Tips for Home Sellers

When it’s time to sell your house, townhouse or condo here are a few simple tips for realtors and home sellers alike.

Turn on your heart light.

Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights – both inside and outside. Whether you are showing your home in the evening or in the day, lights add color and warmth. Prospective owners feel welcome in spaces that are bright and airy.home buyers dreaming of a home

Don’t crowd your buyers.

Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter your home. Rather than giving  your house the attention it deserves, prospects are likely to hurry through. When the  homeowners are present people often feel uncomfortable looking in closets and laundry rooms an other private areas. Additionally, rooms filled with people give the impression that the space is small.

I love pets … but not your pet.

Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you’re showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. Some prospects are allergic to some animals. Sadly, many people love their pets, but they don’t like your pet. It’s in your best interest to keep the animals outside or out of the way of potential buyers.

Don’t create distractions

Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. Most of us love music, but not all of us love your music. When it’s time to show your home, it’s time to turn down the music. Turn off your TV because the last thing you want is for one of your buyers to watch the game while his wife falls in love with your house.

Give a wide berth.

A smiling seller is a welcome site, but a pesky seller will chase a home buyer away. It’s important to be friendly but avoid being conversational. Anything you say could be construed to imply a warranty or could cost you thousands in negotiations.

Put things in perspective.

Some buyers will point out shortcomings or flaws in the property. It’s best not to respond orally to these challenges. Utterances like these are seldom personal in this context. So, never take offense. Understand that these statements might be an indication of the buyer’s ignorance, but sometimes the buyer attempting to frame negotiations with these statements. To engage the comment is to agree with the premise of the utterance.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

 

Survey Suggests Smoking in Home Chips Away at its Value

A survey of Canadian home owners finds that smoking in the home can reduce the home’s value at resale by up to 29 percent. The potential loss on a home could be up to $107,000 on the average home price of $369,000 in Ontario, according to the study sponsored by Pfizer Canada, a pharmaceutical company. cigarette

Fifty-six percent of the real estate agents and brokers included in the survey said most buyers are turned off by a home where the home owners have smoked. Twenty-seven percent say that buyers are unwilling to even consider a home in which the home owners smoked.

“Many prospective buyers are really put off by homes that have been smoked in and they can be very challenging to sell,” says David Visentin, a real estate professional and co-host of the W Network’s “Love it or List it” program.

Source: “Smoking can reduce your home’s value by 30%, survey finds,” CTV News (April 16, 2013)

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Home Owners Showing More Willingness to Sell?

The number of listings on the market increased 2.36 percent in March from the previous month — possibly an indication that sellers are becoming more willing to put their homes on the market as asking prices increase, according to housing data from realtor.com.

While the data shows a month-to-month inventory increase, inventories are still down 15.22 percent compared to last year.

The median age of the inventory continues to drop year-over-year by 12.35 percent, the amount of time homes are sitting on the market has fallen by 20 days since February, according to realtor.com. The median age of inventory of for-sale listings was 78 days in March.

“The next three months will be significant in determining the impact of the recovering housing market,” says Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move Inc.

Median list prices have increased year-over-year in a greater number of the 146 markets realtor.com tracks. California continues to show the greatest increases, as well as the largest drops in inventories as well. Denver, Detroit, and Seattle are also showing some of the biggest improvements in its housing markets too, according to realtor.com.

Source: “Sellers Becoming Confident in the Housing Market, Providing an Optimistic Outlook for the Housing Recovery,” RISMedia (April 10, 2013)

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4 Easy Tips for Staging a Home to Sell

Here’s some of our simplest and easiest staging tips:

  1. Store toasters in the cabinet because it is almost impossible to keep them looking clean.
  2. Take all the magnets off the refrigerator.
  3. Stow knick-knacks, personal items and photographs
  4. In a pricey home, get rid of any furniture that looks cheap. It interferes with the buyer’s ability to imagine themselves living there.

Nesbitt Realty Sells Real Estate Quickly

Julie sold another!
Julie can sell your home quickly and for the best price possible.

