Friday, July 31, 2009

Top Ways to Improve Curb Appeal

When a potential buyer is in the neighborhood, it’s important for your home to look the best on the block. Here are some tips for boosting curb appeal and capturing the attention of passersby.

1. Mow the lawn and plant sod where grass is sparse.
2. Trim tree limbs that are close to the roof and power lines.
3. Weed flower beds and lay mulch.
4. Store tools and equipment in a shed or garage.
5. Add color by planting flowers.
6. Clean your windows.
7. Install lighting that illuminates the driveway and entrance of your home.
8. Wash sidewalks and driveways with a pressure washer.
9. Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door.
10. Clean siding and apply neutral paint to the exterior of your home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Smart strategies to increase home sale profits

(ARA) - The proposition of selling a home is getting better with each passing day according to a recently released report from the National Association of Realtors. If you need to sell your home, a few smart strategies can help you increase your profits.

A number of real estate pundits are pointing to the recent decline in home inventory and the fact that interest rates have increased on the 30-year fixed mortgage as a positive endorsement of a healthier housing market.

Joanne Sebby, a licensed real estate broker in Chicago, and operator of a local Two Men and a Truck moving franchise, believes she’s benefitting from what could be the start of a real estate "bloom," if not a full "boom."

"Bargain hunters are beginning to make moves on homes that are still way undervalued’’ Sebby says. "The key for sellers is to get creative in marketing your home’s offerings so you can become one of those homes that get a look, and hopefully sell your house in a reasonable amount of time."

While the real estate outlook is the best it’s been in recent memory, home loans are still more difficult to come by and home values are down an average of 20 percent, according to the NAR. It’s likely that if you are selling your house today, you’ll likely do so at the cost of higher profits that you may have realized in healthier markets.

Regardless, Sebby suggests there are a number of creative ways home sellers can mitigate their losses on the sale.

Sebby suggests sellers need to think of their bottom line when selecting service companies in order to maximize profits on their home, and consider pitching in to keep costs down.

"Determine what budget you have to work with and be up front with the people providing you with estimates," Sebby says. "I’ll often counsel people who call our moving company to maybe box and label everything themselves, or have all the boxes collected in the room closest to the front door. If there’s a number we have to work with, we’ll make suggestions on how to make it work to suit their needs."

Sebby suggests using the same tactics with home inspectors, painters or other service personnel.

"Do a little research and find what portion of the work you can comfortably do yourself. If you’re saving money along the way it’s going to impact your profit on the house. A little bit here and there can really add up."

Brig Sorber, president and chief executive officer of Two Men and a Truck -- the nation’s largest franchised moving company -- believes the current housing market provides more opportunity than risk.

"As a business owner, you look at your operations a little closer and ideally come away with a clearer understanding of what your company needs to do to stay competitive," Sorber says. "The same principle applies to homeowners looking to sell. In an optimal market, a buyer may just scan the Internet, find a local mover and sign on the dotted line. Today’s customer is more aware; they’ve done competitive research on what to expect from a legitimate moving company, and that benefits those of us who value long-term relationships with our customers."

Chances are, even sellers with the best intentions won’t realize the full value of their home in today’s market. However, as Sebby suggests, there’s no harm in optimizing your profits with a little extra effort and a do-it-yourself approach.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Selling a Home

If you are considering selling a home in the Central Ohio area be sure to see this presentation.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Housing Experts: Now Is a Perfect Time to Buy

Don’t forget to remind potential buyers of something that is obvious to real estate professionals:

Now is the time to buy, but that opportunity may be slipping away. For people who have a job and money, a dream house is within reach, writes Marc Roth, founder of Home Warranty of America and a columnist for BusinessWeek. He points out that mortgage rates remain low, prices are still at historic lows, and the government is offering incentives for first-time homebuyers.

He also adds that the inventory of homes to buy is still large, but it is shrinking. According to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the housing inventory peaked in November 2008 at an 11-month supply. At the end of May 2009, it had fallen to a 9.6-month supply.

Roth says anyone who dallies will miss a good opportunity to buy a first home at a terrific price or go shopping for a move-up property that is a great buy.

Source: BusinessWeek.com, Marc Roth (11/17/2009)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Walk-in Showers Gain in Popularity

Home owners are choosing showers over tubs, despite the long-standing notion that it is important to have a tub for resale value.

"We're definitely seeing a trend toward walk-in showers versus tubs," says Katie Campbell, sales manager for the Heritage of Palatine, a Chicago-area development where homes are priced from $221,900. "We used to do a lot of big soaking tubs with shower stalls in the master bathroom, but we had a lot of people eliminate the tub because they wanted a bigger shower.

"Having at least one tub in the house is still important because some buyers want them, insists Kathy Dames-Mattox, an associate with ReMax of Joliet. But she advises homeowners not to spend a lot of money on whirlpool tubs. "I don't see whirlpool tubs as being a big deal anymore," Dames-Mattox says. "Everybody who adds one says they never use it.

"Source: Chicago Tribune, Allison E. Beatty (07/03/2009)