Real Estate Blog
Wednesday, October 16 2013
In Evansville's competitive housing market, shrewdly targeting which (if any) renovations to make prior to listing your home can sharply affect not only its DOM (days on market), but the price it ultimately brings. After making any obviously needed repairs any that would be standout deficiencies left untended you must still decide, what else?
Of the welter of possibilities you could choose before your property appears in the local listings, recent studies show some renovations have the greatest impact on selling prices.
An inviting outside entertainment area is a significant plus for many prospects, so the addition of a wooden deck heads the list. A deck is relatively quick and easy to install, so when Remodeling Magazine reports a 77% return at sale, being able to add “entertainment deck” seems an economical way to add appeal to any listing. If you already have a deck, you might consider expanding or improving it.
Since the kitchen is the heart of a home, even a modest improvement like freshening up cabinets or upgrading an appliance or two can make a dramatic impact on salability. If your home is already priced at the high end of the market, simply adding granite countertops is an investment that's not likely to add significantly to the bottom line...whereas the return on minor kitchen improvements is measured in the neighborhood of 75%.
For an older home, changing out questionable windows with new, environmentally advanced ones can create a listing feature that's ads appeal to utility cost-conscious home buyers. Window replacement is a quick fix; and if you already have newer windows, an upgrade to siding can add one fewer thing potential buyers find to worry about...and one more reason to choose your offering.
Such easy fixes are ways to increase the instant appeal of your listing without severely denting your pocketbook. Being conscious of the way your listing compares with others in town will put you ahead of the pack. Another way: call me for more ideas to make your home an irresistible buy! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Monday, October 14 2013
Believe it or not, it takes home-seekers an average of 12 weeks to find a home. To shorten that time, there is nothing more useful than the Internet’s Multiple Listing Service. When you are working with a buyer’s agent, the lion’s share of the work will be done for you — but when you participate in the online search, too, it makes a dynamite combination!
Starting out with a clear idea of the features you think of as “must-have’s” will save the most time and effort. This doesn’t mean every feature you would ever consider a plus; these should be the items that you must have. Your deal-breakers.
Use these to pare down the MLS listings you examine more thoroughly. Chances are you’re going to find many homes that match your broader requirements, so narrowing the field will let you channel your time toward the best potential candidates.
MLS listings are available either by city or by region. If you’re open to examining a wider area, you’ll find a greater number of properties within your price range that list your key features. If you can’t find regional MLS listings near Evansville of interest, your agent will help expand your search. Sometimes this broadening of horizons uncovers the ideal property.
The local MLS listings are updated on a regular basis, so staying on top of the market involves revisiting the listings every few days. In case that sounds overly labor-intensive, your agent can sign you up to receive auto-alerts via email whenever a new qualified MLS listing comes online. It’s also a fact that not all real estate firms keep every one of their MLS listings absolutely current, so calling your agent as soon as you see something you like will keep you ahead of the crowd.
The MLS listings in Evansville offer a one-stop destination for identifying numerous candidate properties — as well as the ability to efficiently filter the results you find. If you’re in the market for a new home, using the local MLS listings will be a welcome aid. Call me today to help organize a comprehensive search effort! You can reach me in my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Friday, September 13 2013
Whenever you hear that a neighbor’s house is on the market, the same question flashes through nearly every homeowner's mind: how much are they asking?
That's because of the nature of residential markets: our own homes' real estate values (in fact, all local real estate values) are connected with one another, and that asking price is an estimate of the current state of affairs. It has to be reasonable in order to attract the attention of serious buyers — but if it’s too reasonable, on closing day the seller will walk away with a lighter bank account than necessary.
Real estate values in Evansville are determined in large part by what other similar homes have recently sold for. These comparable sales show what a real world bank was willing to lend, and how many dollars a real life buyer was willing to pay. “Comps” are to real estate values what the Dow Jones is to securities: a trustworthy reality check, no kidding around.
How 'comparable' a comp is depends on a number of factors to be taken into account:
- The structure
The structure of a comp sale will have similar square footage, number of bedrooms, etc. Its condition is a value judgment best made by professional appraisers. Amenities can include everything from upgrades in a development to added features like central air conditioning or a Jacuzzi. And location means a great deal (is it in a high crime area?) — as does the similar but more precise neighborhood (are the neighbors taking care of their yards? Are the schools first-rate?).
Ultimately, when determining real estate values for area homes, appraisers take into account much more than just the house itself. That’s why when you set out to find a home for your family it’s important to look beyond the physical facets of the house alone: should you later decide to sell it, the whole host of factors will come into play. Whether you are buying or selling a home in Evansville this fall, contact me today for a pricing evaluation. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Wednesday, June 26 2013
A good first impression is important in real estate. Online appeal gets buyers to view the home in person, and curb appeal gets them in the door.
