4 Bottom-Line Tips to Decide: What Is the Value of My Home?

Here’s how to price your home to sell fast.

Your home is more than just a bunch of rooms under a roof. It’s the space where you watched your daughter take her first steps, hosted Super Bowl parties, and celebrated holidays. Those memories are priceless. But when sell your house, the warm and fuzzies can’t factor into the question: What is the value of my home?

You aren’t selling your memories; you’re selling a house.

This is where an agent can help. You’re the one who will set your listing price, but your agent has the expertise and local knowledge to advise on how to price your house so it doesn’t languish on the market.

#1 Don’t Go High Out The Gate

You think your house is great. The problem is sellers often think their house is so great that they list at too high of a price and miss the window of sales opportunity that comes with a new listing.

“By listing too high, you lose your most important leverage and timing because it’s new,” says Ali Evans, an agent in Santa Barbara, Calif. “If you overprice it, you miss out on all those buyers.”

The longer your house sits on the market, the less likely you are to get your asking price. Because buyers expect there’s a deal to be made on a house that’s been on the market for months. 

“If something doesn’t move in the first 30 days or so, then people start thinking that they’re not going to be paying full price any longer,” Evans says.

Bottom line: Listen to your real estate agent about home value, because she knows how to price your home to sell fast. She’s looking at all of the comp prices and knows what the competition is like in your market. 

#2 Don’t Assume Upgrades Will Get You A Higher Price 

You renovated your kitchen after you watched too many episodes of Property Brothers. You looooove the way your reno turned out, because your kitchen is now stunningly modern, as kitchens on HGTV are. Everyone else will love it too, right? So you want to push up the listing price.

Don’t be so sure everyone else will pay big bucks for it, Evans says.

“Upgrades that are done in very specific taste can be tricky. Updates that are neutral are going to appeal to a lot of people will see more value,” she says. “But upgrades don’t always equal value.”

In fact, research from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® shows you might recoup 59% of your costs, based on a national average, on a complete kitchen upgrade.

In other words, just because you put $65,000 into your kitchen renovation doesn’t mean you can list your home for an additional $65,000. Your agent can help you assess the market value of your upgrades and answer the big question, What is the value of my home?

#3 Don’t Set A Dollar Amount You Need To Make

Having an idea of what you want to earn from your house sale is fine, because you’re looking at your home as the giant investment that it is. But pricing your home so that you will make a certain amount of money is the wrong approach.

The number you have in your head may not be in line with the market. This is where doing research on the housing market comes in handy, as well as listening to your agent. 

“Make sure you understand the logic behind the price your agent suggests,” Evans says “It’s important to not be frustrated that it’s $20,000 below where you want to price it, and understand the thought process.”

Your agent will research the market to see what other houses in your area are selling for. He also knows the market, the inventory of houses for sale, and how your home compares to others in the area.

If you’ve listed the home too high, and you’re not getting any bites, don’t be afraid to do a price correction, Evans says. Lowering the price shows buyers you’re realistic and motivated. Adjusting the price is a key part of knowing how to price your home.

#4 Don’t Let Emotions Get The Best of You

For most people, selling a home is emotional. Whether you’ve lived in your house for four years or 40, you’re attached to it.  But it’s important to not let your emotions drive you to price your house for more than it’s worth. 

Listen to your agent on how to price yourhome. His cool-headed knowledge of the market and real estate inventory will be a wiser guide for pricing than your irrational love for the bay window in the living room, the restored hardwood floors, and the way the light shines in your beloved sunroom in the morning.

“Pricing can’t be an emotional thing,” Evans says. “It needs to be based on market analysis, which is why an outside perspective is important.”

When you ask yourself, ‘what is the value of my home,’ think with your head, more so than your heart.

HOUSELOGIC

HouseLogichelps consumers make smart, confident decisions about all aspects of home ownership. Made possible by REALTORS®, the site helps owners get the most value and enjoyment from their existing home and helps buyers and sellers make the best deal possible. 

Finding Your Perfect Home

As the old saying goes, real estate is all about location, location, location.  But, there is a lot more to it than just plain geography when it comes to finding your perfect home.  There are a lot of things to consider during the search because, for most, a home is the most significant purchase they will ever make.

