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How to Stage a House That Sells

What if your home could look bigger without a costly add-on? What if a simple coat of paint could transform an outdated space into a haven that buyers will want to call their own?

Home staging is an art designed to show off your home in its best light. Professional home stagers understand the current market—from flooring that’ll make buyers swoon to paint colors that can make you money. They can even help maximize each room so that the coziest nook feels downright spacious.

By utilizing your own furniture in a new way, swapping outdated pieces for show-ready ones, or added touches of outdoor life, home staging makes the most of your home by helping buyers focus on its features rather than its flaws.

Home Staging Tips for the Whole House

To make the biggest impact, stage your home before your listing photos are taken. You want a potential buyer to have the best first impression possible. Here’s our list of favorite tips to get you well on your way to a home that buyers will want to make their own.

Spring Into Cleaning

Don’t just tidy up: think spring-cleaning on steroids. From the baseboards to the ceiling light fixtures, the kitchen appliances to the windows, and the nooks to the crannies, everything should be spotless and gleaming.

Don’t have time to put that much elbow grease into your home staging? Hire a professional for approximately $100 to $400 for a true deep clean.

Goodbye Clutter, Hello Storage

Haven’t used it in years? Give it to someone who can. Whether it’s in the pantry, attic, basement, closets or kitchen cabinets, move the extra out and streamline the rest. Overwhelm buyers with the simplicity of the space, not a hodgepodge of clutter.

One of the keys to staging well is to show off your home’s space—not your stuff. Storage sells!

Make room in your closets, leaving them at least one-third empty. Store any out-of-season clothing elsewhere. Open your closet doors so potential buyers can see how much space they could have.

Still don’t have enough space? Pack the extra gizmos and gadgets and ask a friend to house them temporarily. If it’s too much to handle yourself, companies like Clutter.com or Makespace.com can pick up and store the items for you; it’s cheaper than you’d expect.

Don’t Assume Buyers Won’t Look “There”

It’s easy to assume buyers would never look in spots we’ve tried to forget about, like that junk drawer you keep meaning to clean out. But when you’re staging your home, be prepared for buyers to look behind closed drawers and doors. Nothing is off limits. It may be your home, but they’re wondering if it can become their own.

Keep the Pets Away

Pets are family. But they’re your family—not your prospective buyer’s. You may be accustomed to the scent and mounds of fur they bring with them, but one whiff of Snowball and that winning first impression could disappear.

Before you and your pets leave prior to a showing, remove the telltale signs of your pets by storing away food bowls, transferring the litter box to the garage, and tucking away pet toys.

Fix What’s Underfoot

If your carpets look worse for wear, steam clean them to get rid of stains and odors. But what about carpet that’s beyond repair? Replace it with new plush carpet or a hardwood floor that buyers will love.

If your hardwood floors are in poor condition, you could refinish them for $3 to $5 a square foot. 2 Don’t want to refinish the floors? Strategically placed area rugs can help with a positive first impression. Just be prepared to disclose any damage to prospective buyers.

Home Staging Tips Room by Room

Now that you’ve got the big picture in mind, let’s dive into the details. Here’s how to stage each room so every inch of your house is ready to wow potential buyers!

How to Stage a Living Room

When people walk through the front door and into your living room, they should feel like they’re already home.

Adding a neatly folded newspaper and a vase of flowers to your coffee table can help with that. But don’t stop there! Here are some other things to help your living room stand out from the rest.

Let the Light In

Most buyers want to see that a home has plenty of natural light. Remove heavy draperies and open up the blinds. Hide an unattractive view with sheer window coverings that still allow in light.

Replace any outdated light fixtures, upping the wattage in each light bulb to its maximum safe capacity. Aim for about 100 watts every 50 square feet. Need some extra light? Add lamps in any dark areas. Quickly update outdated lamps with clean white drum shades.

Win With Striking Walls

To ensure your home appeals to the widest audience possible, stick with sophisticated neutrals for the most widely used paint colors.

Just a few coats of paint can transform a dated space, giving it a more modern feel. Try warmer neutrals like an oatmeal-colored living room or a honey-colored hallway.

