August 1, 2012
Evidence builds that home prices could be headed higher from here.
August 1, 2012. The long nightmare seems to be finally ending. A combination of modest income and job growth, lower prices, low mortgage rates, and a steady decline in supply has finally put a bottom in on the housing market. Today”s update from Standard & Poor”s Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 0.9% month-over-month seasonally-adjusted national home price gain in May. That”s the third consecutive strong monthly gain, the second best result since the housing bubble burst, and the single best monthly result since early 2009.
Posted in National Real Estate News, Panama City Beach Real Estate, Real Estate Agent Stories, Real Estate Market Watch, Real Estate News
Tagged Economy, new construction, Panama City Beach real estate, prices, Value
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July 26, 2012
Although prices are still down on a year-over-year basis, that measure looks ready to jump into positive territory too. The good news looks set to continue. Here”s why.
Merrill Lynch Bank of America economist Michelle Meyer believes today”s report provides evidence that prices will follow a “bumpy and gradual path higher” from here after bottoming in the first quarter. Other measures of home prices, such as CoreLogic and the Federal Housing Finance Authority, have already turned positive on an annual basis.
A big reason for this is that there is simple less supply on the market for sale, especially for nice, move-in-ready non-distressed properties. Also, a huge upswing in rental demand over the last few years as moved the price-to-rent ratio back in favor of homeownership in many areas — pushing buyers back into the fray. Also, regions that were hit the hardest during the downturn, such as Phoenix and Miami, and bouncing back on an influx of investors willing to pay cash for discounted properties. Foreign buyers have also been active.
All of this confirms the improvement in homebuilder sentiment we”ve seen, with the NAHB housing index jumping to its best level in five years this month. New home supply is extremely low even at the currently depressed sales rate. With just five months” supply available, an increased in construction activity will not only help put upward pressure on overall home prices (as percentage of sales shifts away from discounted, distressed fixers) but it will provide a boost to the economy as well.
For any real estate questions that you may have, please call Hollie Hansen at 850.258.2602 or email me at email@example.com.
Courtesy of MSN Money.
July 27, 2010. Summer is almost over and school is about to begin. Here are some tips that I found to help make that experience a memorable one. Believe it or not, your summer vacation can be relaxing, fun and memorable. Here are some important things to think about as you plan your time away with some tips for making it successful.
Before you go
The success of your vacation hinges on how much you prepare for it before you even leave. The proactive parent clarifys expectations and anticipates trouble spots. Does Mom want a break from cooking? If so, don’t plan on a cottage get-away where meal planning and preparation are expected. Does Dad want a pause from his weekly responsibilities? If so, then don’t plan a staycation, where the temptation to answer phone calls and emails will be hard to do. Here are some tips for thinking about your vacation before you go.
Posted in Panama City Beach REALTOR Comments, Panama City Beach Realty, Real Estate Agent Stories
Tagged summer vacation, travel plans, vacation experience
July 18, 2012
- Assess what every member of the family is looking for from the vacation. Perhaps you may go away for a shorter period to a place where everyone gets his or her needs met. This will also help you set expectations once you get there.
- Choose a vacation spot that is not only in the financial budget but in the energy budget as well. After talking things out, if you choose a spot that is a lot of work, at least you will be aware of any sacrifices you will have to make.
- Keep your expectations low. Tell everyone what you will do at minimum each day. “We’ll swim for at least one half hour. Or we’ll go on at least two rides at the carnival.” Setting minimum expectations will make anything else you do go along way with your child. Remember to under promise and over deliver.
- Prepare for travel. Whether you are taking a car, train, or plane trip, bring along food, books, toys and music to keep both you and your child occupied. Go around your home now and put away some toys that your child will be excited to see again in a few weeks.
- Scope out your destination. If your vacation spot is nearby, drive there to see what activities and necessities you have access to. If it is not nearby, buy a guidebook or use online Chamber of Commerce web sites.
- Plan at tentative itinerary. You don’t need to plan every minute of your vacation, but a simple plan will help you and your child know what to expect.
