Selling Tips

How to Host a Sizzling Summer Open House

According to the National Association of Realtors®, more than 40 percent of all homes sold last year were between the months of May and August. There are so many reasons why summer may be the perfect time to put your home on the market – families are trying to settle into a new place before the school year starts and buyers have their tax refunds firmly in hand. But with so many others reaching the same conclusion, how do you make your home stand out?

A well planned open house allows potential buyers to picture how life in this home would be, and in the summer people tend to be more relaxed; it’s the time of vacations and lazy days. So making your home’s open house a haven from the heat is the best way to help them visualize that this is the house is where they’ll want to spend all of their summers.

Here are a few tips to help your home’s open house stand out this summer.

Pump the A/C. It’s easy for a house to become stuffy and warm during the summer, especially with exterior doors frequently opening and closing, so make sure that you have the air conditioning running whenever you’re hosting potential buyers.  Just make sure to keep the temperature cool and inviting, not set to a deep freeze!

Curb Appeal. Your home’s curb appeal is its first impression, and the summer months can be harsh on your home’s front lawn. Unlike in winter, where fresh snow in the front yard can appear romantic and enticing to buyers, there is nothing attractive about the dry, dead lawns of summer. Water frequently or update your home’s landscaping to something grass-free.

Outdoor Living. If your home has a pool, a large deck or an outdoor kitchen, the summer months are the perfect time to highlight them.  Put some lemonade out for buyers to enjoy on the patio and keep the pool crystal clean.  Remember, however, that summer means kids are out of school, and they may be joining their parents on open house tours, so make sure that pool gates are kept locked tight for safety.

Embrace the Season. Potential buyers may be hot and thirsty when they arrive, so prepare for it. Have a cooler with ice-cold bottled water ready and waiting for them the moment they walk in the house, and have refreshing snacks, like watermelon or popsicles, available in the kitchen or on the patio. This will help home buyers picture your home as their oasis in the heat.

Following a few easy open house tips can help you quickly find the right buyer this summer.  If you are interested in selling or buying a home this summer, contact a local Realtor®.

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Realtors® Rate Most Cost Effective Home Improvement Projects

Realtors® from across the country have rated several home improvement projects that will not only add value to your home but will also recoup most of their costs upon resale. The 2015 Cost vs. Value Report helps owners decide if a project is worth the time and financial investments.

Deciding to take on a home improvement project can be overwhelming for many homeowners, and especially if they are trying to choose a project that will give them the biggest bang for their buck. Realtors® know hat features will be most attractive to potential buyers and this report provides homeowners with that insight.

Curb appeal has always been important, so makes sense that the top five remodeling projects from the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report that will give you the highest return on investment are all smaller, exterior improvements.

Steel Entry Door. For the second year in a row, Realtors® have named the steel entry door the number one home improvement project when it comes to seeing a return on your investment. It is also consistently the least expensive project in the report, costing about $1,200 on average; it was also the only project on this year’s list to recoup more than 100 percent of its cost at resale on a national level.

Manufactured Stone Veneer. This decorative building material is made to replicate the look of natural stone for a substantially lower price. This is the first year manufactured stone veneer has appeared in the Cost vs. Value report. On average, the project will cost around $7,150 and will recoup 92.2 percent of your investment.

Garage Door Replacement. Upgrading your garage door can update the entire exterior of your home, not to mention enhancing curb appeal. The garage door is one of the first things a potential buyer will see. It is part of the first impression your home gives, so it is important that it looks its best. A midrange steel garage door averages $1,595 and will recoup you 88.4 percent of your investment.

Fiber-Cement Siding. This high-end siding is resistant to termites, rot, moisture and fire. It is also incredibly stable and does not flex, meaning you’ll save money on less frequent repainting. This project will average you $14,014, and you can expect a return on investment of 84.3 percent.

Wood Deck Addition. An outdoor entertaining space is a large draw for many buyers. A deck provides a large amount of living area and at $30 per square foot it is a fraction of the cost of an indoor addition. The average cost for this project is $10,048 and recover 80.5 percent of your investment.