Choose A Good Area

When searching for your perfect home, the obvious place to start is with the selection of a location.  If you have children, you may want to choose a home that is close to good schools and is also located in a family-oriented neighborhood.  Many people also look for a home that offers a short commute to and from work.  If you are shopping within a specific price range, you can also narrow the choices by finding an area that offers the best value for your dollar.

Select A Style

The perfect home for you is one that has all of the elements that you want.  Whether it’s a garage, basement, extra bedroom or bath, a large kitchen, fireplace or open floor plan, choosing the style of home that you want is an important first step in finding the perfect place to hang your hat.  You may also want to consider whether you prefer a single-level or two-story home.  Many home buyers also factor in floor plans when searching for a house, including those that offer an open and flowing design.

Get Pre-Qualified

Now that you know what you want and where you want it, it’s important to find out how much of a home you can afford.  Pre-qualification is not the same as pre-approval.  With pre-qualification, your lender will request specific information relating to your income and expenditures and will offer a possible price range for you to keep in mind while shopping.  Pre-qualification does not guarantee that you will receive an approval, but it does give you a good indication of how much you can afford based on your current situation.

Talk To A REALTOR®

Nobody knows the real estate business like a REALTOR®, so let them help you in your search for the perfect home.  They can answer questions relating to the neighborhood, recent inspections on a particular home and any needed repairs.  Because a REALTOR® has access to a number of area homes, they have the ability to show you various choices within your preferred area and price range.

Ask About Amenities

One of the most significant concerns of any home buyer is what a home has to offer.  Utilities, such as water, sewer, cable, phone and electricity are just a few of the things to consider.  If the home is in a subdivision that requires the payment of association dues, how will these funds be used?  What amenities does the home owner’s association offer?  These are all questions to ask your REALTOR® when shopping for the perfect home.

In conclusion, you should know that the search for your perfect home is a journey.  It may be either long or short and with or without some bumps along the way, but the greatest satisfaction will be at the journey’s end and your future’s beginning.

 

Ten Tips To Successfully Market Your Home

There is a lot more to putting your home up for sale than placing a sign on the front lawn.  Selling your home quickly and getting the best price possible requires marketing your property and using the services of an experienced agent.  Here are some of the strategies you can use to market your home.

Hire A Professional REALTOR®—The ability to market your home is always best served by hiring a real estate expert.  They have access to resources that you as an individual do not, and their experience and knowledge are certainly worth the commission.

Photograph The Exterior Of Your Home—Good high quality photographs of the entire exterior of your home can really spark the interest of potential buyers. These photographs can be used in a variety of online and print marketing campaigns.

Photograph The Interior Of Your Home—Be sure you also have good quality photos of every major room in your home, especially the kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom.  Also ensure that these pictures are taken in good light, and from angles that best highlight the space they are to represent.

Purchase A Virtual Tour—Virtual tours are one of the latest and most effective marketing methods in the real estate industry.  Essentially a virtual tour allows potential viewers to get a 360-degree perspective of your property from the comfort of their home or office.  This method is also a great way to assure that only interested buyers show up at an open house. Your agent can have these tours put on multiple listing websites as well as on their own pages.

Print Advertising—While this may seem to be a costly and outdated marketing method, there are still a considerable number of potential buyers who use print resources to find prospective properties.

Signage—Be sure you have clear, visible signage on your property that indicates it is for sale.  Also, be sure your agent’s contact information can be seen from a distance so that those passing by can take down their name and number.

Direct Mail—Again, this may seem like an outdated method of advertising, but it is still effective, especially if your home may appeal to an older demographic.

Open Houses—This is still the most effective way to get a sale.  Be sure your home is in clean and presentable condition before hosting an open house, and ask your REALTOR® for advice about preparing your home for such an opening.

Agent Tours—These tours can give agents a better look at your home without having the general public in your house, and can assist them in matching your home with their clients. Your agent can arrange these tours.

E-marketing—Like print advertising, this is a fairly inexpensive and effective method of marketing your home that your REALTOR® can offer to you as part of their services.

