From for Sale to Sold: Your Wish List Is Our Checklist
Most people have an idea of what their dream home would look like (and if you need inspiration, we've created several Pinterest boards). You can't always get everything you want in a home – but how do you make sure your new home will come close? Work with an experienced professional – like a RE/MAX agent. Among other things that make your home hunt successful, RE/MAX agents know things like:
1. The neighborhood
Your agent will have the inside scoop on the neighborhoods you're looking at, from walkability to upcoming development projects that may affect the value of your home. They'll help you put the neighborhood's statistics into perspective so you can make an informed decision.
2. How to maximize your money
With in-depth knowledge of the market and what you're looking for, your agent can help you get the most house for your money. When home shopping on a budget, they can suggest which fixer uppers can be easily (and inexpensively) updated, and which ones might be a money pit.
3. How to save time
Your agent can do much of the time-consuming legwork of house hunting for you, so you don't waste time sorting through properties that ultimately aren't a good fit.
4. How to negotiate
As professional negotiators, agents spend years honing their skills. They know how to read the situation and how – and when – to employ the right tactics to make sure you get a fair deal.
If you're looking to buy a home, let the knowledge and experience of a seasoned RE/MAX agent help guide you through the process. Find an agent on www.remax.com.
February 2017 Housing Report: 4 Things to Know
The tug-of-war between rising home sales and shrinking inventory is escalating and the pressure is showing in home sale statistics for January. The month topped all other Januarys in our report's nine-year history with the most sales, highest sales prices and fewest days on the market. It was quite a start for 2017. Here's the scoop:
1. Home sales increased
The overall average number of home sales was 4.5 percent higher than January 2016 in the 53 metro areas surveyed. Many of the metro areas we looked at — two-thirds of them — experienced an increase in sales year-over-year. A dozen saw double-digit growth.
2. Sales prices rose
At $208,500, the median sales prices was up 4.3 percent from January 2016. That marks the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. Only five metro areas saw year-over-year decreases or remained unchanged. Ten areas, including Portland, Cleveland and Dallas/Ft. Worth saw prices rise by double-digit percentages.
3. Homes selling faster
Homes for sale last month spent an average of 66 days on the market before they sold, down five days from the January 2016 average. This new low for days on market highlights the fact that inventory's been declining for a while. How long? Ninety-nine consecutive months of year-over-year declines, dating back to October 2008.
4. It's still a seller's market
The number of homes for sale in January 2017 was down 4.3 percent from last December and 16.9 percent from January 2016. The Month's Supply of Inventory was also down at 3.8. A 6.0-month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers – in January, 46 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply of less than 6.0.
What do the numbers mean for the market as 2017 rolls out? "January may have set the tone for the coming home-buying season with homes selling faster and at higher prices," said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder. "Home-buyer demand is strong, and not enough sellers are listing to keep up with the demand, despite rising prices. At any rate, the beginning of 2017 continued the strong pace of 2016."
Learn more about the numbers that shaped last month's real estate market in the infographic below.
Own It: Small-Cost, Big-Impact Updates for Your Home
By Carriann Johnson, interior designer and TV personality
I've seen the look on people's faces when I suggest something needs to be updated in their home. They become deflated, overwhelmed and oftentimes confused. Please remember, it's not personal. The goal is to make your home shine – and sell for the best possible price.
Consider making some of the following updates before listing your home. It could add to your confidence when putting your home on the market, and possibly bump up the sale price as well.
1. Do a walk-through of your home Visit each room and make a checklist of items that need to be repaired or replaced – and be objective while doing so. Keep an eye out for outdated styles, bold patterns and colors, dated fixtures, unfinished projects, and over-cluttered closets and cabinets – these items all need to be considered to showcase your home in the best light possible. After making your checklist, develop a budget and establish dates on your calendar to complete these tasks.
2. Incorporate today's styles and trends
Our homes and our styles are as individualized as we are. So although you may love an ultramodern or country cottage look, the majority of buyers may not. Choose transitional styles if you need to replace your lighting, hardware, appliances or flooring. And don't be afraid to ask your local suppliers for help during the selection process.
3. Remember: First impressions count It takes just 15 seconds to grab the hearts of potential buyers – or leave them completely unimpressed. Make those 15 seconds count! Fresh sealant on a driveway, vibrant and healthy plants on the front porch, a clean rug and a nice fragrance in the entryway, clutter-free hallways – these all make a huge impact but require little effort.
4. Focus on the kitchen and baths Kitchens and bathrooms are some of the most frequently used areas of any home, so put in some extra effort to freshen them up! Things like stained shower stalls and toilets, broken grout, leaky faucets or dated cabinet hardware are easily replaced at little cost. Or, instead of replacing tubs or shower stalls, consider having them professionally resprayed for a fresh new look. A small investment goes a long way in these spaces. And when it comes to hardware and supplies for kitchens and baths, consider shopping online. Many online suppliers don't have a middleman in the process, so they can sell their items for much less than local hardware retailers.
