Category Archives: Home Tips

2 Ways To Get The Most Money From The Sale Of Your Home

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photo courtesy of KCM

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?

Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.

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HouseLogic list of 81 Home Staging Tips

We recently found this comprehensive article on offering a great list of Home Staging Ideas – some that even we have not heard of before! Here’s some of our favorites …


  • Let a slideshow of beautiful images play on your television like a screensaver.
  • Help buyers imagine their life in your home. Set the scene by displaying a board game or tea service on the coffee table, and arrange furniture in conversational groups.
  • Make sure every switch plate and outlet cover matches and looks brand new.
  • Keep closets, basements, and attics as empty as possible to maximize the appearance of storage space.
  • Let buyers entertain the idea of entertaining. Set out some chic place settings around the table, or a few wine glasses and a decanter on the buffet.
  • Pack up all but the clothes you’re wearing this season to make you closets look larger.

Excerpt from original article:

Staging your house can make you money. Seventy-one percent of sellers’ agents believe a well-staged environment increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer, according to the National Association of REALTORS® “2015 Profile of Home Staging.”

Just take this real world tale of two condo listings from Terrylynn Fisher, a REALTOR® with Dudum Real Estate Group in Walnut Creek, Calif., who also stages:

Both units were in the same complex. One hadn’t been staged or updated since it was built; the other was staged and had been slightly refreshed (a little paint here and there and one redone bath). Otherwise, both units were the same size and layout. The staged condo sold for about $30,000 more than the unstaged unit, she says. “People couldn’t believe it was the same model.”

Before your eyes turn into dollar signs, keep in mind staging isn’t guaranteed to get you more money. But it’s an important marketing tool to help you compete at the right price, which means you can sell faster. (A study from the Real Estate Staging Association bears this out.)

Helping buyers fall in love with your property takes more than running the vacuum and fluffing the pillows: It’s all about decluttering, repairing, updating, and depersonalizing, say real estate agents and stagers.
Read the Full Article here …


6 Outdated Features in Your Clients’ Homes

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Home buyers say they want the latest design trends in their next property—but 70 percent admit to having outdated features in their current house, according to a new consumer survey by home builder Taylor Morrison. The most common of these outdated features are:

  1. Linoleum floors (40 percent)
  2. Popcorn ceilings (29 percent)
  3. Wood paneling (28 percent)
  4. Ceramic tile countertops (28 percent)
  5. Shag carpeting (19 percent)
  6. Avocado green appliances (8 percent)

“This is why real and virtual house hunting is so popular,” says Taylor Morrison Chair and CEO Sheryl Palmer. “We all love to daydream and envision ourselves in a beautiful new environment. But keeping up with ever-evolving preferences for paint colors, home features, new technologies, and how we expect to use our homes over the years is difficult. We also know that home interior preferences vary by generation, by home style, by region, and even by city.”

Taylor Morrison found that the features home buyers say they most desire are:

  1. Better energy efficiency (62 percent)
  2. Personalized floor plans (58 percent)
  3. Easier maintenance (56 percent).

Also, the interior features home shoppers called most essential are:

  1. Wood flooring (65 percent)
  2. USB and Ethernet ports (44 percent)
  3. Whirlpool tub (36 percent)
  4. Sun room (34 percent).

Source: “Home Is Where the Shag Carpet Is?” BUILDER (Nov. 16, 2017)



Borrowers More Cautious as Rates Rise

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Mortgage rates inched higher last week, prompting more buyers and homeowners to retreat from taking out loans.

Total mortgage application volume, which includes refinancing and home purchases, dropped 2.6 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The index is now 20 percent lower than a year ago.

Refinancing saw the largest drop last week at 5 percent. Refinancing applications are 38 percent lower than the same week a year ago, when interest rates were lower.

Mortgage applications for home purchases dropped 1 percent during the week. However, purchase applications are still 10 percent higher than a year ago.

The average on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest level since July last week at 4.22 percent, the MBA reports.

“Rates increased last week as speculation over the next Fed chair continued, and the European Central Bank announced plans to taper its asset purchase program, signaling increased confidence in the euro zone economies,” says Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

However, investors are feeling confident the Fed won’t move rates at its next meeting and will instead choose to do so at its December meeting, writes Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. Instead, investors are more closely watching President Donald Trump’s pick to replace current Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. He’s expected to make his announcement on Thursday.

Source: “Weekly Mortgage Applications Fall 2.6% as Rates Move Even Higher,” CNBC (Nov. 1, 2017)

article written by DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS and shared from RealtorMag


Double-Digit Growth in the Wild West: Is a Bubble Next?

