How to Stage Your Home for Millennial Homebuyers

Once upon a time, showing your house off to buyers just meant cleaning it. But now, “staging” has become a part of the sales process. Staging means decorating your home to appeal to potential homebuyers—a process that can mean anything from repainting the walls, to buying new furniture or updating old appliances.

        Staging is about more than making your home look good—it has to look like what potential homebuyers are interested in. And today, more than 30% of those homebuyers are millennials—people born between 1980 and 2000. So how do home sellers appeal to this new generation? Here are some ideas:

Make it Photogenic

        If you want to appeal to millennials, make sure your home has a good online presence. Take clear, attractive photos and make sure all the details about your home are posted on the web. What they find online may very well determine whether millennial homebuyers even want to visit.

Keep it Clean and Simple

        Obviously your home should not be dirty when you show it off. But more than that, eliminate clutter. Millennials like homes to look spare and simple, with lots of space for entertaining. Many millennials—and certainly those looking into buying a home—have full-time jobs coupled with busy social lives, so they will want a place that looks easy to maintain and keep clean. Hide knick-knacks, and anything that might make your house look dated: doilies, quilts, lots of fancy china, or heavy or frilly curtains.

Think Green

        Millennials are concerned about the environment; so don’t be surprised if you are asked about your home’s sustainability. Projects such as insulating your home or installing more efficient appliances can help draw in young homebuyers worried about their footprints.

Fashion a Home Office

        Creating a home office doesn’t have to be a major project. If you have a guest room or catch-all space in your house, clean it out and stick a desk and chair inside. Many millennials work from home, at least part-time, and want a designated space to work from.

Paint

Even if you don’t have the budget to make major renovations, just painting walls can make a huge impact. Wallpaper, especially patterned wallpaper, can make a home seem old-fashioned and cramped. Full-wall mirrors from the 80s are arguably worse. Painting your walls is a good way to modernize. Use light, muted colors to make everything seem modern, spacious, and well-lit.

Think About Location

        Are you in walkable distance from a grocery store, coffee shop, or library? If you answered yes, or if you can think of any other choice destinations in reasonable walking distance, make sure to advertise it! You can’t change your location, but it would be a mistake not to promote it.

What’s Wrong With Being a Fixer-Upper?

        If your house is a fixer-upper, and fixing it yourself is out of your budget, be honest about it! Many millennials are looking for a move-in ready house, but others would be happy to get a deal and a challenge.

 

 

Time to Sell: 5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready to List This Summer

Time to Sell: 5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready to List This Summer

Know Your Home

Potential homebuyers will be looking carefully at your home. Make sure you aren’t caught by surprise. Get your home inspected. Find out how much potential repairs will cost. Even if you don’t plan to make those repairs, it will keep you from being blindsided by the costs, and you will be ready to negotiate with homebuyers who are pushing for deductions.

Get information accessible and organized. Have all your papers: everything from insurance to paint colors. Know if your house has suffered any losses, and have records of any repairs. You don’t want to find yourself in the uncomfortable position of negotiating with a homebuyer who knows your house better than you do.

 

Think About Curb Appeal

If a buyer drives past your house, what will they think? Will they see an attractive facade or a well-maintained garden? Or will their eye be drawn to an ugly tree, a lopsided mailbox, or a badly-paved driveway? Your house’s outward appearance is the first thing that homeowners will see, and that first impression can make a huge difference. If you have the money to hire a landscaper or other specialist, do it. But if not, many of the changes you can make are simply a matter of getting outside, rolling up your sleeves, and taking care of them. Weed the garden, rake the yard, and prune the trees.

 

Clean Thoroughly

Don’t just vacuum. Repaint the walls. Have your carpets professionally cleaned. Move the furniture. Pull out the stove and scrub the floor beneath. Clean under the fridge. Dust the blinds. Clean places you’ve never cleaned before. Be ready to get messy: dirt can really build up when left unattended.

 

Stow Your Stuff

Not only does a cluttered home look messy, it also looks small. Remove at least 30 percent of your belongings from sight. The brunt of your focus should be on countertops, the pantry, and the master bedroom closets, which should be as empty as possible.

Empty shelves and a clear floor scream: Look, there’s so much room, we don’t have enough stuff to fill it all. So hide everything you can afford not to have in the attic or crawlspace, stow it away in a friend’s house, or even rent out a storage facility. And take down any especially eclectic decorations: Homebuyers do not want to see your ceramic chicken collection; they want to see your home.