Getting To Know The Neighborhood Before Buying A Home

There is a reason the term “location, location, location” is used so commonly within the real estate industry.  The location of a property is one of the most important considerations when selecting a home, as it will affect the value of your home, your day-to-day life, and even your own and your family’s safety.  So what can you do to find out a little about the area in which you are considering a home purchase, and what in particular should you be looking for?

Know Your Needs

The biggest obstacle to finding a home in an area that can meet all of your needs is not knowing clearly what those needs are.  While it may be nice to live near the lake, or by your favorite restaurant, what is it that you and your family will need and want in order to have an enjoyable and functional lifestyle?  Facilities such as grocery stores, good schools, and community centers may be necessary for families, whereas access to theaters, good restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife may be important to young professionals.

Get The Info

When searching for your dream home, knowing where to look before starting out can help make the task easier and faster. So before getting started with the house hunting, do a little neighborhood hunting first.  There are a number of resources online, from municipal Web sites to forums, that you can use to find out about prospective areas that may be right for you.  Contacting a real estate agent is also another great resource in finding an area that can meet your needs.

Check It Out For Yourself

All the research in the world can never replace experience, and if you are planning to purchase a home you will want to be sure the location is right before making what will likely be the biggest investment of your life.  Taking a walk in the area, trying out the local facilities, and getting to know some of the locals can really help you to determine whether the area will be a fit for you and your family.  You may also want to check out the area at different times of the day, or even the year, if these are considerations that may affect your happiness in your new home.

A little extra work can really mean not only choosing a home that is right for you, but making sure it is in an area that can meet all of your needs.

 

Ten Tips To Successfully Market Your Home

There is a lot more to putting your home up for sale than placing a sign on the front lawn.  Selling your home quickly and getting the best price possible requires marketing your property and using the services of an experienced agent.  Here are some of the strategies you can use to market your home.

Hire A Professional REALTOR®—The ability to market your home is always best served by hiring a real estate expert.  They have access to resources that you as an individual do not, and their experience and knowledge are certainly worth the commission.

Photograph The Exterior Of Your Home—Good high quality photographs of the entire exterior of your home can really spark the interest of potential buyers. These photographs can be used in a variety of online and print marketing campaigns.

Photograph The Interior Of Your Home—Be sure you also have good quality photos of every major room in your home, especially the kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom.  Also ensure that these pictures are taken in good light, and from angles that best highlight the space they are to represent.

Purchase A Virtual Tour—Virtual tours are one of the latest and most effective marketing methods in the real estate industry.  Essentially a virtual tour allows potential viewers to get a 360-degree perspective of your property from the comfort of their home or office.  This method is also a great way to assure that only interested buyers show up at an open house. Your agent can have these tours put on multiple listing websites as well as on their own pages.

Print Advertising—While this may seem to be a costly and outdated marketing method, there are still a considerable number of potential buyers who use print resources to find prospective properties.

Signage—Be sure you have clear, visible signage on your property that indicates it is for sale.  Also, be sure your agent’s contact information can be seen from a distance so that those passing by can take down their name and number.

Direct Mail—Again, this may seem like an outdated method of advertising, but it is still effective, especially if your home may appeal to an older demographic.

Open Houses—This is still the most effective way to get a sale.  Be sure your home is in clean and presentable condition before hosting an open house, and ask your REALTOR® for advice about preparing your home for such an opening.

Agent Tours—These tours can give agents a better look at your home without having the general public in your house, and can assist them in matching your home with their clients. Your agent can arrange these tours.

E-marketing—Like print advertising, this is a fairly inexpensive and effective method of marketing your home that your REALTOR® can offer to you as part of their services.

 

Home Buying Negotiating Tips

When it comes to buying a home, the ability and willingness to negotiate is a must for both the buyer and seller.  In general, sellers ask for more than they are actually willing to accept and buyers offer less than they are willing to pay.  The trick is to find the perfect balance so that you, as a buyer, feel good about the purchase price without leaving the seller feeling insulted.

Know Your Market

Real estate is a business that either favors the buyer or seller, hence the terms buyer’s market and seller’s market.  When negotiating a purchase price, it’s important to know which of the two you are in.  As the buyer, you will have the best chance at a successful negotiation if you research the price of other comparable homes in the area before making an offer.