With 90 percent of buyers looking for homes online, listing photos are crucial and should not be blurred or distorted, taken at the wrong time of day, or overly focused on furniture or other items.
When it comes to curb appeal, here are some suggestions for sellers:
Add plants at the front corners of the yard, along driveways or walkways, and in front of the house
- Fertilize grass and shrubs
- Replace worn gutters
- Patch driveway cracks
- Spruce up or replace the front door
- Install exterior lighting
- Ensure that entry hardware matches
To jazz up the entryway, sellers should remove clutter and personal items, remove dated carpeting, and ensure that the home smells nice. As for other improvements, experts say sellers should pay close attention to return on investment, spending most of their money in the kitchen and bathrooms but avoiding major overhauls given that buyers are likely to make changes when they move in.
Tuesday, June 25 2013
On Thursday, Bloomberg’s online news service confirmed what we had been hearing in more general terms: “Sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed more than forecast in May…and prices jumped, indicating more progress for residential real estate.” Agents here in Evansville would also not have been surprised at the national surge in selling prices “by the most since October 2005”. If you were already inclined to sell your own home, it looks more and more as if this summer will be a propitious time to jump on the opportunity.
As real estate agents gear up to maximize the market’s improvement, homeowners are also weighing some of the more popular alternatives for boosting valuations when it comes to selling —
- Prospective homebuyers are increasingly energy savvy, so when new appliances need to be updated prior to sale, the more energy-efficient they are, the more worth highlighting they will be. Real estate agents know how to emphasize a property’s ‘green’ attributes.
- If you have an attic or a basement that is currently serving little purpose, conversion can pay off. Basements are often the more affordable option since they call for little structural remodelling. Conversions can be into a games room, office, or utility area. Attics are often best converted to bedrooms or office space (or at least staged to suggest the possibility).
- In Evansville, real estate agents love to offer properties with decks — especially in the summertime. If you are prepared to engage in a little DIY, adding a deck can be among the most cost-effective of improvements. According to HGTV, the cost of a professionally built deck starts at about $15 per square foot, with more elaborate installations featuring costly hardwoods or composite materials running closer to $35.
Even if you do not intend to sell, a little extra money invested in your home may be a dollar-wise idea. Thoughtful investments can enrich your own living experience AND attract higher prices when the time comes to move on. If you’re looking for a real estate agent in Evansville, call me today to go over other improvement ideas. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Thursday, April 18 2013
David R. Leopold, owner of Pillar to Post Home Inspection in Fairfield County, Conn., says home sellers and their real estate professionals have an important role in preparing for a home inspection to help ensure it goes smoothly. Leopold offers up some of the following tips in a recent article in RISMedia, including:
1. Don’t hide what isn’t working: If an appliance isn’t working, leave a note that indicates what isn’t working and how you’re getting it fixed. Don’t try to conceal defects because it can make the inspector start to view you as dishonest and wonder what else you’re hiding.
2. Make things accessible: Ensure the location of the attic and crawlspace are identified and easy to access. Don’t make a home inspector move your belongings in order to gain access.
3. Check the lightbulbs: If a lightbulb isn’t working, the inspector will need to determine if the fixture is inoperable. Save them time by making sure all the lightbulbs in the home operate, including those in the crawlspace, attic, and furnace rooms.
4. Note septic systems: If you have a septic system in the yard, be sure to leave a sketch that includes the location of it. It’ll avoid home inspectors, buyers, and real estate professionals having to conduct prolonged searches for it, Leopold says.
5. Keep appliances clear: Don’t leave dirty laundry in the washing machine or dryer because the inspector will need to test the appliances, and he doesn’t want to have to pull out dirty clothes in front of everybody, Leopold says. “Also, make sure your oven and stovetop are clear and clean, so we can easily test them without setting off the smoke alarm,” he adds.
Source: “Ask the Experts: What Should Home Sellers Do to Prepare for a Home Inspection?” RISMedia (April 16, 2013)
Monday, April 08 2013
Flooring is a major component of a house — and its real estate value.
Whether it’s carpet, tile, marble, or hardwood, the flooring of the home serves as an important financial and practical asset. Quality flooring can increase the home’s value, and it’s vital to take proper care of it.
Some ways to accomplish this:
Tile: Many people have tile in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. However, the material is not limited to these areas and it’s important to maintain them. Particularly in high traffic places such as kitchens — regular maintenance is essential.
One way to maintain tile quality is to mix baking soda and water as a make-at-home cleaning option, or simply find a cleaner with a very neutral pH level.
With tile, it’s crucial to avoid harsh and abrasive chemicals. They can alter the polish and stain the tile.