Row of new houses painted various colors in Seattle WA

Demand is forcing home prices out West to keep ticking up, even though the home-buying and -selling season is winding down, according to the September Zillow® Real Estate Market Report. Appreciation is highest in the San Jose, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., metropolitan areas, where prices have rocketed (in order) 10.3 percent, to a median $1,052,500, and 12.4 percent, to a median $455,800, year-over-year. Appreciation nationally is 6.9 percent, to a median $202,700.

Rents out West are also on a swift upswing. Rents in Riverside, Calif. have climbed 6.0 percent year-over-year—the most of the metro areas in the report—to a median $1,833. Rents in Seattle have gone up 5.5 percent to a median $2,189; rents in Portland, Ore., have increased 4.7 percent to a median $1,863; and rents in Los Angeles, Calif., have risen 4.5 percent to $2,714. Appreciation nationally is 2 percent, to a median $1,430.

“In these West Coast markets, heightened demand is being met with limited supply of homes for sale, which naturally causes prices to rise,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “That limited supply and high demand dynamic is a widespread phenomenon impacting high-growth metros like Seattle, as well as slower-moving markets, like Indianapolis.

“It might be easy to assume another bubble is emerging, with home values growing 10 or 12 percent per year, but don’t worry—the market is reacting to basic economic laws, and is behaving exactly the way we would expect it to given good overall growth, limited supply of homes for sale and decent housing affordability thanks to low mortgage interest rates,” Gudell says.

Nationally, there are now 12 percent fewer homes for sale compared to one year ago, the report shows.



article written by Suzanne De Vita, RISMedia’s online news editor.


5 Smells That Sell Houses

Winter wreath in entrance door

What’s that smell? The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect buyers to a home. While a bad smell can really deter buyers, a good smell can tempt buyers to a sale. From “green” scents to seasonal scents, discover the right smells for triggering positive emotions and home sales.

  1. Clean Smell
    Most of us associate “clean” with strongly scented cleaning products and disinfectants. It can even make buyers nostalgic. But remember, a little goes a long way. You should dilute your cleaning solutions so buyers don’t get overwhelmed.
  1. Citrus
    Using actual fruit is one way to get a clean smell without all the cleaning products. Lemon, orange and grapefruit scents are best. One great tip is to grind up lemon or orange rind with a few ice cubes in the garbage disposal. This will freshen up the kitchen, one of the most important rooms in the house.
  1. Natural Smell
    Sometimes the best scent is no scent at all. Try using “green” cleaning supplies, baking soda and other non-scented products that neutralize odors. The idea is that simpler is better, so you want to avoid complex, artificial smells from potpourri, sprays and plug-ins, which can actually distract buyers and turn them off.
  1. Baked Goods
    Nothing can make a house smell more like home than freshly baked goods, but be sure to stick to simple smells like vanilla, cinnamon and fresh bread. You don’t have to really bake anything. One trick is to boil some water and throw in a few cinnamon sticks an hour before a showing.
  1. Pine
    Don’t we all love that fresh pine scent? Especially with the holidays around the corner, it’s a great scent to greet buyers when they walk in the door. If you don’t want to put up a live tree, you can simply hang a wreath of tree trimmings or some fresh garland. You can’t go wrong with setting a holiday mood to inspire a sale.

article written by American Home Shield and shared from RISMedia


Solutions To Saving Money On Your Next Move

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design

Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you. There’s no way around it. Right? Well, actually, there may just be a way to make it not quite so painful. A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help you cut some costs. Here are eight ways to save money on your move and move in.

1. Don’t take it all with you

Furniture you’re no longer in love with or appliances like washers and dryers or the fridge you have in the garage can be a pain to move. You can potentially save money (and time and hassle) by including them in your home sale. First-time buyers or someone moving from out of state may appreciate your old stuff far more than you, and you don’t have to pay to haul it to your next place.

2. Leave the flat screen

If you have a mounted flat screen TV that’s at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind too. The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving it might not be worth it. Flat-screen technology is always improving while costs are coming down, so it’s a good excuse to buy something bigger and better without spending a lot.

3. Negotiate everything

If you’ve been looking for a house or have bought one before, you’re probably already aware of closing costs. But you might not be aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender.

“Shop around before choosing a mortgage lender, but don’t stop there,” said Bankrate. “When you receive your good faith estimate  of closing costs, or GFE, the negotiation hasn’t ended.” This itemized list of estimated closing costs includes lender’s fees as well as items such as appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.

“The lender or broker charges some fees, and third parties charge others. The first step is to find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees. Don’t guess. Ask the lender or broker.”

Bankrate advises that while “some items are non-negotiable: taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, prorated interest and reserves,” negotiating on others that can “be waived or reduced” can save you money.”

