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Tips for Home Sellers

by Melissa Dierks

20 December, 2013

shutterstock_50097079Sometimes selling a home can feel like a big job – one with a thousand small tasks required to get it done. But many sellers make the job harder by ignoring or avoiding some of the biggest factors that contribute to a faster sale. Use this list to see if your house is truly ready for that “sold” sign.

1) Price is paramount.

With the housing market climbing out of its slump, many sellers are banking on higher sale prices. Just make sure you don’t reach too far when pricing your home, and rely on a good agent to help you find the “sweet spot” for your listing. Go too high and you’ll risk slowing down buyer traffic. And once your home has sat on the market for a long time, buyers automatically become suspicious. Even though your home might look great, buyers will notice the listing’s “time on the market” and naturally wonder “What’s wrong with it?”

2) Tour your home like a buyer.

Thousands of sellers make the mistake of looking around their home with the eyes of someone who knows it well and loves it dearly. But buyers won’t see it that way. So walk through your home as if you’re seeing it for the first time, taking note of everything that might give you pause as a skittish buyer. Never assume that a potential buyer will be able to overlook what you perceive as small flaws in the house.

Stage your home with the help of a professional stager (or a friend who’s great at interior design and organization) to create positive word-of-mouth with Realtors. While you’re staging the house, put away all or most of your family photos and other trinkets that make it “yours.” Your goal is to make it look like a model home so buyers can envision themselves living there. Don’t wait until an Open House is scheduled for your property to do repairs, staging and de-personalizing. Do it before your house ever gets listed online. As Realtor.com President Error Samuelson said, “Web appeal is the new curb appeal.” According to a study done by Trulia.com, homes with six photos posted online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as homes with fewer than six.

3) Let them in!

Nothing is more frustrating for an agent than a seller who doesn’t want to let potential buyers in to see it. Yes, last-minute requests for showings are a hassle. Yes, it’s a real pain to keep the house clean all the time. Yes, it’s tough to do showings when you have babies or toddlers at home. But the homes that sell fastest are the ones people are able to see quickly and easily. If you have lots of requirements for showings or long wait times, agents are likely to skip your house and go on to the next.

4) Be social.

We live in an increasingly social world, so take advantage of connections by inviting your neighbors to tour your house. It’ll encourage them to spread the word to friends who may be looking for a house in the area. And ask your Facebook friends to help out by sharing a great photo of the house you’ve posted on their timelines. Some sellers even create video “love letters” to their homes and post them on YouTube to endear the home to potential buyers.

With the right price, the right look, accessibility and social connections, you’re well on your way to the “sold” sign you’re working toward.

How Smart is the Kitchen in Your Home?

by Melissa Dierks

17 December, 2013

shutterstock_137492999Home buyers walk into a house with lots of questions. How much square footage does it have? How many bathrooms are there? Does the backyard have a fence? But soon they may be adding a new question to that list: How smart is the kitchen?

With the spike in smartphone popularity, people have higher expectations for all the machines in their lives, including kitchen appliances. While our kitchens might not look like something from the Jetsons cartoons anytime soon, appliances are getting smarter each year. For example, a Siemens refrigerator (currently in the concept stage) may one day eliminate the need to call home and ask, “Do we need milk?” The new model comes equipped with Wi-Fi and multiple cameras mounted inside it which will allow people to use a smartphone app to visually scan their refrigerator shelves, even while they’re standing in the dairy aisle at a grocery store across town.

New appliances are also smart enough to save a few bucks. Whirlpool has developed a new line of appliances called 6th Sense Live, and they’re designed to run when energy prices are lowest. Using a Wi-Fi connection, a dishwasher could start its own cycle at whatever point in the day it determines that energy prices are lowest. (It does this by using a constantly updated database of real-time energy prices.) Appliances that break down have been a source of frustration and unexpected expense for homeowners, but today’s new smart appliances may have a solution even when things go wrong. LG has developed appliances with remote diagnostic services. It’s called “Smart Diagnosis,” and it works by allowing the broken appliance to “talk” to a smartphone app by playing a certain sound. The app can “decode” the tone it hears and give the owner instructions on what to do next. If the repair is simple, the app might send a text message to let the owner know it’s time for a new water filter for the fridge. For more complex issues, the app will automatically request a service call.

Kitchens aren’t the only room of the house where “smart” reigns supreme. Laundry rooms are also being revolutionized by the technological wave. GE has a dryer that automatically gets messages from the washer about the load it will soon receive. By customizing the cycle, clothes aren’t as likely to overdry. For now, the bells and whistles of smart appliances are still a novelty. Customers aren’t rushing into big box stores demanding appliances that can talk to the outside world via Wi-Fi. But most manufacturers are preparing for the trend. Samsung and LG, both based in South Korea, are on the leading edge of smart appliances. Samsung is best known for its high-tech refrigerators that feature a touch-screen. Wolf and Sub-Zero both have a few appliance models capable of communicating with smartphones. But some manufacturers, like Bosch, are holding Sense Live, and they’re designed to run when energy off until the appliance industry institutes a standard way for all smart appliances to communicate.

Last year, sales of smart appliances were only about $613 million, a low number according to a Pike Research report. But executives like Bob Baird, vice president of merchandising for Home Depot, was quoted in a report on Reviewed.com saying that, in time, more and more customers will request these types of machines, adding “It’s going to happen.”

Unwrap Relaxation at Your Home This Season

by Melissa Dierks

11 December, 2013

host a party at your homePlanning an adult only holiday party in your home can be a wonderful way to de-stress this holiday season. We all know that this time of year is full of joy, but also filled with crowded malls, whiny children, and overspending. Taking a few hours to socialize with adult friends can be a great way to find balance this time of year. Be sure to plan for an afternoon or early evening gathering complete with invitations specifying that this is an adult only party. An event such as this can be super simple, no need for games or activities.

Plan An Adult Only Party in Your Home

Adult conversation with a little food, wine and a brightly lit fireplace could be the best medicine during the holidays. Think about having some light finger foods and have guests bring their own beverage to your home. To add a little festive cheer, have each guest bring a gift valued at $10.00 or under. When a person arrives, they can place the gift under the tree and take a different gift and open it just before they leave. Also consider providing a goodie bag for your guests. Perhaps a holiday survival kit complete with a sample bottle of whiskey, aspirin, or chocolate will help get your friends through the stress. Inviting your adult friends into your home to unwind could be one of the best gifts you give yourself this holiday season, too.

Escape From Your Home with a Vacation Property

by Melissa Dierks

6 December, 2013

your home in the woodsFeeling the need to get away from your home for a while? Perhaps the winters are too harsh or you have a child in college a few states away. Maybe you just want to get a head start on retirement plans. If either of these scenarios sound like your situation, it may be a great time to consider buying and owning a second home. This is a great time to buy, as mortgage interest rates are currently very low. There are also many other advantages to keeping your home and purchasing a second one.

If you choose a popular destination, vacation homes usually do a great job of retaining their value. You also get all of the tax benefits of home ownership and have the possibility of accruing rental income if you choose to rent out your home when you are not using it, making a vacation home very convenient.

If there is a vacation spot you are sure to come back to time and time again, like a beach or ski resort why not have a spot to call your own? Your second home can also be great for family gatherings and reunions. You may want to consider fractional ownership where you go in on a vacation home with a few other couples and share it throughout the year. Your local realtor can help you begin the search for a fun and exciting second home.

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Melissa Dierks
The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals
7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101,
Glendale AZ 85308
Direct: (623)229-0154
Office: (623)643-1092
Fax: (623)201-7562

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