Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, October 22, 2018 at 9:07 AMBy Homepage Realty / October 22, 2018Comment
Thanks to a historic inventory crisis, rising home prices, and stiff competition for property, the vast majority of markets across the US currently favor sellers. And according to most experts, it looks like that trend is going to continue.
According to a recent survey from Zillow, 76% of experts surveyed said they didn’t expect to see national market conditions shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market until 2020.
This is obviously good news for sellers—but it doesn’t mean you should wait until 2020 to put your home on the market. According to recent Zillow data, the rate of home appreciation is slowing in markets around the country, and as a result many sellers are having to slash their home prices in order to sell (according to Zillow’s data, 14% of all homes on the market had a price cut in June 2018).
If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now is the time to make a move. While most experts predict conditions will remain favorable for sellers through 2020, according to current data, conditions aren’t likely to be as favorable over the next few years as they are today.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, October 15, 2018 at 9:15 AMBy Homepage Realty / October 15, 2018Comment
A lot of people think the best time to buy a house is during the Spring market.
And, it is…
…in the sense that more houses are listed for sale in the Spring. But, there’s also a heck of a lot more buyers trying to buy those listings.
The thing is, some of the houses listed back in the Spring don’t end up selling. (Usually just because they were overpriced.)
Now, it isn’t like new listings don’t happen in the Fall. There’s always new listings coming on the market. But it’s not like, just because it’s Fall and not Spring, prices are necessarily going to fall. In other words, new listings aren’t likely to list for a lot lower than you would have seen in the Spring.
However, the homeowners who did list back in the Spring, are much more likely to be anxious (perhaps even desperate) to sell their home. They’ve created their own problem…they missed the boat by pricing too high.
Which is great news for you, if you’re looking to buy a home:
Less competition. (Many buyers stop looking at this time of year…for no good reason.)
Motivated sellers. (They’re sick of being on the market, and wondering why nobody bought their house.)
But it isn’t always easy to find those listings. They don’t wave a white flag, or lower their price to some ridiculous amount everyone would notice. If only it were that easy… Just because someone listed their home back in the Spring doesn’t mean they’ll be all that negotiable.
There are certain things a great real estate agent will know to look for.
And I love rolling up my sleeves and finding the ones we can most...
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, October 1, 2018 at 9:19 AMBy Homepage Realty / October 1, 2018Comment
So you’ve decided to purchase your first home. Congratulations! Purchasing a home is a huge decision, and it can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life.
But purchasing a home requires capital, and if your savings account is looking a little trim, it means that you will have to do some budgeting in the upcoming year to make your dream of being a homeowner a reality.
Here are 7 budgeting tips to help you buy your first home:
1. Track Everything You Spend
You will not be able to make any major changes to your budget if you don’t have a firm understanding of how your money is being spent. Tracking everything you spend for a month will show you exactly how much you’re spending, where you’re spending it, how much of your budget is going towards necessities and how much of your budget is going towards luxuries.
You can keep track of all of your expenses in a spreadsheet, but a better strategy is to use a spending tracker like Mint or Prosper Daily (formerly BillGuard). These apps link to all of your accounts and will track and categorize your spending, making it easy to visualize where your money is going.
2. Identify Areas To Cut Back
Once you know where your money is going, it’s time to identify the areas where you can cut back and save additional funds to put towards your down payment. Every household will be different, but when you’re saving for a house, anything that’s not a necessity (like rent or medical insurance) should be considered an area where you can cut back.
Things like eating out, daily Starbucks and an expensive gym membership are great, but...
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, September 24, 2018 at 9:48 AMBy Homepage Realty / September 24, 2018Comment
Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. But it can also be one of the scariest.
Buying real estate is a complicated process. And if you’ve never purchased a home before, the fear of all those unknown variables can make the experience stressful, frustrating, and downright terrifying.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a home but are dealing with the fear that comes along with it, don’t worry! You’re not alone. Most first time home-buyers deal with a certain level of fear as they get ready to buy their first home.
But that fear doesn’t have to hold you back. Here are three of the most common fears of first time home-buyers (and how you can overcome them).
