Categories
Selling

Empty Nesters: Best To Remodel Or Time To Sell?

Your children have finally moved out and you and your spouse now live alone in a four-bedroom colonial (or a similar type of house). You have two choices to make:

  1. Remodel your house to fit your current lifestyle and needs
  2. Sell your house and purchase the perfect home

Based on the record of dollars spent on remodeling and renovations, it appears that many homeowners are deciding on number one. But, is that the best long-term solution?

If you currently live in a 3-4-bedroom home, you probably bought it at a time when your children were the major consideration in determining family housing needs. Along with a large home, you more than likely also considered school district, the size of the property and the makeup of other families living in the neighborhood (example: you wanted a block with other kids your children could play with and a backyard large enough to accommodate that).

Remodeling your home to meet your current needs might mean combining two bedrooms to make one beautiful master suite and changing another bedroom into the massive walk-in closet you always wanted. However, if you live in a neighborhood that historically attracts young families, you may be dramatically undermining the value of your house by cutting down the number of bedrooms and making it less desirable to the typical family moving onto your block.

And, according to a recent study, you will recoup only 64.4% of a remodeling project’s investment dollars if you sell in the future.

Your home is probably at its highest value as it stands right now. Instead of remodeling your house, it may make better financial sense to sell your current home and purchase a home that was built specifically to meet your current lifestyle and desires.

In many cases, this well-designed home will give you exactly what you want in less square footage (read less real estate taxes!) than your current home.

Bottom Line

If you are living in a house that no longer fits your needs, at least consider checking out other homes in your area that would meet your lifestyle needs before taking on the cost and hassle of remodeling your current house.

Posted by the KCM Crew

 

Ready to sell? Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth!

Categories
Buying

Don’t Disqualify Yourself… 52% Of Approved Loans Have A FICO® Score Under 750

The results of countless studies have shown that potential home buyers, and even current homeowners, have an inflated view of what is really required to qualify for a mortgage in today’s market.

One such study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that many millennials have not yet considered purchasing homes simply because they don’t believe they can qualify for a mortgage.

A recent article about millennials by Realtor.com explained that:

About 72% of aspiring millennial buyers said they’re waiting because they can’t afford to buy…

The article also explained that 29% of millennials believe their credit scores are too low to buy. The problem here is the fact that they think they will be denied a mortgage is keeping them from even attempting to apply.

Ellie Mae’s Vice President Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they won’t qualify for a mortgage:

“Many potential home buyers are ‘disqualifying’ themselves. You don’t need a 750 FICO® Score and a 20% down payment to buy.”

So, what credit score is necessary?

Below is a breakdown of the FICO® Score distribution of all closed (approved) loans in July from Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Report.

Over 52% of all approved loans had a FICO® Score under 750. Many potential home buyers believe that they need a score over 780 to qualify.

Bottom Line

If owning a home of your own has always been your dream and you are ready and willing to buy, or if you are a homeowner who wants to move up, find out if you are able to! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine if your dreams can become a reality sooner than you thought!

Posted by The KCM Crew

Categories
Interior Design

3 Design Tricks That Will Make Your Small Space Feel Big

With tiny homes and personal decluttering trends taking the world by storm, many people are learning to do more with less.

Do you have a small space in your home that you’re unsure what to do with? Or is your cramped apartment forcing you to be creative in your living arrangements? You’re not alone.

Make your small room or living area fit your needs with clever solutions that will streamline your life and maximize your space.

Paint can work wonders

Choosing the right paint color for your small room can instantly give the impression of more space or emphasize its cozy feel. Traditional neutrals like white, cream and light gray are great choices because they provide a clean and streamlined look, while making the room feel brighter and more expansive.

Painting the ceiling white to draw the eye upward is an easy way to create visual openness overhead. You’ll have an airy and inviting space in no time.

Courtesy of Orlando Soria.

On the other hand, if you want to play up the small space vibe even more, go bold with dark colors. It’s a fun and unique design choice to emphasize the smallness of a room by making a cozy den-like atmosphere with colors like black, dark gray and navy.

Courtesy of Allison Lind.

Whether you decide to go light or dark, adding paint to your small space will help you get the effect you are going for in a quick and budget-friendly way.

Savvy storage

With tight spaces, there isn’t always room for all the storage needed for belongings, clothing, office supplies and more. By incorporating creative and flexible storage solutions, you can easily keep clutter out of sight, while still keeping everything you need handy.

For example, the kitchen is a great place to implement clever storage. Roll-away islands and pantries create an adjustable cooking area to fit your needs.