Make It Personal

When you make an offer, the seller will see nothing more than a piece of paper with some numbers on it that represent the price you are willing to pay.  If you really want the seller to take your offer to heart, let them know why you want to buy the home.  You can do this by preparing a handwritten letter expressing your interest and the reasons you fell in love with their house.  If you have a family, tell them about everyone who will be living in the home.  Let them get to know you and allow them to picture the happiness that you can bring to their house.  Believe it or not, some sellers actually look at the process like finding a good home for a lost puppy.  They want quality people to buy their home, so do your best to show them that you are sincere.

Nobody Likes Rejection

Not every offer is accepted, so don’t be disheartened if your first offer isn’t a winner.  In some cases, the seller will make a counteroffer for your consideration.  Have you ever heard the old saying, “never take the first offer?”  The same is true in real estate, and almost every seller knows it.  Your first offer is likely to be less than you are actually willing to pay, which leaves you some bargaining room.

Why Your Offer May Not Be Accepted

There are a number of reasons why a seller may choose to reject an offer, including a feeling that the offer was just too low, the house is newly listed on the market or another offer may be higher than the one you created.  In some cases, sellers may also reject an offer that includes owner financing or other requests that are impossible to meet.  One example may be an offer that requires the house be available within a certain amount of time.  Most contracts require that the seller move out within 30 days, but anything less would require negotiation.

Read The Fine Print

Before you sign anything relating to a real estate transaction, make sure that you read over every detail of the agreement.  If you have any questions, ask your REALTOR®.  After all, real estate is their business and they are there to help you through every step.

 

Buying A Home That Can Grow With Your Family

If you are a first time homeowner, or are purchasing a home after a major life change such as marriage or having children, what should you consider to be sure your new home can grow with your changing family?  The time and effort that go into purchasing and decorating a new home, not to mention finding it in the first place, means that you’ll want to ensure that your home will be right for you and your family for years to come.  So what should you look for in your new home so that it will give you enjoyment and be functional both now and in the future?

Size

Though a cute two-bedroom home may be right for a newlywed couple, this type of space will likely soon be outgrown if there are any children in your future or if you and your spouse like to entertain.  You will also want to consider the number of bathrooms and the facilities in them.  Having only one toilet or shower can certainly put stress on a growing family.

Features

Special features of a home, such as a finished basement, central air, and a large yard can make your home a more functional and enjoyable space, especially if you have or are considering starting a family in the near future.  You may also want to consider the age of the home you purchase and its features or appliances, as this may lead to future costs that may put stress on your financial situation at a time when one spouse may be at home caring for the children.

Location

Location is also an important consideration when choosing a home that can grow with your family.  Choosing a safe neighborhood is always an important point when selecting a family home, but you will also want to consider the proximity of good schools, community centers, and shopping.  Also, facilities such as parks and libraries can make a neighborhood truly a great place for families.  You may also want to consider the demographics of the area in which you are purchasing in order to be sure it is a match with your values.

As the old adage goes, home is where the heart is, and choosing a family home that is right for your family can really make all the difference in having a happy, fulfilling, and safe family life.

 

Planning The Perfect Easter Egg Hunt

Searching for hidden treasures and tasty sweets is the biggest part of Easter for young children.  Only Christmas morning comes with more anticipation that the morning of Easter; knowing that there will be a fun treasure hunt ending with a basket full of goodies will get any child excited.  Setting up a great Easter egg hunt is easy, whether you want to hold it indoors or out.

An Indoor Hunt

If the weather is bad and makes an outdoor hunt impossible, hide your Easter eggs around the house.  Be careful if you have pets—chocolate is unhealthy for dogs and cats.  Hide sweet treats out of your pets’ reach or keep your pets out of the room where the treats are hidden.

Be creative with your hiding places—put Easter treats in surprise places such as the pocket of your child’s robe.  Sneak into their room and place surprises on their pillow so they wake up and start the fun right away!  Wrapped treats can be hidden in planters or inside shoes and slippers.  The thrill of the hunt is the important part—don’t make it too easy!

