5 Things Buyers Should Never Compromise On

Sure, compromise between the buyer and seller is part of the game when getting to closing. But there are some things buyers should never acquiesce—or they’ll likely regret their home purchase. Realtor.com® recently asked real estate professionals to weigh in on some of the top items their clients regret about the home they bought

1. The floor plan. It’s difficult and expensive to reconfigure a home’s floor plan.  A home that does not fit your buyers’ minimum criteria in terms of number of rooms and the flow of the main living areas, should cross it off their list. You can change a layout to make it an open floor plan, but it’s a lot more difficult to change the bedroom and bathroom count. In the long run, you could end up having a lot of problems and taking on a really big financial undertaking.

2. The school district. Even buyers who don’t have children—but wish to one day—should carefully consider their neighborhood’s school district. Encourage buyers to visit the school district’s website to get a map of its exact boundaries. I will advertise a property as being near such-and-such school area but not necessarily specify the district, which can be very confusing. When discussing schools with my clients I give them access to resources that will aide them in selecting the “right school” that may fits their needs.

3. The neighbors. Buyers should be cognizant of the condition of neighboring homes, as it can affect their future resale value. You can’t change the house in front of you or to the side of you or move the people out. And then there’s the barking dog that won’t quit. Another case of “buyer be ware”.

4. The budget. Tell your clients to consider the expenses beyond just the list price. For example, they’ll want to factor in monthly mortgage payments, potential homeowner association dues, utility costs, and real estate taxes. A lender’s pre-approval will tell buyers how much house they can afford, but there other factors determine whether they’ll be financially comfortable. They may be able to purchase a bigger and better home at the expense of not having any food on the table. A good loan officer and or a good real estate agent will explain the realities of home ownership. It’s their duty to do so especially with first time home buyers.

5. The commute. Buyers should make sure they are comfortable with the time it takes to get to work. They should drive the route between the home and their office at the time they’ll be commuting.  Sometimes buyers are so infatuated with the home they end up losing a proper perspective of the big picture. Long commutes means less time spent in your “infatuation”.

 franksacco.com


Help Sellers With Built-Ins

Recently I previewed a few homes that had several things in common. The most common and noticeable amenity that stood out was the extensive bookshelves and cabinetry each home had. Each house had a different feel and the cabinetry was what set each one apart. I just stumbled on this related article and found the answer I was looking for.
Bookshelves and cabinetry incorporated within a home’s architecture once was equated with grandeur, offering homeowners the opportunity to showcase personal treasures and knickknacks. But over time, the pieces may look dated. Here are updating ideas with pizzazz that buyers may love.

built in bookcases

Built-in cabinetry, whether part of a home’s initial design or added to organize and display books, artwork, or knickknacks, has long offered a way for homeowners to introduce a distinctive look to their interior. But with the rise of digital media and minimalist decor, buyers these days may have less of a need for this once widely coveted storage feature.

In addition, pieces constructed years or decades ago may feature materials, hardware, or ornamentation that now looks passé. Even newer units designed to house entertainment equipment—hugely popular in the ’80s and ’90s—look dated thanks to wall-hung flat-screen TVs, wireless speakers, and streaming music apps.

Sellers can usually remove built-ins without causing structural problems, but the process of ripping them out, hauling them away, and patching and painting newly exposed walls, floors, and ceilings is expensive, says Chicago designer Mitchell Putlack: “I recommend leaving them unless they’re so outdated. In most cases, they can be remodeled.”

But even when sellers choose to leave them in, questions may arise about how to improve their appearance. You may even want raise the subject with seller clients. “You don’t want to create an awkward discussion point with a potential buyer about how they’ll be handled,” says Jennifer Howard, owner of JWH Design & Cabinetry in suburban New York. Here are five changes you can suggest to give built-ins a new, hip lifeline.

