Seller Articles/Tips

Hardwood Floors Make an Impression

12/2/2016

All About Wood Floors

Friday, December 2, 2016

Hardwood flooring enhances the look of any room and creates a classic ambiance. Real estate agents agree that those homes hold their value better, sell faster and attract higher prices. Hardwood floors are always a draw. They impart warmth, depth and richness that can’t be matched by carpeting, tile or vinyl flooring.

Hardwood floors never seem to go out of style – their beauty and durability is appreciated by generation after generation of homeowners. So if you’re planning to install wood floors, you’ll want some basic information in order to choose wisely.

According to Hardwoodinfo.com, hardwoods are “deciduous trees that have broad leaves, produce a fruit or a nut, and generally go dormant in the winter. Popular hardwoods include oak, ash, cherry, and maple.

Softwoods, says the site, are conifers, evergreen and cone-bearing trees including cedar, pine, and redwood. Softwoods are generally used for behind the scenes construction lumber, while the beauty of hardwood grains make them preferable for display purposes, such as in cabinets and flooring.

Sometimes older homes feature pine floors, and cedar is often used to line storage closets, but generally, hardwoods are preferred for high traffic areas like living rooms and dining rooms.

If you’re buying wood floors, you can get them unfinished, and they’ll be sanded, stained and polished on site, or you can buy pre-finished hardwoods. You can also buy engineered hardwood floors, in which several thin layers have been bonded together in planks for easy installation and water resistance.

Caring for hardwoods and softwoods is easy – use only cleansers that are recommended for wood. Keep floors swept often, as dirt, grit and debris carried by shoes can scratch and penetrate the wood. Avoid wearing heels on hardwood floors and put furniture protectors under furniture legs if there is no carpeting.

Though wood floors will probably need to be refinished at some point, when properly taken care of they are much easier to maintain than other floor surfaces. Hardwood floors could make the difference between a sale or watching a potential buyer walk out the door. 

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

Marketing Your Home for the Holidays

12/1/2016

 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The holidays can be an ideal time to market a home. Families spend more time together, and sellers making a move during fall and early winter tend to be highly motivated.

Also, companies transfer employees according to need, and January is one of the busiest times of the year. When relocating transferees often have only a few weeks to find a home so make sure your house stands out with a few well-placed holiday decorations.

Ask your real estate professional for some staging advice to help you strike the right balance between inviting and memorable. Your agent will certainly tell you not to clutter tabletops, mantles or countertops or put holiday decorations out too soon. Wait until after Thanksgiving and take them down by the first weekend in January.

This may not be the year to put up a big tree because it can make a room appear cramped. The number one reason buyers choose a home is to have more space so let them look around without stepping around gift packages or avoiding fragile ornaments.

If you want a live tree, make sure it’s watered so the tree won’t turn brown or drop needles. Use fresh garlands to decorate mantles and doorways, and you can throw them away after the season.

Your time is best spent cleaning, staging and packing nonessentials in preparation for moving. Your home will show better and you’ll feel less stress if you don’t take on too much.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

CMAs vs. Appraisals

11/30/2016

How CMAs and Appraisals Differ

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Establishing a home’s market sales price is equally important to buyers, sellers, lenders and real estate professionals. To help transactions proceed quickly and efficiently, sales professionals and appraisers both utilize information from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). 

The MLS is a professional member-based cooperative that contains a wealth of information including active listings, homes that have recently sold, tax roll data, historical data, and market trends such as how quickly homes are selling and how close they sell to the original listing prices. 

Using this data, licensed real estate professionals prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) reports to help sellers choose a listing price for their homes and to help buyers make offers. The CMA is a consumer-facing report that includes recently sold homes and homes for sale that are most similar to the seller’s home in location, appearance, features, and general price range.

If the buyer is receiving financing through a bank, the bank will order an appraisal, using the same MLS data, but with some differences. A bank appraisal is performed by a licensed appraiser to determine market value. Comparable homes similar to those in a CMA are used to compare physical features, property tax records and recent solds to determine whether values are trending up or down.

