Posted on

Planning to Sell Your Home? Here’s How to Increase and Protect Home Value on a Budget

If you’ve been living in your home for a while, chances are a lot of little things go unnoticed. And now that you’re also probably finding ourselves at home more often these days because of the coronavirus, you may have begun to notice these things, like faded paint, …

Read More

Posted on

How to Get Your House Ready to Sell While Social Distancing

Trees and flowers are beginning to bloom, birds are jubilant with song, and you’ve noticed these things only because you’re most likely sitting at home in isolation. If you were thinking about selling your home before this whole coronavirus (COVID-19) scare happened, luckily, you still can. In fact, …

Read More

Posted on

How to Easily Check the Square Footage of Your House

A house that sounds roomy and spacious online may actually have 800 of its square feet contained in a four-foot-tall dirt-floor basement. What’s up with that? In Washington DC, clients are often confused at the square footage discrepancy between what’s listed and what they see on tour, and colleagues …

Read More

Posted on

9 Ways to Attract Millennial Homebuyers

Millennials are currently the largest group of homebuyers in the U.S. and will continue to revolutionize the housing market for years to come. As more millennials pursue homeownership, it is important to revitalize your home in order to attract multiple offers from this surging demographic. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable upgrades and simple ways to spruce up your home to appeal to millennial homebuyers and sell your home quickly. 

1. Updating Your Kitchen and Bathroom

The majority of younger buyers looking to see if they can afford to purchase their first home. They most likely won’t have the money or time to redo a kitchen and bathroom. Millennial homebuyers will be looking for an updated kitchen. A kitchen that includes new countertops, fresh cabinets, and hardwood floors. Updating your cabinets is a great way to spruce up your kitchen, or even give it a whole new look. Younger buyers are also looking for a bathroom with new tiling and modern fixtures. By hiring a team of professionals, and putting some money toward a kitchen and bathroom remodel, you can attract more millennial homebuyers to your property. Not only that, but you’ll probably recoup a lot of your costs in the selling price of your home. 

2. Creating an Open Floor Plan

Millennials are attracted to large, open spaces. Larger spaces that can be used to entertain guests or as multi-functional rooms are favorable with millennials. Essentially, they don’t want to feel like their family or friends have to be sectioned off in different parts of the home. If you are already planning on remodeling your kitchen, you may consider tearing down a wall or two to create a more open look. 

3. Choosing Low-Maintenance Materials

Millennial homebuyers are interested in low-maintenance homes. They are not looking for a fixer-upper the way Gen Zers and other past generations were. Millennial homebuyers don’t want to spend their time on significant repairs, home-maintenance or even cleaning their homes. They prefer things that will last and are easy to maintain. Consider choosing low maintenance materials. These materials include quartz countertops, full-sheet materials like back pained glass, and quartz backsplashes to eliminate grout lines for easy cleaning. As well as installing vinyl, sealed concrete or hardwood floors in your kitchen and bathroom to provide the new homeowners with durable, easy to clean surfaces. 

4. Adding Smart Home Technology 

Adding technology to the home will excite millennial buyers into purchasing your home. Many millennial homebuyers are interested in looking at homes that can manage all their home devices from one place. A smart home ecosystem has many benefits. Including, remote control functions, increased home security, and increased energy efficiency. These functions will allow homeowners to conveniently control their home from anywhere as well as reduce their energy bills.

5. Installing Energy Efficient Appliances 

Millennials care about the environment and will even pay extra to protect it. Younger homebuyers want appliances designed to help reduce power consumption, reduce environmental impact, and contribute to a healthier planet. 75 percent of millennial homebuyers want energy Star-rated appliances in their homes. They also want these appliances to save them money and have the latest features and technology to make everyday tasks easier. 

6. Adding a Home Office 

Creating a space that can double as a home office is intriguing to many millennial homebuyers. Many do commute to work, especially if you work in a big city like New York. But there is also an increasing number of millennials working from home at least a couple days a week. Creating this space allows these millennial homebuyers to have a designated area where they will be able to work from home easily and comfortably. 

