Latest Event Updates

Why Isn’t Your Home Selling?

Posted on

If the listing for your home hasn’t been attracting buyers for a few weeks in a fast-paced real estate market, or for a few months in a slower one, you certainly have good reason to be worried.

A home doesn’t sell due to a variety of factors, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t.

Let’s start with the things you can control, which also happen to be the most important elements of any home’s appeal to buyers: price and condition.

Price Your Home Right, From the Start

A good REALTOR® will help you determine the correct price for your home based on a thorough comparative market analysis (CMA). The reason it’s so important to price your home appropriately from the beginning is that a home that’s priced too high will languish on the market without any offers.

Even if you lower the price later, you will have lost the momentum of the initial listing period and buyers will assume there’s something wrong with the home. Eventually you may sell it, but more than likely the final sales price will be lower than your correct initial price would have been. Price your home too low and you have lost out on potential profit.

Your price should be based on current local market conditions, not on what you need to pay off your mortgage, what your neighbor sold her place for a year ago, nor your guesstimate of what your home is worth. Your REALTOR®’s CMA will look at recent sales, homes that didn’t sell and were pulled off the market, and current listings to guide your price decision.

Condition of Your Home

Regardless of your local market conditions, buyers have high expectations for your home, beginning with the exterior. While you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money, you do need to raise the level of your home’s curb appeal with some sweat equity. Pull weeds, trim the grass, plant a few flowers and perhaps paint your front door to make sure prospective buyers don’t decide to drive away.

Inside, your home needs to be consistently clean, neat, decluttered and depersonalized so that buyers can visualize themselves living there. Your REALTOR® should be able to suggest ways to  prepare your home for a sale, which, by the way, is nothing like the way you live in it. Your kitchen counters should be cleared, your bed always made and your dishes always put away in case a buyer wants to visit.

Marketing Your Home

When you choose a REALTOR®  to list your home, make sure you ask about photos and a marketing plan. The majority of buyers look online first at properties so it’s crucial that your home has multiple professional-quality photos that make it look as enticing as possible, and that your home appears on multiple websites so buyers can see it. A listing without a photo or with one badly lit photo isn’t likely to generate many offers.

Make Your Home Available

One of the more challenging aspects of listing your home for sale is that you must make it available to buyers as easily as possible. Buyers prefer to see a home without the owner there, so make sure there’s a lockbox at your property and that you allow nearly unlimited access to prospective buyers.

Overcome Challenges

Sometimes market conditions or a specific flaw in your home make it tougher to sell as quickly as you would like. Your REALTOR® can help you evaluate the market and let you know if you need to offer particular incentives, such as closing-cost help. If your home has an awkward floorplan or is located on a busy street, you and your REALTOR® can come up with ways to emphasize its positive aspects and deemphasize any negative aspects, such as by staging the backyard or highlighting the renovated kitchen.

This article was originally published by Michele Lerner on Realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.

Soaring Over St. Louis, a Lofty Penthouse

Posted on Updated on

This week’s penthouse soars over the Gateway to the West. Located in downtown St. Louis, this stunning penthouse condo in the Louderman Lofts Building is on the market for $3,500 a month.

stlouis1

With 3,696 square feet of living space spread over three floors, these luxury digs have plenty of room to stretch out. The Louderman building was built in 1915 and converted into condominium lofts about 10 years ago. Consistent with the building’s pedigree, a renter will find vintage details and touches combined with the modern conveniences in the unit’s kitchen, three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

stlouis4

stlouis3

stlouis6

stlouis5

stlouis23

This premium penthouse also comes with access to a decadent deck perfect for parties and entertaining. With over 900 square feet, you could entertain over 50 guests while taking in views of downtown, Busch Stadium and the mighty Mississippi River.

stlouis31

stlouis32

stlouis35

Listing agent Justin Taylor says the place is perfect for a “young professional or empty nester” looking to experience the downtown vibe in this bustling area.

“We haven’t seen any new developments downtown, so there’s a lot less supply on the market here in St. Louis,” Taylor said. “This is a gorgeous unit in a building that’s totally occupied, so it’s not going to be on the market for long.”

This article was originally published by Erik Gunther on Realtor.com. To see more listing photos and the original article, click here.

These Landscaping Mistakes Can Make Your House Harder To Sell

Posted on

Clumsy, neglected, and hodgepodge landscaping not only hurts your home’s curb appeal, it can cut the value of your property and make it harder to sell. 

Real estate appraisers say bad landscaping is a buyer turnoff that can increase the number of days a property languishes on the market, which also hurts prices.

“I’ve been with clients who won’t even go into a house because of the bad landscaping outside,” said Mack Strickland, a Chester, VA, REALTOR® and appraiser.

Even more important, bad landscaping is a downer that hurts the way you see and enjoy your home.

