We all remember scanning the newspaper when we were kids and seeing local real estate agents advertising alongside family-owned restaurants and used car dealerships. At the top of these old ads, you probably remember seeing a head-shot of a smiling real estate agent, inviting you to look at the homes they were listing. Below this picture, there’d be small thumb-sized photos of ranches, bungalows, and mansions with pricing information and listing details printed out in minuscule font under each picture.
You probably didn’t think about it then – because who knew any better at the time – but what an impersonal and ineffective way to sell homes! Would you feel comfortable finding a good home for yourself if all you had was that small picture and those limited details to go on?
It’s no surprise, then, that social media platforms and home buying websites have transformed the real estate industry over the past few years.
Real estate agents who are interested in building a customer base with millennial home buyers have begun utilizing YouTube and Instagram to appeal to young families and upwardly mobile professionals.
For example, innovative real estate agents have begun posting entire photo albums of glamorous hi-res photos of the various homes they have available on their personally branded Instagram account. These real estate agents use things like hashtags to target Instagram users who want to move to a particular neighborhood.
Another huge benefit of using a social media network like Instagram to advertise homes is that people from all over the world are using Instagram. It’s never been easier to sell to buyers outside of a real estate agent’s particular area.
YouTube has also become a hotspot for real estate agents looking to add another visual dimension to their listings. The agents who are most effectively using YouTube are doing virtual house tours where they walk through a home with a video camera and a tripod. A video works well because it shows off the size of rooms and bathrooms much more effectively than traditional photographs do.
Another intriguing way that sellers are showing off homes to buyers is that they are using hand-held drones to take aerial footage of how a property looks from above. These aerial videos are so much more captivating than the thumbnail photos real estate agents used to rely on to make a purchase.
The real estate world is constantly evolving. Regardless of whether you are purchasing a home of simply looking to enhance your portfolio, it is important that you keep track of the latest real estate trends. Real estate market analysts have begun studying the market in advance of next year. Here is a look at some real estate trends to keep an eye on heading into 2018.
Online Brands Will Emerge
Heading into the new year, many real estate agents will look to establish an online presence. Recent market data has shown that both buyers and sellers are doing the majority of their research online first. The internet has allowed potential investors to make quicker decisions. With the increased access to previously private information, everything has become more transparent and accountable. It is much easier now to find the best agents.
Increased Emphasis On Smart Homes
Analysts are pointing to 2018 as the year that smart home automation will reach mainstream America. Agents and brokers are figuring out ways to implement the new technology into their presentations. There will be increased shading and light automation, as well as hardwiring and security. With an increased emphasis on smart home automation, more players will enter the mix.
The oldest of Generation Z, or those born between 1995 and 2001, are starting to graduate from college and become players on the real estate market. Like the millennials before them, Generation Z members prefer urban, big city life. Generation Z is expected to have a large influence on different brands and industries. Retailers will be under pressure to find successful marketing strategies.
Research has shown that secondary markets throughout the U.S. have grown past major cities. Analysts believe that secondary markets are considered a safe place for foreign investors. The growth in these secondary markets is considered sustainable over the long haul. Investors have secondary markets on their radar.
2018 is primed to be the year that agents stop being generalists and start focusing on little details that can set them apart. Agents are realizing that regardless of what type of property they are selling, the small details matter.
The potential tax reforms may impact the real estate market. The low income housing tax credits may be reduced, which could damage the affordable housing market. Investment amortization and the 1031-tax free exchange program are also at risk of being slashed.
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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.
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.
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.
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.