Making Your Home Appeal to Young Buyers

your-home-and-young-buyersOne of the most exciting times in life occurs when it is time to leave your first house and invest in more space for your family. If you are upgrading to a bigger, better house and are looking for the best ways to market your current home to young families, I have some tips for you based on my experience in the mortgage lending industry:

Consider Making a Few Technical Upgrades

6808_9020760441The younger generation is used to utilizing high-tech devices every day. In order to appeal to young buyers, you may want to consider making a few simple technical upgrades like a keyless entry system or a home energy monitor to track energy use for the environmentally conscious.

Stick to a Light, Modern Style

decorpad1-450x374Lots of natural light and modern simplicity is what’s going to appeal most to young home buyers. Neutral wall colors like a warm gray allow potential buyers to envision bringing in their own furniture without worrying about clashing with the walls. Also be sure to keep it light, use the brightest bulbs you can in fixtures and remove heavy window treatments to allow as much light in as possible.

Make Sure It’s Move-In Ready or Offer Ideas for Expansion or Renovations

If the buyer you are attracting has a young family, they likely will not have time to purchase a “fixer-upper” and will want a house that is move-in ready. Try to make sure that there’s no unfinished projects or red flags in your home for this type of buyer.

home-showing-tips-real-estate-summer-homebuying-seasonFor a young buyer who has time to work on the house, try to come up with ideas for expansion or renovation. Your realtor can probably get a ballpark estimate of the cost of these projects to help the home appeal to a wider audience of young buyers. According to this article from Business Insider, “Younger buyers don’t always realize that everything they see can be changed with a renovation. If they like the home based on the location, the schools, and the general style, they can be persuaded to buy if they can see the possibilities that come with a renovation.”

Contact me today for your mortgage needs!

When you find the perfect young buyer for your home, be sure to contact me about prequalifying for a new mortgage or any home-financing needs for your new, upgraded home!

Weekend Projects to Increase Your Home’s Value

Recently, MSN Real Estate posted an article about small tasks you can complete for $300 or less to improve your home’s value. Here are a few projects from the article that would be easy to tackle this weekend!

1. Make over your cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are often one of potential home buyers’ biggest objections. Instead of refacing or replacing your cabinets to make them look more presentable, give them a clean, updated look with some new paint. Go for a light, neutral color for most kitchens. If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen that has tons of natural light, you could opt for a darker color like a chocolate brown or black. New hardware is the next step: this is an accent that home buyers definitely notice. Find modern and simple pulls and avoid glaringly shiny finishes, glass or decorations. A simple brushed nickel is a modern and neutral choice.

2. Create an impression of extra rooms

outdoor seating

Take advantage of the extra spaces in your home to showcase potential living spaces. Get rid of clutter in the basement and garage and add some appropriate lighting and shelving to create a space where one could work on crafts, hobbies or household projects. Take this same idea to the outdoors and create a backyard seating area or gardening workshop.

3. Get those floors cleaned

clean floors

Since it’s best to let the buyer make decisions about replacing floors, you can at least make sure the existing floors are spic and span. Rent a steam cleaner for carpets and buff/polish hardwood.

4. Tidy up the front yard

No matter the time of year, a few quick updates will entice buyers from the street view of your home. Clean or replace the mailbox, put up new street numbers, clean the storm door and windows and touch up chipped paint.

5. Patch and paint

Patch and Paint

A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in your home. This is not the time too experiment, so don’t try out accent colors or walls. Use a satin wash of one or two neutral colors that will flow from room to room.

A good realtor will have additional ideas to entice prospective home buyers…If you’re looking to sell your home, contact me for a referral!

Staging a Home to Sell Quickly

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, effective staging can provide a huge boost in interest from buyers. Potential buyers who visit your home want to see the house in its best possible state, so they can properly envision themselves living in it and discover its true potential. While there are indeed some benefits to hiring a professional staging company to get your home ready to sell, there are also some easy steps you can take yourself to give your home the best selling advantage—the biggest of which is increasing curb appeal. If you’re interesting in staging a home to sell quickly, here area few other tips!

stagingPack up Personal Items.