The number one fear most first time home-buyers struggle with is the fear they can’t afford to buy a home.
But while there are certainly people who aren’t in the financial position to purchase a home, becoming a homeowner isn’t as expensive as you might think — and sometimes all it takes to be able to buy a home is a little budgeting.
If you’re worried about being able to afford a home, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your finances. Make a list of all of your monthly expenses and all of your debt. How much are you spending per month on living expenses? How does that compare to how much you’d be spending per month on living expenses if you were to purchase a home? How much are you saving each month? Are there any opportunities...
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 11:30 AMBy Homepage Realty / September 17, 2018Comment
Katharine Holland and Travis Bernard of The San Francisco Good Life Team got tired of working so hard to close. They decided to summon their creative powers (and an extra special agent) to create some advertising that would catch almost anyone’s attention. They needed an agent that was charismatic, downright cute, worked for food, and… fluffy?
Meet the agent of choice, Chompers. Sure, his vocabulary is a little limited. But with that bow tie and puppy dog eyes, you know you’ll want what he’s selling. Even if it is a million dollar condo.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, September 10, 2018 at 12:21 PMBy Homepage Realty / September 10, 2018Comment
Because of the historic inventory shortage, competition for homes has been steep, and prices have been rising sharply in markets across the country as a result.
But according to a recent report, it looks like that's (finally) starting to change, spelling good news for buyers.
According to recent data from Zillow, 14% of all listings in the United States had a price cut in June 2018, and since the start of the year, the share of listings in the US that had a price cut increased by 1.2 percentage points—the largest January-to-June increase since Zillow started collecting data.
What does this mean? As the housing market starts to normalize (after years of leaning towards sellers), homeowners putting their properties on the market are having to adjust their prices in order to stay competitive—which is great news for buyers.
If you've been thinking about purchasing a home, now is a great time to make a move and take advantage of these price cuts.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 10:59 AMBy Homepage Realty / September 4, 2018Comment
If you've been on the fence about purchasing a home because you're unsure of the market, it might be time for you to take a cue from the majority.
According to the National Association of Realtors' most recent Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey, nearly 70% of Americans believe that now is a good time to purchase a home. This buyer confidence is likely due to a number of factors, but one of the main factors at play is likely the upcoming increase in available inventory. According to a recent report on new construction from the US Census Bureau and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, builders completed new homes at a record rate in May 2018 (a seasonally adjusted rate of nearly 1.3 million) and approved another 1.3 million building permits—which means a ton of new inventory is about to flood the market, making it significantly easier for potential buyers to find and purchase homes.
If you've been thinking about purchasing a home, it looks like it's time to make a move and take advantage of what 70% of Americans believe to be a good time to purchase property.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 2:35 PMBy Homepage Realty / August 27, 2018Comment
Not long ago, there was a posted tutorial outline for removing the popcorn from a ceiling. After all, ceiling popcorn is about the most useless (not to mention ugliest) decoration ever. As effective as that tutorial is, some of you might not want to get messy scraping off the old and repainting the new. Or if your house was built in the 1950’s, scraping off popcorn means dealing with asbestos. Not fun.
Well, I have some great news! Imgur user, makesomething, chose a different way to handle the ceiling popcorn in a room in his 1950 home. Here’s the thing, they didn’t even bother removing the popcorn at all!
Their ceiling popcorn had been painted over three times beforehand, so they decided to handle things differently.
Removing all those layers would be too much of a hassle.
They bought some wooden planks from Lowes, spending about 9 dollars per six pack.
They also bought 2 inch brand nails, which they used to nail some planks to the joists in the ceiling.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, August 20, 2018 at 11:55 AMBy Homepage Realty / August 20, 2018Comment
True or false…
When you’re selling a house, you should bake cookies before a showing or an open house.
I guess you could say the answer is a hard and fast “true” because, after all, it can’t hurt. Who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked cookies? But it’s also kind of false… It isn’t like you can Betty Crocker your way to a sale, let alone at the highest price possible. Your entire house still needs to be appealing. A batch of cookies isn’t going to hide bad odors enough or divert people’s attention from a messy house that needs repairs.
