Home Sellers BEWARE!

Being a 30 Year Residential Real Estate Broker… I want to personally CAUTION you to the latest Trend, Instant Offer Companies or iBuyers:  OfferPad, Opendoor, Zillow Instant Offer and soon Amazon, etc.  Organized home flippers have been around a long time, but now the TECH GIANTS are in the game.  This trend is being sold as, “The Seller is in control, name your closing date and we’ll pay your moving cost.  Its hassle free, so convenient, you’ll never have to have showings, you get certainty and can purchase your replacement home now, etc.”… It’s going to COST YOU a big chunk of your investment! 

I recently tested my own residence and was appalled at the low offer received for my recently purchased home.  Their offer was far below “Fair Market” value.  I calculated about $75,000-$100,000 loss for this so-called convenience.  Of course you’ll still have to deduct the customary REALTOR commissions, the Buyer’s service fees, plus whatever Inspection items they deem are unacceptable to close, which you will be told to pay for these (yet to be determined) repairs from your final settlement check.

In fact this, Instant offer-qualified buyer scenario, borders on some “questionable agency” ethics.  The Buyer is never representing YOU the Seller (and was this disclosed upfront?)  This trend would not be growing exponentially… if it was not extremely profitable to them!  You might be thinking, “she’s a REALTOR afraid of new competition?”  No I’m afraid good people will lose too much of their largest life investment.

In summary, I would encourage the public to use experienced REALTORS® who offer true fiduciary to you, the Seller who is needing advice, protection and has your best interest and settlement in mind.  Reminds me of the old saying…”If it’s too good to be true… then it probably is!”  

Algorithms don’t sell properties people do!  Cheers Cathi Pospisil

Kitchens Dethroned as Top Remodeling Project

Kitchens Dethroned as Top Remodeling Project

Bathrooms have overtaken kitchens as the most popular remodeling project, according to a newly released survey by the National Association of Home Builders.

Home Improvement Projects by the Numbers: NAR’s Remodeling Impact Report

“Small-scale renovations are slowly becoming just as popular as large-scale projects, as seen with bathroom remodeling becoming more common than kitchens,” says 2018 NAHB Remodelers Chair Joanne Theunissen. “Home owners are finding cost-effective and [faster] upgrades can also add comfort and value to their homes.”

Bathroom Makeovers

Stage the Bathroom: 7 Simple Ideas

5 Ways to Convert Your Bathroom Into a Spa-Like Oasis

Remodelers surveyed reported the most common projects in 2017:

  • 81 percent bathroom remodeling
  • 78 percent kitchen remodeling
  • 49 percent whole house remodeling
  • 37 percent room additions
  • 30 percent window/door replacements

Adding in green home features is a growth area in remodeling. The most common green building product installed by residential remodelers: low-E windows, according to a separate survey by the NAHB. Programmable thermostats and high-efficiency HVAC systems also ranked among the most common green building products.

Source: National Association of Home Builders

3 Reasons why a house isn’t Selling

3 Reasons Why a House Isn’t Selling
Have you ever driven by a For Sale sign and wondered, “That house has been on the market for a long time, I wonder why it isn’t selling”? You might have asked that question because you were worried the same thing would happen when you put your own house on the market!
Often a home doesn’t sell for one of three reasons:

1. The price is too high.
Sometimes a homeowner will set the listing price exceptionally high in the hopes of getting lucky. What happens instead, however, is potential buyers stay away. In today’s real estate market, a house usually sells at a price that is close to its market value. Fortunately, the current market value of your house – and, hence, its approximate selling price – may be higher than you realize. It’s worth getting a free market assessment.

2. The house doesn’t show well.
Sometimes a house is strategically priced for the market but doesn’t show well. It’s difficult for buyers to look past issues, such as clutter, and see the potential. In those cases, prospective buyers who view the property, don’t like what they see, and move on. If you put your house on the market, make sure it looks its best for prospective buyers.

3. The listing is poorly promoted.
Clearly, buyers won’t become interested in a property if they don’t know about it. The listing must be promoted effectively, and that involves more than a For Sale sign.

Want more tips on selling your house? Call me today.

Judgments Buyers Make in the First 30 Seconds
You’ve probably heard the expression, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to selling your home, that is definitely true. In fact, a buyer will come to several conclusions about your property within the first few minutes of seeing it. That’s why it’s so important to make a good first impression.
How do you do that?

One of the best techniques is to pretend you’re a buyer. Drive up to your home. Open the door. Step into the foyer. Take a quick look around. Then ask yourself, “What impressions am I getting from this property so far? What stands out? What impresses me? What concerns me?”

Of course, you want to get a sense that the home is attractive, spacious, and clean. You want to emphasize the enticing features, while minimizing the less desirable qualities. There are many great tricks that can help.