This is the easiest thing you can do when staging your home. The goal is to have potential buyers view the home as one that could be their own, and it’s sometimes difficult to do this if all they see is personal photos of someone else’s family and friends. Homes on the market should look like model homes and nothing should distract potential buyers from envisioning the home as their own.

clutterEliminate Clutter.

This is another way to eliminate distraction and keep the focus on the house itself, not other objects within it. Clutter can collect everywhere, and you may notice because you’re used to it. Many experts recommend removing all items from counters in kitchens and bathrooms, and taking all but a few things off shelves.

Neutralize Color.

Experts suggest painting walls that have bold color and instead using more toned-down, neutral colors (this could even include soft blues or greens). Bolder paint colors tend to reduce interest and offers. Grab a paintbrush and apply a fresh, neutral paint on the walls, trim, and doors. You’ll definitely see a significant return on your investment.

lightingImprove Lighting.

When staging a home, lighting is key. Most homes aren’t properly lit, but there’s an easy fix to the problem: just increase the wattage in your lamps and light fixtures. If you can get about 100 watts per 50 square feet, the look of a room can instantly improve. Also, aim for three types of lighting in each room: ambient (overhead), task (reading lamp or under-cabinet lights), and accent (table lamp or wall fixture).

For more advice on staging your home, contact me today for a list of reliable realtors. If your home is ready to sell and you’re ready to move into a new home, be sure to also contact me for all your lending needs! I look forward to hearing from you.

It’s time to sell your home…

biddingwarIf you’re thinking even a little about selling your home… I think there has almost never been a better time than now. All of the realtors I’ve talked with are hoping for more inventory on the market in 2014. Many agents have people who would like to buy a home, but few homes to take them to see. If November of this year is any indication- it’s still a seller’s market.

Here’s how the numbers from last month break down:
– 72 homes sold between 11-11 and 11-26. This means there are 3.9 months of inventory on the market.
– During those 15 days, homes averaged a list price of $256k while they averaged a sales price at $297k. This tells me many home sellers saw multiple offers and that bidding “wars” were common.

The last 102 homes with a contract pending (not yet closed) averaged only 61 days on the market.

If you think this might be the year you sell your home, call me today to get introduced to a realtor you can trust. You could be sitting in a home that would sell quickly for over what you think it might bring.

Are you in need of fast answers and reliable service related to a mortgage? Call us today: 913.396.4448

14 Reasons to List your Home During the Holidays

holiday-decor#1 There is less competition for buyers.
#2 Winter prospects are more serious and motivated buyers.
#3 Homes shows better when tastefully decorated for the holidays.
#4 If the landscaping is the one drawback to your curb appeal, winter is a great time to sell.
#5 One of the highest ratios of “Listings Sold” to “Listings Taken” occur during this time of year.
#6 You may receive more money for your home because there is less competition.
#7 Throughout the holiday season you may restrict showings during personal family gatherings.
#8 Buyers have more time to look at homes during the holiday season, especially during vacation time.
#9 January is traditionally the biggest transfer month and they will use their vacation time to scout out a new city. So you must be on the market to capture them!
#10 By selling now you can have a delayed closing or extended occupancy
until the beginning of the year.
#11 If you sell during the winter, you may choose to purchase during the spring
when there are more homes to choose from and more competitive prices.
#12 You may have fewer actual showings, but more qualified and motivated
buyers.
#13 Corporate transferees, who need to buy a home now, can’t wait until spring
to purchase.
#14 Bottom Line- By listing NOW you may have fewer showings, but more
qualified and motivated buyers, which should result in a quicker sale and
better price for you!!!

Are you in need of fast answers and reliable service related to a mortgage? Call us today: 913.396.4448.

Selling your home? Stage it like a pro with our handy tips!