Outdoor Eggs

If you live in a place where the weather allows for an outdoor Easter egg hunt, you have plenty of choices as to where you can hide your eggs.  Bear in mind, though, that local animals may run off with your treats if you hide them too far ahead of time.  Plastic eggs in bright colors that snap together to protect treats are a great way to keep them safe and hidden in your yard.

For extra fun, plan a multi-family Easter egg hunt in a local park.  You will have more space in which to create an exciting hunt!  Set up a picnic lunch to enjoy together after all of the eggs have been found.

Chocolate and treats aren’t the only fun Easter egg hunt ideas.  Try hiding small toys inside the plastic eggs, like stickers and temporary tattoos.  Kids will love discovering a new surprise in each egg.  Plan your hunt at mid-morning if you are going outside, giving the day some time to warm up a bit.  This will also place you right about lunch time when the hunt is over—and everyone will be ready for a delicious Easter meal.

 

Adapting to selling houses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

First and foremost we hope all our readers are staying safe.  The information surrounding the Coronavirus changes quickly, please stay informed from your news outlet.

Some REALTORS are going out with masks and gloves to look at houses with clients.  One first time home buyer said she is excited and wanted to make the most of her time working at home during the pandemic.

Many REALTORS thought buyer interest might slow as the coronavirus spreads across the country, as governments tell residents to stay home.

Many people at home want to take advantage of the low mortgage rates, one lender says they’ve actually seen an uptick in applications.  This is a great time to buy a home.  It seems like that wouldn’t be so, but it is a very good time to buy a home.

Before the pandemic started, people had plans to move – for a job, a bigger house, or a new lease, and those plans are moving forward as best as they can.  What is usually the busiest season of the year, the industry faces new challenges in the form of government orders that restrict business and the number of people allowed to gather in one place.

Thankfully, our Mayor has deemed the real estate industry essential and agents are conducting business over the phone and online.  Closings, which had been taking place from the six-foot distance health officials recommend, now are done remotely.  In-person showings are becoming rare, and open houses aren’t happening.  Agents are using technology any way they can to keep the ball rolling.  REALTORS are a creative group of people and will adapt to how they do their business and will work with clients to keep transactions moving. Supply and demand has not changed, just the way we do business.

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Ideas For Family Fun

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday that is celebrated every year in March, but it’s not just the Irish that enjoy this festive occasion.  In fact, people around the nation celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades, green attire and even parties that bring family and friends together.  Speaking of family, there are a number of ways that you can make St. Patrick’s Day a festive and fun-filled family holiday.

Take Part In a Parade

Whether you are involved directly or simply enjoy watching a St. Patrick’s Day parade from the sidelines, make sure that you attend at least one.  These festive events include everything from music to floats and local residents coming together to celebrate this annual holiday.  You can enjoy a parade with your family by participating together, or simply by watching from afar.

Dress The Part

One of the longest standing traditions for St. Patrick’s Day is the requirement of green attire.  Whether it’s a shirt, shamrock pin, pants or even a jacket, not wearing green often means you get pinched from good-natured family and friends.  If you want to join in on the celebration as a family, make sure that everyone is wearing green before leaving the house.

Have A Party

If you really want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, do so by hosting a party in your home.  You can invite family, friends, neighbors and other local residents who share in your festiveness.  Because the color green is so commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day, it’s only natural that you would want to serve lime JELL-O, ice cream and even green KOOL-AID to your guests.  Don’t forget to decorate with the green theme in mind by using holiday plates, cups and napkins, table coverings, streamers and even balloons.

Festive Dining

For Thanksgiving, many families eat turkey.  For St. Patrick’s Day, many families eat cabbage because, well, it’s green.  Green beans, vegetables, spinach, fruits and other green foods also remain popular choices for those looking to dine with the green theme in mind.

Look For Luck

When it comes to luck, the four-leaf clover is a very common symbol and it is also associated with St. Patrick’s Day.  This means that one of the best ways to enjoy family fun on this festive holiday is to go out in search of four-leaf clovers.  Children especially love this and they feel a great sense of accomplishment if they locate the rare find.  One of the greatest places to start looking is in your own backyard.