For example, if your foyer is small, eliminate furniture and other items in that area in order to make it look a bit more spacious.

If you have a fantastic kitchen, show it off to the buyer. Make sure the appliances sparkle. Set the table with your best dishware. Make it look like a showcase in a kitchen store. You want the buyer to see it and say, “Wow.”

Buyers make judgments about your home very quickly. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to make a comment about your property, like – “I love the high ceilings” – within the first few seconds of coming in the door. Don’t underestimate the importance of that first impression.

Of course, serious buyers will scrutinize your property more closely, especially if they have an initial interest. What you want to do is to make sure to peak that initial interest.

Want the latest tips in showing your home effectively, so it sells quickly? Call today.

Will Your Furniture Fit?
When you’re viewing a property that’s on the market, you’ll probably try to imagine how your furniture will fit and look in that space. Where will your desk go in the home office? How will you position the sofa and chairs in the living room?
First, it’s often larger furniture that creates the most concern. Make sure you have those measurements on hand when viewing a property. That way, you can use a measuring tape to get a clear idea of how that particular piece of furniture will fit in the room.

Second, there are many online tools you can use to plan and position furniture for a particular size and shape of room. By using a site such as http://www.roomsketcher.com, you can position your furniture – and see how it fits, in just a few minutes.

Finally, when viewing a home, confirm that larger pieces of furniture can be moved into the rooms. A large, wrap-around sofa may not easily make it up or down narrow, winding steps. Knowing that in advance gives you the opportunity to plan accordingly.

Tips for selling your home quickly!

5 Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly
There are several reasons why you may need to sell your home quickly. For example, a job change may require a speedy relocation to another city, or you may have purchased another property and don’t want to be stuck too long with two mortgages.
Here are some tips that can help get the sold sign on your front lawn sooner:

  • Be realistic with price. If you set the listing price higher than the current market value of your home, then you’re not going to get many, if any, viewers. You want the list price to be attractive, which means listing at the current market value.
  • Get things fixed. You probably don’t have time for a major renovation. So just make sure everything in your home is in good working order. Deal with any obvious maintenance issues, such as a leaking faucet or a gate hanging precariously on one hinge.
  • Ensure your home shows well, inside and outside. Eliminate clutter. Trim hedges. Make sure every room has adequate lighting. Imagine that a special guest is visiting your home, and clean up and prepare accordingly.
  • Be flexible with viewing times. You want as many potential buyers as possible to see your home. So, don’t restrict viewing times to just Saturdays. Make sure your home is as “available” as possible for showings. This may cause you and your family some inconvenience, but the reward will be selling your property sooner.
  • Work with a real estate agent like me who understands the area and the local market well. I will be able to recommend a variety of strategies that will help sell your home faster, and for a good price.

Of course, there’s no way to guarantee that you’ll sell your home within the time frame you want. But these tips will certainly increase the chances that you will.

4 Home Improvements With High Returns

4 Home Improvements With High Returns

Remodeling your home can be a great way to increase its value and ensure you get good returns when it comes time to sell. But before you go tearing out your floors or adding another bedroom, take note: Not all projects are created equal. In fact, according to recent data from Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, there’s a pretty big discrepancy between which projects deliver high returns and those that don’t.
Want to make sure your remodels are worth the effort? Here are some top options:
  • Get a new garage door. It seems simple, but replacing your garage door is the most value-adding project you can take on. On average, it delivers returns of more than 98 percent upon resale.
  • Focus on curb appeal. Upgrades to exterior areas saw serious growth over the last year. Wood deck additions increased over 18 percent in value, while stone veneer installation value was up almost 14 percent.
  • Replace your entry door. Don’t bother sprucing up old doors. Replacing them with steel models can deliver a whopping 91 percent ROI. And at an average cost of $1,471, they’re one of the most affordable updates for your home.
  • Upgrade your kitchen. Minor kitchen remodels continue to be a top value-adding project. This year, the average small remodel adds about $17,193 to your home’s value and recoups more than 81 percent of your costs.
You might want to rule out projects like backyard patios, master suite additions and major kitchen remodels — they’re notorious for low returns. If you’re looking to boost your home’s value and increase its marketability, focus your efforts on projects that improve aesthetics and add ease and convenience instead.

Curb Appeal: 4 Fixes for a Lush Lawn

Curb Appeal: 4 Fixes for a Lush Lawn

The colder months are notoriously hard on foliage — and subsequently, curb appeal. Fortunately, spring is just around the corner, and that means now is the perfect time to prep your lawn for its revival.

Try these easy fixes, and you’ll have lush landscaping in no time.

