Our bedrooms can be our sanctuary giving us the much needed rest to rejuvenate our bodies. With these unique spins on how to craft a headboard to spruce up your bedroom, you can also have a unique space for which to call your haven. Headboards created with items around your home can add whimsy, as much as, style. Pool noodles and sporting equipment can make a child’s room come alive with activity. Old shutters, reclaimed wood or rough two by fours can be cleaned, painted and mounted on the wall above your bed to showcase the old turned new for a simple change. Using an old cork board and layering satin ribbon across the board is another inexpensive way to create a unique style for your bedroom. Using baseboard pieces to create frames of mirrors, chalkboard paint and fabric can give the illusion of an expensive frame, but in reality a couple of pieces of wood painted and mounted together to create an elegant look. Draping a set of string or Christmas lights across any of these potential head boards can create ambiance at night.
Using reclaimed wood or two by fours to create a custom back drop for your room will add a down to earth feel.
Choosing to add an old window frame to create wall art or fill the window areas with mirrors, artwork or photos that creates a designers feel to your room.
Try using old doors or mantels to create an inspired and old style room.
Incorporate your favorite sport as a reflection of your favorite team.
Try using a drapery rod to hang either simple drapers or your favorite quote to awaken you to inspired thoughts.
In today’s market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising, some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.
Here are five of those reasons:
1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:
The buyer who wants the best deal possible
The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
The appraiser if there is a question of value
2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers
Recent studies have shown that 89% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 20% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
3. Results Come from the Internet
Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?
The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.
4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult
The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.
5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $210,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $249,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $39,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.
Follow these five steps to get your house market-ready.
What do doctors, firefighters, accountants, computer engineers, and teachers all have in common? At one point or another during the course of their lives, they’ll all probably sell a home. But while some professions may give you great communication skills (which could come in handy with buyers) or make you a boss at crunching the numbers (all the better to compare mortgages), House Selling 101 probably isn’t a prerequisite for any of them. Of course, that’s why real estate agents are trained to list and sell your beloved San Francisco, CA, home for sale, but it doesn’t hurt to study up on some real estate basics.
Consider the following real estate sales strategy. Follow these five steps, and you’ll be well on your way to jump-starting your home sale.
1. Be vigilant with your belongings. Now is the time to tackle those organization and cleaning projects. The detritus of life tends to stack up in our living spaces, which may be fine for every day but isn’t great for selling. Make the adage “less is more” your mantra and divide your belongings into two piles: one to take to the new place, one to toss or give away. (Or try following a flow chat for decluttering tips.) And remember, packing items away doesn’t mean shoving them in the hallway closet. Buyers will very likely open every cabinet and drawer, so those spaces should be tidy too.
Pro tip: Get a head start on packing and moving to your new home by renting a portable storage unit. Take a few days to pack the unit with displaced and off-season items, then call up the storage company to get it hauled away to the storage yard while you show your house. Once you’re settled in your new place, give them another call and have your stuff brought to your new home. Easy!
2. Find a real estate agent. As you’re getting your house in order, start the hunt for a real estate agent. You’re not looking for just any agent; you need a real star to get you to the finish line. Put the word out to your network and don’t feel like you have to work with someone because they are family. Once you have some referrals, take the time for an interview and get to know their selling style. If said agent declines the interview request, they’re probably not for you — proceed to the next one on your list. If they seem almost right, keep looking until you find a great match. It’s worth the time investment to find the right agent.
3. Dig out all relevant paperwork. While you’re cleaning and scrubbing, keep an eye out for paperwork that’s been stashed in random places throughout the years. Warranties, installation invoices, mortgage records — pull together all the documents you need to sell a house. Buyers hope for an active, informed seller who is involved with the details of their home. The best practice is to have all the paperwork you need for the seller’s disclosure notice. If you can’t find the documents, you can always select “I don’t know” on the form (but keep in mind, your home sale may suffer from the lack of information).
4. Schedule a strategy session with your real estate agent. Purging and cleaning were the warm-up act. Now you’re ready for the main event. After you’ve signed on the dotted line with your real estate professional, schedule a walk-through before listing and take your agent’s feedback seriously. They know what color to paint that old maroon accent wall, how to stage the living room so it looks 20% bigger, and how to deal with outdated kitchen cabinets. They also know how to allocate your dollars to impress potential buyers.