In short, the CMA introduces consumers to the ever-changing marketplace of homes for sale and those properties that have recently sold. The appraisal determines market value for the bank so that the bank doesn’t lend too much money on a single property. Together, CMAs and appraisals help consumers buy and sell homes.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

A Souped-up Laundry Room Can Make a Difference

10/13/2016

 

Thursday, October 13, 3016

The laundry room is one of the most forgotten areas to get in shape. Machines are often dusty, detergent dripping down the sides and lint and old socks on the floor. Yet it doesn’t take much to make a real difference:

Add energy-efficient appliances: The U.S. Department of Energy claims that machines with the ENERGY STAR label can decrease water costs by up to 50%. There are machines that adjust water temperature and amount for each load to prevent excess and waste.

Add a touch of pizazz: Consider designer colors, pedestals or sleek designs that can make a bold statement.

Choose the best type appliance for you: Top loaders require enough water to cover all the clothes in its drum. Front loaders can reduce that by two-thirds—less water for larger loads. While they look great, they can be more expensive and can develop mold because they don’t empty as efficiently.

Don’t forget the dryer: Moisture sensors recognize when laundry is dry more quickly than traditional machines and shut down sooner. This saves energy, cash and wear-and-tear on clothing.

Consider steam: The use of steam washers and dryers for greater energy and water efficiency is also a growing trend. They offer enhanced clothing-care options such as short, steam-only cycles that help to reduce wrinkles and remove odors without using water and detergent.

Laundry rooms used to be relegated to the basement. Today, people are finding space in more convenient areas of the house—like the kitchen, upstairs or near bedrooms. Experts agree that a laundry nook will raise the value of a home, making it more convenient as hauling baskets of clothing up and down flights of stairs become a thing of the past.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

10/12/2016

 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

They say a picture paints a thousand words and when it comes to selling your home, you want those words to end with "SOLD."  It's no secret that better-presented homes get more traffic and more buyer interest, therefore are selling faster.

Homes garner more traffic and buyer interest when presented effectively—which means they sell faster.  That’s why it is essential that you showcase your home through images in the best way possible. 

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, nearly 90% of all homebuyers begin shopping for homes online.  They click through photos and send a list of those of interest to their real estate agent.  In fact, homes with few or no photos are often skipped simply for that reason, even if the home’s description matches a buyer’s ideal listing.

Apart from effectively pricing and properly preparing your home to sell, I believe no other marketing investment is as important as professional photography in marketing a property effectively.  There has been a dramatic increase in the use of professional real estate photographers among savvy agents in the effort to generate more buyer interest.  

The best photographs are most likely to come from someone who has an eye for the underlying beauty of the home's structure and spaces; has specialized equipment and techniques for lighting and perspective control; and uses workflow processes for post-processing of the images for use on the Web and in publications.

Let's face it, as much as we like to think we take great photos, a professional has an eye for seeing the best composition and lighting, plus better equipment to make the photos bright, clear and sharp.

Before bringing in someone to photograph or video your home, it's essential that it is clean and de-cluttered so the pictures entice a buyer to want to see the home in person. You don't want clothes, pets or anything else distracting people from the photo at hand.

Indeed, homes showcased with the best photographs will attract more potential buyers and help speed the home-sale process to a successful conclusion.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

Curb Appeal: It’s Important

10/11/2016

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 

Home sellers spend so much time preparing their interior for the sale that they can easily overlook the outside. Great curb appeal invites prospective buyers to view the rest of the property. In fact, it can increase the value of a property by as much as 15-20%.

Start with the basics: A well-manicured lawn is a magnet for buyers. Overgrown trees or large bushes hiding the house are a definite no-no. Don’t forget to rake leaves, wash windows and skylights, clean gutters and trim shrubs.

Don’t overlook the details: Consider adding flowers or sprucing things up with decorative grasses or Japanese maples. Accent trees with rocks or boulders to make a bold statement. Or how about adding a modest fountain to the yard or garden? Add low voltage lighting to highlight the yard, trees and the home’s exterior.

Sometimes it’s the little, inexpensive things that can make a real difference. Do something as simple as adding a new mailbox, address numbers on your home, a new welcome mat and some potted plants by the front door. 

