Improve your home’s shot at a sale by maximizing light, removing clutter and refreshing plants before the photo shoot
- Do you have a professional photographer on staff?
- If you take the photos yourself, what equipment do you use — professional camera and tripod or just a cellphone?
- Will the agent or photographer bring in additional lighting if needed?
- How much time is typically allotted for the photo shoot?
- What can I do to make my home look its best in photos?
Perk up houseplants. Fresh green plants add a feeling of life and vibrancy to interior photos. Ailing plants, not so much. Trim away dead leaves with a pair of sharp scissors. Dust large-leaved plants with a soft cloth.
- Shoes in the entryway
- Piles of mail and paperwork
- Remote controls
- Kids’ toys that can’t be put neatly away
- Pet food bowls, beds and litter boxes (temporarily move these to an area that won’t be photographed)
- Front-of-fridge clutter (magnets, photos, cards)
Last but not least, check that all outside areas are neat and tidy, with outdoor furniture in place, tools put away and garbage cans tucked out of sight.
The greatest challenge for home sellers this year appears to be finding another home to buy. That’s according to a new survey by Redfin, which found that for almost 66 percent of sellers, the biggest concern they have is finding a new property.
“It’s a seller’s market, but the catch is, most sellers need to buy as well,” said Eileen Lorway, a Redfin real estate agent in the Boston area. “This is a conversation I have with many clients at our first meeting.”
A frequent part of the conversation, Lorway said, were stipulations designed to keep sellers from ending up homeless, or at least unreasonably displaced, once they close the sale.
“We discuss options like ‘seller to find suitable housing’ contingencies for the sale contract, ‘purchase contingent on sale of current home’ options for the buy offer, rental options, stay-with-family options and bridge loans,” she said. “Sellers who are buying need to think outside the box a little bit. It’s not easy, but we often do end up closing on sale and purchase on the same day.”
Redfin’s poll of 800 agents found that more than half reported homes selling faster this year than last. Half also reported that competition for homes that do go on the market now is more fierce. About 57 percent of agents poled said they have been involved in at least one instance of a home receiving 10 or more offers this year; a mere 2 percent said they have yet to be involved in a bidding war at all.
Not insignificantly, nearly a third of agents said that sellers are becoming more demanding. And almost half said though it’s very much a seller’s market, more sellers are making unrealistic demands and asking unrealistic prices for their properties.
Lorway said she encourages sellers who are also buyers to think about selling first.
“They should consider temporary rental options, or moving in with relatives after they sell,” she said.
Half of agents reported that the typical down payment for successful buyers in their market was less than 20 percent. This, Redfin reported, means there are other ways to make an offer competitive‒‒working with a reputable local lender who can guarantee to the seller’s agent that the loan will be approved quickly, for instance, or building a rapport with the seller.
“I recently had an FHA-backed offer with 3.5 percent down beat out four other offers, each of which had conventional 20-percent down loans,” said Tim Zielonka, a Redfin agent in Chicago. “The sellers were at the showing. I introduced them to the buyers and pointed out that both were huge enthusiasts of both vintage bicycles and classic cars, which put them at ease with one another and enabled them to form a natural connection. Had they not discovered this shared interest, my clients may not have gotten the property.”
~ Especially when you are selling your house these are great things to look for and assess so you can list your home in it’s best light! ~
Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007. That has set off bidding wars that have pushed up prices as the supply of available homes has dwindled to record lows.
Home sales rose 3.3% in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Assn. of Realtors said Wednesday.
Steady job gains, modest pay raises and rising consumer confidence are spurring healthy home buying even though borrowing costs have risen since last fall. Some potential buyers may be accelerating their home purchases to get ahead of any further increases in mortgage rates. With few homes available for sale, buyers feel pressure to rapidly close a deal when they find a suitable property.
The typical house for sale was on the market for just 50 days last month, down from 64 days a year earlier. Strong demand is pushing up the median home price, which jumped 7.1% from a year earlier to $228,900.
The supply crunch probably will get worse during the upcoming spring buying season, economists say, because demand typically rises by more than supply during that time.
“Relative to the number of households, the number of homes for sale is well through prior historic lows,” said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley. “The level of inventories could be a much bigger challenge moving into much higher sales in the spring and summer.”
That, combined with higher mortgage rates, soon could restrain sales.
The bulk of the stronger buying is occurring among higher-priced properties, the Realtors group said. Sales among homes and condominiums priced at $100,000 and below fell nearly 10% in January compared with a year earlier. They rose slightly in the $100,000 to $250,000 bracket and jumped roughly 20% in homes priced at higher levels.
Last year, low mortgage rates helped offset rising home prices. Now, both are rising.
Mortgage rates have climbed since November’s presidential election. Investors are anticipating that tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending will accelerate growth and push up inflation. That has caused investors to cut back on their bond holdings, pushing up yields.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.15% last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Although that has slipped since earlier this month, it is much higher than last year’s average rate of 3.65%.
By some measures, the housing market has fully recovered from the bust that began in 2006. Yet its newfound health is creating another set of challenges.
In high-demand areas, mostly on the West Coast, homes are being bought after less than a month on the market, according to real estate brokerage Redfin.
Denver was the fastest market last month, Redfin found, with purchase contracts signed just 23 days after listing for a typical home — far faster than the 43 days that was typical a year earlier. Seattle was the second-fastest, with 26 days on the market, followed by Oakland, at 27 days.
The strength in sales should lift growth, as new homeowners buy furniture and appliances and spend more on landscaping and outdoor equipment. Home sales also tend to spur renovations, which helps to update aging properties and generates additional construction work for the broader economy.