 

Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Pets

If someone is coming to visit your house, send your kids off to a friend’s or relative’s, and have them take the cat with them. Children and animals are notoriously messy, and you don’t want your guests wondering about how you got the all dog hair out of the carpet (hint: you didn’t) or how you can guarantee that there’s not a hole in the wall somewhere stuffed with legos (hint: you can’t). Besides, kids and pets are also notoriously distracting, and you want your visitors to focus on your home.

Preparing Your Home for a Real Estate Photo Session

Preparing Your Home for a Real Estate Photo Session

kitchen interior

There is no doubt that having a successful real estate photo shoot for a new apartment or home you are trying to sell can be a really tricky situation. Too often photos are dark, from a strange angle, or simply fails to capture the beauty or attractiveness of the home in general.

With newer, more centralized real estate platforms such as Trulia and Zillow becoming increasingly common for agents across the country, better images are now the norm for home buyers in the digital world. Below are some ways to maximize appeal for any company on the market.

  1. Make the beds with linens that complement the colors of the room and overall interior.
  2. Clean the house: get the carpet shampooed, vacuum and mop all hardwood floors to make everything as clean as possible/visually appealing to any homebuyer’s eye.
  3. Don’t forget to clean the bathrooms!
  4. Make sure there is maximum natural and in house lighting before anyone comes to view the house or apartment.
  5. Remove all traces of personalized paraphernalia throughout the home so visitors can envision it as their own.
  6. Take the time to put away all cleaning supplies in the kitchen.
  7. Double check the house to see if everything has been put away in an orderly fashion.

The trickier part is definitely getting in touch and figuring out which real estate photographer is the best fit for you. Do bear in mind that photography fees vary according to experience, location and how large the property is. Connecting and meeting with various photographers is the best way to discern which professional you’d like to work with.

After the photos are taken, Chris Palmer the president of PhotoUp takes pride in the editing work his team is crafting. He has recently told the Huffington Post that “We’re the only ones out there doing this transparently, and real estate happens to be our niche. We have a team in the Philippines that work in a Google-like office. It’s a very creative environment. We find great ways to impact the photographers and the communities in which we work.”

How to Get Mortgage if You Are a Self-Employed Millennial

As housing prices continue to rise, the millennial generation is having a difficult time trying to find a property that they can afford. Those that consider themselves self employed must work even harder when applying for a mortgage.

Regardless of your profession, if you enjoy working for yourself and want to achieve the American dream of homeownership, use the following tips to when applying for a mortgage:Clean up your Finances

Banks that offer mortgages to self employed consumers will highly scrutinize business financials. This means that your personal and business accounts must be separate and that you’ll need to minimize the amount of deductions you take over the course of 12 months prior to your application.

Make sure you’ve kept good financial records that are ready to be presented to the mortgage broker.

Apply for an Alternative Loan

Standard mortgages are often hard to come by for the self employed millennial, which is why some banks are offering alternative financing.

Similar to the “no doc” loans of a decade ago, alternative loans use different income verification methods for the self employed. This process involves examining 12 months worth of bank statements against the profit and loss statements for the same time period. A cash flow analysis is created to determine suitability for obtaining a mortgage.

The Basics that You’ll Need

Like any other buyer, self employed individuals will need to provide specific requirements to the bank during the mortgage approval process. Those can include:

  • Bank statements - Both personal and business, bank statements will show that you have the necessary funds to pay the down payment and initial monthly payment.
  • Profit and Loss statement - A profit and loss statement is essential to creating an analysis for mortgage approval.
  • Proof of business formation - If your business is formed as an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to provide proof as well.
  • Solid credit history - In most cases, self employed consumers will need a credit score of at least 680 to qualify for a mortgage.
  • Sizable down payment - Banks often consider self employed people more of a risk for mortgage lending and they’ll require a down payment of around 20 percent.

While obtaining a mortgage as a self employed millennial is difficult, it isn’t impossible. The right amount of research combined with careful planning and record keeping will help make the process much easier.

Best Tips in Seattle’s Real Estate Market

Best Tips in Seattle’s Real Estate Market

houses real estate market

In the last year or so, Seattle has become a tight seller’s market with a low inventory and a common occurrence of multiple offers per house for sale. Many buyers have described it as an all-out war trying to buy the house they want. Owners who waited out the housing recession are more than willing to engage in a bidding war in an attempt to get the highest offer.

The following are some good real estate tips for both buyers and sellers in the Seattle market. These real estate tips can also be applied to many of the surrounding real estate markets like Tukwila, Renton, Sea-Tac, Burien and more.