Don’t let bad landscaping happen to you.  Here are the seven landscaping mistakes that bust, rather than boost, your home’s curb appeal.

1. Planting Without a Plan

Some landscaping choices, such as a line of begonias, will last a season; others, like trees, can last a lifetime. So, take time to plan and plot a yard that gives you maximum enjoyment and curb appeal.

For the design challenged, landscape architects are worth the investment ($300-$2,500 depending on yard size). They will render elevations of your future yard, and provide plant lists so you can install landscaping yourself.

2. Too Much Togetherness

Yes, planting in clusters looks way better than installing single plants, soldier-like, throughout your yard. But make sure your groups of perennials, shrubs and trees have plenty of room to spread or they will look choked and overgrown. Also, overcrowded landscaping competes with itself for food and water, putting the clusters at risk, especially during drought.

Google how high and wide the mature plant will be and then combine that info with the spacing suggestions on planting labels. At first, garden beds of young plants will look too airy and prairie-like. But within three years, your beds will fill in with room to grow.

Remember: First year it sleeps, second it creeps, third it leaps.

3. Zoning Out

Don’t be seduced by catalog plants that look gorgeous on paper but aren’t suited to your hardiness zone. You will wind up with plants that die prematurely or demand winter covers, daily watering and other intensive efforts to keep them alive and well.

Check plant labels to see which hardiness zones are best for your plants.

4. More of the Same

Resist the design temptation to carpet-bomb your yard with your favorite plant or shrub, which will create a boring, monochromatic landscape. Worse, your yard will look great when your favorite flowers bloom, then will look drab the rest of the year.

Mix things up and strive for four-season color. For example, combine spring-blooming azaleas with summer-blooming roses and autumn-blazing shrubs such as burning bushes (Euonymus alatus). For winter color, try the red osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), a hardy shrub that sports bright-red branches in winter.

5. Refusing to Bury Your Dead

Nothing wrecks curb appeal faster than rows of dead or dying shrubs and perennials. Quickly remove your dearly departed landscaping from your front and side yards.

Spent plants that lived their natural lives are good candidates for a compost pile (if you grind them first, they’ll decompose faster). But if your landscaping succumbed to disease or infestation, it’s best to inter them in black plastic bags, then add them to the trash.

6. Weeds Gone Wild

Weeds not only wreck the look of your landscaping, they compete with pricey vegetation for water and food. Weeds also can shorten the life of brick, stone and pavers by growing in mortar cracks.

The best way to stop weeds is to spread a pre-emergent about three weeks before weed seeds typically germinate. If you can’t stop them from growing, at least get rid of weedsbefore they flower and send a zillion weed seeds throughout your yard.

7. Contain Those Critters

Deer, rabbits and other backyard pests think your landscaping is an all-you-can-eat buffet, leaving you with denuded branches and topless perennials.

If you’ve got a critter problem:

  • Plant deer- or rabbit-resistant varieties. Your local extension agent can provide a list of green things critters won’t eat in your area.

 

This article was originally published by HouseLogic on Realtor.com. To see the original article, click here

5 Spring Home Maintenance Musts

Posted on

Nothing renews that feeling of pride of ownership more than attending to annual home maintenance tasks (especially once they are completed and behind you). Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to investigate the condition of your home’s exterior — everything from the roof, gutters, siding, and foundation to the lawn, shrubs, trees and garden. The chore isn’t so bad, and with a plan — and the right tools — you can make short work of many of these common tasks.

Inspecting

Spring is a good time to see what damage winter storms, snow and ice may have done to the exterior of your home. Take this time to inspect the roof; you can do it easily and safely from the ground with a pair of binoculars. Look for loose, curled or missing shingles and any bent or damaged flashing around chimneys, skylights or points where the roof makes contact with the house. Note where repairs are in order and make sure to get them done. Next, clean out your gutters and downspouts. With those spring showers on the way, you definitely want to make sure your gutters are clear of debris so that they function properly. Also use this time to inspect your home’s foundation and chimney; repair any cracks or crumbles. Small fixes now could save you money and headaches later.

Pruning

Your trees and bushes will look and grow a lot better if you remove dead, damaged or overhanging branches. The main thing to remember here is to cut the entire branch off at the branch collar, which is the point where the branch connects to the trunk or another branch. Don’t leave little half branches or big stubs. You’ll get the best results using a handsaw or hand pruner, and it’s well worth investing in an extendable pruning saw with clippers if you have some branches that are just out of reach. Be sure to wear safety glasses and a hard hat if you are cutting branches directly overhead.