5. Repair and remodel. Work your way through your agent’s list of recommended repair tasks. If they advise a couple of remodel projects, make these a priority so listing photos can be scheduled. Remember, your agent is plugged in to the local market and has insider knowledge that can help your home compete in a crowded market.
Pro tip: If it’s a buyer’s market, consider scheduling a prelisting inspection. Nothing gives buyers the warm fuzzies more than seeing a completed inspection with items already attended to and checked off.
After deciding to sell your home, what real estate sales strategy do you implement to land a quick, efficient home sale?
Leave these tasks in the hands of professionals for the sake of your wallet, well-being and sanity.
To keep your home running smoothly, you need a clear household chore list. That much is a given. You can likely do the basics, such as cooking and cleaning, yourself, providing you have the time, inclination and wherewithal (but be sure to put a price on your time).
You can even manage the household budget if you set your mind to it, and prepare your own taxes, with the help of a tax software program like TurboTax, as long as they’re not too complex.
However, there are numerous other tasks — daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal — that you may want to consider outsourcing, for any number of reasons.
You should hire a pro for the following chores and tasks:
Did the fridge die? Is the dryer not working? Toilet out of order? Sure, if you’re handy you could try to figure out things on your own (especially if you’re fairly certain what went wrong), but this is one area where if you mess things up, you could end up owing a whole lot more than if you’d hired a pro initially.
Walking the dog
Why: Frequency of walks
Dogs typically need to go outside several times a day. What are you going to do — race home from work and do it yourself? Unless you’re working from home or have a super-flexible schedule, consider hiring a professional dog walker. To find one in your area, tryDogWalker.com; hourly rates range from $15 to $30. Having this chore handled will allow you to be more productive in the office and alleviate feelings of guilt when you have to work late. Plus, your dog will be happy!
Why: Success rate
Yes, there are inexpensive dry-cleaning kits on the market, but the effectiveness and number of treatments vary by brand. Moreover, success rates appear to be questionable by many accounts. Leave it to the pros! But first, check the label on your garment to see whether dry cleaning is even required.
Why: Your health
Sure, shoveling snow is a great workout: shoveling burns about 223 calories per 30 minutes of activity, according to Harvard Medical School. But given its high intensity, it’s best attempted when you are physically fit. If you’re older, out of shape and mostly sedentary, or have a medical condition that could put you at risk when performing strenuous exercise, check with your physician before tackling the walkway. Or better yet — leave it to a pro who owns the equipment needed to clear that snow fast.
Why: Safety reasons
This is something you should outsource, in particular, if you don’t have the knowledge to care for everything the way a professional would. And, as an FYI, it’s also a good idea to hire someone to clean the gutters, power-wash the house or do anything that requires a ladder. Safety first.
There are many challenges you have to handle if you want to enjoy a nice retirement without worries out there. The following guidelines will give you more to work with so you can make generating income easier with a solid real estate investment, so let’s get started with the first idea on our list:
Choosing the type of real estate investment
There is a difference between what you may want to do and what you can do on your local real estate market. One good example of that would be to invest in an office building with potential if you have the means, which in turn would allow you to make use of the rent a company would have to offer financially. Ensuring a property provided with good parking lots and a location closer to a main road will make it more useful for your potential tenants, so consider that when you scout the market.
Improving and purchasing cheaper real estate
This is a solution that you can use to turn things around for older properties, especially since the cheaper ones will be of less demand for a number of reasons. You can still make use of them by doing some renovation. It will be an investment on its own and not without risk, but in some markets house flipping as it is called can be a viable business tactic if you can afford it. You can do this with renting in mind or simply buying, renovating and then selling the property at a better price. If you’re not sure whether this is worth the effort, you should speak to your chosen real estate agent for more relevant information on your local market to see whether this is a good idea or not.
Improving the property market value
There are quite a few ways you can go about improving your property, but not all of them require a serious investment of money for massive renovation projects. Your home can transform without too much effort and expenses if you handle it right. Consider the ratio between cost and effect and decide what solution would work best. Potential tenants will want to move house into a solid property, so you can work with a moving company to find out more information on recent moving patterns, as well as combining your efforts with an experienced real estate agent to get a better bead on the market, using that information to your advantage. Repainting a home is one example of a project that doesn’t require structural changes, but one that goes a long way to make a property look fresh once again. This will give you a better chance to attract potential buyers, especially when combined with some other smaller details such as changing out the light switches as well as the lights themselves and addressing maintenance issues the property may have had before you invested in it.
