Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 64

10 Tips for Homebuyers and Sellers This Spring

by Judy Reed

Spring is here, and so is spring home-buying and -selling. Buyers and sellers preparing to take action this season should put those plans into play now—according to Zillow Group’s Report on Consumer Housing Trends, the No. 1 regret for both buyers and sellers is “not starting their home search or prepping their home to sell soon enough.”

“This spring, both buyers and sellers should be prepared for fast-moving sales, intense negotiations, and even bidding wars,” says Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow Group. “Home shoppers and sellers are motivated to become more strategic and knowledgeable about what’s happening in their neighborhood. Understanding whether you are in a buyer’s or a seller’s environment will help you manage your expectations and will give you insight into what you’re going to need to bring to the table in order to close the deal.”

For buyers, that means:

Keep your options open. More than half (52 percent) of homebuyers surveyed in the report said they also considered renting, and more than one-third (37 percent) of first-time buyers seriously considered continuing to rent. Savvy shoppers should have a Plan B in place, hoping to buy if it works out, but willing to sign a lease for a home if they don’t make a deal by the time they need to move.

Be realistic with your budget. Once you set it, stick to it. First-time home buyers are more likely to exceed their budget than repeat buyers (39 percent versus 26 percent), according to the report. Before you meet with a lender to determine how much mortgage you’ll be approved for, take a good look at your individual finances and spending preferences to determine the monthly payment range that you feel you can comfortably afford. (Use Zillow’s mortgage calculator to help with you with the math.)

Get your financing squared away early. Plan to meet a few lenders four to six months ahead of when you’re planning to buy to ensure you can make a competitive offer quickly when you find your dream home. The majority (82 percent) of buyers get pre-approved, with 77 percent getting pre-approval from a lender before finding a home on which they are interested in placing an offer.

Find an agent with a winning track record. Only 46 percent of buyers got the first home on which they made an offer, according to the report, demonstrating that competition is now part of the process.  

Communication is key. Make sure your preferred method—and frequency—of communication matches that of your agent. One-third (33 percent) of all buyers surveyed in the report preferred phone calls with their agent over emailing (21 percent) or texting (15 percent). Buyers can use the agent reviews on Zillow to learn more about prospective agents and their clients’ experiences.

And for sellers:

Start early and be strategic. Sellers consider putting their home on the market for five months before they list it—but the top seller regret is that they wished they spent more time prepping for the sale. Many cities have a magic window in the spring when homes have a higher likelihood of selling quickly for more money.

Work with an agent from the start. The vast majority (90 percent) of sellers surveyed in the report who sold quickly and for more than list price worked with an agent, and two out of three (58 percent) began working with an agent at the very beginning of their selling journey.

Pay attention to your online curb appeal. The majority of buyers begin their search online. Sellers who sold their home for more than list price made imagery and home information available online: 48 percent had professional photos taken of the home; 30 percent shot video footage; and 21 percent shot drone footage. Zillow’s video walk-throughs give sellers an easy way to show home features that are hard to capture in photos.

Home improvements can be a worthwhile investment. Sellers who fetched above list price tackled home improvements before listing their home, being 50 percent more likely to take on a large project like modifying an existing home plan and 20 percent more likely to renovate a kitchen than the average seller.

Don’t be afraid to try again. In many markets, nearly half of listing views occur in the first week the home is on the market. Twenty-six percent of those who sold above list price took their home off the market once to adjust the sales price, opting to start anew, rather than letting the home languish on the market with minimal activity. 

You dont need luck!

by Judy Reed

Top 3 Reasons To Use Energy Star Approved Products

by Judy Reed

Season's Greetings

by Judy Reed

5 Home Repairs to Make Before You Host a Holiday Gathering

by Judy Reed


This is no time for major updates, so stick with simple tasks to make for a festive celebration.

Hosting a holiday gathering can be a lot of fun, but perhaps a bit intimidating, too. You want your house to look its best, but now isn’t the time to undertake any major updates.

Chances are, you’re busy enough just preparing for the event. So, focus on just the areas of your house where your guests will spend time.

Whether you’re a first-time party host with a few jitters, or an old pro looking for some new ideas, these tips will help you ensure that your home is ready for any gathering.

Light the way

The sun sets early this time of year, so it’s important to make sure the entrance to your home is clean and well-lit

If you have a large front yard, try to focus on just the front entryway and the path leading up to it. Install porch lights, or replace the bulbs on existing lighting. Cut back any shrubbery that is obstructing the walkway.

On the day of your party, open the blinds on the front windows so your guests can see into your warm, festive-looking home as they approach. It’s a great way to create a sense of welcoming anticipation.

Pro tip: The easiest possible way to create instant lighting for walkways and paths is with the solar lights that you just stick into the ground. The sun does the rest of the work!