Courtesy of Sandra Bird.

Add storage by using the space beneath your cabinets for hanging spices or wine glasses, and attaching holders to the backs of cabinet doors to keep foil and cleaning supplies neatly out of sight.

Don’t forget about uncommon spaces like ceilings for hanging items like bicycles out of the way, or adding shelving high up in closets for rarely used items.

Multi-tasking furniture

When you have limited floor space, it’s important to make your furniture work double duty. Choose pieces that have hidden storage and multiple functions, or can be compacted and stored when not in use.

Photo from Zillow listing.

If you can’t fit a dresser in your bedroom, try using drawers or crates under the bed for clothing and extra linens. A pouf or leather ottoman can easily transition from a seat to a footrest or side table.

Add function to your entryway by employing a bench with storage inside to hide extra shoes, gloves, and scarves. And if you have wall space to spare, hang a fold-down dining table.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Using modular pieces that can serve different purposes or fold out of the way frees up room to make your space comfortable and livable for you and your guests.

Limited square footage doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice function and style. Small space living is a great way to lead a simplified and streamlined life. With creative thinking, you can go from a cluttered, cramped mess to an organized and inviting space with room for all.

Posted by Erica Sooter on Zillow

Categories
Curb Appeal

5 Simple Ways to Stage the Exterior of Your Home Before an Open House

If you’re selling your home, chances are good you’re familiar with the concept of staging your home. Real estate agents recommend your home look its best to prospective buyers, and home staging is a great way to ensure you receive top dollar. But did you know you should stage the exterior of your home too? Failing to update the look of your home’s exterior can cause buyers to get a bad first impression when they initially arrive to view your home.  Whether your audience are luxury home buyers or you are selling your starter home, staging the exterior of your home will have a major impact in the sale of your home.  If you want to put exterior home staging to work, here are five elements you should consider tweaking.

Clean Your Exterior Windows and Screens

Nothing says poor maintenance like dirty windows and window screens. If your windows are caked with dust or muck from the last rainstorm, open house visitors are going to wonder what other maintenance jobs you haven’t attended to. Don’t give visitors the opportunity to question whether your home has been properly maintained or not; clean those windows and screens before authorizing an open house.

Refresh Your Gardens and Walkways

Just like dirty windows are a real estate faux pas, so are unkempt flower beds. Weeds and overgrown bushes tell visitors you can’t be bothered with the small stuff. Spend a day removing weeds and trimming flowers, or hire a professional landscaper to refresh your gardens.  It is amazing what a refreshed garden can do to your home’s curb appeal.

Refresh Your Home’s Siding

No, you don’t have to replace your home’s siding prior to an open house. A quick power wash could be all it takes to remove years of dust and grime. You can attempt this task yourself, but it might be worth your while to hire a professional. Some homeowners have been known to damage their home’s siding by using too forceful a water stream. This is one task that is often best left to experienced professionals.  The last thing you want to deal with is replacing siding before an open house.

Update/Clean Door Fixtures and House Address Signage

Something as simple as a new doorknob or address signage can give your home a refreshed look. You needn’t spring for a new door; just update the faceplate and/or doorknob. Purchase new address numbers from the local hardware store and you’ll have tweaked the look of your home’s exterior in just a few minutes.

Clean Patio Furniture

Whether you have chairs on your front veranda or a dining set on your back deck, tired patio furniture can cost you big dollars when it comes time to negotiate with a potential homebuyer. Dilapidated patio furniture instantly gives a bad impression and can cause potential homebuyers to request replacement furniture as part of their deal. Spruce up your existing furniture with a quick power wash, or replace it if it is beyond cleaning.

Simple tweaks to the exterior of your home can have a big impact on your home’s final selling price. By spending just a few days improving the look of the outside of your home, you can increase the amount buyers are willing to offer and make your home the cleanest real estate listing on the block. Will you be trying these exterior home staging tricks when you list your home for sale?

 

Posted by Charles Muotoh on RISMedia

Categories
Selling

Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission

One of the main reasons why For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe they will save the commission an agent charges for getting their house on the market and selling it. A new study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many casesbelow the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”(emphasis added)

Why would FSBOs net less money than if they used an agent?

The study makes several suggestions:

  • “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids on with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
  • “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
  • “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.

Three conclusions from the study:

  1. FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
  2. The differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%.
  3. The sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money.