During your trip
How much you try to do will have a direct relationship to how much fun you have. You might think I mean, do more have more fun, but I mean quite the opposite. Simpler is always better, especially with young children. Here are my suggestions for increasing your vacation fun.
- Get your child to sleep. Your young child needs the same, if not more, sleep when on vacation. When my children were small, my husband and I used to put them in their car seats at naptime and we drove around our vacation spot. While we were having a delicious iced coffee, they slept. We got to see our destination at the same time we held our children’s naptime sacred.
- Keep meal foods and times the same. After eating three meals a day of different foods at different times, you may find that your child is beginning to feel sluggish, especially if the only things on the menu come with fries and a milkshake. Whether you bring some of his favorite foods or you keep to your mealtimes, you’ll be helping your child feel better. And he’ll behave better too.
- Show your child the lay of the land. When you arrive at your hotel or cottage, take your child on a tour. Let him know what the can do’s and can’t do’s are related to where you are staying.
- Share your itinerary with your child each day. When your child asks, “What are we doing today?” it’s because she wants to know what to predict. Again, better behavior is a given when your child knows what to expect.
After the fun
The best thing about a family vacation is that memories last a lifetime. Preserve that vacation feeling by taking an active role in remembering how much fun you had. Here are some tips for creating a happy ending to your summer vacation.
- Have a photo night. Create a slideshow and plan a night when everyone can look at the pictures together for the first time.
- Help your child start a vacation scrapbook. Take that restaurant napkin, or map, or mountain flower, and let your child create a keepsake scrapbook. This is a nice activity to do on a rainy, post-vacation summer day.
- Have a family meeting. Be sure to talk to your children about what went well, what didn’t, and where you might travel to next. This is a wonderful topic for a family meeting, especially if you don’t hold them very often.
Good fun on a family vacation can be a reality for your end of summer experience. With proactive planning, lots of structure and conversation, you can make family memories everyone will treasure.
Safe and happy travels to all and remember that I would be honored to assist you with helping you find a dream cation home for your next summer experience. Call Hollie Hansen at 850.258.2602 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courtesy of Pyschology Today.
July 18, 2012. Property insurance is confusing. At a minimum, new buyers should understand the levels and types of coverage, and take a few additional steps to protect themselves.
1. Know the difference between replacement cost and market value. Rebuilding a home is usually cheaper than buying an existing structure, unless the property was a foreclosure. The key: Accurately determine the cost of rebuilding when finalizing the details on a homeowners insurance policy.
2. Take a home inventory to determine the proper amount of personal property protection. Generally, policies cover 50-75 percent of the replacement value of the house. However, this may not be enough to cover certain valuables, such as jewelry, fine art, collections, electronics and other expensive items. A separate rider may be needed and should be discussed with an insurance agent.
3. Have enough liability protection. Liability coverage protects a homeowner if they’re sued for an injury that takes place on their property. Many policies will even cover a policyholder if an incident happened away from the house. Depending on their assets, some homeowners might want an additional umbrella policy if they’re worried about being sued for more than the liability coverage offered in their basic policy.
4. Know what isn’t covered. Carefully study the exclusions section of a homeowners insurance policy. If anything raises a red flag, consider additional coverage. One example: Almost no insurance policy covers flooding. If a homeowner lives in an area prone to flooding, he or she might want to consider flood insurance too.
5. Consider additional living expenses if forced from the house. If a house becomes unlivable due to a flood, earthquake, fire or other disasters, a family will need to pay for living accommodations; and they may need additional money for food, transportation and other expenses. This coverage is “additional living expenses” (ALE) and a benefit that’s usually worth about 20 percent of a home’s replacement value. Be aware of the specific policy’s benefits, limitations and exclusion.
When shopping for home insurance quotes, find a company that is financially stable and has a high customer satisfaction rating. Two resources to check these qualities are A.M. Best for financial strength ratings and J.D. Power and Associates for their annual customer service rankings, according to HomeownersInsurance.net, a website that connects homeowners with agents.
© 2012 Florida Realtors
If you have any other questions regarding your home or property as well as a free market analysis, please call or text me at 850.258.2602 or email me at email@example.com.