4. Barter for services

Need a handyman and have appliances or furniture you’re getting rid of? You just might be able to make a deal. Ask around for referrals and then introduce a barter system into the equation during your first conversation. You might be surprised what you can get for what you’ve already got.

5. Move Smart

Once you’re out of college, or maybe out of your first post-college apartment, thinking about renting a U-Haul and moving yourself (or with a few good friends) seems less than desirable. But if you’re willing to sweat a little (ok, a lot) you can save a bundle. Just remember two important things to entice and thank your friends: Pizza. And beer.

If you don’t want to do the whole thing on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a hybrid move:

  • Do the packing and unpacking yourself
  • Have everything on one floor. Stairs can add considerably to the cost of a move.
  • Pare down. Maybe you don’t need to bring all that stuff with you. Selling it will earn you a few bucks and save you a few more.

6. Consider moving and storage hybrid options

A company like PODS  or U-Pack  might be a solution for you if you need self storage wrapped into your move. Essentially, the company drops off a mobile storage unit at your house and you pack it up yourself. They then pick it up and move it for you. You can tack on storage at the end if needed, making this a particularly good solution for those who have time between their move out and their move in. This type of move can cost up to 35 percent less than traditional movers, but keep in mind you will be doing the labor – just not the driving.

7. Take advantage of special offers

Move-in offers for cable, Internet, and phone service can save you a lot of money. But they often come with a catch that could cost you down the line. Look out for special limited-time offers – one-year or six-month specials that expire, leaving you with much higher rates after the introductory period.

8. Don’t rush the renos

Chances are, after you move in, you’re going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to refi, redo your lawn, and apply for 72 different credit cards. In what seems like an endless pile of junk mail will be some special offers for new homebuyers, but they might not arrive for a month or more. Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and window coverings, home furnishing companies like Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market, and offers from landscapers with discounts for new clients. If you’re planning to shop, renovate, or do some work on your interior or exterior, taking advantage of a few of these offers can help shave down the cost.

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI and shared from RealtyTimes


5 Ways Your Listing Can Go Cold in a Hot Market

truth homeowner equity

Sometimes a great listing hits the market and just doesn’t sell. The reasons may be easy to pinpoint, but other times it takes some work to determine what the problem is. Here are some of the biggest reasons your listing may be stagnating on the market.

First impressions are everything; if a potential buyer walks into a listing that has clutter everywhere, they can’t truly visualize and see the home for what it truly is. Buyers can’t fall in love with a house that has clutter everywhere. Make sure your listing isn’t buried under furniture, knick-knacks, papers and laundry. Also make sure everything from the floor, ceiling, and walls is spick and span.

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If clutter is not the issue but your listing is still not selling, you may want to consider staging. Staging has been found to not only decrease the amount of time a listing spends on the market, but also increase the selling price. Find staging tips here.

The initial listing price of a home is instrumental in how quickly it sells. Many sellers assume setting the price high and coming down later or being willing to accept a reasonable counter-offer if they don’t get much traction is a safe way to ensure they get the highest price for their home. In reality, starting with a high listing price just ensures that the buyers who are most compatible with the listing either don’t see it or move on because it’s outside what they’re comfortable paying. The buyers who are looking at homes for the price you set will see that there are other houses at the same price with more expensive upgrades.

If the price is right and your listing is squeaky clean and clutter-free, you may want to check your listing details. For example, an extra zero can turn your $450,000 listing into a $4,500,000 listing, where it’s probably not going to get much traction. Double-check to make sure your information is accurate, make sure the description is interesting and informative, and your photos are professional and numerous. View a list of powerful words you can use in your listing description.

If everything else seems in order and your listing still isn’t selling, the problem may be the house itself. According to the 2016 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, only 19 percent of buyers were willing to compromise on the condition of the home. Major repairs, such as a new roof or updated water heater, may be necessary to attract a buyer.



Article written By Mark Mathis, General Manager of Broker and Agent Sales for and shared from RISMedia


What Keeps Buyers From Finding Their Next Home

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Buying a home is like searching for a mate. You’ll go on many first dates and in the end, the one that has most, but maybe not all of the characteristics that you want, will win your heart.

However, first-time buyers and sometimes even serial homebuyers are disappointed by how long the process takes. Yet they may not understand how their expectations, beliefs, and lack of action may be causing the delay in finding the right home.

Here are five pitfalls that buyers can fall into that cause them to let the right home slip by.

Seeing a home “as-is”. I don’t mean that buyers should not view homes on the market that are listed for sale “as-is”; rather I mean not being able to see beyond the “as-is” home. In other words, some buyers walk into a home and are immediately turned off by something as simple as the color of paint which can be easily changed, or maybe it’s the carpet or wallpaper. Regardless, when buyers see the home “as-is” without the ability to envision it differently, they do themselves a huge disservice and fall into a pitfall of thinking that the home is not right simply because of the condition they are currently seeing it in.