Posted by The KCM Crew

Categories
Real Estate Tips

Infographic: What You Need to Know About Millennial Homebuyers

Millennials have been the largest group of homebuyers for the last three years running, and with most millennials yet to enter the housing market, their dominance is unlikely to end any time soon. This is great news for real estate agents. In 2016, 88 percent of all buyers used an agent; however, a full 92 percent of millennials purchased their home with the help of an agent! That said, understanding who this group of buyers is, how they search, and why they choose to work with agents will help you shape your business to best serve and appeal to the needs of this growing pool of buyers.

Before you can work with millennial buyers, you have to find them. Don’t let any more millennials fall into the hands of your competitors! Ask us how Local Connect can help you target quality buyers and sellers in the initial stages of their transactions so you can start connecting with them today!

 

Posted by Mark Mathis on RISMedia

Categories
Market News

58% Of Homeowners See A Drop In Home Values Coming

According to the recently released Modern Homebuyer Survey from ValueInsured58 percent of homeownersthink there will be a “housing bubble and price correction” within the next 2 years.

After what transpired just ten years ago, we can understand the concern Americans have about the current increase in home prices. However, this market has very little in common with what happened last decade.

 

The two major causes of the housing crash were:

  1. A vast oversupply of housing inventory caused by home builders building at a pace that far exceeded historical norms.
  2. Lending standards that were so relaxed that unqualified buyers could easily obtain financing thus enabling them to purchase a home.

Today, housing inventory is at a 20-year low with new construction starts well below historic norms and financing a home is anything but simple in the current mortgage environment. The elements that precipitated the housing crash a decade ago do not exist in today’s real estate market.

The current increase in home prices is the result of a standard economic equation: when demand is high and supply is low, prices rise.

If you are one of the 58% of homeowners who are concerned about home values depreciating over the next two years and are hesitant to move up to the home of your dreams, take comfort in the latest Home Price Expectation Survey.

Once a quarter, a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists are surveyed and asked to project home values over the next five years. The experts predicted that houses would continue to appreciate through the balance of this year and in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. They do expect lower levels of appreciation during these years than we have experienced over the last five years but do not call for a decrease in values (depreciation) in any of the years mentioned.

Bottom Line

If you currently own a home and are thinking of moving-up to the home your family dreams about, don’t let the fear of another housing bubble get in the way as this housing market in no way resembles the market of a decade ago.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Categories
Cleaning

7 Habits People with Clean Homes Have

Image source: https://hips.htvapps.com

We all seem to have that one friend whose house looks so refreshing and clean each time we visit them, yet we never see them struggling with cleaning their homes. Do they have house elves? Is the house actually magic, and it simply cleans itself? What type of sorcery is this?

Actually, it’s not sorcery at all. They are just people who hate cleaning, and who came up with solutions to keep their house clean for a longer time. Years of experience taught them a thing or two, and now we’re sharing the love with you.

1. Put the Clothes Away

At some point in life, everyone had “the chair”, also known as the place where we’d dump the clothes that we’d worn that day. Due to laziness, the clothes would no longer reach the laundry the next day – so one pair of jeans and one T-shirt would become two pairs of jeans and two T-shirts.

You’d do this until the mountain would become so big, you’d be afraid to touch it – but what’s worse is that it would ruin the way your room looks like.

To prevent this from happening, make a habit out of putting your clothes away when you are done with them – either in the wardrobe or the laundry. It’s also more convenient to look for a pair of jeans in an organized closet rather than in a huge stash on the sofa.

2. Don’t Stash Extras

Do you have three staplers, five bottle openers and hundreds of pens lying around in your house? We get it, just in case the other one breaks; however, that “just in case” will give that feeling of clutter in your home. So, your house will no longer look clean and organized. Keep just one item of each.

3. Dust and Vacuum on a Regular Basis

Image source: http://ghk.h-cdn.co/

Nothing says a clean home more than a clean carpet. No matter if you vacuum yourself or hire a carpet cleaning company, you have to make sure that the floor you step on is clean.

How often you do that, it also depends. If you have pets, you must do it daily. If not, once every two days is also alright. This way, you won’t have to go through major cleaning sessions every time at the end of the week.

4. Make Your Bed Every Morning

Have you noticed how clean your home looks after you make your bed? You may have all your things in order, but if your bed is messy, then it’s all in vain. Nothing makes a room look so nice and clean than a tidy bed.

5. Wipe the Surface After Use

No matter if you are cooking, making a sandwich, brushing your teeth or putting on makeup, wipe the surface right after you use it. A dirty sink or counter will make your house look messy. Therefore, if you just wipe it right away, you won’t have to go through thorough cleaning when you see the slime or dirt piling up on the surface.