Embrace the Awkward

Have a space you’ve never known how to utilize? Show potential buyers it’s a functional space by finding a fun way to show it off. Turn a short wall into a chalkboard family message center, transform an alcove into a charming workspace, or display a hanging planter to bring life and texture to a bare nook.

Don’t Block Traffic Flow

Keep natural walkways clear and arrange furniture in conversation areas that frame outside views—rather than obstruct them.

How to Stage the Bedrooms

Bedrooms are often the most personalized rooms in the home. And why shouldn’t they be? They are your rooms, after all! But when you’re staging a house, you want to leave room for the buyers’ imagination.

Now is not the time to be sentimental. Your goal as a home seller is to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. This is one time where it really isn’t personal; it’s business—and it’s time to depersonalize.

Broaden Your Audience

Now is not the time to break out the kitty comforter Grandma quilted for you back in grade school or to hang up your stuffed squirrel collection. Do your best to keep spaces as gender-neutral as possible so they’ll appeal to the widest audience.

Empty Out the Space

To make rooms look spacious, try to make sure each room has no more than three pieces of large furniture—a bed, a nightstand and maybe a dresser. That’s it!

Add a Splash of Color

Some bright throw pillows neatly placed on the bed, a small plant on the nightstand, and a piece of artwork or two on the walls could bring some life to the room. These additions will draw the buyers’ eyes to different areas throughout the bedroom so they notice the entire space.

How to Stage a Kitchen

You need to show buyers that your kitchen is a bright, clean and fresh space where the whole family can come together to enjoy delicious meals and wow guests with fancy culinary creations.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on an expensive remodel to do that! A few small changes can make a big difference.

Add Some Character

Swap out that boring utensil holder for a decorative mason jar and fill it with your best wooden serving spoons. Fill a wooden bowl with fresh fruit and place it on your kitchen table.

But don’t leave too many items on display beyond a clean toaster and cute coffee maker. Having a lot lying around could leave an impression that there’s not much space in your kitchen.

Update the Cabinets and Hardware

Are your kitchen cabinets rather dated? If you have the time to put in the work, then update them with a few coats of paint or a darker stain. You may have to strip them beforehand, but it will likely be worth it afterwards. Or update an outdated cabinet style by buying new faces for doors and drawers. While you’re renovating your cabinets, double-check that all doors and drawers slide open evenly. Buyers will check them even if you don’t!

Get rid of outdated hardware and aim for a brushed brass or nickel, polished chrome, oil-brushed bronze, copper, or even a stately iron.

Don’t Forget to Do a Sniff Test

To keep your home smelling fresh and clean, pass on cooking seafood or your favorite garlic bread for the time being. Go the extra mile and light candles with buyer-friendly scents like citrus or vanilla.

How to Stage a Bathroom

You don’t need to have the perfect bathroom in order to create the kind of luxurious feel found at high-end hotels and spas. A few subtle additions and tweaks can help buyers see your bathroom as a soothing space where they can find solitude after a long day.

Breathe New Life Into Your Bathroom

Bring dingy tubs and tile back to life by grouting the tile and caulking the tub again. Finish up the makeover by washing or updating your bathmat and shower curtain.

No one wants to see your toothbrushes and razors laying around! Keep all personal items and toiletries packed neatly under the sink, and stage the bathroom counter with fluffy white towels and decorative bars of soap.

Transform Your Bathroom Into a Spa

Give the room a spa-like feel with calming scents from a small potted orchid, a vase of fresh flowers, or scented candles and lotions. Jasmine and lavender scents can create a nice calming effect for guests.

Try painting the bathroom walls a pale, serene blue or a light, calming beige to create a peaceful and welcoming environment.

How to Stage Outdoor Areas

When it comes to staging a house, what’s on the outside matters just as much as what’s on the inside. Curb appeal is a real thing, and nothing will send buyers driving off faster than a front yard overrun with weeds or a porch that’s falling apart. Don’t let buyers pass you by before they even get through the door!