7. Painting your Home 

If you need to freshen up your paint, and want to appeal to millennial homebuyers, opt for neutral colors on walls, trim, and baseboards. Colors such as light grey, cream, and other soft neutrals are preferred. If you have children and their rooms are all shades of bright green, blue, and pink consider painting those to match the rest of your home. Having this neutral base will make your home easy to stage and design. It also will bring a more simple, sophisticated look that millennial homebuyers find alluring.

8. Purchasing a Home Warranty 

You may also want to consider purchasing a home warranty for your buyer. Many home warranty companies offer “listing coverage” that you can easily turn into a year-long plan for a homebuyer to repair or replace worn down systems and appliances. Many millennial homebuyers find it enticing to have a company do the groundwork of calling a contractor and scheduling repairs for them.

9. Highlighting Proximity and Walkability to Market Your Home

A “walkable community” means a home is near public transportation, grocery stores, restaurants, local businesses, and public services. Homes receive a Walk Score based on how many errands can be accomplished on foot. Millennial homebuyers are very interested in homes that have a great location. 56 percent of millennials and 46 percent of baby boomers prefer walkable communities with a range of housing amidst local businesses and public services. If your home is considered walkable, you’ll want to market it that way. By doing so you will attract more buyer interest, and you’ll potentially be able to price your home higher. 

As time moves forward, millennials are beginning to make up a bigger population of homebuyers than ever before. As the playing field of buyers changes, it isn’t a bad idea to update your home to cater to the larger homebuying demographic. Following these tips can help provide you with more bids from potential buyers, and possibly sell your home quickly and for more money. 

Source: Redfin Blog

Posted on

How to Sell Your House in 2020

how to sell your house

So, you’ve evaluated your finances, thought about your lifestyle, and made the big decision to sell your home. Maybe you’re downsizing because the kids have finally left the nest, or you’ve gotten a job in a new city and need to relocate, or maybe you’ve just retired and want to head south to warmer climates. Whatever your reason, you’re ready to sell. Luckily, for you, we put together a comprehensive guide for first-time and seasoned home sellers. Continue reading to find out how to sell your house this year.

1) Hire a Home Inspector

You’re probably thinking, wait, isn’t that the buyer’s responsibility? You’re not wrong. When you’ve accepted an offer, the buyer will most likely request a home inspection of their own. So, why would you have one? First, if a home inspection turns up something that’s in need of repair, wouldn’t you prefer to resolve it before entering into negotiations?

In fact, if you end up needing to make repairs that take weeks to fix, you may lose that buyer altogether. Having a home inspection is a proactive approach to getting your home ready to sell. Known as a pre-listing home inspection, you can find out the exact condition of your property, what issues and repairs need to be addressed beforehand, fix them, and then focus on the next task to sell your home fast.

Also, knowing the condition of your property will further assist you during the negotiation phase with potential buyers. As you may already be aware, buyers often use their home inspection as a way of getting concessions from sellers, such as asking you to drop your list price. If you’ve already addressed these repairs, it is less likely that anything new will come up and impact your negotiation.

2) Make Repairs and Small Upgrades to Your House

After you receive a comprehensive list of repairs you should make, it’s time to get started either making the repairs yourself or contracting the right person to do them. This may also be a great time to make small upgrades to your home.

Understand Your Home’s Selling Points

First, try understanding your home’s selling points and then highlight those features to make them really stand out. Not sure what those features are? Just think about what sold you on your home when you first toured it. Was it the kitchen, the open floor plan, or that personal studio space? These are the features you’ll want to concentrate on because they are most likely to sell your house again.

Enhance Your Outdoor Space

When you are selling your house, you want to find ways to make it stand out and what better way than having the most beautiful entrance and lawn on the block. You don’t necessarily have to paint the exterior of your house to impress homebuyers. Simple things like trimming your hedges and a freshly mowed lawn will go a long way. Even freshly laid beauty bark and newly planted flowers can really make your yard pop! If these improvements seem like too much to handle while you’re trying to prepare your home to sell, look into hiring a landscaper to assist.