5. Let's talk paint Paint is a minimal investment, especially if you have the skills to do the painting yourself. From walls to doors to cabinets to fixtures (and even tile), paint can drastically transform spaces. Keep your selections neutral and universally pleasing. Cover bold colors with neutral ones, making the home move-in ready. My pick for some timeless choices by Sherwin Williams are: Totally Tan SW6115, Believable Buff SW6120, Latte SW6108 and Universal Khaki SW6150.
Here's my checklist for small investments with big impacts:
Paint or replace brass or dated light fixtures
Update bathrooms and kitchens with brushed nickel, chrome or oil-rubbed bronze fixtures and hardware
Replace switch plates and outlets with Decora-style devices
Paint walls and trim using a neutral palette
Refinish worn hardwoods by applying a fresh coat of stain and sealer
Remove wallpaper, borders, decorative decals and patterns from walls
Power spray your home's exterior
Keep these items in mind when making improvements to your home and you'll enter the selling process with confidence!
5 Reasons School Ratings Matter When House Shopping
Schools can have a big impact on property value and quality of life. If you're buying a home, here are a few reasons local school ratings matter, even if you don't have kids.
The next buyer will consider the school ratings, too
According to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 29 percent of homebuyers listed school quality and 22 percent listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase. Another survey conducted by Realtor.com showed that 91 percent of the people surveyed included school district boundaries in their decision-making process. You may be surprised to learn that not all of the shoppers involved in the studies had kids.
More money spent on schools means more money spent on homes
There's a correlation between school expenditures and home values in any given neighborhood, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Their report, "Using Market Valuation to Assess Public School Spending," found that for every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20.
Higher school ratings equal higher home values
A Brookings Institution study looked at the 100 largest metro areas in the country and found an average difference of $205,000 in home prices between houses near high-performing and low-performing schools.
And good school ratings help homes maintain value
While changes in the economic landscape and local area can ripple across the market, a great school district can sometimes help insulate a home from market fluctuations.
Great school districts usually mean great neighborhoods
Often there's a correlation between super school districts and safer neighborhoods, better shopping and transportation and great public amenities – like parks. All of these factors increase the desirability of the neighborhood, which translates to higher home values and a better deal for you when it's time to sell.
A great real estate agent will be able to provide insight on the schools in the neighborhoods where you're looking to buy. Find one to work with here.
Buying a Home this Fall or early Winter? Read This!
With warm temperatures and long days, Summer has traditionally been the high season for buying and selling real estate. But don't discount these advantages that crop up when temperatures fall.
5 GREAT ENERGY EFFICIENT UPGRADES THAT APPEAL TO BUYERS
We keep hearing it, and we don’t think the term “green” is going away anytime soon. We’re thankful for that though! Even the slightest energy efficient upgrade within a home can make a large impact on the ecosystem. We foresee this trend continuing to gain popularity with the younger home-buying generations for years to come.
So what do you do if you’re trying to sell a home? Is there a way to make it more appealing and more environmentally friendly to a potential buyer? The answer is yes! But don’t start spending loads of money before you finish reading this. Here’s a list of what efficient features home buyers are searching for. This should give you, the seller, a basic idea of where to start!
The most desirable eco-friendly home features are:
A cost-efficient HVAC system
Energy efficient appliances
Energy efficient lighting
Landscaping for energy conservation
Eco-friendly community features (although this might be slightly out of your control)
Right now, roughly 32% of home buyers are Gen Y and Millennials. That is the largest home-buying group in the market, so you’ll want to add features that entice that buyer to your home. If you can incorporate a few energy efficient upgrades (or even get a ‘GREEN’ certification on your home), the potential value of your home can increase by 9%. Don’t think these younger generations are the only people searching for energy efficiency though; this feature was listed as one of the top 5 ‘must haves’ for most buyers in today’s market.
If you take the right approach and can grab a buyer’s attention with your upgrades, you should be able to sell your home quickly and for top dollar!
9 STEPS A BUYER NEEDS TO REMEMBER DURING THE ESCROW PROCESS
Once you’ve gone through the appropriate steps in the offer process (offer, counteroffer, purchase agreement, disclosures), you’re ready to move into escrow! This is the very long 7th inning stretch where a day, a week, or a month feels more like a year. Escrow is the time period between when you sign the purchase agreement and closing day.
The first step is to locate an escrow agent or company that will act as a neutral third-party to supervise the process. This person will perform tasks from preparing reports to processing loans and removing buyer contingencies. Even though your escrow agent will handle certain tasks, there are still a lot of items on your to-do list. Here are 9 important steps you need to take once you go into escrow:
Wait for the mortgage lender’s appraisal
Secure your financing
Review (in detail) the seller’s disclosures and approve
Obtain all necessary inspections
Home Inspection (or secondary inspection)
Review the hazard report and get hazard insurance
Acquire the title report and get title insurance
Perform a final walk-through of the home
Review the HUD-1 Form
Schedule a closing date (but expect it to change a few times!)