Courtesy of Pamela Shemet | Agent in Crystal River, FL on Trulia.
Posted in Local News Panama City Beach, Northwest Florida Real Estate, Panama City Beach Real Estate
Tagged Home insurance, Panama City Beach real estate, Panama City Beach Realty
July 12, 2012
During the 30-day sales period ending July 5, approximately 211,000 homes were sold in 98 of the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas, research firm DataQuick said Thursday. Sales overall rose 12% from the same period a year earlier and 10.6% from 2009 levels.
Home prices also went up with the median price hitting $193,000 on July 5, up 6% from a year ago and 4.3% from three years ago.
In a little over a month, the median sales price rose from $186,000 to $193,000.
The DataQuick report analyzes 66.25% of all U.S. home sales, excluding the key markets of Louisville and Wichita.
If you would like more information on home sale statistices for Bay County and your community, please call or text Hollie Hansen at 850.258.2602 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in National Real Estate News, Panama City Beach Real Estate, Real Estate Agent Stories, Real Estate Market Watch, Real Estate News, Uncategorized
Tagged dataquick, home sales, Panama City Beach Realty, Panama City FL, prices, reall estate market
June 27, 2012
Each month Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.” We summarize three key housing market indicators: construction starts (Census), existing-home sales (NAR) and the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (LPS First Look). For each indicator, we compare this month’s data to (1) how bad the numbers got at their worst and (2) their pre-bubble “normal” levels.
All three indicators took a step backward in May 2012:
—Construction starts slid back for the month, but up for the year. Starts dropped from an upwardly revised 744,000 in April to 708,000 in May, a 4.8% month-over-month decline. But starts are up 28.5% year over year. Still, construction has a long way to go: starts are just 23% of the way back to normal.
—Existing home sales also decreased. Dropping from 4.62 million in April to 4.55 million in May, home sales are not quite halfway back (45%) to their normal level from their worst point during the bust.
—The delinquency + foreclosure rate ticked upward. (Remember, on this measure, lower is better.) In May, 11.32% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, inching up from 11.26% in April and 11.23% in March, though down from 12.07% a year ago. The delinquency + foreclosure rate is 36% of the way back to normal, ahead of starts but behind sales.
Averaging these three back-to-normal percentages together, the market is now 35% of the way back to normal, compared with just 19% back to normal a year ago.
The housing market recovery has hit a plateau, remaining in the 33-37% range since January after making several jumps in the second half of 2011.
Of course these statistics are going to vary from region to region, but for the most part we can say that for Northwest Florida we are seeing positive recovery in all areas of the market. For more information on how you may qualify for a new home or to get a free marketing evaluation of your home or property, please call Hollie Hansen at 850.258.2602 or email me at email@example.com.
Posted in Panama City Beach Real Estate, Real Estate Agent Stories, Real Estate Market Watch
Tagged Buying, construction, homes . census, housing market, Mortgages, new homes, Selling
June 20, 2012
Our Roots Panama City was among the first five Florida communities to be designated a Main Street district in 1985. We receive training and technical support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Florida Department of States Bureau of Historic Preservation.
Panama City Main Street provides a myriad of services through the hard work of four staff members, Board of Directors, committee members and a cadre of active volunteers.
The Main Street program is designed to improve all aspects of downtown and central business district. Our initiatives stem from local issues and concerns.
Improving economic management, strengthening public participation, and making historic downtown a fun place to do business and visit are as critical to Main Street’s future as recruiting new businesses, rehabilitating buildings and better managing downtown parking.
We are building on downtown’s inherent assets- rich architecture, personal service and most of all, a sense of place. The Main Street approach has rekindled entrepreneurship, downtown cooperation and civic interest and pride.
Main Street listens to its members. Committees and board meetings are open to the public. Monthly newsletters and e-mail alerts keep members informed of developments in the historic downtown area, and we are just a phone call away.
Panama City Main Street has won national recognition from the National Trust and many community awards from the Dept. of State for projects, events, and partnerships.