  • Paint or restain. When a house has similar architectural details to the built-ins, simply freshening up the look with an updated paint color or a lighter stain can be an eye-catching, inexpensive solution, says Decorating Den designer Sandy Kozar of Knoxville, Tenn. Try a color that matches the trim in the room for continuity, says Howard. Generally, painting is less expensive than staining, says Putlack. But always go with quality paint in a semigloss or gloss finish that can withstand the wear and tear of books and other storage, says Chicago designer Jessica Lagrange of Jessica Lagrange Interiors.
  • Remove elaborate pilasters and molding that don’t fit the home’s style. Although such millwork was probably lovingly crafted, it may be too fussy for buyers who lean toward simplicity. Removing any over-the-top embellishments and leaving the rest of the built-in requires minimal touch-up work, says Putlack.
  • Change hardware. An easy switch-out is replacing knobs or pulls. However, these trends typically change fast, so make sure you’re up on the latest looks. Brass has become less popular in recent years, though washed brass is making inroads. Two finishes on the chic list nowadays are polished chrome and satin nickel, says Kozar. Often the shape of the hardware makes a big difference in the impression it leaves. Long skinny pulls have a more modern feel than round or octagonal ones.
  • Change or remove cabinet and drawer fronts. If doors are overly ornate for the space, Jody Goodman Dinan, a salesperson with The Dinan Team of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Boston, often suggests switching them out for flat or Shaker style panels. Homeowners can also remove fronts entirely and finish the resulting edges, turning closed cabinetry into shelving. Designers at Chicago custom home builder BGD&C find that running shelves high on a wall offers a feeling of grandeur, while keeping the shelves open offers a greater sense of scale. A rolling ladder offers an eye-catching way to access the uppermost reaches.
  • Install lighting. Adding bulbs at the top or sides of shelves can highlight displays and add drama. And by using battery-powered LEDs, homeowners can often avoid hiring an electrician. Select bulbs that work on dimmers to vary light levels and moods, says Lagrange.

When sellers don’t want to undertake this effort and expense, consider suggesting they include a computer-generated rendering or blueprint drawing that shows buyers how the room can look with any of these changes, says Dinan.

How Built-ins Can Maximize Space

Interior designers are using new and existing storage features to align homes with the needs of today’s buyers and sellers.

August 2017

| BY Barbara Ballinger

A Sign That More Housing Inventory Is Coming

The following article is stat driven and has been the barometer for the housing market climate. If you are the statistical type you will appreciate the info. If you’re not you should read it over. I think you’ll get the point.

Homeowners who have decided to stay put in their current properties may soon be ready for a move, helping to relieve stubbornly tight housing inventory. The evidence is in Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index, in which the number of consumers who say now is a good time to sell a home neared an all-time high. The index—which is a measure of about 1,000 consumers’ attitudes toward housing—rose 1.2 points in August to a reading of 88, reflecting a year-over-year jump of 21 percentage points in the number of consumers who looked favorably on selling. The August reading is just shy of the index’s record high of 88.3, set in July.

Meanwhile, the number of consumers who say now is a good time to buy dropped 5 percentage points in August to a new survey low for the second consecutive month. The number of those who look favorably on buying is down 16 percentage points year over year, Fannie Mae reports.

“In the early stages of the economic expansion, home selling sentiment trailed home buying sentiment by a significant margin. The reverse is true today,” says Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan. “The net ‘good time to sell’ share is now double the net ‘good time to buy’ share, with record-high percentages of consumers citing home prices as the primary reason for both perceptions. Such a sizable gap between selling and buying sentiment, if it persists, could weigh on the housing market through the rest of the year.”

Here are some additional findings from Fannie Mae’s August sentiment index reading:

  • 36 percent: Consumers who say now is a good time to sell, an uptick of 8 percentage points from July.
  • 18 percent: Consumers who say now is a good time to buy a home, a new survey low.
  • 48 percent: Americans who say home prices will rise, up 1 percentage point month over month.
  • 74 percent: Consumers who say they are not concerned about losing their job, a 1 percentage point drop in August.
  • 16 percent: Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, unchanged from July. Source: Fannie Mae.

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Fall May Be Best Time for Buyers to Move

A slower fall season in home buying may help more lingering home buyers to jump in.

Looks like prices are softening a bit. The median price of an existing home dropped for the second month in a row . The price reached $253,500 in August, after soaring to a record high of $263,300 in June, according to the latest data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Approaching into the fall median sales prices typically decline. Summer is the hottest time of the market both timing wise and weather wise. Families want to be settled in before an upcoming school year. Homes that sell well in the fall tend to be smaller in size for folks with no children and tend to be less expensive.

Existing homes are proving to be a bargain compared to newer homes. The median price of a new home reached $313,700 in July, which is 23.7 percent higher than an existing home. That’s a huge gap.

Mortgage rates are still under the 4 percent psychological threshold, which can be a luring incentive for borrowers. Last week the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.78 percent, holding steady at a 2017 low.

Studies have shown that fall can be the best time to buy. A recent study found that October was the best month for home buyers. Purchasers in October paid 2.6 percent below the estimated market value at the time for their home, according to the analysis. In other words, buyers interested in a $300,000 home tend to see a $7,800 discount on it in the fall. Oct. 8 was found to have the best day for bargains too, with an average of 10.8 percent below estimated market value, according to the study. This trend has been the same throughout my years of real estate practice. Even during the most recent housing market crisis.

August home sales  started to decline heading into the fall season. Sales of existing homes fell 1.7 percent from July to August, but the National Association of Realtors (NAR) mostly blamed the decrease on the limited number of listings for sale on the market. Again this is another example of what happens every August. No new news to me nor my colleagues.