Brighten Your Home

Simple ways to brighten your home include painting your ceilings white and choosing a wall color that is brighter and more neutral. 

3) Declutter and Prep Your House to Sell

Decluttering and prepping your house are steps you should make a priority. Renting storage units is becoming an increasingly popular method of decluttering one’s house before selling it. The idea is to limit the amount of stuff in your house so that potential future owners can envision themselves (and their stuff) in that space. Even removing photos is a great way to allow potential buyers to think about what they would hang on those walls. If you’re looking for a quick turnaround, bring in a professional organizer. They can help get your house in order, while also preparing you for a stress-free move.

staged bright living room

4) Find a Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate agent is easy, finding a great real estate agent can be more of a challenge. Getting referrals and reading online reviews is a great way to start narrowing down your options. You’ll want to understand what you’re looking for when hiring a real estate agent to represent your best interests. Here are some questions to consider asking any potential candidate:

  • How many clients have you served this year?
  • Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  • What is your fee? 
  • What services do you offer beyond negotiations and escrow?

After you decide on a real estate agent, you and your agent should come up with a plan of action. It should include a timeline, from the pricing of your house and getting it listed on MLS to open houses. You and your agent should be on the same page at all times and a plan of action will help ensure that.

5) How to Price Your House to Sell

Now is the time to find out what price you should list your home. You can start by using online tools to help you get an idea of what your home is worth. However, you should never set your sights on a single number and expect it to happen. Market conditions change all the time and so too does buyer behavior. 

Another option is to conduct an appraisal. Home appraisers are licensed professionals that will assess the value of your house based on the state of your property and overall housing market conditions. They will look at the size of your property, the interior and exterior conditions of your house, any upgrades, additions or home improvements you’ve done, and then calculate your home’s worth based on the local market conditions.

Looking at comparables of recently sold homes in your area will also help you settle on a price. These homes should be similar in size, location, and sold within the last few months. Furthermore, you want to be strategic about your pricing. Instead of lumping the price of your house in with others in the area, strategize your pricing based on your home’s selling features. In other words, if there are three houses for sale in you’re area and they are priced at $350,000, you might be able to justify $360,000 or more because you have a larger lot size or maybe you’re located in a popular neighborhood.

6) Get Professional Photos Taken of Your Home

Nothing sells a house faster than professional photos. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They are searching online, looking at every home that comes up for sale within their filtered interests the moment it’s listed. If your house is represented online by poorly shot photography, your listing will see very little traffic. Not to mention, it’s widely observed that houses with professionally shot photos, on average, sell for more money than other listings.

Furthermore, 3D walking tours along with aerial photography that show a bird’s eye view of one’s home and its surrounding area have become increasingly popular with buyers looking online. Many agencies include some or all of these services as a component of their overall services to you as a seller. Just remember, the better you represent your house online, the faster it will sell.

7) List Your Home to Sell

Your real estate agent will list your home online on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), in order for it to start showing up on real estate search platforms to potential buyers.

You may be wondering, when is the best time to list your home? If you’re thinking about waiting for a specific season, then you might be waiting for nothing. In 2016, Redfin analyzed more than 7 million home sales to identify specific seasonal trends. It was determined that while spring was slightly better for homes that sold within 30 days and for above-asking price, winter was surprisingly a close second. What plays a bigger role in a house being sold quickly and/or above-asking price has more to do with current market conditions than the season a house is sold.

Also, don’t limit the marketing of your house to your real estate agent and online search. Market your house yourself! Spread the word through your family and friends. Share your listing on social media and send out emails asking people to share your listing with others. 

row of houses

8) Have Open Houses and Personal Showings

Your first open house is what you’ve been working towards and now it’s about to happen. It’s time to step up your game and stage your home to sell. If you don’t deem yourself a design-minded individual, consider hiring a professional home stager to help. Here is a list of things to consider that will really help you make your house shine:

  • Clear the clutter: You may have already transferred most of your belongings to a storage unit by this point. Now is the time to focus on cleaning up the clutter on countertops and tables. Put away newspapers, mail or magazines, or if you have children, help them pick up their toys.
  • Deep clean your house: Nothing turns off buyers more than an unclean bathroom. That is also true for the rest of your house. Now more than ever is the time to wash your windows, windowsills, and scrub your grimy glass shower doors.
  • Add white accents: White accents such as flowers or towels in the bathroom create a sense of welcome cleanliness.
  • Arrange furniture: You don’t have to necessarily rent furniture to stage your home. You can most likely use what you have. The key is to limit the number of furniture pieces in any one room. Then arrange them in a way that’s inviting to people as they enter the room.
  • Bring in light: Think about removing your curtains or keeping them drawn back to allow as much light into your house as possible. If you have rather large elaborate curtains, consider storing them away until you get to your next home.
  • Highlight your floors: Floors are a key feature homebuyers are looking at, especially if you have wood floors. Show them off by removing any rugs or unneeded furniture so that more of your flooring can be seen. If you have wood floors, think about polishing them to really make them pop.
  • Organize all closets and drawers: Homebuyers touring your home will most likely look in your closets to determine space and, frankly, to see if their stuff will fit in there. They will also likely open kitchen drawers and cabinets as well, so make sure everything is nice and tidy.
  • Dust: Concentrate on all the areas that you’ve most likely have turned a blind eye to for some time, like ceiling fans, baseboards, on top of doorways, appliances, etc.

9) Have a Plan in Case your Home Doesn’t Sell Quick Enough

You and your real estate agent should have already gone over this beforehand, but not every house sells after the first open house. There are many factors at play and depending on the condition of the housing market for your area, your real estate agent may have to use some other strategies in their arsenal to get your house sold. If it’s lowering the price of your home or holding more open houses, you’ll want to agree on what the next steps should be in case your house isn’t seeing any offers.

10) Negotiate the Sale Price of Your Home

One thing to consider is that the buyer is trying to get the absolute best price they can, while you’re doing the exact same. There will be multiple factors to consider, as each home sold and purchased is different. For example, if it’s a buyer’s market, that means the buyer has the upper hand because there are multiple listings with fewer offers being made. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make huge concessions in order to sell your house.

This is where your agent really steps up. They will help you navigate the negotiation process, and will give you their advice on how to proceed when offers are being made. Luckily, you interviewed and hired the right agent, so you know they have your best interests in mind.

11) Sign and Close

You and your agent have been working towards this moment. You’ve agreed on a price with the buyers, all inspections and appraisals of your home have been completed, and you are now signing the papers to sell your house. Congratulations, you’ve done it!

Source: Redfin Blog

Posted on

17 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your House

Selling your house can be both exciting and stressful, especially if it’s your first time. Regardless of why you decided to sell your home, there are a number of pitfalls you can easily fall into, making your home selling experience less than ideal. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the most common home selling mistakes people make so you can sell your home knowing you have your bases covered. 

A home for sale

Underestimating the cost of selling your house

While you should ultimately profit from the sale of your home, many home sellers forget about the costs associated with selling a house. For starters, you should expect to use five to six percent of the total sale price of your home to cover the commissions of both the seller and buyer agents. For example, if you sell your home for $300,000 you could wind up paying upwards of $18,000 in commission. 

Furthermore, this hefty cost doesn’t include possible concessions homebuyers might want you to make during the negotiation phase, such as making repairs suggested by a home inspector.

Not budgeting for your move

When you consider the moving process, you have two options: hiring a moving company or borrow your buddy’s truck and doing it yourself. 

By hiring a moving company, rather than doing it yourself, you’re getting someone who will pack, move, and then unpack your belongings. This means that a full-service mover can be well worth the investment when you’re preoccupied with all of the other tasks associated with selling your home. Not to mention, when you hire movers your belongings are insured so you’re covered if anything breaks.

Selling a house you owe more on than what it’s worth

If you still have a remaining balance on your mortgage, you’ll most likely use a portion of the sale proceeds of your home to pay off the existing mortgage. Make sure you don’t owe more on your mortgage than what your house is actually worth or you won’t make enough money on the sale to pay off your mortgage. The best option is almost always to wait on selling your home so that it can build more equity. This way you can sell your home and buy a new one without having two mortgages at the same time.