Living and raising a family in Panama City has been one of the most enjoyable times in my life, next to selling real estate. I hope you will take a moment to call me about the wonderful opportunities in and around Panama City to live and play here. Call me at 850.258.2602 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow me on facebook. See you next week.
Posted in Local News Panama City Beach, Panama City Beach Real Estate, Real Estate Agent Stories, Real Estate Market Watch, Things To Do In Northwest Florida
Tagged downtown, historic district, Main Street Improvements, Panama City, Panama City FL
June 14, 2012
Not all home improvements are created equal. Even in a seller's market, it's important that homeowners make the right investments that will yield higher returns. As you guide your clients toward a profitable sale, make sure you're an expert on the top 10 home improvement myths so you can prevent your clients from believing them.
Father's Day is next week, and Dad is sure to get a few tools or gift certificates to a home improvement store that he'll be itching to use, so make sure your clients are in-the-know before then!
Top 10 Home Improvement Myths
1. Any remodeling project will add value to your home.
While many remodeling projects will add value to a home, some can be seen as a negative by future buyers. For instance, combining two smaller bedrooms to create one larger bedroom may better fit one homeowner's lifestyle today, but it may cause the home to lose value in the eyes of a future buyer who needs the two separate rooms.
2. Buying the highest-quality materials attracts more buyers.
Installing high-end materials may seem like a wise decision, but it can backfire. For instance, using the most expensive tile in a bathroom may create an impressive appearance, but value-conscious buyers may opt for a more affordable home if the seller has over-improved compared to others in the neighborhood.
3. Adding square footage always adds value.
A better way to think about this statement is to insert the word useable into the sentence. Finished attics and basements — even if considered liveable by local standards — may not be attractive to a buyer if they are not finished to the same standards as the rest of the home.
4. Colors and textures – safe and simple is better.
Keeping a home “vanilla” so buyers can choose their own style and decor might be a safe bet, but it ignores the fact that most buyers just don't have the ability to visualize the home differently. Without splashes of color and mixtures of texture, sellers can lose value to others that have taken the time to consult with an interior designer.
5. Inside improvements are better than outside improvements.
Not necessarily. If a home's exterior has been neglected or doesn't offer a good curb appeal, a buyer might stop there – and then the seller's efforts on on the inside may not net them any more dollars. To get the biggest bang for their remodeling buck, sellers should start from the outside and work their way in.
6. Adding a bedroom is better than adding a bathroom.
It depends on the starting point. If a seller only has one or two bedrooms to start with, adding a bedroom before adding a second bath is probably a wise choice since most buyers are more attracted to three-bedroom homes. On the other hand, if the home already has three bedrooms and only one bath, the sellers' next investment should probably be in a new bathroom.
7. Paint hides a multitude of sins.
Dry rot? Fungus damage? Mold problems? Carpenter ants? Termite issues? Nothing a can of paint can't fix, right? Wrong! Not only does this practice violate disclosure laws in most states, it can set sellers up for liability after the sale, as most buyers will want the sellers to foot the bill for these hidden issues.
8. Converting a garage to living space is a great trade-off.
Nope. A garage conversion is almost always viewed negatively by future home buyers unless the sellers replace the lost garage with another parking and storage space of equal size.
9. Sellers can save money by doing improvements themselves.
For some homeowners, wiring a new lighting fixture or plumbing a new dishwasher is a no-brainer, but for others it may end up costing more later if they have to have the work redone by a professional. Another consideration is local and state laws regarding remodeling work: In many states if a buyer has purchased a home to remodel and resell, they must either hold a contractor's license or hire a contractor to do the work for them.
10. Pools add value to your home.
This is only true in areas where pools are must-have amenities. In most areas of the country, pools have more limited appeal – and the idea of maintaining a pool for ten months out of the year when it can't be enjoyed won't appeal to most buyers.
Knowing these top home-improvement myths will allow you to help your seller clients choose the right remodeling projects. But don't stop there. To keep your pulse on the amenities that are coveted most in your market, talk to local remodeling professionals, contractors, and home-improvement specialists on a regular basis.