  1. Reseed and fertilize. Have bare or thinning spots of grass? Take the time to reseed now, and use fertilizer to encourage new growth. Be sure to scrape any bare patches with a rake before seeding, and keep the area moist until it begins to sprout.
  2. Look for problematic slopes or shaded areas. Sometimes large, shady trees or steep inclines can hinder lawn growth. Step back and analyze your yard for these potential problem areas. Consider planting fescues in shady zones, and look into hydroseeding in sloped regions.
  3. Use sod to patch extensive dead areas. If the cold weather has killed large swaths of the lawn, resodding may be your best bet. You can install sod anytime of year; just make sure to water it often until it sets.
  4. Consider xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is the easiest way to weatherproof your lawn no matter where you live. It’s also super-low maintenance and low cost, and it can be a big selling point if your home’s in a hot or arid climate.

Whether you’re planning to sell your property or you just want a great-looking home, your lawn — and its health — is going to play a big role. Take care of it, address any problems now and by spring, you’ll have an outdoor oasis you’ll be proud to call your own.

Tiny Homes: What Are the Pros & Cons?

Tiny Homes: What Are the Pros & Cons?

Tiny Homes: What Are the Pros & Cons?

The tiny house trend is a big movement. Everyone from millennials to retirees is opting to live small, but that doesn’t mean the lifestyle is right for you. Consider these pros and cons before you downsize.

What constitutes a tiny house?

Generally, tiny homes measure between 100 and 500 square feet. Many are portable, but some city ordinances and housing divisions require homes to be set on a foundation.

What are the pros?

People are drawn to tiny houses for a number of reasons. Owners of tiny homes often cite price as the deciding factor. Tiny homes range from $10,000 to $60,000, depending on the manufacturer. Even a top-of-the-line custom unit typically costs less than $100,000.

Other perks include the freedom of mobility and the ability to live more sustainably. There’s also the added flexibility to use the structure as a rental unit, add-on expansion or mother-in-law suite.

What are the cons?

Of course, not everyone is willing to contend with the realities of owning a tiny home. For instance, despite their low sales price, there are hidden costs that can sneak up on potential buyers. From construction crew markups and shipping fees to property taxes and plot purchases, the final figure can add up quickly.

What’s more, unless you have enough liquid funds to make a cash purchase, financing for tiny homes can be difficult, and there are also obvious drawbacks such as space restrictions that complicate hosting guests and storing nonessentials.

No doubt our collective desire for simplification and financial freedom has birthed the tiny home movement. However, before you commit to one, it’s important to educate yourself about the complicated regulations and overlooked nuances of owning a tiny home.

Is it time to sell your home?

5 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home

Have you outgrown your home? Or has your home outgrown you and your household? Fewer and fewer families expect to stay in their first or second home for the long haul. Here are some factors to determine if you’re financially and emotionally ready to sell your house:

  1. Growing or shrinking household — Are you about to welcome a new baby or take in aging parents? Maybe you’re sending your youngest off to college. In any event, if your living space has become too cramped or grown beyond your needs, it may be time to make a move.
  2. Plenty of home equity — Subtract the value of your home from the amount you have left on your loan. What’s left over is the equity — or the amount you’ll have post-sale. After you sell your home, you’ll be a buyer again, so having some funds to put down is key.
  3. Interest from potential buyers — You’ll want to list when you know buyers are looking. Some experts say late spring is the ideal time to sell, but peak seasons vary by region. Milder weather can increase buyer interest, but that also means more competition from other sellers.
  4. Changing circumstances — Location matters. Whether your neighborhood dynamics are changing, you’re unhappy with the schools in your area or a new job significantly increases your commute, your community needs to fit your lifestyle.
  5. Home improvements — Renovations may be a wise investment, but it’s best to avoid listing your home in the middle of a project. If you plan to sell your home as is, completing some minor home updates such as new paint and fixtures can be a huge selling point.

Moving is a big decision, one that requires careful consideration. If your needs have changed since you bought your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

“Internet of Things” or IoT

You have probably heard the phrase “Internet of Things” or IoT. It’s currently transforming the way we live. Our lives are no longer connected to the internet through just computers and smartphones – we’re now able to connect to any device in our home, from refrigerators and security systems to thermostats and baby monitors. The list of IoT devices gets longer by the day and will only continue to grow.
What exactly is IoT? According to Business Insider, the IoT is “a network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors”. To put it simply, any device that connects to the internet (but isn’t a computer, tablet, or smartphone) is considered an IoT device. IoT devices will lock your front door, activate your sprinklers, vacuum your living room, purify your air, manage your washing machine cycles, start dinner for you, and remind you what you need to pick up from the grocery store.
IoT and the Connected Home Home automation is becoming the norm. Forbes projects that 71% of consumers are expected to own at least one smart home device by 2025.
The Future of the Connected Home Transforming your entire home into a smart home can leave a small dent in your wallet. But smart home devices such as thermostats and air conditioners actually save you money on your electric bills, meaning bigger savings in the long run. The smart home is here to stay. By 2020, there will be over 24 billion IoT devices on earth – that’s four devices for every person (Business Insider). By 2021, according to Statista, smart home revenue will reach $32.2 billion. As consumers continue to buy smart home devices, non-smart options will become less and less available over time. This futuristic convenience is now, as households and smart devices throughout the world work together to offer us seamless connectivity.