Take care of the bottom line

Our mothers used to say this, and it’s true: If your floors are spotless, they make your whole house look cleaner.

Even if you’re unable to do an in-depth house cleaning before your gathering, you will certainly want to make sure that all floors have been cleaned before that first guest steps over the threshold.

Pro tip: If you have carpeting, clean the carpets a minimum of three days ahead of your affair to make sure they have dried fully.

Brighten up your bathroom

If you’re bothered by grimy-looking grout in your bathroom, try this easy, inexpensive, and non-toxic method to get rid of it nearly instantly: Just spray on some full-strength hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe clean. That’s it!

Next, add some flowers, holiday decorations, or pictures on the wall to further spiff up your powder room, and it will be ready for your guests.

Pro tip: Instantly de-clog a slow-moving sink drain with a Zip-It. This inexpensive tool looks like a giant zip-tie. You just work it down into the drain to pull up hair clogs — all the other gunky stuff will come up with it.

Tune up kitchen appliances

Your kitchen appliances will be the workhorses of your holiday party, whether you’re hosting a full family dinner or a cocktail party. You want them to be fully functioning and ready for action.

Make sure all stove burners are working. Now’s the time to clean the oven if you haven’t done that for a while.

Clean out the refrigerator, and make sure that both the fridge and freezer are running at their optimal temperatures.

Make sure your dishwasher is in good working order. You can clean it easily with a dishwasher cleaner that you run through a cycle.

Pro tip: Sharp knives will make easy work of preparing the big meal. Make sure all your kitchen knives are newly sharpened, and also check the batteries in your electric carving knife, if you have one.

Make your space kid-friendly

If you make your home welcoming for children, you will ensure that their parents have a great time as well.

If you happen to have kids that are the same ages as your young guests, you’re in luck. But if not, consider adding some considerate touches that will make parents more comfortable, and alleviate kid boredom.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turn a spare room or an upstairs bedroom into a private nursing/changing area for a new mom.
  • Toddlers and younger children will want to be near their parents, so a good idea for them is to set up a corner of your living or dining room with toys, books, a tablet for watching cartoons, and some comfy pillows or throws.
  • One of our favorite strategies for older kids is to turn the dessert course into an activity. For instance, you could bake a huge batch of sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and then put out different colors of icing to let kids (and adults) go to town with decorating their own cookies.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have children, or if yours are older, don’t forget to kid-proof your space. Put away anything expensive, breakable, or unstable. Do some baby-proofing, if necessary. This way you and the parents can relax and not have to worry about safety hazards.

Hopefully these ideas will take some of the worry out of holiday entertaining, and ensure that you and your guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company this season.

10 Benefits of Selling Your Home During The Holidays!

by Judy Reed

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to sell a house? There’s always that question whether or not you should keep your house on the market for the holidays. You figure that potential home buyers will be preoccupied with buying gifts, planning parties, cooking meals, and visiting relatives; the last thing on their mind is searching for and purchasing a new home, right? For this reason, many home sellers choose to temporarily remove their home from listing, then wait until the new year to relist.

Before you hold off on listing your home until the new year, consider the benefits of listing your home for sale during the holidays, such as:

  • Many home sellers either hold off from selling or take a break from selling during the holidays. Inevitably, the amount of listings on the market drop down, which means less competition for your home. With less competition, you could potentially sell your home faster, for more money. Once the market comes back up in the spring time, a lot of sellers will list their homes all at once for lower prices, which may drive the whole market down.
  • Home buyers are generally the most motivated during the holiday season, greatly aiding sellers. Although there will be less buyers looking at homes this time of year, the buyers who do look are more serious about closing. “While the traffic is down, the buyers who are out there — when it’s soggy and dark at 4:45 p.m. — they’re not just poking around for the fun of it,” said Billy Grippo, a broker for Windermere Cronin and Caplan Realty Group. “They’re wanting to buy a house.”
  • Looking back on statistics, interest rates tend to drop the most at the end of the year. “If we look historically at interest rates, cyclically we’ve seen drops every December through January,” says Rich Hayden, senior loan officer for Home First Mortgage Corp. “While rates are now at all-time lows, we could dip even lower,” he says. Tyler agrees, “Interest rates have to come up sometime but it won’t be during the holidays.”
  • Many people purposely choose to purchase a home before the new year to receive a tax write off. Home buyers who close before the end of the year could be eligible for tax credits, such as deductions for home mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and PMI premiums.
  • Large companies normally transfer employees in January. Those relocating usually need to buy a house right away and simply cannot wait.
  • In the winter months, homes typically show better. The decorations, smell of cookies baking, and a roaring fireplace all give your home a “warm and cozy” feeling. Just make sure you don’t cover up your homes best features with too much holiday decor. Stick to tasteful and simple decorations and learn proper staging techniques for the holidays.
  • A lot of companies give their employees time off work for the holiday season, which means potential buyers have more time for showings.
  • While all the malls and retail stores may be packed, Lenders and title companies aren’t as busy and can process loans faster. “November and December are historically slower months in the mortgage business, so things get done faster,” says Brad Walbrun, a mortgage consultant for A and N Mortgage Services.
  • Most become so consumed in buying gifts for their friends and family, that they completely overlook all the holiday sales and specials on home appliances and hardware. Remodeling, decorating, appliance installation and other home services become more available and at less of a premium.
  • Late spring and summer are usually thought of as the best times to put a home on the market because buyer demand builds steadily through spring. If you sell your home in the winter,  you’ll have your pick of tons of houses for sale in the spring time.