Remember, first impressions are often the most important.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

Thinking About Adding a Home Theater?

10/10/2016

 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Home-theater technology has evolved. Prices continue to drop, placing the concept easily within reach for many households. It’s where the family comes together to be entertained—and is likely one of the most occupied room in the house. 

There are several ways to make the home theater more appealing prior to showing a home:

Clean all surfaces: Keep wiring discrete. While seating space is practical in a media room, consider reducing the number of sofas to give a spacious look to the room.

Smart furniture choices: Choose furniture that improves the look of the room and creates the movie environment that so many desire.

Keep equipment out of sight: Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, speakers—should be kept out of sight. Unique features such as hidden wheels, flow-through ventilation, adjustable shelves, built-in media or speaker storage, and integrated cable management systems can make a big difference.

Indeed, we’re in the golden age of gadgets and components. Rooms focused on technology and entertainment can be extremely appealing.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

Selling an Ugly Home

10/7/2016

Tips for Turning That “Ugly Betty” Into a Sale

Friday, October 7, 2016

You’ve just inherited an old house in a distant location and want to put it on the market. You don’t have the time, resources or energy to make it perfect and just want a quick sale.

Or maybe you had renters who did substantial damage and you don’t have the money to make necessary renovations.

Just because it needs work doesn’t mean you can’t sell it. Many buyers today are looking for deals and may see potential in your home.

So what to do? Here are a few tips when on the market:

  • Leave brochures for new cabinets in the kitchen, color palette around the bedrooms.
  • Create computerized images of what updates might look like.
  • Secure bids from licensed contractors on necessary fixes and provide them to potential buyers. People may mentally overestimate the cost of a new roof, shower stall, drywall repair or fresh paint. Providing sample estimates will bring the home into clearer perspective.
  • Work with your real estate agent to make the home as presentable as possible for the least amount of money.
  • Nothing is going to attract people more than a lowered price. You will need to discount to gain an advantage over comparables in better condition. 

A down-and-out house doesn’t mean you’re stuck. With small repairs, research and practical pricing, you can turn that “Ugly Betty” into a sale.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

 

Get Your Home Documents Organized

10/6/2016

 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

As a homeowner, you accumulate all sorts of documentation the moment you make the offer on your home. Loan documents, inspections, insurance policies, receipts and warranties are just a few of the documents you may be collecting. Knowing where these items are can save you a lot of time and money.

Keep closing papers such as the deed, settlement statement, appraisal, disclosures, mortgage note, inspections and title insurance policy together in one place—preferably in a safe deposit box.

For other records, a practical record-keeping system doesn’t have to be expensive. Purchase an accordion file and label each flap with a different category. Those might include:

  • Insurance Policies.
  • Purchase and House Data.
  • Property Taxes.
  • Home Maintenance and Improvements.
  • Warranties, Manuals and Receipts.
  • Home Inventory.

Organizing your home files may take a considerable amount of time initially, but it will definitely be time well spent in the event you need the documents in the future.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

Making Color Work in Your Home

10/5/2016

 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Don’t be offended if an agent suggests that you paint before placing your home on the market. They understand “color psychology.” Since people’s reaction to color is immediate, it can have a tremendous influence on their daily choices.

You can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly and at a higher price if you use color effectively. Blues will feel cool, reds and oranges feel warm. Deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity. 

Lighter exterior colors are favored because they can make the property seem larger. For older homes, you may want to consider historical accuracy, as this could be a big selling point as well. 

For the interior, consider the purpose of each room. Kitchen and dining areas painted in “food colors” such as coffee browns, celery greens and scrambled-egg yellows will make the rooms feel more natural. Hallways are a great place to bring in the exterior colors for overall harmony. Master bedrooms in medium shades of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue or a pale shell pink. Shades of blue, green or lavender can form a relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom. 

When thinking about color, common sense helps. You should match other things in your home and keep a comfortable environment as well.

Courtesy of Letitia Stevenson, BHHS Fox & Roach, REALTORS® - Talking Real Estate

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