Trending in Kitchen Remodels NOW

These are the most popular kitchen remodel ideas in America right now

Find out how your neighbors are remodeling their kitchens

Credit: Sinkology
Keith Barry

Keith Barry
February 21, 2017

So it’s time to remodel your kitchen. Sure, you can pin $5,000 light fixtures and custom Italian backsplashes to your “Dream Kitchen!!” board. But if you want to get real, you should take a look at how most Americans are remodeling their own kitchens.

Home Depot is the country’s largest home improvement retailer, so we looked at their top sellers to find out what kitchen trends are growing, and what people are actually buying.

Whether you’re here to get inspiration or just make fun of how other people decorate, it’s time to spy on your neighbor’s new kitchen.

Copper is in—and so are farmhouse sinks

Adams Farmhouse Apron Front Sink in Copper

Credit: Sinkology

Buy the Sinkology Adams Farmhouse Sink in Antique Copper for $499 at Home Depot

Whether it’s farm-to-table food, farm-fresh eggs, or a farmhouse sink, it seems like everyone loves the look of a farm without all the actual hard work of farming. Of course this sink from Sinkology puts a popular hammered copper spin on the style. We’re not at all surprised how well it sells.

Just like on HGTV, people want ceramic tiles with a natural wood look

MS International Wood Grain Tile Kitchen Flooring

Credit: MS International

Buy MS International Metro Gris tile at Home Depot for $1.99 a sq. ft.

It seems like every remodel you see on TV has these grainy, wood-look ceramic tiles. The trend isn’t going away, though—these 12-in. by 24-in. tiles from MS International are Home Depot top sellers, and they won’t break the bank.

Antique light fixtures add a warm touch

Globe Antique Pendant Light Fixture Oiled Bronze

Credit: Globe Electric

Buy the Globe Electric 3-Light Oil Rubbed Bronze and Glass Vintage Pendant for $77.85 at Home Depot

The top-selling pendant lamp for a kitchen is this oil-rubbed bronze and glass design from Globe Lighting. Put in some filament-style bulbs and you’ll add some vintage warmth to your kitchen, no matter the style.

Gas ranges are so hot right now

Samsung Gas Range

Credit: Samsung

Buy the Samsung gas range with convection for $1597.50 at Home Depot

When you cook with gas, you can see how the flame is responding. Home Depot customers like how this Samsung’s front-mounted controls give it a sleek look so you can put a tile backsplash behind it. We gave it high ratings, too!

Light, modern cabinetry is starting to take off—just like in Europe

Home Decorators Collection Genoa Cabinetry

Credit: Home Depot

Buy Genoa cabinetry from Home Decorators Collection at Home Depot

These Genoa cabinets from Home Decorators Collection have a flat, light grain wood exterior with recessed handles. They’re the #1 choice for people who don’t mind assembling cabinets themselves, and they wouldn’t be out of place in a kitchen in France or Italy, either.

Thermador professional manufacturer 4Related

8 design trends you need to know about before you remodel your kitchen

Pull-out faucets look good—and they’re super convenient

Kohler Pull-Down Sink

Credit: Kohler

Buy the Sous Pro-Style Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet for $249 at Home Depot

This model from Kohler not only adds the look of a professional kitchen faucet—it also adds the utility. Just pull the faucet wherever you want to spray it for easy cleanup, and let it spring back into place when you’re done.

Everyone wants a French door fridge

Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator

Credit: Whirlpool

Buy this Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator in Stainless Steel for $997.20 at Home Depot

French door fridges put fresh food at eye level, which is a great way to encourage healthy eating. This model from Whirlpool did well in our tests and sometimes goes on sale for under $1,000!

Stainless appliances are still all the rage

Whirlpool Stainless Kitchen

Credit: Whirlpool

Buy the Whirlpool WDT720PADM dishwasher in stainless for $397.80 at Home Depot

Sure, sales of other finishes are growing—but America has spoken, and they must love cleaning fingerprints. That’s because stainless steel is still the most popular finish by far in every category from Home Depot—including this affordable dishwasher.