Selling a property quickly and at the best price can seem daunting in Northern Virginia. In order to ensure a fast sale, Nesbitt Realty prices our homes competitively. If you overprice, you run the risk of losing out on potential buyers. Your Realtor can help you to make sure that your home is clean, inviting, and in great shape. Our agent can point out where you should spend money and where you can save your money. Of course, a seller wants the home to show in the best possible light, so we recommend deep-cleaning, decluttering, and we’ll suggest that you make any necessary repairs. It’s best to stage the home with attractive furnishings and décor that complement the space.

[Learn more about selling]

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

Buyer Demand Soars, But Where Are the Houses?

Buyer demand is rapidly rising, but the housing market is realizing they may not have the inventory to meet it.  new construction

“The housing turnaround seems to have caught almost everyone in the business by surprise,” The New York Times reports. “As desirable as the long-awaited improvement may be, the unusually low level of homes for sale is creating widespread problems for buyers and sellers alike, leading to bidding wars and bubble-like price jumps in places that not long ago were suffering from major declines.”

After years of not building, homebuilders are scrambling to ramp up production to meet demand, but they’re facing delays from the availability of lots, scarcity of qualified labor, and obtaining permits.

Meanwhile, investors have snagged foreclosures and short sales, limiting the availability of those on the market as well.

In addition, more home owners — once underwater — are seeing the return of equity again for the first time in years, but still may be reluctant to sell as they wait for home prices to rise even more. Or, they might be wary of being displaced themselves if they sell due to the sudden buying frenzy, The New York Times notes.

“You see a home go for sale and within a couple days there are three, four, six offers,” says home buyer Carrie Miskawi, who has been looking for a new home for the last six months.

Sacramento real estate agent Tom Phillips says he’s even resorted to knocking on doors of homes to see if the owners might consider selling to one of his clients.

The number of homes for sale is at its lowest level since 1999, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. But with mortgage rates still low and home prices off their peak, buyers are viewing it as an opportunity to jump in.

Source: “Sudden Rise in Home Demand Takes Builders by Surprise,” The New York Times (March 20, 2013)

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Existing-Home Sales and Prices Continue to Rise

February existing-home sales and prices affirm a healthy recovery is underway in the housing sector, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Sales have been above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months, while prices show 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in January, and are 10.2 percent above the 4.52 million-unit level seen in February 2012. February sales were at the highest level since the tax credit period of November 2009.

Economic Recovery

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said conditions for continued housing improvement are at play. “Job growth in the improving economy and pent-up demand are causing both home sales and rental leasing to rise. Though home prices are rising much faster than rents, historically low mortgage rates are still making home purchases affordable,” he said. “The only headwinds are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive.”

Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 9.6 percent to 1.94 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 months in January, which was the lowest supply since May 2005.Listed inventory is 19.2 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.4-month supply.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $173,600 in February, up 11.6 percent from February 2012. The last time there were 12consecutive months of year-over-year price increases was from June 2005 to May 2006. The February gain is the strongest since November 2005 when it was 12.9 percent above a year earlier.

“A strong rise in home values is contributing to housing wealth recovery, which has risen by $1.4 trillion in the past year and looks to top that increase this year,” Yun said. “The extra consumer spending arising from growth in housing wealth is expected to be $70 billion to $110 billion this year.”

Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales — accounted for 25 percent of February sales, up from 23 percent in January but down from 34 percent in February 2012. Fifteen percent of February sales were foreclosures, and 10 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in February, while short sales were discounted 15 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.53 percent in February from 3.41 percent in January; it was 3.89 percent in February 2012.

NAR President Gary Thomas said interest rates remain extraordinarily low. “In the history of mortgage interest rates since 1971, the 30-year fixed rate has been below 4 percent in only 15 months, and those have all been in the past 15 months,” he said. “Even with rising home prices, affordability remains historically favorable because home prices over-corrected during the downturn. This means there is still great value for buyers in the current market.”

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    Pending home sales increased again in March, affirming that a surge of home sales is unfolding for the spring home buying season, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March, rose 5.3 percent to 102.9 from 97.7 in February, and is 21.1…

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What’s the Best Day of Week and Month to List?

Friday is the best day of the week to sell a home. Homes listed on Friday sell for 99.1 percent of their original asking price, a higher percentage than homes listed on any other day of the week, according to a study by real estate broker Redfin, which analyzed more than 500,000 home listings and sales records.