Before taking on any of these projects it is important to remember that all real estate is local. According to the Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS, every neighborhood is unique and the popularity and resale value of a specific remodeling project varies from community to community. This is why it is so important to work with a Realtor®. Realtors® have unparalleled knowledge of local market conditions and can help you decide which projects will deliver the most return on investment in your area.

The 2015 Cost vs. Value Report is published by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC and is done in collaboration with the National Association of Realtors®. Additional data from the report can be found at NAR’s consumer website, HouseLogic.com.

Sell Your Home This Summer

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Selling your home can be no easy feat, especially during the hot summer months.  However, there are a number of reasons that this summer could be the best time to put your house on the market.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, fifty percent of homes are sold during the summer months. In summer, the frenzy of the spring buying season has ended, so you may have fewer houses to compete with for buyers. Also, potential buyers will have received their tax refund checks by summer and that may be just what they need to pull together a downpayment. Selling in summer also gives families time to settle in before school starts. All of these reasons make summer a perfect time to market your home for sale.

Here are a few tips from the Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS (GLAR) to make sure your house is sold for the best price and in plenty of time for fall:

Air Conditioning. During the summer, your house can become hot and stuffy. Keep the air conditioning at a reasonable temperature; not so cold that buyers will be searching for their jackets, but cool enough that they won’t want to go back into the heat outside.

Summer Plans. Plan your annual vacation in advance so that you can list your home accordingly. Timing is everything when it comes to selling a home, so make sure that when offers start coming in that you aren’t out of town.

Landscaping.  Your front yard is the first thing people notice about your house, so make sure your lawn and flower beds aren’t suffering in the summer heat. Keep the grass trimmed by mowing often, plant fresh flowers and remove any debris from the lawn.  Also, clean your deck, porch, patio or outdoor kitchen and repaint or make any necessary repairs. This is your outdoor space’s chance to shine, so keep it in top condition all season.

Provide Refreshments.  Make sure to greet potential buyers the way you would guests and provide drinks or snacks. During the hot summer days, bring out a cold pitcher of lemonade or a cooler full of bottled water for the buyers. Set out some fruit or other light snacks that are seasonally appropriate. Anything you can do to make visitors linger a little longer could help you sell quicker.

Work with a Realtor®. Finally, GLAR reminds sellers that all real estate is local, so it’s important to work with a Realtor® who is familiar with your community. These professionals know the pricing strategies, buyer preferences and marketing approaches that will achieve the best results in your area.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you increase your chances of quickly finding the right buyer for your home this summer.

What do Millennials Want From A Realtor?

The numbers are in and Millennials take the top spot as the largest group of recent home buyers in the U.S. According to the 2014 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers, Millennials (those age 33 and younger) comprised 31 percent of recent home purchases.

“Millennials are the largest generation in history after the baby boomers, and since many still aspire to one day invest in their future through homeownership, they will drive future housing demand,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Despite having a reputation of not wanting to put down roots, this generation still very much sees homeownership as part of the American Dream. What exactly is this age group – most of whom are likely to start their home buying search online – hoping to gain from working with a Realtor®?

Getting information from the Internet is a lot like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant. Young buyers are looking to Realtors® to help them understand and interpret all this information, given them insights into everything that goes into the home buying decision, and guide them through the process. This is the largest financial transaction of their lives, so they are looking for someone they believe is honest and trustworthy.

This means that they are most likely to hire their agent based on a reference from a friend or relative. As this is probably their first venture into the real estate market, a recommendation from mom or dad, or perhaps a good friend who just went through the process is going to carry more weight than any online reviews. While Millennials want to enter the market, this generation does face some challenges on their path to homeownership. Twenty percent of Millennials polled said that they would have a hard time saving for down payment, citing student loan debt as their main financial hurdle. That, along with the challenges of tight credit, limited inventory, and the possibility of rising interest rates, can limit the options and ability for young people to own.