If only it were that simple...
Picture (and smell) this — a buyer shows up to a house and the homeowner has:
Two dogs laying on the sofa (wet from being in the rain).
Five cats roaming around. They share one unclean litter box and use every piece of furniture as scratching posts.
A well-used ashtray in each room.
A teenage son who has a pile of gym clothes under his bed.
A freshly-baked batch of cookies on the table with a sign that says “Enjoy a warm cookie while enjoying our house!”
Think the buyer’s gonna want to grab a cookie, let alone buy the house? Nope. There’s more of a chance their son will figure out how to do his own laundry. You’d think that’s far-fetched, but we real estate agents and our buyers actually walk into houses not too far from this reality.
The one smell that does sell...
Cookies won’t cut it. Nor will a cookie-scented candle. (Or any other candle scent for that matter.)
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 11:38 AMBy Homepage Realty / August 13, 2018Comment
Whether you’ve lived in your home for a few months or a few decades, you probably think you know it best. But that doesn’t mean you’re the most qualified person for the job when the time comes to sell it.
Many folks are tempted to take the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route believing they’ll save a bundle by not paying an agent’s commission. They may imagine it’s a simple as sticking a sign in the ground and watching a qualified buyer magically appear. While that may happen occasionally, the vast majority of that time it doesn’t work like that. At all.
Below are some questions most FSBOs think they can answer with a resounding “YES!”… which is rarely the case. More often than not, they end up listing with an agent instead.
Coming up with the right asking price requires doing your due diligence. Researching what comparable homes in the area recently sold for is key. You may also want to hire an appraiser to be sure you’re not over-pricing or under-pricing your property, as both will end up costing you. Also, beware: Those who’ve gone the FSBO route note that very often buyers are hoping for a deep discount knowing sellers aren’t paying anyone a commission. So even if you’ve listed it for a fair price, be prepared to negotiate.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 2:47 PMBy Homepage Realty / August 7, 2018Comment
Let’s be clear on one thing: by nature, real estate agents are not fragile beings. We’ve heard it all. And for the most part, we have a great sense of humor about things. In other words, you can tell us virtually anything — in fact, you should if it’s pertinent to buying or selling your home.
It’s just that there’s a handful of things clients say that can rub us the wrong way. These things aren’t offensive, per se’, and you probably mean no harm when saying them. But we need to discuss these things. Thus, this list. Let’s file it under “edutainment” — important enough to warrant a dialogue, but light enough for you to realize it’s not the end of the world if you’ve said these things to an agent in the past.
Here they are.
1. “I want to buy a home, but I don’t want to commit to one agent.”
Loyalty is a two-way street. If you want an agent’s help, understand that he or she will spend a considerable amount of time, money, and effort shuttling you from house to house, scheduling home viewings, and previewing listings on your behalf. The tradeoff for this hard work is to sign a buyer’s agency agreement, allowing them to formally represent you as a client (versus merely a customer). There are major differences between the two. Learn more about agency relationships here.
2. “Don’t show my home unless I’m available.”
Look down. See a hole in your shoe? That’s because you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Real estate agents are busy. Therefore, if you want to maximize your home’s exposure, you’re gonna have to...
Posted by Homepage Realty on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 11:50 AMBy Homepage Realty / July 31, 2018Comment
Buying or selling a home can be a complicated and stressful experience. There can be a lot of moving parts involved that may come as a surprise to people who have never been through the process before. This is why having a great real estate agent is critical.
Picking the right agent isn’t always easy, but you’ll definitely know if you’ve picked the right one for you. Here are seven signs that you’ve made a great decision in picking your real estate agent:
1. You like being around them
You don’t have to be head over heels in love with your real estate agent, but you need to at least enjoy being around him or her. You will spend a lot of time communicating with your agent, so the relationship needs to be a good one to help make the experience as painless as possible. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a person who you don’t like being around, especially if the going gets rough. If you don’t cringe at the sound of your agent’s voice then you might have found the right one.