Selling a house is a frightening proposition. The most frightening part is often centered on a fear of it sitting on the market too long. Frankly, we’ve all seen homes for which staging could have helped sell the home. First of all, it is always recommended to hire a professional home stager. Your Realtor likely knows one to refer you to. Basically, they blow on to your house for an hour, demand a modest rate of $60-$100 and leave you with an objective “to do” list of items that will help you sell your home more quickly. The low price they demand is well-worth it in terms of a faster sale and your ability to get your asking price when you sell.

If you choose to do it yourself, here are some tips to get you started:
1. If you can’t part with your things, rent a storage unit for the things you need to take out of the house. They’re as little as $1 for the first month and are well worth any other costs for the convenience of completing the next step.
2. Plan to cut your furniture in each room by almost half. Take it the storage unit, sell it, whatever… just get rid of it. Your rooms will look larger and your home will appear to have less clutter.
3. Clean out and organize all closets. They will be opened and they need to look large.
4. In each room, pick a decorating focal point and play it up with lighting, by angling all the furniture toward it, or hanging art over it. This is usually the far wall in a bedroom, or the fireplace/large feature in other rooms.
5. UpShots. Say it again: UpShots. This priceless ceiling paint in a spray can is fairly cheap and will allow you to cover unsightly dark marks on your ceiling… especially if it’s still a popcorn finish.
6. Clean or paint every surface inside and out… even if both are just touch-ups, every home needs some love. Choose paint colors that are soft and neutral.
7. Get rid of all things “personal.” This pertains to your elephant collection, the table full of family photos, the room dedicated to snoopy, etc. The buyer should feel as though they could walk right in and plop their own stuff down.
8. Get rid of dead plants inside and out of your home. They scream, “This house has not been well taken care of!”
9. Keep your best decorative items and plan to group them into sets of three around the house.
10. In general, every room should appear to be straight out of a catalog or as though they stepped into a model home that is move-in ready, e.g. looks like you never lived there. Detach yourself from the emotions of the house and plan to take the steps to get it sold.

Are you in need of fast answers and reliable service related to a mortgage? Call us today: 913.396.4448.

Home Value Killers

Sabrina Soto from HGTV has been in the home décor industry a long time and knows what sells/what won’t. She believes that if you’re going to stay in your home indefinitely, you should do what makes you happy, but if you’re planning to sell in the next 5 years you should really think before you make changes. She has listed out the top five home value killers… check them out:

Converting bedrooms into other spaces: If potential homebuyers “see it’s a four-bedroom house, they want to go to the open house and see four bedrooms. You have to take the guesswork out,” says Soto. If you do convert a room, there’s one feature you should absolutely never mess with. Watch the video to find out what that is.

Hot tubs: Soto thinks inheriting someone else’s hot tub is a turn-off — and she’s not alone. “You’d be surprised how many potential buyers find them to be a little gross.” And once a hot tub is installed, it’s not an easy feature to remove from a deck or backyard.

Colored trim and textured walls: It seems like any potential homebuyer would see these features and know they can easily paint over them, but not so fast, says Soto. “I would much rather paint walls than trim any day — it’s a beast of a job,” she says. And textured walls are “a mess to sand down and remove. The fad is over anyway, so just let it go.” If you feel your trim is outdated, see the video for Soto’s tips on what to do.

Children’s theme bedrooms: Spending hundreds of dollars on a mural for your child’s wall is throwing money away. Not only will they outgrow it in a matter of years, but “you’re never going to get that money back when you sell, so just keep it neutral,” posits Soto.

Too much landscaping: Conventional wisdom says you want your yard to look as nice as possible, but heed Soto’s warning: you want to “keep up with the Joneses — but don’t exceed them.” To a potential buyer, gorgeous, overdone landscaping screams high-maintenance.

Are you in need of fast answers and reliable service related to a mortgage? Call us today: 913.396.4448.

How Much is Your Home Worth?

Zillow has done it again. I have to hand it to them…. Of all the home search engines out there, they seem to be moving quickly to garner top market share. They have recently released a home values search feature that is pretty robust. As we recently learned, home values have gone up an average of 6.6% just this year. Check out your neighborhood here: http://www.zillow.com/local-info/

Are you in need of fast answers and reliable service related to a mortgage? Call us today: 913.396.4448.