6. Stash Away the Paper

You have no idea the damage that a paper forgotten on the desk can do to your clean home. Before long, bills will start stashing next to those papers, and it will literally seem like the room itself is breeding more paper.

To keep this from happening, place all your bills in one place the moment you read them – and do the same for coupons, menus, and other paper-made things. A solution would be some DIY file holders or paper trays.

7. Wash the Dishes Right After You Use Them

Image source: https://i1.wp.com

“I’ll wash this later; it’s only one bowl.” The problem is, it’s never only one bowl. Things keep stashing after the first one, and before you know it, you’ll have a mountain of dishes that you’re too afraid to touch (kind of like “the chair” syndrome).

To prevent this from happening, you may want to clean your dishes and glassware right after you use them. An empty sink with no dishes will make your house look clean for a longer time. Plus, it’s easier to wash just one dish instead of twenty.

These are some simple little things that will only take you a few minutes at a time; but if you master these habits, then you won’t have to clean your home as often – because it will already be clean.

Author Bio: Nathan Raymond is the CEO of West Coast Restoration & Cleaning. “Ray” and his staff are experts in water and fire restoration, and mold removal, carpet cleaning, and much more.

Posted by HomeZada

Categories
Selling

FSBO Risks: 4 Scary Scenarios ‘For Sale by Owner’ Home Sellers Face

jhorrocks/iStock

Going the “For Sale by Owner” route is a tempting alternative to hiring a real estate agent to sell your home. After all, listing agents charge a commission for their work that can eat into your own profits. So why not try to save money by selling your home yourself?

Here’s why: There are some major risks with going FSBO, from a lower sales price to landing in legal hot water. So before you pursue this DIY route, here’s a warning of some of the bad things you might encounter when you attempt a FSBO arrangement.

1. Your listing won’t be seen by many buyers

One key thing a real estate agent will do for you is create an eye-catching ad for your home, with attractive photos and a winning description that will reel in buyers (by, say, playing up those hardwood floors and granite countertops). Sure, you can probably cobble together your own ad, but there’s one thing you absolutely can’t do if you go FSBO: Post that ad on the multiple listing service.

Real estate agents pay to put their listings on the MLS, which is then distributed far and wide, including to sites such as realtor.com®. Which is great, since that way you know your home can be seen by thousands of potential buyers and their agents. With FSBO, however, your home won’t go on the MLS; instead, it’ll go on sites that cater to FSBO listings, which get far less traffic.

“There are thousands of agents trying to sell your house when it’s on the MLS, but when you do it alone, only one person is trying to sell your house—you,” notes Realtor® Denise Briez with Pro100 in Neosho, MO.

2. Your home could sell for a much lower price

Pricing a home can be far more challenging than most newbies assume. The majority of sellers price their home based on emotions, or what they hope it should sell for in some dreamy best-case scenario.

“Often the seller is too personally invested in the situation and too close to be objective,” says John Powell, chief development officer at Help-U-Sell Real Estate in Tucson, AZ.

But buyers want a bargain, and they know when a place is overpriced. As such, listings with bloated prices tend to sit—and sit—on the market. Even if you eventually lower the price, buyers are likely to wonder at that point if there’s something wrong with your house since it’s languished on the market so long.

A real estate agent, by contrast, will provide an accurate home value based on a solid market analysis, plus serve as a buffer between you and buyers to facilitate successful negotiations and a resolution both parties can live with. This, in turn, means you can earn top dollar for your home—which means your agent will likely earn every penny he’s paid.

3. You could run into legal trouble

Selling a home is fraught with legal pitfalls that only a real estate agent will know. As such, when you choose the FSBO route, you could do something that skirts the law but not even know it.

“There are a lot of potential legal problems that can arise during home selling,” says David Welch, a Realtor with Re/Max 200 Realty in Winter Park, FL. “I would say disclosure requirements may be your most likely issue. Most states, maybe all of them, have requirements involving seller’s disclosure of defects in the property.”

Disclosure requirements vary by state, but might include information on lead-based paint, nearby environmental hazards or sex offenders, and even whether someone died in the house. If you know of such info but keep mum, you could be committing a prosecutable offense and have one highly irate buyer on your hands to boot.

4. You might end up with a buyer who doesn’t pan out

Even if your FSBO listing gets an offer that you accept, you’re not out of the woods quite yet. For one, buyers fall through or back out for all sorts of reasons. For instance, you might inadvertently choose a buyer who can’t get a loan, which means you’ll have to start back at square one.