Carpet: If you have carpet in your house, make sure to keep up on the cleaning. This floor material is very dependent on the environment of the house. Do you have pets? Do you live in a climate with snow? Do you have children? Is your kitchen table on carpet?
There are so many factors that this category is going to naturally be subjective, but the principle is the same: Stay up to date, regardless of how often it’s required.
Carpet in nice condition not only makes a house more comfortable, but helps hold the value of the house together.
Marble: Due to its permeability, marble doesn’t react well to acid, the care of marble floor is extremely important in holding not only value, but appearance. Stained marble is very noticeable and unattractive in a house.
It’s best to mop with strictly warm water and be gentle. With marble floorings, it’s even more imperative to regularly clean, as dirt can — and will — scratch the surface.
Inside each door, make sure to have a mat. These small practices can go a long way in maintaining the surface and increasing longevity.
Hardwood floor: Similar to marble, it’s important to maintain hardwood floor. If this type of material isn’t regularly and correctly cleaned, seals break and cleaning then becomes detrimental as water seeps in the cracks.
This is a very common floor material option for home owners across the country, and it’s easy to tell when an area of wood floor is cared for. A neutral product is best when mopping and make sure to sweep the floor before cleaning to avoid dragging sediments around the finish.
The flooring of a house covers the entire walkable surface, and it’s important to keep it clean. Flooring is an expensive and significant part of a property, and it should carefully be looked after. Don’t underestimate how well-maintained flooring can help home owners maintain their home’s value during resale.
Wednesday, May 04 2011
If your house is on the market then you might be at the point of tearing your hair out. After all, some sellers have had their home up for sale for years at this point. It can be maddening, and the competition is only getting more intense as prices continue to fall and more foreclosure homes flood the market.
So what, exactly, are buyers looking for this spring? In short, they're looking for homes that are going to save them money. And when you think about it, it just makes sense. Mortgage loans are harder to come by, and thanks to an uncertain economy, people are less likely to splurge on a McMansion they're going to have to pay to heat and cool for the next five years (i.e. save money on utility bills).
[See the best personal finance stories from around the Web at the U.S. News My Money blog.]
Even if you're planning on staying in your home the next few years, it's still helpful to know what people are looking for because you're likely going to make changes and home improvements over the years. Knowing what potential buyers are interested in can help you invest your money wisely, so you have a better chance of selling when you're actually ready. So what are people looking for?
1. Homes in Good Condition
Buyers aren't interested in fixer-uppers right now. They don't have a lot of cash, and they don't want to spend money on home repairs immediately after they move in. They're looking for homes that are in great condition and that are absolutely move-in ready. They don't want to have to repaint, clean carpets, or cover up cracks in the ceiling. And they especially don't want to spend money on major repairs. To increase your chances of an offer this spring and summer, make sure you do everything you can to get your home in tip-top shape. Utilize a house spring cleaning checklist and make your home spotless before showing it off.
2. Homes with Green Features
Saving money and living green are trends that aren't likely to disappear anytime soon. Buyers are now looking for features which are going to cut down on a home's operating costs, as well as lessen its impact on the environment. Tankless water heaters, high-efficiency furnaces, energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient windows, adequate insulation, and solar panels are just a few that are making it on to buyers' wish lists.
Basically, any "green" upgrade that's going to save money on utility bills will be highly appealing to people looking for a new home. You probably don't want to splurge on solar panels, a geothermal furnace, or other expensive green energy technologies, but there are some small changes you can make that will help potential buyers save money in your home. For instance, you could install a rain barrel or two against the house, add insulation, upgrade any old appliances to Energy Star rated models, and plant some trees to help with shading during the summer months.
[In Pictures: 10 Smart Ways to Improve Your Budget.]
3. Outdoor Living Spaces
In an uncertain economy, people travel less. This means that our homes are truly becoming our castles, no matter how small they are! Outdoor living spaces have always been popular, but they're especially appealing now since so many people are taking staycations, and choosing to relax at home instead of going out at night and on weekends. If your backyard leaves a lot to be desired, then do whatever you can to turn it into an oasis. Build a deck, plant flowers, add a fountain, and turn it into an escape for potential buyers.
If your home is currently on the market, it's important to do everything you can to remove any concerns buyers might have about your house. Sellers sure don't want to continue spending money on their homes, but small changes such as planting flowers, repainting, and cleaning can go a long way towards getting you an offer. Remember, you don't want to give people any reason not to buy your home!
Have you had any success selling your house in this market? What are some of the best methods that worked for you?
Heather Levin is a regular contributor to the Money Crashers personal finance resource site and is also the creator of The Greenest Dollar, a blog focused on green and frugal living.