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In a tough market, sellers need all the competitive edge they can get. Home staging is a great way to make your home appear to its best advantage. Staging is about appealing to a broad range of buyers. It’s about creating an image of a lifestyle that buyers can’t resist. They need to be able to imagine themselves living in your house. Staging doesn’t require a big budget either. Although, if you have the budget to make your home a showpiece, go for it! In general, though, successful staging means paying attention to the details.
Here are 10 secrets of staging that can help your home sell.
1. Declutter. Clutter can be one of the most distracting aspects of showing a house. Instead of a buyer focusing on the unique architectural details of your room, they focus in on your trinkets and trash. You don’t have to toss your decor, just put it away for now.
2. Furniture: Large, oversized furniture can makes rooms look smaller than they are. The converse if true as well. Small furniture in large rooms looks disproportionate.
3. Room true to purpose: You may have your dining room set up as an office or a second bedroom set up as a craft room, but buyers need to see homes true to their purpose. They want to see the formal dining room that was advertised on the MLS. They want to see 2 bedrooms, not one and a craft room.
4. Proper lighting: Good lighting makes everything look better. CFL lights in “daylight” color makes rooms look light and bright even during the evening hours. Be sure all rooms are well lit, including laundry rooms, garages, and closets.
5. Repairs: Most buyers aren’t interested in fixer-uppers. They want homes that have been well-maintained. You may have to spend a little time and money to fix broken doors, drawers, and windows. Buyers will notice every loose board and trim piece. Fix it before you start showings!
6. Keep it neutral: It is much easier to imagine putting your mark on a neutral room than it is to imagine yourself living in someone else’s Moroccan paradise. Paint is relatively inexpensive. Play it safe and pick out neutral tones.
7. Fresh flowers: It’s all about things smelling fresh and clean. Flowers add life and fragrance to a room!
8. Thorough Cleaning: Clean from top to bottom. The basics mean having dishes and laundry done. Deep cleaning means cleaning carpets, removing stains, and scrubbing that bathroom until it sparkles.
9. Staged Dining Area: You can really make a room pop by setting a formal place setting. Outdoor dining spaces also look great set with placemats, chargers, and proper plates and glasses.
10. Hotel Inspired Bedrooms. Boutique hotels do a great job of making bedrooms feel luxurious. You can do the same by updating your bedding and having a liberal use of pillows.
Staging can make your home can make you stand our from your competition. It may mean the difference between selling and not in this tough market.
Give us a call today and watch our team transform your home in preparation for the MLS and the market!
Published: June 30, 2011
June 24th, 2011
The median sales price of new homes rose to $222,600 in May, a 2.6 percent increase from April, and the first increase to new-homes’ median sales price since December of last year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. New homes are 30 percent higher than the median sales price of existing, resale homes, which is double the normal markup, analysts say.
Foreclosures and short sales–which are selling, on average, at a 20 percent discount–continue to hamper the new-home market, making it difficult for builders to compete against the ultra low prices.
While the prices of new homes were on the rise, inventories of new homes continued to shrink, with inventories falling to its lowest level on record (166,000 homes). Economists noted that at the May sales pace, it would take 6.2 months to clear the supply of homes off the market.
Overall, fewer people purchased new homes in May as the new-home sector continues to face one of its worst years, the Commerce Department reported. New-home sals dropped 2.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 319,000 homes. That pace remains far below the 700,000 homes a year that economists view as healthy for the new-home sector.
Regionally, sales of new homes were mixed. For example, in the Northeast, sales of new homes dropped nearly 27 percent and 3.5 percent in the West. However, new home sales increased 2.4 percent in the South but remained flat in the Midwest compared to April.
Looking for real estate in Orange County? Please visit www.RajQsar.com.
Orange County’s economic recovery is indeed slowing, but fears of another recession or “double dip are unfounded, according to economists at Chapman University.
The highly anticipated midyear economic update, presented by the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University, last week confirmed that both the regional and national economies have been hit by a series of factors that have combined to put the brakes on the weak, but steady recovery over the past 18 months. Soaring gas prices, the Japanese earthquake and the end of government stimulus spending, as well as the federal budget stalemates, have impacted manufacturing output and chilled consumer confidence – and therefore spending – since January.
However, Chapman President James Doti is still predicting that the recovery is “downshifting, not reversing itself.” He also said this is not entirely unexpected when rebounding from a recession, particularly one as deep and unprecedented as the most recent downturn.
The wild card in the recovery picture, is housing prices, which were down 4.3 percent for the first three months of this year after slight gains in 2010. Falling home prices have a direct and negative impact on personal wealth and generally cause consumers to curb or stop spending on durable goods altogether. And then this triggers a domino effect that hurts retail and manufacturing – resulting in a very negative cycle. The other significant concern with declining home prices is the risk of more foreclosures and ultimately more stress and troubles for the nation’s banks.