Cleaning

There’s certainly no shortage of things to clean outside when the spring season hits. A hose attachment like the HYDE PivotJet Pro can help with almost any cleaning task and lets you get the job done with ease since there’s no bulky or noisy engine to cart around or an electric cord to wrestle. Its powerful spray provides superior cleaning without the risk of damage associated with pressure washers. Use it to clean siding, windows, foundations, decks, gutters, patio furniture, grills, driveways, pool areas, fences, mowers and more. The spray wand with a pivot nozzle head gets into hard-to-reach spots, and a built-in liquid cleaner reservoir can be adjusted or turned completely off as needed. It’s much easier to use than a pressure washer, and much more affordable as well.

Touch-up painting

Exterior paint takes a beating throughout the year, so touching up those areas of your house, fence or shed where paint is starting to fail is a good way to avoid long-term damage and make everything look new and fresh. This isn’t a task you want to revisit every year, so it is crucial to follow the proper steps for prepping, priming and repainting.

Garden prepping

If you enjoy growing a vegetable or flower garden, then you have some prep work to do before it’s ready for seed or seedlings. Removing weeds and leaves, tilling or turning the soil, testing the soil and adding the appropriate fertilizers are just a few tasks you can start doing now. You might want to consider adding a motorized tiller to your arsenal of tools if you plan on keeping a good-size garden every year. If you get a jump on prepping your garden early in the season, you will have more time later to enjoy the fun part — watching your garden grow!

This article was originally published by Michael Franco of BobVila.com. To see the original article, click here.

This post has been brought to you by HYDE®. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Will the Home You’re Buying Have Good Resale Value?

Posted on

Choosing a home to buy involves more than just finding a place to raise a family or launch a new chapter of your life, it’s an investment you want to grow in value.

To get the best resale value someday, you will want to consider a number of factors, such as its location, size and condition, the number of bathrooms and the layout. A cozy house with small rooms on a quiet place outside of town might be good for you, but a future buyer might see a home with tiny rooms in a poor location.

Below are some of the top features to consider before you purchase a home, to help maximize its resale value.

Location, Location, Location

Traditionally, a home’s location is its top selling factor. Homebuyers look for a central location near work, school, doctors and shopping centers. Easy access to public transportation, local highways and roads can also strengthen a home’s resale price. Keep in mind, however, that a home located too close to a high-traffic area will not fetch top dollar.

Views Can Add Value

A home facing a strip mall will sell for less due to its unappealing view, while homes with a pleasant view usually sell for a higher price. Consider if the view is worth the extra money paid and if the view will impact a future sale price—especially if there are plans in the works for next-door construction.

However, keep in mind that in some locations homebuyers may not consider the view for investment value as much as they consider location, size and even a swimming pool. Know your real estate market before you put too much emphasis on a view.

Home Layout

A home’s layout is a critical factor in its resale value. The number of bedrooms is one of the primary needs of homebuyers. Young homebuyers usually seek a minimum of three bedrooms. Four bedrooms attract homebuyers even more. Ideally, a bathroom should be located on the first floor for guests, and a second bathroom near the bedrooms. A master bathroom is a perk that will likely add resale value.

Closets in each room are standard and walk-in closets often have higher resale value for their convenience. Kitchens are expensive to remodel so families seek a kitchen layout conducive to family meals, homework stations and storage. Open rooms offering natural light are also a huge plus.

Curb Appeal

You’ll want a house that looks inviting from the street. Look for a house with landcaping that both complements your home and has room for improvement. For example, if the house has bay windows for natural lighting, but large trees obscuring the view, consider factoring the cost of tree removal into the cost of the house.

Updated from an earlier version by Susan Wellish. This article was  published by Angela Colley on Realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.

7-Day Plan: Get a Spotless, Beautifully Organized Living Room

Posted on

The Most Expensive Home for Sale in America

Posted on

With the recent $120 million sale of Greenwich’s Copper Beech Farm, previously the priciest single-family home in America, it’s time for realtor.com® to update their list of the most expensive homes currently for sale.

While a prime 258-acre parcel in the Bel Air community of Los Angeles ranks as the most expensive property with an ask of $125 million, the crown of “most expensive home” now rests on an opulent mansion-estate in New York City.

Vincent Viola’s Mansion — New York City, $114.07 million 

The Upper East Side is no stranger to multimillion-dollar properties, but this bow-wrapped mansion raised the bar when it debuted during the 2013 holiday season for $114.07 million. Owned by Florida Panthers owner Frank Viola, the opulent home now sets the standard for luxury on realtor.com®, and for good reason.

The new “most expensive listing” touts 20,000 square feet of living space spread across six floors and 19 rooms.

Interiors comprised of the finest European-imported materials and state-of-the-art systems offer flashes of grandeur, while amenities include a two-story movie theater, a game room, a fitness room with a sauna, and massive closets that double as panic rooms.

If that sounds tiring, don’t sweat it –– in between its many levels is an elevator lined in onyx.

This information was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg in the article “The 5 Most Expensive Homes for Sale in America,” on Realtor.com.