2. They’re responsive and available
This point is non-negotiable. A good real estate agent will make themselves available to you and won’t leave you hanging when you’re waiting for a response. If your agent is leaving you feeling like a spurned date, they’re doing something wrong. The right agent understands how important and serious a real estate transaction is, and will always make sure to make your needs a priority.
3. They’ve asked you to get pre-approved
If you’re a buyer and you haven’t spoken with a mortgage professional before going out and looking at houses, a good real estate agent will ask you to. It might be frustrating if you don’t understand the reasons why, but...
Very few people are lucky enough to know what they want to do from a young age and even fewer are fortunate enough to see their dream through. You might have wanted to become an astronaut when you were 4 years old, but the chances that you’re currently orbiting earth in the International State Station are fairly slim.
But what we think we want to do and what we’re destined to do aren’t always the same thing. Many real estate agents try various professions before they find their true calling. There’s an old saying, “A (wo)man does what he can, until his true calling is revealed.” Here are eight signs that you were destined to work as a real estate agent:
1. You’re very responsive to people and their needs
Is there anything better than a responsive real estate agent? Actually, is there anything worse than a non-responsive one? If you’re in tune with people’s needs, and respond quickly to help solve their problems, you’ll probably make a great agent. And if this is an intrinsic part of your character, then perhaps you were destined to become one.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, July 16, 2018 at 12:09 PMBy Homepage Realty / July 16, 2018Comment
Why do you care if your Realtor considers you a good client or not? Because the better client you are, the better results you will have. No, you and your Realtor do not have to be in love with each other, but effort on your part will bring you better results and a more positive transaction. Here are some best practices.
1. Be easy to educate
Most Realtors are teachers at heart, and the more you can learn, the better prepared you will be. Yes, your friends, family and various websites have lots of good information to give, but nobody has a better “boots-on-the-ground” perspective on your local neighborhood and various current trends than your Realtor. Ask all the questions you like and try to absorb as much info as possible. Yes, there is a lot to learn, but you will find that you become educated very quickly.
2. Be easy to communicate with
If your Realtor must text you five times before you respond, you will eventually miss some important info or even the house of your dreams. Ask your Realtor for communication expectations and let them know if you prefer calls, emails or texts. If there is a time that you do not wish to be contacted at all (say, when you put your kids to bed), make sure your Realtor knows that in advance. They will probably have a “no-contact” time, too. Of course, if your Realtor is constantly difficult to reach, you may want to consider switching to somebody else.
3. Be as available as possible
Of course, you are not expected to take off work to see a home, but see what accommodations can be made in your schedule. This is critical in viewing homes in a hot market. If you are selling a home, please be mindful that after-work and evening showings are highly likely. The more people that see your home, the better and higher price offers...
Posted by Homepage Realty on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 9:07 AMBy Homepage Realty / July 10, 2018Comment
One of the main reasons people aren’t buying homes is they think they can’t afford it—especially the down payment. But, as it turns out, there are plenty of buyers out there who actually can afford to purchase a home, but their misconceptions about affordability are holding them back from making a move.
According to a recent survey from lender Laurel Road, 53% of Americans are concerned about their ability to afford a home. But a lot of that concern is because they don’t know what their options are.
A solid 58% of Americans surveyed said they planned to put down a 20% payment on a home, but 35% (and 46% of millennials) didn’t think they could afford to save that kind of down payment. But with alternative lending options, you don’t need 20% in order to buy a home! According to the National Association of Realtors, the median down-payment for first-time buyers is at 6%—significantly less than the 20% the majority of Americans believe they need in order to purchase a home.
Your misconception about how much you need for a down payment could be holding you back from purchasing property. Explore the alternative loan options available to you and make your dream of owning a home a reality!
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, July 2, 2018 at 3:05 PMBy Homepage Realty / July 2, 2018Comment
If you consider buying a new construction home, there’s a good chance you’ll question whether or not you even need to use a real estate agent.
You might even wonder if there’s an advantage to not using a real estate agent…perhaps thinking you can get a lower price, or more upgrades thrown in, if the builder isn’t paying a real estate agent their commission.
Or, you just might not give it any thought whatsoever, and stumble into buying your new construction home, without having your own real estate agent to represent you.