Having a positive experience with any real estate transaction can be achieved by consulting with your Professional Realtor. I would enjoy the opportunity to work with you on your next real estate purchase or sale. Call Hollie Hansen at 850.258.2602 or email me at email@example.com.
Article courtesy of Trulia.com.
Posted in Home Improvement Ideas, Panama City Beach Real Estate, Real Estate Agent Stories
Tagged Buying, home, Home Improvements, Panama City Beach real estate, remodeling, Selling, Value
June 12, 2012
div>One of the keys to making the home-buying process easier and more understandable is planning. In doing so, you”ll be able to anticipate requests from lenders, lawyers and a host of other professionals. Furthermore, planning will help you discover valuable shortcuts in the home-buying process.
Do You Know What You Want? Whether you are a first-time home buyer or entering the marketplace as a repeat buyer, you need to ask why you want to buy. Are you planning to move to a new community due to a lifestyle change or is buying an option and not a requirement? What would you like in terms of real estate that you do not now have? Do you have a purchasing timeframe?
Whatever your answers, the more you know about the real estate marketplace, the more likely you are to effectively define your goals. As an interesting exercise, it can be worthwhile to look at the questions above and to then discuss them in detail when meeting with local REALTORS®.
June 10, 2012
Do You Have The Money? Homes and financing are closely intertwined. (Financing is the difference between the purchase price and the down payment, commonly referred to as debt or the mortgage.) The good news is that over the years new and innovative loan programs have evolved which require a 5 percent down payment or less. In fact, a number of programs now allow purchasers to buy real estate with nothing down.
In addition to a down payment, purchasers also need cash for closing costs (the final costs associated with closing the loan). Several newly emerging loan programs not only allow the purchase of a home with no money down, but also underwrite closing costs.
Not everyone, however, elects to purchase with little or no money down. Less money down means higher monthly mortgage payments, so most home buyers choose to buy with some cash up front.
As to closing costs, in markets where buyers have leverage, it may be possible to negotiate an offer for a home that requires the owner to pay some or all of your settlement expenses. Speak with local REALTORS® for details.
Is Your Financial House in Order? Those great loans with little or nothing down are not available to everyone: You need good credit. For at least one year prior to purchasing a home, you should assure that every credit card bill, rent check, car payment and other debt is paid in full and on time.
Having a Real Estate Professional on your team is the key to your successful home buying experience. Call Hollie Hansen at 850.258.2602 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Find out the 10 most important steps to Buying A Home Today!
Article provided by Realtor.com
I’ve long believed that the number one source of stress experienced by home buyers is all the unpredictability that lies along the home buying timeline: the prospect of unpleasant surprises that seems to lurk around every corner. Fact is, there are some commonly arising surprises that foul up buyers’ plans and expectations, killing deals and leaving expectations dashed and emotions frayed in their wake. These days, that list includes everything from homes turning out to cost more than the buyer expected to appraisals coming in below the agreed-upon purchase price.Here’s some good news: there are steps you can take to manage the risks of being taken by surprise while you’re in the process of buying a home. As I see it, they fall into a handful of buckets. Here are the five big categories of actions you can take right now to minimize your chances of having an unpleasant home buying surprise:
1. Study up. As a smart manager of your life and your finances, it’s your duty to get as detailed a primer on the ins and outs of home buying as you need to feel comfortable and confident as you move forward with the process: what lenders require, the nuts and bolts of a purchase transaction, that sort of thing. But when you’re specifically seeking to minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises, you’ve got to take your real estate education to the next level, and study up on some very specific subject matter: your local market, in real-time.What I mean is that markets vary a lot from place to place, and individual real estate markets change very quickly. If you’re the sort of savvy buyer that’s been stockpiling your cash for a year or more in preparation for buying, it’s entirely possible that the market dynamics you’ll face when you get out there will be very different from those dynamics which inspired you to buy in the first place. It’s a pretty unpleasant surprise to expect to have your pick of the market, then lose out on the first few ‘dream houses’ you find to other offers.Studying up on your local market empowers you to rejigger your search and offer strategies to be successful without having to first experience these sorts of traumas and dramas. It may also allow you to explore new alternatives for achieving the results you want, like buying via an online auction or Neighborhoods where homes lagged for months on end a couple of years ago are starting to seem some new life this spring, as buyers like you who have been waiting and saving have begun to sense the bottom of the market might actually have passed. Anecdotally, I’m hearing many more local agents across the country reporting receiving 2 or 3 offers on homes they couldn't sell at all 18 months ago, and many more buyers reporting that the ‘good’ homes come on and off the market much more quickly than anytime in recent years.But, again – this stuff is hyperlocal. So ask your agent to help you understand the actual data of the housing market in the neighborhood(s) you’ll be hunting in. Specifically, look at how the number of days a home stays on the market (DOM), inventory levels and the list price to sale price ratio have been trending over the last 6 months to 1 year.