Keeping track of your credit score
Do you want to have a good set of investment capabilities you can rely upon? Well that means you will need to have financial stability first as well as proof of one. Many lenders these days will need to possess a minimum FICO rating of at least 700 if you want a fighting chance, so make sure you have a solid financial capability before you decide to move in on the market, as this is often the only way to obtain the finances needed for long-term real estate investments.
Shades of white, crisp navy and earthy neutrals create a calming and versatile backdrop for your favorite home accessories.
Trendy color pairings are not for everyone. But even if you prefer timeless paint palettes, the decision to update your home decor with new hues still comes with a lot of choices. Glossy or matte? Warm or cool tones? Pretty patterns or bare necessities? Here are three favorite palettes and pairings to help you gain a fresh perspective on your home.
Navy and white
If you’re lucky enough to call a beautiful coastline your home, a navy-and-white color palette is a perfect pick for your space. Its nautical roots and fresh, crisp look are a natural fit for a beach house or residence inspired by the shore.
Navy helps bring dramatic dimension to a room when paired with white trim or wainscoting. Keep the rest of the room’s colors and accessories simple and natural, adding texture throughout with jute and other natural fibers for a fresh-off-the-beach feel.
Crisp white and warm gray
A truly timeless color palette, white and gray have the ability to turn a room completely contemporary or settle it into a totally traditional space. The shades of white and gray you select will determine the personality of the room, and change how light reflects off the walls, textiles, and flooring.
Try a warm greenish-gray paired with a crisp white for a transitionally styled space. The beige undertones help balance the coolness of the white, giving off an inviting vibe, perfect for pairing with vibrantly colored cushions, textiles, or accessories like rugs or ottomans.
Natural tan and warm white
Breathe life into a contemporary space with neutral tones like gray, brown, white, and beige. While this isn’t a new idea, it’s a luxurious take on a signature color palette, especially for a home transitioning into a modern style. (It’s also great for renters, because many rental homes already have white walls.)
If you have high ceilings to work with, paint the walls and ceilings the same bright white to draw the eye upward and create visual space. Next, opt for soft natural tones in your flooring, carpeting, and upholstery. Finally, choose furnishings with texture like braided accents, woven designs, and wooded elements.
If you’re dying for color, touches of red help warm up a cool and contemporary color palette like this.
CoreLogic’s latestEquity Report revealed that one million borrowers regained equity in their homes in 2015. The outlook for 2016 remains positive as well, as an additional 850,000 properties would regain equity if home prices rose another 5% this year.
The study also revealed:
95% of homes valued over $200,000 now have a positive equity position
87% of homes valued under $200,000 have entered a positive position
The 11.5% growth in home equity in Q4 marked the 13th consecutive quarter of double digit gains
Below is a map showing the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)
Significant Equity Is On The Rise
Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the“long-term health of the U.S. economy.” He went on to say:
“The number of homeowners with more than 20% equity is rising rapidly. Higher prices driven largely by tight supply are certainly a big reason for the rise, but continued population growth, household formation and ultralow interest rates are also factors.”
Of the 91.5% of homeowners with positive equity in the US, 72.6% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that nearly three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home now.
The map below shows the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, with significant equity.
If you are one of the many homeowners who is unsure of how much equity you have in your home and are curious about your ability to move, meet with a local real estate professional who can help evaluate your situation.
Stop daydreaming about the second home you’d love to have, and start making it a reality.
Whether you’re seeking a cozy cabin in the mountains, a getaway beach house, or a modern condo in your favorite big city, buying a second home is a big decision. Here’s how to tell if you’re ready for another home, and how to prepare if a second home is actually in the cards for you.
1. Determine if you can afford a second home
Before you get your heart set on any one property, assess your situation and look beyond the cost of a second mortgage alone. And keep in mind that mortgage companies may charge your second home more in interest if you intend to rent your home out, as lenders consider rental properties a greater risk than primary residences.
Can you afford insurance, property taxes, and ongoing costs when you’re not around? Water, electric, gas, and trash removal bills never stop, even when you’re away.
And just like with your current home, unexpected maintenance charges are a given. Want a yard for your kids or pup to run around in? Plan on landscaping costs when you’re away from your vacation home.
Additionally, if you know you’ll be gone from your potential second home longer than a few weeks, you may want to hire a property manager to regularly check in on your property.