Not working with an expert agent. Buyers can weed through the paper and click around the Web looking for open houses and listings but a quality agent can help identify the best-suited properties much faster. An expert agent also often knows about other listings that are about to come on the market and would not be in the paper or on the Web yet. It’s worth it to spend time interviewing agents to find the right one who can help you find the right home. If you fall into the pitfall of trying to do everything on your own, you’re likely going to miss seeing some of the houses that might offer the best match for your wants and needs.

Letting the important things slide. We’ve all done this when making an expensive purchase. We compromise on something that is important simply because it’s less expensive. Later we regret it. Whether it’s a new car, new house, or flat screen TV, when you’re making large purchases, you need to know which things are important and non-negotiable and then stick to that list. Of course, there may be some small, less important things that you’ll compromise on, but if you compromise on something big that is important to you, you’re likely going to be disappointed down the road.

There is a reason you were searching for a three-bedroom home. So, for instance, when you fall in love with that quaint, cozy two-bedroom home, remember that you had specific reasons for needing an additional bedroom. If you’ve clearly defined your living needs and wants before you begin house hunting, you’ll have guidelines to keep you on track.

You might find that the smaller home has a secondary unit on the property and, while it’s not a third bedroom, it will suit your needs. So, yes, be flexible and think of the possibilities, but do remember your list of what you originally deemed important. The tendency is to get caught up in the moment, either because a home is so charming or because it appears to be such a good deal that you start to say, “Well, I can make-do without that.” Maybe you can…but you’d better be certain before you close escrow.

Living strictly in the moment. Most of the time I write about practicing living in the moment because so many of us lead hectic lives. But when you’re buying a home, you’d better be thinking about the future. What’s good for you today will likely need to be good for you for many years to come. So, do your homework to find the right home. Work with your agent to find out how the neighborhood is changing. What future plans are there for the community? Pay attention to the congestion of an area and to the types of retail shops and restaurants that are coming into the community…then compare that to your future plans. You can’t always know what lies ahead but many times you can see what types of projects have been proposed for undeveloped land in the area.

Skipping an inspection. I’ve written a lot about this one. Inspections are critical. They’re the equivalent of taking a car you want to buy to your car repair shop for a look before you buy. Just like you don’t want to end up with a lemon for a car, you don’t want a home that has too many and too costly repairs needed. Inspections give you a “health” check of the home. They let you know what you’re in for should you buy the home. You’ll be glad you have a report to help validate your reasons for wanting to purchase this home over others.

Avoiding these pitfalls will help you more quickly find the right home and the right investment for your future.

shared article written by Realty Times Staff


How to Find Your Perfect First Home

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The quest to find your family’s first home can be exciting, but it can also be demanding in many ways. Rather than get frustrated with your current situation, use these tips to more quickly and easily find the ideal property to move into.

Buying your first family home can be a monumental event, but it can also be stressful. After all, you may be focused on finding the perfect home to move into that is affordable for your budget. With many factors at play, it may seem challenging to find the ideal new space to call home; however, by using these tips, you could more easily locate the perfect starter home to move into.

Determine Your Budget
Your budget is a critical element that you do not want to overlook. There are two primary aspects of your budget to focus on: your down payment amount and your monthly housing payment. Both factors should be comfortable for you to manage without stressing your finances. Remember that you may want to estimate on the higher end and shoot for keeping expenses as low as possible. In many cases, expenses and payments may be higher than anticipated, so always aim for a lower figure when possible.

Define Needs and Wants
It is easy to let your mind wander as you imagine how grand your new home may be; however, when buying a starter home on a budget, you may need to carefully define the features that you absolutely need versus those that you want. This can help you to more quickly and easily find homes that meet your absolute needs within the budget you have in mind, and you may even benefit from having a few bonus items included in the home you firmly settle on.

Think About Suburban Communities
Many homebuyers who are looking for their first home may be turned off by homes located in the heart of urban areas or in otherwise expensive and high-end communities. If you are having trouble finding a desirable home that meets your needs in the confined search area you selected, consider expanding your search area to different suburban communities. In some cases, suburbs are much more affordable to live in.

Consider All Types of Properties
As beneficial as homeownership can be, remember that you do not necessarily have to buy a single-family home to enjoy these benefits. Another idea is to buy a condo. These may provide you with the space and features you need, but the cost may be much more affordable. In addition, maintenance on the outside of the condo and in your yard may be provided by your condo association.

The quest to find your family’s first home can be exciting, but it can also be demanding in many ways. Rather than get frustrated with your current situation, use these tips to more quickly and easily find the ideal property to move into.

shared article written by By Hannah Whittenly for RISMedia’s Housecall