2. Team up. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of expertise and plain old help that goes untapped – and the avoidable stress and expense that are incurred – because buyers don’t even think to express certain concerns to their real estate and mortgage pros. If there are particular potential surprises or other issues that keep you up at night, you should clearly express those to your team of real estate and mortgage professionals, and enlist their help in keeping them at bay. Obviously, not all surprises are within your agent or mortgage broker’s power to prevent; and many of the risks that you worry about are things they’re surely already making their best efforts to manage. But if your team knows that your closing cost cash is to-the-penny tight, or that your move-in timeline is hair-trigger touchy, that knowledge might inspire them to call in favors like a free rate-lock extension from their rep at your lender, or to set up a strategic solution, like negotiating your ability to move in a few days before closing.This knowledge also gives them the signal to educate you about what factors will impact the particular surprises you most dread. And that, in turn, allows you to go from wondering in the wilderness of unknown fear factors, to being able to help them smartly spot issues before they snowball into badness.For example, the date on which you close your transaction during the month has an impact on how much cash you’ll need to bring to the closing table. Generally, the amount of prepaid interest you have to pay if your escrow closes the fourth week of the month is much less than what you’d have to pay if it closed, say, the second week of the month. But think about that: if you’re aiming to close at month’s end to keep your closing costs low, and escrow closes even 10 days late (not at all uncommon, these days) you could end up with a big spike in the cash you’re required to bring in to close. Letting your team know that this would break your heart – and your bank – can help them quickly act and react to either keep closing on track or, if that’s not possible, pushing it out to avoid jacking up your closing costs.
3. Keep up. Like this closing date/closing costs debacle-in-the-making, there are a number of critical dates and deadlines in a home buying transaction by which decisions and deliverables and course-corrections must be made or the seeds for a scary surprise take root. And only some of the time are you, buyer, in control of making sure those timelines stay on track; many other times, loan underwriters, appraisers, inspectors and lenders are responsible for achieving these important must-meet dates. What you can control is your own awareness of all these calendar points, so that you can make more or less urgent nudges and check-ins, as needed, in order to ensure that things either (a) stay on track, or (b) don’t take you by surprise, if they get off track. Ask your agent and mortgage broker to help you create and stay on top of an escrow calendar containing all the major and minor deadlines and tipping points of your transaction, as well as to leverage this tool to avoid surprises throughout the transaction.
4. Fess up. It’s one thing to be surprised by something you have no control over. But imagine how you’d feel if your deal was killed by a surprise that you (and only you) could easily have avoided! I've personally seen this happen a number of times. One buyer I know ended up losing her dream home – and her deposit money – due to false information on her loan application. She’d apparently gotten away with it on a number of credit applications, but a mortgage is an entirely different animal.Another nearly had the same tragic outcome as a result of telling her team that she was divorced when, in fact, the divorce was not final. (The bank then wanted to vet her soon-to-be ex-husband’s qualifications for the loan. And his credit was really, really bad. Really.)
