human eye is more sensitive to yellowish-green light. Green or blue in the bedrooms are great colors because they are restful.
  1. It is essential during the selling process to have the toys limited to one area and minimized to a few containers. Not everybody has children and most do not care about the new and amazing things your new baby can do. You just cannot make a home with children turn into a children’s house and expect it to sell.
  1. Recognize that your major competition comes from newer homes. People will take a newer home over an older home if all else is equal. That is why it is essential to give an older home something that puts it above the rest.
  1. Don’t forget about the entryway. If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move. It’s also a good idea to buy a new, plush doormat. This is something else you can take with you once you move.
  1. If you have dark cabinets, a light-colored handle or something shiny will enhance them. If you have light cabinets, you can give them the sleek look by using handles of the same color so that they are hardly noticeable, or using brushed silver handles. With light wood, you can also use darker handles, gold, bronze, or even colors.
  1. Sometimes renovations are needed. However, here are five that you should avoid:
    • Adding high end appliances to a modest home
    • Adding hand painted tiles to the bath or kitchen
    • Adding a central vacuum
    • Adding air conditioning (unless you are in an area that all homes have it)
    • Replacing windows with newer models
  1. Be sure to check with your city or county building inspector before beginning a new project. Many departments require permits, even for things as simple as changing a dishwasher.
  1. Everything in its place is a good motto to remember. Always find appropriate places to store your items. Litter boxes in the kitchen and trashcans in the pantry are just two examples of inappropriate placement.
  1. Do not have any cleaning products visible. You want the buyer to think that the house cleans itself. You do not want to remind buyers that there will be work to do in this house, so put away laundry baskets and dish drainers as well!
  1. Selling an empty home can be a huge mistake. Buying or renting furniture is especially vital in an empty home. Empty homes do not show well and can sit on the market for months until a buyer with a good visual imagination comes along, or until the seller drops the price so low that the home is a steal.
  1. Your refrigerator will need to be cleaned, even if you are not leaving it. People will still look inside and a dirty refrigerator will turn them off. If you are taking it with you, you may as well clean it now. If you are leaving it, then it is imperative to have it sparkling.

4 Creative Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Agents

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For many realtors, the notion of marketing is simplistic. On the digital side of the spectrum, there are resources like Zillow, Trulia and Guidance Realty that enable agents to successfully connect with interested buyers and renters.

And on the physical side, agents can often get by on nothing more than excellent networking skills and referrals from past clients.

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6 Criteria in Evaluating Your Next Agent (Part 3)

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Summary: In Part 1 & 2 we shared 4 behaviors that would add meaningful value to your home search, in this post we will share the final 2 behaviors, providing a comprehensive rubric to evaluate your real estate agents.

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Is the Housing Market Turnaround the Real thing?

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Ever since the recovery began in 2009, a weak housing market has held back the U.S. economy. The first rebound in home prices was lackluster and after only a year was followed by another dip. But the recent upturn in home prices looks like the real thing. One clear sign of a turning point: Read more