So, do you need to use a real estate agent when buying new construction?
Should you? Yes.
Beyond Just Signing A Little Paperwork
One reason people question whether an agent is necessary, is because many tend to see it as an agent just signing some paperwork so they can get a commission.
There are certainly agents out there who don’t bring a heck of a lot to the table in terms of expertise and skills. There are ones who literally just want to make sure they are in the room when you do the paperwork, so they can secure their commission.
Unfortunately, they give great agents a bad rap.
Those are not the type of agents you should hire if you are buying new construction. Or any house for that matter.
The purchase of a new construction home really isn’t any different in many ways than purchasing a resale home. The knowledge and skills of a good real estate agent go beyond the “finding” of your home, or doing some paperwork.
The Builder Is Not Your Ally
Not that every builder is evil, and out there trying to take advantage of you. But a builder is certainly going to be looking out for their best interests…not...
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, June 25, 2018 at 9:16 AMBy Homepage Realty / June 25, 2018Comment
When you’re selling your home, one of the keys to successfully finding a buyer – and getting the best price for your home – is effectively staging. Staging refers to setting up your home in a way that maximizes its saleability to potential buyers and can involve everything from minor repairs to a complete overhaul on your home decor.
Staging is an incredibly important part of the selling process, and effective staging is a key to fetching top dollar for your home. If possible, you should consider hiring a professional stager. But, in case you want to DIY and stage your home on your own, here are 4 staging secrets to make sure you get the most out of the staging process:
1. A little paint goes a long way.
One of the quickest, easiest, and most cost effective ways to update your space and make it more appealing to potential buyers is with a coat of paint. Painting a room can completely change the feel and make the space feel more open and inviting.
If you haven’t painted your home in a while, you’ll definitely want to repaint before you start showing your home to potential buyers. You’ll also want to repaint if you have a number of colors on the walls of your home; the purpose of staging is to showcase your home in a way that allows potential buyers to picture themselves purchasing the home and living there. If they don’t agree with your color choices, it can create a roadblock to them being able to see themselves in the home.
When you paint, choose neutral colors, like an off-white or beige. These colors are universally appealing and will also make your rooms appear more open and spacious.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, June 18, 2018 at 10:01 AMBy Homepage Realty / June 18, 2018Comment
Thanks to the historic inventory shortage, it’s been tougher than ever for potential buyers to find a home. And if they do find a home that suits their needs, beating out the other buyers vying for the property has been tough as well.
Up until recently, the hyper-competitive market was starting to discourage potential homebuyers. In fact, in March 2018 the number of buyers requesting home tours dropped 1.4% nationally, and the number of buyers writing offers dropped nearly 2% (according to the Redfin Housing Demand Index).
However, according to the Demand Index, in April, newly listed homes for sale were up an impressive 6.6% year-over-year. It looks like the tides are (finally) starting to turn for potential homebuyers.
This increase in inventory should make it a bit easier out there for potential homebuyers. So if you've been thinking about purchasing a home, now is a great time to make a move.
Posted by Homepage Realty on Monday, June 11, 2018 at 9:03 AMBy Homepage Realty / June 11, 2018Comment
When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, there are obvious things you notice them doing to help your house sell. Things like: hosting open houses, bringing potential buyers on home tours, and marketing your property in multiple ways to make sure it gets enough exposure.
But when it comes to adding value to your home sale, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A huge percentage of your agent’s job takes place behind-the-scenes, and they’re working around the clock to get your house sold — even when you’re not looking.
Here are 4 behind-the-scenes way your real estate agent is working to get your house sold:
When it comes to pricing your home, your agent doesn’t just pull a random number out of a hat. Your agent’s recommendation is a result of extensive market research to ensure your home is priced in a way that’s attractive to both buyers and you, the seller.
Agents pull data on comparable properties in your area (from both the MLS and any public databases) for the past 12 to 18 months. They research how each home was priced and how the price correlated to the average time the property sat on the market before coming up with a CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine the market value of your property and suggest a listing price.
All the insights gathered from your agent’s behind-the-scenes research are crucial...