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the whole housing market comes to a freeze during the holidays! Buyers.. start a new year in a new home!

There's No Place Like Home For The Holiday Season!

by Judy Reed

Trying To Sell Or Buy Your Home?

by Judy Reed

Happy Thanksgiving

by Judy Reed

9 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal

by Judy Reed

There’s usually at least one home in every neighborhood that looks so attractive you can’t help but slow down and swoon each time to walk or drive by. On the flip side, there may be a few that force you to look away in horror. (Sorry, neighbors.)

It’s a fact: Curb appeal can make or break your home. So, it’s no surprise that a house that makes you want to move right in before you’re even past the mailbox not only commands a higher selling price but also sells faster.

Whether it’s the perfect paint job, meticulous landscaping, or a combination of these and other factors, some homeowners will go to extraordinary lengths to create the “wow” factor necessary to woo would-be buyers. 

Let’s look at the ways you can boost your home’s curb appeal. 

1. Freshen up the facade


Nothing improves the look of your home faster than a power washing, fresh paint job, or new siding. Depending on your budget and how desperately your place needs a facelift, consider one of these options and see if your home doesn’t look as good as new. Need more incentive? An exterior paint job can potentially increase the value of your home from 2 to 5 percent, according to Consumer Reports.

2. Roll out the green carpet


Think of a sweeping green lawn like a lush welcome mat. It’s just that inviting. If you’ve noticed some weeds or bare spots, it’s time to put your green thumb to work. Especially in good weather, your lawn is an extension of your home, providing a wonderful space to enjoy both recreation and relaxation. If your grass has gone to seed, consider rolling out some sod, which serves as a fast solution to your lawn dilemmas. Not sure about the effort or expenditure? Consider this: According to The Lawn Institute, a well-maintained lawn increases a home’s property value by 15 to 20 percent.

3. Trim those hedges


Your grounds needn’t rival the Gardens of Versailles, but ensuring that they’re well-kept goes a long way toward creating an overall appealing look. Scraggly shrubs and bushes that have seen better days detract from your home’s appearance. Be sure to prune overgrown hedges and remove and replace anything that’s dead, as it can also be a fire hazard in some areas. 

4. Spruce up the fence


They say fences make good neighbors, but they’re also great for adding privacy while keeping kids contained and pets on your property. Depending on the material you select, such as wood, cast-iron, or concrete versus chain-link, a fence will add value during an appraisal. If you already have one, be sure it’s in the best shape possible. 

5. Raise the roof 


You want your home to dazzle from top to bottom. If your roof is in bad shape, it’s not only going to drag down the look of your home, it’s also going to bring down its value while possibly making it less energy-efficient. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, a new roof boosts a home’s resale value by a national average of nearly $12,000. Not too shabby!

6. Add a pop of color 


Now that you’ve taken care of the major items, it’s time to get creative. Ornamental plants provide a welcome burst of color and add interest and intrigue. This is a homeowner’s chance to show a little personality. Pick plants and flowers that fit your lifestyle, terrain, and budget. (Then, don’t forget to water them!)

7. Light it up


Strategically-placed outdoor lighting allows you to show off your home’s best features. It also offers safety to family members as well as guests who come and go after the sun sets. If you’re interested in keeping electricity costs to a minimum, look into solar lighting.

8. Pave the way


Though most of the time it’s simply a place to park your car, your driveway can up your curb appeal if it’s in tip-top shape. Asphalt makes it easy to plow if you live in a climate that gets plenty of snow. Homebuyers with young children love it as a spot to let kids play basketball, scooter and skateboard, or create a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk. If you have the means, upgrading to pavers adds an elegant touch that will truly make your home stand out. 

9. Don’t forget maintenance!


Whether you’re hoping to put your home on the market or plan to stay put permanently, increasing your curb appeal is always a good idea. So, if you’ve made improvements, stay on top of them. Small things like a missing shutter or a loose gutter rob your home of its chance to live up to its true potential. Plus, when you stand back and admire your property, you’ll remember why you feel in love with your home in the first place.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 64