Fix That First Impression

In addition to keeping the yard beautifully manicured, power wash your driveway and sidewalk. Show the exterior of your home a little love by giving it a good once-over. Sand and repaint any old or chipped areas. And though it would be a big undertaking, add a new coat of paint to the siding, shutters, or garage if they need it. While you’re at it, give that dull front door a makeover with a fresh pop of color, lay out a new mat, and flank it with flowers that will weather the season well.

Bring Relaxing Back

Make the most of your backyard or porch with a swing, a café table and chairs, or a relaxing hammock with your favorite throw. Whether you have a small balcony or acres of land, buyers need to be able to picture themselves unwinding there after a long day. Show them at least one way you love to use the space!

How Much Does Home Staging Cost?

By now, it’s pretty clear that home staging doesn’t have to break the bank! Some of the most important things you can do to get your home show-ready won’t cost you a cent. But if you’re not comfortable staging your home yourself and want to bring in outside help, you don’t have to look far to find a suitable staging company. A good real estate agent should have multiple recommendations.

An initial consultation with a home stager that includes a written plan should cost you around $250 to $750.3 When it comes to the actual staging process, monthly costs can range from $350 in Iowa to $2,400 in California for a furnished home. If you’ve already moved out and your home is vacant, monthly costs can vary from approximately $975 in Indiana to $5,500 in California. Homes over 4,000 square feet can cost upwards of $9,000 a month.

What Are the Financial Benefits of Staging a House?

According to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging, nearly one-third of buyers’ agents believe staging a home increases the offer price a minimum of 1–5%

So how do those numbers break down for you? On a $250,000 home, just a 2% increase means an extra $5,000 tacked on to the buyer’s offer. If you handled the staging yourself without any added expenses, that’s $5,000 in extra cash you get to put in the bank. If you paid $3,000 to have your home staged professionally over a three-month contract, that’s $2,000 more in your pocket. If your agent is paying for the staging, you can put the entire $5,000 toward your new home or stash it away in your emergency fund.

While there’s no guarantee staging your home will bring a bigger offer, it should help you stand out among the competition by making your home look move in ready, maximizing your space, and adding little touches that make a big difference.

Find a Real Estate Agent

We hope these practical tips will help pave the way for a smooth home staging journey and show buyers a home they will soon want to call their own!

To make the most of your newly staged home, don’t settle for second best. Choose from any one of our qualified realtors to get your home sold in no time! https://www.houseofbrokers.com/

Originally posted on https://www.daveramsey.com/

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2020 Real Estate Trends: What You Need to Know

Wow, 2020 has been a challenging year. With so much happening across the country, you might be wondering how the current crisis is impacting real estate trends. Well, surprisingly, median home prices are all the way up to $320,000!1 Will the rest of 2020 bring more of the same results? How will the housing market shake out in the current economic climate?

Whether you’re selling, buying or staying put, here are the 2020 real estate trends you need to know!

Real Estate Trend #1: Home Prices Are Still Rising Slowly

Okay, let’s start with home price trends. In April 2020, home prices grew by a teeny-tiny 0.6% compared to last year—down from the nearly 4% growth rate in March!2 This slower growth trend is likely due to the craziness of the coronavirus and market uncertainty.

But within the third week of May, home prices moved their way back up to a 3% growth rate—almost to pre-COVID levels!3 So there’s a chance that home prices might be regaining some momentum.

Find expert agents to help you buy your home.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun believes home prices will make their way back up to 4% growth overall in 2020.4 So, you’ll likely see home prices continue to creep up, but they probably won’t knock your socks off with rapid growth like we’ve seen in previous years.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun believes home prices will make their way back up to 4% growth overall in 2020.

What Higher Prices Mean for Sellers

A nice profit may be on the horizon! But also keep in mind that a lot of buyers are being priced out of the market at the moment, which could lead to fewer offers for your home. So, what should you do about this? Be aware of your competition.

With less offers to go around, you want your home to really stand out from similar ones in your area. Prepare your home for potential home buyers and work with a real estate agent to help you list your home at the right price.

And be sure to wait for the right offer. Some buyers may try to gut punch you with a low number. If you aren’t in a hurry to move, wait for an offer that gives you the most profit. Remember, the less desperate person always has the upper hand when negotiating!