Pricing your home incorrectly

If you price your home too high, your home may fall into seller’s limbo, sitting on the market for what feels like an eternity. On the other hand, if you price too low then you will likely sell your home quickly but you risk missing out on a significant amount of money. 

The first step to understanding how much your home is worth is utilizing an online calculator. Afterward, meet with your real estate agent to discuss a good pricing strategy for your home. They will look at other comparable properties in your neighborhood that sold recently as well as bring keen insights into what the housing market is currently doing. Together, you’ll determine a good starting price as well as a pricing strategy that will incentivize buyers if your house begins to sit on the market for too long.

Skipping a pre-listing home inspection

Selling a house is stressful enough, even when everything goes right. But if a homebuyer hires an inspector who catches an issue like mold, pests, or a cracked foundation, then your stress levels will multiply as you risk losing a potential sale entirely.

Given the affordability of home inspections, there’s not much reason to avoid them. Getting a pre-listing home inspection will put your mind at ease as you’ll either know that your home is in sound condition or you’ll be able to tackle problems before homebuyers have the chance to bring them up during the negotiation phase. If an issue does arise, you can either fix it or you can let buyers know and then make a concession during the negotiation phase by reducing the price of your home accordingly. 

Not refinishing hardwood floors or cleaning your carpet

If you’re reading this at home, look down. How do your floors look? Even if they don’t look terrible, there’s a pretty good chance they’re starting to show their age. Since potential buyers are going to be inspecting every aspect of your home, you should start thinking of refinishing your hardwood floors and cleaning your carpet.

A living room with wood floor

The best time to have your carpet cleaned or hardwood floors refinished is right before you stage your home. Since you’ll already be moving most (or all) of your furniture to either a new home or a storage unit, this is a great time to get your floors done (like the floors above) and make them a selling point to potential homebuyers.

Not staging your home for a quick sale

The main point of staging your home is to allow potential homebuyers the chance to picture themselves living in your space. They get to see a home with furniture and art that’s arranged in a way that highlights key features of your home, rather than an empty house that echoes every sound. Staging your home pays off too as 21 percent of agents told the National Association of Realtors that staging a home increased its’ sale price by as much as 10 percent, making it a worthwhile investment. 

Forgoing professional real estate photos

With the advent of cameras on smartphones, everyone likes to think of themselves as a photographer these days. Even though that picture you took of your dinner last week looked like it could be featured in advertisements, you’re still probably not ready to take your own real estate photos. A real estate photographer will make sure that your home looks great when you list it because not only do they have the equipment, they understand the angles that best sell a home. 

If you have a large home, a stunning view you want to show off, or a large amount of land, you may also want to consider having aerial photos taken of your home. The views that drones are able to capture are impressive and can help show off your home in a way that will make sure it stands out from other houses in your area that are on the market. Even better, drone technology makes this option more affordable than ever before, allowing you to get a lot more bang for your buck.

Trying to sell a poorly lit home

You want to show your home in the best light, so take the time to really gauge the quality of your lighting by closing your curtains/blinds and looking at each room as though you’re a potential homebuyer. Make a note of any rooms that are poorly lit or just seem dark and then call an electrician so that you can have some additional lighting installed. 

a well lit home for sale

Even worse than a poorly lit room, however, is when the lights don’t work at all. Sometimes the light bulb is just burnt out, while other times the socket itself is in need of repair. Consider calling an electrician before you begin showing your home to make sure it’s shining its brightest like the one above. Potential buyers (and your bank account) will thank you for the investment.

Not making your home energy efficient

If you’d like to spend less on your utility bills, you aren’t alone. A study by the National Association of Realtors found that 33 percent of homebuyers see high-efficiency HVAC systems as an important factor when looking at a new home. If you have an older home, you should look into either retrofitting or replacing your HVAC unit altogether as your current system might be using a lot more energy than it needs to be. This will ensure that you have a system that is meeting your home’s needs, while also lowering your utility bill.