For Buyers:

1.Decide what you can compromise on. Of the three big factors: condition, location and size, which one isn’t as important as the other two? In most cases, you’ll need to compromise on one of them.

2.Understand what you can actually afford in this market. Because the real estate market is so tough in these areas, agents and sellers look at every detail of competing offers, and larger down payments often win out as many houses are unlikely to appraise at the price being offered.

3.Be patient and don’t give up too soon. Losing the house you thought was perfect can be a crushing disappointment at the time, but it’s important to keep looking. During the time you’re looking, you can also save extra cash for a bigger down payment.

4.Find out what the seller wants. Knowing what constitutes the perfect offer to a seller can be half the battle. In a seller’s market, the buyer cannot make too many demands on an offer and expect to win the house if there are multiples. In some cases, it’s simply the highest, in others, the most cash, and sometimes they just want a quick closing.

For Sellers:

1.Price your house competitively. Most properties in this market are getting multiple offers, but if you price your house too high to start, you may not get the right bites.

2. Be clear about what you want and where you won’t compromise. If you need a quick closing or the ability to rent the house for two months from the buyer, make sure to have this communicated so you can get an offer that meets your conditions.

Listings dropped by 10 percent in Seattle’s market in 2016, but demand remained high and is expected to increase in 2017.

 

How to Increase Your Home’s Real Estate Value

When you’re a homeowner, you want to increase the value of your property as much as possible. Although you may not be moving in the near future, the value can be slowly improved over the years. Take a close look at how you can increase your home’s real estate value by mixing in both low-cost and investment options.

Swapping Out Fixtures

Unique real estate tips often involve clever ways to update a space without a large investment. Swapping out fixtures, such as lamps and electrical switches, are quick ways to increase the home’s value. This same concept applies to the kitchen too. Add new handles to cabinet doors and change the sink faucet. Although every other item in the area may be vintage, prospective buyers will only focus on the bright and new additions.

Refine the Landscape

The front yard is the first property space that’s seen by buyers. Trim the grass, plant a tree or start a flower garden. There are countless accents that you can add to a landscape as long as they remain neat. In addition, maintain a native look by choosing plants that only belong in the region. Trying out a desert landscape in a snowy region will only fail as the seasons change.

Install a Cool Roof

An investment that really impacts the home’s market value is a new roof. A typical rooftop lasts about 20 or 30 years. If your home is nearing that time frame, add a cool roof to the structure. Along with improving the home’s aesthetics, a cool roof also offers better energy efficiency. Your real estate investment will stay cooler in the summer while retaining warmth in the winter.

Extend the Living-Room Space

Smart, real estate tips include the perception of size. You want the home to look large, but the square footage may be lacking. Add an exterior deck just outside of the living room’s sliding glass door. With the curtains or blinds wide open, the living room seems to expand as you move between the interior and exterior.

In the past, homeowners often added a room onto the structure in hopes of increasing market value exponentially. This renovation idea doesn’t always offer the best return for your dollar. Remodeling an attic or basement will usually give you a better value for the investment. Pick and choose projects through the years that please you, and prospective buyers will be thrilled to benefit from them in the future.

 

How Will Seattle’s Real Estate Market Grow in 2017?

There are quite a lot of residents in Seattle looking for strong growth in 2017, and the city is poised to have a good year. This article explains how soaring credit ratings in a strong economy are fueling home buyers, and buyers must be aware of how the market will grow. There are three main factors everyone must be aware of, and each one plays a large part in the way the city will grow in 2017.

#1: The Market Is Growing Everywhere

New York has seen record prices for over a year now, and large cities around the country are growing in value steadily. Seattle is one of the largest media markets in the country, and it brings with it a large real estate market. The city will naturally grow with the rest of the country, and everyone in the city will benefit from growing values as they sell.

#2: Buyers Are Willing To Make Purchases

Checking credit ratings, credit repair services and proper financial management allow buyers to make offers on homes readily. They are walking the city with pre-approval letters that help with shopping, and sellers know their buyers are capable of purchasing the house. Prices remain steady as sellers spend little time on the market, and buyers do not lose money paying for a home they do not want.

Credit reporting allows everyone to move on from a home quickly, and they are no longer left with a significant chunk of money they cannot afford. Credit reports remain stable, and each new buyer or seller is allowed room to shop. Quick turnover in the market helps keep prices up, and buyers who move into an area quickly force prices to rise sharply.

#3: The Area Is Beautiful

Seattle is alluring in every way as it attracts buyers to the area every year with its amenities, mountain background and a large city in which to play. The University of Washington is in the city, and there is a large market for Pac-10 sports.