What Higher Prices Mean for Buyers

If you’re going to buy a home in this expensive market, you absolutely must find out how much house you can really afford. Crunch the numbers yourself with our free mortgage calculator and figure out a monthly payment your budget can handle.

Commit to staying within that budget amount. Don’t rush into a home purchase that doesn’t make financial sense for you no matter how much pressure you feel watching competitors pluck good homes off the market. You could screw up your finances!

If you can’t put down at least 10–20% on a 15-year fixed-rate conventional loan, then you probably can’t afford a house in this market. A down payment that’s less than 10–20% will strangle your budget with massive monthly mortgage payments. But if you want to get prepared to buy and you’re committed to your budget, here are some options to consider:

  • Keep saving. If you stay patient and motivated, you can save for a five-figure down payment by this time next year.
  • Sacrifice some wants. If you can’t afford to buy the house you want, be willing to give up some “nice-to-haves” for your “must-haves.” Find the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford and you can upgrade as your income and savings increase over time.
  • Expand your search. What if the location where you’re planning to buy is what’s busting your budget? You might be surprised at the gem you can find in a less popular neighborhood. Working with a real estate agent who really knows the area is the best way to find a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Buying a home can be stressful, but our Home Buyers Guide will streamline the process! It’ll help you think through all the important parts so you can rest easy when your dream home is officially yours.

Real Estate Trend #2: Mortgage Interest Rates Are Super Low

Mortgage interest rates have been trending down—even before the pandemic. In May, the average interest rate for a conventional 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (the cheapest type of mortgage and the only kind we recommend) dropped to 2.69%—the lowest it’s been in over seven years!5

In May, the average interest rate for a conventional 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (the cheapest type of mortgage and the only kind we recommend) dropped to 2.69%—the lowest it’s been in over seven years!

Economist geeks think interest rates will continue to stay low until the economy is close to normal again. But interest rates probably won’t go so low as to hit rock bottom since lenders still have high demand from current homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower rates.6

If you want to refinance or get a smart mortgage that helps you pay off your home fast, talk to our friends at Churchill Mortgage.

What Lower Rates Mean for Sellers

If interest rates stay low, buyers will be more motivated to buy your home sooner than later. But if interest rates do start to increase later in the year, just plan for your house to be on the market a little longer. A mortgage is a big commitment, and adding higher interest rates to the mix will make many buyers pause.

An experienced real estate agent can help you set the right expectations on how much money to sell your house for and how long you’ll have to wait for the best offer.

What Lower Rates Mean for Buyers

Even though interest rates are super low, be smart and go for a conventional 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (unless you can buy with cash). Avoid getting locked into paying the extra interest and fees that come with rip-off mortgages like FHA, VA, USDA and adjustable-rate ones. That way, you’ll know exactly what your payment will be over the life of the loan and you’ll pay it off faster!

Real Estate Trend #3: Millennial Home Buyers Are the Majority

That’s right, our final trend is about who is buying homes. And once again, millennials took the lead as the largest group (38%) of home buyers last year.7

What is a millennial exactly? Well, the technical answer is anyone born between 1980 and 1998. The easiest way to spot a millennial home buyer? They can’t wait to post a pic of their new home on Instagram!

What Millennial Buyers Mean for Sellers

Here are three important words: Know your buyer. In a nutshell, millennials are internet savvy and do their research before house shopping. Here are some tips:

  • Upgrade your online listing. Virtually all millennials (98%) use the internet for their home search—and 78% of them found the home they purchased on a mobile device last year.8 So, make the best possible impression on the internet by investing in high quality listing photos. You might even need to take video footage to give potential buyers a digital tour of your home.
  • Highlight perks over size. Yes, square footage matters. But millennials are more concerned about their commuting costs and how close their new home is to schools. In fact, most millennial buyers said they were least likely to compromise on school and neighborhood quality when deciding which home to buy.9 So, highlight the benefits of your home’s fabulous location instead of wasting time trying to sell on its size.
     
  • Know popular features. Here are some of the top home features millennials want: laundry room (86%), patio (81%), garage storage (80%) and a walk-in pantry (79%).10 If you’re thinking of making some upgrades to your home, choosing one of those might have millennials showering you with offers when you’re ready to sell.