If you’re committed to energy-efficiency then there are a few extra things you can do. These options include making sure your home is properly insulated, ensuring that you don’t have any leaky air ducts, and buying a smart thermostat. Whichever route you pursue, having an energy-efficient HVAC system will make your house stand out from the competition. 

Not cleaning your house before trying to sell it

Most of us would probably be lying if we said our homes weren’t overdue for a good cleaning, so don’t forget to check this box before listing your home for sale. There’s nothing more off-putting during a home tour than realizing the house is dirty, and potential homebuyers may wonder what else you’ve been neglecting. By hiring a professional cleaning company, you’ll guarantee that not only is your home spotless but that you’re going to make a great impression on homebuyers when they tour your house. 

Not addressing the exterior of your house

Over the years, your home’s exterior has taken a beating from the elements. With everything mother nature throws at it every year, the paint on your home’s exterior and the stain on your deck have likely lost a bit of their luster. So before listing, be sure to pressure wash your house first. In addition to making sure your house looks its best in the listing photos, you will also enhance the overall curb appeal when buyers eventually show up for a tour. 

In addition to pressure washing your house and deck, you can also take the time to pressure wash your garage door, fence, patio, driveway, and any walkways you may have. 

You never got around to repainting

One of the first things a potential buyer will notice when they pull up to your home is the paint. If you want to make a good first impression, then you’ll need to ensure that your home is painted an inviting color and that the quality of your paint job is top-notch. While the job of repainting your house might take a few days, the value of painting your house before selling will be well worth the effort.  A recent study found that painting the exterior of your home has a 51 percent return on investment. 

Don’t stop with the exterior though! We’ve all seen some pretty questionable color choices on the walls of homes. If you happen to have a lime green or bright purple wall, you’ll want to repaint them to be a more buyer-friendly neutral color. Doing so will make it easier for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in your home as it makes them think of your walls as a blank canvas.

Selling a home with a yard in need of some TLC

The other way to make a great first impression is by wowing potential buyers with your yard. Start by cleaning up anything that may be cluttering your yard, porch, or pathways (things like gardening equipment or a child’s bicycle). Then you can move onto mowing the lawn, weeding your garden, and planting some new flowers. If your yard has a damaged pathway, you may also want to think about fixing or even replacing it as well. 

If these touch-ups seem like a lot to tackle while you’re trying to sell your home, don’t be afraid to hire a landscaper as the cost is well worth it. A study by Turf Magazine found that a home’s value tended to increase by as much as 10 to 12 percent after making upgrades to the landscaping.

You have mismatched appliances

Maybe your black stove died a couple of years ago and you replaced it with a brand new stainless steel one. Or maybe you swapped out that white kitchen faucet you always hated with a copper one that caught your eye. Either way, the result is mismatched appliances. While it won’t necessarily impact the overall sale price of your home, many homebuyers are going to find the mismatched color scheme off-putting, so consider making some changes before you sell – the kitchen below is great inspiration. 

kitchen with matched appliances

The best way to proceed is to decide which kitchen appliances are your favorite and base the color scheme off of them. So if that fancy new stove you bought last year is stainless steel, then make sure your other appliances are too. Luckily, many appliance manufacturers offer discounts if you purchase multiple appliances with them at once.

Lingering during a home tour

Nobody likes a lingerer, especially when they also happen to be the owner of the home you’re currently touring. If you don’t leave the home during a showing, then potential buyers feel awkward as they attempt to discuss what they like and dislike about the house. You also prevent your listing agent from being able to do their job to the best of their abilities as you’re naturally going to want to answer any questions the buyers have rather than leaving those questions to your agent. So instead of staying in your home during a showing, try taking the opportunity to go shopping, run errands, or visit some friends instead. Your agent will thank you.

Taking a Lowball Offer Personally

Regardless of your reasons for moving, the fact that you’ve probably lived in your home for years means that you have a lot of strong feelings attached to it. So when you receive a lowball offer, it’s natural to be offended. 

Instead of walking away, send them back a counteroffer that you and your real estate agent think is fair. If they really are interested, then you’ll be glad you didn’t let your emotions get the better of you.

Source: Redfin Blog