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Monday, February 1, 2016

7 Things Your Realtor Does Behind Your Back

For every hour an agent spends in your presence, he or she will spend an average of nine hours out of eyesight working on your behalf. Why? Because agents don’t get paid if they don’t close the deal!

So if you’re wondering what their commission is actually going toward, we’ve compiled a list of things agents do when you’re not watching.

They shop property online

Your agent's real estate research includes looking up flood zones, gathering property-specific data, researching schools and much more.

Plus, listings come and go fast in the real estate world, so agents need to check their multiple listing service database constantly. Sometimes the process of matching up properties with clients can take a lot of time.

They go prospecting

Many Realtors spend time driving around checking out new listings. This is a great way to preview properties, and network with other agents about your listings.

They spend their own money on marketing

In addition to not getting paid until a deal is done, selling agents also spend their own money on marketing: email marketing campaigns, newspaper ads, fliers & brochures, staging, photography, and placements on listing sites.

They write up offers and counteroffers

Offers and counteroffers are an extremely important part of the transaction, as they can save or net you thousands of dollars on a sale. Yet getting to the right price requires written offers and counteroffers every step of the way.

They stick around for inspections

You might not be present when it’s inspection time, but often your agent will be. This gives the agent an immediate knowledge of what issues a home may have. They will then make recommendations to their sellers on what to repair or to the buyer's on how to negotiate.

They smooth bumps in the road

Not every sale goes smoothly but good agents try to shield their clients from the high drama unless there’s a reason to fill them in. Agents put out fires, fixing issues that buyers and sellers don't need to be bothered with.

They keep you calm when the pressure’s on

Good agents don’t just hand you a house. They can also act as a therapist, making your sale much less stressful. Your agent  problem-solves and keeps a positive approach, coming up with positive solutions. 

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

            408.687.2026 | |

Monday, January 18, 2016

Remodeling Projects with the Biggest Return

Home improvements can increase home value and make your house feel like a home but they are not all created equal. Learn which remodeling projects will work for you when it comes time to sell.

The Top Three

Replace Your Front Door
The top home improvement, replacing your entry door with an updated, steel exterior door costs only $1,366 but recoups 123% of the cost.

Garage Door Replacement
Another exterior upgrade that offers significant ROI, replacing your garage door runs about $1,756 and offers 110% resale value.

Wood Deck Addition
A much more significant cost outlay at $11,685, adding a wood deck addition provides desirable outdoor living space and recoups 101% of the cost.

Other home improvements that have a respectable return include window replacements (wood) with a 95% ROI, vinyl window replacements at 90.5% return, creating an attic bedroom, which recovers almost 92% of the $60,675 cost and a mid-range bathroom remodel that has an ROI of about 86% of its $19,436 cost.

If you're considering home improvements that are quick, fairly easy and low cost, replacing your front and garage doors give the most bang for your buck. Many other improvements may not offer the same return on investment but can add an increased level of pleasure and enhanced lifestyle while living in your home.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

                      408.687.2026 | |

Monday, January 4, 2016

Getting the Best Value for Your Home

A strategic sales plan, coupled with a smart buy in your new location will ensure that you recoup the maximum value for your home.

Plan Strategically
Consult with a local real estate agent to ensure your house is priced competitively and shows its best. There are three key factors to getting a home sold—location, price, and condition and only two are under your control: price and condition. Of the two, price is more significant. Remember that if a home is priced properly, it will compensate for poor condition, but whatever the condition, it will never overcome a incorrectly priced home.

The best price you’ll get in today’s market is the one you get now. Don’t worry about where the market has been, keep your focus on where it is going. The price your neighbor down the street got six months ago is not relevant in a market where your house is competing with others from all across town. A local, knowledgable real estate agent will be able to help you decide how to pinpoint your price with precision.

Buy Smart
Whether you are moving to an area where prices are in a downturn or have plans to move up to a nicer home in the same town, selling your house now can get you into the home of your dreams. Whether home prices are on the rise or on the decline, either presents a great opportunity for a savvy homeowner looking to move up. Even if your house price may be lower, the loss at sale can be made up by greater savings at purchase because generally, if home prices are declining, that tends to occur across the board.