With less inventory properties are staying on the market for less time, so buyers will need to be ready to act fast. Fifty-one percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month, according to National Association of Realtors (NAR). Properties typically stayed on the market for just 30 days in August.

Happy house hunting.

http://franksacco.com


7 Pricing Myths to Stop Believing If You Ever Hope to Sell Your House

I was a bit reluctant to weigh in on this so very important topic regarding Sellers that have preconceived notions as to what their home is worth.  It seems as though it’s a common feeling that most all Sellers cling to regardless of a Realtor’s Market Analysis or an Appraiser’s Analysis. I believe that all real estate agents and experienced sellers included would agree with me on that. The following article discusses 7 myths / mistakes that Seller’s buy into.

Pricing your own home is hard, what with all the history and hopes this magic number entails. Of course, you want to make a profit. Of course, all that money you spent installing a swimming pool or a half-bath will be recouped, because you’re leaving your digs in better shape than when you bought it, right? Right?

Well, not necessarily. Too many home sellers fall prey to myths about home pricing that seem to make sense at first, but don’t jibe with the reality of real estate markets today. To make sure you haven’t bought into any of this malarkey—since the buyers you’re trying to woo sure haven’t—here are some common pricing myths you’ll want to rinse from your brain so you kick off your home-selling venture with realistic expectations. It’s time to get real, folks!

1. You always make money when you sell a home

Sure, real estate tends to appreciate over time: The National Association of Realtors® estimates that home prices will jump by 5% by the end of 2017 and continue rising 3.5% in 2018. But selling your home for more than you paid is by no means a given, and your return on investment can vary greatly based on where you live.

The National Association Of Realtors (NAR) also found, for instance, that the cost of single-family homes increased in about 87% of the metros it studied, but prices actually dropped in 23 markets. So don’t assume you’ll walk away with a profit until you’ve examined what’s up in your area first.

2. Price your house high to make big bucks

We know what you’re thinking: “Hey, it’s worth a shot!” But if you start with some sky-high asking price, you’ll soon come back to Earth when you realize that an overpriced home just won’t sell.

“While the payday might sound appealing, you’re actually sacrificing your best marketing time in exchange for the remote possibility that someone will overpay for your home,” says Kathleen Marks, a Realtor.

While certain buyers might be suckered in, this becomes far less likely if they’re working with a buyer agent’s who will know all too well when a home is overpriced, and advise their client to steer clear. And this can lead to problems down the road (as our next myth indicates).

3. If your home’s overpriced, it’s no big deal to lower it later

Sorry, but overpricing your home isn’t easily fixed just by lowering it later on. The reason: Homes that have lingered on the market for months—or that have undergone one or more price reductions—make buyers presume that something must be wrong with it. As such, they might still steer clear, or offer even less than the price you’re now asking.

Bottom line: “Price your home appropriately from the beginning for your best shot at having a quick and easy sale,” Marks recommends.

4. Pricing your home low means you won’t make as much money

Similarly, sellers are often leery of pricing their home on the low end. But as counter-intuitive as this seems, this strategy can often pay off big-time. Here’s why: Low-priced homes drum up tons of interest, which could result in bidding war that could drive your home’s price past your wildest dreams.

5. You can add the cost of any renovations you’ve made

Let’s say you overhauled your kitchen or added a deck. It stands to reason that whatever money you paid for these improvements will be recouped in full once you sell—after all, your home’s new owners are inheriting all your hard work.

The reality: While your renovations might see some return on investment, you’ll rarely recoup the whole amount. On average, you can expect to get back 64% of every dollar you spend on home improvements. Plus that profit can vary greatly based on which renovation you do.

Check out this list of common renovations and their return on investment to know what you can actually expect.

6. A past appraisal will help you pinpoint the right price

If you have an appraisal in hand, from when you bought or refinanced your house, you might think that’s a logical place to start to price your home. It’s not!

An appraisal assigns your home a value based on market conditions at a specific date, so it becomes old news very quickly. In fact, lenders typically won’t accept appraisals that are more than 60 days old.

“Since lenders know markets can change in six months’ time, it’s important for sellers to understand that a previous appraisal is never a reliable source for the current value of a home,” Marks says.

7. Your agent might overprice the house to make a bigger commission

Don’t even go there, says Realtor Raena Janes.

“While it’s true that an agent’s commission  is based on the selling price of a house, the disparity will end up being negligible,” she says. For example, the difference in commission between a $300,000 house and one that’s $310,000 is about $150.

“No real estate agent is going to lose a sale for the sake of a couple hundred dollars,” she explains.

From me. My purpose to share this blog with sellers is not to be condescending nor challenge their intelligence but rather to educate and prepare them for a less hassle free and successful Closed Escrow.  When it’s time to list your home good luck and happy real estate days ahead to you.

http://www.franksacco.com