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! ~
Quicken Loan National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) found that the gap between homeowner evaluations and appraiser opinions has expanded for the second month in a row. The HPPI revealed that the appraiser rate is at 1.47 percent below what homeowners were expecting last month. The decrease follows a six-month trend in mending differences between homeowners and appraisers.
The value of the homeowners at the beginning of the refinance process was calculated at 1.47 below the findings of the appraisers. Although the rate has decreased, fluctuation around the country continues to vary. For example, Denver has appraisal valued at 2.98 higher rate than homeowners estimated.
Equally, some cities in the East are valued greater than appraisers first reported. Philadelphia appraisals were 2.94 lower than previous calculations. “Having a good understanding of the conditions in their local housing market can be a valuable tool for consumers as they prepare for the home buying or mortgage process,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters.
The Home Value Index (HVI) found that homes values tend to level out at the end of the year during the winter months. In fact, the average appraisal dropped to 0.34 percent between December to January. The index also found that the appraisal rate tends to drop the most in the Northeastern region, the West grows at a vigorous rate, and the Midwest is firmly behind.
“This steady growth could very well lead to more availability, driving homeowners to consider cashing in on their growing equity by putting their home on the market. When this happens, it will open new opportunities for eager buyers”, said Walters.
The Quicken Loans HPPI symbolizes the difference of opinion between appraisers’ and homeowners. The index evaluates the estimate the homeowner supplies on the refinance mortgage application and the appraisal performed at the end of the mortgage process.
The Quicken Loans HVI is is based solely on the statistics from the home purchases and mortgage refinances.
According to the 2017 Best Places to Live list released by U.S. News & World Report today, Austin, Texas is the best place to live in the country.
Taking into account factors like housing affordability, quality of life, and job prospects, the Best Places to Live listing ranks the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Though Austin took the top spot, the top five was rounded out by Denver; San Jose, California; Washington, D.C., and Fayetteville, Arkansas. Seattle; Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Boston; Des Moines, Iowa; and Salt Lake City, Utah took the No. 6 through 10 spots, respectively.
“When considering a move, people are concerned about finding a job in their field, earning enough to afford a home, sending their kids to good schools, and feeling like a part of their community,” said Kim Castro, Executive Editor at U.S. News & World Report. “The Best Places to Live ranking takes all of that into account; the metro areas that do well are the ones with strong job markets and high quality of life.”
Many metros made strides in this year’s rankings, including Boston, which jumped from No. 30 to No. 8, and Salt Lake City, which rose from No. 27 to No. 10. Three other metro areas—Hartford, Connecticut; Syracuse, New York; and Milwaukee—jumped more than 20 spots since their 2016 ranking.
The Best Places to Live list arrived on the back of Zillow’s recent hottest market predictions, which also listed Salt Lake City and Denver in its rankings. In fact, according to Zillow, Salt Lake City will likely grow by at least 4 percent over the course of 2017.
The Best Places to Live list is determined through public surveys; data from the U.S. Census, FBI, and Bureau of Labor Statistics; and U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools and Best Hospitals rankings. To view the entire list, visit RealEstate.USNews.com.