Do’s and Don’ts of Holding an Open House

If you’re a regular watcher of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, you’ve inevitably seen the likes of performers on stilts (Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles) and underwear models (on the New York show), among signature cocktails and fancy fare, at the show’s open houses. Fear not: There’s no need to live up to this hype as the average home seller. We’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts, Glamour style, for you to follow when putting together your open house. Adhering to reality, rather than reality TV, will work in your favor.

DON’T be there or be square. Potential buyers want to weigh the pros and cons of your house. They do not do so as freely in front of you, the seller. So make yourself scarce, and give your potential buyers a chance to pick your property apart—it’s called thinking out loud, and it could inch them closer to buying. (And don’t attend pretending to be buyer—everyone can see right through that and, worse yet, you’ll come off as nuts in the process.)

DO invite the neighbors. Think about it—how many times have you raved about your neighborhood to friends? Now picture your neighbors doing the same thing, talking about how it’s a must to live there—with your house in mind. Neighbors are more apt to do so when they’ve actually seen your property, so use a natural marketing tool and be sure to send them an invitation so that they know they’re included.

DON’T go overboard. It’s great to have a some refreshments, and fresh-baked cookies or cold lemonade on a hot day. But there’s no need for coquitos or a caterer. Instead, concentrate on your staging. Make sure the house smells good (the aforementioned cookies will do the trick), is staged neutrally (no evidence of your political beliefs, and some real estate agents say to take down even family photos as they detract the buyer from the main event—looking at the home rather than your last family reunion), and has good curb appeal so buyers form a favorable first impression when they pull up. That your home should be clean and decluttered goes without saying; take any evidence of your pets with you when you beat it out of there for the open house as well.

DO pick an off hour. Most open houses are on Saturday or Sunday from 1-3 p.m. or 2-4 p.m. Shift your time slot slightly later, say from 3-5 p.m., and you might pick up some foot traffic since there are fewer homes competing for buyers’ attention then. Think of it this way: They’ve saved the best for last.

Are you in need of fast answers and reliable service related to a mortgage? Call us today: 913.317.5626.

Why Isn’t My House Selling?

Old-houseWe’ve all seen that house in our neighborhood. It’s been for sale and has sat on the market—for months. Maybe it’s your house; hopefully not. If you’ve ever had that sinking feeling—why isn’t my house selling?—or are about to put your house on the market, read on, and ask yourself these four key questions. You just might avoid the biggest mistakes that would prohibit a quick home sale.
1. Is my price point too high? This is the biggest obstacle that snags sellers. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to sell in the past few years, it can feel like you’re being asked to give away your home. But the truth is that if your home isn’t priced right according to the market—not necessarily what you feel you are owed or ideally would want—it’s not going to sell. So check out the most recent comps in your area, and price your property close to those in similar condition. When showings pick up and you start to get offers, you’ll know you’re at the right price point.
2. Is there an immediate sticking point? I.e., does your home have a major problem, such as a foundation issue, that turns buyers off immediately? If so, the investment in fixing it should pay off when your home finally moves. If the sticking point is not fixable—backing up to a power plant or a freeway, say—often the best bet is to lower the price to compensate for the problem.
3. Does my home look the part? Some buyers can look past your love of pink wallpaper, but many can’t—and you only get one chance to make a first impression, so it’s worth your while to eliminate dated décor, clear clutter, and keep the look neutral and minimalist. And don’t underestimate staging—if your real estate agent suggests moving a few things out or around, heed the advice. It’s the shiny penny that sells.
4. Is my home being marketed enough? In the age of social media, it’s not enough to stick a sign in the yard. Besides frequent open houses, flyers with high-quality color photos, a listing on MLS with said photos and preferably a video tour, you and your agent should be using sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com and social media in any way possible to market your home. Once you’ve lured buyers with great photos, make sure it’s easy to show. It’s easy to get turned off if buyers can’t get in to see the home or find a mess once they do.

Are you in need of fast answers and reliable service related to a mortgage? Call us today:
913.317.5626.