By teaming with an experienced local agent who knows how to work with the current market and who can assist in showcasing your home, you'll will get the most from the sale of your home.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

                      408.687.2026 | |

Monday, December 21, 2015

6 Staging Tips for Sellers

Professional stagers are designer/decorators charged with making your house more marketable.

Prepping your home for getting the best offer possible means decorating rooms, walls, floors, and ceilings in a way that encourages potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home. Stagers favor neutral walls, simple layouts, and minimal artwork.

“There’s a big difference between designing for someone’s tastes and remerchandizing a home to appeal to as many people as possible,” says Kathy Burke of Sensational Home Staging in Danville, CA. Getting it right is a critical and enigmatic art. Don’t panic! We got some stagers to reveal their secrets to help you navigate the process.

1. Don’t take it personally

We know you love the way you set up your living room. That eclectic collection of wicker baskets from all your European travels stacked up in the corner? It’s the perfect detail for you—but not for your stager. Not even close.

So here’s the thing: When they tell you what to change (and they absolutely will), don’t be offended. It doesn’t mean they think your style is awful. Not necessarily, anyway.

“It’s not about whether I like something or not,” Burke says. “It’s about how we’re going to present it. I know what photographs well and what looks dated.”

Her favorite clients are the ones who know tough feedback is coming and don’t care: “I walk in and they say, ‘You can’t hurt my feelings. Do whatever you want.’”

2. Toss your stuff, and disconnect emotionally

For many sellers, home staging will be the first time they realize they’re really, actually moving. Family pictures come down, the sofa goes into storage, and suddenly this place you called yours is looking less and less like you.

If you need to do some emotional processing, we understand: It’s hard to put your family home on the market. But don’t subject your stager to your stress. Detach. Chill out. Help the process, don’t hinder or fight it. Keep your eye on the prize: selling your home at the right price, to the right buyers, within the right time frame.

What does that really mean? Try removing as much of your stuff as possible before the stager comes. By tackling spring cleaning you’ll not only accomplish some necessary decluttering before your move, but you’ll also get used to the idea that this is no longer your home.

“We need to make sure that they’re truly ready to sell their house,” says David Peterson of  Synergy Staging based in Portland, OR. “That’s a big part of emotionally disconnecting.”

3. Move out (if you can)

Both Peterson and Burke find staging a home vastly easier when it’s vacant. If you can afford to move out when the home goes on the market, do it.

“It’s easier for them, it’s easier on their pets, and it’s easier on the buyer,” Burke says. “We can create one cohesive look and don’t have to blend anything.”

Occupied houses present more of a challenge (and take substantially more time): Stagers have to accommodate daily living, as well as risk the homeowner not preserving their layout (or any rented furniture).

Occupied homes can even cost more to stage. “It’s just a lot more work, timewise, when the owners are still living in the place,” Burke says.

4. Stay out of the picture(s)

According to the 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 92% of buyers use the Internet to look for homes—meaning the pictures posted alongside your home’s listing are wildly important.

“Much of what I’m doing is to appeal to people through photographs,” Burke says. “I hope that photo will touch people and they’ll say, ‘That’s going on my short list.’”

Peterson aims to be the “last person in before the photographers. We want those pictures to look great.”

But no one wants the buyers to be disappointed with the home’s real-life presentation after seeing photos online. So here’s a bonus: If you’re staying in the property, make sure to keep it in tiptop shape.

5. Get your money’s worth

Staging isn’t a last-minute addition before your home officially goes on the market. Stagers work far in advance and can’t always fit in last-minute work. Costs start around $1,250, depending on your state of residence, square footage, and what—if any—furniture you rent, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.

That might seem like a lot of money to spend on a home you’re about to sell, but both Burke and Peterson say staging is an investment with a very high return. “Anything we put in, we want to make sure you’re getting your money back,” Burke says. Some realtors include staging as part of their budget to market your home.

6. Stay on schedule

Don’t dillydally on making the recommended changes for your stager, who can’t begin rearranging until you’ve finished renovating. Usually the requested changes are small (new paint, fixing chipped tiles in the bathroom, etc.).

Not finishing small jobs on time can push the entire project back.

“If we get there and a place hasn’t been cleaned, or there’s still a painting crew, we can’t do our jobs. Then we have to charge them a fee, leave, and then reschedule,” Peterson says. “If we’re booked out several weeks, it really makes it hard.” And maybe even more expensive. So get moving.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

          408.687.2026 | |

Monday, December 7, 2015

Get Your Home Ready For Winter

Autumn is the perfect time to get your home ready inside and out for shorter, colder days. Tick these to do's off your list and your family, home and yards will be snug and secure.

