Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
In fact, real-estate experts say there are many relatively small upgrades that can go a long way toward attracting buyers.
"There are a lot of things that you can do that won't cost a lot of money but will sure make your home look a whole lot more appealing," said Gwyn Thorne, owner of Staged Appeal Homes in Fairfax, Va.
Among Thorne's top suggestions for a thousand-dollar budget:
• Swap out old light fixtures to modernize the feel of the interior. Flush-mounted fixtures for bedrooms and hallways can go for as little as $20 a pair, Thorne said. "Because a lot of the light fixtures that are in the older houses haven't been changed, they have a very outdated look," she said.
• Buy a new bathroom vanity. Vanities start from only about $200. Add a new faucet and relatively inexpensive peel-and-stick tiling, and the bathroom looks like new, Thorne said. "Bathrooms and kitchens are probably the two most important rooms in the house," she said.
Nicci Parrish, co-owner of Impress Me Home Staging in Bowie, Md., said sellers should focus on the exterior. "If it doesn't look good on the outside, buyers are going to have a negative opinion before they get inside," she said. Some of her favorite touches:
• Add colorful flowers in a planter on the front porch.
• Buy a new mailbox to replace a shabby old one.
• Touch up paint on the door and shutters.
All are relatively inexpensive improvements that can help would-be buyers feel more comfortable, Parrish said. "When someone is coming up to your house, it just makes it a little bit more warm and inviting," she said. And make sure house numbers are clearly visible, she added. Sellers know where they live; buyers don't.
Deborah Gorham, a real-estate agent with Long & Foster in Centreville, Va., said sellers should start simple. Painting, she said, is the best investment a seller can make. She offers some specific tips:
• Apply neutral-colored paint with white trim to help the home's architectural details stand out and remove the seller's style, which might conflict with buyers' preferences. Painting can be cheap, she said. "I say this in all due kindness: Most people can figure out how to paint and do it themselves," Gorham said.
• Replace the oldest kitchen appliance. Specifically, replacing a dishwasher — often viewed as the most unsanitary kitchen appliance — can go a long way with buyers, Gorham said.
"If they have the funds to do it, a dishwasher is the kitchen appliance that takes the most use and abuse," she said. The kitchen is a room buyers obsess over, she said, and they "just want new."
• Have the air ducts cleaned. "You can literally look in the intake vents and see how dirty is," Gorham said.
Alongside de-cluttering, comprehensively cleaning is the other most fundamental task sellers should take on, said Elaine Quigley, owner of Topline Home Staging in Burke, Va., and president of the local chapter of International Association of Home Staging Professionals. Quigley has some do-it-yourself suggestions:
• "Clean it beyond what they can imagine cleanliness is," Quigley said. "The tracks in the windows, get every cobweb, every piece of dust, get in there with a toothbrush." As with painting, sellers can keep cleaning costs down by doing it themselves.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Associated Press WASHINGTON —
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Summary: We will be dealing with Short Sales for some time. My belief is they will be a significant part of our Real Estate Market for the next 12-15 months and as the market heals the number of Short Sales will evaporate. If you would like more information and details, please feel free to call me @ 206-799-2891 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The housing market in Snohomish County showed signs of recovery in June, driven by first-time buyers shopping for homes at burst-bubble prices. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported that pending sales in June increased 30 percent over the same month last year, giving real estate agents a reason to hope that a full recovery isn't far away. More than 1,190 sales were pending in June, up from 915 last year. Pending home sales also increased in May and April in Snohomish County, compared to the same months in 2008. However, completed home sales increased less than 1 percent in the county compared to June 2008.
Nathan Gorton, Executive Officer for the Snohomish County-Camano Association of Realtors said, that the somewhat timid resurgence largely stems from first-time buyers looking to snatch up inexpensive homes and low prices. Closed condo sales were up 6.78 percent from June of 2008 -- further reinforcing the theory that buyers who haven't previously owned are driving the county's sluggish real estate recovery. The federal government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers was the push many on-the-fence buyers needed, Gorton said. "About 50 percent of the market is first-time home buyers taking advantage of that $8,000 tax credit," Gorton said. "And they tend to gravitate toward condos, because they're usually the most affordable home on the market.
So, there you go! Some updated information on the "State" of the Market here in Western Washington. Let's hope it continues to heat up - get out there and enjoy Summer here in the Pacific Northwest. Until next week . . .
My thought is that I would write about how the market is going especially in these uncertain times. But I would also use this space as way of showcasing my own Listings and featuring some properties that I think are pretty special.
I hope you'll join me on this journey as I hone my skills as a blogger and real estate professional. Ready or not, here I go!!!