However, these issues aren’t changing young buyers’ attitudes about buying a home. This generation truly appreciates the long-term benefits and economic security of homeownership; 87 percent polled say they consider their home purchase a good financial investment. They also understand the issues currently affecting the market, and that they may have to be flexible to make owning their own home a reality.

Realtors® know that younger people often need to make compromises to get into their new home and can help guide buyers to achieving their goal of owning their own property. Desired size and location are usually negotiable when buying a home and most buyers are willing to make financial sacrifices if it means they can make this important investment in their future.

Realtors Rate Remodeling Projects, Provide Improvement Guidance to Homeowners

When it comes to remodeling, homeowners often wonder if a project is worth the investment. According to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, several remodeling projects are not only valuable, but also return more than 78 percent of their costs upon resale. Many of those projects are exterior replacement projects, which Realtors® rated having the biggest bang for the buck.

Exterior projects such as entry door, siding and window replacements can recoup homeowners a substantial amount upon resale. These types of projects are essential to home maintenance, so the good news is many homeowners are already doing them. Another plus is that these projects are generally inexpensive, and besides keeping your home functioning properly, they also add instant curb appeal. This is especially important if you are considering selling.

The 2014 Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale value for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects in 100 markets across the country. Realtors® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. Overall Realtors® estimated that homeowners would recoup an average of 66.1 percent of their investment in 35 different improvement projects, an increase of 5.5 points over last year and the largest increase since 2005. For the second consecutive year, the value of remodeling is up for all of the projects included in the survey.

Eight of the top-10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior projects. Realtors® judged a steel entry door replacement as the project expected to return the most money, with an estimated 96.6 percent of costs recouped upon resale. It’s consistently the least expensive project, costing little more than $1,100 on average. Other worthwhile exterior projects included two different siding replacement projects, including fiber-cement siding, expected to return 87 percent of costs, and vinyl siding, expected to return 78.2 percent of costs. Two garage door replacement projects were also in the top 10, both expected to recoup more than 82 percent of costs. Rounding out the top exterior projects were two window replacement projects; wood window replacement and vinyl window replacement both recoup more than 78 percent of their costs.

Each neighborhood is different and the desirability and resale value of a particular remodeling project varies. That is why it’s important to work with a Realtor®. A Realtor® is the best resource for helping homeowners decide what improvement projects will provide the most return upon resale in your market. Realtors® have a unique understanding of local markets, desirable home features and buyer preferences.

In addition to the exterior projects, two particular interior remodeling projects can recoup substantial value at resale. An attic bedroom is expected to return 84.3 percent of costs, and a minor kitchen remodel is estimated to recoup 82.7 percent of costs. The improvement project estimated to return the least at resale is a home office remodel, estimated to recoup only 48.9 percent.

The 2014 Cost vs. Value Report is published by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC and is done in collaboration with the National Association of Realtors®. Additional data for the report can be found at NAR’s consumer website, HouseLogic.com. The website includes a wide variety of ideas and projects to help homeowners maintain, enhance and improve the value of their home.

More at http://louisvillerealtors.com/starthere/

Green Up When Selling Your Home

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Adding a little social responsibility to your home is good for your family and the environment. It also shows prospective buyers that your home has a conscience.

 Stay clutter free

When you want to sell your house, go through it room by room and remove excess items. Leave space between items on the walls and on the floor to show off the architectural features of the house. Uncluttered rooms feel larger and more spacious, which helps potential buyers get a true sense of the space that is available to them. Once you have made your house clutter-free, stay committed to keeping it that way throughout the house-selling process.

Clean

A sparkling house is attractive to buyers. Buyers do not like looking at other people’s dirt. Cleaning can be done without using harsh chemicals. You can save money too by making your own natural cleaning formulas. The main ingredients can be found in your own cupboards:

-Scrub sinks with a mixture of baking soda and salt.

-Clean toilet bowls with denture tablets.

-Clean windows and hard-water stained fixtures with water and vinegar.

-Common houseplants are pleasing to the eye and they clean the air by absorbing harmful gases like formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide.