Although affordability has rarely been better than it is today we are still faced with a lot of mixed signals and concerns on the housing front. And even though the foreclosure rate has peaked, it may take another three years before the unprecedented foreclosure chapter in this recession is finally over. As many as 3 million more properties are at risk nationally and, ultimately, must be refinanced or sold before we reach normal foreclosure levels in a healthy economy.
Chapman economists predict that housing prices in the county and California will show a 4 to 4.5 percent decline in 2011 and virtually no appreciation in 2012.
In terms of gas prices, another major drag on the recovery since January, Chapman predicts the price per gallon will remain steady between $3 and $4 through the year, barring any unexpected oil supply disruption.
On the all-important jobs front, most industry sectors will continue to show positive growth through 2012. The fastest growing jobs will be in the professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and healthcare. Doti forecast that Orange County will have a net job gain of 20,000 or 1.5 percent by the end of this year and about 30,000 jobs or a 2.2 growth in 2012, roughly the same as California. He further characterized this level of job growth as positive and added that it will improve personal income and ultimately consumer spending.
Back in June 2006, when the housing market peaked, the prospect of a five-year national housing bust seemed unimaginable to most people. And yet here we are, with the latest Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index showing that prices hit new bear-market lows, falling back to 2002 levels nationally and to 1990s levels in some battered regions.
Despite all the gloom, however, there are growing indications that it is a good time to buy. Mortgage rates, which fell to 4.55% for the week ending June 2, according to Freddie Mac, are near 50-year lows. Homes have become more affordable than they have been in years: According to Moody’s Analytics, the ratio of home prices to income is now 20.9% lower than the 15-year average through 2010, and 12.5% lower than the 1989-2004 average. A historic glut of homes, meanwhile, has created a buyer’s market: There were about 15 million vacant homes in the U.S. last year – some 3.1 million more than normal.
Such conditions might not last long. Moody’s Analytics predicts that the number of distressed sales will begin to fall in 2013, and that prices will begin to edge upward then. Home building is at a virtual standstill, so the supply overhang isn’t likely to get much worse. Meanwhile, demographic indicators such as “household formation”—the number of new households each year—are on the rise, and promise to take a bite out of the glut in coming years.
The upshot: While we might not see rapid growth in the next couple of years, there are a tremendous number of positive signs that could lead to a rebound. The short-term outlook isn’t encouraging. Job growth remains weak, foreclosure sales are making up more of the market, and economists are predicting that home prices will fall more in the coming months. But the long-term benefits of homeownership remain very much intact. For now, at least, you can deduct the mortgage interest on your taxes – a big perk for people in higher tax brackets. You get to paint your walls any color you wish, without having to clear it with a landlord. And assuming you can buy a home for about the same price as you can rent one, buying will give you the ability one day to live rent-free. Come retirement time, a paid-off mortgage means your monthly expenses are significantly reduced, and you have a chunk of equity to play with.
So what might the next five years look like? Once the foreclosure mess begins to clear up, say housing economists, the traditional drivers of the housing market—demographics, affordability, loan availability, employment and psychology—should take over.
Here is a glimmer of what the future may hold: While overall home prices fell by 7.5% in April over the same period a year earlier, according to CoreLogic, a Santa Ana, Calif., provider of real-estate data and analytics, if you exclude distressed sales, prices were off just 0.5%. So if you are in a market that isn’t battered by foreclosures, you may be close to a bottom already.
Please visit www.RajQsar.com for all your real estate needs in Orange County.
Daily Real Estate News | April 28, 2011
10 Cities With the Highest-Priced Listings
Last month, the national median list price was $199,500, down 0.25 percent for the year, according toRealtor.com housing data of 146 markets. But in San Francisco, the median list price is more than three times that amount.
The following is a list of the cities that had the highest median list prices in March 2011, based on Realtor.com housing data.
1. San Francisco
Median list price: $639,000
Down 8.45 percent for the year
Median days on the market: 63
2. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.
Median list price: $559,000
Down 19.57 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 117
3. San Jose, Calif.
Median list price: $470,000
Down 5.05 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 71
4. Orange County, Calif.
Median list price: $450,000
Down 5.05 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 100
Median list price: $444,000
Down 1.11 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 112
6. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Median list price: $435,000
Up 4.82 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 288
7. Ventura, Calif.
Median list price: $420,000
Down 6.67 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 93
8. New York
Median list price: $389,000
Down 2.51 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 146
9. Naples, Fla.
Median list price: $389,000
Up 2.40 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 225
10. Boulder-Longmont, Colo.
Median list price: $380,000
Up 2.73 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 114
To search for Million Dollar Listings just go to www.RajQsar.com/Search
Source: REALTOR® Magazine online (April 28, 2011)
[Update 1: Adds NAHB, Capital Economics quotes.]