Prune Trees
Hire a licensed arborist to remove dead or weighted branches on large trees. Have your gardener prune back any other bushes and plants, or tackle this one yourself.

Rake Leaves
Clear your yard of all leaves after trees are pruned and once they've lost all their foliage. Doing this now will allow for proper spring growth and also make your yard look tidier during the winter months.

Clear Gutters
Be sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of all debris to ensure water doesn't damage your roof or siding.

Make Repairs
Now is the time to repair sidewalks, stair rails and driveways, patch roofs and siding.

Check Smoke Detectors
Make sure all of your detectors have new batteries and are functioning properly.

Seal Gaps
Install weatherstripping around doors and caulk gaps and cracks around windows, in siding and trim.

Tune Up Your Furnace
Have your furnace checked by an HVAC professional if needed and make any repairs. If all is in tiptop shape, be sure your filter is clean.

Clean Your Chimney
If you have a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned and stock up on wood, pellets or whatever form of fuel you use.

Stockpile Necessities
Be sure to have extra batteries, candles and a few shelf-stable and canned goods on hand in the event the power goes off.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

                 408.687.2026 | |


Monday, November 23, 2015

Selling Your Home During the Winter

The winter can be one of the best times to sell your home. Below are a number of reasons selling during this season makes sense.

1. Buyers are looking because they need to move
Those in the market for a home during the winter generally need to move, which gives sellers an edge in negotiating.

2. Less inventory means less competition
Fewer homes on the market means yours has a better chance of attracting a buyer. 

3. Sellers have more time to evaluate offers 
Unlike the frenzied spring selling season when sellers have to review offers hastily, they are afforded a more relaxed timeframe during winter to evaluate offers and possibly negotiate more favorable terms.

4. Price more ambitiously
Though pricing your home at that sweet spot is always crucial, since competition is slim during the winter, coming in at a more ambition list price tends to work better during the off-season.

5. Holiday curb appeal
Curb appeal is always important and during the winter, creating an inviting, holiday feel can attract buyers. Be sure the exterior of your home is tidy and clean, wash windows and decorate your front porch with festive greenery and seasonal flowers. Keep lights on, window shades open and the inside temperature cozy.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

        408.687.2026 | |

Monday, November 9, 2015

3 Ingenious Moving Tips

When it comes time to move from the old place to the new one, everyone could use a few handy moving tips.

Sometimes, there are things about moving that we don’t consider until it’s too late: duct tape, bubble wrap, etc.

Moving can be a headache, and no one likes it—but with a few good friends and a few handy tricks, it makes the task mush simpler.

1. Snacks as Moving Hacks

Not only are snacks like Pringles and popcorn tasty, they can also come in seriously handy when it comes time to move.

Once you’ve polished off the chips, those Pringles cans are indispensable for packing up pens, pencils and the conglomeration of stuff in your “junk drawer.” These handy cans can hold a number of loose items that would otherwise end up rolling all over of the floor of your moving truck.

And when you run out of packing peanuts or bubble wrap, good ol’ fashioned popcorn—which is also dirt cheap—is a terrific substitute. Pop a few kernels and use it to fill up the empty space in your boxes of fragile items.

2. Stretch It!

When you’re carrying stuff down to your truck, going in and out of the house, few things are as annoying as having the door slam on you over and over—potentially even locking you out of the house!

Your best bet to fix that problem? A simple rubber band. Hook one end over the inside knob, turn the knob so it’s in the “open” position, and then you twist the band in an “X” over the latch and hook the other end to the outside knob.

Rubber bands also come in super-handy for keeping small boxes closed or binding clothes hangers together by their hooks.

3. Plate It Up

When you’re packing up your kitchen, you have to be extra careful with plates and glasses, so they don’t get broken en route to your new home. Sure, you could buy those foam squares that are meant to separate your plates and keep them safe, but that can be expensive.

Instead, buy a party pack of foam plates at your local grocery store. They cost just pennies, and they’ll protect your dishes better than foam squares or newspaper.

And when you get to your new place, you also will have something to eat off of while you’re unpacking.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.

                       408.687.2026 | |