When you are in the loan application process, keep in mind that it in the world of lending, technicalities matter – a lot. This is not just a conversation with friends; rather, it’s about as official as you get. So, the things you normally say and do to describe your life, the things that make up your aspirations and plans, the way you see things turning out in the near future – none of these things count as fodder for your loan application. What does count? The hard cold facts of your status quo situation – right now. So, be brutally honest about the state of your life and your finances, warts and all. This might creates obstacles you’ll have to workaround up front, but I assure you that is preferable to getting caught in a falsehood – intentional or otherwise – and having to scramble to try to salvage a deal days before closing.
5. Fluff up. Your cash and time cushions, that is. The reason home buying surprises are so stressful is that they threaten to do one of two things: (a) screw up our timelines for moving, or (b) force us to come up with more cash than we have at hand to close the deal. If you get just a few days away from closing, bags and boxes packed, and are told you need to bring in just an extra few thousand dollars to close the deal, it can feel like your home – actually, your life! – is being held hostage for extra cash, on the one transaction you've already spent years saving up for.The least stressed-out buyers are those who have built in time and cash cushions to their home buying and moving plans. Give yourself the gift of a few weeks of planned overlap in your ability to occupy your last home and your future one; even if that means you wait to give your landlord notice until you’re well into escrow, it empowers you to avoid looking for hotel rooms and being distressed by the very predictable, very common occurrence of a late escrow closing.
Similarly, if your home buying-related financial plans involve maintaining a nice, fluffy cushion of so-called emergency cash even after your planned down payment and closing costs, you’ll be less likely to go off the deep end if the lender requires you to drop $500 on repairs to get the deal closed.
I would love the opportunity to work with you to find that dream home or property, or if you are needing assistance with selling an existing property now. I have the experience and knowledge to assist buyers and sellers, please call me at 850.258.2602 or email me at email@example.com. I look forward to speaking with you today.
Article Provided By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA
Posted in Home Improvement Ideas, Home Repair Tips, Real Estate Agent Stories, Real Estate Market Watch
Tagged real estate strategies for selling, Renting, Selling
June 9, 2012
p>May, 1, 2012.
One of the first things many homebuyers look for are the unmistakable signs of something called ‘pride of ownership.’ As a whole, it’s a relatively intangible concept: there are just homes that have it – reeking of their owners’ love and meticulous care for the property — and homes that, well, don’t.
I’ve watched firsthand as buyers who like a cute home that is in generally good shape literally talk themselves into looking at a more homes once they start to notice one rickety gate, which snowballed into a nitpicky laundry list of little, tiny fixes the seller had left undone. The challenge is that between deciding whether and when to sell, staging, interviewing agents and determining a list price, it can be tempting for homeowners to fall into the trap of deferring maintenance on a home they might sell soon.
Whether you plan to put your home on the market next week or next year, here is a short list of home maintenance items you should put on your Spring to-do list, stat, if you want to attract qualified buyers and let your home sweet-talk them into making a sweet offer:
1. Banish chips, scuffs and the like with a fresh coat of paint. I believe that eliminating nicks, scuffs and scratches on any painted or finished surface is one of the cheapest, easiest and most impactful spruces a seller-to-be can do. That’s because these little tiny blemishes create a shabby appearance on a home that might otherwise be in great shape, but can be entirely banished with a good washing and some fresh paint.
This goes for interior and exterior walls, floors, and especially any sort of trims that are painted white, as is common with crown and floor moldings – scuff marks and blemishes seem to pop out from these items. Also, the edges of cupboards, doors and drawers are places where chips and nicks are so common that homeowners overlook them, but can be super visible to buyers who visit your home for the first time.
2. Brighten, polish and replace all trims. One day, I’ll do a scientific study, and I predict the results will reveal that if you put two identical homes side-by-side and give one a set of tricked-out trims – exterior shutters, front door, eaves – even your house numbers, door knockers, kickplates and other exterior hardware – people will rate the house with the beautiful trims way higher on the ‘pride of ownership’ scale than you’d expect.
Go stand on your own curb to get the buyer’s-eye view of your home, and then drive around your own neighborhood or the nicest part of town and flip through some home improvement mags or websites for ideas. If you can add attractive trims, freshen up the ones you have or paint them to create an unexpected but attractive color combination with the body of your house, you can skyrocket your home’s standing on my (newly invented) ‘pride of ownership’ scale.
