August 2015 Newsletter




Consider a Professional Stager

“You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

A statement that rings true in real estate. Buyers are quick to jump to conclusions about a home after a single glance. That’s why more sellers are turning toward professional home stagers to prepare for a sale.

A lot of what staging accomplishes occurs on a subconscious level—creating a positive link between your house and the prospective buyer. It’s easy enough to repaint after moving in, but first impressions are difficult to undo.

With the vast majority of buyers searching first on the Internet for homes, photos and virtual tours are extremely important in the selection process. Staging, as a priority instead of as a last resort, will give sellers key advantages.

A professional stager will:

Help eliminate clutter: That means picking up shoes from the hallway, removing papers from tables and furniture and even taking down personal items that add to the unnecessary clutter such as diplomas, pictures and trophies.

Consider buyer demographics and buying psychology: They use design elements in planning out the rooms, space and lighting. They understand traffic patterns to highlight positive attributes of a home while downplaying its negative features. They know not to overwhelm potential buyers with wild colors and furniture, even if you think it makes your home “special.”

Remember, making your home look like a model rather than lived-in can make all the difference in selling a home.


Working Kitchens Catch the Eye of Aspiring Chefs

Cooking show ratings are at an all-time high as viewers are enamored with the idea of being culinary masters. Home sellers are upgrading to professional-style kitchens to capitalize on the craze.

  • One of the easiest steps appealing to today’s tastes is adding stainless steel appliances and sinks. They resist scratches and are easy to maintain.
  • Cast iron is another attractive choice for sinks, as it adds color and cast irons sinks are usually large enough for pots and pans.
  • Another popular amenity is a pot filler. It serves as an extendible faucet that can be installed next to your stovetop or sink for easy water access.
  • Granite and quartz countertops provide a proper working space and cool surfaces that are attractive, durable and popular.
  • Moveable cutting boards, rinsing baskets and various trays aren’t too expensive and will help open the eyes of potential buyers.

Take advantage of the gourmet explosion with kitchen upgrades that appeal to the home chef. Your effort and investment may yield some tasty results.


Facts About Radon and your Home

You can’t see, smell or taste radon, yet it can make you sick. It is believed that radon is a contributing factor in lung cancer in the United States. So what exactly is radon? Here are some quick facts:

  • Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water.
  • It can penetrate the air in your home through cracks in the foundation.
  • It can be discovered in all parts of the country and can cause a dangerous high indoor radon level in any home.
  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency, roughly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.

While it’s not necessarily a requirement, it’s a good idea to ask for a Radon Inspection Contingency. It can potentially initiate a “short-term” test done on any home to make sure the lowest levels of radon of the home are below 4.0 pCi/L—a target set by Congress for indoor air quality. The EPA enforces that mandate.

Buyers and sellers should be smart about radon. Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant or with a radon-reducing system installed.

Sellers should test for radon before they put their homes on the market. This can save valuable time if you have all the paperwork and testing data to show prospective buyers.



Time for an Appraisal?

It’s important that your real estate agent develop a comparable market analysis to help in determining the right selling price for your home. If your property isn’t attracting serious shoppers, you may want to invest in an appraiser for a second pricing opinion. They perform their service for a fee rather than a commission—a better chance for a more unbiased result.

It provides sellers and buyers with a “fair market value” and also allows a lender to know how much they can safely lend. It will provide a comparison of your house to comparable properties in the neighborhood. A home appraisal can range in length from two pages to more than 100 and can include:

  • Details about the house.
  • Description of the neighborhood.
  • Side-by-side comparisons.
  • Evaluation of the area’s real estate market.
  • Notations of major problems with the property that will affect its value.
  • Estimate of the expected time to sell the property.

Here are some tips for both sellers and buyers seeking to ensure their transactions are completed in a timely manner:

  • Make sure the lender hires a qualified appraiser (such as a designated SRA, SRPA or MAI member of the Appraisal Institute). The lowest-priced appraiser does not necessarily equate with the most qualified.
  • Accompany the appraiser during the inspection of the property, if possible. The more active you are, the more you will understand it and be able to catch any errors.
  • Request a copy of the appraisal report from the lender. Federal law requires that you receive a copy of the appraisal within 30 days.
  • Appeal the appraisal, if appropriate. Market conditions do change, especially in these economic times. If you feel that new information may affect the appraisal, be sure to speak up.
  • Have your agent ask the lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified and designated appraiser.
  • File any legitimate complaints with appropriate state board or professional appraisal organizations.

Remember, you needn’t agree with the outcome of an appraisal. You and your agent can work with the figures and determine if you should change the sale price. A home appraisal—no matter how scientific—is still an opinion that can be questioned.





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