The best month to sell? April, according to the analysis. Homes sold in April tended to sell closer to their asking price. In April, homes were found to sell for a 99.2 percent sale price-to-list ratio, compared to a 97.3 percent ratio of homes listed in December.

Springtime is still a good time to sell for a higher price and also in the fastest time too, according to the study. Homes tended to sell within 90 days of being listed during March through June, according to the study.

Redfin also found that pricing the home competitively from its debut is critical because that’s when it’ll receive the most traffic. During the first week a listing debuts on the market, it receives nearly four times more visits on real estate Web sites than it will a month later.

Number of sold homes in Alexandria

Source: Redfin

10 Projects to Improve the Value of Your Home That Don’t Break Your Budget

This is the 15th year that Remodeling magazine has released the Cost vs. Value Report. The purpose of this report is to compare the cost of an improvement versus the value the improvement will likely add to the sale of your home. If you’re thinking of selling this year, take a look at this list and see what might best benefit your home and family. This year’s survey included more than 3,900 appraisers, sales agents, and brokers across the country who provided their opinions and estimates.

Top 10 Midrange Projects

1. Entry Door Replacement (steel)
Job Cost: $1,137
Resale Value: $974

brick house
Comfortable brick home with enclosed porch and dormers

Cost Recouped: 85.6 percent

2. Deck Addition (wood)
Job Cost: $9,327
Resale Value: $7,213
Cost Recouped: 77.3 percent

3. Garage Door Replacement
Job Cost: $1,496
Resale Value: $1,132
Cost Recouped: 75.7 percent

4. Minor Kitchen Remodel
Job Cost: $18,527
Resale Value: $13,977
Cost Recouped: 75.4 percent

5. Window Replacement (wood)
Job Cost: $10,708
Resale Value: $7,852
Cost Recouped: 73.3 percent

(tie) 6. Attic Bedroom Addition
Job Cost: $47,919
Resale Value: $34,916
Cost Recouped: 72.9 percent

(tie) 6. Siding Replacement (vinyl)
Job Cost: $11,192
Resale Value: $8,154
Cost Recouped: 72.9 percent

7. Window Replacement (vinyl)
Job Cost: $9,770
Resale Value: $6,961
Cost Recouped: 71.2 percent

8. Basement Remodel
Job Cost: $61,303
Resale Value: $43,095
Cost Recouped: 70.3 percent

9. Major Kitchen Remodel
Job Cost: $53,931

kitchen
Here’s a kitchen where we managed a very cheap kitchen refurbish.

Resale Value: $37,139
Cost Recouped: 68.9 percent

10. Deck Addition (composite)
Job Cost: $15,084
Resale Value: $10,184
Cost Recouped: 67.5 percent

Survey: Sellers Fare Better With Agents

Sellers have a better chance at getting their house sold by using a REALTOR® than opting for the do-it-yourself approach, according to a survey of 1,000 home owners by HomeGain.com, an online real estate resource. Nearly 60 percent of home owners who used a REALTOR® to sell their home were successful compared to 39 percent of FSBOs, the survey found.

In the survey, 83 percent of home owners said they used a REALTOR® to sell their home, whereas 17 percent said they tried to sell it themselves. This corresponds to results from NAR’s 2010 Profile of Buyers & Sellers, which found 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent. (Additionally, 83 percent of buyers bought their home through an agent.)

“It is especially striking that home owners fare significantly better in selling their homes using a REALTOR® than selling on their own,” says Louis Cammarosano, general manager at HomeGain. “Due to that relative success, the level of satisfaction in the home selling process is also higher for home sellers utilizing the services of a REALTOR® than those who try to sell their homes on their own.”

Among the findings in its For Sale by Owner vs. REALTOR® survey:

  • 88 percent of home owners who sold their homes using a REALTOR® said they would use a REALTOR® again.
  • 24 percent of FSBOs eventually contacted a REALTOR® to help sell their home.

Source: “HomeGain Survey Finds Home Sellers Fare 50% Better in Getting Their Homes Sold Using a REALTOR® Than Selling on Their Own,” HomeGain.com (Feb. 24, 2011)