A real estate agent will be your ally in confirming a buyer is pre-approved for the correct loan amount, and then will ensure there is an airtight contract in place so the entire process will proceed smoothly.

Due to the risks of FSBO homes, many sellers eventually realize they can’t afford to not hire a real estate agent. So make sure to weigh the FSBO trade-offs against your money, time, and peace of mind.

 

Posted by Cathie Ericson on realtor.com

Categories
Interior Design

5 Retro Decorating Trends That Deserve a Comeback

If you’ve been yearning for the return of the conversation pit, you’re not alone.

Some home decor looks are just too good to let go. The boldly colored kitchen cabinets of the ’50s are taking on a sophisticated modern look. The late ’80s country kitchen look is enjoying new life — minus the gingham frills and bonneted goose motif — in today’s farmhouse chic trend, and mid-century design has taken over the home furnishing offerings of retailers at every price point. Rattan furniture and velvet upholstery, both popular in the ’70s, are showing up in designer collections again.

Our pick for the decor trend  most deserving of a second chance? The brightly colored bathroom fixtures (and sometimes even matching tile) that became popular beginning in the 1930s, and evolved from cool pastels to the much-maligned avocado and harvest gold hues of the 1970s. We’re not seeing these offered new yet, but salvage stores are a great resource if you simply must have a mint green or bubble-gum pink sink for your bathroom renovation.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Here are some of the blast-from-the-past home decor looks designers are happy to have deja vu over.

’50s-style dens

We are loving the reemergence of the den or the basement as a gathering space. Instead of having family and friends centered around a 50-inch television in the living room, we’re seeing people move toward intimate areas like listening rooms for their favorite vinyls, or casual seating in the den with headphones and their iPads. This setup is more conducive for connecting and catching up, or simply taking time for one’s self — think wood paneling, updated and re-imagined bean bags in designer fabrics, and high-quality retro audio sound.

– Kerrie Kelly, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

Photo by Brian Kellogg.

Macrame textile art

Macrame from the ’60s and ’70s, but with a whole new twist. I love the beautiful heavy knotted textile hangings as art, or the thin delicate hangings for room screens. [They can hold] hanging flower vases and even light fixtures. This time it’s all about texture with a Scandinavian vibe.

– Susan M. Jamieson, ASID, Bridget Beari Designs, Inc.

Big macrame on a white brick wall in bedroom; Shutterstock ID 671446057; PO: Cat Overman; Job: blog post

Conversation pits

We want big living rooms with circular, sunken conversation pits. They need custom built-in sofas, space-age floating fireplaces hanging in the middle, and plush shag carpeting deep enough to swallow your foot. Give us this dedicated zone for hanging out with friends and family, a space that isn’t centered around a TV screen. Give us bold colors and wild graphic patterns on pillows. And, most importantly, give us a live-in housekeeper, because those shag carpets are a nightmare to keep clean.

– Chris Stout-Hazard, ROGER+CHRIS

Photo from Zillow listing.

The home design trend from the past I’d love to see make a comeback is the conversation pit. Our technology age has created a digital life and physical separation. The classic conversation pit promotes togetherness and community. The conversational pit arrangement organically encourages people to face each other with comfortable deep seating. It also can be an advantage in design strategy, with a flexibility to promote a stylish streamlined modern feel or a casual bohemian aesthetic. Inspiring our clients to ditch the television and engage with family and friends is part of our design practice, creating space as experience.

– Elena Frampton, Frampton Co.

Timelessly practical kitchen features

Two of our favorite features making a comeback lately are banquette seating and library ladders, especially in the kitchen. A lot of our projects are in the city, where space is at a premium. Banquette seating works great in a tight space, plus it creates additional storage opportunities under the bench. Same goes for the ladder: It’s all about space. If you don’t have to haul out a clunky ladder to access everything out of reach, you can double your kitchen’s storage capacity with cabinets or shelves that go all the way up to the ceiling.

– Jeff Pelletier,  Board & Vellum

Photo from Zillow listing.

Brass hardware and fixtures

Used in smaller doses like pull handles and faucets with a more sleek and modern shape, [brass hardware and fixtures] can really up your design game in a cool classy way. My favorite bathroom look right now is dark navy cabinets with Carrera marble quartz counters, oversized white sinks, and printed cement floor tile incorporated with brass pull handles and faucets.

– Christina El Moussa, HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” and SuccessPath

Photo from Zillow listing.

 

Posted by Cat Overman on Zillow