3. Furry, drippy, noisy or broken HVAC systems. Maintaining your heating and air conditioning systems is not that expensive, but buyers think it is. In fact, your furnace and AC are precisely the sort of major household machinery that intimidate first-time home buyers. So, if they show up to the open house or a private showing of your home in June and the AC is making a funny knocking sound or just flat out doesn’t work well enough to keep the house cool, buyers might perceive that as a more serious red flag than it truly is.
Does your AC has that furry ‘science experiment’ look to it? Not only are you paying for the energy it’s probably wasting to push the air pass all that dust and dirt, the gross-out factor will have even the hardiest buyer wondering what else might be wrong with your home.
On the flip side, letting prospective buyers know that your home’s HVAC systems have been recently maintained or upgraded is a nice touch that makes itself obvious during showings and allows buyers to breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to concerns about short-term repair bills and the comfort level of family members who may have allergies and asthma.
Side note: if your AC does make a funny sound you might be so accustomed to you can’t hear it anymore – check in with your agent unless you know as a matter of fact that your AC is in tip-top shape. One more side note: if you live someplace where it gets cold around the holidays and you don’t plan to list your home until wintertime, right now may be the ideal time to have your heating system serviced. Off-season repairs and maintenance are often discounted.
4. Mend and tend to your fences, gates and screens. These items may not jump out at us in our own home – in fact, these are things I often see sellers skimp on or run out of time and money to tend to. And it’s easy to rationalize your way out of dealing with them, as they seem like relatively inexpensive fixes for buyers to make themselves. But screens with holes in them and gates that don’t budge or hang off their hinges are precisely the sorts of things I’ve seen make buyers walk back through a home looking for other flaws; and anything to do with fences makes them envision neighbor disputes over bills. You have the power to avoid sparking these concerns in the minds of house hunters by mending these items this Spring.
5. Doors, cupboards and drawers. One creaky door or squeaky cupboard does not kill a deal. But keep in mind that in some homes, other than the lights, these are the only functioning systems of your home that house hunting visitors will almost certainly use during the course of a viewing. Making sure your entry, interior closet and cupboard doors are in good cosmetic shape and that they work well and don’t stick is an easy, inexpensive way to position your home as a (literally) well-oiled machine.
One point of clarification – it’s less the case that buyers will notice, ooh and ahh over your smoothly sliding drawers than that they will notice and grow concerned if they don’t.
6. Have everything cleaned and washed. Even the most immaculate of housekeepers can realize a massive refresh to the look, feel, smell and the overall air quality of their homes by having professional cleaners come take a tour through the place. Springtime is a great time to ask your agent for referrals to the best local vendors to power wash your house, windows and driveway, as well as to have your carpets, rugs and window coverings cleaned. For those who are on a tight budget, many vendors offer Spring cleaning promotions for these services right about now (and if your budget is even tighter, there are products you can buy and machines you can rent to do these things yourself – just make sure you account for the value of your time).
7. Shred it up. Some might say this is more like Spring cleaning than home maintenance, but I’ve noticed that the clutter of boxes and boxes of paperwork, old file cabinets and the like have a tendency to contribute to the sense that a listed property might be unkempt, the aura of stagnation. If you have no cash to do anything else on this list, one thing you can do for free is to go through all your files and boxes, get rid of old papers and shred anything with sensitive information.
Just think – you’ll have to do it anyway when you move, so this is like giving yourself a head start and your attic, basement office or other rooms a fresh start. You can count it as a staging tactic as well, as it gives the rooms at issue some added visual white space, making them seem larger!
When you need someone with the experience and knowledge to assist you with your most important real estate transacti0ns, call a real estate professional. I would enjoy the opportunity to work with you, whether you”re trying to find your next investment or you want to find your dream home. Call 850.258.2602 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to set up an appointment to meet with me today.
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA
Posted in Home Improvement Ideas, Home Repair Tips, Real Estate Agent Stories, Real Estate Market Watch
Tagged buyers, Home Improvement, HVAC System, Panama City Beach real estate, Repairs, sellers