What Millennial Buyers Mean for Buyers

Okay, if you’re looking for a three-bedroom, single-family home in the suburbs, expect to have a lot of competition. You may have to reprioritize what you want in a dream home. Follow these tips:

  • Know what you want. Decide what you absolutely need in a home. If you’re married and house hunting, you and your spouse need to agree on must-haves. Compare your individual lists and combine them for your real estate agent to use as the foundation of your home search.
  • Write a letter. Sending a personal story to your seller might be just the thing that makes you stand out from similar offers. Nashville couple Abby and John included a personal letter when they made an offer on their home. “We sent the sellers a personal letter with our offer,” Abby said. “The best thing you can do is to include in the letter things you love about their house. If they have a deck or screened-in porch, tell them how you envision using the space. We did that and the sellers accepted our offer—out of multiple offers—within 24 hours.”
  • Hire an experienced pro. Last year, 92% of millennial home buyers used real estate agents to purchase their homes.11 Think they’re onto something? You bet! Save yourself the stress of trying to buy on your own. Get the help of a real estate pro so the home-buying process is smooth for everyone involved.

What if I’m Not Buying or Selling a Home This Year?

You may be thinking, All this is great, but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. We hear you, and here’s what you should know for now:

1. Equity is unlikely to decrease through 2020.

With most housing markets at low risk for a downturn, the 2020 Housing and Mortgage Market Review estimates home prices will continue to rise for the next couple of years.12 Woo-hoo for sellers! If you sell your house before 2023, you’ll likely still make a nice profit. Continue to monitor how much your home is worth to make sure your equity (what your home is worth minus how much you owe on it) is going up.

2. From what we can see, the real estate market isn’t going to crash.

With the uncertainty around our current economic crisis and price growth slowing down, some folks are wondering about the future of the housing market and if it could collapse again. Well, it’s impossible to know for sure, but economists suggest a housing crash is unlikely.

After all, the super low mortgage rates are motivating buyers to enter the market, which increases demand. But there’s still a record-low supply of home listings. This is keeping home buying somewhat competitive and allowing home price growth to stay steady.13

3. Regardless of your neighborhood, buyers are interested.

Since home prices have experienced rapid growth over the past few years, some buyers may be less choosy. In fact, determined ones might be willing to consider neighborhoods that don’t have easy access to highways or aren’t in close proximity to a big city. If you think you live in an unpopular neighborhood or believe your home isn’t what buyers are looking for, think again. Now may be your perfect time to consider selling.

Take Control of the Trends With a Top-Notch Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re selling or buying, you can take advantage of the current trends by partnering with a professional real estate agent. Through our Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program, our team will match you with agents we recommend in your area. Our real estate ELPs are top-performing professionals in your market who’ve earned our seal of trust by actually caring about your financial goals.

Find your real estate agent today!

Posted on https://www.daveramsey.com/blog

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Real Estate News Real Estate Tips Selling

Why Homeowners Have Great Selling Power Today

Cropped shot of an affectionate young couple using a laptop while doing their budget paperwork in their kitchen at home

Why Homeowners Have Great Selling Power Today

Why Homeowners Have Great Selling Power Today | MyKCM

We’re sitting in an optimal moment in time for homeowners who are ready to sell their houses and make a move this year. Today’s homeowners are, on average, staying in their homes longer than they used to, and this is one factor driving increased homeowner equity. When equity grows, selling a house becomes increasingly desirable. Here’s a breakdown of why it’s a great time to capitalize on equity gain in today’s market.

As average homeowner tenure lengthens and home prices rise, equity, a form of forced savings, can be applied forward to the purchase of a new home. CoreLogic explains:

“Over the past 10 years, the equity position of homeowners has positively changed as a result of more than eight years of rising home prices. As the economy climbed out of the recession in the first quarter of 2010, 25.9% or 12.1 million homes were still underwater, compared to the first quarter of 2020 when the negative equity share was at 3.4%, or 1.8 million properties. Borrowers have seen an aggregate increase of $6.2 trillion in home equity since the first quarter of 2010 and the average homeowner has gained about $106,100 in equity.”