The Seahawks and Mariners bring quite a lot of business to city, and there is pride in the city for its sports teams that is no found elsewhere. Everyone moving to the city gets sucked into its sports culture, and the home of Starbucks is not far away. The technology industry lives just above the city, and Canada is not far away. There is everything a family may want within minutes of the city.

Everyone moving to Seattle may take advantage of a growing credit market that ensures buyers and sellers are ready to make sales. There is nothing stopping a new buyer, and a seller may find their own new home moments after the contract goes out.

Navigating the MLS Real Estate Database and Home Purchasing Process

Having access to an MLS database can put you one step ahead of the the market in pursuit of a home. So what exactly is and MLS? MLS stands for “Multiple Listing Service” and it’s a database of homes or properties for sale. These databases typically populate major real estate listing sites like Realtor.com, Redfin.com and the many others you see online but don’t always hold all of what’s available in the market. Generally speaking, it’s always smart to work with a broker, since they have direct access to more listings and will help you jump on great opportunities.

So how do you navigate real estate listings, find the best deals, and win big? I’ll take you through a couple points below:

Have your ducks in a row

Simply put: get pre-qualified. This should be your first step if you’re seriously considering a home because it’ll impact your next moves in a few ways. Being pre-qualified means a lender has evaluated your financial picture, including income, debt, and assets and feels that you’re qualified for a home at a certain price. Sellers want to know you’re serious and have pre-qualified for a mortgage, and one step further, have a pre-approval letter from the lender as well. In very competitive markets, a buyer with a mortgage can be at a disadvantage compared to partial or all cash buyers. All cash deals are quick and easy and don’t involve outside lenders to help the buyer. So, the lesson here is to have that pre-qualification, and if you want to make yourself shine a bit brighter, a pre-approval letter from the mortgage company willing to back you financially.

Be in front of the pack

Coming across a fresh listing will hopefully put you ahead of the competition. But don’t think a quick pick up out of the gate will give you a great deal. New listings tend to be priced high, with the idea of a seller decreasing the sale price over time depending on buyer interest and comped properties in the area. However, there’s always a chance of properties priced far below their actual value! In a very competitive market, these little blips on the radar can happen, so a ‘shark’ like attitude is necessary when pursuing listings. Additionally, you never know the circumstances of the seller; there may be underlying reasons as to why they are pricing a home so low.

Be the last

So I first spoke of being ahead and now I’m talking about being last? I hope to not confuse you, but there’s a reason for this. According to a recent Forbes article, selling a home can take time, and could cause a great deal if isn’t sold in a timely manner. In some cases, sellers could own two homes, two mortgages, and a financial burden rising every month. Because of this, prices are lowered and good deals pop up. Ask your real estate agent to send over properties past 6 months on the market, with the hope of finding one of these great deals.

These are just a few ideas to consider when starting the search for a home. Having a real estate broker, a good idea of your financial situation, and an understanding of how to approach listings in the MLS database will set you in a solid place for finding a great home.

A Short Guide to Navigate Today’s Fast-Paced Real Estate Market

A Short Guide to Navigate Today’s Fast-Paced Real Estate Market

home for sale

With the entire process of buying and selling a new home can be quite stressful in general, today’s fast-moving real estate market only adds an additional layer of pressure to both you and your family. Regardless of the state, county, or town you are looking into, there are useful ways to avoid pressure that may cause emotional or mental stress.

Millions of families across the country who are buying or selling their homes are experiencing the same sentiments and frustrations as you are. Below are some methods to alleviate stress and maximize efficiency during this huge life stage.

If you are a buyer in this market, you need to move fast after the home is sold and the new homeowner moves in. Working with a realtor will not only help you figure out what you want, but also how you can access information on a regular basis. Real estate agents are also great with regard to filtering through info related to property history, tax records, and other resources you may not of previously.

In the seller position, you need to have everything prepared before you actually move to your new home. Removing all unnecessary items, decluttering, and consolidating all your possessions in different areas. If you’re family lives in neighboring towns, it may be a good idea to stay with them if there is a time gap between moving out of your home and settling in the new one.

A challenging aspect of navigating the residential real estate market is undergoing inspections, the resolution process, and most of all, competing in offer situations across the board. Sellers should understand that hiring a realtor can help manage the buyer’s expectations, while also saving you money, time and energy during a process that can be fairly complicated without the right professional by your side.

Preparing in all the best ways possible will both ease your mind and wallet as you move from different stages of the homebuying process. It is also important to be completely upfront with your real estate agent through every stage so they can most effectively manage your price expectations, concerns, or other specificities you are looking for.