Sales of new single-family homes rose 7.3% in April from a month earlier, easily topping most analyst estimates.
The Commerce Department said the seasonally adjusted rate of 323,000 units last month was up from 301,000 for March, which was revised upward slightly. April new home sales were down 23.1% from 420,000 a year earlier.
In February, new home sales fell 17% from the prior month to 250,000, the lowest level ever recorded.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of last month was 175,000 in February, representing a 6.5-month supply and at the lowest level in decades. A healthy housing market usually carries a six-month supply of single-family homes.
The median sales price of new homes sold in April was $217,900, up 4.6% from March.
Jerry Howard, chief executive officer of the National Association of Home Builders, believes the housing market is still “bouncing along the bottom.”
He said on Fox News Tuesday morning that prices, as well as home sales, can only go up from here.
Capital Economics said April’s increase in sales “may even underestimate the recent rebound since the data exclude condo sales, which are probably performing better than sales of new single-family homes.”
The rise in gas prices is influencing buyer decisions as they shop for a new home, causing more buyers to make short commutes and home offices a top priority, according to a new Coldwell Banker survey of more than 1,000 of its real estate professionals about buyer trends.
Seventy-five percent of the real estate professionals surveyed say the spike in gas prices is influencing their clients’ decisions on where to live. What’s more, if gas prices continue to increase, 93 percent predict that even more buyers will choose to live somewhere closer to their work.
Gas prices are topping $4 a gallon and higher, and are up about 30 percent over last year, which is starting to put a dent in many Americans’ pocketbook.
More real estate professionals also report that the rise in gas prices is prompting more buyers to look for homes that will allow them to work-from-home. Indeed, 77 percent of those surveyed say that more of their buyers are showing an interest in having a home office compared to five years ago.
Gas prices also seem to be spiking a renewed interest in urban living. More than half of real estate professionals surveyed say they are seeing more buyers wanting to target homes in urban areas compared to five years ago, citing shorter commute times, being able to walk to more places, and being near public transportation as the most likely reasons for the urban-area migration.
More buyers are also choosing homes closer to shops and services due to the increase in gas prices, according to the survey.
Daily Real Estate News | May 5, 2011
REO Inventory Reaches All-Time High
The national inventory of REO properties rose in March to a record high of 2.2 million. Foreclosure starts also increased by 33 percent month-over-month, according to the March Mortgage Monitor report by Lending Processing Services Inc.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the housing market. The report revealed a significant increase in foreclosure sales, which is helping to chip away at the swelling inventories that are battering many markets.
Also, delinquencies continue to decline, which is a sign of fewer foreclosures brewing in the pipeline. Delinquencies fell more than 11 percent in March from February — the lowest level since 2008 and a nearly 20 percent year-over-year decline, according to Lender Processing Services Inc. The total U.S. loan delinquency rate, which is for loans 30 or more days past due (but not in foreclosure), is 7.78 percent.
States with the highest percentage of loans where home owners have fallen behind are Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Georgia.
On the other hand, states that boast the lowest percentage of delinquent loans are Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
To search all REO homes on the MLS please visit www.RajQsar.com/search-foreclosures
Source: “Banks Build Record Foreclosure Inventory,” RISMedia (May 5, 2011)
An estimated 11 million home owners owe more on their mortgage than their property is currently worth. That’s made more home owners consider walking away from their mortgage and home ownership, even those who can still comfortably afford to make their payments (known as “strategic default”).
Walking away from a mortgage usually results in either a short sale or foreclosure. So what are the consequences of walking away? There may be far more consequences than what most home owners ever considered.
The consequences include everything from badly affected credit to potential tax consequences and deficiency risks. There are even possible professional implications, Justin McHood with Academy Mortgage in Chandler, Ariz., warns in an article at Zillow.com.
Home owners’ credit scores will be badly hit regardless of whether they attempt a short sale or have their property foreclosed on. (See How Missed Mortgage Payments Hurt Credit Scores)
There also could be the potential for deficiency risks when walking away from a home, which largely varies from state to state. (View anti-deficiency laws by state.) In some states, lenders may sue you for the difference between what you owe and what your short-sale or foreclosure proceeds are, McHood notes.
Home owners considering walking away also should weigh the potential difficulty they may face from moving too. For example, if moving into a rental property, they’ll have to convince a landlord to rent to them after they have the red flag of missed mortgage payments on their credit record. And paying for moving expenses — which many walkaways fail to consider — can quickly add up too.
Plus, home owners may find professional consequences from walking away from a mortgage, as the number of employers eyeing employees’ credit profiles continues to grow.