Factors Most Influential on Home Values

In today’s  real estate world Buyers have become wiser, researching important facts not only about the houses they’re interested in but also about the communities where the homes are located. Essential that real estate professionals show their value by keenly understanding the factors influencing home values in order to help and influence those research-savvy clients.

Study these four factors in your market:

  1. Location. This is nothing new; everyone knows location is extremely influential on home values. But it might be underutilized in the marketing listings. A great location is something sellers can capitalize on today more than ever, whether it’s a city, neighborhood, proximity to amenities, or the view according to most Agents
  2. Community statistics. School district performance, crime rates, walkability, and the number of establishments such as convenience stores and restaurants are factors that can influence home values, Agents agree, also influencing home buyers.
  3. Home updates. Improvements and renovations can have a dramatic effect on a home’s value. Take a look at comparable properties in the area to understand which updates will give your clients the most bang for their buck. Changes in flooring, wall paints, doors, and even added rooms will add to the home value and appeal to buyers.
  4. The neighborhood. “Home values are volatile, professionals agree. “Always do your dose of monitoring neighboring home prices. This way you can properly put a tag price on your own not only for profitable margins but also to be competitive with other homes for sale.”

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Porches Are Making a Comeback

Daily Real Estate News

More new homes are coming equipped with front porches. Sixty-five percent of new single-family homes started in 2016 included a porch, according to a Census data analysis from the National Association of Home Builders. It’s only the second time since tracking began that new single-family homes with porches have moved back above 65 percent. For comparison, in 2005, 54 percent of new homes had porches.

Certain regions of the U.S. are showing higher preference for porches. For example, the East-South-Central region of the U.S. had the highest share of new homes started in 2016 with porches at 86 percent.

Positioning of porches have gone through a number of architectural changes. Front to back, side to side, etc.  Front porches on new homes tend to be more common than side porches. Also, most new home porches are open rather than screened.

The average size of a front porch on a new home is about 60 square feet. The materials used often tend to be concrete and treated wood. However, some regions—like the Mountain and Pacific areas of the U.S.—tend to favor redwood over treated wood for their front porches.

Personally I find porches to be a PLUS. Porches tend to make folks more happy. Sitting or lounging on a porch generally can be most relaxing. Especially when the porch overlooks your backyard.  Front porches also can be uplifting as well. Gives you an opportunity to tune into your neighborhood. Passer byes who don’t have a porch subconsciously are envious of your position wishing they too had their own.

 

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4 Things You Really Wish Your Sellers Knew

There are a few things that pop up in the course of transactions that you wish sellers already knew that lessens the chance of having to discuss so that you could avoid having some awkward conversations with them. Real estate pros chime in at realtor.com® with some of the top things they wish sellers knew about selling a home, including:

Your home decor isn’t always perfect for selling.

“While your home may be beautifully decorated, it still looks like your home, not the buyer’s,” Teresa Stephenson, vice president of a residential brokerage at Platinum Properties in New York, told realtor.com®. Clutter, in particular, can make a home feel cramped. “You don’t have to pay to have your home staged, but if you don’t buy into the concept that ‘less is more,’ you’ll pay when it comes time to sell,” Stephenson adds.

Stop being so secretive with your agent.

Sellers need to disclose any problems with the property, like a broken air conditioner, leaky faucets, water damage, or termite infestation. “Don’t keep any of your home’s flaws from your agent because you are scared it might hurt your sale,” says Karen Elmir, founder and CEO of the Elmir Group in Miami. The listing agent is on the homeowner’s side, but she must be aware of what needs to be fixed or what could become an issue in a transaction going forward.

Remodeling doesn’t guarantee a price uptick.

While remodeling projects may enhance a property, the projects homeowners take on are never a guarantee of payback at resale. “An ROI, or return, on a home’s upgrades does not necessarily increase value,” says Michael Kelczewski, a real estate pro with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Delaware and Maryland. The payback will greatly depend on what type of home improvement was completed.

Be ready to fix some things.

Sellers may have to spend a few bucks to get their home ready to sell. For example, they may need to “replace the trim the dogs scratched up,” says Katie Messenger, a real estate pro with Bello Dimora Real Estate Network in Kentucky and Cincinnati. “Clean the scuff marks off the walls. Power-wash the algae off the vinyl siding. To you, it’s totally normal because you’ve lived with these issues for years. To buyers, these will look like expensive repairs, which means they’ll have to lowball you, or not make an offer at all, because your house ‘needs a lot of work.’”

Well you’ve heard from the pros. Now you can hear it from me. I preach the same ideas to my clients.  I concur with the pros on all fronts. I take things a step further. I recommend Sellers conduct inspections, make repairs, a through cleaning, stage their home that favors most all buyers  before listing the property. When it comes time to negotiate the focus will be on Price and Terms and not who will fix this or that. I know from experience this formula WORKS!

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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”.

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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