Increasing equity is enabling many homeowners who are ready to sell their current houses today to sell for an increased profit, and then reinvest their earnings in a new home. According to the Q2 2020 U.S. Home Sales Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, in the second quarter of 2020:

Home sellers nationwide realized a gain of $75,971 on the typical sale, up from the $66,500 in the first quarter of 2020 and from $65,250 in the second quarter of last year. The latest figure, based on median purchase and resale prices, marked yet another peak level of raw profits in the United States since the housing market began recovering from the Great Recession in 2012.”

If you’ve been taking a closer look at your house recently and are thinking it might be time for you to make a move, determining your equity position is a great place to start. Understanding how much equity you’ve earned over time can be a key factor in helping you realize the potential profits in your real estate investment and move toward your next homeownership goal.

Bottom Line

With average home sale profits growing, it’s a great time to leverage your equity and make a move, especially while the inventory of houses for sale and mortgage rates are historically low. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s connect today so you can better understand your home equity position and take one step closer to the home of your dreams.

Posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Selling

Think You Should For Sale By Owner? Think Again [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is the process of selling real estate without the representation of a real estate broker or real estate agent.
  • According to the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, 35% of homeowners who decided to FSBO last year did so to avoid paying a commission or fee. But, homes sold with an agent net 6% more than those sold as a FSBO according to Collateral Analytics.
  • Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s connect to discuss your options.

Posted by Keeping Current Matters

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5 Secrets For Stand Out Virtual Showings

To stop the spread of COVID-19, the real estate industry is pivoting away from in-person events and embracing virtualization. But, renting is a big decision–how is a tenant supposed to choose the right apartment without stepping foot inside? Enter: virtual showings. Real estate agents are leading stand out virtual showings–either by FaceTiming their client or recording a comprehensive walk through–to keep real estate running as usual. Scroll down to see 5 secrets of virtual showings for real estate agents.

5 Secrets for Stand Out Virtual Showings

1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Good Lighting

As any good photographer knows–it’s all about light. So, make sure that you’re doing your apartment justice by filming your virtual showing with great lighting. Go during the day, and experiment with what looks best on camera. Got shadowy corners in the apartment? Could the living room use a couple of extra pieces of floor lighting? Bring your own gear. Purchase a small, handheld light and shine it in the dark areas of the apartment to get your client the best possible view.

2. Mind Your Windows

Be mindful of windows in your apartment. All the light that comes streaming through large windows can distort the visuals in your virtual tours. Windows can totally white out an image, or can make a room go very dark, so be careful. When you move your camera to show an area with lots of windows, go quickly and don’t linger on the light-source.

3. Practice Beforehand

Whether you’ve chose to send your client a pre-recorded video of an apartment or you’ve decided to live-stream a showing while your client is on FaceTime, do a dry-run. There, rehearse the key selling point, and features of the apartment. Even if you’ve been leading showings for years, using a phone to do the job might throw you for a loop. Don’t take any chances. Instead, show up twenty minutes before you’ve agreed to FaceTime your client and rehearse your main talking points and the path you’ll take through the apartment. If you’re opting for a pre-recorded showing, try filming a couple of takes before you select the one you’ll send to your client.

4. Keep Things Steady with a Stabilization Device

Ever been on FaceTime with someone taking a walk and felt yourself get seasick by the movement? Make sure your clients have a better experience (and are able to see the apartment in its best light!) by investing in a cheap stabilization device (a pop socket or another type of grip), or, if you want to spend a little bit money, purchase a dolly–a tripod with wheels. It’s possible that virtual showings will become the norm for a while, so adapt and make sure you can give your client a smooth ride as you explore potential homes.

5. Don’t Take Wi-Fi For Granted: How Will Your Service Be?

If you’re leading a live-showing (FaceTiming your client at a specified time), good Wi-Fi is a must. A bad reception can garble the images your apartment, and–worse– disconnect repeatedly and cause a stressful and frustrating experience for both you and your client. When you call ahead to the landlord or property manager to let them know that you’ll be conducting a virtual showing, ask them about their WiFi situation. If it’s not good, you might need to dip into your data, or let your client know that a pre-recorded showing might work better.