Use colors to create a good atmosphere

Painting is the least expensive way to change the color and atmosphere of a room. A neutral backdrop on the walls makes your house feel bigger. White, off-white, light beige or light taupe is good to use. Select a color that has the broadest market appeal, and then use the same color on all the walls so that the space in your house flows from one room to the next. Here are some ideas about using environmentally friendly paints when painting rooms:

-Look for paints with less toxic side effects.

-Look for natural paints or paints with zero VOC or low VOC. They have very little odor when applying and have no “off gassing” after curing.

-You can also use Eco Pro brushes and environmentally friendly roller covers and paint trays.

13 Tips for Selling Your Home in Winter

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Selling your home in the middle of winter poses additional challenges. The lawn is brown, the weather is usually bad and you have less time to show it off during daylight hours. Staging your home—the concept of showing your house at its best—becomes even more important in the winter. Here are 13 tips to help you maximize your home’s appearance and minimize the effects of the winter season.

Keep snow and ice at bay

If potential buyers can’t get to your house easily, your house won’t sell. That means keeping walkways and driveways free from ice and snow. If you’re away frequently or live in an area that’s subject to bad weather, it can pay to hire a service to regularly salt or shovel the driveway and sidewalks.

Warm it up

If you’re showing your home during the winter, think “warm, cozy and homey.” Before buyers come through, adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature to make it feel welcoming.  Remember, if buyers come into your home and are cold and uncomfortable, they won’t stay long!

Take advantage of natural light

Encourage house showings during the high-daylight hours. Make the most of the light you do have. Have the curtains and blinds cleaned and open them as wide as possible during daytime showings. Clean all lamps and built-in fixtures, and replace the bulbs with the highest wattage they will safely accommodate. Before you show your house, turn on all the lights.

Get the windows washed

Windows are one thing that many sellers don’t even consider. In winter, that strong southern light can reveal grime and make it look like your home hasn’t been well maintained.

Play music softly in the background

To create a little atmosphere, tune the radio to the local classical station. Turn it down so that you can barely hear it in the background. People tend to stay around and look a little longer when soft classical music is playing.

Make it comfortable and cozy

Set the scene and help the buyers see themselves living happily in your house. Consider things such as putting a warm throw on the sofa or folding back the thick comforter on the bed. Tap into the simple things that make you feel like you’re at home.

Emphasize winter positives

If your home is on a bus route or some other vital route that means it’s plowed or de-iced regularly in bad weather, be sure to mention that to the buyers.

Set up timers

You want your home to look warm and welcoming whenever prospective buyers drive past, but you’re not home all the time. So put indoor and outdoor lights on timers.

Make it festive

Even if you’re not actually going to be present at the showing, greet your buyers as if they were going to be guests at a party. Set up the dinner table with the good china and silver. Have a plate of cookies for your guests, some warm cider or even chilled bottles of water.

Give the home a nice aroma

The No. 1 favorite aroma is chocolate-chip cookies. Just about everybody likes that smell. Other popular scents include: cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple pie, apple cider or anything with vanilla, cinnamon or yeast. But don’t overdo it. Scented candles in every room or those plug-in air fresheners can leave buyers wondering what you’re trying to mask. Watch the bad smells too. Pet odors, smoke and mustiness can cling to curtains and carpets. Ask your real-estate agent or a friend to give a sniff test. Then clean the house, air it out and replace drapes, carpets or rugs before you show it.

Protect your investment

Some sellers (or their agents) will ask buyers to either remove shoes or slip on paper “booties” over their footwear before touring the house. Many buyers like that because it indicates a pride of ownership and meticulousness that resonates with them.

Use the season to your advantage

Although the holidays are over, you can still use winter wreaths and dried arrangements around the door to spark interest. In the winter, with the leaves off the trees, you might also have a nice view that isn’t as evident in the spring and summer months.

 Consider the area

In some parts of the country, such as ski areas or warmer regions where the snowbirds flock, winter can actually be a selling point, so use it to your advantage.