Even though the escrow process will feel like a lifetime, you’ll be so busy making sure all of these tasks are complete before closing day that the time will go by quicker than you think! If you have concerns or think escrow sounds a tad overwhelming, your real estate agent will be by your side to help oversee this process. That’s why it’s important to hire a qualified agent that has knowledge and experience in putting your fears to rest. If you don’t have an agent, search through our local RE/MAX of Southern Ohio offices to find the right match for you!
8 GREAT TIPS ON TURNING A STARTER HOME INTO AN INVESTMENT
If this is your first time buying a home, don’t jump into this thrilling experience empty handed! Aside from hiring an expert real estate agent, you need to think of this as a long-term investment. Typically, a starter home is one that you will grow out of and eventually move out of. However, if you are thinking in terms of investment, you can transition your starter home into a rental property if you choose wisely up front. Here are 8 tips for choosing a starter home that can bring in extra income when you’re ready to move out.
Figure out local rental values
Estimate how long you will reside in the home
Consider your temporary needs
Make sure there is room for growth (whether it’s your family or a renter’s family)
Consider monthly maintenance costs
Make sure the house is universally appealing
Purchase a home you can afford in the short-term and long-term
Once you have figured out what you really need out of a home purchase, you can start searching for a starter home that you can turn into an investment property. To start your search, contact a local RE/MAX agent today so we can give you advice on all of the criteria above!
6 SENTENCES A HOME BUYER NEEDS TO REPHRASE
In life, there’s being honest and then there’s being toohonest...sort of like when someone asks how you are doing and you go into a rant about your life when all they expected was a simple ‘Good’. The world of real estate is not much different. If you’re a home buyer, it’s important to be honest with everyone that you’re working with. However, there are a few key sentences that you can rephrase that will give you a leg when it comes time to negotiate.
For example, if there’s a house you can’t wait to make an offer on, you don’t always want to show that excitement to the seller or his/her agent. So, practice your best poker face and start learning how to dial down the excitement.
Here are 6 examples of a sentence a home buyer might say and a better way to rephrase it:
Sentence #1: I have to be out of my current home in X number of days and I need help!
Rephrase to: I’d like to choose a move-in date of X.
Sentence #2: We’re nervous about this decision and thinking about backing out.
Rephrase to: We have a few more questions we’d like to get answered before committing.
Sentence #3: Point blank, this is the only house we’ve found that meets all of our search criteria.
Rephrase to: We strongly feel that there are other houses on the market that also offer what we want and need.
Sentence #4: We will do practically anything to get this house. You name it and we’ll do it!
Rephrase to: While we have some other options on the table, we are really excited about this house.
Sentence #5: The bottom line is this is the most we can afford to pay.
Rephrase to: We’re not sure what our top offer will be quite yet.
Sentence #6: Hopefully we can afford this house.
Rephrase to: We’ve spent several months getting our finances in order.
If you’re a home buyer, go ahead and study these phrases! A little tweak in the way you convey your emotions during a tour or offer can go a long way in the buying process. It can even help get the house of your dreams at a great price if you play your cards right. If you’re ready to jump feet first into the home buying process, and think you’ve nailed the poker face, contact a local RE/MAX agentto assist you with your needs!
GETTING A HIGHER OFFER AFTER YOU’VE ALREADY ACCEPTED ONE
That moment of relief gave you peace of mind when your agent came to you with a solid offer from a buyer. You accepted the offer on your home and it’s a number you are satisfied with. Now it’s time to work with your agent on the final details like inspections, disclosures, and closing.
But wait, someone else really wants your home and they’ve written an offer that is higher than the one you accepted. Now what? As a home seller, this can be a good predicament to be in...or a very tricky one! Most experts in the real estate industry would deter you away from backing out of an offer due to unethical reasons, potential unpleasant experiences, or even legal trouble.
Once a seller accepts an offer, it’s quite difficult to back out. Most written agreements give the buyer an out, but not the seller. The first step you should take as the home seller is carefully discuss the options with your real estate agent. They are the experts in this situation and should be able to give you sound advice.
After you and your agent discuss the issue at hand, think about whether you truly want to entertain the higher offer. if you are considering it, here are some steps you need to take:
Review the contract
Look at the contingencies in the contract
Make sure your agent is communicating thoroughly with the buyer’s agent
Seek legal advice from an attorney
Only accept the higher offer as a backup in case the original deal falls through
If you choose to avoid the headache all together and pass on the higher offer, we applaud you! However, there are ways to avoid this confusion altogether at the onset of listing your home. Before you put your house on the market, think about what you would do in the situation. If you think there’s a chance this could happen, communicate with your agent up front on how you want to deal with the situation so your agent can make sure to place a contingency in the contract.
If you aren’t sure how you would handle this situation, always ask advice from your real estate agent. The experts at RE/MAX are always available to lend advice on whatever topic you need!