6. Go Beyond Descriptive Words:

This is great to keep in mind even if you’re leading in-personal showings–make sure to use very precise descriptions.

Instead of saying: “This open concept living-dining room is pretty big.”

Say: “This open concept living-dining room could comfortably fit a round table for four and two couches.”

It can be tough to really get a good sense of space using a screen, so help your client envision what these spaces look like in real life with your words.

7. Don’t Rush: Walk Slow and Leave Time for Comments

Don’t rush your good work! It can be tough to envision something from an iPhone screen, so take your time walking through the apartment and showing off its fantastic features. Ask your client if you are moving too slow or too fast, and be sure to course-correct your pace as per their recommendations

8. Luxury Apartment? Best to Leave it To the Professionals

Are you working with luxury apartments? If so, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.  Connect with real estate photographers and see if they would be willing to lead a virtual showing for your client. Yes, it’s an extra expense. However, professionals have long-range cameras that will be able to capture depth in a much more realistic and compelling way than your iPhone can, and will know best-practices to make your showings successful. It’s an expense well worth it if you’re working for clients seeking luxury apartments. And, the opportunity to network with another real estate professional can grow your sphere of influence, and maybe even generate referrals.

As the home sales cycle softens in response to COVID, the flexibility and affordability of rentals is starting to increase in popularity. With Rental Beast, real estate agents can connect with eager renters, search thousands of no co-broke apartment units with virtual showing capacity, and quickly process leasing applications. We’re the end-to-end leasing platform that makes rentals simple and profitable for real estate agents. Click here to learn more about the Rental Beast platform, and see how rentals can help you supercharge your business.

Posted on Rental Beast on RISMedia.com

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Selling

Summer is the New Spring for Real Estate [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • The health crisis slowed the market this spring, so buyers are jumping back into the market to make their moves this summer.
  • Check these 10 items off your to-do list so your house is ready to sell while buying is hot!
  • Let’s connect today to prepare your house for the sizzling summer market.

Posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Selling

Are You Ready for the Summer Housing Market?

As the health crisis started making its way throughout our country earlier this spring, sellers have been cautious about putting their homes on the market. This hesitation stemmed primarily from fear of the spread of the coronavirus, and understandably so. This abundant caution has greatly impacted the number of homes for sale and slowed the pace of a typically busy spring real estate season. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American notes:

“As more homeowners are reluctant to list their homes for sale amid the pandemic, the supply of homes available to potential home buyers continues to dwindle.”

With many states beginning a phased approach to reopening, virtual best practices and health and safety guidelines for the industry are in place to increase the comfort level of buyers and sellers. What we see today, though, is that sellers are still making a very calculated return to the market. In their latest Weekly Housing Trends Report, realtor.com indicates:

“New listings: On the slow path to recovery. Nationwide the size of declines held mostly steady this week, dropping 23 percent over last year, a slight increase over last week but still an improvement over the 30 percent declines in the first half of May.”

Although we’re starting to inch our way toward more homes for sale throughout the country, the number of homes on the market is still well below the demand from buyers. In the same report, Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for realtor.com shares:

“Sellers have yet to come back in full force, limiting the availability of homes for sale. Total active listings are declining from a year ago at a faster rate than observed in previous weeks, and this trend could worsen as buyers regain confidence and come back to the market before sellers.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) seems to agree:

“In the coming months, buying activity will rise as states reopen and more consumers feel comfortable about homebuying in the midst of the social distancing measures.”

What we can see today is that homebuyers are more confident than the sellers, and they’re ready to make up for lost time from the traditional spring market. Summer is gearing up to be the 2020 buying season, so including your house in the mix may be your best opportunity to sell yet. Interest in your house may be higher than you think with so few sellers on the market today. As Vivas says:

“More properties will have to enter the market in June to bring the number of options for buyers back to normal levels for this time of the year, nationwide and in all large markets.”

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to sell your house this summer, let’s connect today. Buyers are interested and they may be looking for a house just like yours.

Posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Selling

6 Reasons Why Selling Your House on Your Own Is a Mistake

Model house in the palm

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times like the one we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, please consider the following:

1. Your Safety Is a Priority

During this pandemic, your family’s safety comes first. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, agents are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your family.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumped to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress that’s being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was there yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe they’ll 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. A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“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.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.

Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, let’s connect to discuss your options.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

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For Homeowners Selling

Why Home Equity Is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market

Firework Display At Night

Given how we have seen more unemployment claims than ever before over the past several weeks, fear is spreading widely. Some good news, however, shows that more than 4 million initial unemployment filers have likely already found a new job, especially as industries such as health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and more increase their employment opportunities. Breaking down what unemployment means for homeownership, and understanding the significant equity Americans hold today, are important parts of seeing the picture clearly when sorting through this uncertainty. One of the biggest questions right now is whether this historic unemployment rate will initiate a new surge of foreclosures in the market. It’s a very real fear. Despite the staggering number of claims, there are actually many reasons why we won’t see a significant number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash twelve years ago. The amount of equity homeowners have today is a leading differentiator in the current market. Today, according to John Burns Consulting58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity. That number is drastically different than it was in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. The last recession was painful, and when prices dipped, many found themselves owing more on their mortgage than what their homes were worth. Homeowners simply walked away at that point. Now, 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear. Those homes are not at risk for foreclosure (see graph below):

Equity Chart

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That’s a significant amount that homeowners won’t be stepping away from, even in today’s economy (see chart below):

Graph 2

In essence, the amount of equity homeowners have today positions them to be in a much better place than they were in 2008.

Bottom Line 

The fear and uncertainty we feel right now are very real, and this is not going to be easy. We can, however, see strength in our current market through homeowner equity that has not been there in the past. That may be a bright spark to help us make it through.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

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Categories
Buying Selling Uncategorized

Looking for a New Place? Use This Time to Create Your Wishlist

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If your move is delayed, evaluate the features of your current home so you know just what you want in your next one.

Now that many of us have spent several weeks living inside, we’ve become quite familiar with our homes — in some cases, maybe too familiar. If you were planning to move before COVID-19, and still plan to do so when the timing is right, you might want to take this time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not in your current home. For instance, those stairs you’ve climbed 10 times a day may have kept you moving while you’ve stayed home, but maybe you’d like stair-free living in your next home. Or perhaps the yard you thought you could do without has now become a must-have.

We’ve come up with a list of questions to help you pinpoint what you like and don’t like about your current home so you can find more comfort and pleasure in your next one.

What’s working for you — and what’s not?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how do you like your current home?
  • What’s your home’s best quality?
  • And its worst quality?
  • Do you like the style of your home? If not, is there an architectural style or era you prefer?
  • What’s your favorite room, and what makes spending time there pleasurable?

Space and flow: How do you feel when you’re at home?

  • Do you have enough space or too much? Where could you use more/less space?
  • How would you describe the layout — an open floor plan or more compartmentalized? Does it suit your lifestyle?
  • Do you have enough or too many bedrooms? Bathrooms?
  • Do you like the number of levels (single or multistory)?
  • Are you happy with the windows (enough natural light, well-placed, too sunny)?
  • Do you like the fixtures and finishes?
  • Is there a specialized room you’ve never had but have always wanted (such as a home office, workout room, sewing room, laundry room or mudroom)?

What’s outside — and how does it affect your experience of home?

  • If you have an outdoor space, do you enjoy spending time there?
  • If you don’t have one, do you feel like you’re missing out?
  • Do you enjoy taking care of a yard… or feel burdened by it (be honest!)?
  • Does your home have curb appeal? If not, what needs to be improved?
  • Do you have adequate parking? Is a garage or carport a must-have?
  • How much time and effort does the exterior require for upkeep (painting, staining, etc.)?

Your neighborhood: Community connections can make life all the sweeter

  • Are you happy with your neighborhood? Think about all its characteristics, including walkability, parks, nearby activities, density, noise level and neighbor involvement.
  • Do you have to travel far for basics such as groceries or a doctor’s appointment?
  • Are you happy with your commute?
  • Are there enough activities going on around you — or too many?

Poll

 

 

Posted by Susan Kelleher on Zillow