2. Decide on a location
Sure, a home near your favorite beach sounds perfect, but would you be able to visit your second home as often as you’d like? Purchasing a second home when you only have a couple weeks of vacation a year, or you live thousands of miles away, might not be worth it — especially if you’re not planning to use your second home as a rental.
However, if you already spend a significant amount of your time where you hope to buy, and you can afford a second property, a vacation home may be the perfect plan for you.
3. Investigate insuring a second home
Once you have an idea of the true costs involved with owning a second home, and you know the general area you hope to buy in, a chat with your insurance company comes next.
Start the second-home conversation with your current insurer, where you already have a relationship. If you use them for both of your properties and car(s), you may qualify for a better rate.
Take note, though: Better rates don’t mean inexpensive rates. If your potential new home is in an area prone to flooding, your insurance rates will likely be higher.
Houses with swimming pools also tend to up your rates, and a pool with no fence or gate surrounding it may mean no coverage at all.
4. Find your home and enjoy a vacay any day
After you’ve budgeted all possible expenses for a second home and you’ve identified potential neighborhoods, contact a real estate agentand find your new home.
Once you’re settled in your new vacation property, soak in the benefits. Not only do you get to enjoy vacation time from the comfort of home, but if you spend significant time there, you’ll soon discover how cost-effective a second home really is in comparison to vacation rentals.
Other perks? Ample privacy, and no crowds like you would face in a hotel.
And if your newly purchased second home is in a desirable area, you may benefit financially in the long term even if you choose not to rent out your property. Depending on how your second home is used, you’ll probably also qualify for some tax benefits.
A vacation home should be a refuge. Use your second home as a space to unplug, relax, and spend time with those you care for, in an area you love.
A great-looking yard and exterior help attract potential buyers, but today’s sellers need to take it a step further.
Let’s face it, first impressions matter. We care about how we dress for a job interview, and we spend extra time in front of the mirror before that first date. When it comes to selling a home, first impressions matter, too.
The term “curb appeal” derives from real estate sales and home design. For years, buyers have formed their first impressions of homes while standing in the street or sitting inside the car, just beyond the curb. Before the advent of text messaging and smartphones, a buyer would get a phone call or fax from their agent about a new listing. The initial drive-by would determine whether or not they would go for an actual showing.
To get that buyer in the door, the seller spent hours, even days, seeding new grass and planting flowers, painting their front door, mulching, weeding and cleaning up the yard. If the home didn’t appeal from the curb, buyers moved on to the next house. Curb appeal was always the single most important piece of the home sale puzzle.
Today, curb appeal still matters — but it matters differently. Almost every buyer forms their first impression from a home’s online photos.
Instead of driving to your home, buyers will scroll through pictures of both the outside and the inside, before ever stepping foot inside. What’s more, they may never come to see it if they don’t like what they see online.
While the exterior of your home should be high on your priority list, it is most valuable only when the buyer walks up or drives by. But they may not ever get that far.
The interior also needs to show your home in its best possible light, because Web appeal has become the new curb appeal. And if your home doesn’t photograph well — either because you didn’t have it professionally shot, didn’t post high-resolution photos, or you haven’t taken the time to prep it — then curb appeal won’t even make a difference.
What sellers should do
Sellers need to spend ample time preparing the inside of their home and getting great photos, so buyers will form the best possible impression.
The downside for sellers is that they have to work so much harder than they did just 15 years ago. In our ever-more-visual society, buyers make immediate judgments about a home within moments of clicking on the new listing on their smartphone.
Sellers only have one chance to make a good impression. The home still needs to look good from the curb — but to get the buyers there in person, it needs to look great on the Web.
Every homeowner hopes to accomplish five goals when selling their home:
Sell it for the best price
Sell it within a predetermined time
Sell it with the least amount of hassles
Close on the sale the same day they move into their new home
The fifth reason is the most obvious and the most important:
They want to make sure it sells.
In order to dramatically increase the chances that the house sells, a homeowner should list with a real estate professional in their market. Why? Because agents have access to the vast majority of the available buyers!!
According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) recently released 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 87% of all buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. And more that 8 out of 10 buyers in every age group used an agent (see chart below).
If you want your home sold, the best way is to go where the buyers are. The NAR study revealed that the vast majority of purchasers will use an agent when they buy. Meet with a local real estate professional today if you want the best chance of selling.